Thursday, June 17, 2010

Context on Etheridge Poll

The right is predictably giddy about a new poll showing Bob Etheridge trailing Renee Ellmers 39-38 for reelection.

It reminds me of a poll we did immediately after Joe Wilson's 'you lie' incident. He was trailing challenger Rob Miller 44-43. But with the passage of time SC-2 has not really emerged as a competitive seat for this fall, even though the amount of money Miller raised off that incident likely dwarfed what Ellmers is going to be able to do. If you do a poll immediately after something like this has been all over the news for a few days you are liable to get numbers that show a misleadingly close race. It may end up that Etheridge really is vulnerable this fall, but I am skeptical. We'll have a much better idea of where he really stands in polls taken after this story's media cycle runs out.

If anything this strikes me as Etheridge's low water mark. If he's only down by a point after what will certainly be the worst week of the campaign for him he'll probably be fine this fall even if his winning margin might not match some of the lopsided victories he's posted in his last few campaigns. I'm sure we'll poll it when a little more time has passed.

37 comments:

Anonymous said...

Interesting that you have to give context to every poll that shows a Dem Rep. in NC in trouble....

Anonymous said...

You just won't notice the obvious difference, Joe Wilson is in very friendly territory, Etheridge is in somewhat hostile territory, the only reason why he got elected easily is because of his good image, now that image is shattered! Tom, just don't be biased or disillusioned and compare apples to watermelons.

Anonymous said...

Hmmm... Did George Allen recover from his macaca comments? Etheridge is in a not-so-friendly-to-Dems district.

Anonymous said...

You're totally missing the point. Wilson's district is overwhelmingly Republican at a Presidential level and Wilson is a Republican.

Etheridge is a Democrat, and his district is very Republican at a Presidential level.

You screw up in a district like this, you lose, particularly in a wave year.

Bob B said...

Your analysis fails to recongnize Wilsom made a comeback consistant with the general Republican trend of the last year. Also, the primary attack against him was from Democrats - for being rude to a Democrat. There appears to be no Democrat trend that will save hime and the criticism against Etheridge appears to be non-partisan, though that may change if the kids attacked turn out to be Republican activists.

Anonymous said...

Bob: WHO ARE YOU? WHO ARE YOU?

Student: (in bear hug) Well Bob, a second ago I was just a student. Now I'm the guy who, in self defense, is going to knee you in the sack till you puke blood - you psycho!

Tom Jensen said...

Etheridge's 'very Republican' at the Presidential level district went for Barack Obama by 5 points.

Anonymous said...

Going for Barack Obama by 5 pts after being consistently Republican just shows that you can't compare Wilson to Etheridge! Wilson is in safe territory! Etheridge sure isn't in "safe" territory, just maybe not in overall very hostile territory.

Anonymous said...

Tom, sometimes you're allowed to admit that partisanship colors things in the way you want to think.... Admit, that these 2 district aren't comparable.

Anonymous said...

Tom - I'm curious. Does any other polling firm spend as much time providing "context" for other polls as you do?

Your "context" in the NC-11 poll is particularly interesting. Are you suggesting, implying, or even admitting -- using the same standard you used in that post -- that neither Cunningham or Marshall are strong challengers?

Trevor said...

You're nuts! The Joe Wilson "You lie!" incident is not a very apt comparison to the Bob Etheridge assault incident. Joe Wilson rudely yelling "You lie!" at Obama was likely to incense Democrats, but conversely the same action was likely to please anti-Obama Republicans, as proven by his huge influx of campaign donations after the incident. Bob Etheridge's assault of a college student is an equal opportunity offending incident, so he is going to lose support from voters on BOTH sides of the aisle. I predict his ratings continue to slide and he winds up losing the election.

Tom Jensen said...

When Bob Etheridge and Heath Shuler lose y'all are welcome to come rub it in my face. Richard Burr is not ahead by 12 in the polls against Elaine Marshall.

wt said...

Assault-gate is definitely going to have legs in a macaca kind of way, rather than the "you lie" type of passion that slowly fizzled after the censure.

I mean, just the title "assault-gate" doesn't sound like it's easy to overcome; being on film doesn't help much.

Anonymous said...

With the Bob Etheridge story, he might have a chance to lose even if the Republican wave doesn't get bigger, but lose b/c of incident, but if Heath Shuler loses, Republicans pick up 80 seats. Don't think that Shuler loses but Etheridge sure can even to an unknown.

Anonymous said...

Tom - thanks for the response, but you ignored the question. I'm not even talking about the Shuler (or Etheridge) race, aside from the standard you applied in your "contextual analysis" of someone else's poll.

Your post on Shuler referred to where he was polling AT THIS POINT IN THE RACE... +4, according to your poll, at 46-42, and that THOSE numbers (your emphasis, actually) indicated where a strong challenger should be.

Again: If Shuler was a strong challenger leading by 4, are Marshall (-7) and Cunningham (-11) not strong challengers?

I gather, according to the Raleigh N&O, that you are working for one of those candidates. Is it safe to say that your "Burr is not ahead by 12" comment means you are working for Marshall?

And if Burr is not ahead of Marshall by 12, why no "contextual analysis" of Rasmussen's poll that shows him leading her by 14? Would it be difficult to reconcile the differences between the two firms on the Marshall question, when both seem to agree on the spread between Burr and Cunningham?

Tom Jensen said...

