As you may have noticed the last few days, my sidebar had a poll which asked: if the election were held today, who would you support for Maryland’s GOP Senate nomination?
Well, I pulled the poll earlier today since it had run its course, and here are the results (drum roll please…):
- Eric Wargotz, 2,116 votes (44.87%)
- Daniel Bongino, 1,711 votes (36.28%)
- William Capps, 831 votes (17.62%)
- Corrogan Vaughn, 38 votes (0.81%)
- Robert Broadus, 10 votes (0.21%)
- Rick Hoover, 9 votes (0.19%)
One person wrote in “Bolton”, who I take to mean John Bolton. I didn’t know he was a Maryland resident.
As I’ve said all along, this was far from a scientific poll because I allowed repeat voting – in fact, I encouraged it. To that end, I did a spreadsheet (printed in .pdf form) which shows how the poll evolved over time as I broke out the numbers by timespan. There you can see where repeat votes were racked up for the various candidates, so it’s easy to tell that someone came in and stacked the poll to help out a particular candidate over a span of time. (It made for some incredible page view numbers, too – thanks!)
Yet I think the numbers aren’t all that far off from reality. Let’s look at a few facts here.
In a ten-person primary race last year, Eric Wargotz received less than 40 percent of the vote. His main competition was a political newcomer who quickly became a TEA Party favorite in Jim Rutledge – together they pulled about 70 percent of the vote, with no one else attaining a double-digit percentage.
This is a six-person race at the moment, and Wargotz has just under 45% in this poll. Realistically, that’s close to his base of Republican support from last year and it’s probably good enough to win. Running in second place? Well, he’s a political newcomer who should be able to count on a lot of support from the TEA Party since he has the backing of another popular fiscal conservative in 2010 gubernatorial hopeful Brian Murphy. Daniel Bongino has 36 percent, which roughly parallels Eric’s nine-point win in 2010.
Too, the chief remaining votegetter is William Capps, who probably wouldn’t poll 18 percent in reality but would likely draw a high single-digit number based on a little name recognition. Since there will likely be more candidates in the mix, his overstated number here would probably erode a bit to a more realistic number among the latecomers who may split about 10 percent of the vote.
Meanwhile, the bottom three are probably pretty close to their actual base of support since they are perennial candidates who haven’t shown well before.
My theory in doing this poll as I did is that people who are passionate enough to attempt to rig an internet poll to their chosen candidate’s advantage exist in the same relative number as support in real life. In other words, the person (or persons) who voted continually hundreds of times for Eric Wargotz exist in direct proportion poll-wise to those who would do the same for Bongino, Capps, et. al. so the poll may have some relative validity. (And quite honestly, if it drives a few extra people to my website that’s good for me.)
So I wouldn’t be surprised if the support for these people at this early stage isn’t all that far off the mark. I would say Bongino and Capps may be outperforming reality by five to ten points here, but remember there is no “undecided” in my polling to cloud the picture. Toss that group in and almost everyone would lose a dozen points or so.
Suffice to say that the race can’t be conceded to the guy who has the most name recognition (Eric Wargotz) quite yet. It may turn out to be yet another plurality race won by attrition. The early primary will be to Eric’s advantage, of course, but by no means is he a lock for the nomination.