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This story is somewhat troubling:

A new poll shows Democratic U.S. Rep. Julia Carson narrowly trailing Republican Eric Dickerson -- an outcome that, if it holds on Election Day, would be one of the biggest upsets in Indiana politics.

Dickerson led Carson 45 percent to 42 percent in the poll conducted for WTHR (Channel 13), The Indianapolis Star's news-gathering partner.

Now, I don't want to sound like a "concern troll", but this is somewhat shocking result.  As disclosure, I worked on Rep. Carson's first Congressional campaign and on the Hill for her in her first term in the late '90s, so I check in periodically on what's going on in her race.

While it's true that indeed pollsters tend to do inaccurate polls of the 7th, previously the 10th, District in Indiana, what concerns me here is the Rep. Carson had a 20 point lead a few months back, and Dickerson is now on top.

More importantly, in the past Republicans on the national level have poured lots of money into Indianapolis to try and take out Rep. Carson.  But it appears that Dickerson only has raised around $21,000, doesn't have any media presence and is running a primarily grassroots campaign.

So while the polls in past races indeed were proven wrong, there was at least some sort of basis for the Republican to be running somewhat decent against Rep. Carson -- money, ads, etc.

But here, it appears Dickerson is leading merely by advocating a change message in IN-07.

I know there are some issues that are resonating in this race, including charges of mudslinging by Rep. Carson and concerns about Rep. Carson's health.  Personally, because of the health issues, I would have preferred if Rep. Carson stepped aside this year and let someone else have a shot.  It's a Democratic district, and could be won easily.

Carson's GOTV machine is pretty good, so this might not be anything to worry about.  But when you've got an election as important as this one, we can't afford to LOSE any seat.  

Anybody in Indiana/Indianapolis got a better grip of what's going on there on the ground?  

Originally posted to wmtriallawyer on Fri Oct 20, 2006 at 07:22 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Just trying to get the whole story... (3+ / 0-)

    It appears that Dickerson has refused NRCC money because they asked for a pledge that he would vote for Hastert for Speaker...which he refused to sign.

    In which case, this race becomes even more curious.  If he's not getting an influx of cash from the Republican Party, and he's still leading, it could be a sign of trouble.

    We are a party of innovation...We are willing to suffer the discomfort of change in order to achieve a better future. --Barbara Jordan

    by wmtriallawyer on Fri Oct 20, 2006 at 07:23:43 AM PDT

    •  Is Selzer & Co a reliable polling outfit? (0+ / 0-)

      I don't know much about them, the article says they are out of Des Moines, and that the poll has a MOE +/- 4%.

      "Why don't newscasters cry when they read about people who die? At least they could be decent enough to put just a tear in their eye" - Jack Johnson

      by bawbie on Fri Oct 20, 2006 at 08:34:44 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Saw that too... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Christopher Walker

    ...this shouldn't be a competitive race, but Carson is an unimpressive incumbent, and her opponent has a famous name (even if it is just a coincidence). Not good...

    W's First Veto: not for tax cuts for the rich, pork barrel spending and earmarks, or civil liberties violations, but for stem cell research.

    by Red Sox on Fri Oct 20, 2006 at 07:25:53 AM PDT

    •  Another wrinkle. (0+ / 0-)

      If there is a perceived problem with Julia's reelection, that means DCCC money will start going into that race right quick.  

      Which means less money for our other strong challengers.

      We are a party of innovation...We are willing to suffer the discomfort of change in order to achieve a better future. --Barbara Jordan

      by wmtriallawyer on Fri Oct 20, 2006 at 07:28:46 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Saw that poll this morning myself. (0+ / 0-)

    Wouldn't it be a kick in the pants to win three seats in IN, only to lose one as well?

    I don't know a thing about this race, so I'll refrain from comments/predictions on it.

    But I sure hope this is an extreme outlier poll.

    Do we know anything about the pollster?

    "No government has the right to tell its citizens whom to love. The only queer people are those who don't love anybody." - Rita Mae Brown (-4.75, -7.13)

    by AUBoy2007 on Fri Oct 20, 2006 at 07:27:32 AM PDT

  •  Well, this quote (4+ / 0-)
    puts things into perspective,
       In 2002, a poll taken just before the election showed Carson with only a 1 percentage point lead over Republican Brose McVey. She won, 53 percent to 44 percent. And in Carson's first congressional campaign in 1996, a poll taken just before the election showed her trailing Republican Virginia Blankenbaker by three percentage points. She won by eight.  
    and Carson herself says she's not worried, so maybe her internals tell her a different story. Caution perhaps, but not pessimism or worry is due here.

    --------
    If the internet makes you cry, stay OFF it.

    by PBJ Diddy on Fri Oct 20, 2006 at 07:27:44 AM PDT

    •  Again, I was on that first campaign (0+ / 0-)

      So I know that the polling can be screwy.

      But at least that was a campaign in which the Republican Party, and Julia's opponent, were spending thousands of dollars in advertising.

      This guy Dickerson hasn't had a single ad on television.

      That tells me that there might be a somewhat motivated electorate in IN-07 to vote against Carson.

      Caution is definitely warranted.

      We are a party of innovation...We are willing to suffer the discomfort of change in order to achieve a better future. --Barbara Jordan

      by wmtriallawyer on Fri Oct 20, 2006 at 07:30:41 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  She also apparently staved off (0+ / 0-)
        defeat in the republican swarm of '02, so I'm not breathing easy, but I'm thirsty as hell from that huge grain of salt I took with this poll's result.

