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Why Bridgewater Lost

Before I proceed, I must certify that I am not qualified to even broach this subject. My qualifications are this. I have worked on one successful state-level campaign, and several other campaigns that either weren’t successful or ended before the vote. I have never been involved in party politics beyond the precinct level. My best qualification is that I have been watching Utah politics for about 7 years. And I read with great interest the posts at Utah Policy Daily on how to run a campaign. (Sorry no link, but they have started charging a subscription fee.)

Now that I have certified that I have no real expertise on how to win a campaign, I am going to prove it. Because I believe I know why Tim Bridgewater lost in the June primary.

I mean no offense to anyone on the Bridgewater campaign and I don’t wish to offend that the Lee campaign either. That’s in part why I have taken so long to post this analysis. Hopefully, a month has been long enough for most wounds to be healed. But the fact is that Bridgewater lost this race, more than Lee won it.

This is mostly evidenced by the fact that neither campaign managed to drive a lot of people to the polls. It was a terrible turn out, and that was because neither camp managed to motivate their base. Actually, let me reword that. Neither camp managed to build up a solid enough base.

While the lack of a base of supporters is part of Bridgewaters loss, it isn’t the key, because Lee failed there too. There are two keys to Birdgewater’s loss. The first is that the Bridgewater camp started to believe more in themselves, then they did in their message. The second key is that they chose to run a counter-negative campaign.

This is probably going to be very hard to explain, so I hope you will be patient with me as I lay it out. Often times on a campaign it can get easy to start believing that everything that you say and think is going to be accepted by everyone else. This doesn’t happen only in campaigns it happens in a lot of interpersonal interactions. Where you fail to communicate, because you aren’t able to express yourself to the person you are talking to it. If you are married you have probably experienced this.

The post-convention Bridgewater campaign fell into this trap. They failed to see what their campaign or message would look like to those on the outside. They thought that they needed to convince people that they were right, and not let the message do it for them. Many of the mailers came across as we are right, so you have to vote for Bridgwater. Of course that wasn’t the exact message. But it sounded like that to those not involved in the campaign.

I am not saying that they shouldn’t believe in the message (or platform) of their campaign. What they need to do is be careful at how they send that message to the public. To a certain extent the mailers and information that they sent came across wrong. People didn’t come out feeling like they were informed as much as they were coerced. The campaign was too interested in convincing people that they were right, rather than communicating what they stood for.

Let me put this another way. In order to win a campaign you want to tell people what your platform is. You don’t want to try and convince them why your platform is right. You need to let people know what you stand for. Let them convince themselves. If they are going to disagree with you, let them. They won’t vote for you know matter how much you coerce them. Let the message speak for itself.

The second reason that the Bridgewater campaign failed was the move away from being the nice guy in the race to being the attacker in the race. And this is probably more relevant than the first key.

After the convention, I was tempted to write a post predicting who would win and why. I never wrote it, because frankly, the whole Senate Campaign was starting to bore me. The essence of that post would have been that the candidate that came across as the nice guy would win. Based on that, I would have predicted that Bridgewater would win the campaign.

Unfortunately for Bridgewater, they didn’t stick with the nice guy campaign. Instead, they decided to counter attack Lee’s negative messages. Rather than coming across as the victim like the ads were intended, they came across as hypocrites. I know that many people were left scratching their heads. They wondered how to believe that Bridgewater is the better candidate when he tells them not to vote for Lee because he is running a negative campaign, and in the same mailer they throw negative jabs at Lee.

I heard from many people that this is the reason they were hesitant to vote for Bridgewater. Some of them did vote for Bridgewater, but some of them didn’t.

It has caused me to speculate why a campaign might choose to run a negative campaign. And I could only come up with one reason that I felt a negative campaign was justified. Simply put a negative campaign helps to solidify your base. However, while the Bridgewater campaign had several people leaning towards him. They wouldn’t call themselves part of his base. They were just a voter (as opposed to being a supporter). When the campaign went negative, many of these voters were forced to make the decision to become a supporter. And I think he lost a lot of those.

Again, I want to reiterate, that I do not wish to offend either the Bridgewater or the Lee campaigns. I personally think that they were both very poorly run campaigns. I wish the best to Lee for the rest of his campaign. I will most likely vote for him. But I won’t become one of his supporters in 2010.

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Round Valley Draw & Willis Creek

As I have done for the past couple of years, I took another great trip to southern Utah’s great red rock country. My friends and I again traveled to the Grant Staircase-Escalante National Monument for some fun slot canyon hikes.

Our original plan was to visit three different slot, but we were only able to visit two of them.

We first arrived at our camping spot around 10:00pm on Jun 10th. It was a great night, and one worth taking the time to explore. Actually, I just wanted to find the geocache that was located at the mouth of the first slot canyon that we were going to hike.

So we headed to the mouth of Round Valley Draw late at night. The cache was easily found, and the it was need to see how different the canyons look in the dark, than in the day time. After making our way back, we set up camp and slept for the night.

The next morning after a quick breakfast of pancakes, bacon, and eggs, we headed back to Round Valley Draw. Perhaps the best part of this hike was a couple of fun descents. We started out with an esay, 10-foot drop (approximately). Then we enjoyed a casual stroll until the next drop which was a little more technical, but was still easy (especially with the help of the rope that is available there).

After that hike it was fairly casual until we reached the exit. The exit proved to be the hardest part of this hike. It wasn’t technical, as much as it was physically exerting. But it ultimately resulted in a beautiful view back into the canyon. The hike back to the mouth of the canyon was a easy, and it provided a couple on great views of the wild flowers and a couple of hoodoos.

We finished this hike just around lunch time, so we went to Grosvenor’s Arch. This was great for me, because it also features a great Earth Cache to find. We had decided earlier that this would be a good place for lunch. We didn’t realized that there were actually picnic tables and a rest room there, so it provided us with more of a reprieve than we had planned.

While we ate lunch, we were entertained by a Wester Scrub-jay who had perfected the art of performing for food. If I had been in downtown Salt Lake, I would have expected him to be playing a musical instrument with a hat on the ground asking for tips.

the weather started to turn a bit, and we started to wonder if we should be in slot canyons at this point. So, we went to Kodakrome Basin State Park Visitor Center and asked them for a weather report. Things weren’t positive.

However, we were determined and we wanted to see what things would be like. So, we headed to the Willis Creek trail head. The weather started to look a little better, and I was determined to get the two geocaches located in the this slot canyon. So, we unwisely pursued our goals.

The canyon was very beautiful, and in my opinion (most of our group disagreed with me) was the best part of our weekend. I loved having the creek flowing by as we walked, and I thought that the lines and formations (including arch near our turn around point) were better than what Round Valley Draw had to offer.

Just as we were approaching the second geocache available in this canyon, the weather really started to turn nasty. Our group was determined that we should turn back. But I encourage them to go another few hundred feet for the cache and they agreed. When we not near the coords and as the weather got worse, I decided that the cache was going to require more work than the time we had could offer. So, we turned around.

We made it out of the canyon just fine. But the weather really wasn’t acting friendly. We decided that before we took the next trip the next morning we should at least see what we are up against. So, we headed down the road from Willis Creek to Bull Valley Gorge. We managed to see the truck that has become a part of the landscape, and to get a little picture of what the canyon would require.

The whole time we had in the back of our minds that there was a good chance that we would not be making this hike. On our way out of the area, the rain really started to poor. And we were thinking that it might be in our best interest to get a motel for the night. But instead we headed to a local joint, and had a burger for dinner.

Just about the time we finish dinner the rain subsided a bit, and we decided to go find a place to camp. We found beautiful site where we set up camp, started a fire, shot off a few round from a 9mm hand gun, then went to sleep.

It rained most of the night and by morning we had decided that it wouldn’t be safe to attempt bull Valley Gorge. Which was too bad, because it was probably going to be the most fun part of our weekend. However, safety must play out when it comes to slot canyons and rain.

So, we grabbed a bite to eat at Ruby’s near Bryce Canyon, then headed home. It wasn’t until I got home that I realized that I left my camera at the trail head register for Willis Creek. So, I made a few phone calls, and the great men and women from Kodachrome Basin and Grand Staircase-Escalante worked with me and managed to get my camera back to me. Big pat on the back to them, and the honest citizen who turned my camera in.

Despite the bad weather and the lost camera, it was a great trip, and I look forward to my trip next year. Hope you enjoy the pictures and my retelling of the story as much as I enjoyed the adventure.

Round Valley Draw Entrance

Round Valley Draw Entrance

Round Valley Draw as It Opens Up

Round Valley Draw as It Opens Up

Flower On the Exit from Round Valley Draw

Flower On the Exit from Round Valley Draw

Top of Exit Looking Back at Round Valley Draw

Top of Exit Looking Back at Round Valley Draw

Hoodoos Near Round Valley Draw

Hoodoos Near Round Valley Draw

Grosvenor Arch

Grosvenor Arch

Western Scrub-jay Who Entertained Us at Lunch

Western Scrub-jay Who Entertained Us at Lunch

Willis Creek

Willis Creek

Unnamed Arch Inside Willis Creek

Unnamed Arch Inside Willis Creek

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I Was Wrong

This is an apology post. Because I was wrong about today’s convention.

First, I was wrong about my live blogging. When I got there, they were charging for Wi-Fi access, and when I plugged in my Wireless Access Card, I had already exceeded my monthly allotment. Frankly, I am too cheap to pay.

Second, I was wrong with my prediction. I predicted that the race would be near 50-50 for Lee and Bridgewater. To some friends I said that it would probably be 51 for Lee and 49 for Bridgewater. As you are well aware, it was a whopping 57% for Bridgewater, and a shallow 43% for Lee.

I was shocked, but having reviewed the numbers and contemplated the approach, I can see how it happened. I think many Bennett Candidates were upset with the Lee camp. So, when Bennett lost the race, they voted for Bridgewater as more of an “Any Body But Lee” vote.

Now I get a chance to vote in this race, and as you are aware, I am leaning towards Bridgewater. But things could change in the next month. And I am excited to see what Utahns have to say (at the ballot box) about these two candidates.

Finally, Thank you Senator Bennett. Your service for the past 18 years, is appreciated. You may not have voted like I would have liked you to. But you have done things for Utah. I hope you enjoy your retirement and I wish you and your family the best over the coming years.

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How I Would Vote, If I Could

Well, it looks like I am a little slow in sharing my support. It seems that State Senators, fellow bloggers, and Radio Commentators have all already made their picks known. And I have shared my opinion with only a few friends and my wife.

So, I guess it is time to let you all know how I would vote if I could. Unfortunately I was not elected as a delegate in my precinct this year for a number of reasons, but I am happy with at least one of those who was elected. The other delegate hasn’t shared her opinion, so I don’t know where I stand with her.

You may have notice that I haven’t used the word support. The favored candidate that I am about to tell you doesn’t mean that I support him as much as it shows that I would prefer him to the other candidates. Too be honest with you there aren’t any that I feel I can support. Each of them have great qualities (even Senator Bennett), but none of them speak to me as the best person for the job.

So, after all that rather long preamble, let me share how I would vote. After looking at all of the candidates. and reviewing their history and their track record, I would most likely vote for Tim Bridgewater. I would say that he has earned about 49% of my vote. I don’t say 50% or more just to make it clear that he hasn’t earned my support, just my vote.

My second choice would be Cherilyn Eagar. She would make a great second and she probably deserves more than the 31% earned vote that I am giving her. But, I had to do that in order to treat the other candidates more accurately.

My third choice, and to be completely honest with you is Mile Lee. He just hasn’t impressed me. I really wanted to like him, but I think that he is just another Washington D.C. crony who will go back to D.C. and do what they want him to do and not do what us Utahns have elected him to do.

For more on my reasoning for voting for these candidates, I feel my past posts on their candidacy might help to explain why. I will let you use those as guides.

I am still predicting a primary between Bridgewater and Lee. I suspect that the final will be closer to 50-50 than anyone has guessed.

I will try to live blog the event, but things may prevent me from doing so. If you are at the convention, I would love to talk with you. You can locate me by looking for the only guy who will be wearing an autographed White “Mark Shurtleff for Senate” ball cap. Please don’t construe that as my support for him. I just think that it will be a nice talking piece.

