What independent polling exists (Rasmussen, Zogby) puts Mike Beebe in the lead over A$a in the race for governor. Republicans, as we've mentioned, are talking up a rumor of erosion of Beebe numbers in Beebe polling. Trust us, they say, we know what's going on in the Beebe camp. Maybe, maybe not. Response from Beebe spokesman on the mythical internal poll:
Sorry dude – no such poll exists – but that is what the other side depends on blogs for, a vehicle to peddle false rumors.
The last three polls, Zogby, Rasmussen, Rasmussen all put Beebe in the lead. But as you know, the poll that matters is the one on election day.
And here's where you really have to wonder if the Republican talk is all about misdirection and spin. They insist that they see weakness in a mass mailer from Beebe this week targeting women with his story of being the son of a single mother and his pledge to do good for them. The mailer (I got a couple at home) is mostly general fluff, but it also includes his support for the minimum wage increase and health insurance for small businesses. Weakness? To the contrary. I think continuation of a feel-good theme invoking bullet-proof ideas like the minimum wage suggests strength. When you go negative and start demogoguing -- be it by making ogres of hard-working immigrants or cherry-picking votes from a long legislative record -- that's a sign that a candidate needs to make up ground. (Understand, please, that I acknowledge that beating up on immigrants and Beebe's record COULD work. We'll just have to see.)
THIS JUST IN: The Democratic Party is doing some pounding on Hutchinson, it should be noted, highlighting what they see as a flip-flop on the grocery sales tax. Release on the jump.
Democratic Party news release
North Little Rock – In an evening television interview last night, Republican gubernatorial candidate Asa Hutchinson reversed his previous opposition to eliminating the grocery tax. Instead, Hutchinson said he now agrees with Mike Beebe’s proposal for a complete phase-out.
“Well at least Hutchinson’s coming around. He was against it before he was for it. If we are going to believe him, he should just admit what changed his mind. Is he echoing Mike Beebe or did he really have a change of heart given Beebe’s leadership on the issue?” Greg Hale, Victory 2006 Campaign director, said.
Hutchinson said in an interview on Little Rock’s KARK News 4 that he now supports ending the grocery tax despite saying the opposite when Mike Beebe first proposed the idea in January.
JUNE, 22 – HUTCHINSON FOR IT
“I am in favor of eliminating the grocery tax. … that’s one of the taxes we need to end.” -Asa Hutchinson [KARK 4, 6/22/06 5:00]
JANUARY 27 – HUTCHINSON AGAINST IT
“In an interview afterward, Hutchinson said eliminating the food tax is not part of his tax proposals.” [Associated Press, Andrew DeMillo, 1/27/06]