is known as “the social issue,” basically a camouflaged appeal to voters’ fears. Blending subtle themes of racism, coded as “welfare,” and radicalism, coded in this case as “McGovernism,” the social issue campaign seeks to arouse conservative voters by making them feel threatened. First described by two liberal Democrats, Richard Scammon and Ben Wattenberg in their book The Real Majority, the social issue campaign has had only limited success in local elections throughout the United States. But even where unsuccessful, it may have long-term effects of polarizing the electorate and raising community hostilities. As Danny Parrish, one of Angly’s political consultants, admitted, the whole point was to get out the Wallace vote. Angly’s media campaign began with a sharp attack on Doggett’s support for Senator George McGovern in the 1972 Presidential Election. Coupled with this was an attack on. Doggett as a “lobbyist,” without mentioning that his clients were the members of the Texas Consumer Association. A week after Angly’s media campaign started, we polled to determine its effectiveness. Even though appeals to the far right have generally failed in Central Texas, leaders of the Doggett campaign were worried that such a divisive tactic could polarize the electorate and so disgust the moderates that they would not turn out. ANGLY WAS USING saturation media, and over 70 percent of the people we polled had seen or heard it. Of those, 60 percent did not like it. Forty percent of Angly’s own supporters disliked it, along with 60 percent of the Cavness voters. Only 11 percent of those who had seen Angly’s media said that they were more likely to vote for him because of it. Even with this overwhelmingly negative response, however, Angly’s support had risen dramatically. Thus, the effects of the media barrage were not clear. One possibility was that a negative media campaign could be used to motivate his voters and conservative Democrats, and that a poSitive, issue-oriented followup barrage could mute the negative effects of the initial attack. It was possible that Angly’s negative media campaign was also intended to provoke a sharp ideological response from Doggett and tarnish his image as a clean campaigner. In this August 1 poll, we also tested the likely effects of endorsements by various other public figures. We found that Senator Charles Herring’s recommendation as to who should take his seat would have the strongest effect, even as compared to endorsements by Governor Briscoe or John Connally. Actually, each endorsement brings with it both positive and negative effects, but the overall result of the many endorsements which Doggett received was 4 The Texas Observer to unify the Democratic Party behind him, a not inconsiderable factor in Texas. Overall, the early August results were not encouraging. What many had thought would be a simple runoff campaign had the distinct possibility of becoming a narrow defeat. It appeared that Angly’s use of the welfare issue was scoring and that the lobbyist issue might have told heavily. Furthermore, the welfare issue was so potentially explosive that it was impossible to make a reasonable and responsible answer in a short period of time. However, our later polls showed that Angly’s attack on removing the welfare ceiling from the Constitution focused on the least emotional aspect of the overall welfare issue. In fact, a slight plurality of voters felt that the ceiling should be removed. On the other hand 77 percent of Cavness voters, 80 percent of Angly voters and 30 percent of Doggett voters agreed with the statement that “the government spends too much money paying welfare to a lot of people who don’t really deserve it.” It seemed that Angly had hit a strong issue with a cracked bat. OUR FINAL POLL, taken just two days before the election, showed Doggett leading with 47 percent of the vote to 34 percent for Angly. Allocating the 19 percent undecided on the basis of issues which discriminated between Doggett and Angly voters, we predicted that Doggett would receive around 56 percent of the vote. This last sample was felt to be the best we had drawn so far, although it had the usual problems regarding undersampling of minority groups and students, so we felt confident that Doggett would not drop below about 55 percent. The final tally showed Doggett elected with 58.24 of the vote. On the Friday before the election, Angly announced the results of his own poll, which he claimed showed him winning over Doggett with 51.5 percent of the vote. While his base data was not totally inconsistent with our own, his poller’s method of allocating the undecided vote was quite different from our own, which may account for his poor results. As a result of Angly’s announcement, we realized there were problems which we had not explored. Would there be, as Angly had claimed, a large influx of voters in the runoff who had not voted in the July 17 election? And if there were, who would benefit? Was Doggett losing support? To answer these questions, we hurriedly and intensively sampled selected precincts in which Angly and Cavness had strong support. We did, in fact, find greater interest in the runoff than in the first election, but there appeared to be no significant shift to Angly and we concluded that a large turnout would not affect the result of the election. Analyzing the overall results of these polls, we can form a fairly clear picture of the differences between those who voted for Doggett and those who voted for Angly. We found that Angly supporters were not as concerned as Doggett supporters about everyday pocketbook issues such as food prices and property taxes. This was not unexpected, and suggests an income bias in Angly’s support. Consumer issues were important to both groups, but more important to Doggett supporters; generally the voters are quite pessimistic about the future of the economy, again with Doggett voters more strongly concerned. Perhaps some of the most -interesting findings came as a result of academic questions designed to measure the effects of Watergate on the electorate. Although few voters could be found who would admit they were voting against Angly because of his Republicanism or because of Watergate, the strongest difference between his supporters and those of Doggett came on the following question: “Do you think the President is being truthful about the Watergate; or is he holding something back?” Angly voters overwhelmingly thought that the President was being truthful, while Doggett and, significantly, prior Cavness voters overwhelmingly thought Nixon was holding something back. Thus, Angly. may well be on strong ground when he says that Watergate helped to defeat him. I am presently trying to measure the impact of the President’s more recent actions through recall polling of these same respondents and hope to publish the findings later this fall. THE IMMEDIATE implications for Central Texas politics of this whole series of polls are worth mentioning. Hopefully, it will finally be clear to all that voters are fed up with empty emotional appeals to their fears. Lloyd Doggett has
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