After regular missives for months from the folks at the National Republican Senatorial Committee, things had been quiet for two whole weeks.
The group in charge of getting Republicans elected to the Senate didn’t call, they didn’t write, they didn’t text.
For months they sent clips of national stories about what a great guy Dino Rossi was, diatribes about Democratic incumbent Patty Murray or links to polls that showed he was beating her.
Now, it seemed like they’d forgotten about this Washington.
Not so. Last week they sent an e-mail blasting Maria Cantwell for the unimaginable sin of voting for Democratic leadership. Imagine that, a Democrat voting for Democrats, and a senator from Washington voting for a leadership team that includes the other senator from Washington.
The press release suggested Cantwell “put her party bosses’ reckless, job-killing agenda ahead of the best interests of her constituents.” The best interest of Washington state voters is debatable, although it is usually debated by people in Washington state.
The curious thing in the NRSC statement is the assertion that Cantwell’s vote for Democratic leaders “puts her at odds with her state’s voters.” Considering the state’s voters just re-elected Murray by at least 100,000 votes over NRSC recruit Rossi, wouldn’t it put Cantwell at odds with folks back home to vote against the Democratic team?
A call for clarification wasn’t returned.
The real purpose of the e-mail is contained in the final line, however: “Washingtonians will no doubt elect a fiscally responsible leader as their next U.S. senator in 2012.” No hint whom that will be.
The NRSC prepared 13 similar press releases targeting Democrats up for re-election in 2012. They just swapped out the name of the senator and the state.
But there it was, the first shot fired in Washington’s 2012 Senate race.
The D’s have a similar group, the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee, that was busy knocking Rossi until Nov. 2. Murray has been asked to lead the DSCC, a job she had in 2002. She hasn’t said yes, but if she does, the most interesting thing to see will be whether the committee dials back its tactics. The hit pieces it sent out about Rossi before the primary caused the real Murray campaign a fair amount of heartburn, allowing him to say “I’m not even in the race and the so-called mom in tennis shoes is trashing me.”
Remember all those polls in the U.S. Senate race that were all over the place in the last week of the election? Murray is up by 4 percentage points. No, Rossi is up by 2. No, they’re tied.
Turns out the most accurate polls in the race were one by the Washington Poll and one by YouGov.
Matt Barreto of the Washington Poll compared 11 Murray-Rossi polls released within a week of the election, which right now is separated by about 4.7 percentage points.
The WashPoll of registered voters, released Oct. 28, had Murray up 4 points. YouGov’s Oct. 30 poll of registered voters had Murray up 5 points. The final margin might still fluctuate a bit, but they’ll both be within 1 point.
Also in Barreto’s survey of surveys: YouGov’s Oct. 30 likely voter poll had Murray up by 3 points; Marist’s Oct. 28 registered voter poll had Murray by 3 points; WashPoll’s Oct. 28 likely voter poll had Murray by 6 points; Fox News’ Oct. 28 likely voter poll had Murray by 2 points; Marist’s Oct. 28 likely voter poll had Murray by 1 point; Survey USA’s Oct. 27 likely voter poll had them tied; Rasmussen’s Oct. 27 likely voter poll had Rossi by 1 point; PPP’s Oct. 31 likely voter poll had Rossi by 2 points.
Not included in the listing was the Elway Poll of likely voters, which The Spokesman-Review and the Seattle Times commissioned in September that had it 50-41 Murray, or a mid-October Elway Poll, that had it 51-38 Murray.
One interesting note is that the best predictors were not polls of so-called likely voters, who have voted in most of the previous elections, but the registered voters, a wider sampling that includes people who don’t regularly vote.