A political strategist for billionaire Tom Steyer's liberal group has said that attack ads targeting the conservative Koch brothers as corporate "fat cats" are proving effective in close races, says a memorandum obtained by Politico
Consultant Chris Lehane sent out the memo to state workers of Steyer's NextGen Climate group, a super-PAC devoted to environmental issues, advising them how anti-Koch ads are especially helping to sway the so-called Super Shifters, voters who are primarily concerned about how the economy affects their bottom line.
In the memo, Lehane said, "The Super Shifters are primarily voters with children who earn an annual income of less than $100,000 and are profoundly unhappy with the gridlock in Washington."
"These are voters that are continuing to dig out from the 2008 Great Recession. For these Super Shifters, economic issues are the electoral dominant driver."
Lehane wrote that Super Shifters "believe that the system is rigged against them and that there are powerful interests, the corporate 'fat cats' — a phrase that came out of a focus group — who exercise undue influence over the political process,"
"One of the most intriguing findings in the polling is that the Koch brothers have emerged as a negative signifier for Republicans aligning with these powerful self-serving corporate fat cats," Lehane said.
"Given these findings, various Democratic candidates and organizations are effectively deploying the Koch brothers as a symbol of Republicans being the party of the fat cats. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid
knew exactly what he was doing when earlier this year he elevated the role of the Koch brothers."
Lehane cited research by pollsters Anzalone Research, Benenson Strategy Group and Hart Research, and data analytics firm Civis, as the basis for the memo, according to Politico.
The strategist specifically named certain states, such as Colorado, where he says data "shows that the Koch brothers have a net favorability of negative 14 percent among all likely voters."
Lehane also said in the memo that the Koch brothers have a negative 23 percent favorability rating in Michigan, while in Iowa 71 percent of potential voters said they were "less likely to support a candidate if he or she was being bankrolled by the Koch brothers."
"Our opinion research makes clear we can employ such a jujitsu approach in this election by playing offense on the Republicans' connection to their donors on issues related to climate change," Lehane added.
Although the Kochs have been backing conservative candidates for years, Democrats have been heavily targeting the brothers in battleground states this cycle as they attempt to defend their control of the Senate, Politico reports.
Steyer, a hedge fund investor tuned environmental activist, launched NextGen earlier this year in his efforts to influence Senate and gubernatorial races in which GOP candidates rebut the potential dangers of climate change.
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