A final note on internal campaign polling from Benjamin Hodge

Click here to read the original Email in a Web-friendly page.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

View final internal favorable/unfavorable numbers for several local politicians

Note to supporters: We are very pleased with these campaign favorability numbers, when compared to other candidates.  Particularly when considering how many county-wide mailings were purchased by our opponents.


Scroll down if you want to see a list of “favorable” and “unfavorable” numbers for a bunch of politicians.  First, I’d like to share a few more thoughts on April elections in Johnson County.

The fantastic news is that with the “New Media” — namely, the Internet — it’s easier than ever for political campaigns to communicate factual information to voters.  In high-turnout November elections, the leftist newspapers don’t matter as much, and it’s harder than ever for big-money liberal candidates to “buy votes” through endless mail-based campaigns.  But… it’s still a little bit like “Back to the Future” and the year 1985, when it comes to April elections.

April voters are not November voters.

9.71% of voters participated in Tuesday’s Johnson County election.  That’s compared to 50% in the November 2010 election, and 75% in the November 2008 election.  71% of April voters are over the age of 50.  They are wealthier, and they “like” taxes a little more than November voters.  And so, so many of the voters in low-turnout are government employees (based on percentage), and it’s not in their financial interest to vote for fiscally conservative candidates, who will trim the fat from government budgets. Importantly, a “county-wide election” is not a “county-wide election.”  Take a look at these numbers below, which demonstrate the percentage of April votes that come from the six county commission districts (pictured at right).

In a November election, each district would produce about 17% of the voters.  But in April, the north-east section of the county makes up a huge portion of the vote.  This partially has to do with age, level of education, income, and whether an area is incorporated (with cities).

Commission district  Percent

  • 1   27.7%
  • 2   20.1%
  • 3   8.7%
  • 4   13.8%
  • 5   14.1%
  • 6   15.5%

The above data demonstrates yet another reason why we need to move JCCC elections both to districts and to November elections. Everybody — everybody — pays taxes toward Johnson County Community College. But, to be very general, what is functionally occurring is that people in Prairie Village, Leawood, and Shawnee are deciding the property tax rates of voters in Olathe, southern Overland Park, and Gardner.

Throughout the election, I was confident that I would be finishing among the top four (I needed to finish among the top three). The biggest uncertainty for my campaign was whether I would finish 2nd, 3rd, or 4th.

Interestingly, if the April election were held 4-8 weeks ago, there’s a good chance that I would have won. Why — because some of my opponents were not known just a few months ago, despite being in elected office for several years. But through expensive mailings (at a cost of $15,000 each), and through the assistance of The Kansas City Star and The Johnson County Sun (actually read by many April readers, though largely ignored these days by November voters), our campaign did lose ground.

As I mentioned in my Email yesterday, there is a lot of peace in knowing that we lost by only one place (4th out of 9 candidates) with a budget of $6,000, when my opponents raised $60,000 each, and when I missed 3rd place by 5,000 votes (I’d be kicking myself if I had lost by only 50 votes, but there wasn’t anything we could do to gain 5,000 votes, without an additional $5-$15,000 to pay for more mailings).I feel like I — after spending the last 5-6 years of my life in public — have received, more or less, a “fair shake” by the overall media (several unfair attack-type articles, combined with several fair pieces of media coverage, so that most voters have enough information to make up their minds in a fair manner).

The end result is something I’m relatively pleased with: a 45%-27% favorable/unfavorable rating. In an election with a larger turnout, or where I could personally meet most of the voters (in a smaller district), I would have been able to strongly compete. But on Tuesday, April 5, with a 9.71% voter turnout, when being out-spent 10-1, with few fiscally conservative voters participating, and with the media giving undeservedly-glowing praise to my liberal opponents, my campaign did all we could.

Some polling numbers:

I’m pleased to report that my campaign’s favorability numbers continued to improve throughout the election. My overall favorable numbers increased by 25% (from 36% to 45%), and my “very favorable” numbers increased 69% (from 16% to 27%).

