Thursday, July 15, 2010

A sign of the times

One interesting product of the national political climate is that we've polled on five races in the last few months where the Democratic candidate's net favorability was 7 points better or more than the Republican's...and the Democrat still wasn't winning. These are five races where perhaps in any other election year the Democrat would win but in this one the Republicans may pull it out, likely on account of the President's unpopularity in their states, all of which voted twice for George W. Bush.

-Texas is the most extreme example. Our last poll found Bill White's net favorability (+12 at 37/25) 25 points better than Rick Perry's (-13 at 36/49). But Texas is a tough state for Democrats even in the most favorable of years and with the President's 40% approval rating in the state White has a lot to overcome that's beyond his control.

-The Colorado race for Governor clearly has seen its complexion change dramatically this week and we don't really know yet what the new standing on the race is. But when we last polled there in May it was tied even though John Hickenlooper was personally much more popular (+14 at 47/33) than Scott McInnis (+1 at 31/30). I'm actually not convinced Hickenlooper is going to become a shoo in if McInnis is replaced on the ballot because the closeness of the race had nothing to do with McInnis being popular (he wasn't) and was perhaps more a reflection of anti-Democratic sentiment in the state (a 45/50 approval rating for the President.)

-In Missouri neither Robin Carnahan or Roy Blunt had very good favorability numbers the last time we polled it, but the numbers reflected a much higher level of animosity toward Blunt. His favorability was a net -16 at 25/41 while Carnahan's was just a net -5 at 38/43. Blunt nevertheless held a 4 point lead at that point, and Obama's 43/52 approval in the state probably was dictating that more than how voters actually felt about the candidates.

-In Kentucky you have someone voters don't feel very strongly about (probably a good thing in 2010) in Jack Conway running against someone they don't really like in Rand Paul. Conway's personal favorability is a net +2 (31/29) while Paul's is -8 (34/42). Nevertheless our last poll found a tie and most people still expect Paul to win- it's a hard sell for Democratic candidates anywhere that the President's approval rating is 37%.

-In North Carolina you have a challenger in Elaine Marshall who voters have slightly positive feelings about (a +2 at 22/20) running against an incumbent in Richard Burr who voters have slightly negative feelings about (a -5 approval rating at 34/39). But Burr still leads by 5- I'm pretty sure he would have been gone in 2006 or 2008 but timing counts for a lot in politics and there's no doubt Burr's been running in the right cycles for a Republican candidate.


DBL said...

Are you sure you conducted that Colorado poll? I have the very same poll here word for word and it says that Scott McInnis conducted the poll.

Christian Liberty said...

If Delaware continued to elect Joe Biden, there's no reason to believe Colorado won't elect McInnis.

The Interesting Times said...

It looks like the Republicans' best strategy in November would be to nationalize, nationalize, nationalize these races, and make them all a referendum on Obama.

I don't see how the Democrats can counteract this strategy. At least they've failed at doing so thus far.

Dustin Ingalls said...

"If Delaware continued to elect Joe Biden, there's no reason to believe Colorado won't elect McInnis."

Plagiarism charges (mostly proven false or exaggerated) pushed Biden out of the 1988 presidential race after he'd been Delaware's senator for almost 15 years. McInnis may also be pushed out of this race, and he doesn't have the same relationship with voters in his state as Biden did then or does now, nor did Biden intentionally plagiarize to the extent that McInnis clearly has. McInnis apologized for his plagiarism because he knows they're true charges. Biden gave the supposedly plagiarized speech a number of times, attributing particular lines to Neil Kinnock, but he neglected to quote Kinnock in the candidates' forum at the Iowa State Fair the one time a camera was rolling.

"I don't see how the Democrats can counteract this strategy. At least they've failed at doing so thus far."

Democrats should make it about a choice between them and their individual Republican opponents--their qualifications, their views, their ethical failings. I actually think it is working in many places--generic ballot numbers favor the Republicans by a few points, but they aren't winning everywhere. Voters favor challengers over incumbents by huge margins, but both the generic party ballots and head-to-head named horse races are much closer everywhere. Candidates matter. National forces are hard to overcome because our culture is less regionalized and provincial than it used to be--people are more connected and mobile to people beyond their backyards--but what's on the ballot are two names and their party identifications.

Christian Liberty said...

Really, Dustin? Biden's speech wasn't almost exactly copied from the speech of a UK politician? Really??

The left has a bad habit of claiming that charges are exaggerated when they are demonstrably true.

Christian Liberty said...

Joe Biden's REPEATED plagiarism thoroughly documented (including the NY Times) and demonstrably true.

Funny how the left likes to suppress and deny incriminating evidence.

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