Pollster.com

September 5, 2010 - September 11, 2010

 

US: National Survey (YouGov 9/4-7)

Topics: National , poll

YouGov / Economist
9/4-7/10; 1,000 adults
Mode: Internet
(YouGov release)

National

Obama Job Approval
43% Approve, 49% Disapprove (chart)
Dems: 82 / 15 (chart)
Reps: 7 / 93 (chart)
Inds: 38 / 54 (chart)

Congressional Job Approval
15% Approve, 72% Disapprove (chart)

2010 Congress: Generic Ballot
Registered voters (n=701): 44% Democrat, 39% Republican (chart)
Adults: 47% Democrat, 44% Republican

State of the Country
33% Right Direction, 54% Wrong Track (chart)


Abramowitz: Registered vs. Likely Voters- How Large a Gap?

Topics: 2010 Election , Generic House Vote , Likely Voters , registered voters


According to several recent national polls, Democrats may be headed toward their worst showing in a congressional election since World War II. A new NBC/Wall Street Journal Poll has Republicans leading Democrats on the generic House ballot by 9 points among likely voters while a new Washington Post/ABC News Poll has Republicans with an astonishing 13 point lead. The most recent Rasmussen weekly tracking poll has Republicans with a 12 point lead among likely voters.

If these polls prove to be accurate, Republicans could achieve their biggest popular vote margin since the 1920s. In 1946, Republicans won the national popular vote for the House of Representatives by a margin of about 9 points and that was their biggest win in the past 64 years. The Republicans' second biggest popular vote margin was 7 points in 1994.

What would such a popular vote margin mean in terms of seats? In 1946, Republicans won 246 seats in the House--a gain of 56 seats over their previous total of 190. A 12 or 13 point Republican margin would likely produce close to 260 Republican seats--a gain of about 80 seats over their current total of 179. That would be the biggest seat swing in a House election since 1932 when Republicans lost 101 seats. It would dwarf the 1994 shift when Democrats lost 52 seats, their worst showing since 1946.

It is very likely that Republicans will make substantial gains in this year's midterm election. Democrats are defending many seats in Republican-leaning districts that they picked up in 2006 and 2008, Americans are very anxious about the condition of the economy, and President Obama's approval rating has fallen into the low-to-mid 40s in recent weeks. My own forecasting model now has Republicans gaining between 40 and 50 seats in the House. But how realistic are polls that show Republicans winning the national popular vote by a double digit margin-- enough to produce record-setting Democratic losses?

There is one reason to be skeptical about some of these recent poll results--they reflect an enormous gap between the preferences of registered and likely voters. Rasmussen does not release generic ballot results for registered voters, nor do they provide any information about how they identify likely voters. But the recent NBC/Wall Street Journal Poll reported a tie on the generic ballot among registered voters. Likewise, the new Washington Post/ABC News Poll reported only a 2 point Republican advantage among registered voters.

It is not surprising that Republicans would be doing better among likely voters than among all registered voters, especially in a low turnout midterm election. Republicans generally turn out in larger numbers than Democrats because of their social characteristics and this year Republicans appear to be especially motivated to get to the polls to punish President Obama and congressional Democrats. But a double-digit gap between the preferences of registered and likely voters is unusually large.

According to data compiled by the Gallup Poll, in 13 midterm elections between 1950 and 2006 for which relevant data were available, the average gap between the preferences of registered and likely voters was 5 points. Only once, in 2002, did the gap reach double digits. In that year Democrats had a 5 point lead among registered voters but Republicans led by 6 points among likely voters. However, the gap in party preference between registered and likely voters did reach 9 points in 1962 and 8 points in both 1974 and 1982 and in every one of these years, the preferences of Gallup's likely voters were closer to the actual election margin than the preferences of registered voters. In fact, across all 13 midterm elections, the Democratic margin among likely voters differed from the actual Democratic margin in the national popular vote by an average of only 2.1 percentage points while the Democratic margin among registered voters differed from the actual Democratic margin by an average of 6.5 percentage points.

These results appear to support two conclusions. First, while a double-digit gap between the preferences of registered and likely voters is unusual, based on the history of Gallup's generic ballot polling, it is not unprecedented. Second, result of the final Gallup generic ballot among likely voters has been a very good predictor of the national popular vote for the House of Representatives. If that poll finds Republicans with a double-digit margin, Democratic losses in November could be substantially greater than those the party suffered in 1994.


CT: 53% Blumenthal, 44% McMahon (Rasmussen 9/9)

Topics: Connecticut , poll

Rasmussen
9/9/10; 500 likely voters, 4.5% margin og error
Mode: Automated phone
(Rasmussen release)

Connecticut

2010 Senate
53% Blumenthal (D), 44% McMahon (R) (chart)

Favorable / Unfavorable
Richard Blumenthal: 62 / 38
Linda McMahon: 49 / 49

Job Approval / Disapproval
Pres. Obama: 55 / 44 (chart)


Crist Falling in Florida

Topics: 2010 , florida , Illinois , senate , West Virginia

New Senate polls released yesterday confirm the current standings in four states, but a new independent poll in Florida shows a bigger than average lead for Republican Marco Rubio and a continuing decline for Republican-turned-independent Charlie Crist.

