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The Campaign Spot

Election-driven news and views . . . by Jim Geraghty.

Two Shocker Polls . . . and Now Both Revealed



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Can this be real?

Two years ago, 12-term incumbent Democratic Rep. Peter DeFazio cruised to victory in Oregon’s 4th District with 82 percent of the vote.

But a survey by Wilson Research Strategies for the conservative group Concerned Taxpayers of America has the Democrat up by only 6 points, 48 to 42, over Republican nominee Art Robinson.

The Washington insider publication The Hill opines: “If Robinson, a first-time candidate, is even within 10 points of DeFazio, it makes you wonder how many other sleeper races might be out there ahead of this fall.”

And then, sometimes my day includes exchanges like this:

Reliable GOP Source: Hey, you can’t print this, but we just had a poll come back saying that [House Democrat who everybody figured was pretty safe] is down 20.

Me: Well, that’s swell. But why can’t I use this?

Reliable GOP Source: We don’t think the Democrats know this guy is this much trouble, so we don’t want to tip them off.

Me: Well, thank you for sharing really cool information that I cannot share with readers.

Reliable GOP Source: I thought it might be helpful with you determining which challengers to watch. While it would be great to have you break this news, I think it’s more useful to us to keep the Democrats in the dark.

I’ll give you a hint, DCCC. This incumbent is bigger than a bread box.

UPDATE: The poll is revealed, so my source says to put it out there. Scott DesJarlais has a five-point lead over Lincoln Davis (D., Tenn.), but 21 points among the highest-interest voters.

The Bottom Line

Congressman Lincoln Davis’ negative attacks appear to be backfiring.  Over the last two weeks, Davis’ image has taken a hit and his ballot support continues to dwindle, falling to 40% now.  More importantly, Scott DesJarlais now leads on the ballot and has the clear momentum with just 18 days to go.  

Key Findings

Scott DesJarlais has taken the lead over Congressman Lincoln Davis.  After pulling even two weeks ago, DesJarlais has surged ahead to take a five-point lead (now:  45% DesJarlais – 40% Davis / Sept 27-28:  42% – 42%).  For the third consecutive survey, Davis’ ballot support has dropped (from 45% in August to 42% in September to 40% now).  

1.    At the same time, voters are starting to solidify around DesJarlais.  His definite vote support has steadily increased from 26% in August to 29% in September to 37% now.  (Davis’ definite support is stuck at 27%).  

2.    Moreover, DesJarlais has a commanding 21-point lead over Davis (55% – 34%) among voters who rate their interest level as “high” (8-10 on a one-to-ten scale).

Davis is a four-term incumbent who won 59 percent in 2008 and 66 percent in 2006.


Tags: Art Robinson , Peter DeFazio


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