And here's cold water on Hoffman's hot streak: From Nate Silver:
Certainly, it would seem to help Hoffman if Scozzafava decided to endorse him -- but only 15 percent of Scozzafava's voters had a favorable view of Hoffman, so they aren't going to come over easily, if at all.More here.
The number that sticks out for me is that the undecided vote has consistently hoovered around 20%. That seems odd for all the attention that the campaign has gotten. One would imagine that voters would have made up their minds by now, but that doesn't seem to be the case for a lot of them.
One of the reasons for this could be that Hoffman doesn't seem to be lighting the world on fire:
He showed up for just one debate, citing scheduling conflicts on other occasions. In an interview with the editorial board of my old employer, the Watertown Daily Times, Hoffman was asked about a new super-highway that had been proposed years ago for the district but needs federal funding. No opinion. Where did he stand on the controversial idea of dredging the St. Lawrence River, which forms the district's border with Canada? No comment. A subsequent editorial in the Daily Times described Hoffman as "flustered and ill at ease" and said he "showed no grasp of the bread-and-butter issues pertinent to district residents." It didn't help that Hoffman brought along former House majority leader (and staunch conservative) Dick Armey with him to the editorial board meeting — Armey called the local issues "parochial" and said the editorial board ambushed his candidate. Hoffman also says he opposes pork-barrel spending, the kind of federal cash infusions a rural, economically depressed, military-heavy area like the North Country depends on.Right now it's all Hoffman's game to lose and chances are he won't, just don't be surprised if he actually does.
MORE: Interesting... I'm not inclined to believe that newspaper endorsements influence people, but they can serve as an interesting gauge of how well candidates are able to make their sales pitches. Apparently the Hoffman/Watertown Daily Times interview went as poorly as described above:
Mr. Hoffman is running as an ideologue. If he carries out his pledges on earmarks, taxation, labor law reform and other inflexible positions, Northern New York will suffer. This rural district depends on the federal government for an investment in Fort Drum and its soldiers, environmental protection of our international waterway and the Adirondack Park, and the livelihood of all our dairy farmers across the district, among other support. Our representative cannot be locked into rigid promises and policies that would jeopardize these critical sectors of our economy.
It is frightening that Mr. Hoffman is so beholden to right-wing ideologues who dismiss Northern New Yorkers as parochial when people here simply want to know how Mr. Hoffman will protect their interests in Washington.
MORE STILL: Jesus, this is just too weird...
EVEN MORE: See what I mean?