The automated Voter Survey Service poll poll in Florida shows Republican Marco Rubio with 43% of the vote and a double-digit lead over independent Charlie Crist (29%) and Democrat Kendrick Meek (23%). It confirms the decline in Crist's support shown in other surveys as support for Rubio and Meek began to rise following the August primary.

Rubio's position is enviable, since he now receives 70% of the Republican vote (on the two most recent surveys), while Crist and Meek continue to divide the Democratic vote. His lead over Crist has grown to six points on our trend estimate (38.7% to 32.6%), enough to classify the race as leaning Republican. In a pattern we noted yesterday, Rubio does better on the automated Voter Survey Service poll (43%) than on other recent surveys done with live interviewers.


But Crist's decline makes voter preferences in this race especially volatile. The last two polls have shown Crist ahead of Meek by an average 10 and 6 points. How many of Crist's supporters will stick with him if polls in the next few weeks show Meek tied with or slightly ahead of Crist?

Elsewhere, Rasmussen Reports released new automated survey results for four states, Arizona, Illinois, Missouri and West Virginia. The polls shows no consistent trend compared to Rasmussen's previous surveys in the same states a month ago, with non-significant variation in all but Arizona.

In Arizona, a state in which only Rasmussen has released public surveys since April, they show an eight point net improvement for John McCain's Democratic challenger Rodney Glassman since August, although McCain still leads comfortably (51% to 37%).

Rasmussen shows a slight drift for Democrat Alexi Giannoulias in Illinois, from dead even in August to a four-point deficit against Republican Mark Kirk (37% to 41%), although the change is not statistically significant. Our trend estimate, based on all recent public polls, shows this contest to be a virtual tie (38.7% Giannoulias to 38.6% Kirk) -- the closest in the nation as of this morning.

Rasmussen's West Virginia poll shows Democrat Joe Manchin continues to narrowly lead Republican John Raese by roughly the same margin (50% to 45%) that Rasmussen measured a month ago. As with Arizona, Rasmussen is the only public pollster to release results since a Repass and Partners poll showed Manchin leading by 22 points (54% to 32%) in early August.


MI: 56% Snyder, 36% Bernero (WDIV/Detroit News 9/7-8)

Topics: Michigan , poll

Glengariff Group for WDIV / Detroit News
9/7-8/10; 600 likely voters; 4% margin of error
Mode: Live telephone interviews
(Glengariff release)

Michigan

2010 Governor
56% Snyder, 36% Bernero (chart)


US: National Survey (NationalJournal 8/27-30)

Topics: National , poll

Allstate / National Journal
8/27-30/10; 1,201 adults, 2.8% margin of error
Mode: Live telephone interviews
(National Journal release, story)

National

State of the Country
27% Right Direction, 62% Wrong Track (chart)

Obama Job Approval
46% Approve, 49% Disapprove (chart)

2010 Congress: Generic Ballot
Registered voters (n=1,116): 38% Democrat, 365 Republican (chart)
All adults: 39% Democrat, 35% Republican

Party ID
33% Democratic, 25% Republican, 29% independent (chart)


NC: 54% Burr, 38% Marshall (Rasmussen 9/8)

Topics: North Carolina , poll

Rasmussen
9/8/10; 500 likely voters, 4.5% margin of error
Mode: Automated phone
(Rasmussen release)

North Carolina

2010 Senate
54% Burr (R), 38% Marshall (D) (chart)

Favorable / Unfavorable
Richard Burr: 56 / 33 (chart)
Elaine Marshall: 46 / 36

Job Approval / Disapproval
Pres. Obama: 44 / 55 (chart)
Gov. Perdue: 44 / 54 (chart)


FL: 44% Sink, 42% Scott (Susquehanna 9/1-7)

Topics: Florida , poll

Sunshine State News / Susquehanna (R)
9/1-7/10; 1,016 likely voters, 3.1% margin of error
Mode: Automated phone
(Sunshine State News release)

Florida

2010 Governor
44% Sink (D), 42% Scott (R) (chart)


OR: 49% Dudley, 44% Kitzhaber (Rasmussen 9/8)

Topics: Oregon , poll

Rasmussen
9/8/10; 750 likely voters, 4% margin of error
Mode: Automated phone
(Rasmussen release)

Oregon

2010 Governor
49% Dudley (R), 44% Kitzhaber (D) (chart)

Favorable / Unfavorable
Chris Dudley: 57 / 30
John Kitzhaber: 48 / 45

Job Approval / Disapproval
Pres. Obama: 54 / 46
Gov. Kulongoski: 45 / 52


Summer of Love 'Outliers'

Topics: Outliers Feature

Andrew Gelman describes the "non-paradox" of why voters hate Republicans but will vote for them anyway.

David Hill warns Republicans not to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

Mark Mellman explains why it hasn't been a "summer of love" for Democrats.

Andrew Levison urges Democrats to calm down and keep perspective on polls.

Tom Jensen looks at how the 2010 likely electorate compares to the 2008 electorate.

Larry Bartels charts the great divergence in income growth by the party in power.

StrategyOne finds most Americans expect a double-dip recession.

John Sides highlights his panel on how political science should inform journalism.


