Campaigns normally don’t release internal polls unless there is some advantage to doing so. So we’ll look at the positives, and then read between the lines for the rest.
The good new for Burner is that she leads the Democratic pack:
Among primary voters who vote for one of the Democratic candidates on the initial ballot, Darcy Burner currently leads the pack with a decisive lead. Burner leads with nearly half of the vote (45%), followed by Laura Ruderman (15%), Steve Hobbs (13%), Suzan DelBene (12%), Roger Goodman (10%), and Darshan Rauniyar (5%).
Moreover, Burner is well-regarded among primary election voters who pick a Democratic candidate in the initial ballot. More than half (54%) of these voters have a favorable opinion of Burner, while 9% have an unfavorable opinion. DelBene is less well known, with 21% of voters having a favorable impression of her. Seventeen percent of voters have a favorable opinion of Ruderman. A majority of these Democratic voters have no impression of Ruderman or DelBene, while most are familiar with Burner.
The findings are consistent with the previous internal poll released by the Burner campaign.
What these numbers tell us is that, contrary to certain media naysayer, Darcy is the front-runner among Democrats in this race.
These results debunk, what I’ll call, the Connelly meme, named after the Darcy Burner naysayer-in-chief, SeattlePI.com’s Joel Connelly. Joel has, of late, has made something of a specialization in portraying Burner as an outside interloper—as some kind of ultra-liberal Daily Kos Manchurian Candidate destined to be an also-ran. The Connelly meme is bullshit.
The new poll results bode well for Darcy Burner in a Democratic primary race.
Unfortunately, Washington state doesn’t have a Democratic primary. Rather, we have this top-two primary. And that brings me to what this poll doesn’t tell us.
Take a look at the poll methods:
These findings are based on 504 telephone interviews with a random sample of likely 2012 primary election voters in Washington’s new 1st Congressional District. Interviews were conducted from January 23-26, 2012. Sampling error is +/- 4.4%.
What we never learn is how many of the 504 interviewees chose to not select one of the Democratic candidates. There were two Republican candidates in the race when the poll was taken (one has since dropped out), yet we don’t see numbers for these candidates, or an “other” category if the pollster made a (dubious) decision to not name Republican candidates as well.
The absence of reporting on the Republican (or “other”) tally in a poll of “likely 2012 primary voters” is telling. It suggests to me that the “votes” for non-Democrats matched or exceeded those for the Democratic candidates. That is, the numbers don’t make Darcy look strong enough in a general election that the campaign was willing to release ’em.
The numbers support the idea that Darcy is the Democratic front-runner, but it leaves me feeling a little bit nervous about the prospects that any Democrat will be taking the district.
I look forward to seeing some independent polling in the race.