Our Texas poll looking at Ron Paul's primary challenge for Congress might have good implications for Walter Jones right here in North Carolina.
Paul and Jones are closely tied- Paul has been helping Jones with fundraising. And their challengers, Chris Peden and Joe McLaughlin, are similar too. They're both local elected officials. They're both hammering their opponents on the war and on family values issues. And they're both citing internal polls to show the incumbents are in really big trouble.
We called Peden's bluff on the polling with our numbers yesterday. They showed that not only was Paul leading by 33 points overall, but his leads were even greater among voters most concerned about the war (64-27), and moral and family values (65-28).
Just as Ron Paul has been representing his district on and off for over three decades, the Jones father/son tandem has been representing eastern North Carolina for decades. Those ties run deep and are bigger than a few unpopular issue stances. My guess is that Jones is in pretty good shape, and the McLaughlin challenge is more noise than anything else.
Ryan over at the Dome blog has had some interesting posts on what races the Democratic and Republican parties are targeting in the legislature this fall.
I'd say Republicans actually have a better chance of taking the Senate this fall than the House, even though they'd have to flip 7 out of 50 (14%) of Senate seats compared to 9 out of 120 (7.5%) of House seats.
Looking at the Republican House wish list, three out of five Democratic incumbents on it survived the election in 2004, which was not a particularly good year for their party in the state. With the political climate much better now than it was then, I doubt Alice Graham Underhill, Walter Church, or Jim Harrell is going to lose this year barring some major shift in fortunes.
Ray Warren and Ty Harrell, both of whom beat Republican incumbents in 2006, are the other two on the list. Their districts certainly trend GOP but each has done a good job during his first term of not being too offensive to anyone and they would seem to be in good shape as well.
It's quite a tribute to Cullie Tarleton, Jimmy Love, and Van Braxton, all of whom flipped their districts in 2006, that they're not even on the top 5 list of Republican targets.
Since I don't think the Republicans have much of a chance with their top 5 I sure don't see how they're going to get 8 or 9.
I was also glad to see the House Democrats have their own list of seats they're hoping to take. You should always be playing some offense along with a strong defense.
I guess Rasmussen is doing monthly polls now for WRAL. I haven't had much time to read this latest one but it tests the gubernatorial match ups and shows Bev Perdue and Richard Moore doing better against the Republican contenders than our last poll did. Most notably it shows both of them leading Pat McCrory by six points, whereas we had it tied just last week. Rasmussen doesn't release its topline demographic information so it's hard to know how accurate they are.
Of course it's fine with me if they're right and we're wrong.
Bob Orr, Bill Graham, and Fred Smith trail Moore and Perdue by double digits in every possible match.
Moore and Perdue both have favorability over 50%. For Moore it's 56/24 and for Perdue it's 58/29. None of the Republicans surpass 40- Bill Graham is at 30/42, Pat McCrory is at 39/38, Bob Orr is at 29/44, and Fred Smith is at 29/47.
Frankly those unfavorable ratings seem awfully bad for Republican candidates who aren't even that well known. While I would like to believe these numbers, I think Rasmussen must have interviewed a disproportionate number of Democratic voters and not weighted it sufficiently.
PPP and Civitas don't agree much, so when we do agree on something you can pretty much bet it's true. And one thing we agree on is that the results of today's WRAL/Rasmussen poll sound pretty fishy.
We can't know for sure though, because Rasmussen didn't tell us the party balance of the folks they polled. Or the gender balance. Or the racial balance. Or the age balance. Or pretty much anything that would let us make a basic analysis of the validity of their poll.
You get all those things in any PPP poll, which raises an interesting question. Isn't the media supposed to be a beacon of transparency, certainly more transparent than our 'partisan' polling company?
WRAL isn't the only tv station in the Triangle commissioning a poll. WTVD has been getting a monthly poll too. They get it from Survey USA and it comes complete with all the useful information you would want to analyze a poll.
In my opinion WTVD has it right and WRAL has it wrong. WRAL should either make Rasmussen release the demographic info on its poll so we can see what factors might be leading to this seemingly too friendly to Democrats poll, or else they should contract with someone else to do their poll who will release that information.
It's perfectly logical for media outlets to commission polls- but if they're going to, they should make an extra effort to make sure they're getting a good poll and abiding by the same transparency that they expect out of the decision makers they cover.
Topline results are below. Full results, including crosstabs, can be found here.