Poll Update: Divergent Kentucky Polls Suggest A Pattern?

Topics: 2010 , kentucky

Two new polls released yesterday on the Kentucky Senate race by CNN/Time and Rasmussen Reports help illustrate two intriguing patterns we are watching this year: Bigger than usual differences among polls sampling only registered voters rather than likely voters and consistent gaps between polls that use live interviewers versus automated methods.

The new CNN/Time polls released for Kentucky, Florida and California yesterday reported results for all self-described registered voters, while other recent polls have started to narrow their samples to those most likely to vote in this year's mid-term elections. The split represents a divergence in philosophy among pollsters: Some have less faith in the ability of polls to identify the likely electorate before October, while others apply simple likely voter "screens" a year or more before the election.

This year, national results reported by the Pew Research Center and Gallup have shown bigger than usual gaps between Republicans and Democrats on enthusiasm and especially interest paid to the campaign (many pollsters use the latter measure as part of an index used to select likely voters). Moreover, two new national polls this week by ABC News/Washington Post and NBC/Wall Street Journal showed Republicans running much better among likely voters on the generic U.S. House ballot.

The "likely voters" identified by pollsters are typically a few points more Republican, as turnout is typically higher among Republican leaning demographic groups, those who are older, better educated and white. But, again, this year's gap -- at least in early national surveys -- appears to bigger than usual.

We are also seeing another pattern emerge that is mostly unique to 2010: In several states, pollsters using automated methods, particularly Rasmussen Reports, SurveyUSA and Public Policy Polling (PPP), are reporting results consistently more favorable to Republican candidates than those using live interviewers.

Until recently, the two differences were confounding and hard to disentangle, as the automated polls were usually the only ones that also screened for likely voters. But as more pollsters are now shifting to likely voter screens, we are beginning to see the differences that are more clearly about the survey "mode."

The Kentucky Senate race is a prime example. Yesterday's CNN/Time live interviewer survey of registered voters shows a dead-heat tie (46% to 46%) between Republican Rand Paul and Democrat Paul Conway. Yet surveys of likely voters conducted in August by Rasmussen and SurveyUSA have shown Paul leading by larger margins (roughly 10 points on average), with the surveys of likely voters conducted with live interviewers by CN2 Politics/Braun Research and Reuters/IPSOS fall somewhere in between (Paul leading by 5 point on average).

2010-09-09-Blumenthal-KYSenPolls.png

We do not see these patterns everywhere. For example, CNN and Time also released new surveys yesterday on the races for Senate and Governor in California and Florida which were generally more consistent with other recent surveys that used automated methods or likely voter screens.

But we are seeing the Kentucky pattern elsewhere and will certainly have more to say about it over the next nine weeks. or today, however, we offer this advice: Remember New Jersey.

Another highlight from yesterday's polls:

Although CNN/Time survey on the Florida Senate race shows Democrat Kendrick Meek running a distant third, his 24% of the vote is the most he has received since Charlie Crist announced his intention to run as an independent.

Yes, the registered voter screen used for the survey may produce a slightly more Democratic sample, but the results among Democrats explain much of the difference: Meek leads Crist in that subgroup on the CNN/Time poll (54% to 36%). When I averaged Meeks' standing among Democrats in polls conducted before the August primary, Crist actually ran slightly ahead among Democrats (43% to 37%).

Coming up tomorrow morning: An look at the races for Governor.


AZ: 51% McCain, 37% Glassman (Rasmussen 9/7)

Topics: Arizona , poll

Rasmussen
9/7/10; 500 likely voters, 4.5% margin of error
Mode: Automated phone
(Rasmussen release)

Arizona

2010 Senate
51% McCain (R), 37% Glassman (D) (chart)

Favorable / Unfavorable
John McCain: 45 / 55
Rodney Glassman: 33 / 41

Job Approval / Disapproval
Pres. Obama: 39 / 59
Gov. Brewer: 64 / 36


MO: 53% Blunt, 43% Carnahan (Rasmussen 9/7)

Topics: Missouri , poll

Rasmussen
9/7/10; 750 likely voters, 4% margin of error
Mode: Automated phone
(Rasmussen release)

Missouri

2010 Senate
53% Blunt (R), 43% Carnahan (D) (chart)

Favorable / Unfavorable
Roy Blunt: 52 / 42
Robin Carnahan: 43 / 54

Job Approval / Disapproval
Pres. Obama: 40 / 58 (chart)
Gov. Nixon: 55 / 40 (chart)


WV: 50% Manchin, 45% Raese (Rasmussen 9/8)

Topics: poll , West Virginia

Rasmussen
9/8/10; 500 likely voters, 4.5% margin of error
Mode: Automated phone
(Rasmussen release)

West Virginia

2010 Senate
50% Manchin (D), 45% Raese (R) (chart)

Favorable / Unfavorable
John Raese: 54 / 37
Joe Manchin: 70 / 29

Job Approval / Disapproval
Pres. Obama: 36 / 62
Gov. Manchin: 67 / 32


FL: 43% Rubio, 29% Crist, 23% Meek (Susquehanna 9/1-7)

