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Suzanne Bonamici (D)
Suzanne Bonamici (D) (Carla Axtman)
SurveyUSA for KATU-TV. 12/22/11-1/4. MoE ±4.5%. Likely voters (no trendlines):
Suzanne Bonamici (D): 50
Rob Cornilles (R): 39
Other: 4
Undecided: 7

The way the DCCC has been spending money in the special election in Oregon's 1st district (necessitated by David Wu's ignominious resignation), you'd think there was imminent danger of losing this fairly-blue seat. (It went 61% for Barack Obama in 2008 under the district's old lines, which are the lines being used for this election.) The polls, however, just aren't showing that, making it look like it's more of a DCCC insurance policy to avoid any nasty surprises a la the NY-09 election, where they did too little too late.

Today's SurveyUSA release is the second poll of the race (and their first look at the general election), and if the numbers look kind of familiar, that's because it's the same 11-point margin as PPP found on our behalf in December. (PPP didn't include the Libertarian and Pacific Party candidates, so they wound up with 52-41 instead.)

They find that Cornilles hasn't suffered a whole lot from being on the wrong end of a lot of negative advertising and from local media exposes on his puffed-up job creation claims; he's still above water at 35/31 favorables. More importantly, though, Bonamici is well-liked, at 46/26; factor in the Democratic numeric advantage here (like a 42-30 registration advantage), and you've got the recipe for a Bonamici win. (Also, it wouldn't be a SurveyUSA poll without some weird age-related crosstabs, and their finding is that Bonamici's lead is almost entirely due to voters 50 and older. Cornilles actually leads 43-42 among the 18-49 set. Before you go blaming their not polling cellphone users, this sample does include cellphone users, but they found, contrary to pretty much every study on the subject, that cellphone users skewed slightly more Republican than landline users.)

Instead of NY-09, the analogy here might be the special election last fall in NV-02, where the NRCC jumped in early with a huge ad buy that defined Dem Kate Marshall early, helping the GOP's Mark Amodei to a double-digit win in a lean-GOP district. If anything, the DCCC may go even further here, though: the DCCC spent or reserved over $1 million in ad time here (note that they aren't locked in to spending the full reserved amount, though, so the actual amount may be less than $ 1 million). Nathan Gonzales also reports today that the Dems have already purchased a larger volume of ads here than the GOP did in NV-02 (4,579 gross rating points vs. 4,170, and that's not even considering how much more expensive the Portland market is than the Reno market). That's on top of additional ad spending revealed in the last couple days from both the Bonamici campaign itself ($80K) and their allies at EMILY's List ($87K).

Ballots go in the mail next week (Oregon is an all vote-by-mail state) and are due Jan. 31, so there's not much time left for the NRCC or GOP dark money groups to get off the pot and start spending money here. So far, only Cornilles himself has spent on advertising, and as Gonzales reports, Republican consultants are "reluctant" to get in here.

There's one final development today that further complicates Republican efforts to paint Bonamici as an out-of-the-mainstream liberal (and Cornilles' efforts to paint himself as a post-partisan problem solver): a major cross-the-aisle endorsement from Dave Frohnmayer. Frohnmayer is former president of University of Oregon, former state Attorney General, and the losing 1990 gubernatorial candidate, and sort of the remaining figurehead of the once-dominant moderate wing of Oregon's Republican Party. Cornilles' public persona would seem tailor-made for the Frohnmayer wing of the party, so for Frohnmayer to outright spurn him is a big deal.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Elections on Thu Jan 05, 2012 at 10:33 AM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos Oregon.

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Comment Preferences

  •  SurveyUSA (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    James Allen, MichaelNY

    actually polled for all four candidates by name.

    Foster (L) and Reynolds (OPP) were each at 2%.

    We can have change for the better.

    by phillies on Thu Jan 05, 2012 at 10:42:13 AM PST

  •  It's a lead (0+ / 0-)

    Whether it's "big" is relative.

    “If you think I can be bought for five thousand dollars, I'm offended." Rick Perry.

    by Paleo on Thu Jan 05, 2012 at 10:48:26 AM PST

    •  double digit is always big in my book. (4+ / 0-)

      I changed by not changing at all, small town predicts my fate, perhaps that's what no one wants to see. -6.38, -4.15

      by James Allen on Thu Jan 05, 2012 at 11:09:37 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  And --- 50 is a magic number. n't (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        The Caped Composer, MichaelNY
        •  eh, 50 as a magical number is a bit of overrated (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          jncca

          Especially with a month to ago, it'd be easy to slip right back under 50%.  However, I think there is meaning when it's an open seat versus there being an incumbent.  Open seat candidates start at the bottom and work their way up to 50%, meaning her being at that mark is indication of her solidity as a candidate.  If an incumbent is only at 50%, makes you wonder how many more voters they can attract to get to a safer margin if they've already been in office and kissed lots of hands and shaken a lot of babies.  (Had a marching band director who liked to say it that way and it stuck.)

