By Paul Gable
The Russell Fry campaign released poll results from Robert Cahaly’s Trafalgar Group purporting to show Fry leads in the race for the SC 7th Congressional District Republican nomination with 42% of voters preferring him.
The poll should come with many caveats.
Cahaly has consistently denied revealing his polling methodology in numerous interviews other than to say everyone lies, especially conservatives.
Cahaly blamed this tendency to lie on what is called social desirability bias. He was quoted as telling a New York Times reporter, “I just think people are not what they say they are, ever.”
Does that mean the supposed 42 percent who allegedly chose Fry in this supposed poll actually chose someone else but were put in the Fry column for some spurious reason?
How do you determine the correct answers to a poll if going in you believe the answers you will receive are lies? No wonder Cahaly does not reveal his polling methodology.
It must be noted that Cahaly correctly predicted the Donald Trump victory in the 2016 Presidential election.
However, Cahaly again predicted a Trump victory in 2020 with the opposite result.
But, that’s not the only reason I question this poll.
Russell Fry is a partner in the political consulting group Crescent Communications with SC Rep. Heather Crawford and her disgraced husband, county council member Cam Crawford. Cam Crawford was terminated from Coastal Carolina University for violating the university’s sexual harassment policy, something Fry has yet to comment on.
A check of campaign expenditures by a number of candidates who used Crescent Communications as a campaign consultant shows payments to Campaign Services in Atlanta, Ga., another Cahaly company.
How did candidates for local office in Horry County happen to choose an Atlanta, Ga. company for campaign materials and services? The logical deduction is upon the recommendation of Fry and Co. at Crescent Communications.
A supposed third-party PAC called the American Industry Project and its subsidiary the South Carolina Industry Project conducted a hit campaign on McMaster’s primary opponent Katherine Templeton in the 2018 gubernatorial primary campaign, helping boost McMaster to victory.
Cahaly has ties to the American Industry Project, including several candidates he has represented being listed on the AIP board, one of whom never heard of AIP before being questioned about his membership on the board. Other Cahaly associations, read Julie Emerson of Lagniappe Communications in Louisiana, do the preparation and distribution of AIP’s mailers, tv ads and radio ads.
It could be said AIP was created by Cahaly initially to run third party attacks against McMaster opponents and has hung around to be used as needed. I wouldn’t be surprised to see AIP raise its ugly head to help Fry before this campaign is over.
Gov, Henry McMaster was a major player in obtaining a Trump endorsement of the Fry campaign for Congress. Even though Trump pledged to “drain the swamp” he dove right in to the South Carolina political swamp by endorsing Fry on McMaster’s recommendation.
Finally, GSD has received no reports of polling in Horry County for the 7th Congressional District race in the last several weeks. Did this poll not include voters in Horry County, the county that makes up approximately 50% of all Republican voters in the Congressional district?
Or, did it not occur at all?
The Fry campaign released another email begging for money a few days ago. Did it need some kind of poll results to show Fry leading in the hopes that would spur donors?
In this era when political campaigns are conducted as reality shows attempting to sow chaos and confusion among voters, there are many reasons voters should view this alleged poll with a jaundiced eye.
And, if by some miracle of ‘reality politics’ this poll is accurate, then Tom Rice is going back to Washington for a sixth term because there is no way Russell Fry can win a runoff election against Rice.