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Thoughts on the Delegate System in Utah

My favorite whipping boy is at it again. Dan Jones and the Deseret News published misleading poll results again. You would think that they would learn from their mistakes, but since I am the only one calling them to the table, why bother, right?

In their latest poll findings, the Deseret News reports that Utahns don’t like that a candidate can be eliminated in the convention. However, again we must ask ourselves, “What was the exact question?”

And as with all polls that seem to have a problem, we see that the question is a little long winded. Brace yourself for this one; it gets a little long. I don’t know how the telephone surveyor managed to get it out without laughing or gagging. Here it is:

In both the Utah Republican and Democratic parties there are rules that say if delegates give any candidate 60 percent of the vote at the county or state convention, he or she wins the nomination outright and there is no primary. This means that candidates with high public approval, including incumbents, may not receive enough delegate votes at the convention to move on to a primary election where all registered voters can vote. Do you approve or disapprove of this nominating rule at the convention?

Whew! I will let you take a break. Here is the graphic that is posted with the article.

Biased Poll

Okay, we could focus on the fact that when calculating the margin of error this number could easily fall near about 50% which means that Utahns are really undecided on the issue.

But I would like to focus on the biased question. First, let’s look at changing the text a little. What if the Deseret News were to ask this:

In both the Utah Republican and Democratic parties there are rules that say if delegates give any candidate 60 percent of the vote at the county or state convention, he or she wins the nomination outright and there is no primary. This means that non-incumbant candidates have a greater chance at replacing an incumbent who has low public approval. Do you approve or disapprove of this nominating rule at the convention?

If this question were asked, I am sure that the numbers would be nearly reversed. And let me use another poll question from the same Deseret News article to support my argument. The Deseret News also published this survey results.

Another Poll

Isn’t it interesting the disconnect here. Almost the reverse, of the original question was shown. We go from 58% disapproving of the current delegate system to 56% approving the current delegate system. They only reason I can account for the difference is the bias found in both question.

In order for this question to have been unbiased all that needed to be done was remove the second sentence. Sure it would have still been long, but the bias would have been removed. Here is what the question should have been:

In both the Utah Republican and Democratic parties there are rules that say if delegates give any candidate 60 percent of the vote at the county or state convention, he or she wins the nomination outright and there is no primary. Do you approve or disapprove of this nominating rule at the convention?

If they had asked this question, then we would have had a better representation of what Utahns think. My person opinion is that it is a solid “I’m not sure.” I think that many Utahns are torn on the whole delegate system.

One example of this devision can be seen by reading the comments from my previous post. One commenter says that he will vote for who ever has the most votes, simply to try and avoid a primary. His argument is to try and save the candidate some money for election in November.

The other person claims that she will try to force a primary, because she wants the people to decide. They are both good arguments.

However, I feel that both of these are wrong. Don’t vote in a way that would manipulate the system. The system is there to try and work. If we manipulate it, then we will hurt the system.

The delegates should do one and only one thing. They should vote for the person they believe will do the best job. If that person doesn’t make it to the next round, then vote for your second pick, and stick with your candidate as long as you can.

Is the Caucus/delegate system bad? No. Is it flawed? Yes. What can be done to fix it? It’s simple, get more people involve. Okay, the answer is simple, but a lot of effort will be needed to get it done, and I think that 2010 has proven that a lot of people are interested in getting involved.

I say keep the caucus system. It has served Utah well. And I think it provides the best way for us to have informed voters who chose our representatives.

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Sometimes Second Isn’t the First Loser

I was asked by one of my readers (and a gentleman whom I had the privelege of serendipitously meeting this week) about the Republican State Convention voting system, and how I feel it will play out. The exact questions were: “So have you thought about the mechanics of the voting? Would there be a strategy to go with one canidate over another?”

And my thoughts are summed up in the title of this post. This is one place where second could actually lead to being first. Let me explain.

Start by Looking at the Polls
There are several recent polls. I will focus on those from the two big news papers in Utah, but I could use several others. Here are the graphics for each poll:

From the Deseret News.

From the Salt Lake Tribune

It would be an interesting discussion (at least for me) to discuss the disparity between these polls, and one that Bennett comments on where he comes in first. But I won’t bore you with statistical analysis in this post.

However, because I believe that Dan Jones is politically biased, and that his polls have a tendency to reflect his political slant, I will use the Salt Lake Tribune/Mason-Dixon Poll for analysis. Besides that, I think it better reflects my own opinion on what is going on out there.

What to Focus On
When people talk about the polls, the first number that many people focus on is the 37% in favor of Mike Lee. And while that is an interesting number I believe as does Bob Lonsberry, that it is interesting for a different reason than the Lee campaign would have you think. This shows that Lee hasn’t managed to woo the delegates, like Chaffetz did. However, in Lee’s favor he has to compete with a lot better competitors than Chaffetz did two years ago. But I am getting off topic.

The number that we should be focused on. At least the number that most of the candidates are focused on is the 15% who are not sure. First of all there is a certain percentage of that 15% who are sure, but they have refused to give an answer. I would guess that 5% of the total polled are that way. And the that 10% of the total polled are actually not sure. If I am wrong, I would say that more have actually made a decision than have not.

I have friends in all three of the major non-Bennett campaigns. I would guess from what I know, that those who support Lee are very willing to share their support for Lee, and would gladly answer this question of a pollster. However, those in the Eagar and Bridgewater camp, are more likely to withhold their commitment. While the reasons may vary as to the motivations, I think that they would be primarily motivated by the fact that they want to keep things interesting. They are probably a little like me and want to keep the main stream media in the dark for as long as they can.

With that in mind, let’s split the “not sure” votes like this (6% for Eagar, 6% for Bridgewater, and 3% for Lee), that changes the poll numbers to Lee at 40%, Bridgewater at 26%, and Eagar at 17%, with Bennet maintaining his 16%.

The Importance of Being Second
Now lets look at how the voting process will play out. To be completely honest, while I am familiar with the process, I don’t know what the exact rules are. But I am going to play out the scenario that would make it the most interesting.

The first vote would result is something vary similar to one of the two polls shown above. Then those who didn’t garner enough votes would be eliminated. In the past, this has resulted in the top three. If that’s the case, then Bennett may or may not be eliminated. However, either way, you would have either Eagar’s voters making their second choice or Bennett’s making their second choice.

This is where being second will help a candidate. This is where I can’t really comment any more. However, according to the Salt Lake Tribune Poll article, “Based on the delegates’ second choices, . . . Lee likely would prevail in a head-to-head convention contest against Bridgewater — 44 percent to 30 percent.”

However, this doesn’t take into account my belief that many of the undecided vote is actually decided in favor of Bridgewater and Eagar. While when it comes to seconds more are undecided than not. I think that the final outcome will be closer than is reflected here. I still think that it will result in a Bridgewater vs. Lee primary, but I think that the vote will be split closer to 50-50 (probably favoring Lee). And I do believe that Bennett and Eagar will both be out fairly early.

Concluding Thoughts
This is what makes politics so exciting. For me this is like watching the Utah Jazz in the play-offs (they are in the play-offs, right? At least that’s what I have been hearing around the water cooler at work). While many have made their predictions, no one really knows for sure.

That blasted 15% of “not sure” delegates are trying to throw us off, and it’s working. Thanks guys, I honestly think you are great. You are making it fun.

I will be at the State Convention. I won’t be a delegate, but I hope to watch the fun play out. I am also looking at possibly live blogging the event. But that depends on several things, so check in, but don’t be disappointed if I don’t show up.

Let’s be honest in the below poll. Don’t vote for the same person you voted for in the above poll. Let’s have some integrity in this race.

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Utah’s Online Tea Party

I woke up this morning and saw a few of my Facebook Friends who were heading to the Tea Party. I was envious. Then as I drove to Work, Bob Lonsberry was calling his program the Tea Part on Air. Realizing that there were a lot of you who may be like me. You may wish you could go to a Tea Party Event, but often find yourself having to care for your family (either by being at home or working a job). Well, now is your chance to participate.

After you read my rants, take a minute to share your Tea Party ideas in a comment below. As is one of the themes of the Tea Party. Your voice is the one that matters. So, here you will not have to listen to a bunch of politicos. Instead you get to hear your voice and the voice of your neighbors. So, please join my online Tea Party.

Now for my rant.