Topics: Florida , poll

Sunshine State News / Susquehanna (R)
9/1-7/10; 1,016 likely voters, 3.1% margin of error
Mode: Automated phone
(Sunshine State News release)

Florida

2010 Senate
43% Rubio (R), 29% Crist (i), 23% Meek (D) (chart)


MI: 53% Snyder, 26% Bernero (Mitchell 8/25-29)

Topics: Michigan , poll


Mitchell Research and Communication
8/25-29/10; 600 likely vpters, 4% margin of error
Mode: Live telephone interviews
(Detroit Free Press story)

Michigan

2010 Governor
53% Snyder, 26% Bernero (chart)


IL: 41% Kirk (R), 37% Giannoulias (Rasmussen 9/7)

Topics: Illinois , poll

Rasmussen
9/7/20; 750 likely voters, 4% margin of error
Mode: Automated phone
(Rasmussen release)

Illinois

2010 Senate
41% Kirk (R), 37% Giannoulias (D), 9% Jones (G) (chart)

Favorable / Unfavorable
Mark Kirk: 45 / 39
Alexi Giannoulias: 42 / 44
LeAlan Jones" 26 / 30

Job Approval / Disapproval
Pres. Obama: 53 / 45
Gov. Quinn: 35 / 64


DC: 45% Gray, 38% Fenty (Clarus 9/7)

Topics: poll , Washington DC


Clarus Research Group
9/7/10; 492 likely Democratic primary voters, 4.4% margin of error
Mode: Live telephone interviews
(Clarus release)

Washington, DC

2010 Mayor: Democratic Primary
45% Gray, 38% Fenty


US: National Survey (Quinnipiac 8/31-9/7)

Topics: National , poll

Quinnipiac
8/31-9/7/10; 1,905 registered voters, 2.3% margin of error
Mode: Live telephone interviews
(Quinnipiac release)

National

2010 House: Generic Ballot
42% Republican, 37% Democrat (chart)

Obama Job Approval
44% Approve, 47% Disapprove (chart)
Dems: 81 / 12 (chart)
Reps: 7 / 84 (chart)
Inds: 38 / 52 (chart)
Economy: 39 / 56 (chart)
Foreign Policy: 45 / 44 (chart)

State of the Country
25% Satisfied, 73% Unsatisfied (chart)

Favorable / Unfavorable
Barack Obama: 47 / 45 (chart)
Sarah Palin: 31 / 50 (chart)


CA,KY,FL: 2010 Senate, Governor (CNN/Time 9/2-7)

Topics: California , Florida , Kentucky , poll

California

CNN / Time / Opinion Research Corporation
9/2-7/10; 866 registered voters, 3.5% margin of error
Mode: Live telephone interviews
(CNN release)

2010 Senate
48% Boxer (D), 44% Fiorina (R) (chart)

2010 Governor
48% Whitman (R), 46% Brown (D) (chart)


Florida

CNN / Time / Opinion Research Corporation
9/2-7/10; 899 registered voters, 3.5% margin of error
Mode: Live telephone interviews
(CNN release)

2010 Senate
36% Rubio (R), 34% Crist (i), 24% Meek (D) (chart)

2010 Governor
49% Sink (D), 42% Scott (R) (chart)


Kentucky

CNN / Time / Opinion Research Corporation
9/2-7/10; 869 registered voters, 3.5% margin of error
Mode: Live telephone interviews
(CNN release)

2010 Senate
46% Conway (D), 46% Paul (R) (chart)


MA: 34% Patrick, 28% Baker, 18% Cahill (SHN 8/29-31)

Topics: Massachusetts , poll

State House News
8/29-31/10; 362 registered voters, 5% margin of error
Mode: Live telephone interviews
(WBZ story)

Massachusetts

2010 Governor
34% Patrick (D), 28% Baker (R), 18% Cahill (i), 4% Stein (G) (chart)


WA: 50% Murray, 45% Rossi (DSCC 8/25-31)

Topics: poll , Washington

Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee
8/25-31/10; 968 likely voters
Mode: Live telephone interviews
(DSCC release)

Washington

2010 Senate
50% Murray (D), 45% Rossi (R) (chart)


The Gallup Poll's Bouncing "Generic" Ball

Topics: 2010 Election , Gallup , Generic House Vote , Interpreting polls

Anyone following campaigns closely has seen the numbers and read the stories. Democrats are in trouble. One particularly salient point: last week's Gallup tracking poll showing a +10 advantage for Republicans in the generic ballot test. It's the largest Republican advantage in the history of Gallup asking the question. Some calculated what a +10 advantage would mean as far as seat pickup. Others simply rejoiced.

But hold on! Yesterday Gallup released its latest generic ballot test. It's evenly split between Dems and Republicans. We're coming back! Obama's address on Iraq had an effect! Glenn Beck's rally had an effect! Sound the other alarm now! Huh, I guess I missed those stories.

To be sure, Democrats are in trouble. To be sure, according to pollster.com's tracking, the generic ballot is trending Republican when you aggregate all polling outlets. But why is one poll (+10) covered so extensively, while another (+0) hardly at all? Why is the former considered important, and the second, perhaps an outlier? This new data point is receiving far less coverage. (Media Matters has a very good summary of the difference in coverage here.)

