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ID-01: Internal Poll Shows Sali Retaining Steep Negatives

by: James L.

Tue Aug 07, 2007 at 11:40 PM EDT


The race to fill Republican Butch Otter's open seat in Idaho's first district was one of my favorite stories to write about last year.  In what is now a campfire legend, Bill "Brain Fade" Sali rode a wave of bad press for his asinine antics and bad reputation in the Idaho state legislature to a spectacularly dismal 49-46 victory over Democrat Larry Grant last November.  (And when Bush carries your district with 68% of the vote, no self-respecting Republican candidate has any business performing that badly.)

However, aside from being the handmaiden of his campaign benefactors, the economic regressives at the Club For Growth, Sali has kept a mostly low profile in the House this year.  So one might expect that Sali's high negatives have softened over the past eight months, right?  Well, maybe not, if you believe the latest polling. 

Via The Hill and New West comes news of a new poll conducted by Greg Smith and Associates showing Sali with some serious baggage ("voters", July 11-13):

Bill Sali (R-inc.)
Favorable: 29
Unfavorable: 46
No Opinion: 13
Unaware: 12
MoE: ±5.3%

Just dismal.  And how does Larry Grant fare, the rematch candidate who commissioned the poll?

Larry Grant (D)
Favorable: 28
Unfavorable: 13
No Opinion: 29
Unaware: 30
MoE: ±5.3%

So, despite losing a close race and feeling the full fury of the National Republican Congressional Committee and the Club For Growth (who spent $483,000 and $441,000 smearing Grant's name, respectively, in the closing weeks of the campaign), Grant walks away with only a 13% disapproval rating, while 59% of the district's voters either do not recognize his name or have no opinion of him either way.  Losing a House race, it would seem, does not earn one a great deal of meaningful name recognition.

While Sali has not shaken off his negatives, it is difficult not to mention that this district had little problem re-electing the late Congresswoman Helen Chenoweth despite her own psychedelically nutty reputation.  It seems that Sali still has yet to endear himself in the same way, though.

PS: You might remember the Boise-based Smith & Associates firm as the curators of a startling poll last fall showing Sali's support evaporating while the rest of his Republican colleagues were in solid shape.

James L. :: ID-01: Internal Poll Shows Sali Retaining Steep Negatives
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the west really is changing
idaho might elect a new dem conrgessman AND senator in 08.  we almost won wyoming, if gov freudenthal runs for the new senate race we could win that, colorado, arizona, nevada if gov gibbons stays as unpopular as he is  now, with the exception of Romney land (I mean Utah) we might start making gains in the west other than the coast!  this is really exciting stuff.

Top ten signs you're an SSPer #1: your favorite song is "Panic At Tedisco" and no one understands what you mean.

Maybe.
Don't hold your breath on electing a Democratic Senator from Idaho. Freudenthal isn't going to run for the Senate, period. The reason he's as popular as he is now is because he's gone against the Democratic Party on a lot of issues. Colorado has done well in the last three years, but we'll see what it does in 2008 (in both the Senate and Presidential races). I don't really know what you're referring to with Arizona. And there is another three years before Gibbons has to face voters--plus, he's really not all *that* unpopular.

The possibility of making gains in the West is certainly there, but there's a large difference between a litany of unlikely circumstances and real success.


[ Parent ]
i was referring to
the two seats we picked up in arizona.  as for the west, while i don't believe it'll suddenly turn overnight, i think the states west of, and including, the line that goes down from north dakota to texas, are going to be a lot bluer over the next few decades.

Top ten signs you're an SSPer #1: your favorite song is "Panic At Tedisco" and no one understands what you mean.

Perhaps.
AZ-05 had more to do with the GOP opponent than anything else. I'll give you the other one.

As for the "next few decades", I think the liberal blogosphere has a real problem of short-sightedness. 2006 was a banner year for the Democrats; 2008 is shaping up to be similar, though it may not be as strong depending on who the nominee is. After that, the political environment will be so fundamentally different, I don't know how you guys can honestly think that things will continue down the same path.

