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POLL: SurveyUSA Statewide Presidential General Election Matchups in 14 States

Topics: 2008 , The 2008 Race

We have been at work on a number of projects here at Pollster.com, some you can see and some - so far at least-that you cannot. The project you cannot see is an upgrade of our back-end systems that will allow us to provide tables and charts for all the races (including general election pairings) and more frequent updates of the charts we have now. Unfortunately, in the short run, we have a let a few daily tasks fall through the cracks. We apologize for that.

One such omission has been the torrent of recent statewide general election polls from SurveyUSA. Since October 16, they have released results from fourteen new automated statewide surveys in battleground states, each testing six general election matchups: Hillary Clinton against six different Republicans: Rudy Giuliani, Fred Thompson, Mitt Romney, Mike Huckabee, John McCain and Ron Paul. Most also test a hypothetical match-up of Rudy Giuliani against Al Gore. The results are available at the following links:

While many are skeptical of their automated methodology, SurveyUSA has consistently led the field in terms of their willingness to disclose both methodological details and to make available both demographic cross-tabulations and demographic profiles of their registered and likely voter subgroups available free of charge on their website.

 

Comments
Andrew:

Everyone must be vigilant against the GOP attempt to steal California, and by extension the presidency.
Details.

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These results, and other similar results, suggest a Clinton/Guiliani matchup will be an interesting contest. Early indications are it may shift the battleground into some recently Republican leaning states, like MO, KY, and VA. For some reason, Guiliani doesn't poll well in the South. Is it his New York demeanor? Or is it a manifestation of Clinton's overall national lead in the general election matchups?

The recent polling has laid to rest Clinton's "electability" question. We're seeing the campaign shift into a new frame where Clinton is almost taking a Rose Garden incumbent president strategy while both her Democratic opponents and Republicans attack her as the status quo (Edwards is probably the sharpest attacker). This frame is enabled by recalling the days of Bill Clinton's presidency and Hillary Clinton's role in it. Of course, Republicans are happy to shift the conversation away from Bush. Just my $.02, but the danger for Clinton and the Democrats with this frame is that people may lose focus on the Bush presidency.

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Gary Kilbride:

I haven't seen any polling that has laid to rest Hillary's electability question. Lower on this page some new Rasmussen polls suggest Hillary trails Rudy, McCain and Thompson.

Regardless, I don't care about polling at this stage. This may be the wrong website to post that, but I'll default to instincts over numbers. Hillary's ceiling is very low unless the GOP nominates a George Allen-type, someone who implodes weekly if not more often. Even then, she might manage 51-52% if everything broke her way.

After the experience here last year watching Dina Titus lose the Nevada gov race to a moron, I'm still wary of nominating a woman, and one who is considered polarizing like Titus was. It's still a landscape where vital states like Virginia, Florida, Ohio and even Iowa have no history of electing a female to high statewide office.

Otherwise, that California proposal will fail. If anyone wants to give you odds, check with me. I'll go higher.

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Roy:

"Battleground states"? New York? Alabama? Yeaaaahhh.

These results are much more consistent (from state to state) than earlier similar ones, perhaps a sign that people are paying more attention. Obviously these results would be terrific for the Democrats--if Kentucky is in play on Election Day, it will be a massacre.

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Let me quote from the Rasmussen survey that Gary references. Despite a result in one survey that puts the national general election with a slight lead for Guiliani, the report states:

...a modest trend in Clinton's favor can easily be detected.

This entire web site it dedicated to properly interpreting polls, including cautioning against putting too much emphasis on one result. It would be nice if Mark would post trend lines for the hypothetical general election matchups, but I feel that I am on fairly solid ground stating that Clinton has recently moved up in the national general election matchups.

Perhaps some confirming evidence of the recent Rassmussen poll will arise that suggests the trend has turned, but until it does our best guess about the current situation is that Clinton is leading if the general election was held today. Of course the circumstances will likely change, but it would be foolish for a campaign to continue to talk about her electability when Clinton has demonstrated over a sustained number of polls that she can win a general election.

As a student of campaigns, I am interested in how the other candidates are reacting to this new environment. My sense is that Edward's campaign has been the sharpest to pick up on the trend by changing his rhetoric to emphasize Clinton's insider status. For those who support another candidate, remember: there's still a lot of play left in the election, with many twists and turns yet to come. It would be pretty boring, otherwise.

P.S. I don't buy "social desirability" arguments that Clinton's support is overstated because people are less willing to reveal they will vote against a woman. The stylized fact about Clinton is that either you love her or hate her. Thus, there is no stigma attached to a respondent stating that they will not vote for her. Indeed, it is logically inconsistent to argue both that her support is overstated and that she is a polarizing figure.

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