Dave Westlake probably would like to see himself as being an insurgent candidate in the Republican U.S. Senate race. And while his pitch of “blaze orange accountability” has convinced some in the conservative grassroots, I think he’s going to need to find more credible polling than straw polls taken those very groups.
Word of this came in an announcement posted to his Facebook page:
“The straw polls, conducted by respected local conservative groups based at opposite ends of the state, both showed Westlake winning the lion’s share of member votes in the senate balloting. The first poll, released on July 27th by the Vilas County group the Northwoods Patriots , showed Westlake with 72.97 percent of member votes, while Republican-endorsed Ron Johnson achieved 16.22 percent. The second poll, taken among the core members of the Madisonarea [sic] group the Wisconsin 9/12 Project, gave Westlake 95.5 percent and Johnson 4.5 percent.”
Alas, straw polls by two small (dare I say, fringe) groups does not a victory make. Republican-friendly polling firm Rasmussen shows Westlake as being closer than Ron Johnson may like, with Westlake taking 39% against Feingold if Westlake own the primary. Their polling puts Johnson just 1% ahead of Feingold. It must be noted that Rassmussen’s numbers have been actively questioned. Brew City Brawler is among those who doubt the validity of their figures.
Indeed, polling from fivethirtyeight.com shows very different figures: Feingold and Johnson at 66% to 34%, and Feingold and Westlake at 93% and 7%.
While I do believe that Westlake has a strong base of grassroots support, and I believe in the power of having an “army of ants,” it takes more than that to turn an unlikely senate bid into a true insurgency. Straw polls from tea party and “9/12” groups are not enough to win it for him.