Thursday, June 17, 2010

Context on Etheridge Poll

The right is predictably giddy about a new poll showing Bob Etheridge trailing Renee Ellmers 39-38 for reelection.

It reminds me of a poll we did immediately after Joe Wilson's 'you lie' incident. He was trailing challenger Rob Miller 44-43. But with the passage of time SC-2 has not really emerged as a competitive seat for this fall, even though the amount of money Miller raised off that incident likely dwarfed what Ellmers is going to be able to do. If you do a poll immediately after something like this has been all over the news for a few days you are liable to get numbers that show a misleadingly close race. It may end up that Etheridge really is vulnerable this fall, but I am skeptical. We'll have a much better idea of where he really stands in polls taken after this story's media cycle runs out.

If anything this strikes me as Etheridge's low water mark. If he's only down by a point after what will certainly be the worst week of the campaign for him he'll probably be fine this fall even if his winning margin might not match some of the lopsided victories he's posted in his last few campaigns. I'm sure we'll poll it when a little more time has passed.

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