SHALE CHEERLEADER: Rapert is matched in cheering by opponent Linda Tyler.

  • SHALE CHEERLEADER: Rapert is matched in cheering by opponent Linda Tyler.

The Republican consultants for Sen. Jason Rapert’s election bid are raising money with their robopoll results touting the Republican preferences of voters in District 35 — 56-30 for a Republican over a Democrat. That built-in GOP bias lifts Rapert, they say, to a 46-36 edge over Rep. Linda Tyler of Conway, despite her higher name recognition and higher favorable rating.

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That developing bias in some areas — no matter how nutty the Republican candidate or how extreme the candidate’s views — swept Republicans into a number of offices in 2010. Republicans are counting on the same no-facts-please-we’re-Republicans voting pattern to work again in 2012, particularly with liberal use of images of the black president to help the cause.

They might be right. Tyler has solid business community support. She’s as fervent a cheerleader for gas drilling as Rapert. But she is a woman who’s demonstrated sympathy for women’s rights. The binary Republican voter has views on a woman’s place. It’s at neither the head of a household nor at a pharmacy purchasing birth control pills.

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Given the partisan emphasis placed in the poll questions and Rapert’s failure to hit 50 percent, the numbers do indicate Tyler might have a shot. But she’ll have to differentiate herself in a way that motivates voters.

UPDATE: Tyler issues a statement. Republicans created the poll and Jason Rapert is “extreme” and “out of touch”, she said.

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