"More on poll from Roll Call...
Arcuri Over Meier in Democratic Poll
August 14, 2006
Oneida County District Attorney Mike Arcuri (D) led state Sen. Ray Meier (R) in the race for the open 24th district seat, according to a new poll released by Arcuri’s campaign.
The poll showed Arcuri leading Meier 40 percent to 36 percent and “is significant because Meier is slightly better known and the district has a double-digit edge in Republican registration,” said the memo announcing the survey’s results.
The poll, conducted by the Benenson Strategy Group July 26-30, included 500 likely general election voters and had a 4.4 percent margin of error. The 24th district opened up when Rep. Sherwood Boehlert (R) decided to retire.
— Stephanie Woodrow"
As I suspected, Mike Arcuri's supposed 4 percentage point "lead" is within the poll's margin of error. It really can't be considered an actual lead for this reason.
However, the poll is still good news for the Arcuri campaign. The reason is that, right now, Arcuri should be behind, not dead even with, Ray Meier. It's a district that has long been held by the Republicans, and registered Republicans outnumber registered Democrats here.
The key to Arcuri's success may have been the large number of registered voters in the 24th district who are independents or members of minor political parties - people who are put off by both the Democrat Party and the Republican Party. This year, with the Republican Congress such a clear disaster, and after over 20 years of giving Republican representation a try (and the district going downhill during that time), it's natural for these voters to lean Democrat.
So, no matter how many big name Republicans Ray Meier's campaign brings into town (or perhaps because of all the big name Republicans Ray Meier's campaign brings into town), most voters are refusing Ray Meier. Keep in mind that those poll numbers are still low for both candidates - 40 percent vs. 36 percent leaves us with 24 percent of voters undecided or just plain unknowledgable about the race.
Who is better poised to pick up most of those votes? Ray Meier, who stands for the worst aspects of the Republicans' failures? No.
I've been sharply critical of the Arcuri campaign's strategy of laying low and doing little, but maybe it is a strategy that can work. In a year like this, with the Republicans so visibly and repeatedly messing things up, maybe it's just best to allow the Republicans to fall down all over themselves, and to present an acceptable, if not highly motivating, alternative.