Thursday, October 23, 2008

More Good News For Darcy Burner

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A new poll on the WA-08 Congressional district was published yesterday. It showed SnS Blue candidate Darcy Burner leading her opponent, incumbent Dave Reichert, by four percentage points. I suspect some news agencies and Reichert's campaign will spin this as a drop in Darcy's numbers, but that's simply not the case.

This actually is quite an improvement. Pollster lists four polls done by the same polling organization in the Eighth District. They are done roughly every six weeks. All the previous polls showed Reichert up by at least six points. Survey USA explains:

Nominally, it's Burner 50%, Reichert 46% today. Compared to a SurveyUSA poll 6 weeks ago, Reichert is down 8 points, Burner is up 6. The September poll was taken at a time when the national Republican party had just finished a successful convention, and the nomination of Sarah Palin as John McCain's running mate was new and novel. At that time, in Washington state, SurveyUSA showed McCain within 4 points of Barack Obama, statewide, and showed Reichert 10 atop Burner. Today, SurveyUSA shows Obama 16 points atop McCain, a swing of 12 to the Democrats. And, SurveyUSA shows Burner 4 atop Reichert, a swing of 14 to the Democrats.

Results of SurveyUSA Election Poll #14647

This means that the same poll, using the same methods to determine what it takes to be a representative sample of the district, thinks that Burner is now ahead. Those last two sentences also indicate that this change is congruent with other political shifts in the area, which is further indication of the validity of the results.

In my last article on this subject, one thing I neglected to mention was that one of the recent polls showing Darcy ahead was one that had been done for the first time by that polling organization, BPN. There was no way to judge how the sample related to earlier samples, so it was a bit less reliable as an indication of a trend. The other poll, the one by Lake Research, did show a change, but it was one poll done by a partisan poll firm. Another poll, by KosCom, that appeared at about the same time as the BPN poll, showed Reichert up by eight points. I suspected that one was a bad one due to the large number of undecided voters it showed. This is the second time these two candidates have run against each other. The voters are familiar with the candidates already, so there aren't likely to be many undecideds there.

This is very good news. While it's by no means a sure thing, I now believe that Darcy will win this election, assuming nothing changes the political landscape in the next couple of weeks.

UPDATE: It looks like Dave Reichert's been very, very bad:

Bellevue (October 22) – The campaign of 8th District Democratic congressional candidate Darcy Burner today filed a complaint with the Federal Elections Commission over a six-figure illegal loan provided to the campaign of Republican incumbent Dave Reichert by his media buying firm.

The complaint comes in response to the Burner campaign’s discovery last Friday that Reichert had secured more than $1 million in television advertising time for the closing two weeks of the campaign despite being short of cash.

Burner Campaign Files FEC Complaint over Reichert Loan

My guess is that nothing will be done about this before election time, unless the voters do it. The FEC seems to be powerless to do anything about these complaints. Folks like Reichert's media firm and the Chamber of Commerce, who have been running ads criticizing Burner for the last few weeks, like it that way.

There are times I think it's a wonder that she's even in this race.

UPDATE 2: The day ends, at least for me, with some bad news. Apparently, the Seattle Times have taken it upon themselves to do a hatchet job on Darcy:

Bellevue (October 22) – With a new King 5 poll released this evening showing Democrat Darcy Burner leading incumbent Republican Dave Reichert 50 percent to 46 percent – the third consecutive poll to show her leading – a desperate Reichert campaign has begun to fling false accusations in a desperate attempt to stop Burner’s growing momentum. Unfortunately, this afternoon the Seattle Times, in a poorly contextualized story, bought their latest spin.

Burner Campaign Statement on Seattle Times Story

The Seattle Times ran a story saying that Darcy had "exaggerated" her degree in a debate two weeks earlier. This was, as the "reporter" admitted in a paragraph buried deep in the story, based on a release from the National Republican Campaign Committee, with little real fact checking. The Harvard professor who was the Dean of Harvard College at the time Darcy graduated (1996) confirmed that she wasn't misstating her qualifications. Here's the man's biography, by the way. At this time (late on Oct. 23), they still haven't corrected or retracted the story. In fact, they followed up with a story that restates those false claims, and at the same time makes light of the mistaken claim on Dave Reichert's Congressional biography page that said he had a bachelor's degree, when in fact it was only an associate's. Reichert's office has since corrected the site, but only after the Burner campaign noted the error.

I don't suppose this slant could have anything to do with the Times having endorsed Reichert in an editorial that matches the worst of the Wall Street Journal's exercises in unreality word for word.


shoephone said...

If Darcy wins this time around then Reichert can go back to his old job of pretending he caught the Green River Killer.

*The Times is making itself more irrelevant by the day.

Cujo359 said...

If the Times keeps writing articles like this then they deserve to be irrelevant. I wrote an LTE about this, and haven't even heard back from them. I suspect they've been inundated.

Ballard Scotty said...

There was no exageration in Darcy Burners statement. Google "Darcy Burner Degree" and read the letter to the editor from a Harvard fellow in Cambridge. Not only is Harvard an old elite school, they do things just a little bit differently there. She has a BA in computer science with an emphasis in economics. As stated, Harvard does not use minors so her emphasis in economics is more like a double major. Small minds think small thoughts.

Cujo359 said...

Hi, Ballard Scotty,

Yes, I think the upshot is that Harvard's been around for 300 years or so, and doesn't feel the need to define majors, minors, and emphases the way most U.S. colleges do. At least, that's what I've gathered from all the comments on this. My guess is that when Lewis tried to explain how Harvard degrees work, the Times "reporter" thought she heard a headline-grabber and just didn't listen any further after that.