West Virginia is one of Democrats' most endangered senate seats in 2014 with incumbent Democrat Jay Rockefeller retiring and popular congresswoman Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV-02) running to succeed him. While staunchly red at the federal level, West Virginia is strongly blue but trending red downballot. Democrats have not lost a senate election in the state since 1956, the longest streak of any state. Our bench in the state is incredibly deep, with us holding all but one statewide office.
Given all of this, you would think there would be ample public polling here, but no. The only public poll, by the less than reputable outfit Harper Polling, only tested one Democrat congressman Nick Rahall who would make a terrible candidate has announced he is not running. Public Policy Polling, one of the most accurate public pollsters and DailyKos' official pollster, has not polled the senate race since early October of 2011 when they found Capito narrowly beating Rockefeller. Since they have kept not offering the state as an option for where to poll, it doesn't look likely that we will see a poll here unless we hire them ourselves.
Thus, I have emailed PPP asking for the price of a simple poll testing three popular statewide officeholders against Capito, all reelected in 2012: governor Earl Ray Tomblin (margin 4.8%), auditor Glen Gainer (margin 14.8%), and secretary of state Natalie Tennant (margin 24.8%, wider than Manchin's win). The poll would also ask whether Republican primary voters prefer Capito or someone more conservative. Dkos user and stats expert twohundertseventy has suggested $2k as the likely cost, but we'll know for sure when PPP emails me back on Monday most likely.
So I'm asking you, Dkos elections readers and Dkos readers at large who want to help us gauge where to direct our candidate donations and recruitment effort if you would be willing to pitch in $5-10 dollars to help us poll here. I'll pledge $50 bucks to start and if we can get 300-350 people to donate $5-10 bucks then $2k should be within reach. This could end up being one of the crucial races for our chances of holding the senate, or not as we just don't know yet. So please answer my poll question so I can gauge whether this venture is feasible. I am also unsure of what is the best way to set up a fundraising mechanism and could use advice. Thanks.
Below the fold I've listed the exact questions I think should be asked, while PPP will of course handle the data itself to weight as it usually does.
1. Do you have a favorable or unfavorable opinion of Shelley Moore Capito?
2. Do you approve or disapprove of Governor Earl Ray Tomblin's job performance?
3. Do you approve or disapprove of Secretary of State Natalie Tennant's job performance?
4. Do you approve or disapprove of Auditor Glen Gainer's job performance?
5. If the candidates for senate next year were Republican Shelley Moore Capito and Democrat Earl Ray Tomblin, who would you vote for?
6. If the candidates for senate next year were Republican Shelley Moore Capito and Democrat Natalie Tennant, who would you vote for?
7. If the candidates for senate next year were Republican Shelley Moore Capito and Democrat Glen Gainer, who would you vote for?
8. Who did you vote for president in 2012?
9. If you are a Democrat, press 1. If a Republican,
press 2. If you are an independent or identify
with another party, press 3.
10. (Asked only of Republicans) If the 2014 Republican primary for Senate was
between Shelley Moore Capito and a more
conservative challenger, who would you vote
11. If you are a woman, press 1. If a man, press 2.
12. If you are white, press 1. If other, press 2.
13. If you are 18 to 29 years old, press 1. If 30 to
45, press 2. If 46 to 65, press 3. If you are
older than 65, press 4.
I think these questions, largely in the exact wording PPP uses, should suffice but I'm open to suggestions.
6:11 PM PT: So I've been thinking that the way to do this might be on kickstarter or a similar site where we can start donating but those donations are only collected if we reach our goal and not if we don't. Thus far it looks like we've got about >$240 in pledges which is roughly 12% of our total.
Sun May 05, 2013 at 9:46 AM PT: I've submitted a proposal to kickstarter under their journalism category and hopefully it goes through. It looks like we have about $285-$300 pledged thus far.
Wed May 08, 2013 at 9:34 AM PT: So I've heard back from PPP and they said it would cost $2000 for a 500 sample size poll of 5 questions. This is not ideal, but it still allows us to test the favs for Capito, Tennant, and Tomblin and the Capito-Tennant and Capito-Tomblin head to heads. Each additional 5 questions is $500 and I've emailed them asking about the sample size but I'd imagine a 1000 person poll is a good deal more. I still think the $2000 option is very much worth our time. So far we've got over $400 pledged or roughly 20%. I'm currently contacting websites for All or Nothing crowdfunding models.