Sunday, November 29, 2015

State Senator Jamie Raskin Leads In Internal Poll // First Look at Maryland 8th Congressional District Democratic Primary

By Matt Verghese

The first publicly released poll in 8th Congressional District Democratic primary finds State Senator Jamie Raskin with an early lead over his closest competitor - Kathleen Matthews. GBA Strategies - which polled in Maryland in 2014 - conducted the poll for the Raskin campaign.

We tend to take internal polls with a grain of salt, but still this is our first look at where the race stands as we head into 2016.

TOP LINE: Raskin leads the crowded field with 30% of the vote. The poll surveyed 500 likely Democratic primary voters and has a margin of error of +/- 4.4%

Name ID

FRONTRUNNERS: The poll seemingly confirms that Raskin and Matthews are the frontrunners in the race. Raskin’s lead isn’t particularly surprising given his longstanding work with and popularity among Montgomery County’s progressive base, many of whom have cast ballots for him before. On the other hand, while it is likely that primary voters may remember and like Matthews from her time as a news anchor, they may not be ready to vote for her until they know  more about this first-time candidate's positions and other relevant experience. This will likely change during the course of the campaign.

The polling memo notes that Raskin posts large leads over Matthews in his home district D20 (+43) and in nearby D18 (+30), but his smaller district-wide lead suggests Matthews is  stronger in Bethesda, Rockville and outside Montgomery County. The polls fails to mention if there is a gender gap (which could be critical for a Matthews victory).

As expected, Matthews' campaign manager's response was on-message:  
MATTHEWS CM ETHAN SUSSLES: This poll shows that a majority of Democratic voters are looking for a fresh approach and Kathleen has a track record of getting things done, putting women and families first, and the international experience we need in these challenging times,
BRINGING UP THE REAR: The second tier of candidates is led by Delegate Ana Sol Gutierrez who has been significantly outraised by Delegate Kumar Barve and Will Jawando - both of whom now trail her significantly in this poll. Gutierrez - who is the only Hispanic candidate in the race - benefits from greater name ID having been in public office for the last quarter century

With five months to go and barely any paid advertising in the race, nearly 1 out of 3 voters remain undecided. The composition of the group is key but unspecified.

You can read the full Raskin polling memo here.

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