Q1 The Republican still running for President are Mike Huckabee, John McCain, and Ron Paul. If the primary was today, who would you vote for? If Mike Huckabee, press 1. If John McCain, press 2. If Ron Paul, press 3. If you're undecided, press 4. Huckabee................ 27% McCain.................... 49% Paul ........................ 18% Undecided............... 5%
Q2 The candidates for Congress in your district are Ron Paul and Chris Peden. If the election was today, who would you vote for? If Ron Paul, press 1. If Chris Peden, press 2. If other, press 3. Paul ................................................................ 63% Peden ............................................................. 30% Undecided....................................................... 7%
The voters in Ohio's 10th District and the 14th District of Texas are probably about as different philosophically as they could be. But they do have one thing in common- they don't support their Congressman for President, but they're fine to keep on sending him to Washington. We released numbers about Dennis Kucinich yesterday, here they are for Ron Paul:
John McCain 49 Mike Huckabee 27 Ron Paul 18
Paul's performance is stronger than he is seeing most places, though still not that great. He does best with young voters, among whom he leads Huckabee and has 29%
Ron Paul 63 Chris Peden 30
Paul has been challenged on the right by Peden, a Friendswood City Councilman. Peden has particularly tried to hammer Paul on the war and on issues that fall into the category of moral and family values. But he's not getting much traction with those criticisms. The poll shows Paul leading 64-27 among voters who said the war was their top issue and with a 65-28 advantage among respondents most concerned about moral and family values.
Like the Presidential race Paul is very popular with young voters, with whom he has a 75-11 lead.
Jay Reiff sent an email out to Richard Moore's supporter list today declaring that 'Bev Perdue got caught again saying one thing, but doing another.' He was referring to Perdue's New York City trip yesterday, and I don't disagree. But Reiff could be accused of doing the same thing he attacked Perdue for in the message.
In the same e-mail he touted yesterday's Civitas numbers showing Moore down by only 5 and used them to declare that 'with two months to go, this race is clearly still wide open.'
It was just two months ago that Reiff sent an email out to the list with a thinly veiled slap at the methodology Civitas uses for its polls:
Many public polls do not screen participants to make sure they are interviewing likely Democratic primary voters or that the total poll sample accurately reflects the demographic and geographic makeup of past elections...Many public polls start by lumping both Democrats and Republicans into one poll. By the time they get to Democrats (let alone likely primary voters) the sample size shrinks dramatically and increases the margin of error. It's not that the poll is wrong per se, just not very precise.
So what Civitas does is flawed, except when it shows Moore closer than everyone else, in which case its results show the race to be 'clearly wide open.' Just like how Richard Moore says the media shouldn't run the results of automated polls, except when one conducted comes out well for his campaign, in which case an email gets sent out about it to the supporters.
It's perfectly normal for campaigns to cherry pick what poll results they tout. It's less normal to issue broadsides throughout the race attacking various polling methodologies and companies. And those criticisms ring pretty hollow when the campaign touts polls conducted using methods it's slammed when the results happen to be better for Moore. It's saying one thing but doing another, and if Jay Reiff thinks it's hypocritical when Perdue does it, I wonder what it is when the Moore campaign does.
Yesterday Ryan Teague Beckwith wrote a reasonable summary of the polling landscape in North Carolina.
Somehow GOP gubernatorial candidate Bob Orr extrapolated that to mean:
None of the polls being run actually poll likely primary voters nor release the sample or weighting given.
That's neither what Ryan said, nor is it true. PPP has always polled likely primary voters and been very transparent about how we derive our sample and what we weight for. In case Mr. Orr has not been paying attention, here's that info:
-Our sample model is based on people who voted in the 2004 or 2006 primaries. We may change that to 2004 primary or 2006 primary or 2006 general if our primary ends up mattering in the Presidential race because turnout in key states has been closer to midterm general election patterns than standard primary patterns. -For Republicans we weight by age and gender. For Democrats we weight by race too but that, um, isn't really necessary for the GOP. Usually too many women and older people respond, so we randomly delete respondents fitting those descriptions so that our poll is as accurate a reflection of the electorate as possible.
Mr. Orr can claim all he wants that the polls are all wrong, but I'm confident enough that he's not going to win the GOP nomination based on our numbers that if he does I'll eat a live cockroach.
PPP is best known for putting out highly accurate polling on key political races across the country, but we also do affordable private research for candidates and organizations. Why pay tens of thousands of dollars for a survey when one of the most reliable companies in the nation can do it for less?"