Articles and Analysis


Morning Update: New WV & WI Polls Brighten GOP Prospects

Topics: 2010 , Senate , West Virginia , wisconsin

While the evidence rests mostly on new automated polls in two states, Republican hopes of gaining control of the U.S. Senate brightened yesterday with results pointing to tougher than expected battles shaping up for the Democrats in Wisconsin and West Virginia. The new polls move Wisconsin to our "lean Republican" category and add West Virginia to a list of toss-ups that also includes Illinois, Nevada and California. Republicans can win control of the Senate by sweeping all four.

Within a few hours of my update yesterday, which highlighted a new Rasmussen survey in West Virginia showing Democrat Joe Manchin leading Republican John Raese by seven percentage points (50% to 43%), Public Policy Polling (PPP) released another automated survey there showing the Democrat trailing by 3 (43% to 46%). Whether you prefer our trend estimate or a simple average of the two surveys, the bottom line is the same: On the basis of these two recent polls, the race merits "toss-up" status.

In Wisconsin, a new PPP survey paints a picture that even the survey sponsor Daily Kos characterized as "uber-ugly" for the Democrats. It shows Democratic Senator Russ Feingold trailing Republican Ron Johnson by eleven points (52% to 41%), a slightly larger margin than measured by a Rasmussen automated survey a week ago (51% to 44%). Our trend estimate splits the difference these two results, the only two public polls released in Wisconsin so far in September, pushing the state into our "lean Republican" classification.

Democrats pushed back yesterday, sharing with TPM results on an internal poll conducted before last week's primary showing "Feingold ahead, by 48%-41% among all voters and 47%-43% among those definite to vote."

Incidentally, one reader took me to task last week, appropriately, for not noting PPP's status as a firm that polls for local Democrat candidates (though they have not disclosed doing work for candidates for U.S. Senate and Governor). That said, their results in West Virginia and Wisconsin tend to counter the notion that the Democratic firm produces results biased toward the Democrats.

A batch of new automated surveys released yesterday by Rasmussen Reports and their subsidiary Pulse Opinion Research (for Fox News) generally confirm other polling in the Senate races in California, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Nevada and New York.

The new Fox/Pulse survey in Nevada has Republican Sharon Angle up by a single, non-significant percentage point (46% to 45%), generally confirming what other recent polls suggest is a slight tightening in the race. Our standard trend estimate, which gives greater weight to the surveys conducted earlier in the month, shows Reid leading by a single percentage point (46.3% to 45.3%). Our more sensitive estimate (shown below), which gives greater weight to the most recent surveys, has it dead even (44.9% to 44.9%).


In Alaska, Rasmussen was first out of the box with a poll testing a three-way race with incumbent Senator Lisa Murkowski running as a write-in candidate. They show Republican nominee Joe Miller with 42%, Murkowski with 27% and Democrat Scott McAdams with 25% of likely voters. While the Rasmussen release did not include the specific language of their vote preference question, they did provide this curious description:

Polling for write-in campaigns is always challenging, so results should be interpreted with caution. For this survey, Rasmussen Reports asked respondents about a choice between Miller and McAdams without mentioning Murkowski. That is the choice voters will see when they enter the voting booth. However, when response options were offered to survey respondents, Murkowski's name was mentioned.

They only provided results for a three-way contest, so this reference must be to the structure of their question. Presumably, they first mentioned that Miller and McAdams were the names on the ballot, then offered Miller, McAdams and Murkowski as choices. For more on how pollsters will measure vote preference in Alaska, see my Monday update.

California's race for Governor provided yesterday's ray of hope for Democrats, where a new PPP poll showed Democrat Jerry Brown leading Republican Meg Whitman by five points (47% to 42%) while a new Fox/Pulse survey has the race dead even (at 45% for each). Those results are a slight improvement over five other surveys conducted in late August and early September by Rasmussen, Pulse, SurveyUSA and CNN/Time.

Our standard trend estimate, which gives greater weight to the earlier surveys, shows Whitman leading by just under three points (47.1% to 44.2%). Our more sensitive estimate, which gives greater weight to this week's polls puts Whitman ahead by slightly less than two (47.0% to 45.1%). Either way, the polling puts the California Governor's race in our toss-up category.

And this just in: Quinnipiac University released two new polls early this morning, including a eyebrow raising result in the New York Governor's race where they show Democrat Andrew Cuomo leading Republican Carl Paladino by just six percentage points (49% to 43%). Previous surveys conducted over the summer had shown Cuomo leading Paladino by 30 or more percentage points.

In Pennsylvania's Senate race Quinnipiac shows Republican Pat Toomey leading Democrat Joe Sestak by seven percentage points (50% to 43%), roughly the same margin as our previous trend estimate.

Cross-posted at the Huffington Post



If Obama is considered so unpopular, and so extreme and so out of touch with Center/right America, why did he get elected in the first place? Didn't he mention health care reform and affordable care during the election? Didn't he admit the economy was getting worse in Fall of 08? Didn't he promise the war in Iraq would come to a close pretty much after he came into office? Didn't the voters know he was half African American? Didn't the Karl Rove's of the GOP investigate all the dirt on Obama whether he was really born in America or really was part of that dangerously violent religion called Islam and the mosque he went to in Chicago operated by Jeremiah Wright? All these things were known.

I don't understand how people can turn from the polices of change, to candidates in many states who are so extreme, they knocked fellow conservatives out of the GOP just for being somewhat respectful to Obama. You had Crist, Spector, Murkowski, Bennet and others.