It's hard to know exactly what is causing the fluctuation--whether it's simple poll fluctuation, or "real" movement. But looking at Gallup's breakout of the generic by party, we see most of the movement comes from Democrats consolidating the base. In the current poll, 93% of self-identified Democrats say they are voting for the Democratic candidate, up from 88% in the previous wave. Republican support for the Republican candidate dropped just slightly (96% to 93%). The difference in base consolidation is now even, for the first time in a month. The chart below shows this metric since Gallup began nightly tracking in March.

Generic Ballot

That remaining Democratic holdouts would begin to come home as we head into the final stretch is not a surprise. Will this pattern hold, and how it translates into actual House seats, remains to be seen. But for those following campaign twists and turns, the latest Gallup poll is a twist worth a bigger mention.


US: National Survey (DemCorps 8/30-9/2)

Topics: National , poll

Democracy Corps (D
8/30-9/2/10; 1,000 2008 voters
845 likely 2010 voters
Mode: Live telephone interviews
(Democracy Corps release)

National

State of the Country
31% Right Direction, 62% Wrong Track (chart)

Obama Job Approval
46% Approve, 50% Disapprove (chart)

Favorable / Unfavorable
Barack Obama: 44 / 43 (chart)

2010 Congress: Generic Ballot
42% Democrat, 48% Republican (chart)

Party ID
36% Democrat, 33% Republican, 29% independent (chart)


AZ: 60% Brewer, 38% Goddard (Rasmussen 9/7)

Topics: arizona , poll

Rasmussen
9/7/10; 500 likely voters, 4.5% margin of error
Mode: Automated phone
(Rasmussen release)

Arizona

2010 Governor
60% Brewer (R), 38% Gardner (D) (chart)

Favorable / Unfavorable
Jan Brewer:62 / 37
Terry Goddard: 40 / 54

Job Approval / Disapproval
Pres. Obama: 39 / 59
Gov. Brewer: 64 / 36


KY: 54% Paul, 39% Conway (Rasmussen 9/7)

Topics: Kentucky , poll

Rasmussen
9/7/10; 500 likely voters, 4.5% margin of error
Mode: Automated phone
(Rasmussen release)

Kentucky

2010 Senate
54% Paul (R), 39% Conway (D) (chart)

Favorable / Unfavorable
Rand Paul: 56 / 39
Jack Conway: 45 / 48

Job Approval / Disapproval
Pres. Obama: 36 / 64


Internship Opening at Pollster/Huffington Post

Topics: Housekeeping , Huffington Post , Intern Opening , Pollster

As we gear up for a busy election season, Pollster and Huffington Post are hiring a new polling intern to help us out with gathering and entering polling data.

We're seeking a three-month unpaid intern to work in the Huffington Post office in Washington DC. Primary responsibilities will include:

  • Entering polling data into our database and publishing tables and charts to Huffington Post/Pollster
  • Entering and publishing poll update blog entries into our content management system

Strong attention to detail is a must. Experience using basic HTML, entering content into a CMS (especially Movable Type), and experience with statistical analysis including the R programming language are appreciated but not required.

If you're interested, please send a resume and brief statement of interest/availability to pollsterintern@huffingtonpost.com


TX: 48% Perry, 42% White (PPP 9/2-6)

Topics: poll , Texas

Public Policy Polling (D)
9/2-6/10; 538 likely voters, 4.2% margin of error
Mode: Automated phone
(PPP release)

Texas

2010 Governor
48% Perry (R), 42% White (D) (chart)

Job Approval / Disapproval
Gov. Perry: 39 / 50

Favorable / Unfavorable
Bill White: 44 / 29


Poll Update: Senate Remains In Play

Topics: 2010 , Senate

With less than nine weeks remaining until Election Day, control of the U.S. Senate remains in play, as Republicans hold meaningful leads in five states currently held by Democrats, with six more Democratic seats remaining in our "toss-up" category. Since our last update two weeks ago, new polls have nudged our polling averages in a slightly more Republican direction in the more competitive states, particularly Florida, Kentucky, California and Washington.

Remember that to win an absolute majority in the Senate, the Republicans need to gain at least 10 9 seats (although as several Pollster and HuffPost commenters have pointed out, a gain of 9 8 seats would leave the Democratic majority dependent on vote of not always reliable Joe Lieberman).

Currently, Republican candidates hold strong double-digit leads in four states now represented by Democrats: North Dakota, Arkansas, Indiana and Delaware. The Delaware margin assumes that Mike Castle wins next week's Republican primary. Democratic hopes there will brighten considerably should Republican Tea Party candidate Christine O'Donnell prevail, as two recent polls show she would trail Democrat Chris Coons.

2010-09-08-Blumenthal-SenateDemSeats.png

Six seats currently held by Democrats remain in our toss-up category:

  • In Colorado, our most recent trend estimate shows Republican Ken Buck with a slim 3.3 point advantage (46.1% to 42.8%), over Democratic Senator Michael Bennet, although the two most recent polls point in opposite directions: The most recent Rasmussen Reports tracker gives Buck a four-point lead, while a survey conducted by a bi-partisan team of campaign pollsters gives Bennet a 3-point advantage.

  • In Washington state, two recent automated surveys by SurveyUSA and Rasmussen show Republican challenger Dino Rossi narrowly but not significantly ahead of Democratic Senator Patty Murray. Rossi's 1.9 point edge (49.7% to 47.8%) on our trend estimate is slightly improved, but leaves Washington very much in the toss-up category.

  • California has also seen two new automated surveys in the last week from Rasmussen and SurveyUSA both showing Republican challenger Carly Fiorina deadlocked with Democratic Senator Barbara Boxer. Our trend estimate now shows Boxer with an advantage of less than one percentage point (46.8% to 46.2%), an edge that has narrowed roughly two points over the last two weeks.

  • All of the recent pubic polling in Wisconsin comes from Rasmussen Reports, which has shown a deadlocked race between Senator Russ Feingold and his Republican challenger Ron Johnson. Johnson's less than one-point margin on our trend estimate (47.3% to 46.0%) mirrors those results.

  • In Illinois, a new live-interviewer survey by the Chicago Tribune confirms the results of the most recent Rasmussen automated survey. Both show Democrat Alexi Giannoulias and Republican Mark Kirk tied. Our trend estimate gives Giannoulias Kirk a two-point edge (39.7% to 37.7%)

  • In Nevada, two recent surveys by Mason-Dixon and Rasmussen both show Democrat Harry Reid with non-significant leads of 3 and 1 percentage points respectively. Our trend estimate gives Reid a 3.4 point advantage (48.6% to 45.2%), mostly because Reid has led nominally on 8 of 10 surveys conducted since July.

Of the seats currently held by Republicans, only Florida remains in our toss-up category, and there our trend estimate shows Republican Marco Rubio with a 3.1 point advantage over Republican-turned-independent Charlie Crist (37.1% to 34.0%) with Democrat Kendrick Meek running a distant third (16.6%)

2010-09-08-Blumenthal-SenateRepSeats.png

Two week ago, our trend estimate put Kentucky in the toss-up category, but two new recent polls by SurveyUSA and Kentucky cable news channel CN2 put Republican Rand Paul leading Democrat Jack Conway by margins of 15 and 5 points respectively. Our trend estimate now shows Paul leading by 5.3 points (44.9% to 39.6%), enough to shift Kentucky to lean Republican.

All tallied, we currently show 48 seats leaning or currently held by Democrats (including the two independents that caucus with the Democrats), and 45 seats leaning or currently held by Republicans. Thus, control of the U.S. Senate rests on the outcome of the seven contests now now in the toss-up category: Colorado, Washington, California, Wisconsin, Illinois, Nevada and Florida.


TX: 44% Perry, 41% White (Zogby 8/24-28)

Topics: poll , Texas

Zogby for "Democratic philanthropist Bernard Rapoport"
8/24-28/10; 803 likely voters, 3.5% margin of error
Mode: Live telephone interviews
(Houston Chronicle article)

Texas

2010 Governor
44% Perry, 41% White (chart)


ME: 43% LePage, 29% Mitchell (PPP 9/2-6)

Topics: Maine , poll

Public Policy Polling (D)
9/2-6/10; 1,468 likely voters, 2.6% margin of error
Mode: Automated phone
(PPP release)

Maine

2010 Governor
43% LePage (R), 29% Mitchell (D), 11% Cutler (i), 5% Moody (i), 1% Scott (i) (chart)

Favorable / Unfavorable
Libby Mitchell: 34 / 43
Paul LePage: 43 / 35
Eliot Cutler: 20 / 35

Job Approval / Disapproval
Pres. Obama: 44 / 51
Gov. Baldacci: 31 / 57


NJ: Approval Ratings (Rasmussen 8/31)

Topics: New Jersey , poll

Rasmussen
8/31/10; 500 likely voters, 4.5% margin of error
Mode: Automated phone
(Rasmussen release)

New Jersey

Job Approval / Disapproval
Pres. Obama: 50 / 50 (chart)
Gov. Christie: 57 / 43 (chart)
Sen. Lautenberg: 48 / 47 (chart)
Sen. Menendez: 45 / 49 (chart)


CA: 48% Whitman, 45% Brown (Rasmussen 9/6)

Topics: California , poll

Rasmussen
9/6/10; 750 likely voters, 4% margin of error
Mode: Automated phone
(Rasmussen release)

California

2010 Governor
48% Whitman (R), 45% Brown (D) (chart)

Favorable / Unfavorable
Meg Whitman: 55 / 40
Jerry Brown: 45 / 51


US: Generic Ballot (Gallup 8/30-9/1)

Topics: National , poll

Gallup
8/30-9/1/10; 1,651 registered voters, 4% margin of error
Mode: Live telephone interviews
(Gallup release)

National

2010 Congress: Generic Ballot
46% Democratic, 46% Repubican (chart)


Religious 'Outliers'

Topics: Outliers Feature

Danielle Kurtzleben talks to pollsters about the Generic Ballot.

Steve Singiser doubts polls' "books are cooked" to the detriment of Democrats.

Pat Caddell expounds on Obama, Democrats' ties to Wall Street and the 2010 elections (via Smith).

Tom Jensen says very few who don't approve of Obama plan to vote for Democrats this year.

