If you needed more proof that the Republicans aren't doing too well nationally, look no further than Idaho -- a state President Bush took with over 68% of the vote in 2004. From an Idaho Statesman poll that came out this weekend:
Republican U.S. Rep. Butch Otter leads Democrat Jerry Brady in the race for governor, 44 percent to 43 percent, with 12 percent undecided.We know the national Republican party is worried -- they're sending Vice President Cheney out here a second time since August. To me, the most interesting parts of the poll were the "unfavorable" numbers. Republican Bill Sali was evenly split between favorable and unfavorable, with 33% for each, while Democrat Larry Grant had only a 13% unfavorable rating -- and this poll was taken about a week into a massive (for Idaho) media buy of negative commercials against Grant from various out-of-state special interests.
In the open 1st District Congress contest to replace Otter, Republican state Rep. Bill Sali leads Democrat Larry Grant 39 percent to 37 percent, with 21 percent undecided.
I'm not really sure if these results are due to statewide revulsion with national Republican politics, or if it's more because, in Jerry Brady and Larry Grant, the Idaho Dems came up with some really good candidates, while the Republican candidates aren't quite up to snuff. In the case of Bill Sali, especially, it appears that the Republicans probably couldn't have come up with a worse candidate. In addition to having questions about a recent lawsuit haunting him, he basically refuses to answer any questions -- most embarrassingly, his explanation of why he failed to come up with a position on Proposition 2 (the zoning change payoff proposal that basically all reasonable Idaho pols, Democrat and Republican, have come out against, but is backed by Mr. Sali's "Club For Growth" bankroller in New York).
Mr. Sali does have his supporters in the Idaho blogosphere, some of whom actually live in the 1st District. Posting most frequently have been Adam at Adam's Blog and fellow submariner Dale over at Right Mind, while Idaho überblogger Clayton Cramer and Girlfriday occasionally speak up. Most of the rest of the Idaho political blogosphere (a sampling of which can be found on the right) is solidly in Larry Grant's corner -- as are essentially all the newspapers.
While a betting man would probably still put his money on the Republicans in these two races, they're a lot closer than they would be if there wasn't something unusual going on. If the Republicans can't hold Idaho, though, they're in for a long night next Tuesday.
Background -- My previous posts on the election include the following (in semi-random order):
Why The Republicans Are Losing My Vote
Why I Support Larry Grant
Another Idaho Election Update
Can Someone Explain To Me...
An Open E-mail To The Bill Sali Campaign
Idaho Politics Update
Thrown Out Of The Idaho Republican Party
Vice President Cheney Visit To Boise -- A Success?
Idaho Democrats -- Against The Mexican War!
More Questions For Mr. Sali
The Importance Of Using Good English
Lastly, my personal favorite...
Bill Sali And The Underpants Gnomes