Earlier this week, Scott McInnis spokesman Sean Duffy griped that a new survey showing Josh Penry leading SM in the gubernatorial race was unscientific (which the folks behind it acknowledged) and dismissible because it was conducted by a Penry supporter (which they disputed). Now, the complaint's in the other mouth -- sort of. Yesterday afternoon, the McInnis campaign sent out a release ballyhooing a very scientific poll indicating that McInnis is trouncing Penry, 40 percent to 13 percent. But this morning's Denver Post points out that the study was commissioned by Sean Tonner of Colorado Policy Institute, who had once been identified as being in Scotty's corner -- something that's definitely not the case now, Duffy says.
Whether Tonner is or isn't pro-McInnis may not be especially germane. After all, the survey was conducted for CPI by The Tarrance Group, a nationally known outfit (clients include Iowa's Chuck Grassley and Mississippi's Haley Barbour) that's been around since 1977. Still, it's mighty early in the process, and McInnis remains better known than Penry -- which may be what the poll is measuring. Name recognition is a big advantage, but it's not everything. This race remains wide open, no matter who's actually ahead.
Look below for the McInnis campaign's spin on the survey.
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Scott McInnis Leads GOP Race By 28 Points in New Scientific Poll
National Tarrance Group Numbers Show McInnis at 40-12 Over Opponent
( DENVER ) - Scott McInnis has a wide lead of 28 points over Josh Penry in a head-to- head scientific poll that also shows only one-third of percent of Coloradans prepared to re-elect Gov. Bill Ritter.
The independent poll, conducted by the Virginia-based Tarrance Group and released by the Colorado Policy Institute, showed McInnis with a 40 to 12 lead on Penry among likely Republican primary voters.
"These numbers track with what other scientific polls have shown: our campaign is the solid choice among Colorado Republican primary voters," McInnis said. "We have the positive message about how to create jobs and repair the economy - and the momentum to continue to carry us forward."
The Tarrance Group poll also showed continuing anemic re-election numbers for Gov. Ritter, with 33 percent of likely voters saying that they would support him for a new term, while 56 percent said they would prefer to give a new person a chance at leading the state.
"Coloradans know that Bill Ritter has chased jobs out of our state in the midst of very tough economic times, while raising taxes and fees on Colorado families and businesses," McInnis said. "This poll, combined with other scientific polls showing me as the only GOP candidate beating Bill Ritter, shows that we are in a very strong position - and getting stronger."