The Arizona Capitol Times has declared a new frontrunner in the crowded District 3 Congressional primary.
Businessman Steve Moak, the paper claims, has taken over for Ben Quayle as the leader in the 10-person race.
Check out the Cap Times' assessment of the race after the jump.
According to Yellow Sheet, polling data shared with the paper by "one of the campaigns in the race" shows Quayle's support has been nearly cut in half in the past six weeks from 24 percent to 13 percent. Meanwhile Moak now leads the race with 17 percent of the vote -- a 12-point jump from a similar poll conducted in June.
"Several Republican observers have attributed his gains to a media blitz, the cornerstone of which has been nearly $100,000 a week on television ads," Yellow Sheet ads.
The Cap Times' story about Moak's triumph and Quayle's downfall quickly gained steam in the more mainstream media -- that's where we found it, prior to seeing the actual article, which is published in ACT's more-exclusive pay-site, Yellow Sheet.
ACT reporter Jeremy Duda was even featured on ABC 15 nervously explaining the current pecking order of the primary candidates. Check it out below.
We've been following the race fairly closely and were shocked we hadn't heard about any new polling data.
We poked around on the Internet, called one of the campaigns, and were still unable to find the poll used as the basis for the article.
So, prior to reading the original Yellow Sheet article, we went straight to the horse's mouth -- we called Duda, who tells us the poll on which he's basing the dramatic shift was an internal poll given to him by one of the campaigns.
Duda wouldn't specify which campaign "shared" the poll with him, but we've got some news for him: internal polls are worth jack shit. They're often conducted with an agenda and tend to only make their way to the media when the candidate who had the poll conducted is in the lead.
The original article in Yellow Sheet discloses that the claims are based on an internal poll, but, like us, most people probably first heard the news when ABC 15 ran the story and more people undoubtedly saw it. There was no mention that the new numbers were based on an internal poll from one of the candidates in the ABC 15 report.
Quayle's campaign isn't exactly throwin' in the towel just yet, though.
"Polling is exceedingly difficult in this race because of the number of candidates and the rolling return of early ballots," Quayle campaign spokesman Meghan Rose tells New Times. "We will be running hard to the finish line, and Mr. Moak will be answering a lot of hard questions about his use of a non-profit organization to make himself a wealthy man and his unlawful concealment of the scheme from the IRS."
Read about Moak's charity/ for-profit business here.
In any event, it seems tales of Quayle's demise in the polls have been greatly exaggerated -- until we hear some poll numbers from someone other than one of his opponents, that is.