Wednesday, March 21, 2012

CD6 Grassroots Straw Poll Winners: Democrat John Delaney & Republican Joe Krysztoforski // DETAILS INSIDE

This week Maryland Juice conducted a straw poll of readers to gauge the intensity of grassroots opinion in the 6th Congressional District primary elections. The results are not what we would have predicted several months ago, and yet they are not terribly shocking given the current state of the races. On the Democratic side, businessman John Delaney won the Democratic straw poll by a healthy margin -- albeit far short of a majority. In the Republican straw poll, former Congressional candidate Joe Krysztoforski won the GOP straw poll -- also by a decent margin. Krysztoforski previously claimed to have amassed hundreds of volunteers, given his popularity among Tea Party activists.

Republican Straw Poll Results (833 ballots cast):
  1. Joe Krysztoforski - 397
  2. Robin Ficker - 256
  3. Roscoe Bartlett - 110
  4. Kathy Afzali - 21
  5. Peter James - 21
  6. David Brinkley - 19
  7. Brandon Rippeon - 8
  8. Robert Coblentz - 1

Democratic Straw Poll Results (970 ballots cast):
  1. John Delaney - 462
  2. Rob Garagiola - 363
  3. Ron Little - 82
  4. Milad Pooran - 57
  5. Charles Bailey - 6

Maryland Juice Analysis: Obviously the results of these straw polls should be taken with a grain of salt. Nevertheless, I would argue they are not completely meaningless -- even with the security flaws. After all, the potential ways of "cheating" or skewing an online poll are equally available to all candidates. If a candidate has supporters who are willing to go the extra mile to win an online poll -- well, that says something about the candidate and their supporters. Besides, I like to think of Maryland Juice readers as among the most "plugged in" of the Free State's politicos. :)

The biggest flaw in this kind of poll is that the voter pool is pretty broad. Specifically, Republicans could be voting in the Dem poll, and vice versa. Likewise, it is possible many activists from outside CD6 are voting. So what do you make of the poll results?

To me, it looks like anything could happen in the 6th Congressional District race, but we are probably looking at a Delaney or Garagiola victory. The real question I have is whether the Pooran, Little and Bailey voters would otherwise support Garagiola or Delaney? I think the margins could be thin enough in the final outcome that small segments of voters might tilt the race.

On the Republican side, it is hard to look at the results and not wonder whether Rep. Roscoe Bartlett is having problems exciting the GOP base. His straw poll showing was pretty dismal for an incumbent fighting for their survival. I imagine that this must actually correlate to some lack of excitement about Roscoe Bartlett among the GOP faithful. Let's be honest, have you seen a groundswell of Republican activists getting excited about Mr. Bartlett? I haven't.

It also does not surprise me to see the two elected candidates, Senator Brinkley and Delegate Afzali, polling under the two activists Joe Krysztoforski and Robin Ficker. The two activists, after all, have both run for office before in very large territories. Both of them likely have comparable (or even better) name ID and existing political infrastructure than Afzali and Brinkley.

Voting begins on Saturday! This is an exciting race.

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