Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Loras Poll Shows 1st CD Dems Wide Open

Counter intuitively, Pat Murphy's lead in a Loras College poll shows him in a weak position seven weeks out from the June 3 primary.

True, Murphy is well ahead, with 30 percent in the poll to 11 percent for his closest competitor, Anesa Kajtazovic. And that's not far off from other polling, showing Murphy close to, but not quite at, the 35 percent needed to win the nomination outright.

Murphy                        30 percent               
Kajtozovic                   11 percent
Dandekar                       9 percent
Vernon                            9 percent
O’Brien   6 percent
Undecided                34 percent

It's safe to say that a former House speaker who not only couldn't clear the field after being first to announce, but drew FOUR challengers, isn't going to be anyone's second choice.

Put another way, that 30 percent Murphy is 70 percent Anyone But Murphy. That 34 percent sitting out there undecided isn't likely to go for Murphy this late.

But, as in other polls, the three women in the race seem to be splitting about evenly.  There's strong sentiment among Democratic activists and primary voters that Iowa is way overdue for a woman in congress, so let's assume a big chunk of that undecided is struggling over which woman to support.

Let's also assume that this race may break late. We're one or two good polls away from one of these three women becoming the Not Murphy candidate, and at that point the other two women lose their soft support.

So who has the most room to grow?

Swati Dandekar's 9 percent may be a ceiling. While she's been good at raising money (mostly out of state), she's toxic to the party base for her less than progressive record and for her sudden resignation from her Senate seat, which risked Senate control, to take a six figure job from Terry Branstad.

So that leaves Vernon and Kajtazovic competing for the Not Murphy slot at end game. Vernon's been better able to raise money (though according to this this latest report she's kicked in $170,000 of her own money). But she shares her Linn County base with Dandekar and Dave O'Brien, the other middle aged Irishman in the race. And some voters are still uneasy with her relatively recent (2009) switch from the GOP to the Democrats. Still, at least she moved in the right direction, unlike Dandekar.

Kajtazovic - no secret I'm supporting her - has had a harder time with the money. But after a slow start had kept pace with the others once self-funding is out of the mix, almost matching Murphy for the quarter. And she has a Black Hawk County base all to herself.

So it's way too early to call this one, but if it comes down to Murphy and Kajtozovic at the end, I like Anesa's chances.

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