So much for the billionaires no one has ever heard of.
Geoff Garin, the Democratic pollster, had this to say in a revealing Politico piece about the method to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s madness about Charles and David Koch — mentioned 22 times in Reid appearances on the Senate floor:
“The Koch brothers have become central enough that we ask about them in every poll, regardless of who we’re polling for,” Garin says. On average, nearly 60 percent of respondents recognize the names, he says, noting that their negatives “are in the high 30s and moving towards the 40s, depending on the state.”
Invoking the names of the fifth- and sixth-richest men in the world — the big money behind the Americans For Prosperity ads attacking Democrats in a barrage of midterm congressional campaign TV ads — also “helps to negate some of the impact of some of their negative advertisements,” Garin tells Politico. “Once people understand that the Koch brothers are behind these ads, people discount what they’re hearing in the ads.”
Other polling has suggested that perhaps people aren’t as familiar with the billionaire industrialists playing a pivotal role in the 2014 election.
The George Washington University “Battleground” survey run by a bipartisan team of pollsters shows that about half the country doesn’t know them. The Huffington Post’s Sam Stein suggests:: “It’s likely those more aware of the brothers include Democratic donors and politically attentive voters, two constituencies that Democrats are desperately trying to reach in 2014.”
Some say the Reid attack on Republicans “addicted to Koch” is risky.
“The brothers are not a familiar presence to many voters, making it hard to demonize them,” Wesley Lowery wrote at the Washington Post. “Moreover, as Democrats have embraced the new era of big-money donations and super PACs in the wake of the Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, they, too, are growing more reliant on ideological billionaires such as Tom Steyer, the hedge-fund executive who plans to target Republicans over climate change.”
Unless, of course, Garin is on to something.