ME-Sen: Tom Allen Down, But Certainly Not Out
by Jonathan Singer, Mon Oct 22, 2007 at 04:43:24 PM EDT
Markos today released polling out of the Maine Senate race he commissioned from non-partisan pollster Research 2000, and the numbers don't look terribly good at this point for Democratic Congressman Tom Allen.
If the 2008 election for U.S. Senate were held today, would you to reelect Susan Collins, would you consider voting for another candidate, or would you vote to replace Collins?
If 2008 election for U.S. Senate were held today, for whom would you vote for if the choices were between Tom Allen, the Democrat, and Susan Collins, the Republican?
Collins (R) 56
Allen (D) 33
I don't think that anyone would argue that this is where they'd like to see Allen at this point in the race. Indeed, these numbers indicate a need for a significant change in the dynamics of this race before it's going to be among the top pick-up opportunities for the Democrats.
That said, stranger things have occurred in the past in politics. No one, and I mean no one, believed that George Allen was defeatable at this point in the 2006 cycle, nor did anyone at this point in the 2004 cycle foresee Jim Bunning winning reelection by only about a point against Dan Mongiardo -- and those two races occurred in significantly redder states than Maine.
And going back into the polling vault, one can find at least one relatively recent race in which a Democratic challenger polling in the low 30s even closer to election day was able to pull out a victory. Luckily for Allen, that Democratic challenger -- Chuck Schumer -- is now in a position to aid Allen's campaign.
Back in 1998 Schumer, then a Congressman, faced off against Senator Al D'Amato, a Republican with a history of being able to win in the very Democratic state of New York (not unlike Collins' ability to win in the very Democratic state of Maine). Polling conducted in November 1997 by Zogby (yeah, I know I just bashed Zogby earlier today, but at least this was a telephone rather than an internet poll) showed D'Amato leading Schumer in a hypothetical matchup 41 percent to 30 percent. By February 1998, Zogby pegged D'Amato's lead over Schumer at 47 percent to 24 percent, a poll conducted by Zogby in June 1998 put D'Amato up 51 percent to 28 percent, and in August 1998 D'Amato led Schumer 48 percent to 30 percent. For those looking for corroboration from other pollsters, Mason-Dixon/PMR survey from June 1998 showed D'Amato up 47 percent to 29 percent over Schumer, and an Emerson College/Suffolk University survey from March 1998 put D'Amato's lead at 39 percent to 29 percent.
In the end, despite trailing D'Amato for much of the race, Schumer won quite handily, 55 percent to 44 percent. While it's true that Schumer's victory isn't necessarily the best template for Allen to follow -- D'Amato's reelect and approval numbers were never nearly as high as those of Collins, for instance, and Maine is certainly not New York -- Schumer's ability to come back from a seemingly overwhelming and enduring deficit should give hope to Allen -- particularly given Schumer's ability to play a role in the race as chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. If you, too, are interested in getting involved in Allen's campaign, check out the interview we conducted with him here on MyDD and head over to his campaign website.