"Swampland" contributers discuss why Obama is slipping in the polls.

Gary Langer finds growing support among Afghans for talks with the Taliban.

Frank Newport discusses religion and party identification.

Charles Blow wonders why the US is such an outlier in its religiosity relative to its GDP.


CO: 43% Bennet, 40% Buck (POS/FM3 8/28-9/1)

Topics: Colorado , poll

Public Opinion Strategies (R) / Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin, Metz & Associates (D)
8/28-9/1/10; 473 likely voters, 4.5% margin of error
Mode: Live telephone interviews
(POS release)

Colorado

2010 Senate
43% Bennet (D), 40% Buck (R) (chart)

2010 Governor
48% Hickenlooper (D), 25% Maes (R), 15% Tancredo (i) (chart)


CA: 48% Fiorina, 47% Boxer (Rasmussen 9/6)

Topics: California , poll

Rasmussen
9/6/10; 750 likely voters, 4% margin of error
Mode: Automated phone
(Rasmussen release)

California

2010 Senate
48% Fiorina (R), 47% Boxer (D) (chart)

Favorable / Unfavorable
Barbara Boxer: 48 / 50 (chart)
Carly Fiorina: 55 / 37

Job Approval / Disapproval
Pres. Obama: 55 / 43 (chart)
Gov. Schwarzenegger: 32 / 66 (chart)


US: Generic Ballot (CNN 9/1-2)

Topics: National , poll

CNN / Opinion Research Corporation
9/1-2/10; 936 registered voters, 3% margin of error
Mode: Live telephone interviews
(CNN release)

National

2010 Congress: Generic Ballot
52% Republcian, 45% Democrat (chart)


TX: 42% Perry, 41% White (Hill 8/25-29)

Topics: poll , Texas

Hill Research (R) for Texas Watch
8/25-29/10; 600 registered voters, 4% margin of error
Mode: Live telephone interviews
(Texas Watch release)

Texas

2010 Governor
42% Perry (R), 41% White (D) (chart)


US: Generic Ballot (Rasmussen 8/30-9/5)

Topics: National , poll

Rasmussen
8/30-9/5/10; 3,500 likely voters, 2% margin of error
Mode: Automated phone
(Rasmussen release)

National

2010 Congress: Generic Ballot
48% Republican, 36% Democrat (chart)


ID: 63% Crapo, 24% Sullivan (Rasmussen 8/31)

Topics: Idaho , poll

Rasmussen
8/31/10; 500 likely voters, 4.5% margin of error
Mode: Automated phone
(Rasmussen release)

Idaho

2010 Senate
63% Crapo (R), 24% Sullivan (R) (chart)

Favorable / Unfavorable
Mike Crapo: 70 / 27
Tom Sullivan: 37 / 30

Job Approval / Disapproval
Pres. Obama: 29 / 71
Gov. Otter: 57 / 41


NE: 61% Heineman, 28% Meister (Rasmussen 9/2)

Topics: Nebraska , poll

Rasmussen
9/2/10; 500 likely voters, 4.5% margin of error
Mode: Automated phone
(Rasmussen release)

Nebraska

2010 Governor
61% Heineman (R), 28% Meister (D) (chart)

Job Approval / Disapproval
Pres. Obama: 35 / 61
Gov. Heineman: 69 / 29

Favorable / Unfavorable
Dave Heineman: 73 / 24
Mike Meister: 36 / 39


DE: 48% Castle, 37% Coons (Rasmussen 9/2)

Topics: Delaware , poll

Rasmussen
9/2/10; 500 likely voters, 4.5% margin of error
Mode: Automated phone
(Rasmussen release)

Delaware

2010 Senate
48% Castle (R), 37% Coons (D) (chart)
47% Coons (D), 36% O'Donnell (R)

Favorable / Unfavorable
Chris Coons: 49 / 35
Mike Castle: 67 / 30
Christine O'Donnell: 39 / 44

Job Approval / Disapproval
Pres. Obama: 50 / 50 (chart)
Gov. Markell: 60 / 38 (chart)


US: National Survey (NBC/WSJ 8/26-30)


NBC News / Wall Street Journal
8/26-30/10; 1,000 adults, 3.1% margin of error
Mode: Live telephone interviews
(NBC: story, results; WSJ: story, results)

National

State of the Country
30% Right Direction, 61% Wrong Track (chart)

Obama Job Approval
45% Approve, 49% Disapprove (chart)
Economy: 39 / 56 (chart)

Congressional Job Approval
21% Approve, 71% Disapprove (chart)

Positive / Negative
Barack Obama: 46 / 41 (chart)

What is your preference for the outcome of this year's congressional elections -- a Congress controlled by Republicans or a Congress controlled by Democrats?
43% Republican, 43% Democratic

In the next election for U.S. Congress, do you feel that your representative deserves to be reelected, or do you think that it is time to give a new person a chance?
31% Deserves to be re-elected, 56% Give new person a chance

Party ID
31% Democrat, 27% Republican, 30% independent (chart)


OH: 2010 Senate, Governor (Dispatch 8/25-9/3)

