Yes, I read the same news as you did that Richard Carmona is leading Jeff Flake by five points.
I admit that I like seeing a number that is that good. I expected that Carmona would pull a slight lead, given Flake’s primary, Carmona’s lead in money and the national mood. Five points though?
The press accounts of the poll are vague about its provenance. They all identify it as coming from a Republican firm, but not much else. I admit that I didn’t call the outlets that ran the story, but I called my usual gang of political hacks and unindicted co-conspirators to find out what they heard.
What did they hear? Not much.
Several people thought that the numbers indicated that there was an over sample of Democrats, but one person who was able to see more detailed numbers thought that independents were under sampled. If that’s the case and given how strong Carmona has been among independents, the poll could be under reading Carmona’s lead.
As for who paid for the poll, I just heard speculation. One theory is that it wasn’t a survey done for Flake’s campaign per se, but a test question on a poll done on another question, a ballot proposition, for example. These numbers sometimes get released, but mostly with the responsible firm’s name on it so they can get some publicity out of it.
The other theory I’ve heard is that it may be from a committee associated with Flake’s operation. Although the Carmona people sent out a press release yesterday touting the $1 million that the Club for Growth spent for Flake in his primary, there hasn’t been the piles of money spent by independent groups in the general election yet.
This was supposed to be a gimmie for Flake. He spent most of the last year and a half with no serious Democratic opponent. National Republican groups might not be taking it seriously yet. The theory goes that Flake’s people released the poll to let these groups know he’s got a race and could you spend money here please? Thanks.
Great, except it has also lit a fire under Democratic groups to do the same. And, why would you want to show yourself that far back when the neck-and-neck polls of the last few weeks would do the same thing?
Unless, of course, there aren’t polls that show it neck-and-neck any more…