Thursday, October 2, 2008

A One Point Lead? Indiana's Race for Governor

A new poll commissioned by the Associated Press shows John McCain leading Barack Obama by 1 point in the state, 46-45. What should set off some alarm bells is that the same poll shows Governor Mitch Daniels also with a one point lead, 47-46, over his Democrat opponent Jill Long Thompson. An Indianapolis Star poll released just a couple weeks ago and discussed on this blog showed Daniels with only a 4 point lead. Those poll results, at least for Governor, were panned at the time as the result of poor methodology that caused an aberration in the results which were well outside the norm of other polls that had been released.

I've been warning for some time that the race for Governor could turn out to be much closer than people expect and that Jill Long Thompson has a chance of winning, much better than the 1 out of 10 odds suggested by one pollster.

See Blog Postings:
Governor Jill Long Thompson? (9/19/2008)
Republicans Need to Heed Rokita's Warning: Indiana's Coming New Voter Surge (9/18/2008)
Does a Rising Tide Raise Jill Long-Thompson's Ship (9/6/2008)

Political contests are not run in a vacuum. They can be greatly influenced by other events around them, especially when there is an historic presidential election taking place. Much of the success in politics involves simply being in the right place at the right time. Although JLT's campaign has not taken off and she's struggled to even bring together her own Democratic party, she's in the right place to be swept to victory in what very well might be a big Democrat year.

Do these two recent polls reflect movement in the race? Probably the change simply reflects Democrats coming home to their nominee, as is traditional when an election draws closer. The concerns about the economy as reflected in the Wall Street roller coaster and the pending bailout also would seem to work against Daniels. Daniels' message has been that even though the economy is bad, Indiana is doing better than other states. No matter the merit of that claim (though I'd be the first to say the Governor has little control over the state's economy), it is a tough to sell when people are worried that we may be in the worst economic downturn in decades. This is a race to watch.


Anonymous said...

Is it possible to slouch into the lead? Playing "not to lose" is playing to lose. Passion is more easily fueled where principles are clear.

Paul K. Ogden said...


I'm assuming you're saying Daniels is playing not to lose. I think that's a fair assessment. I think the thought behind that was that JLT's campaign wasn't catching on and I think that's right. The problem with the Daniels' strategy is that the Democrats base vote is going to be so large this year that even with people crossing to vote for Daniels, JLT may still win.

Anonymous said...

What makes you think the dem turnout will be so high this year in Indy? And secondly what about other polls that put the guvs race as a mitch landslide?