It’s not often a candidate releases a poll showing an opponent winning, but that’s what gubernatorial hopeful Chris Giunchigliani did Tuesday.
Internal surveys are released by campaigns for two reasons: To dispel or drive a narrative and/or to boost fundraising. This one is designed to do both for the Clark County commissioner, who faces a primary with a much-better funded colleague, Steve Sisolak, and a possible general against either Attorney General Adam Laxalt (likely) or Treasurer Dan Schwartz (So you’re saying there’s a chance….).
Giunchigliani obviously chafes at the conventional wisdom, whose volume surely is being turned up by Sisolak, that he is the more viable candidate against Laxalt. So her poll, which you can see below along with a memo and was first reported on Twitter by Steve Sebelius, is designed to counter that proposition, even though it shows her losing to the attorney general.
The survey, taken by TargetSmart the first week in January of 500 voters and with a 4.4 percent margin of error, showed Giunchigliani losing 39-34 and Sisolak losing 37-34. The survey also shows 60 percent of respondents never heard of either commissioner, twice Laxalt’s number.
The made-to-order polling memo concludes: “This poll highlights the open contest for governor in Nevada as a fantastic pick-up opportunity for Democrats. What’s more, there’s no data here that suggests Sisolak is in a stronger position than Chris G. to take on Laxalt in the general election. That narrative is grounded in conjecture that is clearly refuted by the data in this poll.”
See! She can win!
So is the poll accurate? Let me say what any pundit worth his salt would say: It doesn’t matter.
It is mid-January, and the more important numbers may be that Sisolak claims to have nearly $6 million on hand and Giunchigliani has under $1 million. Laxalt says he has $3 million.
It’s also always good to be skeptical of a poll using so-called Interactive Voice Response — although it has grown more sophisticated, and there were some live callers, too. And I don’t know how a poll with 8 percent more Democrats than Republicans shows President Trump at 39-41 favorable/unfavorable. And are 21 percent really unsure or never heard of the president?
That being said, the results are not that surprising. The race is competitive on paper now because of the general state dynamics, so anyone with a “D” will be competitive.
The real questions for Giunchigliani: Can she make up for a huge financial deficit in the primary and general? More specifically, if she can defeat Sisolak, which she will have to use all of her money to do, where does she get enough cash for the general election against Laxalt, who will essentially have unlimited funding?
Disclosure: Steve Sisolak ($1,000) and Christina Giunchigliani ($425) have donated to The Nevada Independent. You can view a full list of donors here.