Friday, June 30, 2006

Political Polling...

With busy months of March and April, I had gotten behind on some reading I like to keep up with and I recently caught a rather-dated item in the Washington Whispers column of June 5 issue of USNews...
GOP Fears in a Bellwether Race

Staffers from the National Republican Congressional Committee are quietly telling GOP House members to prepare for a possible loss in the June 6 special election to fill the seat of Randy "Duke" Cunningham, now in prison for taking bribes. The Southern California district is heavily Republican, but some GOP insiders believe that Democrat Francine Busby will defeat former GOP Rep. Brian Bilbray and go on to win a full term in November. More alarming some worry that a Bilbray defeat could signal the GOP's loss of control of the House. The NRCC has already pumped $3.1 million into the race. "It is becoming more and more likely," says one GOP strategist, "that Bilbray will squeak out a victory." But another longtime Republican operative isn't so sure. "This is a district we should never lose," he says. "It's the stink of Cunningham, and the Bush problem."

So, as we all now know, Bilbray defeated Busby to the tune of 49%-45%. The seat remains in the control of the Republicans and reflects the district.

A couple of questions pop to mind...
*Was the polling that the NRCC used to initially predict a loss so inaccurate that they genuinely believed they were going to lose?
*How much difference did the money differential make in keeping this seat?
*Does this USNWR article amount to political dis-information?

I take it for granted that much of the press is locked into the meme that the Repulicans are in trouble in November. The WaPo article linked to above obviously cannot divorce itself from the idea, even while having to report a Republican win. However, I am finding it increasingly difficult to take polling available to the public very seriously at all. With everyone having an agenda related to the polling, their meaning falls apart.

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