Friday, January 23, 2009

Mayor's race a dead heat?

The battle for the Omaha Mayor's office is already a bitter battle -- well here on Leavenworth Street anyway.

Mention anything about the race and the commenters come out with who's ahead, who's behind, who's the worst person imaginable -- pretty standard internets stuff though.

But the other day, a frequent L. St. commenter, "3rd Floor Watcher", came out with this little nugget, in response to a pro-Vokal comment:
Here is the poll numbers buddy, Hal 41% Suttle 23% Vokal 21%.
Our reaction was, Wow, that's pretty detailed info. Wonder where he/she got it?

Well, our efforts to get that answer were unproductive.

But all this wasn't ignored by the Jim Vokal campaign. Somewhat in response to these statements, last night Vokal conducted an "interactive voice response" , or Flash Survey of Omaha voters. Essentially, people are called and get a "press 1 for Vokal, press 2 for Daub, press 3 for Suttle" poll. 

(Full details and full questions follow.)

In any case, of 2,369 respondents, it looked like this:

Vokal: 39.4%
Daub: 38.0%
Suttle: 22.4%

Now, what is interesting about this poll, for you readers, is that the Vokal camp sent us the ENTIRE survey, the results, everything. So, you can (and no doubt will) quibble with the polling methods and some of the data. For instance, the party breakdown of the respondents went something like this:

Republican: 43%
Democrat: 34%
Independent: 20%

Last time we checked this isn't how Omaha breaks down. Also, it isn't clear that the names were rotated, so we'll assume they weren't. Also, there's no gender breakdown.

But, the point of the Vokal camp wasn't to so much get a perfect poll as to make their case that the supposed Daub poll numbers are off. And according to Vokal, they're WAY off.

So, below, we're putting, in the post, all the info Vokal gave to us.

Feel free to duke it out on all aspects, but note this: With Hal Daub likely going on the air with his ads very soon (possibly any minute) this race is very likely, very close.

Read on.

Vokal for Mayor
Flash Survey
January 22, 2009
Hello, my name is Marie with MP Research and we are conducting a very short, 4 question survey about the upcoming race for Mayor. This will only take a moment – let’s begin!
Q1. How likely are you to vote in the upcoming election for mayor? Are you very likely, somewhat likely, or not likely to vote?

For very likely, press 1.
For somewhat likely, press 2.
For not likely, press 3. [End call]
Q2. Do you consider yourself to be a Republican, Democrat, or Independent?
For Republican, press 1.
For Democrat, press 2.
For Independent, press 3.

Q3. And if the election was held today, and you had to make a choice for mayor, for whom would you vote? Jim Vokal, Hal Daub, or Jim Suttle?
For Jim Vokal, press 1.
For Hal Daub, press 2.
For Jim Suttle, press 3.
Q4. Which of the following issues is would you say is most important for the next mayor to address? Violent crime, taxes and spending, economic development, or police and fire pensions?

For violent crime, press 1.
For taxes and spending, press 2.
For economic development, press 3.
For police and fire pensions, press 4.

CLOSINGThank you for participating in our survey! Good night!

This call paid for by Vokal for Mayor.

(Note: To follow the results below, look at the questions above.)

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Anonymous said...

Please just be honest and rename "Leavenworth Street Blog" "Jim Vokal's Press Releases." It would be more accurate.

Anonymous said...

Funny how they don't say where these people were located. I'm sure Jim Vokal does great in his city council district.

Anonymous said...

If I send you a spreadsheet that says people want me to be mayor, will you post it too, no questions asked?

Anonymous said...

Um... Vokal put his name at the top of the list, instead of doing it alphabetically (as it will appear on the ballot).

This poll is obviously for propaganda purposes, and Street Sweeper is buying it, hook line and sinker.

Street Sweeper said...

Listen kids,
I can understand that you may not like or disagree with what's put up here. But don't shoot the messenger.

AS NOTED, I have attempted to get information from other campaigns. They have chosen not to release that information to L. St. That's their prerogative, and I have no problem with that.

But that doesn't make the info sent from another camp any less accurate.

There is plenty you can criticize about the poll presented by the Vokal camp.

