Doug Hoffman just laid down the gauntlet and set the stage for his entrance into the NY-23 race with the release of a new poll showing him in a very comfortable lead among Republicans of all shapes and sizes from all across NY-23. It looks like there are only 4 candidates in the mix for NY-23 at this point. Within that group the numbers look incredibly favorable to Doug Hoffman in the primary and the general elections. While I haven’t taken sides in the primary or the general yet, I think these might be convincing reasons to reconsider a Hoffman candidacy if you are not already a supporter.
Hoffman v. Barclay
Hoffman v. Doheny
Nearly 75% of the Republican primary voters believe Doug Hoffman should run again for Congress. There is no spinning that impressive figure, or his impressive showing as a Conservative on Line D last year. I don't remember a third-party candidate ever doing as well as Hoffman did last year in the last several decades, anywhere in the country.
And based on my knowledge of the poll numbers released today and taking into account Hoffman’s favorable/unfavorable ratings, his ID is worth upwards of $900,000 in 2010. In fact, Hoffman’s polling was so strong that 71% of Republican primary voters agree that if he runs with the Republican and Conservative lines he can beat Democrat Bill Owens – only 13% of respondents didn’t think Hoffman could win. It would be interesting to see how many Independents and Democrats think Hoffman could beat Owens if he had an R and a C at the end of his name next fall.
The fact that 58% of Republican primary voters prefer a conservative candidate over a moderate candidate is also very good news for Hoffman. The only thing better is that 62% consider themselves conservative and 64% say they are pro-life. These numbers bode well for Hoffman who is aligned with a clear majority of Republican primary voters who consider themselves conservative. As evidence of this, today’s poll shows that in the 4-way ballot Hoffman did 56 times better than Doheny and 2 ½ times better than Barclay.
These figures also put two of Hoffman’s potential primary opponents, Will Barclay and Matt Doheny who are both on record as pro-choice candidates, at a significant disadvantage on social issues. Even if one of these candidates were to drop out of the race they would still be in the minority among NY-23 Republican primary voters.
Barclay is clearly at a disadvantage because of his association with the failed New York State Legislature. Doheny, who has been in a defensive posture from the very beginning, has clear negatives due to his association with investment banking in New York City and he is in 4th place in today’s poll. What’s worse for Hoffman’s competitors is that both Barclay and Doheny would presumably be competing for voters in the same ideological wing of the GOP and also from the same geographic regions in Oswego and Jefferson Counties. It is still early, but I find it very hard to believe that any amount of money can make up that difference we see today, less than 10 months out from the Republican primary.
Paul Maroun, a conservative and the only other potential Republican candidate in NY-23 besides Hoffman with military experience, has not announced his intention to run for NY-23. There have been no signs of Maroun making a bid in NY-23 over the past several weeks and the shorter the schedule gets the harder it will be for Maroun to raise enough money to be competitive. My guess is that if he does not announce his intention to run for Congress, he will either support Hoffman or likely not endorse any other candidate. Either scenario makes it harder for a challenger to beat Hoffman for the Republican nomination as Maroun conservatives rally behind Hoffman.
Hoffman laid out an impressive case today that if Republicans in NY-23 really care about beating Bill Owens in 2010 they can do it by rallying political support around him. I suspect that if the Republican Party were to do so early they would greatly diminish the likelihood of an expensive and damaging Republican primary while simultaneously improving Republican chances of beating Owens this fall. If they don’t, all bets are off and NY-23 leans a Democrat hold.
The desperate spin being pushed by Barclay and Doheny on Newzjunky.com this afternoon is indicative of a politics of yesteryear, and an indictment that conservativism is alive and on the rise again this year. To put it bluntly, Barclay and Doheny's reaction to today's poll just reaffirmed that Hoffman is the only viable conservative in the race and the man to beat.
Neither potential challenger made even a vague reference to their desire to reach out to the conservative base of the party which will determine who the nominee will be, instead we read that "Hoffman got what he paid for" and saw another tired appeal to represent our "diverse" interests.