Real Clear Politics is calling the race between current House Communications Subcommittee Chairman Rick
Boucher (D-VA) and Republican challenger Morgan Griffith a toss-up.
According to one poll cited by the group, Griffith had nudged ahead in their southern, rural congressional district, but only by a single percentage point (47% to 46%). Griffith had been behind in previous polls, and by as much as 15 percentage points only five weeks ago, but SurveyUSA, which conducted the poll Oct. 21-25, said independents had been breaking "sharply Republican."
Even so, a couple of campaign watchers on the telecom and broadcast sides predicted, based on intel gleaned from people "on the ground," was that Boucher would take the race.
The poll was conducted before WDBJ-TV and WSLS, both Roanoke, Va., aired debates between the two candidates, so the impressions they made on voters in those face-to-face meetings are not reflected on the numbers.
Boucher will likely not remain chairman even if he wins, given predictions of a 45-50-vote swing in the
House toward Republican control, but he has been a friend of broadcasters--and a recipient of some $2,500 in
NAB PAC money this year.
Boucher co-sponsored a bill that would allow the FCC to pay broadcasters to vacate or share spectrum, but
only so long as the move was voluntary. Boucher has long championed only auctions that give broadcasters the
legitimate option of saying "no thanks" to the government's offer, while acknowledging he believes there is
a spectrum crisis that a truly voluntary process might help alleviate. He has also come out in favor of the
Comcast and NBC Universal deal.