Kentucky: Competing Polls Issued in 3rd District Contest

Posted June 10, 2008 at 6:30pm

After taking exception to a new SurveyUSA poll that showed former Rep. Anne Northup well behind in her campaign to regain her old seat, Northup’s campaign decided to release its own polling numbers Tuesday that showed the race to be a much closer contest — albeit with the former Congresswoman still trailing.

The new report by the automated polling firm SurveyUSA was released Monday night and gave Rep. John Yarmuth (D) 57 percent to Northup’s 40 percent in a head-to-head matchup. The survey of 646 likely voters, taken for WHAS-TV in Louisville, was in the field June 6-8 and had a 3.9-point margin of error.

Northup’s campaign chairman Ted Jackson was quick to send out a news release calling those numbers “seriously flawed” and released a memo from Republican pollster Jan van Lohuizen of Voter/Consumer Research Tuesday that showed Yarmuth leading Northup, 51 percent to 43 percent after rounding.

The Northup-sponsored poll was conducted on June 4, 5 and 8 and consisted of 400 interviews with likely voters. It had a margin of error of 5 points.

In his polling memo, van Lohuizen wrote that while being down more than 7 points “is not great news, the results indicate a far closer election and make a lot more sense” than the SurveyUSA poll. “At -7 when nationally Republicans are down -15, you’re in pretty good shape. Not having campaigned a great deal to date, I believe that when you start communicating with the voters you are positioned well to win.”

But according to the SurveyUSA poll, Northup, who is coming off a 2007 GOP primary defeat in the gubernatorial contest, is beginning the general election contest behind among several important constituencies.

The poll showed her losing the women’s vote to Yarmuth 59 percent to 38 percent. Men chose Yarmuth 55 percent to 42 percent. Voters over 50 chose Yarmuth 54 percent to 43 percent, and voters under 50 chose Yarmuth 59 percent to 37 percent. Voters 18 to 34 chose Yarmuth 65 percent to 30 percent.

— John McArdle