The Democrats, hard up for issues to run on this year, decided to try to run against Charles and David Koch. This strategy was counterintuitive, since most people had no idea who the Kochs are, and voters are notoriously indifferent to campaign finance issues. But the Democrats pressed ahead, holding press conferences, denouncing the Kochs on the Senate floor, producing videos, and spending untold millions on campaign ads tying Republican candidates to support from the Kochs or from Koch-supported organizations.
Has it worked? The fact that Republican candidates are generally starting to pull away in the polls, nationwide, suggests that it hasn’t. More concrete evidence comes from this NBC News/Wall St. Journal poll, which covered 1,000 registered voters between October 8 and October 12. The survey asked for opinions about a variety of political figures, and included Charles and David Koch. Here are the results; the columns are Very Positive, Somewhat Positive, Neutral, Somewhat Negative, Very Negative, and Don’t Know Name/Not Sure:
A large majority of Americans–64%–either have never heard of the Koch brothers, or have a neutral attitude toward them. 27% have a negative attitude. That basically measures the Democrats’ base, and is similar to the percentage who will sign on to just about any left-wing proposition. What is really striking about these numbers is that there is hardly any difference between April and October. After six months of relentless pounding, the Democrats have barely moved the needle. The percentage who haven’t heard of the brothers or don’t have any opinion of them (not even a neutral one) has dropped by only two points, and almost all changes in the numbers are within the poll’s 3% margin of error.
With only three weeks to go to the election, I think we can conclude that the Democrats’ anti-Koch strategy has failed.