Its the same thing when there were posts on MyDD about possibly reaching 60 or 67 Senate seats by 2010. 2010, of course, will be the midterms for the next President. If that President is a Democrat, all of recent history (with the exception of 2002, thanks to 9/11) suggests that the party in the White House will lose seats in Congress.

The Democratic Party has made a lot of gains in the last three years, but those numbers have been from independents and soft Republicans who cannot in good conscience support President Bush. And while it is a stretch to make Bush a political issue in 2008, as he's leaving office, its a downright impossibility to do the same in 2010 and beyond. Without running against Bush, the national political environment that the Democrats have absolutely relied on to win will be different. Will it continue to benefit Democrats? Maybe, but there's no way to say for sure. The Republican Revolution lasted for 12 years, but I imagine there were Republicans in 1995 who were saying the same thing, that "in the next few decades, a lot more states will be turning red".


[ Parent ]
Heh
Lemme guess, WI-08 also had more to do with the opponent than anything else, right? In any event, it's hard to argue that Harry Mitchell was a very strong candidate, being a state senator and former mayor of Tempe.

And the reaching 60 post was a goal, not a likelyhood. In '05, it started with us thinking "sure, we'll win 1-2 seats, but we gotta wait for '08". The math for '08 and '10 are looking very good for us, and as you know, Republicans cannot win in Democratic turf, but Democrats can win in Republican turf. '08 is being fought in 4 blue states, and if retirement comes in VA, it will be a pickup, in MS, a pickup, and NE, if Kerrey runs a likely pickup. You've got a corrupt senator in AK, opening the possibilities there, and you've got the waning prospects of Domenici. We've got the unpopular Inhofe and Cornyn, as well as Dole and McConnell.

I'm not saying that we're going to get 60 in '08 (and of course, the question of whether Lieberman is actually a Democrat comes up here), but thank you Republicans, you've definitely made it a huge possibility.

We seriously targetted 8 states in '06, and won 6 of them, including 2(3) retirements of our own. We can easily target 12 possible states, and hope that we get a similar result.


[ Parent ]
My mistake
I meant AZ-08, not AZ-05.

The math in '08 looks good for the Democrats, no doubt about it. I wouldn't say the same for 2010, especially since it depends so much on the political environment, which will not be the same as it is in 2007. And it definately doesn't look good in 2012.

'08 is being fought in six seats: CO, NH, ME, MN, OR, and LA. I disagree that VA is automatically a pick-up. First, Mark Warner has to run, and second, he has to beat Tom Davis. I disagree that MS is a pick-up, because Chip Pickering has been laying the groundwork for a statewide shot for six years now. I don't think that Kerrey will run, but even if he does, I don't think he would beat Mike Johanns.


[ Parent ]
On Virginia
Warner would beat Davis easily.  He left office with a job approval and favorability rating of over 70 percent.  And Davis may not even get the nomination.  Its quite possible the nominee will be chosen by convention so that a more conservative nominee is chosen.  If its open, Warner will run and win and it won't be close.

www.trublupolitics.com

[ Parent ]
I'm from Virginia. You don't need to tell me this.
Despite Warner's favorability, he wouldn't neccesarily defeat Tom Davis, and he sure as hell wouldn't do so easily.

Look at the only time Mark Warner won statewide: he outspent his opponent 2:1, and won unusually large amounts in rural Virginia while keeping a lock on Northern Virginia. He was also running after the disastrous term of Jim Gilmore.

In a potential VA SEN match-up, Warner wouldn't be able to outspend Davis as easily. Since it would be a federal race, Warner would have to take a position on issues that would distance himself from voters he won in 2001. And Tom Davis, who currently has a good approval rating himself, would cut into his support in Northern Virginia.

I'm not saying Warner would lose, but by no means would it be a guaranteed pick-up.

Plus there's always the chance that Mark Warner passes on the race.


[ Parent ]
See the number grow
Kaine III said,
"We seriously targetted 8 states in '06, and won 6 of them, including 2(3) retirements of our own. We can easily target 12 possible states, and hope that we get a similar result."

The timing of the targetting isn't included here. Early on the Democrats were looking at targetting Chaffey in RI, Santorum in PA, Howsoonweforget in OH, noTalent in MO,  Burns in MT, Frist's open seat in TN, and Kyl in AZ.

