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Jerry Cornfield | jcornfield@heraldnet.com
Published: Tuesday, June 29, 2010, 5:53 p.m.

Koster ahead of Larsen in poll but is it accurate?

A new poll done for Republican John Koster has him shockingly ahead of U.S. Rep. Rick Larsen, D-WA in their battle for the 2nd Congressional District seat.

Not so surprisingly, the Larsen camp is casting serious doubt on the results.

Koster, an Arlington dairy farmer and Snohomish County Councilman, is leading the five-term incumbent “in the neighborhood of 53 percent to 47 percent,” said Larry Stickney, Koster's campaign manager.

Stickney wouldn't provide hard copy of the results of the 784-person poll conducted Friday and Saturday. The numbers he cited reflect those who said they were either “definitely” supporting or “leaning” to support Koster and those who said the same about Larsen.

Those in the Larsen camp didn't know the numbers but it didn't matter. They aren't buying the accuracy of the survey at all.

Brooke Davis, Larsen's campaign manager, said they are inaccurate because the Democratic congressman is misidentified as a Republican in one of the questions.

How does she know that? Because Larsen was one of those surveyed.

“I know the results are inaccurate. It was just a sloppy poll,” she said.

Larsen took the automated phone poll Thursday evening and took notes on each of the 12 questions, she said.

He's described as Republican in the question measuring support for each of the five candidates in the race. The others -- Koster, Democrat Larry Kalb, Democrat Diana McGinness or Republican John Carmack -- are all correctly identified.

The very next question asks only about Koster and Larsen and the congressman is correctly termed a Democrat.

Davis insisted the final results can't be correct because those surveyed would have been influenced by having heard Larsen described as a Republican.

The Koster camp says not to worry as all those answers collected Thursday night got chucked.

“The polling company made a dumb mistake, realized it very quickly and redid it,” said Koster campaign consultant Matt Parker.

To which Davis responded: “That's just laughable. The polling firm admitted they called Rick Larsen and they called him a Republican. They did an inaccurate poll and they claim they did a new one. It's just really confusing.”

Stickney said it's not that confusing. An error got fixed and the process started from scratch.

“It's a poll we conducted. It doesn't do us any good to lie to our people or lie to ourselves,” he said.


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