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Friday, April 14, 2006

Cantwell’s Lead Shrinks

Posted by on April 14 at 7:53 AM

In CounterIntel this week, I said the shakeup at McGavick’s campaign (his campaign manager quit last weekend), actually calls attention to problems with Cantwell’s campaign. Here’s why.

At the end of the column, after reporting that Cantwell was up by 13 points according to late-March poll numbers the Democrats gave me, I wrote: “Expect more phoned-in muddles from Cantwell (and dialed-in messaging from McGavick) to eat away at Cantwell’s lead.

The latest poll numbers came out yesterday. McGavick picked up about 5 points.

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Rasmussen is one the the least-good polling firms. SurveyUSA is better.

I'm in the "Support Cantwell because she is the best we can do right camp" but for the hell of it here's daily kos's impression, gleaned from his recent WA visit, of Cantwell's buzz among the base in WA:

"it was quite shocking to see just how much local activists hate Sen. Maria Cantwell. It isn't that they're disappointed in her positions on issues like Iraq in an effort to appear "moderate" or "centrist", it's that she won't even talk to them about those issues. The dislike was near universal and truly based on that lack of communication."

Its so easy to glad hand people and smile as you tickle their kidnies with your shiv (Clinton was great at this), but I have to agree that Cantwell doesn't seem to even try. I find it confusing.

Cantwell doesn't try because there's no reason to. The hostility is total and all-encompassing. The activist fringe here hates her with a passion that not even Bush or Cheney could match. It's stupid and self-defeating; they might as well just sign up for the McGavick campaign. On the plus side, being hated by the activist fringe in Seattle is a major selling point in other parts of the state (including other parts of Seattle).

Cantwell's lead has been between 8 and 13 points depending on the poll since December.

This is not significant news. When it gets down to 5 then it will be. For now nothing really has changed.

The polls at this point are meaningless. Most voters won’t start paying attention until October – which is why I find it odd that McGavick has already spent $400,000 on TV ads. (But I suppose when you’re awash in money from the insurance industry and the big oil special interests why not?)

The fact is if this election gets close, it’s going to be decided by swing voters in Pierce and Snohomish counties, as well as portions of suburban King County. And much of Cantwell’s record will appeal to voters in those areas, such as how she’s led the fight protect the Arctic Refuge from oil drilling and taken on ENRON as they’ve tried to stick it to ratepayers in Snohomish County.

At the end of the day, when all is said and done, voting McGavick is the same as voting for Bush, and a vote for Cantwell is the same as kicking Bush where it hurts.

Sure, we'll whine, we'll cry, we'll beg - but we all know how we'll end up voting.

And it sure ain't for Bush and his cronies.

Bailey Kendall has it exactly right: Cantwell has decided that Iraq is an argument you can't win no matter which side you're on -- but Enron is pure gold. She's right, they're wrong -- and McGavick has absolutely nothing on the subject. And on the environment, McGavick has a big armload of Ted Stevens, which is going to just smother him.

i agree this isn't significant news, especially once you add in the margin of error on polls.

cantwell has more critics than just "the activist fringe," btw. i bet patty murray's much more popular than cantwell. and i bet it's not radicals who put murray in that position.

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