Boswell internal poll and third district primary roundup

Congressman Leonard Boswell’s campaign finally released some results from its internal polling today. An e-mail from campaign manager Scott Ourth said that according to a survey by Anzalone Liszt Research, 65 percent of likely primary voters would vote for Boswell.

If Boswell did win 65 percent of the vote on June 3, he would do slightly better than 8-year incumbent Jane Harman did in the 2006 primary to represent California’s 36th district. Harman, who like Boswell was backed by pretty much the whole state Democratic Party establishment, defeated peace activist Marcy Winograd by 62.4 percent to 37.5 percent.

The e-mail from the Boswell campaign did not contain details such as:

-which days the poll was in the field

-the number of respondents surveyed

-what criteria were used to code a respondent as a likely voter

-the pollster’s projected turnout for June 3

-support for the candidates among men vs. women and in various age groups

-the percent for Ed Fallon versus undecided.

I have asked for more information about the poll and will update this post if I receive answers from the Boswell campaign.

It mentioned that 63 percent of those who attended the Iowa caucuses in January said they would vote for Boswell if the election were held today–though it is not clear from the e-mail whether those who attended caucuses were automatically included in the likely voter pool for the primary.

About 58,000 people in Iowa’s third district attended Democratic caucuses on January 3. Only about 38,000 people in the third district voted in the 2006 Democratic gubernatorial primary.

I have not heard any projections from the Boswell campaign about how many people they expect to turn out on June 3.

Ourth’s e-mail alludes to mailing in early ballots. Presumably there has been an extensive effort to get supporters to return absentee ballots. Fallon’s campaign has also been urging supporters to vote early.

The e-mail also boasts that Boswell doubled Fallon’s fundraising during the latest reporting period, from April 1 to May 14. It links to this report from the Des Moines Register:

Federal Election Commission records show that Boswell, of Des Moines, took in more than $180,000 in contributions between April 1 and May 14. Of that sum, $93,000 came from political action committees, or a little more than half of his total donations.

Boswell, who’s been in office since 1996 and sits on the House agriculture and transportation committees, reported $709,000 cash on hand. He spent $311,000 during the period battling Fallon.

Fallon, also of Des Moines, reported that he collected nearly $73,000, including a $25 contribution from his own pocket. Fallon has been endorsed by groups such as Democracy for America that have assisted him in gaining individual contributions on the Internet, which he has needed since he does not accept PAC money.

Fallon spent about $64,000 during the period and said he had about $28,000 cash on hand by May 14.

Fallon’s campaign strategy has focused on building a strong field operation. During his liveblog session at the EENR blog today, he expressed optimism based on his campaign’s direct voter contacts, and mentioned that yesterday alone the campaign had over 2,200 phone calls and door knocks. Lacking the money to match Boswell’s spending on direct-mail and advertising, Fallon’s chance to pull off an upset depends on the success of his efforts to identify and turn out supporters.

As for the issues, Boswell is still trying to downplay differences between himself and Fallon, telling a reporter for the weekly Cityview,

“If you look at the issues, there’s just not a lot of difference between us,” Boswell said. “He’s taking things out of context and trying to conjure up differences that don’t exist.”

That same article quotes Boswell as promising to support the winner of the primary, which is the first time I’ve heard him make that pledge. He must be feeling very confident, since earlier this spring his campaign would not give me an unequivocal statement promising to support the winner of the primary.

Meanwhile, Boswell’s Congressional office will not take my phone calls or return my voice mail messages seeking clarification of his stand on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. More background on that issue is in this post.

If Boswell has quietly agreed to go along with Republican efforts to grant retroactive immunity to telecommunications companies, despite his public stand with House Democrats on this issue in March, the voters of the third district deserve to know about it.

The full text of today’s e-mail from campaign manager Scott Ourth is after the jump.

Dear [Recipient],

With only twelve days left in the 2008  primary election season, I wanted to issue a quick update from the Boswell  for Congress shop.  First, however, I want to thank you for your  tireless support and your infectious enthusiasm.  It is because of  you, your loyalty to Congressman Boswell, and your years of dedicated work  that I am able to issue a robust “state of the campaign” report.

Our campaign recently enlisted  Anzalone Liszt Research, Inc., a nationally renowned polling and research  firm, to conduct a tracking poll.  The purpose of the poll was to  gauge the opinion of likely primary voters in this race.

Here’s the good news: If the  election were held today, 65% of likely primary voters would vote for  Congressman Boswell.  We also took a sample of caucus goers,  and found that 63% of those voters would also vote for Congressman Boswell  if the election were held today.

This is very heartening information;  it shows that support for Congressman Boswell is widespread and solid among  Democrats from across the political spectrum.  However, that  information is useless if our supporters do not vote.  It is  essential we remain focused on getting our early ballots mailed in, and  remember to get the remaining voters to the polls.

More good news: Your  support has generated a much-needed and healthy stream of campaign  contributions.  The Des Moines Register reported  just this morning that Congressman Boswell has raised more than double the  money of his opponent for this reporting period.   Read the full  article:

Boswell’s  fundraising more than doubles Fallon’s

Your generosity and energy are  obviously making good things happen as we move toward Election Day.  The  key to success will be to sustain this positive flow of energy and  resources right up to 8 o’clock P.M., Tuesday, June 3.  Anything can happen in the final days, so we must redouble our efforts and make sure  Congressman Boswell crosses the finish line fresh and strong, ready to take  on the Republican challenger this fall.

With appreciation,

Scott Ourth

Campaign Manager

Boswell for Congress    

PS – Keep the resources flowing!


Remember to vote June 3rd or request  an absentee ballot today, and vote early!  For information on how to  vote early call the campaign at 515-883-2254.

  • I have a theory

    I believe I heard a rumor that the poll had about 9 percent of likely voters undecided and that the undecided broke about 2to1 for boswell. I am willing to bet Boswell wins this primary with a 60 40 split. The thing I like most about your post is you talk about the strong field program and massive volunteer army fallon has, however i haven’t received a door knock or a phone call from the fallon campaign. I haven’t heard of them at central committee meetings or any other large activist gatherings. I have however  been door knocked and called several times by the Boswell campaign. I have seen the Boswell campaign everywhere from the Drake early voting to even the Obama rally, and as an obama supporter i was very happy to see them there not conceding any ground to the fallon campaign. Though I must admit that annoying star pac guy and his fire truck was well played. Fallons best shot is to get the Obama supporters angry enough about the superdelegate thing to either not vote or vote for him out of spite. Which i might add goes against obamas whole message. As long as the Boswell field team runs a good GOTV program (which given how they have done so far probably won’t be a problem) they shouldn’t have any problem winning this one and putting fallon away fro good.

    Desmoinesdem i have a theory as to why they haven’t responded to  you. Most likely its because you like most other bloggers AREN’T REAL UNBIASED JOURNALIST. when you go around trying to start buzz about how boswell is going to pull a lieberman if he looses the primary, which was a blatant lie on your part, is probably why they don’t care that you are calling. Just a theory

    • I know many people who have been called

      and canvassed by people for Fallon. Actually, a friend of mine in Urbandale got a call from Fallon himself last week.

      Maybe you were coded early on as a Boswell supporter, so Fallon’s field organizers ignore you.

      Is it my fault that none of the “unbiased journalists” in the district have written about Boswell’s stand on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act?

      I wish I had an article from somewhere else I could link to, but no journalist seems to want to follow up on this issue.

      Do you think it is significant whether Congress decides it’s ok for companies to break the law because the president asked them to? If you broke the law, do you think you could get Congress to pass a law retroactively giving you immunity?

      Like it or not, it’s an important issue. Unfortunately, most of the media don’t seem to focus on the issues, and Boswell is deceptively pretending that he and Fallon don’t differ much on the issues.

      I tried many times to get a straight answer out of Boswell’s campaign on whether he would promise to support the winner of the primary. All they had to do was say yes, but they wouldn’t do that.

      Instead of falsely accusing me and getting mad at me, you should be irritated that Boswell’s campaign wouldn’t give a simple answer to a simple question.

  • It's all about the turnout

    Obviously, as in incumbent Boswell is favored to win this thing.  But the big question mark is, how many of these supposed 65% Boz supporters are motivated enough to show up come June 3?  Knowing how inspiring Boswell is as a candidate, I think even having a 65-30 margin in a poll of likely voters may not be enough for him.  You know 29 of those 30 Fallonistas are going to vote.  I had a random encounter today with an older gentleman, a Boz supporter, who noticed my Fallon bumper sticker.  We agreed that turnout is key for Boz, but even he seemed to agree it will be problematic.  

    I feel, and hope, that this could turn out like the O’Brien-Terry SOA race in ’06.  Who would have thought Dusky would get his ass kicked like that?  Sometimes even all the money and party support can’t save you.  My prediction/hope is a slim Fallon victory, maybe 53-47 or so.

    • hoping?

      Why are you hoping for a slim fallon victory. Not only would a slim win by either candidate make the republicans want to spend money here but having a guy like fallon who has not raised any money for the general even would make the RNCCC just pour money into this area. Which would make it very hard for the democratic nominee win iowa because to win iowa you need to win this district because it is the swing district. That and fallon would be the Iowa Democratic parties equivalent to Steve King. The very far to the extreme guy who just gets up and talks about things he is obviously very ill imformed about. The ineffectiveness fallon would provide as a congressman for this district and its constituents should be reason enough not to vote for fallon.

      • give me a break

        The Republicans have lost three special elections in a row in Republican-leaning districts, despite outspending us.

        They have more than two dozen open seats to defend and trail Democratic committees in cash on hand.

        But you think the RNCC will be making a strong play for D+1 IA-03 in a presidential year, when turnout for Obama in central Iowa is likely to be very high?

        Given Boswell’s money and institutional advantages, he shouldn’t even be facing a primary challenge. Most incumbents (who are not out of step with their constituents) don’t ever have to worry about a primary challenge. If they do get challenged, they can just ignore the challenger.

        Have you ever heard anyone talk about challenging Harkin in a primary? I didn’t think so.

        Boswell is very effective only if you’re not bothered by his habit of voting with Republicans on many issues of importance.

        How come you can never defend any of those votes?

      • smoking?

        Not to be offensive, but did you read what I said or are you diehard Boz folks smoking something?  I said Boz is favored to win.  Expecting a Boz win, I would say even a slim Fallon victory would be a great upset.  So I’m hoping for that.  And I would be thrilled to have that upset, as Boz has not given me a single reason to vote FOR him.  Only nasty attacks on Fallon.  Very unbecoming of a sitting cogressman.  He must know he’s in real danger, despite the optimistic polling his touting.  

        • imagine if a Democrat challenged Harkin

          in the primary. Does anyone think the challenger would get even 5 percent of the vote?

          It’s a sign of his weakness that Boswell even had to work during this campaign. If he were representing this district well, there would have been zero support for Fallon.

      • the platform

        Since when is actually listening to your constituents and sticking to the Democratic platform extreme?  If that’s too much to hope for, then our party is really in trouble.

    • the O'Brien/Terry primary result

      was a huge shock to me and everyone I knew (and I had donated to O’Brien’s campaign). I wonder whether even she thought she had a chance.

      I have heard lots of theories about why she won that primary, but none that convincingly accounted for her huge margin–I think it was something like 57-43.

  • Believing Ourth and Boswell??

    This is the same Scott Ourth who, according to a story in The Knoxville Journal-Express (3/14/08),told the bald-faced lie that “most of Boswell’s funding comes from small donations from everyday Iowans,” when anyone who can read a FEC report online can see that most of his money comes from PACs. And when the Boswell field director, Grant Woodard, tried to explain that away to the Grinnell College newspaper, he was quoted by the paper as telling the bald-faced lie that the “vast majority” of Boswell’s PAC money comes from unions, when the FEC and other websites show that most come from corporate PACs (3/7/08). This is the same Boswell that claimed he has a 96% voting Democratic Party voting record, not mentioning that this could only possibly be true for votes in 2008, when Jane Norman’s piece in The Des Moines Register showed that his voting record for years was in the 60s and 70s. I long ago stopped thinking I would hear anything truthful out of Congressman Boswell or his campaign.  

