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Can Hoffman actually win NY-23?

Talk radio has been abuzz the past two days debating whether Republican voters' willingness to "throw away their vote to send a message to the party" was worth the cost of losing the House seat for New York's 23rd Congressional District. Rush Limbaugh in particular has directed attention upon the practicality of a revolt against the Republican establishment that appointed the liberal Dede Scozzafava as the party's nominee in light of the fact that the effort would likely result in Democrat Bill Owens winning the seat as Scozzafava and conservative Doug Hoffman split the Republican vote.

But what if Doug Hoffman actually wins this election? Few seem to be considering this possibility. However, two recent polls released this week indicate he has surged into the lead. Obviously, people should take the results of obscure and possibly biased polls with a grain of salt, but the Club for Growth/Basswood Research poll released Monday has impressive enough internals to merit serious consideration.

Mark Blumenthal at Pollster.com examines some of these internals:

Leading questions? For what it's worth, the Basswood questionnaire provides more complete disclosure than the other public polls, in that it provides full text and results of the demographics (omitted by Siena) and the full text of the likely voter screen questions (omitted by both Research 2000 and Siena).

Implausible demographic weighting? Nearly half (49%) of their likely voters are under 45 years of age. Both the national and New York exit polls for the 2006 general election report only 36% in that age category, and if anything, exit poll estimates tend to be too young.

The sample was also weighted geographically, according to Basswood pollster Jon Lerner, so that the percentage contributed by each county in the sample conforms to the distribution of voters in the 2008 and 2006 elections. I have not attempted to gather county level vote returns for NY-23, but Basswood included the weighted value for each county in the filled-in questionnaire so anyone can evaluate its geographic representation. Among campaign pollsters, that sort of geographic weighting is standard practice.

Unorthodox sample frame? Hardly, although there is an important difference in the sample frames being used in NY-23. Siena College and Research 2000 are using a random digit dial sample -- one that reaches every working landline phone in the district by randomly varying the final digits of telephone numbers in exchanges within the District. When I spoke to him by phone last night, Basswood pollster Jon Lerner confirms that he sampled from a list of registered voters, selecting those who had cast ballots in either the 2006 or 2008 general elections.

Here is the actual questionnaire: http://www.clubforgrowth.org/media/uploads/NY-23-top-lines.pdf

As a political junkie, I have come to appreciate the science of evaluating the validity of various polls. Unless Club for Growth/Basswood is outright fabricating results, I'm inclined to believe they are correct in concluding Hoffman has made incredible gains over the past week even though they clearly support Hoffman... because their internals verify. A second poll released yesterday by Neighborhood Research for Minuteman PAC also found Hoffman leading by 5 points over Owens with Scazzafava's support collapsing. They did not release internals.

An upset victory by Doug Hoffman would send huge reverberations to the Republican establishment who appointed her. Michael Steele and his vision for the party would greatly marginalized. So-called mainstream Republicans such as House Minority Leader John Boehner and possible presidential candidate Newt Gingrich would be exposed as the minority in the party as a consequence of their endorsing a liberal, losing nominee. Meanwhile, genuine conservatives such as Sarah Palin and the host of conservative commentators who had the courage to stand up for Hoffman will have taken a huge step forward in reclaiming their party.


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Comments (19)

Great blog!As a mi... (Below threshold)

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It could happen...I suppose... (Below threshold)

It could happen...I suppose it all depends on energized voter turnout in a special election.

Most of the Democrats will not be motivated because it's a off year special election and if the conservatives can turn out the vote in enough numbers they can bitch slap the Republican leadership there and the NRCC for spending funds and supporting a candidate that is to the left of the Democrat.

One can only hope...

Oh yes, and Newt can go pou... (Below threshold)

Oh yes, and Newt can go pound sand.

What good is it to vote for... (Below threshold)

What good is it to vote for Republicans who are as liberal if not more so than a Democrat?

Reguardless of who wins the... (Below threshold)

Reguardless of who wins the NY-23 special election, the Republican primary there next year will be very interesting.

Win or lose, will Hoffman run as a Republican or a Conservative next year?

Who will the Republican establishment endorse?

How will the Democrats try to exploit the feud between the Republican establishment and the conservative base?

Read that the NRCC is sendi... (Below threshold)

Read that the NRCC is sending GOTV goons from DC to Watertown to work for Scuzzyfaza, all expenses paid. That and the $300K the GOP is spending on ads to shore up her campaign says a lot about the "big tenters". No conservatives allowed.

If the Democrat wins and th... (Below threshold)

If the Democrat wins and the Republican and Conservative split the rest of the votes evenly (or even better - if the Conservative does better than the Republican), a message will still have been sent. It's up to the Republican leadership to actually see it and not just make excuses.

