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Monday, December 26, 2005

MT-Sen: As Dem Name Rec Moves Up, Burns Slips

Posted by DavidNYC

Ah, joy! I love it when independent outfits poll my favorites races. Today, we've got a poll on MT-Sen from Mason-Dixon, and it's good news for Dems ("active" voters, May in parens):

Morrison (D): 40 (34)
Burns (R): 46 (49)
Undecided: 14 (17)

Tester (D): 35 (26)
Burns (R): 49 (50)
Undecided: 16 (24)
(MoE: ±4%)

Morrison went from -15 to -6; Tester went from -24 to -14. That's some definite slippage for Burns. Here's the interesting thing: Since the last poll way back in May, Morrison's DK moved down five points, and his total in the head-to-head moved up six. Meanwhile, Tester's DK moved down nine points and his head-to-head score moved up nine. Pretty tight correlation indeed.

If there's any causation (and surely there must be some), then both Dems are in good shape heading into 2006, but especially Tester. Why? His DKs are twice Morrison's - 52% vs. 26%. In other words, Tester has a lot of room to grow. He pulls 35% in a head-to-head with Burns while Morrison gets just 5% more than that, despite being far more well-known.

But obviously, Jon Tester needs help to make that happen - it's never automatic. I know that this is a tough time of year to do fundraising, and that many people have probably already spent plenty of money on gift-giving and charitable giving. But if you do have some scratch left over and are looking for a worthy cause, I strongly encourage you to give to Jon Tester. (Act Blue appears to be down right now, but you can use this link instead if it revives later.) The trendlines of this poll are a solid reason to get behind him.

Posted at 01:42 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Montana | Technorati

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Wow it looks like Morrison really does have a good shot. Let's hope it narrows more as Abramoff starts to unwravel.

Posted by: jkfp2004 [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 26, 2005 02:43 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Morrison's only shot is if Burns is in jail, bar that Morrison will lose.

Tester helped bring about the "Montana Miracle" in 2004 and is the only hope to keep it going in 2006.

Posted by: Bob Brigham [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 26, 2005 04:05 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

I don't know if the data suggests exactly what you think it does, David.

Morrison had a 30 percent positive name reaction and 6 percent negative, with 38 percent neutral and 26 percent of Montana voters not recognizing his name. In May, 22 percent of voters had recognized him favorably, 7 percent negatively, 40 percent neutrally, and 31 percent didn't know his name.

Tester had a 19 percent positive name recognition, 9 percent negative and 20 percent neutral, with 52 percent of Montana voters not recognizing his name. In May, 14 percent of Montana voters recognized his name favorably, 4 percent unfavorably and 21 percent neutrally, while 61 percent didn't recognize his name.

Look at the faves/unfaves. As people get to know Tester, a little more than half of them like him and a little less than half of them don't. As people get to know Morrison, it seems like everyone likes him.

The improvement for Tester versus Morrison that you cite isn't statistically significant. It seems more likely that this is just a generic drop for Burns.

Posted by: Matt Stoller [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 26, 2005 04:29 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Matt: If you are going to say that the difference in improvement against Burns between Morrison and Tester is not "statistically significant," then the small differences in how their name rec increases translated into fave vs. unfave would also be similarly insignificant, no?

The people who newly got to know Tester split about evenly, yes. But it was a 5-5 split (or thereabouts) - we're talking about pretty small shifts. If three points really don't matter, then that could just as well be an 8-2 (or a 2-8).

Posted by: DavidNYC [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 26, 2005 05:07 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Tester and Morrison closed 9 and 10 points, respectively. The MOE is 4. Not significant.

Morrison increased his fave/unfave differential by 9 points. Tester did not increase his fave/unfave at all. Even if you apply max MOE positively for Tester and negative for Morrison, Morrison still gained.

There's room to grow for both of them, with the majority of the electorate being neutral and not having heard of either.

I'm a Tester man, and I would encourage people to throw money his way.

Posted by: Matt Stoller [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 26, 2005 09:50 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

I know the blogs tend not to support moderate democrats. I am usually right on board with them, but you have to examine each race. We did have a miracle in Montana in 2004; this does not mean that Montana is turning into a liberal state. Even Schweizter ran as a moderate and has stayed in the center while in office.

Looking at this poll you can see that republicans are willing to vote for Morrison over Burns, but are less likely to vote for Tester. Morrison vs Burns, 46% farvor Burns. Tester vs. Burns, 49% favor Burns. A 3% difference may not seem like a lot, but it is still early with a lot people undecided. I think it is fair to assume many of those undecided voters are looking for an alternative to Burns; it appears that Morrison is appealing to more of these voters.. Mid term elections don't tend to excite people. We are not going to see a bunch of new voters at the polls. The key for the democratic challenger will be taking votes away from Burns. Tester is not going to be able to do that and the polls are starting show that.

That is why I support Morrison. That and the fact that he is only down by 6 points while Tester is down by 14 points; an important fact that everyone seems quick to down play.

Don't waste your money, donate to Morrison

Posted by: Andy_Duphrane [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 27, 2005 04:42 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Andy: If Tester and Morrison had similar name recognition scores, I'd be willing to consider your analysis. But when you talk about people "wasting" their money by not giving to Morrison, you really make me grit my teeth.

Posted by: DavidNYC [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 27, 2005 04:57 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

I don't intend for anyone to grit their teeth. I just don't see Tester winning the primary. I also don't think he has a chance in a race against Burns. I have worked in a non-partisan position in the last two legislative sessions in Montana. I feel that I have fairly high understanding of the political atmosphere in Montana. I have to talked to a lot of people in both parties about this election. I have to republicans; republicans serving in the legislature, republicans working campaigns, and lobbyist from republican organizations. Each and everyone, without exception, has told me they would prefer that Tester wins the primary. As for the democrats, people that worked in the legislature and people that have blogs seem to support Tester. Average people, people that work outside of politics. The people that stay informed by reading the morning paper and watching the 5 o'clock news. These people seem to overwelmingly support Morrison. These people are the backbone of the state, these are the people you need to support you in order to win. From the begining I wanted one thing, I wanted Burns out of office. I have followed the campaign extremely close, I examined the pros and cons of each candidate. Both candidates are great guys and would do a good job in the United States Senate; but Morrison is the only candidate with a chance to beat Burns. Maybe saying that donating your money to Tester is a waste, is too blunt. I just don't see donations to Tester playing any role in unseating Burns. I don't think there is anyway that Tester will win the primary and if by chance he does; I don't think he can beat Burns.

Posted by: Andy_Duphrane [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 27, 2005 06:29 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Conrad Burns on Jack Abramoff:

"This Abramoff guy is a bad guy, I hope he goes to jail and we never see him again. I wish he'd never been born, to be right honest with you."

Conrad, don't provoke people who are likely to cause legal trouble for you.

Posted by: RBH [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 29, 2005 02:56 AM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment