Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Mikulski Safe

Barbara Mikulski has the best approval numbers of any Senator we've looked at in the last ten months other than John Thune. Add to that a slate of opponents who are about as anonymous as any Senate candidates in the country and it adds up to a wide lead for Mikulski as she bids for reelection.

54% of voters in the state approve of the job Mikulski's doing to 32% who disapprove. 76% of Democrats give her good marks and independents break down favorably by a 41/32 margin as well. Mikulski doesn't have much crossover support- only 14% of Republicans think she's doing a good job.

Just 18% of voters in the state claim to know enough about James Rutledge to have an opinion one way or the other and only 10% have one about Eric Wargotz. Rutledge's favorability breaks down 5% positive and 13% negative, and Wargotz's is only 1% positive and 9% negative. Those unfavorable numbers for Rutledge and Wargotz are probably a reflection of voters who just say they dislike all politicians, rather than true enmity toward the little known candidates themselves.

Mikulski leads Rutledge 58-30 in a hypothetical contest and holds an even wider 59-27 advantage over Wargotz.

A lot of Democratic incumbents who looked pretty safe a year ago have become vulnerable with the passage of time, but it looks pretty unlikely that's going to be the case with Mikulski.

Full results here


Anonymous said...

This "poll" leaves out some basic statements that I usually see from firms like Rasmussen:

How many people were polled?
Were they likely voters?
What is the margin of error?

Moshe Starkman said...

What was the voter pool that this survey is based on? And, if known, how many Democrats, Independents, and Republicans?

Tom Jensen said...

All of that information is in the linked PDF.

Moshe Starkman said...

Ah, nm, I see it. "Full Results here" at the bottom. Is that new?

Moshe Starkman said...

What PDF? I don't see one. I'm pretty good with computers, ;), but it's not clear to me where I can find the PDF with this information. Can you post a link in your next comment?

Thank you Tom, I appreciate it!


Tom Jensen said...

No...we always post a link to the full results.

Moshe Starkman said...

OK, I've read the poll results and thought this line was interesting.

This is my favorite part of the survey: "PPP surveyed 569 Maryland voters from July 10th-12th. The survey’s margin of error is
+/- 4.1%. Other factors, such as REFUSAL TO BE INTERVIEWED and weighting, may introduce additional error that is more difficult to quantify."

So I understand how you did this, if I ask 100 of my friends about the US Senate race and 9 of them say that they like Jim Rutledge and one says he doesn't while 90 of them refuse to answer that counts for 90% approval amongst voters?

Or is it that out of the 569 people you engaged, only 34 of them said that they liked Jim?

Thanks for helping me understand.


Tom Jensen said...

The poll results are only among the 569 who answered the entire poll. So only 34 of them said they liked Rutledge.

Anonymous said...

Clearly both candidates are not well known. The opinion like/dislike data truly can be dispelled based on lack of familiarity with the candidates. Usually are "forced" questions.

Anonymous said...

Interesting that Rasmussen has Mikulski leading Wargotz 58 to 33, with those choosing "another candidate" about 2-3%.

Christian Liberty said...

What's interesting is the underperformance of even safe democrats on solid blue ground.

Milkulski tops out at 58%, down from 65% in 2004. Schumer tops out at 55%, down from 71% in 2004. Gillibrand tops out at 50%, down from Hillary's 67% in 2006.

Obviously, Republicans have not been putting much effort into campaigning against them, yet they lag behind their previous levels of popularity.

Dustin Ingalls said...

"Milkulski tops out at 58%, down from 65% in 2004."

14% are undecided. If you allocate the undecideds as the decideds are, Mikulski gets 69% against Wargotz. It's a serious distortion of math and common sense to suggest that a poll almost four months from an election where there's an undecided answer option means the candidates are going to get the exact % of the vote they got in the poll.

Christian Liberty said...

Dustin, you're the one that's being fast and loose with the math. The standard idea is that an incumbent is vulnerable if they don't poll above 50. Why? Because undecideds more likely break FOR THE CHALLENGER rather than simply allocate their votes as the decideds do. Democratic incumbents are at risk of losing vote share from coast to coast, even in blue states.

Anonymous said...

Did you also poll the GOP Primary for this race?


Dustin Ingalls said...

Most of the undecideds probably won't even vote. If none of them does, Mikulski wins with 68 or 69%, same as if they all vote and break as the decideds do. In a year like this, undecideds probably will fall more for challengers, BUT in a sleepy race like this with a strong, popular, entrenched incumbent and a nobody opponent, that will likely be less the case than in high-profile races--the challenger won't be exciting the base and pulling them out to the polls if voters don't think he has a chance.

To see Mikulski with almost 60% of the vote, which is about what she usually gets, and say she's weak is to be seriously out of touch with reality. We haven't found an incumbent Senator this year with numbers as good as Mikulski's. Rodney Glassman is similarly little known in Arizona (7/15 fav/unfav, with 78% having no opinion), but he's got McCain at 49% to Glassman's 33%. Chuck Grassley's close, beating Roxanne Conlin 57-31.

Michelle said...

I'm a Rutledge supporter, so on the one hand I'm happy to see that contrary to the claims of the Wargotz people that the Dr. is the only viable candidate, Rutledge is doing (4 points) better than Wargotz against Mikulski. Also, double the amount of people were able to give an opinion of him (name recognition, I guess?). On the other hand, clearly this race is going to be a really tough one for either Republican. Does PPP poll likely voters? And, how much uncertainty (favoring Mikulski's challenger in this case) is introduced by the feverish mood of the tea party/anti-incumbent crowd and the effect that will have on turn-out? I mean, Mikulski could be up by 10 points in the polls, but with a massive turnout by Republicans and Independents against her, can that not be overcome? Sure hope so. I've had enough Mikulski.

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