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Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Marshall-Cunningham runoff a tie: PPP

Posted by on Wed, May 12, 2010 at 11:59 AM

click to enlarge Elaine Marshall
  • Elaine Marshall

A week ago, Elaine Marshall ran first in the Democratic Senate primary by nine points. Now, says Public Policy Polling, she's fallen back to a tie with second-place finisher Cal Cunningham, who's called for a June 22 runoff. (One-stop voting starts June 3.) And almost one-third of like voters are undecided.

What's up? PPP's take:

With a lot of voters undecided and the unpredictable nature of determining who will vote in runoffs it's hard to say what will happen in this race. The biggest takeaway from the poll is that Cunningham is still in it.

The results are here. Notice the order of questions, designed (one assumes) to cause anyone not into the runoff to hang up. (Automated poll = easy to click off.) Also, some polls are outliers — this may be one — and the margin of error is enough that Marshall could still be five points ahead even if it's not an outlier. (Or five points behind, but that seems impossible.)

click to enlarge Cal Cunningham
  • Cal Cunningham

Interesting. The poll finds Marshall ahead among liberals and African-Americans, Cunningham among conservatives and whites. And they're tied overall? The third-place and fourth-place finishers in last Tuesday's primary were Ken Lewis and Marcus Williams, both African-American lawyers. They combined for 25 percent of the vote, which is almost as much as Cunningham got. If their votes split in Marshall's favor, and Marshall retains her own votes, wouldn't she be ahead?

But the preliminary questions may have knocked out more of Marshall's first-round voters than Cunningham's.

Bottom line: An ultra-low turnout (5 perrcent?) runoff puts the nomination up for grabs by the candidate with the better GOTV (Get Out The Vote) result.

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