| SurveyUSA (9/7-9, likely voters, 7/27-29 in parens):
Darcy Burner (D): 44 (44)
Dave Reichert (R-inc): 54 (50)
A nice bump for Reichert, but what accounts for it? Given SUSA's crosstabs gone haywire in North Carolina, could we be seeing something similar in these results -- sparked in part, perhaps, by the Republican convention? Not that I can tell. The age, ethnicity, and party affiliation sample breakdowns are very similar to SUSA's July poll, and this most recent poll actually sees a slight uptick in female voters -- a group that breaks narrowly for Burner. Male voters, on the other hand, are flocking to Sheriff Dave by a wide 61-38 margin.
The most funky portion of the crosstabs? Voters under 35 support Reichert over Burner by a 16-point margin. Young voters going ga-ga for Republican incumbents and candidates is something we've seen quite often in many SUSA polls (especially ones from Minnesota), so it seems reasonable to find flaws with their voter screen here.
On another note, over at Pollster.com, Momentum Analysis' Margie Omero has a blog post well worth reading on Roll Call's recent controversial batch of SurveyUSA polls. I don't mean to dump on SUSA all of a sudden -- overall, I find that they produce quality work -- but her critique is well worth considering. I would also like to draw special attention to one paragraph in particular:
First, there's more to judging survey quality than whether it was conducted internally or by an independent third party. But second, and perhaps more important, Congressional handicappers should rely on more than a single poll's results to judge a race's viability.
Well said. Too often we see people reflexively dismiss internal polling, as if the very nature of a partisan-commissioned poll deems the whole project untrustworthy. And it's also been too easy for some people to stake their entire analysis of a race on a single poll without attempting to get a more holistic sense of the dynamics of that particular contest.
SSP currently rates WA-08 as a Tossup.