When have I ever said I think Richard Burr's going to lose? I think he's clearly very weak, I think it's going to be a single digit race but if I had to put money down I'd certainly put it on Burr. (Of course I would have done the same for Dole at this point 2 years ago so who knows.)

I think the entire NC Congressional delegation will be reelected this fall.

Anonymous said...

Tom, IF Cunningham wins primary, does it mean no more polls on race till November because you're working for him, or you'll still poll it?

Anonymous said...

Well, you can't compare Burr to Dole, so far Burr didn't have an "Atheist" screw up.

Anonymous said...

Barring any Joe Barton-esque comments, Burr will be re-elected, Joe Barton will for sure be re-elected anyway in his case.

Anonymous said...

Tom, your overlooking some huge facts and huge differences in the situations here. Joe Wilson is a Republican in a strongly Republican district. Bob Etheridge is a Democrat in a Republican leaning (R+2) district that has voted for HCR, Cap and Trade, and the stimulus, all of which are unpopular in the district. With this incident, he has given Renee Ellmers an opening to raise money and get institutional support, so she can get her message and his record out. THAT may be the more damaging part, rather than just the assault.

Anonymous said...

You're spending a lot of time trying to explain away other firms' polls these days...

Planning to give up polling entirely and just spin full time?

Tom Jensen said...

You whiny conservatives are more than welcome to go post on some other blogs if you don't like what I have to say. You could get the Civitas blog up over 5 comments a week!

Anonymous said...

Tom, nobody is whiny here, and not everyone that disagreed with this post is conservative, and we love your posts and won't go away so fast.....

herbs814 said...

NC-2 is R+2. Republicans are leading in the generic congressional ballot by historic proportions (on both Gallup and Rasmussen).

Etheridge and the Dems are already outpunting their coverage.

Anonymous said...

Attorney remembers his own run-in with Congressman Bob Etheridge in 1996:

"He doesn't like to be pressed," he said. "He's kind of a bully."

http://www.thepilot.com/news/2010/jun/18/former-resident-recalls-run-in-with-etheridge/

Shadrach said...

When November rolls around, Etheridge will win, albeit with a reduced majority. If the Republicans really were so confident about winning this seat, they wouldn't be on this blog going off on rants. The district has only elected 1 Republican in over in the last century, one who only served one term. The R+2 doesn't really mean a thing, since Presidential elections don't always mirror Congressional ones. And polls don't equal election results, right-wingers would be wise to remember that.

wt said...

I am a whiny conservative who doesn't want to talk to other whiny conservatives; I want to talk to you about how whiney I am.

In the long run, spicy debates are healthy for a blog's comments setion, and force us both to be more careful and precise with our arguments.

I wouldn't discourage them, unless they're hateful or threatening (but even those comments you've been quite generously allowing lately!)

NRH said...

You do have moderation turned on, so if you think people aren't contributing to the debate you can easily decline to allow their comments through. Then they'll either go whining on their right-wing extremist blogs about how unfair PPP is (which they're doing anyhow, so no change there) or they'll actually start providing meaningful comments. Quoting Mr. Narrative-Creator Rasmussen (24 point lead for Rand Paul in Kentucky that mysteriously vanishes a week later in the face of other, more reputable polls? Pretty clumsy and obvious, Ras...) is hardly adding to the conversation.

Anonymous said...

@NRH, It's normal for a candidate that has a massive primary victory to have a big bounce in the polls after wards and also to implode after a series of huge gaffes, so you can't blame Rasmussen on that one.

Anonymous said...

Tom, why here after being down by 1 pt after a bad week don't you think that Etheridge is in trouble, but when Kirk is only down one point after 2 terrible weeks, you make a big issue about it? So maybe you're right on this point on both places and both Etheridge and Kirk will win easily.

Tom Jensen said...

I must have missed where Mark Kirk had won 7 previous Senate elections by generally overwhelming margins. Not a valid comparison.

Anonymous said...

Some bounce, yes, but when the pre-primary polls show a tight head-to-head between the two candidates who ended up winning (both with impressive primary victories), and then other polling immediately after the primary still shows a tight race, and the pollster who shows a blowout has a history of showing multiple uncorroborated large Republican leads that vanish, but never matching Democratic surges, then it's a little harder to completely absolve the errant pollster of blame. Rasmussen likes setting narratives and trying to drive the direction of races early, then doing legitimate polls later on or when his skewed results are shown up (as happened in the Rand Paul case).

Anonymous said...

Tom, you have a good point! But a partial comparison can be made that being down by 1 point after 2 horrible weeks, could mean very likely winning by a few points after routine campaign weeks.

Anonymous said...

@Anonymous, The Rasmussen Rand Paul poll was the only one taken before his huge implosion on TV, Rasmussen also had one poll right after the PA primary that gave a huge bounce to Sestak.

herbs814 said...

@Anonymous, the Rasmussen poll showing Sestak up by 4 was followed by a Rasmussen poll showing Toomey up by 7. When Sestak's bounce falls away, he trails Toomey.

Anonymous said...

Until the Etheridge debacle I was on the fence watching our Idiocracy in action, not caring to be involved. But now, Etheridge’s hostile territory has extended beyond his district. I am a spectator no more. After all this time, I’m still very chagrined about Etheridge’s actions and behavior.

Anonymous said...

It's a shame somebody hasn't come up with Republican AIDS ...

 
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