The survey question was very straight-forward:
Hello, this is _______________ calling with a brief survey about how you feel about Congress. The first question is, if you could replace Democratic Congressman Tom Perriello today with a Republican of your choice, would you elect Robert Hurt, Feda Morton, Jim McKelvey, Michael McPadden, Laurence Verga, Ken Boyd or Ron Ferrin?
The results are very clear:
-If the primary were held today and the turnout was low, I would win with 21% to only 10% for Senator Robert Hurt and 4% or less for Feda Morton and the other candidates.
-If the primary were held today and the turnout was very high, Senator Hurt would win with 23% of the vote with me coming in second place at 10%.
-However, if the turnout were high but voters knew that Senator Hurt had voted for the largest tax increase in Virginia's history, while I had led the fight to cut almost $30 million from the Albemarle County budget, then I win with 43% of the vote to only 27% of the vote even in a high turnout race.
Candidate (alphabetical) Low Turnout High Turnout High Turnout after voters learned of Hurt's pro-tax vote
Boyd 21% 10% 43%
Ferrin Less than 1% Less than 1% Less than 1%
Hurt 10% 23% 27%
Morton 4% 2% 2%
McKelvey 1.4% 1.5% 1%
McPadden 1% Less than 1% 1%
Verga 1.4% Less than 1% 1%
Undecided 62% 63% 24%
Completed Surveys- Candidate names were rotated 500 definate primary voters including some who attend tea parties, conventions, etc. 2,500 voters who vote in at least 1 of 3 primaries 2,500 voters after being informed of Hurt's pro-tax vote and Boyd's budget cuts
In short, Senator Hurt's high Name ID will enable him to win this nomination if lots of people come out to vote in the primary without learning that he voted for the largest tax increase in Virginia's history, while I led the fight to cut almost $30 million from our county budget.
I have my questions about the poll's methodology, but I'm not too surprised by its conclusion. Ken Boyd comes from one of the largest population centers in the district and probably has a decent following in the Republican establishment in Albemarle and the other suburbs of Charlottesville. Robert Hurt has strong name ID compared to the unelected challengers but probably no more than 30%. And those that know his past are certain to have doubts about supporting him. Ken Boyd is a serious challenger in this race. Here's more information on the impressive team Boyd is putting together to challenge Robert Hurt in the primary.
When I started the campaign I knew we would be outspent dramatically, so I put together a team that had won numerous races in Virginia and throughout the South while being outspent dramatically in similar situations. They were part of the effort to take over the Virginia legislature in the 1990s, beating two 20-year Virginia State Senate incumbents, and winning campaigns for candidates like Peter Way and Bob Marshall with very little money.
In 2006, they worked with two candidates with the same kind of money disadvantage we will have this year, winning two Republican primaries with new candidates who were outspent $695,841 to $205,661 and $896,912 to $205,817 respectively. In 2007, they ran the surprise upset win for Brenda Pogge, who won the GOP nomination in Williamsburg despite being outspent by more than 2-to-1, then went on to win the general election in a year that most big money Republicans were going down to defeat. At the same time, five GOP senators won despite being outspent by Democratic opponents - Richard Stuart, Jill Holtzman Vogel, Emmett Hanger, Ralph Smith and Ken Cuccinelli - even while big spending Republicans were losing everywhere.
Verga's profile should increase once he starts spending money. We'll continue to watch the other challengers to see if they have a chance in the Fightin' Fifth!