The Evans/McDonough Company surveyed likely voters in Washington's 4th District August 15-17 and found a startling shallowness of support for Tom DeLay lapdog Doc Hastings.
Anna Fahey, Wright's campaign manager, told me:
The amazing thing is that we've heard that this poll shows Hastings weaker than any of the other incumbents in the state -- at least in preliminary polling.Evan's/McDonough's findings:
We're not sure how Darcy's new numbers measure up.
Hastings came back with his own poll numbers that show him in the lead, but we know that with 17% undecided and only 22% definitely voting for him the race is truly wide open at this late stage.
The fact is, when people hear our message and compare the candidates, Richard comes out on top.
- Only one in five voters (22%) say they will "definitely vote to reelect Hastings." Another quarter (28%) say they will "probably vote to reelect Hastings." Hastings' combined reelect of 50% is extremely weak for a six-term incumbent and suggests that he is genuinely vulnerable.
- Voters in this district are not happy about the direction of the country (59% wrong track) and are unusually pessimistic about the direction of their local area (40% wrong track). These are surprisingly negative numbers in a traditionally Republican district and suggest that voters in this district are looking for change.
- Despite the fact that challenger Richard Wright is not well known at this point, Wright is within single digits of Hastings after voters hear a positive description of each candidate, and Wright pulls ahead of Hastings after the comparatives. After hearing additional information about Wright's positions as a conservative Democrat, Wright opens up a 10-point lead on Hastings.
- Although Hastings is well-liked, his personal popularity does not translate into votes. Hastings has several issue positions and votes that are unpopular and out of step with the district. This, combined with the district's overall negative mood, keeps Hastings from being able to convert his personal popularity into vote support.
- Richard Wright's resume as a conservative Democrat fits the 4th District well and appeals to Democrats, Independents and even Republicans. Once voters learn more about Wright, he pulls ahead of Hastings in a district where self-identified Republicans outnumber Democrats by 12 points, and where Hastings has a name ID advantage over Wright.
- This survey shows that as Wright becomes better known in the district, Hastings' vote advantage will evaporate. There is a 38-point net shift in the survey towards Wright from the first vote to the final vote, suggesting that there are a significant number of persuadable voters in this district who are ready for change and looking for an alternative. Particularly noteworthy is Wright's lead among Independents after they hear comparatives among the candidates: 47% to 25%.
- Finally, the shift to support for Wright over Hastings after voters hear the comparatives occurs among all 4th District citizens regardless of how often they have voted in recent elections, party affiliation, where they live in the District, and whether they are over or under the age of 50.
This memo is based on the results of a telephone survey of likely 2006 general election voters in Washington's 4th Congressional District. A total of 410 interviews were conducted August 15-17, 2006. The overall margin of error for these results is + 4.9 points at the 95% confidence interval.