Hill-Sodrel: Closer than it looks?

I just got a fundraising email from Baron Hill’s campaign, citing new numbers from one of Sodrel’s internal polls. According to the forwarded email, Sodrel’s internal poll from Wilson Research Strategies, taken Sept 8-9, shows the race within the margin of error, 44 Hill – 41 Sodrel.

This poll hasn’t been publicly released, although it was leaked to a blogger Josh Gillespie at HoosierAccess and reported on at Howey Politics. It shows the race much closer than any of the SUSA polls have shown.

Josh claims that the poll also shows McCain with a 20-point lead (56-36) and Daniels with a 20-point lead (55-35), which is pretty far removed from most of the other poll numbers for the Presidential and higher than the other Gubernatorial polls. (In fact, 56 is much higher than McCain has registered in any of the polls listed on Pollster.) HoosierAccess has the PDF of the toplines here. (I’ve also snagged a copy for future reference.)

Josh also claims, quoting from the report, “The district is decidedly more Republican this cycle than last.” This ignores the fact that in Monroe County alone, there have been more than 13,000 new/updated registrations since the May primary – 5,500 in the last month, and more than 2,300 in the last seven days. The Campaign for Change has been focusing almost exclusively on voter registration in the past few weeks, and they’ve canvassed my neighborhood at least twice. This poll is an outlier, too, in that it doesn’t find the big chunk of Obama supporters who are leaning toward Daniels – something that’s been a constant in most other polls this cycle.

Baron Hill is, of course, using these numbers to try and raise funds for even more TV ads. I know I live in Monroe County – which has given Baron his margin of victory in each of his wins – but I haven’t seen much activity from Sodrel aside from yard signs. (He did talk to the IU College Republicans a few weeks back.)

It will be interesting to see the next round of financial disclosures in this race, and how much of his own money Millionaire Mike is willing to burn in this re-re-rematch.

The “leaked” email and the full text of Baron’s pitch are after the jump…

The leak:

From: Sodrel Press [mailto:press@sodrelpress.com] On Behalf Of ryan@mikesodrel.com
Sent: Monday, September 22, 2008 1:10 PM
To: Sodrel Press
Subject: Mike Sodrel Polling Memo
Attention All PAC’s:

Attached is a memo from Wilson Research Strategies regarding the 9th District, Indiana race. The bottom line is that we are in a great position to win this as the race is a statistical dead heat. The race is inside the margin of error and has Baron Hill at 44% and Mike Sodrel at 41%. Mike and I will be on the Hill tomorrow at the Capitol Hill Club Grill from 3:30-5:30 p.m. for a Meet and Greet. We’d love to see you there! Feel free to rsvp by email to me at Ryan@mikesodrel.com.



P.S. This memo is intended for your use only.

Ryan Reger
Campaign Manager
Friends of Mike Sodrel
(812) 282-2002

And the pitch:

Dear Brian,
With your help and support, I’ve been able to build up a resources advantage over Mike Sodrel and the NRCC for the first time in any of my races for Congress. I’ve had positive advertisements on the air for almost a month now — it’s a great thing that I’ve never been able to do before.
But I’ll be honest, this advantage has lead to a misperception that I now have a safe seat. As you know, because of the nature of this district I will never have a totally safe seat. I still need your help to keep my message on the air. I need to be able to hold this seat so I can continue to fight for your values in Washington and provide you with the constituent services you deserve.

Despite the campaign advantages I have now, we must remember that Mike Sodrel won this seat in 2004. But it’s a Catch 22 — because I’m doing well, my fundraising has lightened up, leaving a gap in my television budget. I still need to spend at least $750,000 on TV from now until election day.

This race is not a slam dunk. Indiana’s 9th District will always be a challenging seat for Democrats to hold onto, and this election is no exception.

Below please find an email Mike Sodrel’s campaign sent out Monday. They contend this race is within the margin of error. I’m running like I’m 20 points behind and I still need your help.

Please consider a contribution today so I can continue to make my TV buys in this most competitive race. You can contribute online at http://www.hoosiersforhill.com or mail your contribution to:

Hoosiers for Hill
PO Box 1071
Seymour, IN 47274


Representative Baron P. Hill
9th District of Indiana
U.S. House of Representatives