by Pete Talbot

I hate polls

“Charles Franklin, a University of Wisconsin political science professor and polling authority, said variation between polls occurs, in part, because pollsters interview random samples of people.”

That quote comes from an Associated Press story and poll that has McCain and Obama basically tied. But talk about “random,” the story continues with these stats:

Obama and McCain were essentially tied among likely voters in the latest George Washington University Battleground Poll, conducted by Republican strategist Ed Goeas and Democratic pollster Celinda Lake. In other surveys focusing on likely voters, a Washington Post-ABC News poll showed Obama up by 9 percentage points, while a poll by the nonpartisan Pew Research Center had Obama leading by 14. A Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll, among the broader category of people registered to vote, found Obama ahead by 10 points.

That’s a 14 point spread. I think I’ll wait for Jimmy the Greek to give odds before really believing any of the numbers I’ve seen.

UPDATE: Latest MSU-Billings poll has Obama at 44% and McCain at 40% IN MONTANA! There’s a 5% margin of error, but still … maybe I’ll forego my cynicism about polls for the evening.

Bait and switch

The Missoula Independent had an interesting piece on the Ravalli Republic. Apparently, Ravalli County Democrats contracted with the paper to put those little sticky ads on the Republic that you see from time-to-time on the front page of many newspapers. These pro-Democrat ads riled up a herd of Ravalli County Republicans, who threatened to cancel their subscriptions. The Republic then moved the stickers to the inside of the paper. The publisher claimed this wasn’t done to placate Republicans but because of a corporate rule that says political ads can’t appear on front pages. Funny thing is, I remember getting my daily dead-tree edition delivered to me in a plastic bag with “Vote for Conrad Burns” printed on it about two days before the 2006 election. So, bags are OK but stickers aren’t?

Here’s hoping nice guys finish last

I’ve heard there are a few “Democrats” out there pushing County Commissioner Larry Anderson’s election bid. The Republican incumbent is running against Michele Landquist for the six-year position. Incumbent is a little misleading, though, as Anderson wasn’t elected to the seat but anointed by retiring Republican Commissioner Barbara Evans.

These folks are endorsing Larry for different reasons but the recurrent theme is, “he’s a nice guy.” That may well be but I want more than a “nice guy” as our third commissioner. I want someone who will be innovative and progressive. Considering Larry served on the staffs of both Rep. Denny Rehberg and Sen. Conrad Burns, I’m guessing he’s neither. And I remember his tenure on city council as being a conservative obstructionist, to say the least.


  1. Pogo Possum

    Pete, I think if you do some more checking you will find that there are quite a few more than just ” a few Democrats” pushing for Larry Anderson. I just looked at Anderson’s October 23 C-5 report on line and a quick review turns up quite a few recognizable Democrats giving him contributions. These are just a few that I recognized:

    Land Lindberg
    Helena Maclay
    Tom Boone
    Robin Tawney Nichols
    Milt Datsopoulos – Attorney
    Susan Cramer – Untied Way
    Barbara Theroux
    John Rimel
    Rosalie Cates
    Sally Lou Johnson – Administrator, Seeley Lake Schools
    Mack Long – Region 8 Coordinator – Fish wildlife & Parks
    Juanita Vero – E Bar L Ranch
    James Stone
    Leslie Halligan – Attorney
    William (Bill) Brown – Vet (ran for Legislature as Dem in 1982)
    Mae Nan Ellingson – Attorney
    Bob Minto
    Janet McMillan
    Charles Tribe
    Robert Terrazas
    Daphne Herling

    You should have a better idea if these names I pulled out are correctly identified as Democrats. I tried to double check a number of them on to verify they are normally Democratic donors.

    There are at least one or two former Democratic office holders or candidates on Anderson’s full list if I am correct. Another current Democratic Missoula state senator and former Democratic county commissioner told me directly they are voting for Larry. Also, go ask John Engen his opinion of Anderson. You may be suprised.

    The comments I have directly heard go much beyond “he is a nice guy.” A lot of Democrats, especially many in the County and City offices, say he listens, respects others opinions, is very knowledgeable, brings years of valuable experience, has good ideas and, yes, even has progressive ideas.

    Many of these Democrats who support Anderson will also tell you that they absolutly don’t want Landquist in the County Commissioner’s office for a very long list of reasons.

    Check into this further and ask the people who actually work in the County offices their opinions. You will find enough supporting Anderson to make you take notice.

  2. Jim Lang

    For unknown reasons, unnamed people who may or not be Democrats absolutely don’t want Landquist?

    Gee, those are some serious charges.

  3. Nick D

    I was once doing some construction work inside then Sen. Conrad’s Burns’ office here in Missoula and overheard staffer Larry Anderson talking to a local rancher about how said rancher was having a hard time because his faulty irrigation equipment was killing native Westslope cutthroats. I remember as Mr. Anderson wondered aloud, “Would it be such a bad thing if that population ceased to exist?”

  4. I’m voting for Landquist. I see her as someone who has yet to be spoiled by county politics.

    Anderson was a political appointee. He was put there by someone who was thinking only of party interests – and he’s there to perpetuate that. That statement isn’t made up stuff – it’s fact. Barbara Evans herself explained it when it happened.

    Frankly, the whole appointment of Anderson to the BCC was a sham. And that criticism extends to everyone – not just Barbara.

    Anderson is a tool. Landquist is saying that she will protect rural interests – she’s a farmer – and that she is the only true non-partisan in the race. I believe her. We need change up there in the BCC…someone who will listen to the public and speak out instead of rubber stamping ever gosh darn thing that comes through. I mean – think of the gravel pit issue – all of them – all of them – initially bemoaned that there was nothing they could do, “leave it to the DEQ” (yeah, right!) and even when they did eventually emergency zone, they did it reluctantly. They didn’t listen to the people – who have been looking for help against rampant city-like development for years.

    If people want a commissioner that is going to listen to them, Michele Landquist is the way to go.

  5. Pronghorn

    Landquist is a county resident who doesn’t need a cabin in Seeley Lake to enhance her rural cred. Rural people need a voice and a representative on the commission. Further, I like what Landquist states is important to her–things like county-wide recycling and senior citizen housing/in-home health care around the county, for two.

  6. That’s another good point, Pronghorn – Anderson is citing his 2nd home in Seeley as his rural cred.

    Yeah – like an overwhelming number of Seeley Lake residents own two homes, yet alone in Missoula….and besides, how many county residents in Missoula own two homes here anyways?

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