October 27, 2008
Campaigns respond to Chron polling

I hope you've now had a chance to digest the latest poll news from the Chron, because the campaigns for Rep. Nick Lampson and Michael Skelly would like you to hear their side of the story. I have in my hot little hands two campaign memos, each with their own polling numbers, to go along with what we've seen from the Chron. First, from Team Skelly:

With less than two weeks until Election Day, wind energy businessman Michael Skelly is in a heated race with incumbent Congressman John Culberson. Currently, Skelly trails 44% - 49%, with 3% for the libertarian candidate and 4% undecided. The fact that Culberson is under 50% as an incumbent, with Skelly within striking distance, in what has been a traditionally Republican district is remarkable and demonstrates just how competitive Skelly is in this district. Furthermore, with recent public polling showing Barack Obama and Democrats leading Republicans countywide, Skelly has the momentum as the campaign heads into the final week.

Points to note:

1. They include Libertarian Drew Parks by name in their question, unlike the Chron/Zogby poll.

2. This poll shows Skelly leading Culberson among independents, while as before taking more R support from Culberson than he loses in Ds.

3. No crosstabs, so I cannot say what the partisan mix of the sample is. My back-of-the-envelope guess says it's similar to Zogby, as Culberson does better among Rs as well.

4. The Skelly campaign emphasizes in the memo that the trendlines are good for Skelly. You can see a chart in the memo that clearly shows this, as Skelly has gone from down 52-33 to down 49-44.

5. Not addressed in the memo is the question of how the early vote is looking for either candidate. An awful lot of early voting activity is in CD07, as the daily EV by location stats indicate.

6. Sample size is 400, margin of error is plus or minus five points, same as Zogby.

Next up is the Lampson memo. I may not have been aware of polling in CD22, but there certainly was some:

Internal polling has tracked positive trends for Lampson - ongoing improvements in his favorability and job performance, and sustained success on key attributes of Hurricane Ike recovery and caring about people like you - while Olson remains vulnerable because of his support for a 23 percent national sales tax and lingering questions about the criminal investigation he faces for felony voter fraud in Virginia.

Our most recent poll of likely general election voters in Texas' 22nd Congressional District shows the race for Congress remains tight, tied at 42 percent. The American Association of Political Consultants named the person who conducted this survey "Pollster of the Year" in 2007. His firm, the Beneson Strategy Group is credited with the handling the polling for Sen. Barack Obama's winning primary strategy and general election to date.

They too have a polling history, which shows Lampson closing an eight point gap since July. As Ed Emmett has apparently benefitted from his work during Hurricane Ike, so too has Lampson, as his favorability numbers have improved considerably in recent weeks. The campaign also emphasizes the early voting figures so far, claiming a sizeable lead among voters whose partisan ID can be determined. The subject of the memo is "Lampson Will Win", so you can tell what their mood is.

It should be noted, as Burka reports, that the Olson folks are confident of their victory as well. I'm sure they have polls, and Culberson has polls, to back them up, though I'm not privy to that data. As I said before, I thought the Skelly/Culberson result was reasonable, and the Lampson/Olson one was unexpected. I believe both of these races will be close. Beyond that, your guess is as good as mine.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on October 27, 2008 to Election 2008
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