AZ CD 8 polling.

     Last week a very favorable poll came out showing Gabrielle Giffords ahead in the AZ CD 8 race. At first I dismissed the numbers because the survey was conducted by what is considered a Democrat firm. Then I decided to go back to the 2006 election and check how the firm did in that election. Greenberg et al conducted a poll of 500 voters from September 13 to 18 and they were within 0.8% of the actual results. Not bad for 6 weeks before the election. Clearly they know something about how to conduct a poll.

     The Tim Bee campaign also released some poll numbers last week that show the race is much closer than the Greenberg numbers indicate. The Bee poll was conducted by Margaret Kenski and her numbers from 2006 were also pretty solid as well. From September 20 to 23, 2006 she contacted 402 voters and came within 2% of the final result for Giffords.

     Both polling firms underestimated Graf’s final numbers in 2006. Greenberg had him at 35% and Kenski had 34% from their September surveys. Graf ended up with 42% when the ballots were counted. This detail will not matter much for Bee if Giffords received above 50% of the vote. The temptation is to average the Greenberg and Kenski numbers and to try and estimate where Giffords is right now. Since it is so far out I will pass on that at this time. I will pay close attention to future Greenberg polls given their accuracy back in 2006 and not just dismiss them as a partisan firm.

     Aside from the polling this race may see the most money spend in Arizona for a congressional seat in 2008. Little sleepy backwater Southern Arizona has turned into ground zero for control of congress. Giffords has been an excellent fundraiser from the beginning. She had over $2 million in the bank at the end of the last reporting period. Bee has also done very well for a challenger and posted some good numbers in the latest and previous quarters. Last week the President of the United States came to town and helped raise over $500,000 for the Bee campaign. Not to be out done this week the DCCC has announced a $700,000 media reservation for CD 8. All of this begs the question, how much is enough? At what point are you spending $5,000 per vote to convince the last few holdouts? Let’s say after you spend $500,000 so people know who you are and then your spend another $500,000 to get them to vote for you, what are you doing with the next million? Do you remind them that they live in the U.S. and there is no poll tax and very little violence at ballot locations? Or that this early ballot thing is really convenient? Mind you we are talking about how to spend the second million. Do you spend a million on your message and a million attacking your opponent? Either way get ready to see a lot of ads and to receive a lot of mailings. How many robo calls does $250,000 buy?

     My point in the above paragraph is that after a certain point, let’s say $1.5 million per candidate, it becomes a bit of a challenge to spend the money in an effective way. We are excluding high priced consultants, who are probably salivating over this contest. I would not be surprised to see Giffords keep a fair amount of her money for future races. Bee will probably spend most of what he has. If the DCCC really spends $700,000 in the district that will probably top what the cash-strapped NRCC will be able to commit.

     With the kind of money both camps have we are sure to see more polls in the future. Stay tuned.


  1. I think what’s really amazing is that with these polling numbers how much money the GOP is dumping into this race. I’m curious if/when Bee will be doing internal polling (if he hasn’t already – and if he has, those numbers are probably awful if they’re bandying about the fact they’re only down 7%).

    Granted, it’s been settled early on the nominee, so we can’t judge it yet, but CD5 is obstensibly a better pick up opportunity for the GOP than CD8, yet other than Schweikert’s Club for Growth cash infusion, the RCCC has ignored the race, no?

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