But please, stop your weeping that we posted it in the first place.

Anonymous said...

I love "Quibble Time" on L Street!

1) I agree, it would be nice to have confirmation that this was a citywide call.

2) I am bothered that the issue question was not rotated. Of the hundreds of people that I have talked to over the last month and a half, the first issue discussed is the police and fire pension. That usually rolls into public safety that then segues into taxes and spending (ie: THE ECONOMY, stupid LOL).

3) From all news reports, Midtown would likely be most interested in violent crime, although, those of us in Suburban LaLaLand should get ready for it!

Hal should say, "Thanks for the heads up.", and Suttle should say, "Oh, sh**!" and figure out if he might want to go ahead and sign up to run for his City Council seat again, instead.

Jim should be careful trying to use this poll with too many donors. While it is good news for him that he does better with Dems than the Dem in the race, it is not clear enough how he is going to placate both Dems and the West O R's that want "Hope, Change, and more of their own money!"

3rd floor watcher said...

Folks, Maverick Political is the one and only Jordan McGrain!!! This is not some DC outfit, this is run out of McGrain's basement. Even Bob Wickers of Dressner Wickers wouldn't use that poll. We have no clue what the city council district distribution is on this turkey or the demographics. We don't even know if these calls were even made. The Vokal Camp is short on funds and is having donors shut there door on them when they ask for cash. I posted their "Hail Mary Strategy" earlier, which is to run tv first then come out with a bogus poll to marginalize Jim Suttle. Realist know Jim Vokal is not leading this race....His name ID is under 50%.

Anonymous said...

"There is plenty you can criticize about the poll presented by the Vokal camp."

Why do we all have to do it for you?

It seems to me you keep posting Vokal's arguments, then inviting the "other side" to post their response in the comments section. That's not quite fair.

You say you're posting Vokal's arguments just because they're talking to you. (Using you.) So yes, you are becoming a mouthpiece for the Vokal campaign.

We're asking you to use just a bit of critical judgment and not post a steady stream of Jordan McGrain's talking points.

poll taker said...

I took the poll last night. I want to change my vote. I thought I was voting for the woman on the commercial.

Anonymous said...

On Maverick Political's website, the one and only name listed is...JORDAN MCGRAIN.

This is NOT an independent poll. Come on, Street Sweeper! Call them out on it for once.

Anonymous said...

I don't really care where the poll came from, I am only interested in how much of the City was called. Name calling is not necessary. The poll will accomplish its task, which is to shut Suttle out.

I know as good Republicans, it would be more pleasant to have a Dem and a Rep in the General, but I just don't see that happening. I see 2 Republicans in the General mostly because Omaha is not going to put up with the "failed policies of the last 8 years of the current administration". How's that for using your favorite snide comment against your candidate Suttle?! LOL

We will have an ugly race for Mayor, but we will definitely have a Republican Mayor in June!

Vokal Guy said...

Hey Watcher,

I hope you are on the 3rd floor of a hospital, because that tingling sensation you are feeling as you type is the onset of an aneurysm.

How do we know Hal's "numbers" didn't come from a survey of his law office? At least the Vokal Campaign has nothing to hide.

Anonymous said...

Hal's office has way too any Dems and a few Turncoat R's in it to put Hal on top, that's how we know!

Street Sweeper said...

Anony at 10:42,

When we get info, like polls from candidates, we put up what they give us. Are these 100% made up? Well, I suppose that's possible. But I find it pretty unlikely.

Now campaigns leak their polling data all the time. You think "3rd Floor Watcher" broke into the safe at the Daub camp, pulled their polling data, and decided all on his own to put them on L. St.?

Now, we'd prefer to get that sort of info straight from the campaign, and, as said here NUMEROUS times, we have tried to do that. But for various strategic reasons, they have decided not to supply us with their data. We have no problem with that.

But when a camp DOES supply us with their data -- and in this case, not just the results, but the polling methods and questions -- we have no problem in putting the whole thing forth.

Now are their questions about the polling methods here? Sure. But, please consult your own statistician for the issues, then feel free to post.

