Writings and observations

Labrador leading?

A new poll just out on the Idaho 1st District race, the first since the primary, and again suggesting the hard-to-call nature of the beat.

Conducted by Greg Smith Associates, it gives Republican nominee Raul Labrador 39.5% support, to Democratic incumbent Walt Minnick‘s 29% support. (That includes both hard and soft support.) Undecided amounted to 30%.

Smith’s comments: ““These findings are particularly surprising to us, since a poll we commissioned in early May showed Minnick leading ‘the Republican candidate’ by a margin of 50% to 20%. Certainly, the publicity surrounding the recent GOP primary, the renewed attention on Raul Labrador and his viewpoints which are clearly in step with the majority of Idahoans, and the trends nationally toward Republican candidates all play a role in these findings. However, these findings are by no means a guarantee of victory by Labrador. Minnick’s current domination in campaign funds, combined with his voting record which has not been deemed highly unsatisfactory by the Idaho electorate to date, make for a formidable candidate.”

A Minnick erosion of 20 points since early May certainly doesn’t seem likely. But you do get the sense of a district somewhat torn and somewhat up for grabs. Suggesting that this is a race yet to be won or lost.

Specs: “among likely 2010 general election voters in Idaho. The poll was conducted June 7 and 8 among 400 randomly selected and statistically representative 1st Congressional District general election voters eighteen years of age or older. The results of the study have a maximum margin of error of + 5.0% at a 95% confidence level.”

UPDATE A comment from John Foster of the Minnick campaign on the Huckleberries blog: “It’s long past the time for people in Idaho media to continue giving Greg Smith ink and bandwidth. Set aside for a moment his years of inaccurate predictions. On their own, his most recent two polls should provide a clear answer to anyone who is uncertain as to his accuracy. Before the primary he had Walt at 50 percent among GOP primary voters, and now claims that, in a matter of weeks, Walt has fallen to half that support among ALL voters? That is a massive drop in a very short amount of time, with no explanation. In other words, not statistically possible.”

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One Comment

  1. fortboise said:

    It’s a rather small poll, with an unlikely result, showing a big swing. All in all, right in line with Greg Smith’s previous unreliable work. The “maximum margin of error” is of course a statistical term of art having to do with sample size, and predicated on the “random selection” and “statistically representative” assumptions. You don’t meet the assumptions, you don’t magically get a +/-5% maximum margin of error.

    June 9, 2010

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