Thursday, March 25, 2004

Clooney, Davis spar over polls



By Patrick Crowley
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Internal polling by candidates in the 4th Congressional District race shows Democrat Nick Clooney with a double-digit lead over Republican Geoff Davis nine months before the election.

Clooney's campaign team was thrilled Wednesday to release an internal poll showing him leading Davis by 15 points.

But Clooney's camp was downright ecstatic when it learned a poll done by Davis' campaign showed Clooney with a 16-point lead.

"This is remarkable," said Bob Doyle, Clooney's Washington-based political adviser.

"Geoff Davis has been running for Congress for three years, spent hundreds of thousands of dollars promoting his candidacy on TV in a district that President Bush carried with more than 60 percent of the vote, and he can't get out of the 30s."

Davis' poll shows him trailing Clooney 52 percent to 36 percent.

"I would be humiliated to release numbers like that," Doyle said.

Clooney's poll shows him with 46 percent compared to 31 percent for Davis, 23 percent undecided.

Clooney's numbers reflect his long career as a media personality and his famous family, said Davis campaign spokesman Justin Brasell.

Clooney's late sister, Rosemary, was a popular singer and actress. And his actor son George helped his father raise more than $200,000 last weekend at local fund-raisers.

"Clooney's numbers will drop significantly when we voters start learning about his extreme left-wing positions," Brasell said.

Davis' poll shows that when Clooney is described as a "liberal Democrat" who worked in the media and has family connections to Hollywood, he trails Davis 38 percent to 58 percent.

Brasell also chided Clooney's campaign for not releasing more information about the Democratic poll, including how questions were worded.

Doyle countered that the poll was "solid and professional" and said Clooney is not a liberal.

"Nick Clooney is anti-abortion, pro-support of defense of marriage and pro-Second Amendment," Doyle said. "Anybody calling him a liberal is a ... gutless wonder telling a big lie."

Davis will close the gap against Clooney as he did in the 2002 race, which he lost by 3 points to retiring Democratic U.S. Rep. Ken Lucas, Brasell said.

Neither poll focused on the two other Republicans in the race, Erlanger lawyer Kevin Murphy and Boone County chiropractor John Kelly King.

Clooney's poll of 504 likely general-election voters was conducted Feb. 17-19 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.4 percent.

Davis' poll of 301 likely voters was conducted Feb. 23-25 and has a margin of error of 5.8 percent.

E-mail pcrowley@enquirer.com




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