As promised, here are some excerpts from yesterday’s Capitol Fax about the 6th Congressional District primary race.
Democrat Christine Cegelis lost to longtime Republican Congressman Henry Hyde last year 56-44. Since then, she has used her performance to argue that the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee ought to back her this time around in an open-seat contest against state Sen. Peter Roskam (R-Wheaton). […]
George W. Bush defeated John Kerry 53-47 in the Hyde district last year. So Cegelis underperformed Kerry’s result by 3 percentage points. Over in the 8th Congressional District, Democrat Melissa Bean defeated incumbent Republican Phil Crane 52-48, beating Kerry’s totals by 8 percentage points (Kerry lost that district 56-44). Bean lost in ‘02, but she outperformed Al Gore’s ‘00 performance in the district by a point.
It’s difficult, to say the least, to buttress an argument that Cegelis is entitled to another shot when she underperformed the top of the ticket.
And now the poll.
The poll of likely Democratic primary voters was taken August 8-10 and the results here are a subset of a general election poll, so the margin of error is pretty high, +/-6.5 percent. The data was also “weighted by age” by pollsters Bennet, Petts & Blumenthal “to better reflect the composition of the electorate.” Still, they’re the only numbers we have.
* Just 28 percent of likely Democratic primary voters in her district knew who Christine Cegelis was. Remember, this is after her high-profile race against Hyde and a strong effort to keep her campaign going in the months since then. Cegelis has burned through a bunch of money in the past year to keep her name out there, but just over a quarter of Democratic primary voters recognized her name in August.
* 48 percent of those same likely Dem primary voters knew who Peter O’Malley was, even though he had never run for office before. O’Malley dropped out of the Democratic primary race a couple of months after the poll was taken (the poll was not conducted by or for O’Malley’s campaign).
* Before he dropped out, the poll showed that O’Malley was leading Cegelis 26-19 (or 22-16 excluding “leaners”) in the primary. Even with that high margin of error, a seven-point lead is still pretty solid - about an 86 percent probability that O’Malley was ahead and the result wasn’t due to sampling error.
* Just 15 percent had a favorable view of Cegelis, while 5 percent had an unfavorable view. That’s bad news for someone who thinks that her last race will propel her to victory in the next contest.
The poll is flawed because of its small sample size and weighting, but until someone shows me better numbers and explains to me why underperforming the top of the ticket last year was no big deal, I can see why the DCCC decided that Christine Cegelis wasn’t the best Democratic candidate for that district.