A new month brings new polling figures in Idaho's 1st Congressional District, and thing are looking up for Republican nominee Raul Labrador. Idaho's only local political polling agency, Greg Smith and Associates, released its latest poll, taken Monday and Tuesday of this week, which found that Labrador is leading Democratic incumbent Walt Minnick by 12 percentage points, though about 30 percent of respondents remain undecided as to who they will support in November.
The poll, released Wednesday, was taken among 400 people in Idaho's 1st Congressional District, which makes up the west portion of the state, and stretched from Idaho's southern border with Nevada to the state's northern border, which bumps up to Canada. Smith found that Labrador received support from 36 percent of respondents, as well as an additional 4 percent who replied that they are leaning toward the Republican. About 24 percent of those polled favored Minnick, a number complemented by 5 percent who said they are leaning toward the Democrat. Among respondents, 30 percent said they were undecided and 1.5 percent said they favored another candidate. Two other men running for Minnick's seat, Libertarian Mike Washburn of Boise and Independent Dave Olson from St. Maries, were not mentioned in the poll findings.
The announcement by Smith and Associates is a reversal from a poll released earlier this year, prior to the Republican primary election. That poll found that approximately 50 percent of those he polled at that time favored Minnick, and only 20 percent said they would support "The Republican Candidate."
Wednesday's poll may not necessarily be an indicator of Minnick's true standing with voters, however. One month before Minnick ousted Republican Bill Sali from the seat in 2008, Smith's polling among 200 likely voters in the district found that Sali enjoyed a 51-39 lead over his challenger. Minnick went on to defeat Sali 51-49 on election night. In 2006, Smith found Democrat Jerry Brady ahead of Republican Butch Otter by 5 percent in the gubernatorial race. Otter defeated Brady at the polls 52-44.
The poll results drew the ire of Minnick spokesman John Foster, who showed no confidence in the work of Smith and his team. "Usually when Greg Smith promotes one of his rigged polls, he at least tries to make it look real; this one is just a joke," Foster told IdahoReporter.com. "He is notorious for being inaccurate."
The Labrador campaign has yet to comment on poll results.