When I first heard of the Tea Party movement, one of the things that struck me was the elite’s response. They treated the Tea Party movement as a fly-by-night bunch of know nothings. They couldn’t be bothered by it.

It struck me as that was the same reaction that England had when the Colonialist started to rebel. They didn’t think that such a movement could have a place in their empire. They ignored it, and hoped it would go away.

Well, just like history has shown, when the cause it right, it doesn’t go away. The Tea Party has grown and the greatest part about it is that it is a truly grassroots organization.

We are over taxes. We need to do something to change that. We need to get rid of the tax and spend Democrats. We need to get rid of the tax and spend Republicans. All congresspersons need to know that if they want my vote, they will stop taking my money and giving it to their special interests.

It is time for real change. Time to make congress a representation of the people and not of special interests. This isn’t going to be done through some amendment to the constitutions, or some fancy campaign finance law.

This is going to be done at the ballot box. And the Tea Party is helping to raise awareness of this.

Enough of my rants. Please share your ideas below.

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Jordan District Proves Their Unwillingness to Help Students

This morning the Deseret News reported that the Jordan School district has rejected a deal that could help them save a lot of money, and keep them from raising taxes again on the Citizens on the South West Side of Salt Lake County. While they claim its for the best. Let’s look what what the real reasons are.

First, let’s look at why the Jordan School District Board refused to accept the offer from American Preparatory Academy (APA). They claim, “It makes no sense to build another school in an area where the population is declining,” said Steve Dunham, district spokesman. “And while, yes, we could build it where we might need a building, their charter is still designed to target a specific demographic.”

However, the offer was to build the school wherever the District felt that the growth was needed. While talk is that they would charter the school out of the abandoned building on 104th South and 1300 West. That wasn’t a part of the initial offer.

So, let’s take a look at the real reason the Jordan School has refused the offer. The first, and perhaps the most revealing, reason is the close connection that the Jordan School District has with the Utah Education Association (UEA). If you have watch the actions of the Jordan School District it has almost always been at the bidding of the UEA.

If they grant APA the right to open a school in their district, then that means less jobs for the UEA. That means that the UEA will make that much less money. This isn’t about best serving the citizens of the south west valley. It is about serving the UEA.

The second reason is the fear that APA will do better than they have done. Consistently, Charter schools have out performed of the public schools. This is pretty much regardless of location and the general make up of the student. This success is also done with a lower per pupil spending than the public schools.

If the APA succeeds in a new school, then it will show that the Jordan School District is failing. It will show that the Charter School system works. The Jordan School District doesn’t want to admit that. And the UEA doesn’t want that to be proven.

If the School District and the UEA believed that Charter Schools were bad, then they could use this as a chance to prove it. However, they won’t, because Charter Schools have been a success, and that make the competition too great for the Jordan School District.

The worst part of this is not that the School District won’t embrace this idea. It’s that students are hurting. Students are suffering because of the pride of the Jordan School District Board. It isn’t about the money for me. It is about the students. And the School District doesn’t seem to understand that.

As far as I am concerned, it is time to clean up house in the Jordan School District. Many positions are up for re-election this year, and I know that I will not be voting for any incumbents, and I will be supporting at least one candidate who can and will make a difference. In encourage you to do so too.

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I Received an Email from Senator Hatch Today

As I was looking trough my emails, I clicked on this one from Senator Hatch with the intent of deleting it. Then something caught my eye. This email was blocked by my scam filter….

Email from Orrin Hatch labeled as a scam

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The Poll Gone Wrong

It’s probably a little late to be posting this. But, I have been needing some more personal time lately, and so I took it.

However, I wanted to address the problem that happened with the poll about two weeks ago. If you don’t know the story follow the comment stream on the post Meeting the Candidates.

The Breakdown
Essentially, it appears that some one set up their computer with a macro to keep logging for Tim Bridgewater (or they have no life and they just kept refreshing and voting). At first, I was very impressed with the new hits that I was getting. I was also very impressed with what appeared to be a great grass roots campaign by the various Senate candidates.

I had impressed myself thinking that my poll was giving Al Gore style hockey stick with my statistics. I was so impressed with it, I had planned on doing a little bragging on my blog. However, the truth had yet to be realized.

What a Poll Can Do...

