Sunday, October 22, 2006

Stories of GOP Revival May be Premature...

I've mentioned that I'm watching polls in the last few weeks of the race in the hope of seeing a general rebound for Republican candidates, and a solidifying of the ratings of challenged incumbents. This is exactly what I am not looking for: 'safe' incumbent Charles Bass trailing his challenger badly.

The latest independent poll has startling news for six-term Republican U.S. Rep. Charles Bass: He’s trailing Democratic rival Paul Hodes.

Hodes led Bass 48 percent to 39 percent with the other 13 percent undecided in the Becker Institute Inc. poll taken Oct. 6-8.

Statewide, the survey of 408 registered voters has a margin of error of 5 percent, but within a congressional district the number is much higher.

But Hodes will take it. That can only help his chances of getting some significant Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee money behind his candidacy.

Hodes is on the Red-to-Blue list of candidates as well as independent ratings of the Top 30 House races in the nation.

Bass was viewed unfavorably (40 percent) by nearly as many voters as viewed him favorably (43 percent), and that is never where an incumbent wants to be.

“This is by far the worst image recorded for Charlie Bass through 12 Becker Institute readings over the past seven years,’’ the poll summary said.

An American Research Group poll had better news for Bass, showing him still out front, 48-42 percent, with 3 percent for Libertarian Ken Blevens and 7 percent undecided.

Other Democrats fare very well in the survey but track what other recent polls have found:

• Lynch is ahead of Republican Jim Coburn, 70-19 percent, with 11 percent undecided;

• Republican U.S. Rep. Jeb Bradley leads Democrat Carol Shea-Porter, 49-37 percent, with 14 percent on the fence.

Shea-Porter has a firm hold on the voters who don’t like President Bush and disagree with Bradley about the need to stay the course in Iraq, the poll said.

It’s worth noting her popularity in the poll was greater than her recognition, as 61 percent said they did not know enough to form any opinion of her.

“Jeb Bradley could have his hands full holding onto this seat,’’ the summary concluded.

Bass is ahead in one poll of registered voters, behind in another. Perhaps this is an aberration, and Republican candidates really are improving their standing nationwide, as we speak. But if so, I don't see consistent signs of it.

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