Then Webb emerged against Allen and we added VA to the target list.

Some of us had hopes that Jack Carter could also make a race against Ensign in NV, but that campaign never caught fire.

Now Unabridged says,
"'08 is being fought in six seats: CO, NH, ME, MN, OR, and LA."

By that count, Democrats are looking to pick up five seats and hold one.

But is there another late starter, another Webb in VA type race? We hope so, and we kow there's still plenty of time.

Indeed, resignations could open up races in VA (lean Dem), the other seat in LA (yes, the diapers could still hit the fan), and up in AK.

Indeed, with all the negative press, surely AK has to be the Democrats' list of seriously contested races already.

"Freudenthal isn't going to run for the Senate, period." I would have agreed a few months back, when the incumbents were longtimers and Gov Dave had good working relationships with them. But how could he not be thinking it over under the changed circumstances? If he does not run, Gary Trauner could decide to go for broke. To me it has to be easier for a Democrat to win one of two open seats than to win the one and only. Disaffected Repubs might want to spank their party, but not betray it, and a one-for, one-against option then works in our favor. So WY is maybe a longshot at this point, but longer than Jim Webb against Allen more than a year before the election?

In OK, Inhofe may be the most Allen-like of the Repub incumbents, prone to a Macaca moment that will reveal his nuttiness and ugliness and bust open that race too.

In Texas, the Democratic Party has been showing real fight, winning two high-profile House races with Lampson and Ciro Rodriguez, and picking up six or seven seats in the Lege. The Hispanic bloc seems to have ended it flirtation with the Repubs, bringing home a core constituency for the Dems. Now two good candidates want to run against Cornyn. And even in Texas, voters seem to be feeling some buyer's remorse over Bush, Cheney, and their enablers. We have a chance.

In NM, all the momentum are belong to us. Remember the rules of physics often seem to apply to politics. Objects at rest tend to remain at rest, and objects in motion tend to remain in motion. Dominici was at rest for two or three elections, but he's in continuing downward motion now. And politics, like nature, abhors a vacuum. Candidates will emerge and give Domenici the kind of challenge he has not seen in decades. And here's another state where any Hispanics who have voted Repub recently have probably regretted it and repented. Wild card here is Bill Richardson. He could, some say, drop out and run for the Senate, and likely win it. But why should he do that, since others say he has been running for Veep since he entered the race for President? He's the Western Gov to balance the ticket with four or five Eastern Senators. Or he could get the Presidential nod, there's still a chance of that. On the Democratic ticket, wouldn't his coattails swamp Dominici?

All the momentum are belong to us in KY too. The fall election of a new Gov will confirm that trend. Then look for a united party to go after McConnell, well, because it can.

There's still time for a candidate to catch on in NC, or even TN or KS or one or two other longshot locales.
If Sibelius was thinking of waiting until 2010 to take on Brownback, she should take another look. She will not be Hillary's Veep, not two women on the ticket, and probably not  Obama's, not a Black and a woman o the ticket. She hopes for the nod from Edwards? And while 2008 looks like a good year for Democrats, I do agree with Unabridged that the mid-term is never so good for the incumbent party. She should ride the tide and take on Roberts in '08 -- just do it.

Even Louisiana shows no Repub momentum this year, none. After unknown Walter Boasso went on the air with introductory TV ads, Jindal's polling dropped from 62% -- get the crown ready! -- to only 52% in two months. The golden boy of the LA Repubs can only muster 52% despite his 100% name recognition? What will be look like after the campaign for Gov. really gets going? Meanwhile Sen Vitter has soiled the reputation of his party along with himself. We'll know soon if the LA Treasurer wants to switch parties and try to take his place beside Sen Vitter in DC in 2008, or decide to go for the AG nomination and stick to Baton Rouge in 2007. If Kennedy does not jump to the becalmed Repub ship, they do not have a candidate against Landrieu.

Anyway, I'm with Kaine III. We will challenge in 12or so races and win 3 out of 4 of them again. A nine seat pickup will give us 60 seats -- minus Lieberman, alas.


