Koch Brothers Anonymous to Most

Photograph by Phelan M. Ebenhack/AP Photo

Americans for Prosperity Foundation Chairman David Koch speaks in Orlando, Fla. on Aug. 30, 2013

Most Americans say they never have heard of the fifth and sixth richest men in the world, brothers David and Charles Koch, worth a combined $100 billion.

Yet their political operation has aired more TV ads early in the 2014 congressional midterm election campaign than any other group.

Among those who have heard of the billionaire brothers, the driving force behind an Americans for Prosperity campaign playing a growing role in national political campaigns, 25 percent hold an unfavorable view, according to George Washington University’s Battleground Poll. Just 12 percent voiced a favorable opinion.

The March 16-20 survey found a harsher view of Wall Street among those voicing an opinion: 39 percent negative, 29 percent favorable.

Approval for the job President Barack Obama is doing runs at 44 percent in the survey, disapproval at 55 percent.

The generic congressional question — asking which party’s candidate they’re likely to support this year — is a draw: 43-43 percent Republican and Democratic.  The poll has a margin of error of 3.1 percentage points.

The Koch brothers, ranked close behind Warren Buffett and Bill Gates (the third- and first-richest  in the Bloomberg Billionaires Index), may not have reached the radar of many Americans.

But the group funded by the Texas industrialists has been flooding the midterm airwaves, running ads in eight states holding Senate races this year, as Bloomberg’s Greg Giroux reports of Kantar Media’s CMAG data.  They are targeting Democrats as part of a concerted campaign to turn control of the Senate over to the Republican Party. The group has run more TV ads, 17,808, than any other group at this early stage of the 2014 midterm elections.

The Democratic analysis from the bipartisan team that conducts the Battleground Poll, Celinda Lake’s side, concludes:

“With the 2014 elections just over six months away, the midterms remain very tightly matched. In this most recent Battleground poll, Democrats have closed January’s 2‐point deficit on the generic congressional ballot, and are now running neck and neck with Republican candidates nationally (43% Republican, 43% Democrat, 14% undecided). This dynamic, among other factors, substantiates the argument that the Democrats are competitively positioned for 2014, despite the gloomy conventional wisdom about the Party’s chances.”

From the Republican side, led by Ed Goeas:

“Just as we were conducting our final interviews of this latest edition of The George Washington University Battleground last Thursday, President Barack Obama was delivering a speech to a group of Democratic donors down in Miami. As we began to comb over the detailed crosstabs Friday morning, the data seemed to match up with the headlines from President Obama’s speech the night before, quoting the President as saying that Democrats tend to “get clobbered” in midterm elections. Certainly there was a lot in the data that would confirm that that may well be the case in the 2014 Midterm elections.

“Vote intensity of self-identified Republican voters is back up to a seven-point lead over Democratic voters (the lead is 11-points with behavioral Republican voters), by a 64% to 28% margin voters say the direction of the country is off on the wrong track (“strongly” off on the wrong track now runs over 4 to 1 negative), both the President’s image and job approval continue to be upside down, his job approval continuing to run at a historically high 1.7 to 1 ratio on strongly disapprove to strongly approve, and the generic Congressional ballot running even.”


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