A helpful Bleeding Heartland reader sent me a copy of a memo from Brian Dumas of Victory Enterprises to State Senator Brad Zaun’s campaign for Congress. The memo describes a poll conducted on January 27 and 28 of 400 Republicans in Iowa’s third Congressional district who are likely to vote in the June primary.
The poll shows 60 percent of respondents were undecided about whom to support in the primary. Zaun had 26 percent support, compared to 5 percent for Jim Gibbons, 3.6 percent for Dave Funk, 2.1 percent for Pat Bertroche and 1 percent for Mark Rees. In Polk County, the population center of the district, 37.5 percent of respondents supported Zaun.
About half the respondents hadn’t heard of Zaun. (This poll was in the field before he started running television ads in the Des Moines market.) I was more surprised to see that 67.8 percent of respondents said they had never heard of former Iowa State wrestling coach Jim Gibbons.
Several of the candidates will gain more name recognition in the coming months as they begin to advertise and hold campaign events around the districts. Gibbons clearly will have the resources for an extensive paid media campaign. National Republicans seem to have picked Gibbons already, which is one reason he’s pulled in so much out of state PAC money.
I posted the whole memo from Victory Enterprises after the jump. The Zaun for Congress campaign employs Victory Enterprises as consultants, but it’s not clear from the memo whether Victory Enterprises or some other entity conducted the poll. I am seeking more information and will update this post if I get it.
UPDATE: Victory Enterprises confirms that it conducted this poll.
SECOND UPDATE: Craig Robinson brings you the pro-Gibbons spin at The Iowa Republican blog:
Zaun’s early activity is similar to that of another former Victory Enterprises client, 2008 2nd Congressional District candidate Peter Teahen. In May of 2008, Victory Enterprises polled the 2nd Congressional District. Teahen, the better known candidate from the largest county in the district, had a big lead in the poll.
In VE’s 2008 poll showed Peter Teahen with 36% of the vote, while Miller-Meeks had 14 percent, and Lee Harder netted 7.5 percent. Forty-one percent of likely GOP primary voters were undecided. Despite the Teahen’s early lead, Miller-Meeks won the primary by 218 votes.
The difference between the 2008 2nd District race and this year’s 3rd District primary is that Gibbons has created a huge fundraising advantage over his opponents. Thus far, Gibbons has not run any ads, sent mail, or paid for phone calls.
The money race between Teahen and Miller-Meeks in the primary was tight. While Miller-Meeks outraised her opponent, Teahen had the ability to loan his campaign a considerable amount of money. Gibbons has already raised more money in his first fundraising quarter than Miller-Meeks and Teahen spent combined in the 2nd District primary.
I agree with Robinson that this race is up for grabs with so many Republicans undecided and most of the candidates lacking name recognition.
To: Zaun for Congress
From: Brian Dumas, President
Date: February 2, 2010
Re: Executive Summary – IA-03 Primary Survey
Overview: Eighteen years of running Zaun’s Trustworthy Hardware and serving as a councilman, mayor and state senator has established a solid base for Brad Zaun, as the Republican primary campaign begins. Zaun leads his closest rival by a 5:1 margin. The lead enjoyed by Zaun is not simply a matter of higher name ID, as half of primary voters have not heard of him. In other words, Zaun has plenty of room left to grow his support.
Ballot Test: (If the primary election were held today for whom would you vote?)
Dave Funk – 3.6%
Brad Zaun – 26.0%
Jim Gibbons – 5.0% Mark Rees – 1.0% Pat Betroche – 2.1% Undecided – 60.3% Refused – 2.3%
**numbers do not add up to 100% due to rounding
Other Key Findings:
• Of Republican primary voters who have made a decision to support a candidate at this time, Brad Zaun leads the race with 69.3% of the vote.
• Of likely Republican primary voters in Polk County, Zaun’s support is at 37.5%, followed by Funk at 4.4%, and Gibbons at 3.2%. Polk County represents 62% of the total likely Republican primary vote in the 3rd District.
• 83.8% of primary voters believe America is headed in the wrong direction. www.Victory Enterprises.com
Favorability: Of the five Republican candidates, Brad Zaun has the highest favorable ratings (29.0% favorable, 1.3% unfavorable) with 49.5% of primary voters having never heard of him. This 22:1 Fav to Unfav ratio is almost unheard of for elected officials.
• The next closest competitor is Jim Gibbons (7.8% favorable, 2.0% unfavorable) with 67.8% of voters indicating they have never heard of him.
• Dave Funk has a 6% favorability rating while 73% of voters indicated they have never heard of him.
• Mark Rees comes in with a 3.5% favorability rating while 79.3% have never heard of him.
• Pat Betroche holds a 2.8% favorability rating with 82% of respondents having never heard of him.
Methodology: The survey was conducted January 27-28, 2010. The universe for the survey consisted of Republicans who had voted in one of the last four Republican primaries. Respondents were screened as to “how likely” they were to participate in the June primary. A total of 400 likely voters participated in the survey, providing a margin of error of +/- 4.9% at a 95% confidence level. The survey was also balanced by geography to ensure a fair representation across the 3rd District.