Vito's "commanding win"
I was waiting to do a piece on the media coverage of the race, but I just can't find the time to sit down knowing how miniscule coverage and unbias coverage for that matter was in this race. In a spate of free time today I randomly decided to go back to Vito's campaign site, figuring he packed it up and moved on like the circus. On his front page is this lovely bit of 'reporting' from the Staten Island Advance and Tom Wrobleski, "Vito bucks the Dem tide with commanding win." Brilliant!
Now by commanding win, Tom Wrobleski means the closest margin of victory in 5 races, narrowing even more over his 2004 59-41 victory (57-43 in 2006). Oh and since the headline was only long enough to espouse the virtues of Vito's amazing accomplishment, he failed to sum up this piece in that title; Vito outspent Harrison 13:1, or $1.3 million to $100,000. While Vito raised the same amount as he did in '04, his challenger Harrison raised less than one quarter of Barbaro's $450,000 in '04 and yet Vito still lost 4%.
I wanted to put it in perspective by seeing who flipped a Republican seat while being outspent 13:1 with a minimum of the incumbent maintaining at least a budget with the magnitude of $1 million. The only challenger I could come up with was Carol Shea-Porter's truly commanding victory in NH-01 on her shoestring $198,000 budget. However the cash differntial was not quite as drastic as it was here in NY-13. She was outraised by a margin of 5:1 ($1 million to $197,000) and outspent by a margin of only 4:1 ($605,000 to $123,000) [via Opensecrets.org]
While the idea of the blue wave was a strong methaphor throughout many articles across the country and it may have been hard to resist finding a way to wrap a story around it, how accurate was it to use a basis to declare this commanding win? Mr. Wrobleski fails to mention one other congressional race in comparrison to show a comparable cash on hand scenario or 2004 matchup to show Vito's campaign prowess. He doesn't mention that the CoH margin was the largest in NY13 out of every race in NY state with a Democratic challenger. He doesn't mention that the race in NY-23 was the next closest in terms of Democratic CoH ($139,000), and yet the Republican incumbent maintained less than a 4:1 advantage, and the Republucan incumbent won 63-37 [via Opensecrets.org].
So the moral of the story is: not losing races that shouldn't even be close equates to commanding wins. The reality though is more akin to Bloomberg winning in '05. It is less a commanding win and more simply a commanding warchest.