Idaho: Half of GOP Voters Have No Favorite in 1st District

Posted May 12, 2010 at 5:16pm

Republican voters aren’t sure who they want to see go up against Rep. Walt Minnick (D), and they only have until May 25 to decide.

A survey conducted May 5-8 by the Idaho-based Greg Smith and Associates found that Minnick’s likely to begin the general election as the favorite. The poll sampled 400 likely voters and had a 5-point error margin.

Of those surveyed who said they are very or somewhat likely to vote in the GOP primary, 34 percent chose Vaughn Ward, a former Senate aide and CIA employee, and 16 percent preferred state Rep. Raul Labrador.

That means that half of Republican respondents were undecided, didn’t know who they’d back, refused to answer or chose some other candidate. (Three little-known Republicans are also on the ballot.)

“There is no dominant front runner within the Republican primary, with about half of likely GOP voters remaining undecided,” Smith wrote in a polling memo.

Ward began campaigning 14 months ago and is highly touted by the National Republican Congressional Committee. But his campaign has experienced some rocky times in recent weeks, including revelations that he was late to pay some property taxes and failed to include his wife’s assets on his financial disclosure forms.

When survey respondents were asked whether they favored Minnick or a GOP candidate, 50 percent chose Minnick, 20 percent said they would vote Republican, and 30 percent were undecided, didn’t know or declined to answer.

“Although the odds are in favor of a Minnick victory, his position is by no means dominant, and he is certainly not a prohibitive favorite,” Smith wrote.