Could Kucinich turn WA-01 red in 2012?

Dennis Kucinich spent last weekend about as far from Washington DC as he could get, and almost as far from his Cleveland district as well, to check out suburban Seattle.  Kucinich will likely lose his Cleveland district in Ohio’s new Congressional map, which means he won’t have any hope of returning to Congress while living in Ohio.  The state of Washington will pick up a seat, and Rep. Jay Inslee of Washington’s 1st CD is mulling over a run for governor rather than a return to Congress in next year’s election.

Kucinich obviously sees the D+9 district as a great landing place for an Ohio carpetbagger, especially with Inslee leaving the seat open.  But could Kucinich instead turn an easy hold into a Republican takeaway?  A new poll by Survey USA suggests that very outcome:

Incumbent Democratic Congressman Jay Inslee, from Washington State’s 1st Congressional District, is well liked and surrenders solid Democratic footing in that district were he to run for Governor, according to this latest KING5 News poll conducted by SurveyUSA. …

Given the choice between having a representative in Congress who shares one’s values or who has roots in the community, shared values is 3:1 preferred to roots. Yet at the time time, voters by 6:1 tell SurveyUSA that Kucinich would do a worse job representing them in Congress than someone who has lived in the District longer, indicative of the headwinds that an outsider, transplanted into the District for the purpose of running, would encounter.

Inslee’s favorability in the survey is +24 (56/32), not surprising considering that he’s on his sixth term representing the district.  Kucinich, on the other hand, scores a -25 favorability (21/46).  Kucinich’s favorability among Democrats is positive … barely, at 32/31.  It’s a laughable 17/53 among independents, and 12/47 among self-described moderates.  He also starts off severely negative on entrenched support/opposition at 15/38 regardless of opponent. Only 31% of self-professed liberals would vote for Kucinich above all other candidates; 57% want to shop around a while.

Even in this D+9 district in a Democratic state, Kucinich’s kooky “Department of Peace” initiative gets poor marks at 34/48, and among independents it’s a disastrous 22/59.  Moderates in the district seem to understand that we already have a State Department for diplomatic efforts; they balk at the idea by a 30/51 margin.  Kucinich’s main platform doesn’t get support from any demographics except Democrats (52/28) and liberals (56/22).

Kucinich’s attempt to carpetbag into a district 2000 miles away is a desperate attempt to justify his grip on power in Washington DC, a transparent effort that will get soundly rejected by WA-01.  If Democrats want to hand this seat to a Republican, they could hardly do better than putting a lifelong Cleveland politician on the ballot.