One would have thought that after touting a bogus poll back in February and ending up with egg all over their faces after being taken to task for it, that Lee Bright and his crew would have learned a tough lesson. But not so much it seems…
Yet again Lee Bright, one of Senator Lindsey Graham’s GOP primary challengers is touting a new poll which puts him at 18.9%, Graham at 48%, and as the official poll memorandum puts it, all of the other (5) challengers polling in “the lower single digits.”
Who can blame a candidate and his supporters for touting a favorable poll? No one can. Any candidate and campaign would plaster it everywhere just as the Bright camp has done. So what’s the issue? The issue is that this is the second time that Bright has plastered around a poll showing basically the same results; polls which he does not disclose were bought and paid for by his campaign.
In life, especially in politics, it is very true that you get what you pay for, and that is exactly what Lee Bright has done now twice. The two polls were conducted by Wenzel Strategies, and both polls place Bright polling at about double what all independent scientific polls have shown during the same periods. No one with any credibility takes a poll paid for by any campaign seriously. But the problem is that Bright’s polls are being sent out statewide and nationally without any disclosure of who paid for them. And the fact is that most people simply hear that a new poll shows a certain result and never question the source or context of the poll.
So by the very nature of a poll being paid for by a campaign, we know these two polls are bogus and inaccurate. But let’s consider the other damming facts that add to the illegitimacy of Bright’s polls.
Both of Bright’s Wenzel polls of course place Bright at about twice the numbers of any independent polls as cited above. But what’s also telling is that both polls place Graham well ahead of what Graham is polling in all other polls. That is smart on the part of Bright’s campaign so as to not draw the scrutiny of the Graham camp.
Another telling factor is that the numbers for the other challengers are not listed, just that they are all in the lower single digits. Still another telling bit is the context of the editorializing in the Wenzel poll memorandum which can be viewed in full via this link. The memorandum begins with “The Wenzel Strategies survey of likely GOP primary election voters shows incumbent Republican Senator Lindsey Graham below the 50 percent threshold needed to win the party’s nomination outright, and that state Senator Lee Bright is the only serious competitor, winning nearly 20% support.” No legitimate unbiased poll editorializes in such an obvious partisan manner as to say a given candidate “is the only serious competitor.” No legitimate poll completely ignores all other candidates, not even mentioning their names or poll results.
But perhaps the most telling fact of the nature of Bright’s polls is the fact that they are conducted by Wenzel Strategies. Fritz Wenzel is an Obama “birther” who has a long record of skewing polls to favor so-called “liberty” candidates such as, and especially Ron Paul. Wenzel is known for doing interviews with the likes of Alex Jones where Wenzel cites his polling to predict big wins for Ron Paul despite all other polls showing opposite results, and despite being proven wrong in every single instance of Paul losing each and every state contrary to Wenzel’s predictions. In fact, Ron Paul liked the results provided by Wenzel so much that he actually hired Wenzel to be his official campaign pollster during his 2012 presidential campaign.
Wenzel and his Wenzel Strategies group are in no way an unbiased scientific polling group. They are a front to provide skewed poll results favoring the highest bidding liberty candidate. Just read what Fritz Wenzel had to say about Ron Paul upon Paul’s hiring of him – “I am very proud and excited to be a part of the Ron Paul presidential team. He has long stood strong for the core principles that have made our country great, and have made the Republican Party great when they heeded them. What makes Ron Paul such a strong candidate is his willingness to stand on principle, which has attracted more people to his message, to the point that the other candidates are now taking up his issues. At a time when our country is in great peril, voters are looking for a candidate who will turn to and rely on the wisdom of the Constitution, and there is no better student of that document than Ron Paul.” Despite the wishful thinking of Fritz Wenzel and his comrades in the Ron Paul liberty “revolution”, Paul failed to win a single state over the course of running for president three times. You could likely get a more accurate and unbiased poll about gay marriage conducted moveon.org than you could get an unbiased and accurate poll concerning a liberty candidate from Fritz Wenzel.
It makes a great deal of sense that Lee Bright would naturally hire Wenzel, since Bright himself endorsed Ron Paul for president in 2012, and since Bright’s major base of his support is the Ron Paul “liberty” crowd. Birds of a feather as they say…
But anyone who takes seriously polls that are bought and paid for by any candidate, polls conducted by someone known to provide skewed polls to Ron Paul and the liberty and the crowd, polls conducted by someone who is a regular figure in Alex Jones interviews, polls which show double the numbers for the candidate paying for the polls than any independent polls show for that candidate……..anyone taking such polls seriously is deluding themselves.
But let’s not just pick on Lee Bright here, in fairness Lindsey Graham released his own bogus bought and paid for poll back in February the very same day Bright released his first. Graham’s poll showed himself at 53% when all other polls showed him in the high thirties to mid forties. And again, in politics, especially political polls you get what you pay for whether your name is Lee Bright, Lindsey Graham, or Ronald McDonald.
Lee Bright’s strategy so far it seems has been a big fish in a little pond approach. Bright has tried like the hare did in the race between the tortoise and the hare, to run out in front of the pack and stay there, all the while taunting at the other challengers and touting his own speed. The Bright campaign seems to think that by bombarding voters with mass emails and social media propaganda based on bogus polling, that they can manage to keep all the other challengers suppressed, and therefore assuring Bright becomes the runoff contender against Graham.
Such an approach may serve Bright well, at least for the time being. It certainly has had an effect on how a good many voters seem to view the race. I guess Lee Bright has been in politics long enough to have become jaded by the process. Win by any means necessary. The ends justify the means, even if by dishonest means which hurt good people in the process. Bright seems to think it ok to attempt to undermine all the other challengers who are running the race of the tortoise, slower perhaps, but steady and paced nonetheless, all while focusing on defeating Lindsey Graham and not each other. All while running on their own merits. Not buying polls fixed to their desired results.
Lee Bright has a pretty good voting record as a State Senator and has a solid libertarian base of support, as well as actually doing fairly well in most of the legitimate polls. Those are things he can and should legitimately tout. But touting things that are completely bogus, and intentionally misleading voters based on them only hurts the other Graham challengers and ultimately serves to help Lindsey Graham’s reelection bid. That is very unfortunate because it is a must that Graham be taken out in this primary and replaced by a conservative.
But Lee is not the sole culprit here. His supporters and those in his campaign bear equal guilt of engaging in dirty politics and flat out being blatantly misleading and dishonest. It’s incredibly disappointing to see a lot of good people who are well aware of what is going on stand idly by and say nothing, and in many cases perpetuate the lies.
Lindsey Graham should give Lee Bright and many of Bright’s supporters a call thanking them for the help. And Lee Bright and his posse should call Richard Cash, Bill Connor, Nancy Mace, Det Bowers, Benjamin Dunn, and every SCGOP primary voter and apologize to them. I’m not holding my breath for the latter to happen…
Posted by Javan Browder