Keep in mind a few things when reading the numbers below. First, “very” numbers (as compared to “somewhat”) are more significant. “Somewhat favorable/unfavorable” opinions are generally easier to shift, in a short amount of time. “Very unfavorable” numbers are bound to happen, after a politician has been in office a while. “Very favorable” numbers are difficult to create, and they’re hard to “move down” once they exist (a hit piece by The KC Star won’t cause a “very favorable” voter to immediately reconsider his/her opinion about a public figure). In general, you want the “very favorable” to end up higher than the “very unfavorable.”

Also, keep in mind the demographics of a “likely April voter”:

  • 71% over the age of 50
  • 63% Republican, 24% Democrat, 13% Independent
  • The inconsistent geographic pattern mentioned above (the make-up, considering each county commission district)
  • Due to both geography and age, more likely to be influenced by The Star and The Sun
  • 54% female, 46% male

On Wednesday, Feb. 2, a poll by my campaign showed my own favorability numbers this way:

Benjamin Hodge

  • Haven’t heard: 4%
  • No opinion: 41%
  • Very favorable: 16%
  • Somewhat favorable: 20% (total fav 36%)
  • Somewhat unfavorable: 4% (total unfav 20%)
  • Very unfavorable: 16%

On Monday, March 28, we took a poll, and I’ll share with you the numbers for some of the public figures about whom we asked:

Kevin Yoder

  • Very favorable: 38.3%
  • Somewhat favorable: 26.4%, total 64.8%
  • Somewhat unfavorable: 8.8%, total 22.9%
  • Very unfavorable: 14.1%
  • No opinion/haven’t heard: 12.3%

Greg Musil

  • Very favorable: 30.0%
  • Somewhat favorable: 23%, total 52%
  • Somewhat unfavorable: 4% total 9%
  • Very unfavorable: 4%
  • No opinion/haven’t heard: 39%

Stephanie Sharp (current JCCC Trustee, former Kansas House member)

  • Very favorable: 10%
  • Somewhat favorable: 13%, total 23%
  • Somewhat unfavorable: 4%, total 9%
  • Very unfavorable: 5%
  • No opinion/haven’t heard: 68%

Doug Wood

  • Very favorable: 11%
  • Somewhat favorable: 23%, total 34%
  • Somewhat unfavorable: 8%, total 13%
  • Very unfavorable: 5%
  • No opinion/haven’t heard: 54%

Jon Stewart

  • Very favorable: 16%
  • Somewhat favorable: 24%, total 40%
  • Somewhat unfavorable: 3% total 6%
  • Very unfavorable: 3%
  • No opinion/haven’t heard: 54%

Benjamin Hodge

  • Very favorable: 27%
  • Somewhat favorable: 17%, total 45%
  • Somewhat unfavorable: 6% total 27%
  • Very unfavorable: 22%
  • No opinion/haven’t heard: 28%

Don Weiss

  • Very favorable: 19%
  • Somewhat favorable: 19%, total 18%
  • Somewhat unfavorable: 4% total 7%
  • Very unfavorable: 3%
  • No opinion/haven’t heard: 54%

I hope you’ve found this Email of interest and encouraging.

Thank you for your time, as always.


Benjamin Hodge
Kansas Representative, 2006-’08
Trustee, Johnson County Community College, 2005-’09
Kansas Republican Party delegate, 2009-’10
Voicemail: 913-259-4236
[email protected]
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/hodge.benjamin
YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/benjaminhodgeks
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/benjaminhodge


Connect with Benjamin Hodge at FacebookTwitterLinkedInThe Kansas Progress, and LibertyLinked. Hodge is President of the State and Local Reform Group of Kansas.  He served as one of seven at-large trustees at Johnson County Community College from 2005-’09, a member of the Kansas House from 2007-’08, a delegate to the Kansas Republican Party from 2009-’10, and was founder of the Overland Park Republican Party in 2011.  His public policy record is recognized by Americans for Prosperity, the Kansas Association of Broadcasters,the Kansas Press Association, the Kansas Sunshine Coalition for Open Government, the NRAKansans for Life, and the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE).


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