I get the distinct impression that the Republicans didn't give NY23 much thought and just backed Scozzafava by default, never realizing anyone would even notice.

I'm praying for a Ho... (Below threshold)

I'm praying for a Hoffman victory. Perhaps the GOP will get the message in time for the 2010 elections. As it goes, the midterms will be a bloodbath for both parties. So far, the Republicans haven't appreciated that the current angst is directed against them as much as the other guys.

Davidt: "Win or lose, will ... (Below threshold)

Davidt: "Win or lose, will Hoffman run as a Republican or a Conservative next year?"

If Hoffman wins, he will caucus with the Republicans and next year seek the nomination of both the Republican and Conservative parties.

If Hoffman loses, he will certainly challenge Scozzafava in the Republican primary and win the nomination for the General.

Scozzafava is only there because of her Rep Party insider status. Even the RNC can see the handwriting on the wall on this one.

However, I'm sure the Party made some behind-the-closed-door-promises about support to Scozzafava and are following thru on those promises. They probably fear that not following thru would make any future promises to candidates wouldn't be believed otherwise.

It all makes sense, even if it is infuriating that the Party would select someone so left of center for a conservative leaning district. But that's what "playing ball" for years and years will get you.

First: to take a Club for G... (Below threshold)

First: to take a Club for Growth poll seruously is to forfeit any pretension to seriousness oneself. Second: if the lunatic fringe captures the GOP, soon there will be no party whatsoever.

Gosh Mandy, if you don't th... (Below threshold)

Gosh Mandy, if you don't think the Club for Growth poll should be taken seriously you must have specific factual reasons. Right?? Do tell.

If not then your put downs mean exactly nothing.

Liberals like to think they are in the majority, but they are not. What you call lunatic fringe is really fairly mainstream. The elections next week and 2010 will show just that.

If conservatives get a Repu... (Below threshold)

If conservatives get a Republican primary at any level, then we need to make sure our conservative candidates win over the business-as-usual Republican shills.

The perfect example is the run for the Senate in Florida. It's a year away, but true Conservative Marco Rubio is already making a believer out of RINO Charlie Crist. Crist's radio commercials are a joke. On the radio ads he is twelve steps to the right of Regan, while his actions as Governor have been ten steps to the left of Clinton. His loving embrace of BHO will never be forgotten.

The only way to reform the GOP is through the primary process. Even then, 75% of those who claim Conservative values will be ummm... stretching the truth!

Mandy: "Second: if the luna... (Below threshold)

Mandy: "Second: if the lunatic fringe captures the GOP, soon there will be no party whatsoever."

Please tell us who the "lunatic fringe" are, what their beliefs are, and how that categorization applies in this race.

Otherwise, your snarky, off-the-cuff, impossible to validate, not remotely balanced comment will forever consign you "to forfeit any pretension to seriousness oneself."

Something tells me this is a challenge from which you'll shrink.

Whatever happens, win or lo... (Below threshold)
Steve Green:

Whatever happens, win or lose - the GOP loses.

If Hoffman wins then the social conservative will feel empowered and will go forward to launch challenges in other races - further fracturing the Republican party.

If Hoffman loses - the far more likely case - the social conservatives will just raise more money and try harder - further fracturing the Republican party.

The meltdown continues. So glad there are hard-nosed, never say die types pushing this agenda. I hope they don't give up.

So glad there are hard-n... (Below threshold)

So glad there are hard-nosed, never say die types pushing this agenda. I hope they don't give up.

Me, too. But, I don't think we will. Fundamentally, I think that scares the crap out of liberals of both parties. If the GOP ever figures out that it's the conservative ideology that's mainstream America, they'll kick the Democrat's asses every single time. Remember, the GOP started losing elections after Reagan and after they stopped dancing with ones that brought 'em.

I pray for two things every day: That the GOP will return to their values and that they don't win a single election until they do. That is the only way that this country will return to it's stature of the past. The other two alternatives -- Republicans as they are or Democrats -- lead to a socialistic cesspool. The Democrats are just a quicker path than the other.

So, you're saying if the GO... (Below threshold)
Steve Green:

So, you're saying if the GOP kicks the liberal and moderates of their party they will win more elections?


A win by Hoffman would not ... (Below threshold)

A win by Hoffman would not be an upset ...
a conservative candidate who wins in a conservative district is hardly an upset ...
even if he doesn't win but comes in second then the GOP will really have to revisit their thinking ... if Dede becomes the spoiler in this race what can they say ?

Ah, yup.... (Below threshold)

Ah, yup.

Just remenber Sentor James ... (Below threshold)

Just remenber Sentor James Buckley won election in the same kind of race between him a liberal Repulicion a Demacratic the lib was Carles Godellso thhis is not new our go to rip the party just bring it back to were the people want it






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