Foley poll-ution

Electoral Vote Predictor has the first poll in the Florida district once represented by Rep. Mark Foley.

RT Strategies did the poll. Now, you have to remember that Foley is still on the ballot. So in order to be able to vote for his Republican replacement, you actually have to pull the lever — or mark an X, or remove the chad, or send an Instant Message… whatever the heck they do down in the Fightin’ 16th — for Mark Foley.

RT Strategies tried to deal with this by running two polls, one a straight choice of Foley vs. Democrat Tim Mahoney and one in which they explained the situation. In the former, Mahoney led 50% to 43%. In the latter, Mahoney still led, but now only by 49% to 46%. We will put the latter one in the data base on the assumption that by November, most of the voters will know the scoop. Either way, this looks like a pickup for the Democrats.

Meanwhile, Zogby is out with polls in his battleground districts, according to a forwarded story to me by Mike Mulcahy today, from Reuters.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Democrats lead in races for 11 of 15 crucial Republican-held U.S. House seats a month before Nov. 7 elections, putting them within reach of seizing control of the chamber, according to Reuters/Zogby polls released Wednesday. Republican incumbents are at particularly high risk, the polls found, with seven of nine trailing their Democratic challengers in the high-stakes battle for control of the U.S. Congress.

I believe the Minnesota 6th was in this group but I haven’t found the breakout on that yet. No indication of it. Wetterling is one of the Dems trailing — but near or within the margin of error, Reuters says.

Worth noting, however, that the results for Rep. Chris Shays (R-CT.) were flipped from a UConn (I think it was UConn) poll taken over the same period. Poll buyer beware.

* * *

In a generic ballot poll (meaningless, we know), CNN shows an 11% lead for the generic Democratic congressional candidate over the generic Republican candidate. This is one taken while the Foley scandal was brewing. That is slightly more than a poll (from Diageo) a week earlier, but four points less than a generic poll (from CBS) in mid-September, and 6 points less than the biggest Democratic lead according to a poll (from the Washington Post) lalast January.

Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal and NBC are out with a poll today showing 41% think more favorable of Democrat House control as a result of the scandal, 18% think more favorably of Republicans (huh?) and 35% say the poll is having no effect.

Of course the question itself is one of the stupidest ones I’ve seen in polling in awhile since it really doesn’t tell you anything. The 41% who think more favorably of Democrat control, and 18% of those who feel more favorable about Republican control of Congress may already have been Democrat and Republican voters to begin with.

That didn’t stop the WSJ this morning (free content) from blaring that the fallout from the scandal “is obvious.”

Charlie Cook, on the other hand, expects a turning point in momentum not only because of the Foley scandal, but also because of the leaked intelligence report on Iraq.

Hey! Foley sure knocked that story to the back pages, eh?

Sorry Bob Woodward.

  • The story, it seems to me, is that Democrats need 15 seats to pick up the majority and they are at +11 right now (discounting any of the 2-4 potential GOP pickups). In other words, the headline could be what Reuters picked: “Democrats in reach of House control” OR it could be “Democrats still short of House control”. Considering 11 seats is way below the numbers the punditocracy has been predicting for about 3 months, that seems to be the noteworthy story here.

    I am not defending Zogby’s numbers. They’re still crap if history is any guide. I am ripping Reuter’s headline about Zogby’s results.

    Frankly, I think the Foley story could be the tipping point on another 6-8 races (but MN-6 won’t be one of them).

  • MR


    If the number of seats predicted to be gained is trending up, then I feel like the original headline is a legit headline because it implies that. If the number of seats predicted to be gained is holding steady or trending down, then your suggested headline is better.

  • MR,

    I don’t disagree.

    I was simply trying to make the point that “waves” don’t happen without more actual Democrats beating more actual Republicans in actual congressional districts. The Reuter’s story would indicate that is happening, but well below the levels we have been told to expect since mid-summer.

    Wave-like numbers may yet materialize, but these aren’t them.