Category: Mark’s Hill Column

Liking our policy, but not our performance

Shortly after Democrats lost a then-historic 52 House seats in the 1994 midterms, incoming Democratic National Committee chair Sen. Chris Dodd (Conn.), gathered some party strategists to assess what happened. One of my always optimistic ad-making friends opined, “It’s not as bad as it looks. People agree with us!” He then proceeded to reel off

Read more

Are independents really so independent?

People repeat it regularly. “Partisanship is in decline. Independents are the booming segment.” Political partisanship entails at least two distinctly different facets, and keeping them separate is important. On the one hand, partisanship is a psychological concept. How do you feel about the parties? I’ve written before about the fact that most people who respond

Read more

Election 2021 aftermath: How big was that swing?

A few brave souls have tried to argue that last Tuesday was a good night for Democrats. That’s a very difficult assertion to defend. But take the analysis much deeper and you’ll find evidence for a variety of contradictory propositions in the data from Virginia. For example: The swing against Democrats was mammoth. Comparing the margin

Read more

Election lessons

Once again, you have the advantage over me. As you read this, you know what happened on Election Day. As I write on Monday, the outcomes remain uncertain. But I can reasonably predict that, by Wednesday, you’ll be swimming in a sea of commentary deriving lessons from these elections, particularly in Virginia. The tone of

Read more

The trout in the milk

Political practitioners find it amusing, and mildly threatening, that political scientists are still debating whether campaigns matter.  Every consultant has tales to tell prospective clients about how their stratagem, or tactic, or ad saved the day and won the victory everyone else thought impossible. In truth though, much of what passes for knowledge among political

Read more

The abuse of drug polling

PhRMA, the trade association of prescription drug companies, wrongly reinterpreted a poll showing overwhelming support for government negotiating drug prices, to suggest the survey found the opposite. The problem is not just with PhRMA, however, it’s part of a much wider misunderstanding about interpreting poll data. Sometimes responses should be interpreted quite literally and other

Read more

Understanding Democrats’ present and past in polling

Projecting the present into the future is easy, but often a mistake, especially in dynamic environments characterized by rapid change. Errors compound when even the present is murky.  Just how dreary is Democrats’ political present?  The RealClearPolitics poll average puts President Biden’s approval rating a rather dismal 10 points underwater, while 538.com pegs the deficit at

Read more

McConnell’s strategy: Hurt the country to help the GOP

I’ve said it with regard to Supreme Court confirmations and voting rights legislation, but I have to say it again: “Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has proved particularly adept at inventing constitutional principles and American history from whole cloth.” So it is again, with raising the debt ceiling.  McConnell claims that because Democrats are the governing

Read more

Recall lessons

California Gov. Gavin Newsom amassed a huge vote count, 63.4 percent, to defeat the attempt by Trump Republicans to recall him. (The exact number could change a bit as the state continues to count ballots for some weeks, but it will likely be pretty close.) Pundits and strategists alike are already deriving lessons from this great victory

Read more

The anomaly of Republican unanimity

This questionable imitation of a column notwithstanding, I’m not a journalist and therefore play no role in determining what the story is. In my humble opinion, however, by focusing on one or two Democrats who may fail to support legislation deemed critical by the overwhelming majority of their co-partisan colleagues, actual journalists are missing the

Read more

Whether winning for you means getting more votes than your opponent, selling more product, changing public policy, raising more money or generating more activism, The Mellman Group transforms data into winning strategies.