October 5, 2006

Tom Reynolds Poll Shows No "Foley Effect"

Hatched by Dafydd

Hat tip to Tom Bevan of Real Clear Politics, who mentioned a poll "containing bad news for Tom Reynolds." I followed his link to this poll by 2 On Your Side (an NBC News affilliate, judging by the stupid peacock logo).

Tom had implied that the bad news demonstrated fallout from the Foley Bergere, and I was anxious to see what he was talking about. Because really, for the life of me, I haven't seen any such a thing so far. Here is how Tom Bevan put it in an earlier post:

There's a new AP-Ipsos poll out purporting to show just how badly voters have been turned off to Republicans because of the scandal, but the news story doesn't provide any specifics. But even without specifics, you know Foleygate is taking its toll. I'm told there will be a poll out this evening showing some bad news for Tom Reynolds in New York.

And the actual link came in a later Real Clear Politics post titled "Foley Fallout By the Numbers;" I think it pretty clear what Tom implies.

But the actual poll he links shows no such "Foley effect" at all!

Instead, this is what we see:

  • In an earlier poll conducted on September 28th, Republican incumbent Rep. Tom Reynolds (R-NY, 83%) was ahead of Democrat Tom Davis by 2%, 45% to 43%.
  • But in the poll just released today, Reynolds is now behind by 5%, 45% to 50% for the Democrat, Davis.

Aha, you cry, but doesn't that prove there was a Foley effect after all, Dafydd? Why do you claim there wasn't? Oh... did I forget to mention that in the first poll, there was a third-party candidate?

  • Christine Murphy of the Green Party was on the ballot (and the poll) until two days before the first poll, when she was disqualified; but the pollsters still asked respondents about her anyway. She got 8% in that poll, so it was actually 45% Reynolds, 43% Davis, and 8% Murphy.
  • But for the second poll, they removed Murphy's name... and in that poll, Green-Party Murphy's 8% support disappeared -- and the Democrat saw a 7% increase. At the same time, Tom Reynolds' 45% stayed rock solid.

So the Green Party gal is DQed, and the support she had went instead to the Democrat, not to the fairly conservative Republican. And this shows what, exactly? That people who support the Green Party are more likely to vote Democrat than Republican when their candidate is disqualified.

It also shows something else. Reynolds was one of the principals in the Foley imbroglio; he was the second guy told about the e-mails (which you can read here -- which puts you one up on Reynolds, who never actually saw them); and Reynolds discussed the situation with aides to Speaker Denny Hastert (R-IL, 100%). Reynolds has been attacked, viciously and personally, by New York Democrats as the focus of evil in the whole Foley affair. If anyone was to be impacted by this, it would be Reynolds... who was already in trouble electorally, limping along with 45% in a race where he should have held a comfortable majority, especially with a leftist spoiler.

And yet his numbers haven't budged. He's now trailing, but only because the spoiler is gone; and she was disqualified long before this scandal broke, so it has nothing to do with Foley.

The NBC affilliate claims ignorance about the cause of Davis' increase in the latest poll:

It is not clear how much of the swing is due to Murphy's removal and how much is due to the involvement of Reynolds in the events surrounding former Representative Mark Foley.

But this is disingenuous, because the internals of their own poll make it clear:

Last week, 20% of Idependents [sic] voted for the Green candidate. Those votes now go disproportionately to the Democrat.

The real problem for Reynolds is one that I think he might be able to fix. In this Republican-leaning district -- it went for Bush over Kerry by 12% in 2004 and for Bush over Gore by 7% in 2000 -- Reynolds beat Jack Davis two years ago by 56% to 44%; but this year, he's pulling only 68% of the Republican vote, compared to Davis' 79% of the Democratic vote.

27% of district Republicans say they will vote for Davis, not Reynolds. This must have been pretty similar in the last poll as well, since Reynolds' total support is unchanged. (It's risible to suppose that a bundle of Republicans swung to Davis since the last poll -- and the same number of Democrats swung to Reynolds!)

All Reynolds needs to do to win is bring the Republicans home, from 68% to, say, 83% or better. If he does that, he leaps into the lead with (I reckon) about 53%... and that's good enough for a win.

But in any event, whatever may happen in the future, for the moment, there is no indication of any measurable Foley effect on this race.

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, October 5, 2006, at the time of 11:58 PM

Trackback Pings

TrackBack URL for this hissing: http://biglizards.net/mt3.36/earendiltrack.cgi/1315

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Tom Reynolds Poll Shows No "Foley Effect":

» 米共和党:スキャンダルで支持がた落ちと思いきや、、、 from In the Strawberry Field
アメリカの世論調査を集計しているリアルポリティクス(Real Clear Politics)のジョン·マッケンタイヤー(John Mcintyre)の分析によると、わいせつメールスキャンダルは確かにブッシュ大統... [Read More]

Tracked on October 7, 2006 5:26 PM


The following hissed in response by: Terrye


I saw Bill Kristol on Psecial Report last night and he also said that he did not think this would really impact the race. I don't either, people are a lot more concerned about the war and the price of gas. In fact in terms of Washington sex scandals, this is not exactly the first time we have been through something this stupid.

A friend of mine said he thought some conservatives in the GOP were using this to get rid of Hastert because they don't like him anyway. Especially people in Congress who might want his job.

The above hissed in response by: Terrye [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 6, 2006 3:18 AM

The following hissed in response by: OCPatriot

Explain why Bush's poll numbers are dropping, please. Explain why Charlie Cook has written:

[T]he Cook Political Report now rates three Republican House seats as leaning toward the Democrats, plus 25 more in the toss-up column. There are no longer any Democratic seats at comparable levels of vulnerability. Fifteen more GOP seats are in the lean-Republican column, bringing the total number of GOP seats in competitive races to 43 (including the three in the lean-Democratic category), with 16 more in the likely Republican column -- not clearly competitive today but worth watching if things remain bad or get worse for Republicans.

On the Senate side, Republicans now have seven seats in the toss-up column, which is one more than Democrats need to gain a majority. Democrats have one seat in the toss-up column, in New Jersey, where appointed Sen. Robert Menendez is locked in a very tight battle. Incumbents Conrad Burns of Montana and Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania remain the two most-endangered Republicans, followed by George Allen of Virginia, Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island and Mike DeWine of Ohio. In Missouri, Jim Talent may be in a tiny bit less danger. Then there is the open seat in Tennessee, where Democratic Rep. Harold Ford Jr. is running at least even with former Chattanooga Mayor Bob Corker (R) in current polls.

It is no longer far-fetched to see how Democrats could win six Republican seats, or even seven -- which would be necessary for them to gain a majority if they lose one of their own seats...

Four weeks is a lifetime in politics and the tide still could shift. But for Republicans to salvage their majorities in the House and Senate, quite a bit would have to change.

The above hissed in response by: OCPatriot [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 10, 2006 5:23 PM

The following hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh


Four weeks is a lifetime in politics and the tide still could shift. But for Republicans to salvage their majorities in the House and Senate, quite a bit would have to change.

Quite a bit did change. Yesterday. You should have been more attentive, rather than groping blindly for a way to dismiss it as merely a Bush failure.


The above hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 10, 2006 5:37 PM

Post a comment

Thanks for hissing in, . Now you can slither in with a comment, o wise. (sign out)

(If you haven't hissed a comment here before, you may need to be approved by the site owner before your comment will appear. Until then, it won't appear on the entry. Hang loose; don't shed your skin!)

Remember me unto the end of days?

© 2005-2009 by Dafydd ab Hugh - All Rights Reserved