Monday, October 01, 2012

Poll dance

The only pollster in Utah I trust, Dan Jones, has a poll out tonight with a surprising conclusion: Jim Matheson might not be re-elected to a seventh term.

It looks like this race, like the senate races in Massachusetts and Nevada has nationalized. Utah is one of the few states where your entire campaign can be about latching onto the top of the ticket.

An interesting aspect of the poll also shows Matheson's approval rating is slightly higher than Love's, at 56 percent to 54 percent. But Matheson's unfavorable rating is also higher than Love's, at 38 percent to 31 percent.

Just like Scott Brown in the Bay State, Utahns still like Jim Matheson. Jim has not made as many mistakes as Brown has. He has not made silly personal attacks like whether Mia Love was an "anchor baby"but the policy based attacks have not stuck either it appears.

I would be curious to learn what people who are neutral thought of the performances of both candidates.

Mia Love is by far the best candidate Jim Matheson has gone up against. I am looking at you too John Swallow.

The student loans and Israel funding attack lines are the best ones Matheson has got. Disparaging Saratoga Springs does not seem to be a winning plan to me. My free advice, which is worth every penny, is to personalize what Mia Love's more extreme positions would mean for a real life college on student loans, a real life senior in a nursing home who is dual eligible and at risk under theRyan budget that Romney and Love endorsed. A regular Utahn, rather than Jim talking at a press event or another debate will be the most effective in my view.

But really giving people a reason to turnout for you and an organization to get the vote out is the most important at this stage. Democrats in Utah are not going to be all that jazzed to turnout this year, unlike 2008. Even worse, the other side will be very excited to vote for Mitt Romney in huge numbers.

Are there Romney-Matheson voters? Sure but who knows how many there are and what buttons are the right ones to push? Certainly not this highly paid consultant.

Bottom line, Matheson is a hole that he is going to have to dig out of but he still could pull out a victory. I am already having déjà vu of election night 2012 when Jim Matheson's campaign manager and my dad called me to find out what the latest returns were because the Internet was down in their hotel room. Back then, I calculated that John Swallow would have to run the table on the remaining precincts in order to capture the lead and make up the difference in the lead. I predicted that Jim would barely pull it out. I fear it will be another long night for Jim this year again.