Keir Murray, communication and election consultant with KLM Public Affairs, LLC, discusses the upcoming midterm election in Texas. Having spent 20+ years in strategic communications, he tells the Outlaws that, for a variety of reasons, "polling is largely broken." How can you find reliable data when you can no longer find respondents that will even answer the phone?
And while Keir thinks that targeted voter suppression is having some effect, worse still it just the constant negative campaigns being run.
"What I see from the incumbent party in Texas, Greg Abbott on down, is an onslaught of negative ads that I would say are designed to depress interest in voting. I think for their perspective, a smaller electorate that's more predictable likely favors their candidates at statewide and, and in some cases local levels."
Worse is the obsessive approach we have to seeing the campaigns as a "horse race." This comes from the media and the campaigns themselves... each counting on the fear and/or excitement of the contest rather than the substance of policy.
...Who's up, who's down, who's raising money, who's not? Who has a scandal, who doesn't, Who had the verbal gaffe, who is or isn't getting canceled? And so much of the energy and attention is devoted to what I would call superficial - the game aspects of the political process at the expense of substantive discussions on policy and the direction of the country or the direction of the state.
The latter is not sexy to talk about. It's more complicated, It's more difficult. But essentially my view is we're infantilizing the public, right? With the focus, endless focus on the superficial and the inane - it is to the detriment of our country. And we see it, it contributes to the polarization.
Keir has worked in media and government relations, public opinion, public policy and market research for a wide range of clients. He has worked on a couple of Houston mayoral races, Members of Congress, Texas Legislature, and State District Court Judges. He's consulted with non-profits, unions, and corporations ranging from major airlines to insurance companies.
He's a genuine Texan, and holds a degree from the University of Texas-Austin. And... a graduate degree from the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston.
So what does a seasoned political consultant (and sometimes pollster) predict for the Texas midterms? Is there hope for "blue staters"? Will it be Abbot or Beto? More importantly, will Keir sing "Nessun Dorma" from Turandot? Hit the "play" button and find out.