Now, one question that keeps recurring here is whether the calls were city-wide. We've heard from the Vokal camp that they were, and they've provided us a Google map with the Google bubbles representing where the respondents live. It is city-wide, according to their data.

I'd post it, but frankly, all you people will do is bitch that all we put up is Vokal stuff. And it's sort of hard to view b/c of the format. AND I'm having computer issues today. So you get to take my word for it. If the Vokal camp wants to put it on their site, or a photo-site and link to it here in the comments, have at it.

And, I'm frankly getting tired of being defensive here. You want more from the other campaigns, tell their peeps to send us more info.

Ya'll come back now...

Anonymous said...

3rd Floor Watcher does not work for the Daub campaign and the Daub campaign does not "leak" any numbers through him.

Anonymous said...

Computer problems make me pissy too, SS. If you weren't so old, it would probably be easier for you. Maybe you should let one of your kids have a go at it, or are they too young or off on their own already? Maybe your wife could be of help, or are you unmarried?

On another note AND to change the subject, let me be the first to congratulate the Ricketts Family on their winning bid for the Chicago Cubs! Way to go. Now if they could only get the Farm Team to come play ball downtown, then we could all be happy, and a little less tax poor!

Anonymous said...

Street Sweeper -- You have defended yourself a number of times by saying the other campaigns do not talk to you. You know that is not true.

I happen to know for a fact that at least one other campaign does talk to you and you just don't like what they say, because it conflicts with what you hear from McGrain.

Street Sweeper said...

Anony at 11:16:

I never said that the other camps don't talk to me. I talk to them all the time and greatly appreciate the conversation.

But just b/c I talk to them doesn't mean that they provide information that I can post.

Street Sweeper said...

That was cold Anony at 11:14, really cold.

You're banned. You hear that sonny? BANNED.

You come around here again and I'll beat you with my walker.

jordan mcgrain said...

Hey folks,

To add to the discussion, I thought I'd provide you with the number of participants from each zip code per last night's survey:

68007 1
68022 4
68069 1
68102 4
68104 215
68105 132
68106 207
68107 89
68108 44
68110 23
68111 49
68112 57
68114 199
68116 29
68117 37
68118 50
68122 7
68124 180
68127 71
68130 70
68131 59
68132 143
68134 253
68135 39
68137 112
68142 5
68144 253
68152 43
68154 171
68164 126
68178 1


Anonymous said...

Well, we all remember that Jordan McGrain was Street Sweeper's "special correspondent" at the convention last year. They obviously are close friends. This site is biased towards Lee Terry and now also towards Jordan McGrain. Nothing wrong with that, but let's be honest.

Anonymous said...

Truth is out: Jordan McGrain is Street Sweeper.

Anonymous said...

Yes, Street Sweeper, how about it? I for one am not upset with you for being one-sided, but for doing so under the pretense of objectivity. Either this is a propaganda blog or it is a news blog -- choose one or the other.

Anonymous said...

Poor StreetSweeper. Apparently, you should have been more fair to Jim Esch last year.

Hello!?! does anyone not get that this is a conservative blog?! Was he not suppose to be liking of Lee Terry?

Get a grip people! I certainly hope we can all play nice tonight at dinner. Just so you know, I will be consulting my children on the rules of etiquette with regard to food fights. If anything lands near me or on me, you have ben warned!

3rd floor watcher said...

Look Downtown for the numbers folks. Those numbers are not Daub's. I'm nobody's boy or girl. I'm not on the payroll or have been promised a job. ( I also didn't always support him either) I do support Hal Daub for Mayor based on his proven ability to get the job done on crime and control spending. Nothing personal against Jim Vokal, but he is not ready for primetime and he is a flip flopper. He also put the Republican majority of the council in jeopardy with this race. Hal has what Omaha needs now, his leadership is decisive and he get's real results.

Anonymous said...

Well, your true colors show SS. No one from the other camps trust you. You have lost all "street cred" with the other camps.

Get over it.

Anonymous said...

Jim Vokal's website still SUCKS!

Anonymous said...

After the last year, propaganda and news have become one in the same!

I like the blog, leave it alone.

SS, quit dating yourself if you don't want people to know that you are old. LOL

Nothing New said...