[ Parent ]
Hate to be the bearer of bad news...
So WY is maybe a longshot at this point, but longer than Jim Webb against Allen more than a year before the election?

Yes, WY is waaaaaaaaayyy more of a longshot than Webb was vs. Allen.  VA has historically often been a Democratic state.  At least one body of the state legislature was in Democratic hands as late as 1999 (and we might take one of those back in November, and the other in two years), and the Warner-Kaine gubernatorial tag team is legend by now.  By beating George Allen, Jim Webb simply took the place of Chuck Robb as being part of a split Dem-GOP US Senatorial delegation for the Commonwealth of Virginia, which can be seen as something of a tradition for the state.

WY is a whole 'nother animal.  The best we can hope for is for WY to take the moderate tradition of former Republican Senator Alan Simpson, and use that sentiment to defeat an extremely wingnutty GOP candidate for US Senate the next time one of those seats become open, and then maybe elect a Dem in a repudiation of that, but again, the only chance in hell Dems have for that is for Freudenthal to run, so there's little point in even putting it on the radar unless he's confirmed as wanting to be in the Senate.


[ Parent ]
Midterms
Just a factoid, the President's party (in this case, the Democrats) also gained seats during the 1998 midterm elections.


Follow the elections in Georgia at the 2010 Georgia Race Tracker.

[ Parent ]
O.K. but wave elections
Wave elections seem to come in the Presidential year, or the next-to-last year of the losing party, or at least a midterm, -- 1932, 1974-76, 1994 -- in other words, whenever the voters demand a change. I say 2006 was a wave election and 2008 will be a bigger wave. Return to normalcy in 2010 would mean losses for Democrats and very uphill battles for Senate candidates like Sibelius if she fails to take the tide in 2008. That will be offset somewhat by the unusual success of the Repubs in 2004, when they swept the South (NC, SC, FL, etc) and won elsewhere. They will be on the defensive in many of those states in 2010.

[ Parent ]
No chance in hell Idaho will elect a Democrat to ANYTHING
As someone who was born in Idaho and spent the first 25 of my 29 years there, I can tell you this: Bill Sali will keep getting reelected as long as he has a pulse and can survive primary challenges.  I'll be dipped in shit and rolled in oats (Idaho saying) if the Democrats ever win the governorship or a U.S. Senate seat or a congressional seat from that state in my lifetime.  It's just too Republican of a state, and it's getting more conservative.  All (well, most) of the people moving into the state, are escaping liberal enclaves and bringing their conservative ideologies with them.  Translation: Republicans will rule the state for many years to come.  Here's an ironclad law of Idaho politics: the Democrats always seem to do better in midterm elections, when there is not a Republican pres. candidate on the ballot.  Then they lose all the gains they made in the next election when the "peripheral" voters show up to vote, and vote Republican up and down the ticket.  The Democratic party is so demoralized in that state, with few to no resources and support it can give any of its candidates.  While Larry Grant might have come close to winning, the simple fact is, he was not a quality challenger.  A quality challenger is one who is usually a former officeholder, has party experience, and can raise $$$ like hell.  Larry Grant, while maybe a good lawyer for Micron, was none of these, and will likewise lose in 2008.  Don't get me wrong--I'd love for him to win, but the days where the Democrats could eek out a victory here and there in Idaho are long gone.

Not sure if I agree
If you remember in 1984, Democrat Richard Stallings won ID-02 even as Reagan was getting about 75% in the district.  Everyone said that he would be defeated in '86, but he held on and did so until he retired in 1992.

well, you should
Stallings BARELY won in 1984. That was also more than twenty years ago.  Demographics have changed since then.  Read: more Republicans moving into the state.  If you want an indication of how dead the Dem. party is Idaho, just go to the Sec. of State's webpage and look at the number of uncontested state legislative seats in the 2006 election, and then look at how many county-wide elected Dems there are in the ENTIRE state.  Sure, Ada county is pretty Democratic, as well as Blaine county, and a couple around Lewiston and Pocatello, but there are no Democratic-officeholders anywhere else in the state--an indication of party health.


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