Friday, May 05, 2006

CA-50 Republican Poll Shows Busby Leading

This looks like great news, so why am I skeptical? Over at Flash Report, the drumbeat for right wing Republican darling, Eric Roach, to run against Republican lobbyist Brian Bilbray has become frantic. Roach, for his part, remains silent. In fact, Roach has missed two deadlines established by his own spokesman for an announcement of his intentions. Last week, we were told Roach would have an announcement by week's end. This week, the same line. No announcement.

Now to this latest poll. The numbers for Busby are outstanding. In a poll of 450 potential voters, skewed heavily with Republicans, Busby outperforms Bilbray 43% to 37%. This seems pretty unusual, so let's look at the poll a little more closely.

First, the poll was commissioned by conservative Republican and Eric Roach supporter, Bill Hauf. Hauf ostensible wanted to find out both Bilbray's position in his race against Busby, but also the mood of the conservative electorate. The poll appears to have been designed to insure that Bilbray's liberal tendencies would be exposed.

Second, the poll used a classic "push poll" methodology. The money question of voter preference is preceded by questions designed to predispose the respondent to make a specific choice. For example, prior to asking if a voter prefers Busby or Bilbray, there might be a couple of questions about Bilbray the lobbyist. Or, depending on the poll, a question about Bilbray eating the flesh of young children.

Third, the poll was designed to scare Republicans. Bilbray (the eater of living children) performed far worse against Busby than Roach, the white knight of the Republican right.

However, this poll is good news for Busby. The margin of error is too great to be just the product of the "push poll" bias. And, it shows that Republican support of Bilbray is incredibly weak.

The continuing drumbeat of bad news regarding the Bush Administration and the support of Republican leaders like Cheney and Hastert are huge negative for Bilbray. In fact, the mainstream party support for Bilbray is playing right into both Busby and Roach's hands.

The result here is great for Busby, a major negative for Bilbray and a big inducement to Roach to take on Bilbray (for his own good).