A poll released by Jason Hodge’s campaign Monday morning says Republican Mike Stoker would beat Hannah-Beth Jackson or Hodge — both Democrats — in head-to-head matchups if they were to make it to the November runoff in the 19th State Senate District. But the numbers also show the relatively unknown Hodge doing well and in a position to make the open primary race in June a competitive one. The poll, with a 400-person sample size and a 5-percent margin of error, shows that both Jackson and Stoker — because of their many years in the public eye and experience with running campaigns — are more well-known than Hodge. The voters know them and either like them or don’t. “We are what we are,” as Stoker put it Monday. Head-to-head, Stoker beats Jackson 47-42, according to the poll conducted on Hodge’s behalf, and Stoker beats Hodge 42-41.
But a strategist for Hodge told the Ventura County Star those polled weren’t necessarily November voters, which would distort the outlook. That led Jackson’s camp to respond Tuesday night. “It’s disappointing that Jason Hodge would knowingly provide fake poll numbers to the press,” Jackson campaign consultant Steve Barkan said. “First he failed to disclose that the poll numbers provided were from questions asked after a barrage of negatives aimed at Hannah-Beth. Then Jason’s political consultant admitted to press that he didn’t even poll November voters and that the numbers were meaningless in the context Jason was using them. The voters are tired of this type of cynical politics.”
With the primary still more than four months away, Hodge — a firefighter and Port Hueneme harbor commissioner — is banking on voters ready for a change. And faced with a description of Hodge, likely voters responded positively, which means he has to work at getting his name out there. Money will help, and Hodge has reported more than $188,000 raised through December. Jackson, however, reported $309,000. Stoker can’t raise money until he officially files his intent to run with the Secretary of State. Stoker is expected to announce his campaign in the coming weeks, but in the meantime he is content to show off his opponent’s poll, with him beating both of the Democratic candidates in runoffs. He said he is “firming up commitments” from supporters before officially jumping in.