"PROBABLY" in race until the end
7th District GOP Congressional candidate Darrell Moore said late Friday that a new poll showing him ahead in the primary race to replace Roy Blunt was encouraging, interesting and basically meaningless.
"This poll is interesting, but right now it means nothing," Moore said. "It's clear we have high name recognition and support to go along with it," he added.
In a poll of 301 likely primary voters, the Wilson Research Strategies survey found that Moore has a leg up on most of his competitors among "decided" voters and "all voters."
Among those decided, the Greene County prosecutor takes 26 percent, tying Joplin Sen. Gary Nodler. Among all voters, Moore and Nodler are knotted again at just 16 percent. Forty percent of all voters remain undecided.
The poll was taken Nov. 16-17 and has a margin of error of 5.6 percent.
While the horse race numbers are largely meaningless this early in a scrambled and crowded 7th District contest, the data does show Moore as a significant force, despite being outraised financially and arguably ignored by most of his opponents.
Moore has the highest favorable to unfavorable ratio -- 27 percent to 2 percent.
The poll, paid for by the Southwest Missouri Leadership PAC, also oddly includes Greene County Circuit Clerk Steve Helms as a potential candidate. Helms has not yet announced a candidacy. It includes Mike Moon, but does not include college instructor Jeff Wisdom or Nixa businessman Mike Wardell.
Reached Friday night, Moore said he had not seen the poll. But when read the results, he said it was "too early" to draw any real conclusions from the numbers.
"Most people really haven't focused on it. It's encouraging. I haven't even been down to Joplin to campaign yet. And this may be the year, that grassroots and getting your people out to vote, actually makes the difference," he said.
Moore is competing in a seven-way GOP primary with auctioneer Billy Long, State Sens. Jack Goodman and Gary Nodler as well as Wisdom, Moon and Wardell.
Asked if he would stay in the race through primary day, Moore hedged just a bit, adding a slight caveat. "At this point, the answer to that is yes. I would be happier if we could raise some more money," he said.
"I'll probably be in until the end as long as we can keep it close," he said.
He said no one has approached him about getting out of the race.
Moore raised about $28,845 during the last fundraising quarter, but as of September 30th, only had $11,144 left to spend.
But Moore seems convinced money won't determine the 7th District contest.
"If money won every election, Mitt Romney should've been the nominee of the Republican party last time," Moore said. It also should be noted that in his first race for prosecutor in 1998, Moore said he was outspent by double digits in both the primary and the general election.
Moore would not disclose his fundraising goal for the 4th quarter but said, "I don't think we'll have to spend $400 or $500-thousand dollars."
Occupied with two upcoming trials, Moore said his campaign will ramp up its visibility and spending in March.
"We will not be able to run as much TV as the others. But I think we'll have enough media to remind people. I don't have to build name recognition and a record of public service, like the others," he said.
"TV is great, but if people don't know you, if you don't have the soldiers working, it won't carry the day," Moore added. "I'm not out to raise the most money, but I don't think we have to."