To: Mark Zuckerberg
From: Dept of CB Radio Sales
Re: Opportunity Knocking
In a week when Calbuzz landed among the 1 million most popular websites in the world, Topic A in our executive suite has been Facebook’s acquisition of Instagram.
The reason: In reading the financial analysis and commentary of the deal, we could not but be struck by the astonishing similarities between us and the company you just acquired for $1 billion.
To cite just a few examples, we offer a “simplicity of experience” for our customers (just ask Ernie and Chris!); although the “space is crowded” for what we do, we haven’t tried to “boil the ocean” (hell, we can barely boil water!); we rushed our “product to market as fast as possible” (in fact, we maybe spent five minutes – max – thinking about what we were doing before launch!).
Most importantly, just like Instagram we have a) no business model b) no revenue and c) no profits. Can you imagine a better fit for your fine company?
So just to let you know, we’ll wait by the phone this weekend for your call (if we don’t answer right away, it’s because we’re on the other line setting up dinner with Meg Whitman – maybe you know her from the “tech space?”). Or if you prefer, we can mail you a self-addressed stamped envelope to send us our check so we can begin “merging our cultures” ASAP. We can’t wait to get started!
Your new partners
Almost as good as real polling: Kudos to Dan Schnur and the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences for their experimental leap into online polling, released Thursday after finding that on most questions, their internet instrument produced results similar to the telephone survey they run with the Los Angeles Times.
But there are some problems. Online polling of self-selected panelists does not start with a random sample of the likely voter population. Assigning a margin of error to the survey violates probability theory. And claiming that the online survey was a success because the results matched the USC/LAT telephone survey – which online polling is supposed to replace because telephone surveys are supposedly becoming increasingly unreliable – is logically, uh, illogical.
Still, the pollsters – Ben Tulchin, of the Democrat-leaning Tulchin Research, and Chris St. Hilaire, of the Republican-tilted M4 Strategies – deserve a tip of the hat for trying to develop a credible online survey model. We especially like the idea that they’re planning, in the future, to match their online panel with the voter file to try to ensure that their respondents are, in fact, registered voters.
Maybe the way to get a random sample would be to pull the sample first from the voter file and then, instead of calling people, reach them online. We don’t know, we’re just hacks who remain skeptical about online polling along with voice activated robo-calling.
Anyway, they came up with some interesting findings, one of which was this:
Although the new online survey does reflect findings from a recent USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times Poll conducted by phone that shows state voters give Obama poor marks for the way he has handled the issue [rising gasoline prices], the more detailed series of online questions indicates Californians are much more likely to blame oil companies and unrest in the Middle East for high gas prices than either the president or U.S. Congress.
The USC Dornsife online survey found that 63 percent of voters disapprove of President Obama’s handling of gas prices, and 27 percent approved. But only 13 percent of California voters said Obama was to blame for higher gas prices and about 6 percent blamed the U.S. Congress. In contrast, 21 percent of voters blamed “problems in the Middle East” and 38 percent blamed oil companies.
An advantage of online polling is that on Jerry Brown’s tax measure, they could provide respondents with the title and summary, not just a description.
You can find the survey here and all the crosstabs here.
You can’t take the Hoosier out of the boy: Back in the Dark Ages, or as we like to call it saeculum obscurum, when he was bouncing on Keith Bulen’s knee and simultaneously wiping Mitch Daniels’ nose, Dick Lugar got himself elected to the U.S. Senate from Indiana, defeating incumbent Democrat Vance Hartke (whom no Calbuzzer could ever forget.)
Lugar was the kind of Republican that both Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan warmed to – seriously conservative but extremely smart, with nuanced positions on things like gay rights, abortion, immigration and foreign policy.
So what do you get these days if you’re a thinking man’s conservative? A challenge from the Neanderthal right, that’s what, in this case, from state Treasurer Richard Mourdock – who’s unhappy about Lugar’s support for spending and bailouts, amnesty for illegal immigrants and votes confirming Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Because all politics is local, it’s hard to get too weepy about Dick Lugar’s plight. He was, after all, partly responsible for creating Unigov – the “unified” metropolitan system of governing Indianapolis that brought 85,000 Republican voters into city elections (then on the verge of being dominated by inner city blacks) while allowing the wealthy, white townships surrounding the city to keep their big fat tax bases all to themselves.
But that was 42 years ago. Since then, Lugar has served six terms as a thoughtful conservative Republican Senator — a guy who actually believes in governing, not just taking stands, protesting and gumming up the works. Exactly the kind of lawmaker the Tea Party know-nothings love to hate. Almost as much as they hate President Obama, women’s rights and tree-hugging, gun-controlling anti-nuclear-proliferationists, as we read this from NBC’s First Read:
Lugar “fighting for his political life” in Indiana: The pollster for Joe Donnelly (D), who is running for the U.S. Senate in Indiana, has released a survey showing that incumbent Sen. Dick Lugar leads his GOP primary opponent Richard Mourdock by just six points, 45%-39%.
From the pollster’s memo: “After more than 30 years as Indiana’s senator, Richard Lugar is fighting for his political life. Despite spending millions, Lugar continues to lose ground in the Republican primary and faces the very real possibility that on May 8, he will be out of a job.”
Conservative groups begin their fire on Lugar: In advance of Indiana’s May 8 primary, the conservative group Club for Growth is going up with a new TV ad hitting Dick Lugar (for voting for the bailouts, tax hikes, and Obama’s Supreme Court justices) and supporting GOP primary foe Richard Mourdock, according to Politico. And the National Rifle Association is going after him with this TV spot, which states that Lugar “has become the only Republican candidate in Indiana with an ‘F’ rating from the NRA.” The ad then shows a photo of Lugar standing next to Obama.
Up next: Tea Party geniuses eyes South Carolina’s Jim DeMint as dangerous sell-out squish.
Moving on up: Roger Salazar, a charter member of the Calbuzz Advisory Board of Leading Authorities on Practically Everything, and co-founder of the Acosta|Salazar LLC consulting firm in Sacramento, is joining another member of the Calbuzz Consultanate, Adam Mendelsohn, over at Mercury LLC, a big honking public strategy firm with offices in Washington, DC, New York, Florida, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Sacramento and Los Angeles.
With former Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez already on board at Mercury, there’s a good chance the firm will emerge as a leading strategy group on Latino and Spanish-language issues and public relations.
Before founding Acosta|Salazar with his middle-school pal Andrew Acosta, Salazar was a senior vice president for the public affairs firm Porter Novelli. He served as principal officer for California Working Families for Jerry Brown 2010 – the largest independent expenditure effort in the 2010 gubernatorial campaign; spokesman for the California Democratic Party; political spokesman for California State Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez; campaign press secretary for California Gov. Gray Davis; and served on the podium press team for the 2004 and 2008 Democratic National Conventions.
At one time or another he flacked and spun for President Bill Clinton, Vice President Al Gore, Ag Secretary Dan Glickman U.S. Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard. Most important, he was part of the brilliant communications operation in Gov. Gray Davis’s admin that included such luminaries as Steve Maviglio, Jason Kinney, Ed Emerson, Carol Dahmen and Vince Duffy.