Friday, November 7, 2008

Senate 2010: Reviewing PPP's Polls

With the Presidential election behind us the next big thing is the 2010 midterm elections. PPP did a fair amount of polling concerning that election over the course of the year in the states of Florida, Ohio, Missouri, and North Carolina. Here's a review of our findings:


Public Policy Polling did three surveys over the summer looking at Mel Martinez's job approval rating and how some potential opponents would fare against him.

In June his approval rating was 23%, in July it was 24%, and in September it was 23%.

We found that in hypothetical 2010 matchups Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink would lead Martinez 37-31, Congressman Robert Wexler would be tied with him 31-31, former Senator Bill Graham would lead him 51-31, Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman-Schultz would lead him 38-37, Congressman Allen Boyd would lead him 37-33, and Congressman Ron Klein would lead him 37-33. Martinez is probably the most endangered incumbent in the country for 2010 and given his lack of popularity even with Republicans is ripe for a strong primary challenge.


PPP also took a look at Senator George Voinovich's approval three times over the summer. In June his approval was 31%, in July it was 31%, and in August it was 30%.

We found that in hypothetical 2010 matchups Congressman Tim Ryan would tie him 33-33, Voinovich would lead Congresswoman Betty Sutton 37-32, he would trail Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner 42-38, he would lead Columbus Mayor Mike Coleman 39-37, he would trail Lieutenant Governor Lee Fisher 40-38, and he would lead Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson 42-32.

Voinovich, if he doesn't choose to retire, will be right up there with Martinez as one of the GOP's most vulnerable incumbents.


Kit Bond is more popular than Voinovich and Martinez but our polling finds him somewhat vulnerable as well if the right person runs against him in 2010.

In July we found Bond's approval rating at 39%. In August we found it at 44%.

In hypothetical matchups we found Bond leading Secretary of State Robin Carnahan 44-42, Auditor Susan Montee 47-35, Congressman Russ Carnahan 46-43, and former Congressman Dick Gephardt 44-43.

As is often the case in Missouri politics the Democrats' best bet may be nominating a Carnahan, and with the newly reelected Secretary of State's term running through 2012 she would have nothing to lose by making a Senate run in 2010.

North Carolina:

Republican Senator Richard Burr of North Carolina has just a 27% approval rating, according to a PPP survey conducted in July.

It's not that the voters dislike Burr- there are slightly more who approve of the job he's doing than disapprove. But a remarkably high 46% of them are ambiguous toward him.

That fact makes Burr pretty vulnerable for reelection in two years. Incumbency is a huge advantage, but much less so when the voters don't even really know who you are. And a 46% 'not sure' rating for a US Senator shows he's not doing much to attract the voters' attention.

After seeing Kay Hagan knock Elizabeth Dole many of the folks who declined to run in 2008 will no doubt be chomping at the bit for a second chance in 2010. PPP will begin testing possible matchups for that race soon.

Also, look forward to a new PPP survey next week looking at the 2010 picture for US Senate in Pennsylvania.


rloutlaw said...

NC Attorney General Roy Cooper, if he runs (and I can't see why he wouldn't) would destroy Richard Burr.

"President Bush is right 96% of the time" might work in Oklahoma but it's going to get him creamed in NC.

Anonymous said...

Keep in mind that it's not going to be as easy to tie Burr to Bush in 2010 when Bush has been out for 2 years. A lot of voters may drop their resentment of Bush once he's gone, and it's certainly possible that the Democrats could drop the ball and have an election that is nowhere close to last 2006 and 2008.

That said, Burr is probably vulnerable either way. But I think the Democrats would be wise to run a candidate with a stronger history than Kay Hagan's.

Anonymous said...

You're already starting to poll 2010?

Well, I guess this describes you as much as me.

thisniss said...

I would LOVE to give Burr the Dole treatment. I'm curious about who to send up against him. I'd be interested in potentially seeing Jim Neal make another run. We've also got a number of great Reps who could make the move if they wanted - I think Brad Miller might make a good choice. I'm sure there are others, but I'm not thinking well right now.

Who are you polling Burr against right now?

Anonymous said...

I agree that Cooper would romp against Burr. Remember also that this is the seat Republicans never win in off year elections and Democrats never win in Presidential elections. The last Senator to successfully defend this seat was Sam Ervin in, I believe, 1968.

While Miller would be a good candidate, I think he likes his rising power in the House. Another possibility would be Elaine Marshall, who is very popular, and would play into our state's love for electing women (maybe tied to the 56% female voter turnout?).

Finally, I don't get the comment about needing a stronger history than Senator Hagan. I thought she was a great candidate from day 1 and predicted she'd win as soon as she announced.

Anonymous said...

A little early to bury Burr. Elections two years away. Midterms tend to be referendums on party in power....and what a mess?


Cooper strong; has money access and Party support. Atty. General down-ballot position but he'll solve that with dollars. Conservative/moderate. Building conservative credentials by opposing illegal immigrants in community colleges. Hunt-mold of Democrat; safe choice...but best choice? How forward will NC have moved in two years...and 18-29 y.o. more liberal.

E. Marshall? Nice lady but zero gravitas. Age is factor as well. Heard her speak-- you'll tune out after 30 seconds.

Jim Neal, humm. Was very viable b4 media onslaught by Hagan/DSCC in last 30 days. No money; Party/DC strongly opposed and will do so in 2010. Grassroots favorite and great gravitas/articulate. Smart as hell. Can gay guy win...not a reason for him not to try. Wouldn't have been a Kay Hagan w/out him. But....can he raise the bucks?

Others: Heath Schuler, Richard Moore.

Moore has highest visibility after gubernatorial race; doulc self-fund if he wanted to do so.

Schuler appeals to DC with conservative, Blue Dog credentals; will play well in west and east...but will he play in the metro areas? Far from a rocket scientist but he can throw a football.

End-game. Too early to say. A lot can happen in two years. Burr ain't gonna be as easy as Dole. Better Senator and he does come home. Don't write this guy off as a pushover.

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