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Eye On Boise

Two different polls, two different results

Two different polls were released yesterday in Idaho’s U.S. Senate race, the hot race for the open seat created by the retirement of Sen. Larry Craig. But the results were so different as to suggest they were for different races.

Independent candidate Rex Rammell released results of his poll, conducted from the end of August to Sept. 2, asking 550 likely Idaho voters who they’d choose in the Senate race – after being told the “name, occupation and ages of the three leading candidates.” Rammell is the youngest at age 47; Republican Jim Risch and Democrat Larry LaRocco both are in their 60s. The results: Risch, 40 percent; LaRocco, 30 percent; Rammell, 10 percent; and 20 percent undecided.

On the same day, Rasmussen Reports, which conducts automated polling across the nation, issued its own Idaho Senate poll, which queried 500 likely Idaho voters on Sept. 9. The firm found 58 percent for Risch and 30 percent for LaRocco; no numbers were released for other candidates or undecided voters. The Rasmussen poll found high favorability ratings for Risch – 62 percent – with LaRocco at 42 percent. It also reported that 49 percent of respondents gave Gov. Butch Otter good or excellent ratings for job performance.

The previous poll released in the race, from Idaho pollster Greg Smith, found 23 percent still undecided in the race, Risch with 41 percent, LaRocco 29 percent, and Rammell 3 percent. It was conducted Aug. 18-22 and queried 600 likely Idaho voters. The race also includes Libertarian Kent Marmon and independent “Pro-Life,” formerly known as Marvin Richardson.

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Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.

Named best state-based political blog in Idaho for 2013 by The Fix

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