Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Looking at the Challengers

Bill White's surprisingly strong showing in the Texas numbers we released this morning got me to wondering how his favorability numbers stack up with other non-incumbents running for the Senate and Governor across the country this cycle. The answer wasn't too surprising- he's tied with Terry Goddard for the second best figures in our polling.

We've looked at favorability for 37 different candidates in the last three months. Here are some observations on the numbers:

-It's not just incumbents voters don't like this year. 20 of the 37 non-incumbents we've looked at have negative favorability numbers with 3 breaking even and 14 on positive ground. The sentiment out there right now is pretty anti-politician across the board.

-The 5 candidates with the best favorability spreads are all Mayors (John Hickenlooper of Denver, Bill White of Houston, Tom Barrett of Milwaukee) or Attorneys General (Terry Goddard of Arizona, Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire.) Those three account for all the Mayors on the list- that might be a good position to be running from this year. There are some Attorneys General- Jerry Brown and Jack Conway- who don't do as well.

-4 of the top 5 best numbers are for Democratic Gubernatorial candidate- Hickenlooper, White, Barrett, and Goddard- and despite their personal popularity they might all lose. Hickenlooper and White were tied in our most recent polling, Goddard was up a little, Barrett was down a little. These folks need to keep their races from being nationalized and make them as much about the candidates as possible because they're all better liked than their opponents but they're also all in states where Barack Obama isn't real popular.

-The 18 Democratic candidates actually have slightly better favorability numbers (a +.1 spread on average) than the 19 Republican ones (a -3.3 spread on average.) Yet the GOP is still likely to win most of the races these candidates are involved in. That suggests Republicans have not done a superior job of recruiting good candidates, but again the national climate's going to let them win some places even where their nominee is actually inferior to the Democrat. Timing is everything in politics- a lot of good Democratic candidates who would win in most any other election cycle are going to lose this year.

-The bottom 3 on the list are all Republicans in Jane Norton, Roy Blunt, and Meg Whitman. I really have a hard time seeing Whitman winning in the fall but Blunt's the perfect example of a Republican who's not popular and may well win anyway because Democrats are disinterested and the folks who show up to the polls are going to be ones who really don't like Barack Obama.

A lot of data to think through here, here are our numbers:



Net Favorability

John Hickenlooper

Colorado Governor

+14 (47/33)

Bill White

Texas Governor

+12 (37/25)

Terry Goddard

Arizona Governor

+12 (39/27)

Kelly Ayotte

New Hampshire Senator

+10 (34/24)

Tom Barrett

Wisconsin Governor

+7 (29/22)

Elaine Marshall

North Carolina Senate

+5 (21/16)

Terry Branstad

Iowa Governor

+5 (42/37)

Scott Walker

Wisconsin Governor

+4 (31/27)

Nikki Haley

South Carolina Governor

+3 (29/26)

Pat Toomey

Pennsylvania Senate

+2 (30/28)

Joe Sestak

Pennsylvania Senate

+1 (29/28)

Vincent Sheheen

South Carolina Governor

+1 (17/16)

John Kasich

Ohio Governor

+1 (25/24)

Scott McInnis

Colorado Governor

+1 (31/30)

Bill Brady

Illinois Governor

E (22/22)

Bradley Byrne

Alabama Governor

E (18/18)

Ron Sparks

Alabama Governor

E (20/20)

Cal Cunningham

North Carolina Senate

-1 (12/13)

Jerry Brown

California Governor

-2 (37/39)

Jack Conway

Kentucky Senate

-2 (20/22)

Lee Fisher

Ohio Senate

-2 (22/24)

Rob Portman

Ohio Senate

-3 (16/19)

Mark Neumann

Wisconsin Governor

-3 (24/27)

Charlie Melancon

Louisiana Senate

-5 (29/34)

Ken Buck

Colorado Senate

-5 (19/24)

Robin Carnahan

Missouri Senate

-5 (38/43)

Paul Hodes

New Hampshire Senate

-7 (32/39)

Rand Paul

Kentucky Senate

-7 (28/35)

Rodney Glassman

Arizona Senate

-8 (7/15)

Carly Fiorina

California Senate

-8 (22/30)

John Stephen

New Hampshire Governor

-8 (12/20)

Alexi Giannoulias

Illinois Senate

-8 (23/31)

Mark Kirk

Illinois Senate

-8 (23/31)

Roxanne Conlin

Iowa Senate

-10 (19/29)

Jane Norton

Colorado Senate

-12 (20/32)

Roy Blunt

Missouri Senate

-16 (25/41)

Meg Whitman

California Governor

-20 (24/44)


herbs814 said...

"These folks (Democrats) need to keep their races from being nationalized".

This is the advice pollsters and political pundits customarily give to losers-in-waiting, whether it be 1994 Democrats, 2006 Republicans, or 2010 Democrats.

This is not to say that specific Democrats can't win specific races. But if Democrats are being advised to avoid allowing their races to be nationalized, it is confirmation that the national mood is anti-Democrat rather than merely anti-Republican.

Democrats, in order to win election or reelection, must swim counter to the national mood. They must downplay their connections to or similarities to the national party as much as possible and run on local issues.

thegiggletest said...

Democrats should run away from Pelosi, Reid, and Obama??? What a difference 18 months make.

The problem is that they made votes impacting the NATION, not simply their districts.

Anonymous said...

Bashing again Hodes and Conlin... for support Mashall.

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