Fortunately, one of our readers called me to the table and awakened my eyes to the fact that someone must be hacking the poll. After a short bout with denial, and recalling that I could see some information about my visitors, I did a quick check.

It appears that someone was using an IP blocker (that routes them through a Russian IP address) to try and manipulate the poll. This is obviously, someone who knows what she is doing. This isn’t just some rank amateur who thought it might be fun to mess with a poll. However, that’s about as far as I am going to go in stating what I know about this hacker.

Who’s to Blame?

I would love to trace this back further than the IP Blocker. I would love to find out a way to associate all the votes made by the hacker and delete them. Unforetunately, I can’t do that. Mainly, because I am not willing to spend the money that it would require. I would also love to go further and get past the IP blocker and find out who it really was, but I am pretty sure that on the military could probably do that. So, I am not going to go that far.

Some have spoken with me (online and offline) trying to blame the Bridgewater campaign for the infraction. And on the surface, they would probably be right. However, because I can’t do any more research than I already have we should be careful about laying blame.

This hacker could be any of the three people, as far as I can tell. First, it could simply be someone who is unaffiliated with any group, who is just trying to have some fun. And I was stupid enough to provide her the opportunity. Second, it could be from any one of the varying campaigns acting with authority, and they are trying to make their candidate look good. Third, it could be from any one of the varying campaigns acting without authority and they are trying to make their candidate look good.

You’ll notice that I didn’t specify which candidate in the last two options. That’s because it is possible that this could be a non-Bridgewater campaigner who is trying to make Bridgewater look bad, but hacking the poll and giving him a bad name. It could also be a Bridgewater campaigner who is doing it. While, I leave it open for the possibility that this person is authorized. I am fairly sure that no matter which candidate they support, that this person is NOT authorized by any campaign. I would guess that they are acting independent.

My point here is to say, that anyone who is quick to blame any camp for this, is wrong. Unless they have irrefutable evidence, we would be wrong to assume that there is something nefarious going on by any of the candidates.

So, who is to blame. I am.

I am to blame because I didn’t secure the poll like I should have done at the beginning. I tried to make amends by restarting the poll with the needed security. But that is only a small token of an apology. I am posting this as an apology as well, and I have learned my lesson well. When it get’s closer to the convention, I will make my final extension of an olive branch and start a new online poll. I wish that I could do more, but that is all that I am capable of.

So, What Did We Learn?

Beside that fact that I should have secured my pool, we can learn a few things from this experience.

First, I learned that when it comes to campaigns’ there is a grass root effort that can boost my visitors. And the many grass root supporters are very strong supporters for their candidates. And this can skyrocket (or hockey stick) a website’s visits.

Second, online polls (I don’t care who is running them) are pointless. Anyone who chooses their candidate based on an online poll is making and egregious error. They shouldn’t rely on anything as feeble as an online poll to sway them. Study the candidates. Talk to them. Evaluate the differences, and then make your decision.

Why Polls?

You might be wondering if I don’t think online polls are accurate assessments of people’s opinions, then why do I run them. The answer is two-fold.

The most important reason I run them is that it brings people back to my site. If I am clever enough to run an online poll that interests people, they will come back to see the results. This return will hopefully, get them more interested in the other content that I write, and encourage them to participate in the conversation.

The other reason, is that it does give me a small taste of what interests my readers. At best, the polls that I run here only tell me what my readers are interested in. It doesn’t tell me about what Utahns are interested in, or what national or world opinion is. It simply reflects (at it’s best) what my readers are thinking. This can help me to know what to write about.

One other minor reason that I post polls, is because they are fun. And they shouldn’t be seen as much more than that.

Conclusion

It was a wild ride. I enjoyed reading everyone’s comments. It help me to inform my opinion of the candidates. I hope that it helped others too.

If I hadn’t have run the poll I never would have gotten the response that I did. I wouldn’t have heard from so many people on the subject of these candidates. I would do it again (and I will), but next time I will play it safer.

I don’t put much stock in either of these polls, either the before or the after. But it does give me an idea as to which of the candidates has the strongest grass roots campaign. Now it is up to those candidates to influence the delegates to get elected.

I look forward to the rest of the race. I will be attending the May 8th convention, even though I am not a state delegate. I look forward to the turn out.

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