Under the Dome

Cunningham no longer quacks

Cal Cunningham's poll numbers didn't move much during the period where he was exploring a bid for U.S. Senate.

Cunningham, a Lexington lawyer, was the non-candidate candidate, who appeared at events and quietly looked at a run against Republican Sen. Richard Burr, giving Dome plenty of chances to use duck similes. Now, Dome must put away the quacks because Cunningham is out.

It's likely that his decision had something to do with whatever it is U.S. Rep. Bob Etheridge will decide about the race.

It's also helpful to note that Cunningham had the same level of support against Burr in October than he did in February. Public Policy Polling noted in February that Burr was leading Cunningham 46 to 27. In October, the pollster pulled the same percentages., which averages and analyzes polling data, showed that Cunningham's support over time was only slightly better than a flat line.

And for the record, shows declared candidate Kenneth Lewis with an average of 29.1 percent to Burr's 44.5. It's notable that Lewis and Cunningham, two unknowns, were getting similar numbers suggesting that polling results in their cases are more about Burr's level of support.

Secretary of State Elaine Marshall, also a declared candidate, has 31.2 percent to Burr's 43.9 percent, according to's analysis. And Etheridge has 34.7 percent to 43.3 percent for Burr.


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Re: Cunningham no longer quacks

I think Ben was perhaps hinting that this makes it seem more likely Etheridge's decision will be that he'll get into the race.

But I don't think meaningless polling a year out from the election on potential matchups featuring little-known candidates had much if anything to do with Cunningham's decision. It was more likely his ability to raise enough money in a tough climate (the economy, Democratic skittishness, his inexperience, the unlikelihood he would have been supported by the DSCC when they've been doing everything they can to get someone else in the race, etc.). Money is also why the DSCC is trying to get Etheridge into the race; he'd start out with over $1 million in the bank since he doesn't have to fight hard for re-election to the House. Now, if Etheridge does jump in, I'm sure the DCCC will be a little peeved, since it could be a tougher fight to retain that seat on the blue side of the aisle, but luckily, we have a larger margin for error in the House than in the Senate.

Re: Cunningham no longer quacks

Dang Ben, who will you vote for in the Dem primary now?

"It's likely that his decision had something to do with whatever it is U.S. Rep. Bob Etheridge will decide about the race."

It is? So if Etheridge decides against running against Burr, then that's the reason Cunningham dropped out?

Yeah, that makes a lot of sense.

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