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Election 2008: Idaho Senate
Idaho Senate: GOP’s Risch Is Far Ahead 58% to 30%

Republicans in Idaho appear to have safely weathered the Larry Craig scandal, with the GOP candidate for his seat in the Senate ahead nearly two-to-one over his Democratic opponent.

Jim Risch, Idaho’s current lieutenant governor, leads Larry LaRocco, a former congressman, 58% to 30% in the first Rasmussen Reports survey of voters in the state. Risch served briefly as governor in 2006 after the elected chief executive was appointed to President Bush’s Cabinet.

Interestingly, Risch just defeated LaRocco in 2006 to be reelected lieutenant governor and also beat him 20 years earlier in a state senate race. LaRocco served two terms in the U.S. House of Representatives but was defeated when seeking a third term in 1994. He is the last Democrat to date to represent Idaho in Congress.

Both men are vying for the Senate seat held by Craig since 1991. Craig choose not to seek reelection after he pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct stemming from an incident in a men’s room of the Minneapolis airport where he allegedly made sexual overtures to another man.

Risch has the support of 87% of Idaho Republicans and 18% of Democrats. LaRocco is supported by 79% of Democrats and five percent (5%) of Republicans. Unaffiliated voters prefer Risch 45% to 32% (see crosstabs).

Both men and women favor Risch by sizable margins.

The Republican is viewed at least somewhat favorably by 62% of Idaho voters, including 21% who rate their opinion of him as Very Favorable. Twenty-three percent (23%) have at least a somewhat unfavorable opinion of Risch. Only nine percent (9%) say their view is Very Unfavorable.

The Democratic candidate is regarded at least somewhat favorably by 42%, with 12% saying they view him very favorably. Forty-two percent (42%) say their opinion of LaRocco is at least somewhat unfavorable, with 19% rating their view of him as Very Unfavorable.

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Rasmussen Markets data currently gives Risch a % chance of winning the Idaho Senate race. Numbers in this paragraph are from a prediction market, not a poll. We invite you to participate in the Rasmussen Markets. It costs nothing to join and add your voice to the collective wisdom of the market.

Forty-nine percent (49%) give Idaho Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter good or excellent marks for job performance, including 13% who rate him Excellent. Just 15% say Otter is doing a poor job.

Data released last night shows John McCain up by two in New Mexico, up by double digits in North Dakota, and up by an overwhelming margin in his running mate’s home state of Alaska. The Palin surge in Alaska has even helped pull embattled Senator Ted Stevens back to a competitive position in his bid for re-election. Presidential polling has also been released this week for Colorado, Florida, Montana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Virginia.

Premium Members can review full demographic crosstabs for all state polls. Learn More.

Senate polling data also has been released this week for Montana and New Mexico. Data for the Senate races in Michigan and Wyoming will be released this afternoon.

See survey questions and toplines. Crosstabs for Premium Members only.

Safe Republican

RR Poll

RR Poll




Risch (R)




LaRocco (D)




This telephone survey of 500 Likely Voters was conducted by Rasmussen Reports September 9, 2008. The margin of sampling error for the survey is +/- 4 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence.

See Methodology.

Favorable Ratings For Senate Candidates in Idaho




Very Favorable



Somewhat Favorable



Somewhat Unfavorable



Very Unfavorable



Not Sure



About Rasmussen Reports

Rasmussen Reports is an electronic publishing firm specializing in the collection, publication, and distribution of public opinion polling information.

The Rasmussen Reports ElectionEdge™ Premium Service for Election 2008 offers the most comprehensive public opinion coverage ever provided for a Presidential election.

Scott Rasmussen, president of Rasmussen Reports, has been an independent pollster for more than a decade.