The Larry LaRocco for U.S. Senate campaign is thrilled about poll results we released today. The best part is that it shows our opponent, Jim Risch, is weak—a whole lot weaker than pundits in Idaho’s traditional media ever suspected.
First: the Idaho landscape has turned gloomy for Republicans. Idaho voters were willing to stick with George Bush in 2004. But, for the first time in his seven years as America’s, Bush has a 54 percent unfavorability rating. Add to that, Barack Obama and John McCain polled closely: Obama with a 50% favorability and McCain with 54%. (That means some respondents liked ‘em both—that’s Idaho’s independents for you!)
Second: LaRocco and Risch both have work to do to get their names out there. But Risch was governor two years ago and he’s been lieutenant governor for five years. There shouldn’t be 33% of respondents with no opinion or no knowledge of the guy. LaRocco’s at 52% when it comes to name recognition. But he’s working super hard, traveling the state, meeting folks, holding town halls. Risch is nowhere to be found.
Third: The head-to-head number is the one everyone wants. Respondents chose Risch by 43% to LaRocco, 28%. Rex Rammell got 6%, Other 6%, Undecideds 18%.
That doesn’t bother us at all.
For one, thing it tells people Risch is weak—well below 50%. For another, the poll went into the field a week after Risch started airing his deceptive television ads. The pollsters tell us that skews the poll in his favor. Also, when the respondents were told about the issues, and then asked who they’d “vote for today” the vote changed: LaRocco, 40%; Risch 37%, Rammell 5%, Other 5%, and Undecideds 13%.
The issues that hurt Risch included his 20% sales tax hike, his lack of health care plan (he likes McCain’s don’t-get-sick plan), and his approval of shipping radioactive waste from Kuwait to Idaho. Issues that helped LaRocco were his health care plan, his energy independence plan, his stance on NAFTA (he voted against it as Congressman),his support of the new G.I. Bill and his “Working for the Senate” campaign, where he takes jobs for a day across Idaho.
Finally: Risch is running on his record as an unelected governor. Respondents weren’t impressed. As lieutenant governor, 49% said he did excellent or good while 31% rated him as just fair or poor. For his job as governor, only 42% rated Risch as excellent or good while 38% rated him as just fair or poor.
All this spells momentum for the LaRocco campaign and gives us a wide path toward victory. It’s a shot in the face of conventional wisdom. Idahoans aren’t party-line voters. They want change. And change they will have.
Also in the change department, the campaign is proud to add Kassie Cerami to the staff. Cerami, who was never deeply involved in politics, was there at the beginning for Barack Obama in Idaho. She helped drum up so much excitement that 14,000 to 16,000 people turned out to hear him speak in Boise this February. She brings that same passionate energy to the LaRocco campaign, as a “LaRoccObaman.” (Read more here.)
LaRocco offers the same hope and change for Idaho and America. Larry LaRocco will be the only candidate who doesn’t forget Idahoans when he is back in Washington, D.C.