Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Kissell up for reelection

Larry Kissell could have a tough fight for reelection this fall but only if Harold Johnson wins next week's Republican runoff to be his general election opponent. Kissell leads Johnson just 41-35 in a hypothetical contest, while his advantage expands to 48-26 in a match up against Tim D'Annunzio.

The various controversies that have cropped up around D'Annunzio over the last six weeks have been devastating for his poll numbers. 39% of voters say their opinion of him has become more negative over the last month while just 10% say they now hold more positive feelings about him. Overall 38% have an unfavorable opinion of him now compared to just 19% with a favorable one. And only 25% think he's fit to hold public office while 41% think he is not.

Kissell's seen a steep decline in his approval numbers since PPP last polled the district in January. Then he was at a positive 45/30 spread, now he's at a negative 30/39 spread. The decline has come across partisan lines but has been most dramatic with Democrats. What was a +37 approval at 58/21 is now just +7 at 40/33, a drop of 30 points. With Republicans he's gone from -14 at 28/42 to -33 at 15/48 for a drop of 19 points. And with independents he's gone from +3 at 40/37 to -9 at 31/40 for a 12 point drop.

At this point a third party bid from Wendell Fant actually works to Kissell's benefit, likely because voters haven't heard anything from Fant yet and don't know what his angle is. When he's included in a three way match Kissell gets 40% to 30% for Johnson and 14% for Fant. Fant actually gets slightly more Republican support at 12% than he does Democratic support at 11%.

Although there's no doubt Kissell's health care vote has eroded enthusiasm for him with the Democratic base it appears to largely be a wash politically. With voters who can correctly identify that he opposed the bill he leads Johnson 42-35. Among those who erroneously think he supported it he's up 45-42. As much attention as Kissell's vote has received, still only 46% of voters know that he voted against it with 31% thinking he was in favor and 22% not making a guess.

No matter what happens next Tuesday Kissell is favored for a second term but the outcome of the GOP runoff will determine how hard he needs to work for it.

Full results here


Anonymous said...

What a choice for Republicans in this district! In the runoff, I can vote for either the carpetbagger or the nutjob. Then I have to decide whether I can vote for Kissell in the general: true, he voted against ObamaCare and cap-&-trade, but he's a guaranteed vote for Pelosi's return as Speaker if the Dems hold the House.

What to do, what to do?

DBLasdon said...

I'm perplexed that you didn't poll the run-off between Johnson and D'Annuzio. if D'Annuzio wins Kissell is safe, but if not it could flip.

Anonymous said...

Makes sense that an "Independent" on any ballot would pull more Republican votes than Democratic in this political environment. Of course, SEIU could always empty their coffers to ensure folks know that "Independent" in this bizarre case is actually pronounced "Youn-Yun" candidate, but that will just defeat their nefarious goals even more in this state.

I love the irony.

wt said...

Fant is the candidate being put forward by the left-wing North Carolina Families(?) First party.

A poll indicating him pulling more GOP support than Dem support is, unfortunately, not very useful.

Anonymous said...

Tom, you are plain and simply biased! Kissell is at 41% against a not well known yet Republican opponent and you call him "likely to win re-election".... Can't wait for you to call Vitter (R) tomorrow "highly vulnerbale"....

Dustin Ingalls said...

"I'm perplexed that you didn't poll the run-off between Johnson and D'Annuzio."

We did. Those numbers are forthcoming. We spread our releases out over several days for each poll because we poll on so many questions stuff gets lost if you release it all at once.

"A poll indicating him pulling more GOP support than Dem support is, unfortunately, not very useful."

It just shows the futility of the effort.

Anonymous said...

Anon at 11:11:

Which "not well known" Republican opponent are you referring to exactly?

The one that's already spent $1.3 million on advertising, or the one that spent 26 years on TV in the largest media market in the District?

Sounds like you're the one that's biased here.

Anonymous said...

@other anonymous, any incumbent polling at 41% is highly vulnerable! Period.

wt said...

@Dustin Ingalls

If there's a way to inform voters in an even-handed way where these third-party candidates lie, maybe it can help make the results more meaningful.

"Mr. Fant's potential candidacy is being supported by the Service Employees' International Union, in part as a response to Mr. Kissell's vote against the Obama healthcare bill in March."

Obviously not perfect, but if there is a way to describe without biasing the results, I would think a premier organization like PPP would be able to develop it.

Anonymous said...

WT, your suggestion of such an "informed" polling question at this stage is the epitome of biased polling. The ballot won't say anything but INDEPENDENT - Not that he's really a Democrat, not that he's a nice guy, not where he goes to church, not his race, not where he got his filing fee, etc. (See Alvin Greene for details.)

Thus, should he choose to accept his fake party's nomination, it's Wendell Fant's job to come up with the filing fee, form a committee and raise millions of dollars cold calling strangers in order to spend it on advertising saying he's really a liberal backed by Unions hiding under an Independent label.

THEN, when PPP tracks the same unbiased question they already asked, maybe things will shift a point or two. Because after all, Fant won't be targeting Republicans with his mailers. So they'll still think he's really "Independent" (read "not a Union plant"), merely shifting votes from Johnson and helping Kissell in the end regardless.

Anonymous said...

It might be a good idea to let some of us, not so politically astute, non-North Carolinian folks out here know a little bit more about who and what you're referring to in your posts. Yeah, I figured it out quick enough, but I had to scratch my head a few times before I did. Larry Kissell...Harold Johnson...Tim D'Annunzio...HUH?...WHO? Congressmen? Senators? Governors? What state? Give us a clue - okay? Thanks!

wt said...

@Anonymous 1:47

Sure, no statement will be like that on the ballot, but does that mean no poll at this stage could ever be valuable? Could any accurate statement of who Fant is not bias the poll?

My point is that a poll where people don't know anything of Fant is not useful to predict what will happen on election day, since between now and then, he will promote his candidacy and some amount of voters will hear his platform.

So either we find a way to let people know Fant's viewpoints (just as we mention other candidates' parties in surveys) or we have a poll with very little value, and, paraphrasing Dustin Ingalls, approaching futility.

Anonymous said...

wt, this poll tells you what voters know and think as of early June - over 3 days in early June to be exact. That's very meaningful.

Want to see the future? So do I, but you'll have to wait along with the rest of us as tracking continues.

The kind of informed testing you're describing is probably being done by all the campaigns right now along with all kinds of message testing. That costs money, it's rarely for public consumption, and frankly it's not that meaningful, newsworthy or even interesting.

Anonymous said...

Fant won't be on the ballot as "independent". He will be on as "unaffiliated."

Anonymous said...

If Fant is on the ballot at all, it might as well be with a "P" by his name for Puppet.

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