Judging by the vitriol of the comments by the Daub supporters on this site, seems like same 'ol Hal. Theyr'e right, everyone else is wrong, scorched earth campaign strategy. No kindler gentler shown here.

Anonymous said...

IM not a Daub supporter, Im just telling it like it is. Im very technologically saavy and expect more from a candidate when it comes to use of technology, especially a young candidate.

Vokal's website still sucks.

Anonymous said...

"When we get info, like polls from candidates, we put up what they give us. Are these 100% made up? Well, I suppose that's possible. But I find it pretty unlikely."

Hey Street Sweeper -- I just sent you a poll saying people don't want any of these guys. It turns out they want me, by a huge margin! I ran the poll myself, out of my basement, just like Vokal. Will you post it?

Street Sweeper said...


Anonymous said...

The only scorched earth strategy has come from Jim Vokal. He needs to tear down the other candidates (especially Daub) to have any chance, and he's proven he's willing to do so for his own gain. Please name for me one negative comment or complaint that has come out of the Daub campaign. On the other hand, every single press release or comment from Vokal or McGrain contains at least one cheap shot at Daub.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, I haven't seen Hal Daub do any negative campaigning against Vokal. What are you Vokal people talking about? You're the only ones who have been negative!

Nothing New said...

I'm talking about the Daub supporters on this site - go back and read my comment, Anon 1148. There have been numerous negative Vokal comments on this site. Same ol Hal (via his supporters).

Anonymous said...

Well, in addition to being an overwhelmingly Republican sample, independents don't vote at nearly that high a clip in city elections - especially city primaries.

My quibble isn't with the fact that the poll was posted. It's that it's not a scientific poll. This holds about as much water as an online poll.

Anonymous said...

Republican: 43%
Democrat: 34%
Independent: 20%

Wouldn't a large R sample only help Daub?

Anonymous said...

Both Daub and Vokal are Republicans. Vokal conducted the poll -- it was not an independent poll. So I'd say the poll just might favor Vokal.

3rd floor watcher said...

Folks, If you know one thing about campaigns is that polls are not done usually on an inpromptu basis. Also a simple statement by a blog poster like myself doesn't get Jordan McGrain to run a poll. (I HAVE THE I will say this, there are legitimate polls out there. 1 or 2 are currently circulating through the Board Rooms of Omaha. Jordan did this telephone poll because the word is out that Jim Vokal is running last or is tied for last. I can guarantee you if you were in Sokol's, Lauritzen's, or any of the other CEO's offices they would laugh at you if you showed up with that "MAVERICK POLL" and asked for money. The Vokal camp is desperate to leap frog Suttle so they can claim its a 2 man race against Daub and raise some money.

Anonymous said...

Street Sweeper's last three posts on the Mayor's race:

1. Vokal's "poll," with no cricical commentary whatsoever.

2. Vokal's unfiltered argument that he didn't tell the Chamber he'd eliminate firefighters, then deny to the firefighters that he said it. Only critical commentary: "sounds good enough for me."

3. An 'early bird' report that supposedly there is a rumor going around that Heineman will endorse Daub, with the choice line, "it would nearly be a slap at Daub if Heineman didn't endorse him." Of course he will endorse Daub. He was Daub's Chief of Staff in Congress. But saying so now might lessen the impact. This posting is to manage expectations for Vokal's benefit.

I could go on, but those are the last 3.

Mr. Eldridge said...

Vokal people don't need to claim it is a 2 man race, it IS a 2 man race. Everyone knows it. Suttle is a nincompoop, no-one takes him seriously as a candidate and he's already burned through what money he was able to raise (during the past decade or so that he's spent running for Mayor of Omaha). And Suttle didn't make any friends grandstanding on the Rosenblatt issue before voting for the new stadium.

In the general, Vokal will get half the Repubs and three-quarters of the Dems and will be our next Mayor. Hal will then spend the next 10 years running for County Assessor, U.S. Senate, U.S. Congress and the learning community before retiring and, not unlike the Andrea Doria, he settles in to a nice warm bath. Maybe with a bag of Werthers.

Also, Cubs still suck. Go Cardinals.

Anonymous said...

