Saturday, June 03, 2006

CA-50 The Voters Will Decide

The most recent SurveyUSA poll in the 50th CD race isn't good news for the Busby campaign. In a poll of 448 "likely voters," 47% indicated that they would prefer Republican lobbyist Brian Bilbray, while 45% indicated a preference for Democrat Francine Busby. Here is the SurveyUSA summary:

In a special election in California's 50th Congressional District today, 6/2/06, 96 hours till polls open, Republican Brian Bilbray and Democrat Francine Busby are locked in a fierce firefight that could go either way, according to a SurveyUSA poll of 448 Likely Voters, conducted exclusively for KGTV-TV San Diego. 4 days until the 6/6/06 Special Election, Republican Bilbray gets 47%, Democrat Busby gets 45%. Bilbray's 2-point advantage is within the poll's margin of sampling error. Voter turnout will decide whether this critical House seat remains in Republican hands, or becomes a Democrat pick-up. Since an identical SurveyUSA KGTV-TV poll released 5/10/06, Bilbray is up 2 points, from 45% to 47%; Busby is unchanged. Bilbray wins 6:1 among Republicans. Busby wins 9:1 among Democrats. Among Independents, Busby had led by 35 points, now leads by 25 points. Bilbray's support among Independents is up from 19% to 31% in past 3 weeks. SurveyUSA's turnout model assumes 49% of Likely Voters are Republican, 34% of likely voters are Democrat, and 17% are Independent.
Bilbray's 2% advantage is not statistically significant, but what is significant is the fact that Busby's numbers remain the same in poll after poll. And, the poll numbers are consistent with her 44% actual vote count in the April special election. Busby's performance in this heavily Republican district is nothing short of phenomenal, but as polling and voting seem to indicate, somewhere around 45% is the peak level of voter support she can enjoy.

For Busby to win on Tuesday, she needs a real reversal in turnout numbers from the traditional voting pattern. According to SurveyUSA, Busby's chances depend upon getting the under 35 demographic out, while Bilbray needs to get the over 65 crowd to cast their ballots. Busby's success depends on a consistently underperforming group of voters, while Bilbray's depends on getting the most reliable group of voters to do their jobs. That does not bode well for Busby.

Bilbray leads by 14 points among voters age 65 plus; Busby leads by 20 points among voters younger than 35. The two candidates are effectively tied among voters 35 to 64. Should younger voters, historically unreliable, vote in unexpectedly large numbers: advantage Busby. Should older voters vote in disproportionately large numbers: advantage Bilbray.
There is one final notation in this equation. Busby's support has been very consistent from the special election through every poll and survey. Busby's supporters voted in the special election and will, most likely vote on Tuesday, if they haven't already sent in an absentee ballot. Bilbray on the other hand has to depend on a turnout of voters, who despite the contentious nature of the April special election, were too busy to cast a ballot then.

By SurveyUSA's calculation, 20% of "today's" Likely Voters did not vote in the 4/11/06 Primary. Among these "new" voters, Bilbray leads by 11 points, 49% to 38%.
It comes down to this for Busby, she needs a big turnout of younger voters, while seniors stay home. She needs the potential voters who sat out the special election to stay on the sidelines.

Ultimately, she needs every registered Republican and independent voter to pause before casting their vote and reflect upon the message that they will send to the nation if they ultimately choose Brian Bilbray, a career political hack turned lobbyist, who has never lived in the 50th CD and whose permanent residence is in the state of Virginia, to replace convicted Republican felon Randy "Duke" Cunningham.