Wednesday, October 31, 2018

New Poll Shows Democratic Challengers Competitive in Indiana's Fifth and Ninth Congressional Districts

In my last blog post, I bemoaned the lack of polling in Indiana's congressional districts and said that three of them, the Second, Fifth and Ninth had the potential to be interesting.  Turns out on the very day I posted the article, a polling outfit was concluding polling in two of those districts.

Rep. Susan Brooks (R-IN)
According to a poll conducted by Change Research, 9th District Congressman Trey Hollingsworth leads his very well funded Democratic challenger Liz Watson 52% to 45%.  That 7 point margin is within the margin of error.

(Note:  The media almost always reports margins of error incorrectly.  If a margin of error on a poll is 4 points, that means a potential 8 point swing as the MOE is on both sides of the numbers.  For example, with a 4 point MOE, a race that is 54R-46D coudl be anywhere from 58R-42D to 50R-50D, thus an 8 point swing on the 4 point MOE.)

A more shocking development is that the polling firm has the Fifth District even closer.  Change Research's poll has Republican Susan Brooks ahead of her cash-starved Democratic challenger Dee Thornton 50% to 44%.  GOP members of Congress in suburban districts are struggling this election cycle due to Trump's unpopularity among well-educated, affluent Republicans.  As the Fifth District is dominated by northern Marion County and wealthy Hamilton County, it makes sense this district could be more competitive than it has in the past..

For some reason Change Research did not poll the Second District race between Congresswoman Jackie Walorski and her Democratic opponent, Mel Hall.  It is the only district in Indiana,that political analyst Charlie Cook suggests has an outside chance of being competitive.  Cook has labeled the district as "likely Republican."

The Change Research poll results need to be taken with a huge grain of salt.  As a polling outfit, Change Research's work product is given a C+ rating by the website FiveThirtyEight and the polls conducted by the company don't make the standards to be included in the polls listed by RealClearPolitics, the resource for most political junkies looking for survey results.  While Change Research's online polling technique is relatively new, its C+ rating is still well ahead of the D- grade FiveThirtyEight gives to Survey Monkey, another online pollster regular employed by media outfits.

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