February 8, 2006

Evans - Novak Political Report: Laffey leads Chafee

Marc Comtois

Laffey supporter The Club for Growth passes this news from the Evans-Novak Political Report on its blog (UPDATE: Thanks to Reconcilable Differences for the link to a free version of the full E-N report.):

Republicans in Rhode Island say that Sen. Chafee had given private assurances that he would be supporting the Alito Supreme Court nomination. His reversal on this issue drew a public rebuke from his most reluctant supporter, popular Gov. Don Carcieri (R), and endangers him in his primary race against Cranston Mayor Stephen Laffey (R). Laffey must now be considered the narrow frontrunner in the Republican Senate primary after crossing the $1-million mark and outraising Chafee in individual contributions for the quarter.

Chafee maintains a two-to-one cash advantage after beating Laffey with PAC money and making himself a $330,000 campaign loan. But he may need a lot more than that to survive. Another negative for him on the Alito issue is the fact that it is probably impossible for him to win a Republican primary in Rhode Island without significant support from the state's large Italian population.

Rhode Island's primary doesn't happen until September. If he sees the writing on the wall, Chafee could well choose to run as an independent.

It would make sense, it is Rhode Island's largest voting bloc, after all.

Comments, although monitored, are not necessarily representative of the views Anchor Rising's contributors or approved by them. We reserve the right to delete or modify comments for any reason.

I've been around too long you youngsters. Chafee will become an independent, he will agonize publicly about it , starting in May. It is is only chance and he will take it.

Posted by: Ivan the elder at February 8, 2006 7:23 PM

So let me get this straight, Chafee has more money than his opponents, is the leading candidate in the general election polls and Laffey has fallen in the polls. Based on this information the Club for Growth believes that Laffey is ahead?

Four legs good, two legs bad. Orwell would have loved this one.

Posted by: Anthony at February 8, 2006 8:23 PM


Start off by reading Mr. Comtois report and you won't sound so foolish the next time around.

This is where to find the Evans Novak story:

If you are using the West polling data released today as your source then you are using seriously flawed data.

Think about how he runs these polls. He makes several presumptions and then imposes those presumptions on both his survey questions and on his data.

The other thing to remember is that this race has barely begun. "If the election were held today" works great for a sound byte, but the elections are in September and November not today.

The very positioning of the question skews the results.

Darrell West should know better than to even run these numbers. The fact he does makes them even more irrelevant.


Posted by: Sol Venturi at February 8, 2006 9:22 PM


I'm sure CFG has its own real live pollster, one who didn't blow their last big poll by 17 points (West/Brown on York/Carcieri 2002.)

I'm with Ivan...Chafee goes Indy by May Day.

Posted by: oz at February 8, 2006 9:27 PM

Chafee may well go independent - and may already plan to - but don't be surprised if this doesn't get announced until after it is clear that either Whitehouse or Brown will be the opponent ... not necessarily after the primary, but once it becomes clear that one or the other has an insurmountable lead over the other.

Posted by: Tom W at February 8, 2006 10:55 PM

Here's a question, though: there are rumblings afoot that Whitehouse might bail out of the Senate race and run for governor instead, since Fogarty hasn't even announced officially yet (and he has a history of backing out when a race gets tough). If there's not a competitive Democratic primary, what does Laffey do then?

Posted by: rhody at February 9, 2006 1:23 AM

The primaries are in September and the general in November? Holy cow, that's some serious time compression! (Forgive me for not knowing this. I dutifully drag myself in to the general election every time, only to see everything I vote for go down in flames. I don't think I've ever voted in a primary here, though).

That doesn't leave much time for the real campaigning, does it?

Posted by: ballottra at February 9, 2006 6:17 AM

Let's be serious, Chafee has no chance against Laffey and in this poll, bad as it is , you just have to correct for the bias. Everyone knows you just add about 15 points to people like Cacieri and Laffey and even back to Bennett vs Tavares 1998 race for treasure (Brown poll had Bennett down 17 points and he lost bY 2)

Gov. C is up by 11+15=26 points vs Fogarty and Laffey first crushes Chafee (Although he is indeed going to be an indie) and then is even with brown and whitehouse.

In the end Laffey pulls it out cause he takes care of the money. And he wants it the most.

Posted by: Joe L at February 9, 2006 11:34 AM


Like you, most bystanders or fans of the game only start paying attention in September and October.

A sad reality with so much on the line.

J Mahn

Posted by: Joe Mahn at February 9, 2006 11:38 AM

Time to put this irresponsible attempt at a poll to rest. Why is it next-to-worthless?

-West's predictive powers, even right before an election, have historically proven wildly inaccurate

-any poll taken more than two weeks before an election is not meaningful

-any poll with undecideds at 30% or more cannot be even remotely meaningful

-why did West poll GOP primary before, but not now? That makes his whole process and agenda suspect.

-his survey took only two days, which implies sloppiness; polls like this should take at least five days in order to properly call people back

-using students is sub-optimal; true professionals use people with years of experience in polling

-any one releasing polls as early as this guy does has some type of agenda, whether it be aggrandizement, promotion of certain parties and/or politicians, or just wanting to be in the spotlight

Posted by: bountyhunter at February 9, 2006 1:00 PM

A three-way race between Republican Laffey, Independent Chafee and Democrat Brown or Whitehouse would be very interesting. The winner may not get higher than 35%, and it could be any of the three. President Bush got 38.67% in 2004, and thus in a lower-turnout off-year election with a popular Republican Governor running Bush voters will probably exceed 40% of the electorate. Laffey may have a better chance of winning a 3-way race than a 2-man race against Whitehouse or Brown (or against Chafee running as a Democrat).

Posted by: AuH2ORepublican at February 9, 2006 4:26 PM

Bounty: I agree. As the only "unbiased" polling agent in the state, West should take more care and try a bit harder to get a respectable sample of Republicans. Heck, he provided stats on the Langevin race based on 160 probable voters and a margin of error of 7%! I find it hard to believe that another couple days and more targeted calling couldn't have gotten him that much info re: the GOP.

AuH2O: I concur with your line of thinking if a 3-way happened. Whatever the outcome, it would certainly be fun.

Posted by: Marc Comtois at February 9, 2006 7:54 PM