Tag Archives: Chiang

Cake, Death, the Environment and Arnold

(cross-posted from Working Californians also available at dailykos.)

Yesterday, Arnold announced his support for a new fossil fuel plant off the coast of California.  Today, he was swooned over in DC, giving a speech in conjunction with his NEWSWEEK cover on the environment.  Arnold’s attitude towards the environment is to have your cake and eat it too.  In Arnold’s green world, you can drive a muscle car or a Hummer and save the environment.  There is no personal sacrifice necessary.

Much has been made of Arnold’s appearance on Pimp My Ride, where they convert a 1965 Chevy Impala into a biodiesel machine.

The April 22 episode of “Pimp My Ride” will show that “biofuel is not like some wimpy, feminine car, like a hybrid,” Schwarzenegger said in the current Newsweek cover article. “Because the muscle guys, they have this thing: `I don’t want to be seen in the little feminine car.'”

Today he said:

“We don’t have to really go and take away the muscle cars, we don’t have to take away the Hummers or the SUVs or anything else, because that’s a formula for failure,” he said. “Instead, what we have to do is make those cars more environmentally muscular.”

The rebuilt car gets 25 MPG, granted that is biofuel, but there is simply not enough biofuel lying around to be able to repeat this experiment on a large scale.  The owner will have to work hard to find a steady supply of fuel for his vehicle.  It is not as if he can just pull up to any ole gas station.

The 25 MPG is actually the current average fuel economy standard for all vehicles.  It is much lower than the proposed increases to the CAFE standards.  Sen. Feinstein and Boxer are both co-sponsors to bill which would increase the fuel economy standards for all vehicles, including SUVs and sedans to 35 MPG by model year 2019.


This bill is long overdue. That’s because the technology already exists to improve fuel efficiency standards. Raising the fuel economy of the cars and trucks we drive by 10 miles per gallon over 10 years is the simplest step we can take.  This would reduce 18 percent of greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles by 2025. And it would save nearly the amount of oil we currently import from the Persian Gulf.

Changing an engine on a Hummer or a Chevy Impala will not reduce our dependance on foreign oil.  The free market will not solve all of our ills.  We need to continue to push our private industry to innovate.  Just telling Michigan to “Get off your butts, and join us.” like he did today does not get the job done.  Calling environmentalists “no fun, like prohibitionists at the fraternity party.” will not help either.

Chiang and Garamendi were consistent with their vote against the LNG terminal for environmental reasons.

Both Garamendi and Chiang, who are Democrats, stated concerns with the amount of greenhouse gas emissions and local air pollution as major factors in their votes against the project.

“The governor and the Legislature have enacted statutes to reduce California’s carbon footprint and move us from fossils fuels toward cleaner, renewable alternatives,” Chiang said in a statement. “I do not think this project is something that carries out the spirit of our new, groundbreaking laws.”

Arnold has never been consistent.  We frequently see a major disconnect between his talk and his actions.  His environmental record is particularly illustrative of this phenomenon.  Read this piece by Hannah-Beth Jackson for the details.

Back to the cake…in some ways this reminds me of the classic Eddie Izzard bit on the Church of England offering up two choices: cake or death.  Obviously, everyone chooses cake and they run out, leaving “or death”.  Or death is not a very appealing choice, yet if we keep up on this path, that is what we and our descendants will be left with.

Also on Working Californians the past two days
Bad Plan, Worse Punishment: individual mandated health care.
Ed Coalition Ad: YouTube version of coalition ad for more education funding.
Afternoon Presidential Linky: highlights from the day’s presidential news.
Grocery Contract Update: latest information on the UFCW negotiations with the big three chains in SoCal.
Richardson Light on Health Care Details: like it says, Gov. Richardson has not fleshed out a health care proposal.

Polling Memo: Working Californian’s IE Effectiveness in Controllers Race

It is a busy political week, with the State of the State, the first 100 Hours, Arnold’s health care proposal and this post may be a bit retro in comparison, but I figured you guys would be interested in a behind the scenes strategic look at how an IE came together. This is cross-posted from the WC Blog.

The campaign that Working Californians was most heavily involved in during 2006 was the Controller race between right-wing Tony Strickland and John Chiang, who was sworn in yesterday. Our independent expenditure campaign, thanks to the support of a diverse list of sponsoring organizations, used a variety of methods including radio ads and direct mail helped carry Chiang to victory. But how effective were we?

The pollster we worked with on this campaign, David Binder Research has done some analysis of our targeting. He writes:

While Chiang ended up winning the contest by approximately 870,000 votes, an examination of the returns shows that his margin was greatest in the same demographic groups and geographic areas that were targeted by the Working Californians independent expenditure.

Final election returns show that Chiang defeated Strickland by a total of 871,702 votes out of approximately 8.4 million votes cast in this race. Despite many pundits predicting a very close race, or even a Strickland victory, Chiang won the contest by a margin of over 10%.

Votes Percentage
John Chiang 4,232,313 50.6%
Tony Strickland 3,360,611 40.2
Other candidates 768,125 9.2

Pre-Election Polling

We did our homework before launching our IEs to figure out the best allocation of our resources. DBR was in the field in during the first and last week in October.

The results showed a race that was still in doubt. In fact, the tracking poll that finished October 30th, one week before election day, showed Chiang with only a 4% lead, which was within the surveys margin of error.

The tracking survey also showed an extremely high number of undecideds, as many voters had not yet focused on this contest.

October 7 October 30
John Chiang 37% 36%
Tony Strickland 29 32
Other candidates 11 7
Undecided 23 25

Additionally, the pre-election surveys found several areas of weakness for Chiang. Specifically, the pre-election polls showed Chiang lagging among Democratic and independent voters, obtaining only 63% of support from Democrats and 31% support from independent and minor party voters.

Further, the pre-election polls indicated that Chiang was underperforming in two major media markets: Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay Area. The October 30th tracking poll showed that only 46% of San Francisco Bay Area voters stated they would vote for Chiang, and only 33% of Los Angeles County voters.

Given this information, the independent expenditure committee decided to target these media markets with radio advertisements and also targeted key demographic groups with direct mail.

Results in Targeted Markets

Election day results show that the two markets targeted by our IE for radio advertisements provided Chiang the margin of victory. Together, Chaing won these two areas by 1.1 million votes.

Votes Percent Votes Percent
John Chiang 1,213,942 63% 1,089,306 58%
Tony Strickland 531,252 27 621,387 33
Other candidates 192,194 10 182,772 9

That adds up to a 17% increase in the Bay area and a 25% gain in Los Angeles.

Binder concludes:

It was appropriate to target these two areas given that each has a proportion of Democratic voters. However, the pre-election polls showed that many Democrats in these areas were unaware of Chiang and were undecided on whether to support him or not. It is highly probable that the radio advertising and direct mail was an essential ingredient to bringing these voters back home for Chiang, which provided him the margin of victory on election day.

This will hopefully be the first of many campaigns where we deploy similar research techniques to inform our expenditures. After everything is said and done, we can share with you exactly why we do those things we do, with posts like this one. As much as I like blogging about polling, we can’t exactly be sharing our secrets with the whole world in the midst of a campaign.

We will however, be sharing as much research as possible. One of our chief goals is to ensure public debate is informed by quality research and a clear-eyed understanding of the electorate.