        --------
        If the internet makes you cry, stay OFF it.

        by PBJ Diddy on Fri Oct 20, 2006 at 08:25:33 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  as a long time fan of Julia Carson (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wmtriallawyer, Loonesta

    I too would be shocked and sorry to see her defeated. I would like to see her pass the seat on, perhaps next time, to a strong and energetic Democrat who can hold it with safe margins for a long time. Every now and then a likely candidate has cropped up, and Julia's been in their way. Bart Peterson comes to mind, but there have been others.

    I wish her well, though. I became a fan of Julia Carson's long, long ago, when she was in the State senate and championed prison reform. It was a lost cause in the Hoosier state of course, but it told me her values were sound.

    •  She's got a pretty good election record... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Loonesta, Christopher Walker

      No doubt about it.  Undefeated in every race she has run.  So I'm betting she'll pull it out again.

      I'm just hoping she wins this time out, and retires in '08.  With all of her health problems, she can't be doing herself or her district any favors.

      We are a party of innovation...We are willing to suffer the discomfort of change in order to achieve a better future. --Barbara Jordan

      by wmtriallawyer on Fri Oct 20, 2006 at 07:35:03 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Carson (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jamfan

    Always polls poorly, but ends up winning fairly easily.  

    Nonetheless, it's something to keep an eye on.

    The Republicans. The party of fear and smear.

    by Paleo on Fri Oct 20, 2006 at 07:35:10 AM PDT

    •  She does win easily... (0+ / 0-)

      but she also underperforms with respect to the number of Ds in her district.

      I'm guessing this is an outlier poll, but as of right now, it's the only one we have to go on...

      We are a party of innovation...We are willing to suffer the discomfort of change in order to achieve a better future. --Barbara Jordan

      by wmtriallawyer on Fri Oct 20, 2006 at 07:37:58 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  IEs (0+ / 0-)

    Naral has spent $5.00 for Carson.  That's the entirety of independent expenditures on the race.  

    •  Really? (0+ / 0-)

      Jesus.

      Any data on EMILY's List money? That wouldn't be an IE, though, would it?

      I know she gets quite a bit from EMILY's List.

      We are a party of innovation...We are willing to suffer the discomfort of change in order to achieve a better future. --Barbara Jordan

      by wmtriallawyer on Fri Oct 20, 2006 at 07:53:08 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yes and no. (0+ / 0-)

        . . . most of what Emily's List does is through direct fundraising or as a conduit, but they do produce their own IEs. Here's what they've done this cycle:

        PRYCE, DEBORAH D. Against $50,979.85
        FREE, KALYN CHERIE For $ 4,934.00
        GERLACH, JIM Against $47,510.25
        BILBRAY, BRIAN P Against $3,516.00
        BUSBY, FRANCINE P For $162,047.00
        JENNINGS, CHRISTINE L For $36,000.00
        WETTERLING, PATTY For $94,101.00
        CLARKE, YVETTE For $168,582.66
        CAFARO, CAPRI Against $37,337.00
        MURPHY, LOIS For $34,633.11
        REICHERT, DAVE Against $62,883.00
        LAMM, PEGGY For $160,308.00
        BUCHANAN, VERNON Against $36,000.00
        ROSKAM, PETER Against $115,253.72
        HOLLINGER, PAULA C HON For $173,609.34
        SUTTON, BETTY S MS. For $173,631.00
        SAWYER, THOMAS C Against $27,120.00
        KILROY, MARY JO For $7,438.91
        COHEN, STEVE Against $61,947.00
        TINKER, NIKKI MICHELE For $175,272.00

  •  She always outperforms her polls. eom (0+ / 0-)
  •  Don't worry......yet (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wmtriallawyer

    This is the first poll that I've seen with Dickerson winning.  If more come out like this, then I'll worry about it.  But in the meantime, the 7th is Carson's district.

  •  I think one problem... (0+ / 0-)
    is that a lot of people probably think the candidate opposing Carson is Eric Dickerson, the Hall of Fame NFL running back who spent a significant portion of his illustrious career with the Indianapolis Colts.

    If you look at the candidate Eric Dickerson's bio, it's clearly not the same guy.  But I'm not sure how many of the "pollees"/voters know that.

  •  Two thoughts... (0+ / 0-)

    I lived in Indy for a number of year.  It's a nice town but very conservative. It seems there are two possibilities:

    1.The media there, especially the Indianapolis Star, is archconservative.  The Pulliams, part of Dan Quayle's family, owns it. The local media have two incentives to push that poll.  One, to incentivize anti-Carson voters to turn out. Two, like any media, they like a horse race; or

    2.She may be the victim of a "throw the bumbs out" mentality. I hear a lot of that anti-incumbent talk wherever I go.

    We'll see.  

  •  she's an incumbent right? (0+ / 0-)

    most people i've talked to (IN-09) wanna vote out everybody that's in there and start from scratch.

    Keep Religion in Church

    by titotitotito on Fri Oct 20, 2006 at 08:57:33 AM PDT

  •  two thoughts (not based on evidence): (0+ / 0-)
    1. what type of voting machines used in the district?
    1. is this a poll to match the machine result?

    How do you know a Republican is lying? Ask one: If the Republicans can lower gas prices for 60 days before an election, why won't they do it all the time?

    by ca democrat on Fri Oct 20, 2006 at 10:01:06 AM PDT

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