Cheat Sheet Q&A: 

Topic:  The outlook for Congressional races

Today’s outlook:

Sometimes you'll report on polling information when you think something significant occurs.  I haven't heard many updates on how the races for the General Election are looking this fall.  Do you have any information on how key races are shaping up and what the outlook is for Congress?

Bottom Line:  The polling data for many of the key fall Congressional races is sketchy at this point.  Not just because we’re still several months away the from general elections but also because about half the states in the country, including Florida, still have yet to hold their primaries.  That being said there is some relevant information that you may be able to use to deduce trends and perhaps some outcomes. 

First let’s look at the generic ballot info: 

  • In the 2010 on this date the generic ballot average of all polls showed the following:  GOP:  43.4  - DEM:  43
  • In the 2012 cycle on this date the generic ballot showed:  DEM:  45.3 – GOP 44.7
  • Today the breakout is:  DEM:  42 – GOP 42

So there are two takeaways from this information. 

  • Most likely voters don’t break for a candidate until we get closer to the election (past the primaries)
  • Fewer people are identifying with either party in this mid-term election cycle

The 2012 cycle isn’t applicable to this year because the dynamics of Presidential election cycles that drive increased party identification (with the candidate you identify with) and significantly higher voter turnout than mid-term elections.  That being said the we see that GOP identification is down 1.4% since the application 2010 cycle and DEM identification is down by 1% of the 2010 cycle.  So we are seeing some people suggesting that they are more open to third party candidates.  

Next up the President’s approval ratings… Yes mid-term elections are about specific candidates for specific races but they also tend to be a referendum on the President.  So let’s take a look at the 12 states that feature highly competitive Senate races this year. 

  • President Obama’s average approval rating nationally stands at 42%
  • President Obama’s average approval rating in the 12 states with competitive senate races is 38%
  • President Obama’s average approval rating on this date in 2010 was 46%

So while both parties have continued to turn off likely voters the antidotal evidence shows that the environment is certainly ripe for the GOP if the candidates in specific races are deemed to be viable options by the electorate. 

If you have a topic or question you’d like me to address email me:

Audio Report:


Here's why we're getting more push alerts than ever before:

Bottom Line:   Because they work.  They are more effective than any other form of digital marketing material. 

If you have a mobile device and have enabled push alerts you likely have noticed that even the same app services are sending more push alerts these days.  Research from Reponsys has demonstrated that there is more engagement with push alerts sent to mobile devices than any other form of digital communication by third parties and by a lot.  For example you’re 50% more likely to open a push alert notification than an email with the same message from the same company.  We allow 76% of apps downloaded with push alerts – to send them to us.  So we willingly accept them and are likely to interact with them when they are sent.  In other words…  Expect to only receive even more alerts in the future.  Remember that if you are annoyed by push alerts you can go into the individual app settings on you mobile device and make changes (like push alerts not make a noise, not lighting up your device, etc.)

Audio Report:


Update on AT&T customer ID theft:

Bottom Line:  We now have a bit more information about the data theft of AT&T customers that I first shared with you on Monday.  Here’s what we know:

  • 3 employees of a third party vendor with access to AT&T customer information were behind the theft of personal data
  • The information was stolen between April 9th-21st
  • All personal information was potentially stolen including birthdates and Social Security numbers
  • AT&T still won’t disclose how many customers were affected
  • AT&T has been contacting customers that were potentially affected this week

So if you’re an AT&T customer and you’ve received communication from them this week – pay attention.  This could be pretty serious.  They are offering credit monitoring for a year for those affected.  They are clearly trying to suppress this story as much as possible to avoid a Target like target on their backs. 

Audio Report:


T-Mobile becomes the first company to allow you to stream for free & take an iPhone for a test drive:

Bottom Line:  So T-Mobile is offering what no other mobile service provider has for free before.  They have enabled free streaming on the leading streaming service providers without it impacting your data usage.  Those providers are the evil doers:

  • Pandora
  • Spotify
  • Rhapsody
  • iTunes Radio
  • Slacker
  • Beatport
  • Samsung Milk

And the only one you should actually use (the one we’re on):  iHeart Radio

Additionally, T-Mobile is offering the opportunity for you to try out an iPhone 5S for free for one week.  That’s pretty forward thinking as well.  Whether you’re a customer of T-Mobile or whether you’ll ever be, these types of moves are good for all mobile customers because it continues to put competitive pressure on the other mobile service providers to provide more value and to bring down costs. 

Audio Report:


The price of the most important resource of all is rising significantly:

Bottom Line:  Your water bill is generally going to be the cheapest of your monthly utility expenses.  Because of the generally low monthly dollar amount of the water bill it’s easy for it to be somewhat overlooked.  If you haven’t paid close attention you may be surprised by how much more you’re paying than just four years ago. 

  • The average water bill has increase by 33% or $15 per month since 2010

Here’s the thing…  That’s likely to just be the beginning.  According to survey work from engineering firm Black & Veatch – two-thirds of water utility companies are unprofitable right now.  Clearly something will have to give.  As a result we can expect double digit water bill increases over the next couple of years.  The average bill is already 6% more expensive this year and along with many other consumables the price of water is going to continue to rise for the foreseeable. 

Audio Report: