Sunday, April 29, 2018

Observations and Omissions

Scenes from the Columbia Democratic Club endorsement meeting (and beyond).

1)    Who was the Democratic state legislative candidate with the MAGA cap skulking about the parking garage?  They never made it inside the Roger Carter Community Center (thanks to S. MacCune for the eagle-eyed sighting and tip)!

2)    When I was recently called regarding a political survey, I pressed the interviewer for the name of the firm fielding the poll.  I heard it as “SSI,” which is the acronym for Survey Sampling International, which is a known brand in the survey research space. Over the years, I have retained SSI’s services to obtain listed telephone samples for various opinion research studies.  That said, I am wondering if the telephone interviewer actually said, “SSSI,” which stands for Scientific Systems and Software International.  Who runs that company?  The website shows two members of the leadership team, both with the last name of Siddiqui, one being Nayab…the husband of Dr. Janet Siddiqui, candidate for Howard County Council (4th District).  The survey itself was well-crafted, not flawless, but good enough to be of professional quality.  That is one mark in the “probably SSI” column.  However, the interviewer was not so skilled, flubbing some names (most notably the pronunciation of “Deb Jung”).  Then the Mrs. received a call, I believe later on that same day, asking if she would participate in a survey, it sounded like the same interviewer.  I would think that SSI would know that we resided in the same household, and standard political polling best practices would dictate interviewing no more than one respondent at the same address as part of the same survey.  So perhaps it wasn’t SSI.

Now, I heard reports that folks in other Council Districts were being called to participate in a survey around the same time.  Why would SSSI, if it was that firm dialing voters, be engaged in data collection outside of the 4th?  If it was them, with whom were they sharing the findings?  Granted, perhaps it was SSI and not SSSI, I suppose we shall learn soon enough by looking through campaign finance filings.

3)    One concluding item, how many Board of Education candidates showed up yesterday?  Two, perhaps three?  I heard Sabina Taj’s excellent remarks…and I saw Anita Pandey outside of the building when her name was called (there is something to be said about the immense role of luck in political campaigns).  My point is this…yes I know it is a non-partisan race.  But guess what, Tex?  In order to win, these BoE candidates can’t rely on just the votes of unaffiliated voters.  They need the votes of those who affiliate with political parties.  And there were, at any given moment, around 100 very likely voters…elected officials, community activists, all-around-influencers… all congregated in one spot…and several BoE candidates opted to not swing by and make the rounds?  In all fairness, perhaps some thought their time better spent elsewhere, say….knocking on doors on a gorgeous Saturday.  I get that.  Or, in certain cases, perhaps some deemed a Columbia Democratic Club event to be poorly aligned with their own partisan beliefs/inclinations.  So, the questions should be asked: who wasn’t in the room and why? 

In solidarity.


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