Sunday, June 25, 2017

Horse Sense: Desperation or data, that is the question

We're not a week from the post apocalypse Zimmer-Hoboken universe and the real campaign pushing and shoving has started. 

Would you be surprised to hear the pushing is happening among the potential reform oriented candidate campaigns? Suddenly and without warning, a Zimmer poll taken last winter has materialized and all kinds of fanciful conclusions are being drawn.

Again from a Hoboken poll, last winter, when no one even knows who will be on the ballot this November. Take that poll and all the succeeding self-serving arguments and throw it in the garbage. 

Old, dead white guy knew something about bad data applications.
So does a Horse. 

The real intent of course in releasing the winter poll now is to see shoved aside a potential Jen Giattino mayoral candidacy. Kill it before a campaign gets started. The campaign most fearful of such an entry which at the time of this writing is uncertain is the Ravi Bhalla for Mayor campaign.

In poker we call this a tell. But what are they trying not to tell us? They want to tell Jen Giattino to stand down and any and all people who think she might be the best candidate in November: go away. We've decided. Didn't you see the press conference last Tuesday? Might I remind you many people did not walk away from that City Hall event singing kumbaya. Hoboken voters are fiercely independent. Telling them you've anointed a successor minutes after withdrawing from an election four months out without any consultative conversation ahead of time isn't going over too well. Oh, you wish to double down with the real politik/fait accompli plans as originally mapped out? Well, alrighty then. 

Let's address some of the talking points being propagated fast and furious.

Polls, approval ratings and political interpretations of same

Approval ratings for Mayor Zimmer are overblown and were similarly lauded in 2013. Great numbers! She's untouchable! Months later Mayor Zimmer won that race but boosted her percentage from only around 43% in November 2009 to 47% in her win. She didn't crack 50%. Her best chance may have been this November. It's not your earlier Hoboken polled approval rating that matters most but how many people you get to the polls on Election Day. 

This speaks to all kinds of issues in this mayoral race for ANY candidate this November but putting that aside for the moment; having five or six major candidates potentially on the ballot in November means someone can mathematically win everything with just over 20% of the vote. Don't think Michael Russo isn't licking his chops at the thought. He is. He'll be ready after Labor Day too.

As for Mayor Zimmer, outstanding job on many fronts, others less so and ability to tackle issues in the future irrelevant now. If she wants to dance around campfires to a pagan moon goddess, that's up to her. If she thinks global warming is the "biggest" problem in the face of the data not showing the polar caps melting as direly predicted over the last 20 years, her prerogative too. But if she really thinks that's the reality, she should be taking Chinese lessons pronto and booking a ticket on a boat there. Getting a climate change gig in NJ won't accomplish anything other than vacuuming NJ taxpayer dollars into oblivion. For more on this vapidity, see the Paris Accords. First person to tell everyone two things that agreement does for the US other than vacuum up a billion US dollars for export wins a free gulf jet ride to any favorite Hollywood actor's climate change conference around the globe.

Jen Giattino's popular appeal and crossover votes

Let's make this analysis plain. She has it, others don't. You don't have to like it or quantify it as that's much harder but avoiding the harsh truth won't make it go away. Electability is a different matter and sorry; that's not code. Speak to all your friends and you'll hear it come up too.

City Council President Jen Giattino
MSV wrote earlier Jen Giattino is on par in popularity as the mayor citywide within the smaller subset of the reform community not the 54,000 total Hoboken population. This has gotten under some people's skin. Well, that's why third terms often turn out so badly or in this case are suddenly grounded and done quite badly. Let's move on.

Data in a Hoboken poll collected last winter isn't deciding this race coming up in November. Didn't Hillary have the big endorsement (Obama), the lion's share of the money ($1.2 Billion - that's right with a B) and the data/polling on her side? Yet she got blown away 304 to 227 when the electoral votes were finally tallied.

They don't call election campaigns a CAMPAIGN for nothing. 

On the question of electability and crossover appeal, to say it appears one has an advantage over another is of course speculative until after the an election is tabulated, analysis and public opinion weighted afterwards. Last November's 2016 presidential race will be analyzed and talked about for years. Years later, some still won't have a clue but I digress, "Muh Russia Russia!"

Does anyone think Jen Giattino doesn't have crossover appeal? Her entire political career is about crossover appeal beginning with her work for the Hoboken Homeless Shelter years prior to her considering a run for elected office. Her entire political experience speaks to her calm demeanor, smarts and ability to get things done for the city of Hoboken. She like her colleague Councilman Ravi Bhalla haven't been two time council presidents by accident.

Most Hoboken voters won't pull the municipal lever in a non-partisan election this November

The majority of Hoboken's eligible voters won't vote in this municipal election this November. This is a simple fact. Which partly means a Horse has been writing to millions and millions of visitors here in almost eight years but never the entire city of Hoboken. To cast the number of people who don't know Jen Giattino or Ravi Bhalla or any other candidate on the ballot in November without this important statistic is meaningless.

Again in a five or six person race of major candidates; it's winner take all. The partisan rhetoric unfitting to Hoboken aside, mathematically taking just over 20% of the vote may win the prize.

When you trot out a poll taken last winter before candidates are not even in the race, in this case determined after Labor Day, is it data your touting or desperation? 

Talking Ed Note: This Horse Sense weekend editorial is dedicated to all democratic voices in Hoboken. Let them be heard.