He tried to get rid of torture and "don't ask don't tell" but the powers that be in the GOP would rather play politics, than vote their conscience.

The choice is clear that the GOP has done a great job at utilizing the "fair and balanced network" to maximize their propoganda.



People didn't vote for Obama, they voted against Republicans. People also thought that the Senate and House would temper some of Obama's plans.

Obama (as every politicians) ran on platitudes. In fact, I believe an inherent advantage Democrats have is the ability to promise better outcomes. Divorced from difficulty realities, Obama could promise to get us out of Iraq quickly, to close Gitmo, to make health care avaialble to everyone at no extra cost, to keep unemployment below 8%, to reduce carbon emissions, to make peace with Iran, etc.

People like hearing what they like to hear (wishful thinking). And since they were angry at the Republicans, it was easy to vote for Obama. But Americans also don't like being misled. And when reality hits, they get angry.

I have always thought Obama was a shoo-in for reelection. For the first time, I'm not so sure. I mean when incumbants like Feingold and Boxer are potentially losingtheir races - that tells me we are seeing a pendulum swing again. Sure, the Republicans could over-play their hand, if they get control, and squander the opportunity (again). But the next 2 years could be very interesting to watch.



As a former NFL coach named Denny Green once said, the Republicans "are who we thought they were" Democrats have "let them off the hook". He later did a beer commercial where he reflected on a game where the Bears came back from being behind by 23 points from the Cards.

For the Democrats, we can't let them off the hook, and Republicans are who I thought they were, in fact they have gotten nothing but worse, and their policies are way more extreme than anything seen by Bush or Mccain. That is why, anyone who voted for Obama against the Republicans and is thinking of voting for a Republican again should seriously rethink the issues.



I think the problem is many people who voted for Democrats (and gave money to their campaigns) are realizing the Democrats were serious about a lot of the things they campaigned on. WSJ yesterday reported a flip in business campaign spending for the first time in 3 years, back to majority Republican support. Of course, this probbaly reflects more their belief that Republicans will control the House (if not the Senate).



FLAP, two things to answer your questions. One is the grass isn't always greener on the other side. The other is buyers remorse normally has a worse affect.

Republicans are pissed and energized, Dems are apathetic, Indy's don't like what they are experiencing.



Well if Boehner does become speaker, I am sure that history will repeat itself, and their extreme agenda will obstruct everything, and Democrats can have something to compare themselves too. I think the Obama administration has accomplished a lot in a short time, and once people understand financial reform and HCR better, and what the alternatives are from the right, it is simply more tax cuts for the rich, and the GOP method of cutting the deficit is cutting programs like medicare, medicaid, and think that trickle down economics will work; it never has and it never will. It has always led to defecits and outsourcing.

By 2012, there will be a clear unity among moderates and Progressives, and I am sure that if someone like an Angle or Ken Buck got elected, and their policies are extreme, it will only energize the younger base.

It is unfortunate that too many of these voters can't realize it now, but I bet any swing voter who may vote for any of these people, will probably not want to even admit it once we see them on the senate floor.



Didn't he promise the war in Iraq would come to a close pretty much after he came into office."

Actually, he promised he would have ALL troops out of Iraq within 16 months. That is another promise, among many, he broke

"He tried to get rid of torture..."

He tried? Either you get rid of it or you don't. The notion that the GOP, a party that has control over no portion of the federal government, stopped him from getting "rid of torture" is ludicrous, just like the rest of your post.

"You had Crist, Spector [sic], Murkowski, Bennet[sic] and others."

Crist and Specter left the party because they are political opportunists who care more about their careers than they do about principle. They were going to lose when they faced the voters, and they knew it. Furthermore, the Republican Party establishment supported every one of those candidates mentioned up until the time they lost or left the party. Your assertion that they were driven out by the Republican Party because they were too civil to Obama is complete garbage. They were voted out by the voters who didn't like their profligate spending or their positions on multiple issues. That is how elections work, moron.

"The choice is clear that the GOP has done a great job at utilizing the "fair and balanced network" to maximize their propoganda."

And what would an idiotic post be without a mention of Fox News? Fox News has an audience of about 3 million. To listen to the left tell it, you would think Fox has 150 million viewers. As for propaganda, nothing beats the dose of it we got back in 2008, from pretty much every network but Fox. You remember 2008 don't you? It was the year a man with virtually no experience and no accomplishments won the election because of his speeches and slogans. Now that people know the emperor has no clothes and they see the results of his policies, ie 13 months of 9.5% or greater unemployment, record deficits, they don't like it. And don't forget the ramming through of a health care bill that the majority of Americans never wanted and still don't.



FLAP: "For the Democrats, we can't let them off the hook, and Republicans are who I thought they were, in fact they have gotten nothing but worse, and their policies are way more extreme than anything seen by Bush or Mccain. That is why, anyone who voted for Obama against the Republicans and is thinking of voting for a Republican again should seriously rethink the issues."

First, people were angry with Bush mainly. Secondly, the reason center-right people (the largest segment of the population) were so angry at Bush and the republicans was because they went against their 1994 promises to cut gov't. In short, they started acting like they were following a Democrat's platform. Bush got it half correct with his tax cuts, but then never followed up with reduced spending. People were mad enough that they would take any other option. Now that they've realized that there is something even worse than Bush, they have reconsidered.

If you ask me the repubs new "contract" doesn't go far enough. Go back to pre-bailout/stimulus spending levels!? How about we go back to pre-bush levels of spending, or even further.


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