Put a fork in Robin Hayes. He's done.
On a conference call with supporters and 8th District Dem party officials, Rep, Chris Van Hollen committed DCCC support to Larry Kissell and according to pollster Marc Silverman of Anzalone Liszt:
Hayes is facing an electorate that is as dangerous to his political career as it was in 2006, if not worse.
Got that fork ready?
First, here's a bit of a transcript of DCCC chair, Congressman Chris Van Hollen, pledging full support to Larry in his bid for congress.
As Marc said, we're obviously all disappointed to come so close and not getting over the finish line last time. Let me acknowledge from the DCCC's perspective, when we talk about races that happened last time when we think that an extra boost from DCCC could have made a difference, this is clearly a lost opportunity.
We are fully committed to this effort going forward. We think this is a winnable race. We think the fact that we came so close, that Larry came so close last time is a clear indication that Robin Hayes is vulnerable. We think he remains vulnerable.
I told Larry, that come next spring when we put together our Red to Blue program, that this race will be on that list from the start and we will continue obviously to work with the campaign going forward.
Great Googly Moogly! Whatever will we do with DCCC support from the outset? WE WON'T GET COMPLACENT, THAT'S WHAT!
I do believe we can take Rep. Van Hollen at his word, but I still say we should not rely (solely) on the DCCC. Robin Hayes is in trouble and he knows it. He ran one of the nastiest campaigns I've seen in a long time. This year will be different in one important way. This year, Robin Hayes will be expecting Larry Kissell. Larry will need more than the DCCC to win this election. We can't back down just because the big guns are coming to help. We will have to work smarter and harder for longer hours.
Fortunately, there's this big golden warm fuzzy dangling out there that will keep us motivated to work toward our goal. It's a poll. Oh my, what a poll it is.
On the conference call yesterday, Marc Silverman of Anzalone-Liszt Research gave us a rundown of poll numbers and methodology and indulged us with a bit of analysis. The poll with crosstabs is not online and crosstabs probably will not be released. At this stage, I think it's fair to let Robin Hayes pay for his own poll instead of providing him with one.
As mentioned above, Hayes is in trouble. A majority of the people living in the district are not very happy with the direction the country is headed and it hasn't changed much over May of 2006. In May of 2007 only 21% of the people polled in the district feel the country is moving in the right direction and 57% say the country is moving in the wrong direction. In May of 2006 the numbers were similar with 24% saying the country was headed in the right direction and 60% saying it was headed in the wrong direction.
Voters are motivated to seek change.
The generic ballot remains pretty much the same as this time last year with 42% saying they would vote Democratic and 33% saying they would vote Republican. According to Silverman:
Given the right candidate, and Larry Kissell is the right candidate, voters will elect a Democrat.
The two things that might cause Robin Hayes the most trouble - other than Larry Kissell and the 10,000 jobs Hayes has escorted out of this district - are George Bush and the War in Iraq. The district doesn't like either one and Hayes joined himself to W's hip a long time ago and now says the only problem with the Iraq war is the poor PR job the president is doing. From this morning's Charlotte Observer:
Rep. Robin Hayes, R-Concord, said, "The administration's effort in communicating with the American people has not been very good."
That's right. Robin Hayes says the only thing wrong with this war is the failed PR effort from Bush. However, according to the poll 56% of the likely general election voters from the 8th District say the war was a mistake and 57% of the voters are in favor of bringing all (or almost all) of our military home within the year. I agree with Marc Silverman, it's clear that Robin Hayes is on the wrong side of this issue.
Voters are still motivated to seek change and it looks like they've found their candidate. Larry Kissell.
Many times support wanes - or completely dissipates - once a candidate loses. Larry Kissell has seen his support grow. In head-to-head polls over the past year, Larry has closed the gap with Robin Hayes and they are now in a statistical dead heat.
Here is the trend:
May 2006: 46 - 38%
Aug 2006 46 - 40%
May 2007 45 - 43%
In other words, in May of 2006 46% of the voters polled supported Hayes and 38% supported Kissell. In May of 2007 45% support Hayes and 43% support Kissell.
Another set of numbers illustrate the trouble Hayes is in. When 8th District voters were asked whether they would support someone new or Robin Hayes, 40% picked Hayes and 43% picked the "anyone but Hayes" (someone new) choice. [Ok, ok....that's not how Anzalone-Liszt phrased the question.]
If that doesn't convince you that Hayes is in trouble, then consider this. The man has 86% name recognition and fewer voters in that 86% like Robin Hayes. In May of 2006 he was at 61% favorable and 27% unfavorable. In May of 2007 he is at 51% favorable and 34% unfavorable. That's a 16 point drop and according to Marc Silverman Hayes is well below the 2:1 favorable to unfavorable ratio that typically indicates a measure of safety for an incumbent.
Uh, oh, Flipper, I see a moving day in your future. Hey, buddy, tell you what.....I'm getting ready to move, so I'll save my boxes for you. We don't want you to have to scrounge for any when it comes time to pack all those baseball caps for your trip home.
Still not convinced? Look at it this way. Hayes has nowhere to go to get more votes. He has 86% name recognition and waning popularity. Larry Kissell has 34% name recognition - which is excellent for a 2nd time candidate - and according to Silverman has, "great potential to expand his vote."
Everybody knows that Larry Kissell is my candidate. I'm not shy about saying so. I imagine a good 99.9% of BlueNC readers support Larry as well. A large and growing number of 8th District voters support Larry. The netroots support Larry, the grassroots support Larry. Now, the DCCC supports Larry.