Strategic Update: New Poll Shows Pat Bates Leading The Race For Orange County Supervisor, District 5
Orange County, CA - February 22 - We are pleased to report the Lincoln Club has helped the Bates campaign raise over $200,000 in just over a week from her formal announcement.
As the race for Orange County District 5 evolves, Pat Bates grows in strength. Now with her significant polling advantage, early fundraising momentum and track record of delivering on issues voters care about, Bates offers the best opportunity to hold onto this important seat and ensure Republicans maintain their 3-2 majority.
EVALUATING THE FIELD
The Lincoln Club took a methodical approach to evaluating the candidates and what it would take to win. Looking at the race in context, Pat Bates is the only candidate with a clear path forward both in her ability to unite the donor community and the strength of messages in her favor. Pat Bates knows the job. She is well liked and well respected which translates to high approval ratings and brand awareness.
Conversely, Bates’ Republican opponent, Diane Harkey, is carrying perceived negatives from public scandals. Harkey’s ballot performance from three different polls demonstrates that she is in a remarkably weak position when confronted with these negatives and will lose to Katrina Foley in a head to head stack up.
This has already played out in the 2018 cycle when Democrats picked up a long-held GOP House seat through negative ad tracks that underscored Harkey’s scandals. First, in an attempt to prop up Harkey and face their preferred candidate, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee meddled in the primary to avoid a run- off against a stronger Republican candidate. In their words: “Diane Harkey is a general election nightmare for Republicans.”
The presence of a candidate marred by controversy will impact Republicans up and down the ballot in the pivotal 2022 midterms to win back the House.
The scandals have already shut down Harkey’s ability to raise new money indicated by her weak fundraising position starting the race.
A survey among Orange County District 5 likely primary election voters conducted on behalf of the Bates campaign this month shows Bates leads in both name ID and in approval ratings.
The initial ballot test shows Bates wins a three-way match against Harkey and Foley; Bates comfortably overtakes Harkey.
Ballot Test – three way match
Pat Bates: 22%
Katrina Foley: 17.3%
Diane Harkey: 12%
Ballot Test – two way match – Bates beats Foley
Pat Bates: 27.3%
Katrina Foley: 20.7%
Ballot Test – two way match – Harkey loses to Foley
Katrina Foley: 30.3%
Diane Harkey: 20.7%
Harkey begins the race underwater and loses to Foley in a head to head ballot test. Harkey is clearly vulnerable and in a precarious position. The poll tested a battery of highly effective negative messages against Harkey that ultimately derails her campaign.
Senator Pat Bates entered the race and united the donor community. Assuming Bates engages in a robust, well-funded messaging campaign she is positioned to win this seat and protect the GOP firewall on the Board of Supervisors.
Soon the race will be effectively over as the donor community and activists continue to coalesce around Bates. The other Republican candidates will not be able to outgrow Bates on the ballot given her starting position and spending advantage.