Lost in the hubbub about the Dan Maes for Governor saga was a story about the first public poll in CD-4, which Republicans have breathlessly used to claim that GOP candidate Cory Gardner is going to easily defeat Democratic incumbent Rep. Betsy Markey.
The Fort Collins Coloradoan reported on the poll this morning, blindly restating the polling memo message that Gardner is outpolling Markey 50-39. Sounds bad for Markey, right?
The problem with the poll, done for the newly-formed Republican “think tank” American Action Forum, is that the results are based on a two-person race in CD-4. Of course, there are four candidates in CD-4, including American Constitution Party candidate Doug Aden and Independent candidate Ken “Wasko” Waszkiewicz.
From what we understand, every other internal poll, done either by campaigns or outside groups, has polled on a four-way race, and the results are dramatically different because Aden and “Wasko” combine for as much as 12% of the vote. This isn’t at all surprising, given that Reform Party candidate Eric Eidsness grabbed 11% of the vote in CD-4 in 2006, in a three-way race with Rep. Marilyn Musgrave and Democrat Angie Paccione. Common sense says that Aden and Wasko take the majority of their votes away from Gardner, because they are more closely aligned ideologically to a Republican candidate than a Democrat — and because Markey’s high name ID means that most people have probably made up their minds about her already.
Saying that Gardner is well ahead of Markey in a two-way race is as pointless as those Gubernatorial polls showing that Dan Maes does better against Democrat John Hickenlooper if ACP candidate Tom Tancredo is not in the race. Sure he does. He probably also kicks ass in a poll in which neither Hickenlooper or Tancredo are mentioned. So what? That’s not the makeup of the actual ballot that people will use in six weeks, so none of these hypothetical matchups mean squat. American Action Forum might as well show us how Gardner does in a head-to-head matchup with Aden — that would be equally irrelevant.
If you still don’t believe that this poll is nonsense, consider this: If the NRCC or the Gardner campaign had poll results showing he was ahead of Markey by double digits in a four-way race, they would have fallen all over themselves trying to publicize it. But they don’t have those results. The fact that there has been no poll on this race released by anybody tells us that it is basically a toss-up, because neither Gardner nor Markey have anything to gain from releasing polling numbers to the public.