This poll is an obvious ploy to keep the fundraising from drying up.

On another note, that funny commercial with the wife... Go to youtube and look at Norm Coleman's ads from Minnesota last year.

Anonymous said...

What I find most amusing is that people would expect a political blog to have a journalistic non-biased view. Of course this is a mouthpiece for Vokal. Evidenced by the fact that the vast majority of postings on this site about the mayoral race favor Vokal.

Anonymous said...

Nice touch swearing at your commentators, Street Sweeper. Maybe you should try listening to them instead of berating them. There are five or more valid points above, at least deserving of an "update" on the blog posting.

I'm sure it feels good to have an inside track with a campaign, but that makes this blog just a mouthpiece for that campaign.

Anonymous said...

Like I said before, there's nothing wrong if you're biased towards certain candidates. It is YOUR blog. But at least be honest about it.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, also there's nothing wrong with revealing your identity to one campaign but not the others. Nothing at all. Just don't pretend to be fair or objective.

Mouth. Piece.

Street Sweeper said...

It's amazing to me that you people are trying to piss me off. Why you would want to do that is beyond me. Interesting strategy.

And sorry kids, McGrain only has my email address. Just like Harding.)

Anonymous said...

Why do you keep assuming these people are speaking with one voice on behalf of the Daub campaign in some sort of coordinated effort? Anyone who wants to can post here.

Street Sweeper said...

No one said it was coordinated.
(Except you...)

Anonymous said...

ummm, you just said, "Why you would want to do that is beyond me. Interesting strategy."

Anonymous said...

Yeah, and you jumped on 3rd floor watcher earlier, acting like he was Daub's communications director, for crying out loud. Again, any random person can post here and say whatever they want about themselves.

Anonymous said...

ummm, you just said, "Why you would want to do that is beyond me. Interesting strategy."

- I think my IQ is dropping more and more listening to these folks go tit for tat.

It's a Poll, we know the method, Just because 'the chosen one' is not blowing everyone away is not the end of the world.

Take it for what it is and move on.

Street Sweeper said...

Just to finish up here...

1) YOUR strategy doesn't have to be coordinated with anyone or any campaign -- and probably isn't.

2) 3rdFW...all I know is, it seems he/she got their hands on some very detailed info. And frankly, we like that sort of thing. And it certainly stirred up the Vokal folks.

3) It's the w/e, go get yourselves a drink. (Whoops, I'm showing my age again!)


Anonymous said...

I love Omaha politics. Where else could Jordan McGrain get paid to fabricate polls and blog all day? And yet I can only take part (drink in hand, SS) at the end of the day -- after finishing work at a real job.

Regarding the Vokal website, what sort of boob would put the words "not just a pretty face" next to a photo of his wife?

What Methodology? said...

Dear Sanitary Engineer (Street Sweeper is so non-PC), Jordan McGrain (or both as is probably the case),
No one seems to want to take a crack at debunking the shoddy methodology of these auto dial calls, so please allow me the opportunity. I’m no pollster (but I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night). First, a comment on robo / auto dial calls. They are meant as a cheap way of identifying households / voters not as a scientific poll. There is no doubt that McGrain / Vokal did an actual ‘poll’ following their TV buy to see ‘how they did’. Why else spend the money on the TV buy? Where are those data (but I digress)? Here are some of the more serious methodological flaws.

They didn’t even identify Gender, let alone control for it.
They didn’t even identify Age, let alone control for it.
They did not weight or control for Party Affiliation.

In addition to these critical errors which, in of themselves, disqualify these numbers as any sort of ‘scientific’ poll, here are a few interesting observations. Based upon your zip code report (thanks for providing by the way), you oversampled Vokal’s council district, as well as, the immediate vicinity bounded by the Interstates by roughly 10%. Surprisingly lacking in calls are those zip codes containing areas annexed by Omaha. Elkhorn alone is more than 5% of likely voters and you managed to record a whapping 4 of 2900 calls in there. My guess is you didn’t even have the annexed areas loaded into your call center. Too bad you couldn’t have gotten a proportionate number of calls into these areas. Maybe you could have even added a question to your survey. Something like, “Do you remember how Vokal voted on the annexation of Elkhorn?”