          We haven't had many special elections that were snoozers, and OR-1 is shaping up to be just that.  Thankfully.

  •  SUSA always has the screwiest crosstabs (6+ / 0-)

    Good to see a consistent lead here, though. I spent a couple hours making calls for Bonamici yesterday, and it sounds like the campaign feels good about her position but is intent on not letting up until the votes have been counted on 31 January.

    Democrat, OR-01 native, Swingnut for life, and keeper of the DKE glossary.

    by SaoMagnifico on Thu Jan 05, 2012 at 11:07:02 AM PST

  •  yea! (8+ / 0-)

    Can't wait to get my ballot.

    And by the way, folks, don't think that Frohnmayer has had some sort of conversion.  He's still a Right-leaning guy.  I've seen him speak several times in the last few years, and he made that clear.

    I changed by not changing at all, small town predicts my fate, perhaps that's what no one wants to see. -6.38, -4.15

    by James Allen on Thu Jan 05, 2012 at 11:08:49 AM PST

  •  Cell phone voters (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MichaelNY, LordMike

    I have to wonder if the poll being of "Likely Voters"is at fault for for there being a Republican lean with the 18-49 year old's.  When asking all cell-phone users, it makes sense that the demographic should have a Democratic lean because the people most likely to use a cell-phone are young people and younger people are also more likely to be Democrats.  However, younger people are also some of the most likely to not vote so when factoring in only "Likely Voters" who are cell-phone only, you are probably looking at the yuppy douchebag variety of Republicans.  

    Hell, also factor in that this person also has to be willing to answer a poll.  A lot of people my age are too cool for politics because we are all just so god damn smart and we think everyone is corrupt (blah blah blah) so we research individual candidates, instead of trust parties, and are thus undecided until just about the very end.  And in a special election, where there isn't the societal pressure to vote to be a good person, it's likely most aren't bothering to do their research and expend the effort.  

    I could also see the Republicans in a district like OR-1 being the most fervent of the 18-29 age group.  They live in a strongly Democratic area so they have a lot to bitch about and could be more likely to tell a pollster about it.  If it weren't for my high school experience in Michele Bachmann-land, I probably never would have gotten so involved in politics myself as being surrounded by the opposite opinion made me have to be as loud as possible just so my opinion could be heard.  My high school hated me when I showed up with around 10 Kerry buttons on E-Day 2004.  One guy said to me, "You know John Kerry's a fag, right?"  He and I later had a class together in college and ironically he went there to become a priest and my experience there turned me into an atheist*.  And I always said I picked a Catholic college because the Catholics know their education.

    *Not in some, I hate God and Catholics sort of way.  The university is fabulous and offered a lot of opportunities to study abroad and doing so helped me learn a lot about the world and people in general.  Really a topic for another blog, but I just wanted the clarification.

    •  the notion that younger folks here are more (4+ / 0-)

      conservative is nonsense.  Young people here are educated and much more diverse than the state as a whole.

      I changed by not changing at all, small town predicts my fate, perhaps that's what no one wants to see. -6.38, -4.15

      by James Allen on Thu Jan 05, 2012 at 02:27:24 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I think it's just typical SUSA crosstab weirdness (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      LordMike, sapelcovits, MichaelNY

      I know a lot of young folks who live in OR-01, and I think maybe one or two of them are likely Cornilles voters.

      Democrat, OR-01 native, Swingnut for life, and keeper of the DKE glossary.

      by SaoMagnifico on Thu Jan 05, 2012 at 02:37:13 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  SUSA weird age results (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        MichaelNY

        SUSA is used by a media company in Minnesota, and they produce the same weird age results, showing Democratic support skewing much older than Republicans. It's hard to say Minnesota isn't just an exception to the Democratic lean of younger voters because I haven't seen age breakdowns for other polls, but I don't know why we'd be different, and it doesn't seem to match election results, but it's hard to know. It's actually a bit reassuring SUSA has the same odd results in other states. Leads me to think it's just something about their methodology.

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