Topics: Ohio , poll

Columbia Dispatch
8/25-9/3/10; 1,622 registered voters, 2.2% margin of error
Mode: Mail
(Dispatch story)

Ohio

2010 Senate
50% Portman (R), 37% Fisher (D) (chart)

2010 Governor
49% Kasich (R), 37% Strickland (D) (chart)


US: National Survey (ABC/Post 8/30-9/2)

Topics: Natioanl , poll

ABC News / Washington Post
8/30-9/2/10; 1,002 adults, 3.5% margin of error
Mode: Live telephone interviews
(ABC: story, results; Post: story, results)

National

Job Approval / Disapproval
Pres. Obama: 46 / 52 (chart)
Economy: 41 / 57 (chart)

Congressional Job Approval
25% Approve, 72% Disapprove (chart)

2010 Congress: Generic Ballot (among likely voters)
53% Republican, 40% Democrat (chart)

Party ID
31% Democrat, 25% Republican, 39% independent (chart)


KY: 55% Paul, 40% Conway (SurveyUSA 8/30-9/1)

Topics: Kentucky , poll

SurveyUSA / Courier-Journal Bluegrass / WHAS-TV
8/30-9/1/10; 561 likely voters, 4.2% margin of error
Mode: Automated phone
(SurveyUSA release)

Kentucky

2010 Senate
55% Paul (R), 40% Conway (D) (chart)


Political Scientists Forecast Big Losses For Democrats

Topics: 2010 , Alan Abramowitz , Alfred Cuzan , American Political Science Association , Charles Bundrick , Charles Tien , Christopher Wlezien , Gary Jacobson , Jim Campbell , Joe Bafumi , Michael Lewis Beck , Robert Erikson

With the midterm elections now just nine weeks away, a group of political scientists gathered for a conference in Washington D.C. this weekend forecast significant losses for the Democrats. Three of the five forecasts predicted that Republicans will gain majority control of the House of Representatives.

The annual meeting of the American Political Science Association (APSA), which featured nearly 5,000 participants and close to 900 panel and roundtable sessions, was about far more than election forecasting. Those most interested in the 2010 campaigns, however, gravitated to a Saturday session in which five political scientists presented the latest results from their forecasting models, some of which have been in development for 30 years or more.

Democrats currently hold a 256 to 179 seat advantage, so Republicans need to win at least 39 seats to gain majority control. Three of the models, two of which draw on national polls measuring whether voters plan to support the Democrat or Republican candidate in their district, point to Republicans picking up between 49 and 52 seats in the House, more than enough to win majority control. Specifically:

  • Alan Abramowitz of Emory University forecast a Republican gain of 49 seats, based on current polling showing Republican with a roughly five percentage-point lead on the generic House ballot.
  • Joe Bafumi of Dartmouth College presented his forecast of a 50-seat Republican gain, based on a model and paper co-authored with Robert Erikson of Columbia University and Chris Wlezien of Temple University (and summarized last month in the Huffington Post). Their model also rests heavily on national polling on U.S. House vote preferences.
  • James Campbell of SUNY Buffalo predicted a gain of 50 to 52 seats for the Republicans, using a model that combines assessments of the number of "seats in peril" by the Cook Political Report with the recent job approval rating of president Barack Obama.

Two more models offered a less pessimistic outlook for the Democrats:

  • Alfred Cuzan forecast a Republican gain of 27 to 30 seats based on a model, developed with University of West Florida colleague Charles Bundrick, that relies mostly on measures of economic growth and inflation rather than voter preference polling.
  • Michael Lewis Beck of the University of Iowa predicted a Republic gain of just 22 seats. He collaborated with Charles Tien of CUNY Hunter College on a more than 30-year-old "referendum" model based on measurements earlier this year. Their model was the only one to exclude measurements of the current seat division between Democrats and Republicans.

Why so much variation in the forecasts? Another speaker, Gary Jacobson of the University of California San Diego, pointed out that the number of previous elections typically used by forecasters (typically between 16 and 32) is "not a very big number," while a great many "plausible" predictive measures exist. Moreover, the national polling numbers used by the modelers are often "really, really noisy."

Jacobson also noted the differences between the "fundamentalist" models of Cuzan/Bundrick and Lewis-Beck/Tien that assume that views of the the economy and the Obama administration drive voting, and the others that use vote preference questions which, as he put it, "add in the information that's already the product of these fundamentals" as well as "the other stuff that's going on" with voter preferences.

Lewis-Beck argued that the "the best models are based on theory ... things that we know [or] that we're pretty certain we know," which in this case means the belief that "people vote about the main direction of the economy, and they vote about big macro political issues," especially in midterm elections.

At least one of the academics noted the apparent gap between what the fundamentals alone predict and what the polls are picking up. "Republicans are polling a lot better than they should be," Bob Erikson argued, "by [the] fundamentals."

[Cross-posted to the Huffington Post]./p>


 

MAP - US, AL, AK, AZ, AR, CA, CO, CT, DE, FL, GA, HI, ID, IL, IN, IA, KS, KY, LA, ME, MD, MA, MI, MN, MS, MO, MT, NE, NV, NH, NJ, NM, NY, NC, ND, OH, OK, OR, PA, RI, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, VT, VA, WA, WV, WI, WY, PR