    • what a joke

      Because the guy misspoke about how much comes from labor pacs you think they are lying about there internal polling. Give me a break boswell is one of the few politicians in washington who isn’t corrupt or some kind of evil manipulative person. Ya you may not like some of his votes but at least he is honest about his reasons. However Fallon is defiantly notorious for his honesty. Stealing money to pay himself a salary because he is to lazy to get a job. creating a shell company so that he can write everything off in his taxes, going on a blog and saying he has internal polling saying he is winning even though he did not purchase any polling. Fallon is the definition of a sleaze. I am constantly amazed at how diluted the fallon supporters. I agree with you that boswell has some crappy votes but at least he isn’t a diluted ill informed sleaze just looking for a job.

      • a real job?

        You do know that spending your entire life trying to help people is a real job, right?  Full-time advocates are a vital part of our Democracy.

        Also, it’s one thing to misspeak once, it’s another to do it over and over and over again in the press.  When a campaign “misspeaks” that many times, it’s pretty difficult to trust them about anything.

        And you’re right, Fallon is “notorious for his honesty.”  That’s why he would make such a great congressman.  

        • yes a real job

          A job that contributes to society. name me one real achievement of I’m for Iowa. its one thing to be a community organizer its another to run around just complaining about things but getting nothing done. Fallon is natorious for believing that he is above everyone else and just widely claiming things at the spur of the moment. if this guy was our congressman it would be embarressing and a joke. He would be our Steve King

          • the platform

            As I said before:

            “Since when is actually listening to your constituents and sticking to the Democratic platform extreme?  If that’s too much to hope for, then our party is really in trouble.”

            Also, when is sticking to the platform embarrassing and a joke?  I think it’s more embarrassing to have a congressman who has made the terrible votes that Boswell has, completely against the interests of his party and his constituents.

          • adding on to abkad's point

            The crux of Fallon’s criticism of Boswell, and my criticism of Boswell, is that on many occasions he has voted against the majority of House Democrats and with the majority of House Republicans.

            Please explain to me why we should settle for this in IA-03. This is not a rural, conservative district, where we should be grateful for the chance to have any kind of Democrat representing us.

            All I want is for my representative in Congress to not regularly desert the Democratic caucus to vote with Republicans and their corporate allies.

            This is the point that you and the other Boswell supporters on the blogs never address.

            • come on

              This is a moderate district. This district is about as middle of the road as you get. I know its hard to remember that when you are only talking with polk county activist but this is not a district fallon could win in. Maybe if the district he was running in was composed of polk story and johnson counties but I dont think that will be happening anytime soon. Do you have a link to the D and R ratings for an area because those things are usually not very reliable. The only reason boswell continues to win this district is because the moderates on both sides of the aisle vote for him. If fallon were a candidate they would not and kim schmett would be our nominee. Now that would be bad for the district. I dont know how long some of you have lived in polk county or this district but i ask you to remember when we lost neal smith. The area lost a lot in economic development. The same thing would happen if we lost boswell especially with the highway funding bill up next year.

              • Neal Smith and Boswell are not in the same league

                This district is D+1. Republicans have lost districts that are more Republican-leaning, and they have to defend a ton of districts. Democrats continue to gain more of a voter registration edge in this district. Turnout for Obama will be quite high in November.

                Yes, I think Fallon could hold this district.

                I do not support some of the road projects that Boswell wants to fund in the highway bill next year.

                Bruce Braley makes a lot more sense on transportation policy and is delivering the right kind of things for Iowans.

  • Why does Boswell need the money?

    If Ourth’s claim about the polling were true, why the big push for raising money? Why have they had to spend as much as they have on a fund-raising consultant ($47,000 thus far)?

    • raising money

      well an email hardly counts as a big fundraising push but thats what campaigns do they constantly raise money. they probably want to keep raising money because unlike fallon they understand the importance of raising money for the general election so that have a sizeable warchest to beat off the republicans in november. They don’t want to walk in with zero money like fallon into a general election

  • "The Real World"

    “The Real World” isn’t living in it, and instead of facts, prefers to call names and write falsehoods. Just what one is hearing from the Boswell campaign. The salary Fallon took broke no ethics rules, so to claim he stole it isn’t just misleading, it’s libelous. He didn’t create a shell company. Talking on a blog about the numbers he has from internal polling isn’t sleazy. I’ve talked to the campaign about their methodology, which Fallon has used with great success twice before. Doing his own work rather than paying $20,000 to a consultant (which is what Boswell paid, according to the FEC) to poll and advise for you isn’t sleazy.

