Early Wyoming poll: Mike Enzi leads Liz Cheney among Republicans — by 34 points

posted at 12:58 pm on July 19, 2013 by Allahpundit

Amazing data via David Freddoso’s Conservative Intelligence Briefing — and I don’t mean the topline number, either. It’s no trick for a three-term incumbent with stratospheric name recognition to lead big early over a relative unknown. As I recall, both Charlie Crist and David Dewhurst started out in landslide territory against Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz, respectively, and both Rubio and Cruz had higher local profiles than Cheney does. If you live in Wyoming and aren’t a regular Fox News watcher, you might have zero idea who she is beyond her last name. Which is to say, there’s plenty of room here for her to gain as she becomes more familiar to voters, especially given how enormous her ad budget is likely to be.

What makes the data amazing is that, if it’s accurate, Mike Enzi is very, very popular. Maybe invulnerably so.

But our new Conservative Intel Poll suggests that Cheney faces a bigger problem: Wyoming Republican voters are a bit confused by her decision to run. The poll, conducted for Conservative Intel by Harper Polling, shows that GOP voters there view Enzi very, very favorably (76%/6% fav/unfav) and back him over Cheney by more than 30 points, 55% to 21%…

In Washington, some who might be identified as national security conservatives see Cheney as a possible new standard-bearer. And she is reasonably popular among Wyoming Republicans (45% favorable to 15% unfavorable). Her father is even more popular (74 percent favorable to 14% unfavorable). But it’s going to take more than a name to beat Enzi, whose job approval rating stands at 73 percent.

Question for data-heads: When was the last time a congressional incumbent started out above 70 percent in job approval and +70 in favorability and ended up losing a primary? I’m distinguishing congressional incumbents here from governors/presidents because it’s easier for the latter’s ratings to go south quickly (see, e.g., George H.W. Bush circa 1990). The executive can be blamed for every ill in his jurisdiction and invariably takes a beating if the economy goes south, whether or not he’s truly to blame. Doesn’t work that way for Congress. All Enzi has to do to protect himself is vote reliably conservative (as he usually does anyway) for the next year. Is attacking him for supporting an Internet sales tax going to close the gap by 34 points?

Here are the extended crosstabs. When asked whether Enzi deserves reelection, 48 percent say yes versus 28 percent who say no. If you’re a Cheney fan, there is some good news here: 44 percent of Wyoming Republicans say they support the goals of the tea party, which is how Cheney’s attempting to brand herself, versus 35 percent who don’t. If she can turn this race into an “establishment versus grassroots” referendum, just like Cruz and, ahem, Rubio did, then she’s got a chance. How likely is that, though, when her biggest booster is a former VP who spent decades inside the Beltway and Enzi’s biggest booster is the guy who ran as Mr. Tea Party three years ago? Rand Paul’s support for Enzi may end up being the most influential endorsement of 2014 (or maybe second to Rand Paul’s endorsement of Mitch McConnell), not because it’s going to send tea partiers scrambling to vote for the incumbent but because it’ll help neutralize Cheney’s message that she’s the candidate of conservative change. Enzi doesn’t need to win tea partiers, he just needs to avoid losing them overwhelmingly. That’s where Paul comes in, to make the pitch to grassroots conservatives in Wyoming that being “tea party” isn’t a matter of age or inexperience but a matter of voting record. Given the relish Paul’s displayed in attacking Cheney so far, I expect he’ll end up out there on the stump for Enzi too. Unless his own approval rating on the right goes south over the next year, how does Cheney hurdle that obstacle and then climb the mountain of Enzi’s local popularity?

Exit question: Abandon an old friend, or tarnish a rising star?

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Comment pages: 1 2

As a WY resident I can say with conviction that Liz will not be a senator from WY in 2015.

Sen Enzi was born & raised here has a business here and lives in the heart of coal country and the oilfields. He understands what WY people need from their congress critters. The only connection Lizzy has with us is her tourist dollars when she comes to visit. Us old WY cowboys want someone in D.C. to represent us not play us.


jrsrigmvr on July 19, 2013 at 3:43 PM

I like her a lot, but I just think this is the wrong fight for her.

Paul-Cincy on July 19, 2013 at 1:34 PM

Agreed. Why get into an intramural argument with a well-respected conservative Senator just to keep the family name going in politics?

There’s no guarantee that electing a younger Republican to a Senate seat in a deep-red state means that the new Senator will be more conservative than the older Senator. We saw this in Utah where some nno-name Tea Partier challenged the octogenarian Orrin Hatch, but since Hatch had long been one of the most conservative Senators since when conservatism was very unpopular, Utah voters wisely stayed with Hatch. Besides, a three-term Senator like Enzi has a lot more influence on Senate committees than any freshman Senator.

If Liz Cheney really wants to be elected to Congress, why doesn’t she challenge a Democrat, and leave Wyoming alone? Wyoming already has two good Republican Senators (Barrasso, one of the few doctors in the Senate, has been very strong on the health-care issue).

Steve Z on July 19, 2013 at 3:43 PM

What will Sarah Palin do?

Schadenfreude on July 19, 2013 at 1:04 PM

Hopefully she will persuade Ed and AP to have more Palin threads so I can comment more often….

Bradky on July 19, 2013 at 3:52 PM

As a WY resident I can say with conviction that Liz will not be a senator from WY in 2015.

jrsrigmvr on July 19, 2013 at 3:43 PM

I believe you.

A little music for Liz Cheney: You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere.

David Blue on July 19, 2013 at 3:54 PM

Heh. So, Rand Paul backs a prohibitive favorite…gutsy.

socalcon on July 19, 2013 at 4:26 PM

Politico says the new Senate GOP consists of a leadership group, a conservative group — and a “McCain group.” I’m afraid Liz Cheney would be in that McCain group, and that includes on amnesty.

anotherJoe on July 19, 2013 at 4:29 PM

I’m afraid Liz Cheney would be in that McCain group, and that includes on amnesty.

anotherJoe on July 19, 2013 at 4:29 PM

Right. There’s nothing to like about this challenge. Good thing it’s going nowhere.

David Blue on July 19, 2013 at 4:39 PM

Man, I cannot wait for all the “Republicans hate teh wymmynz” and “Republicans hate teh centrists” columns that will be run immediately following her crushing primary defeat. Thanks for allowing your personal ambition to fuel the left’s relentless narrative machine, Liz; way to serve the cause…

Fabozz on July 19, 2013 at 1:30 PM

It will be amusing to watch the media try to sell this idea to the public (that Wyoming Republicans are misogynists). When they do, they’d better be smart enough not to give anyone from Wyoming any air-time. Because if they are stupid enough to make that mistake, Wyoming residents will quickly point out two devastating facts that will likely silence the morons running the media. Tell’em collie.

My collie says:

1) The Republicans of the Wyoming territory gave women the right vote in 1869 — more than 50 years before the federal government gave women the right to vote in federal elections.

2) Wyoming was the very first state to elect a woman governor — and she was a Democrat.

CyberCipher on July 19, 2013 at 4:43 PM

To compare Cheney to Rubio or Cruz is absurd. The latter represented the outsider- the Tea Party going agianst the establishment. The Cheney name is and brand is completely attached to the establishment. She has no chance. And that’s a good thing.

ModerateMan on July 19, 2013 at 4:50 PM

The one thing I have always detested about Hot Air is that it is RINO central. It’s the place where all Rinos come to comment. Lead of course by Allah.

The Notorious G.O.P on July 19, 2013 at 5:05 PM

It will be amusing to watch the media try to sell this idea to the public (that Wyoming Republicans are misogynists). … The Republicans of the Wyoming territory gave women the right vote in 1869…

Yeah, that’d be quite a stretch. Almost as absurd and doomed to failure as trying to portray the GOP as being full of racists when in reality the party was specifically and explicitly founded to abolish slavery.

Fabozz on July 19, 2013 at 5:07 PM

Can someone give a rational explanation as to why Cheney is doing this? If she wants to run for office, fine. But to start with a sure-to-lose race that will only alienate members of her party is bizarre. Surely that are positions, even if less grand than US Senator, where she could start without aggravating the people who otherwise would be her supporters.

bartbeast on July 19, 2013 at 5:21 PM

By the mere fact she is running against Enzi, it betrays a real lack of contact with the voters.

I back Enzi. This is a ridiculously unnecessary fight.

Look, you vote 93% conservative….and I don’t care if you are older than Methusaluh (spelling?).

Out of the gate, Liz Cheney has succeeded in being…..the imperialist from the big political family.

If Enzi loses to her in the primary, he should pull a conservative version of Moocowski and run as an independent.

Her running is a politically barbaric act.

Looks like the old man has to ride out to battle one more time to quell the rebelious upstart.

KirknBurker on July 19, 2013 at 5:27 PM

anotherJoe on July 19, 2013 at 4:29 PM


I bet Sarah stays out of endorsing either, but I think the Cuda should side with the man who has kept pretty much to con principles.

If Sarah endorses Cheney in this one, then the Cuda is the misogynist.

KirknBurker on July 19, 2013 at 5:29 PM

Is it too late to talk this woman out of this? I like Liz Cheney and is she going to kill her reputation with this?

Conan on July 19, 2013 at 5:36 PM

The Ag Forum’s take on it:
Liz Cheney wants to be a Senator.
She’s moved from her home in Virginia back to Wyoming to run against Mike Enzi in a very rare primary challenge in that state.
Rand Paul is working for his friend Enzi. Enzi has been somewhat mixed on gun issues, but we could count on him when the chips were down. Liz Cheney isn’t making her stance on guns very well known, which is usually fishy when they do that. You go to her website and nothing is said about issues, but plenty of places to “Donate” to her campaign.
Why isn`t she running from her home state of Virginia? Why is she trying to knock off a fairly good conservative in Enzi? If she’s thinking of pulling this off, she’d better start saying clearly and concisely her positions on Guns and amnesty.

anotherJoe on July 19, 2013 at 6:20 PM

Don’t really see the why of this. In other cases, most notoriously O’Donnell, I thought the primary challenge was crazy but I understood the why of it. Here I think it’s crazy and can’t see a why to it, but from the comments and early poll seems like most agree.

jarodea on July 19, 2013 at 7:43 PM

If Liz Cheney is Tea Party material, then I am a unicorn.

flawedskull on July 20, 2013 at 8:22 AM

Like John Paul Jones, she has not yet begun to fight.

Another Drew on July 20, 2013 at 12:29 PM

flawedskull on July 20, 2013 at 8:22 AM

Ah, mythical and extinct you are then.

Another Drew on July 20, 2013 at 12:30 PM

Does she not live in Virginia?
How can she run in Wyoming?

cw on July 21, 2013 at 7:21 PM

None of the WY commenters mention a word about the Internet Sales Tax bill that he feels compelled to impose on the entire Nation. You people disgust me. He should be punished for this and I am happy to donate 6% of what I spent last year on Internet Sales, where tax did not apply, to Cheney’s campaign.

Levinite on July 22, 2013 at 2:02 AM

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