Blowing Up The Conventional Wisdom (I)

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Today is my day for blowing up some comfortable but grossly inaccurate media narratives. We’ve lived with them for just about a year now, and they never, ever die. Recently, I took down the Goucher poll that assumed near parity between African-American and white turnout (45-48) in a state where the respective populations are 29 and 63%. Despite my analysis, lazy reporters continue to use that poll as if it means anything. Which it doesn’t.

Now it’s time to go searching for bigger game. Today’s designated victim is “Donna Edwards is staying close – and even leading – in a race where she is being dramatically outspent.” That’s true only if a reporter puts blinders on and ignores the unprecedented primary spending being done by Emily’s List on behalf of Donna Edwards.

Let’s look at the numbers.

Through the end of the year, Chris Van Hollen had expenditures of $2,632,938.63. Donna Edwards spent $1,866,769.06 directly.

Ah, but what about Emily’s List? Through a March 1 FEC update, Women Vote! (the Emily’s List entity responsible for IE expenditures) had spent $1,434,857.03 on Donna Edwards’ behalf, virtually all of it on paid media in the Baltimore region.

So between Edwards’ own spending and a massive expenditure by Emily’s List, Edwards has actually outspent Van Hollen, $3,301,626.09 to $2,632,938.63. That’s a margin of right around $670,000. Whether she can maintain that edge is highly questionable, as she had $280,000 in the bank at year’s end compared with Van Hollen’s $3.66 million. Will Emily’s List spend more than $3 million to keep the candidates at parity through to the end of the campaign? How much will Van Hollen outraise Edwards by in the current quarter, making that gap even larger?

Reporters: these are good questions. Maybe you should ask them. But what you shouldn’t do is repeat the false construct that “Edwards is staying close despite being massively outspent.” There’s no other way to say it than this: it’s bullshit, you have – right here – actual data to prove that it’s bullshit, and I will call you out if you just keep repeating the bullshit. So don’t.

Later today – some even more egregious media nonsense from the CD4 race. My shovel is getting heavy, but I will not quit.

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