Internal Polls Show Laffey Over Chafee
Republican Sen. Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island is trailing Cranston, R.I., Mayor Stephen Laffey in a bitterly divisive primary contest that offers Democrats their best shot at picking up a seat in one of the nation’s bluest states.
Internal campaign polls show the conservative mayor’s campaign attacks on Mr. Chafee’s liberal voting record — including the incumbent’s opposition to President Bush’s tax cuts and to Supreme Court Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr.’s nomination — have struck a responsive chord among Republican voters.
So sayeth Don Lambro of the Washington Times. The question is, whose poll? And is this just counting Republicans or does it include independents?
(Tip via Dan Yorke, who’ll have Mr. Lambro on later this afternoon.)
UPDATE: Lambro told Yorke he interviewed people on both sides, but he can’t tell you who exactly gave him the info. He said Washington GOP folks tell him it’s “really close”, which means (based on his experience) that Chafee is in trouble. He’s also not sure of the type of sample of the internal polls, apparently meaning that he doesn’t know if they included independents.
Lambro said that when he talke to Ian Lang, Lang didn’t argue with the point that conservatives are definitely leaning against Chafee. He also pointed out that the primary race was “competitive” and then Lang always steers the discussion to Laffey’s purported gap against Whitehouse.
Yorke brought up the the GOP Senatorial bunch have really beaten up Laffey and also that the purported 20-30 point gap between Laffey and Whitehouse isn’t that realistic. Yorke asked what the Washington GOP would do if Laffey won?
Lambro said they’d support him, but the depth of that support will be interesting. Given the controversy over tacit GOP support for Lieberman in CT, he doesn’t think they’d be to keen on NOT supporting Laffey. In short, he thinks the national GOP would support Laffey if he should win the primary.
Yorke also asked what the Beltway take on this race was. Lambro said that the feeling is that the Dems could pick up 4-6 seats, which is why Elizabeth Dole is focusing on RI and her committee is going to help Chafee as much as they can.