Thursday, October 8, 2009

Burr looking better

There is probably no politician in the country whose fate better exemplifies the shift in the national political climate over the last four months than Richard Burr.

His approval this month comes in at a very mediocre 36% with an almost equal 35% disapproving of his work in the Senate. In June his approval spread was a nearly identical 34/35.

Despite there being no change in Burr's popularity his prospects for reelection have increased significantly. He now leads a generic Democratic candidate 45-34. He trailed 41-38 on that same June poll. So he's seen a 14 point improvement on that front over the last four months despite a stagnant approval rating.

The independents on this poll provide a fascinating prism into the current political landscape. By a 39/36 margin they disapprove of the job Burr is doing. But they then turn around and give him a 44-24 lead against a generic Democratic candidate. The pretty clear message when you see numbers like that is 'we don't like you, but we like the alternative even less.'

One number that is particularly good news for Burr on this poll is a 56-28 lead among senior citizens. They're unhappy with the Democrats on health care and tend to make up a larger portion of the electorate in midterm elections than they do in Presidential years.

In head to heads against some specific potential Democratic opponents Burr leads Bob Etheridge 44-33, Elaine Marshall 44-32, Dennis Wicker and Kenneth Lewis 44-30, Kevin Foy 45-29, and Cal Cunningham 46-27. Those leads for Burr are artificially high because there are considerably more undecided Democrats than Republicans in each of them, owing to none of the Democratic hopefuls being particularly well known statewide.

Burr's lack of personal popularity is still a problem for him- if one of the Democratic candidates mounts an unusually strong campaign or if the national political climate shifts back away from the Republicans he'll look just as vulnerable as he did earlier in the year. But for now he's in a much better position than he was for the first half of 2009.

Full results here


Anonymous said...

2 questions. Why do you poll african americans at 20%? And why do you continue to poll seniors at such a low % when you have posted in the past that senior turnout in off year elections is always higher? Thank you for your time.

Tom Jensen said...

It was 16% last year so we're projecting a 25% increase. Nationally in 2006 senior citizens were 19% of the electorate.

If you would like to discuss this further please feel free to call me and make your identity known. I recognize your IP address from frequent comments made pushing the Burr agenda and would like to know your position on the campaign just so that we can all be open about our agendas here.

Anonymous said...

If Burr continues to work with McCain and Graham on the Cap-and-Tax bill in the Senate on a "compromise" with democrats he won't get my vote. Cap-and-Tax is bad policy.

Yes, I am aware that he chaired McCain's NC campaign.

Eli Blake said...

As you point out there are several Democrats and many are not well known.

Further, right now things don't look good for Democrats because of the backlash against the stimulus, health care reform, etc. But once health care is done (presumably this year) it's safe to assume that the White House and the Democratic leadership will go into election mode and not push any controversial new legislation (for example putting off immigration reform until 2011,) but instead run on their record of doing what's been done already (which if the economy starts to recover is a smart strategy.) Granted the economy is one of the two big wild cards in this scenario, the other is Afghanistan.

So I'd turn it around and suggest that Burr's continuing to poll below 50% against all comers suggests that he is a long way from out of the woods.

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