Press 1 for – “We stopped sending him death threats”;
Press 2 for –“Tell him, I have a ‘surprise’ for him when he comes campaigning to my door”….

Well you get the idea. Anyway, it appears this garbage provided some nice fodder for people on what was otherwise a slow Friday. Aside from that it has no validity.

Anonymous said...

In response to anonymous, 10:00 a.m., I am in Vokal's C.C. district. My neighbor to the east, my neighbor to the west, my neighbor to the north and my neighbor to the south and the neighbors on each side of them and more and I despise Jim Vokal. I WILL move to Ralston or farther out of the city if this choke -- joke becomes mayor!

Anonymous said...

Hey, Jordan. Thanks for the zip code postings. I'll know which zips to do my anti-Vokal protests. Look for Scoobydoo coming to an intersection near you!

Anonymous said...

Obviously Vokal is running out of money and put out this propaganda--sorry, I mean "poll"--to shore up support. Jordan, now that Hal's on the air too, are you wishing you hadn't spent all that money running a Liz Vokal ad for the last three weeks?

Anonymous said...

Vokal's Campaign Manager is his own 1-man pollster operation! I love it.

So when he's trying to show it to donors, and pretend it doesn't stink the entire room up, he'll basically be saying, "Check it out. I called a bunch of people and they like me more than Hal! Take my word for it."

That would definitely do it for me.

Anonymous said...

This is the Ban Cigs/Tax Trans-fat sign guy.
Hal Daub had a commercial about working in conjunction with the federal government to stop gangs. Do we have to behave and act a certain way if we get involved with help from the federal government?
If we ban cigs what will the gangs do? ....Will Omaha gets tourism rich for life?

Anonymous said...

Nice pie chart!! It's fun to play pollster.

Anonymous said...

The poll numbers are totally valid. You know why? I saw them on Channel 7 last night.

Man, you Daub supporters are desperate with a capital DESPERATE.

Eric said...

For what it is worth, I assume all of you are in some kind of coordinated effort. In fact, I pretty much assume you are all the same person since you all use the same name.

I'm just going to go ahead and once again register my complaint with you all for not taking the brain power or time to come up with some sort of unique identifier to distinguish yourself when commenting. It really should be very simple. The comment form says "Choose an identity." Just click the "Name/URL" bubble and type something (anything - go ahead and pound on the keyboard randomly).

Anonymous said...

I hold no credence to this poll, it does not include anyone in the annexed Elkhorn area. It is also very heavily polled in the area that Jim represented during his days on the City Council.

I doubt he will get many votes in Elkhorn. Didn't he vote for annexation?

Furthermore, what is the margin of error???? This is no poll. Polls have margins of error and if you want to be seen as a reputable internal/external poll, this is NOT the way to do it.

Eric said...

The poll lists the number of respondents. That is the only information you need. If you want to compute the margin of error, no one is stopping you from grabbing a calculator and doing it yourself.

Frankly, I prefer to not see a published margin of error because nobody (especially in the press) seems to understand what it really means. Anyway, the statistical significance of a measurement is not even the biggest factor for error in opinion polling, it's just the only one you can attach an objective number to. Reporting the number of respondents (by zip code even!), questions, and demographic breakdown is a much more open and transparent way to present a poll.

Anonymous said...


Why do you keep removing posts about the Nebraska Accountability and Disclosure Commission NADC?

There will be a time here shortly where the candidates will be sending in the numbers on funds raised. This will sort out a lot in short order.

I think there is something to be learned by all in researching these reported numbers......

Please stop removing the posts.

Street Sweeper said...

I don't know WHAT the hell you're talking about. I have removed no "posts" or "comments" regarding anything.

And I'm leaving your comment up, but would otherwise delete it for typing something that is completely false.


Steve Scarle said...

Guess since I’m not part of the self appointed “political elite” I can not even get included in a simple poll. If I did, people would find out I have heavy support in the far west with Republicans and I have more support from Democrats in North and South O than Suttle. In regards to wanting someone more technology savvy, it is what I do for a living. I built and maintain my own website. I also designed all of my campaign materials.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.