Saturday, June 03, 2006

Latest poll a "validation" for the Taylor campaign?

This Walter C. Jones article in the Augusta Chronicle reports on this story with a few comments from me interspersed:

Poll gives early nod to Taylor
By Walter C. Jones Morris News Service
Saturday, June 03, 2006

ATLANTA - Lt. Gov. Mark Taylor is ahead of Secretary of State Cathy Cox in the latest survey of Democratic primary voters released Friday by a political newsletter.

Secretary of State Cathy Cox, shown, and Lt. Gov. Mark Taylor have until July 18 to win over voters.

A poll conducted for the Southern Political Report by InsiderAdvantage shows 34 percent of those questioned favor Mr. Taylor compared to 27 percent who favor Ms. Cox. It also shows the race is far from over, because 39 percent haven't made up their minds.

The bad news for the Cox campaign is that she's consistently had leads in prior polls from 5 to 10% and with a smaller percent of undecideds. So this poll reflects the fact that there have been bumps in the road since earlier this spring.

The good news for Cox is that there was a higher percentage of undecideds in this poll than there was a percentage of those likely to vote for Taylor. This speaks to a likeability issue that Taylor has amongst the electorate. Too many folks remember his infamous, "Cry me a river" speech as president of the senate when the Dems had control.

"It validates everything that we know and feel right now, that we've taken the lead because voters understand that Mark looks after the little guy," Taylor spokesman Rick Dent said. "You can feel it in the crowds."

Hmmmm, just less than a month ago, the Taylor campaign commissioned a poll that said that Taylor had taken a commanding 51% to 30% lead over Cox. This was sold to us as a credible poll that showed the race's true standing in the wide favor of the Lt. Gov. So now, this poll "validates" what for the Taylor campaign? In the context of their own poll, this isn't exactly a step forward. And it makes them look like they're willing to say anything to win.

I thought that their poll was suspicious considering it was the only poll that I've seen so far to not release the questions asked. When they released that poll with those results, it put a vast amount of pressure on the Taylor campaign to make a similar impression in the next independent poll. They didn't. And it hurts their credibility.

Ms. Cox's spokesman, Peter Jackson, said early polls are not perfect measures because most voters will make a decision in the days just before they vote.

"What we're hearing and seeing out when Cathy's on the road is people still want to hear the big ideas of the candidates," he said.

Another bit of good news for the Cox campaign. She's been putting a lot of ideas out there on a lot of topics. And she's released detailed plans for public education reform, healthcare, ethics reform, bio fuels research and use, and a public safety agenda.

Meanwhile, the Taylor campaign has focused on his past accomplishments. There's nothing wrong with that. Every politician worth his/her salt should be able to do those kinds of things. But voters are concerned about the problems of today and the future problems for their children. Taylor has shown a shocking lack of understanding of this. And it invites people to assume that he has no vision.

With 45 days until the July 18 primary, the lead could change again, as it has in recent weeks.
Surveys earlier this year showed Ms. Cox with a significant lead. Most political observers attributed that to her higher name recognition at the time.

InsiderAdvantage Chief Executive Matt Towery said Mr. Taylor's ads have effectively drawn black voters, probably the dominant group in the Democratic primary, while Ms. Cox's spots haven't been as effective in building on her connection with women.

African American women may decide this race. Which is fitting considering that this is probably the most overlooked segment of our society. This is a time for them to stand up and say, "If you want my vote, you're going to focus in on the issues that I care about." And I think that would be a very good thing.

The telephone survey of 450 Georgians who said they were likely to vote in the Democratic primary was conducted Tuesday and Wednesday and has a 5 percent margin of error.

Reach Walter Jones at (404) 589-8424 or

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