    Someone might misspeak. But when Boswell, his campaign manager, and his field director, ALL misrepresent the source of his campaign contributions, that isn’t misspeaking. That’s deliberate deception. I also mentioned the deliberate deception about Boswell’s Democratic loyalty.

    I’ve never said Boswell was corrupt, but I have a problem with all the PAC money he gets. Twice I know enough, Boswell has told voters he wouldn’t support their position because he wouldn’t oppose Nancy Pelosi. It turns out her campaign and leadership PAC have given Boswell at least $56,000. He has voted to give immunity to the telecoms, from whom he has taken thousands in contributions. I’d much rather have a Congressman who doesn’t take money from special interests.  

    • heartland dem has proved my point

      First off I love how someone on this blog which has been running around trying to create buzz about absolute lies is calling what I said as libelous. While the FEC has yet to rule on whether or not what fallon did during his 2006 campaign was illegal it was most certaintly unethical. It does not take five months to do the data entry neccessary to close down a campaign. Presidential campaigns don’t even take that long. I love how you say I don’t use facts when you only refute what I said about I’m for Iowa by saying he didn’t and you offer no evidence of your own. Creating a company that does not produce any services or products and only collects money and then funnels it into two individuals own bank accounts in the form of a paycheck is by definition a shell company. I ask you to answer the question again, name one achievement of I’m for Iowa. Even better name the tangible service or product they produce or provide to consumers.

        In response to fallons methodology on polling I believe the Iowa progress blog put it best. I suggest you go read it and then come back and complain about how people are just being mean to your prophet like he can do no wrong. Actually I suggest you go through the post Iowa progress has on fallon they sum things up better than I can.

         I will agree with you on something though. Boswell has had some bad votes and I am not fond of PACs either. But at least he is required to disclose that information and be honest about it which is more than i can say about fallon. The fallon supporters should be calling for the donor list and the tax returns of I’m for Iowa. If he is doing nothing wrong or using the company as a tax shelter why doesnt he show us. You should be complaining about that as much as you are about this stupid debate

      • I'M for Iowa is a political advocacy company

        You may not think they provide any service, but apparently the people who contribute to I’M for Iowa disagree with you. To cite just one service, people affiliated with I’M for Iowa get action alert-type e-mails when there is an issue of importance under consideration.

        For instance, call legislators on committee X today to urge them to vote for or against whatever bill is being debated. Or, submit a public comment to this or that agency on whatever regulatory matter is being considered.

        Unfortunately, the Democratic leadership in the Iowa legislature fails to do anything about CAFOs and some of the other issues I’M for Iowa is involved with. But few advocates have a great track record of persuading Iowa legislative leaders to adopt the right kind of laws.

        I think a lot of people’s jobs are a waste of time, but ultimately, if someone is willing to pay another person to do something, that is a job.

        Geraldine at Iowa Progress has consistently failed to address any substantive criticism of Boswell all year. The most important thing my representative in Congress does is vote on federal legislation. Boswell votes the wrong way, with Republicans, frequently. Why should I vote for this guy?

    • really

      Really you are complaining about him not going against the leader of the democrats in the house. You guys spend most of your time complaining that he goes against them too much. make up your mind

      • Pelosi was wrong

        to support Al Wynn in MD-04, and she is wrong to support Boswell in IA-03, but that’s how the game is played in the incumbency protection club.

        She is probably hoping that if she helps out Boswell now, he will be a more reliable vote for her caucus in the future. I fear that if he wins the primary, he will revert to his habit of voting with Republicans on many of the important issues.

  • A video on Boz mailers

    BTW, Century of the Common Iowan has a video produced by the Fallon campaign about Boswell’s taxpayer-funded mailings,

  • Project Vote Smart

    Boswell couldn’t even be bothered to fill out the Project Vote Smart questionnaire that was sent out.  This goes beyond being to busy to debate.  He can’t even announce his positions on his own time.

    “These Iowa candidates don’t want you to know about their positions”


    Of course, reading the article, it doesn’t appear that many of the other candidates on both sides did much better.  Pretty surprising that the return rate is that pitiful, and pretty disappointing as well.

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