Poll Showing Pombo in Trouble
Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund just released a poll that shows both Jerry McNerney and Steve Filson beating Pombo in head-to-head match-ups. Furthermore, the poll shows Pombo simply cratering since September of 2005. Still, I think it’s a little too good to be true.
The basic results are as follows:
Question wording: If the general election for Congress were held today and the candidates were (Airline Pilot Steve Filson/ Renewable Energy Businessman Jerry McNerney), the Democrat, and Rancher and Congressman Richard Pombo, the Republican -- for whom would you vote?
Richard Pombo 41%/Richard Pombo 42%
Steve Filson 49%/Jerry McNerney 46%
Undecided 10%/Undecided 12%
The margin of error on this poll is 4.9%
Now Steve Filson has already issued a press release claiming that because this poll shows him beating Pombo by more than Jerry McNerney, he’s the strongest Democrat in the race. He says:
The poll not only showed Filson defeating Pombo, it showed Filson would be the strongest Democrat in the general election. The poll showed Filson with a lead over Pombo twice as large as the margin of Jerry McNerney, whose lead falls within the polls margin of error, one of the two other candidates in the Democratic primary.
Although I fully understand why Filson would want to crow about these results, I think two things ought to give us pause about this poll before we declare Filson Mr. Electable.
First, we just found out yesterday that polls have shown Filson with 10% name ID in the Democratic primary. So somehow I mistrust a poll showing 49% of the electorate would vote for him. And if it’s accurate, then a huge percentage of the people who said they’d vote for Filson don’t know who he is or what he stands for. So in essence, their responses are testament to warmer feelings for “airline pilots” than “renewable energy businessmen,” divorced from any substantive statements about ideology, message, personality traits, resume items, etc. Remember, Steve Filson still hadn’t put out his first direct mail piece when this poll was taken. And most of the electorate isn’t paying attention at this point in any event.
Second, even if I were convinced that these results were genuinely predicative of the election, I’d still think that they’d bolster McNerney’s case. People like McNerney because he fights for what he believes in. I’d rather have a Democratic Congressman who will champion renewable energy technology, who will vote to withdraw troops from Iraq in a timely manner (and on a timeline), who will support universal healthcare, than one who will not. Since the beginning we’ve heard that it’d be impossible for McNerney to compete in this district. And if Filson is going to validate the results of this poll, it clearly shows this premise to be false.
The one thing I can believe about this poll is that Pombo is taking a hit in his popularity since September. Defenders and other groups (but not the Democrats) have all gone on the radio about the various misdeeds and ethically questionable activities of Richard Pombo. And I think people in his district are sick and tired of hearing that he’s busy skirting ethical boundaries instead of just doing his damn job and representing the interests of his constituents.
In any event, here’s the press release from Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund (with a link at the bottom to the polling memo).
DEFENDERS OF WILDLIFE ACTION FUND POLL SHOWS THAT IF ELECTION WERE HELD TODAY A MAJORITY WOULD VOTE AGAINST POMBO
Pombo trails both Democratic challengers in head-to-head match-ups -- and a majority thinks he puts corporate interests over public interest
Washington, DC -- Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund released a survey today showing a majority of voters in California's 11th Congressional District would vote against Richard Pombo if the election were held today. Pombo also trails either of his prospective Democratic challengers, Steve Filson and Jerry McNerney.
In a question asking voters whether they intend to re-elect Pombo or vote for someone else -- 52% say they intend to vote for someone else, while only 35% say they intend to vote for Pombo. In head-to-head match-ups, Pombo loses to Steve Filson 49% to 41% and to Jerry McNerney 46% to 42%.
"This survey shows what we have felt all along -- that once voters found out the degree to which Richard Pombo is in the pocket of special interests they would look to elect someone else who puts the public interest first," said Rodger Schlickeisen, president of Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund.
A major factor in Pombo's drop in support is the fact that a majority of voters now believe that he "puts corporate interests over the people's interest." 53% of voters believe that the above description describes him well, while only 30% say it does not describe him well.
Pombo's job approval is also in negative territory. 45% of voters disapprove of the job Pombo is doing in Congress, while 40% approve. His personal favorability is also negative. 43% of voters give him an unfavorable rating, while only 31% view him favorably.
Pombo's numbers show a dramatic deterioration from a survey that Defenders Action Fund took last September. In that survey, 46% of voters said they intended to vote for Pombo, while 37% said they intended to vote against him. The current re-elect numbers reflect a 26-point change in a little over six months.
"Richard Pombo has turned the House Resource Committee into a grand bazaar where special interests -- from mining lobbyists, to oil and gas executives, to major developers -- all get favored treatment in return for campaign cash and luxury trips. The voters have finally noticed they are getting the short end of the stick. In November it may be Richard Pombo who comes up short," said Schlickeisen.
Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research conducted the Defenders Action Fund survey from May 1-3, 2006. 402 likely general election voters in California's 11th Congressional District were surveyed by phone. The survey's margin of error is plus or minus 4.9 percent.
A summary memorandum is attached. Click here to view the summary memorandum.