The Hill 2010 Midterm Election Poll finds Republicans leading in open seats

Republicans are winning eight out of 10 competitive open House seats surveyed in The Hill 2010 Midterm Election Poll.

The Oct. 2-7 poll, conducted by Penn Schoen Berland, examined the 10 open races in which Republicans hold two of the districts and Democrats control all the others. Six contests fell within the poll’s margin of error. District by district breakdowns are available

Voters also indicated they think a viable third party would be good for American politics.

This is the second batch of results from 42 districts The Hill is polling over a four-week period. The first week examined 12 endangered freshman lawmakers. Next week will focus on two-term incumbents, and finally, in the week before the election, the polls will take place in districts of long-term incumbents thought to be in trouble.

Of the 22 races polled so far, likely voters put Republicans ahead in 19, with Democrats ahead in just two, and one tied.


Poll: Angle holds slight edge on Reid

Republican Sharron Angle holds a narrow two-point edge over Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), according to a new Fox News/Rasmussen poll out Tuesday.

Angle leads Reid 49 percent to 47 percent. Another 3 percent of likely voters said they intend to vote for another candidate, but the choice of Tea Party candidate Scott Ashjian wasn't offered to survey respondents. In a recent CNN/Time poll, Ashjian captured 7 percent of the vote. 

Reflecting a high level of discontent with both Angle and Reid, a full 5 percent of likely voters said they intend to punch "none of the above" on Election Day, which is an actual option on Nevada's ballot.

Both Angle's and Reid's negatives are sky-high. A full 58 percent of likely voters have an unfavorable view of Angle, while 56 percent said the same of Reid. 

Other numbers out Tuesday from Fox News/Rasmussen show Democrat Richard Blumenthal with a 6-point edge over Republican Linda McMahon in Connecticut's Senate contest, Republican Dino Rossi and Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) in a dead heat in Washington state, and Republican Ron Johnson with a 7-point edge over Sen. Russ Feingold (D-Wis.). 

New numbers on Delaware's Senate race still show Tea Party favorite Christine O'Donnell trailing Democrat Chris Coons by a 38 percent to 54 percent margin


Poll: Ayotte maintains lead over Hodes in N.H. Senate race

Republican Kelly Ayotte continues to hold a lead in New Hampshire’s Senate race, according to a new Rasmussen poll released Monday. 

Ayotte leads Rep. Paul Hodes (D-N.H.) by seven points, 51 percent to 44 percent. Three percent of voters prefer another candidate, while 2 percent remain undecided.  

The two clashed in their first debate of the contest Monday, focusing on spending and taxes. Ayotte favors permanent extension of Bush-era tax cuts, while Hodes only wants the cuts extended for families earning $250,000 and below a year. 

The Rasmussen numbers show a race largely unchanged in the past two months. In five previous surveys, Ayotte's support has hovered between 46 and 50 percent, while Hodes has received 35 percent to 44 percent of the vote.

The poll surveyed 750 likely New Hampshire voters and has a margin of error of plus-or-minus four percentage points. 


Cook Report moves races featured in The Hill's poll to Lean R catagory

The Hill released its 2010 Midterm Election Poll on Wednesday and the Cook Report moved seven of the races featured in the poll from the toss-up catagory to the Lean R catagory on Friday.

The Hill's poll examined 12 congressional districts held by first-term Democratic lawmakers. All 12 are considered in tough reelection campaigns. In the seven races that moved, all the Democrats trailed their GOP challengers by various margins.

Here are the seven Democrats that moved catagories: Reps. Ann Kirkpatrick (Ariz.), Betsy Markey (Colo.), Debbie Halvorson (Ill.), Mary Jo Kilroy (Ohio), Kathy Dahlkemper (Pa.), Glenn Nye (Va.), and Tom Perriello (Va.).

The Hill's poll showed Halvorson in the toughest race, down by 18 points. Perriello was in the closest, only down by one point, but he's losing independent voters to his GOP challenger.


Poll: Sen. Gillibrand surges to double-digit lead

After a poll scare late last month, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) now holds a double-digit lead over her Republican challenger, according to new numbers out Friday from Quinnipiac University.  

Gillibrand leads ex-Rep. Joe DioGuardi (R-N.Y.) by 21 percentage points — 55 percent to 34 percent. A Q-poll from shortly after her September primary gave Gillibrand just a 6-point edge over DioGuardi. 

Among women, Gillibrand leads 59 percent to 28 percent while she leads 51 percent to 39 percent among men. And Gillibrand's favorables are positive at 49-24 percent.

Despite Gillibrand's widening lead, Republicans might have missed an opportunity in this state. Several top-tier potential GOP challengers to Gillibrand passed on the race, including former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and former Gov. George Pataki.   

Friday's poll also gave Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) a commanding lead over his Republican challenger Jay Townsend. The incumbent leads 63 percent to 32 percent. 

"If Republicans are going to take back the U.S. Senate, it doesn’t look as if New York will be much help," said Maurice Carroll, director of the Quinnipiac Polling Institute. 

The poll surveyed 1,141 likely voters and has a margin of error of plus-or-minus 2.9 percentage points. 


Poll: Bennet trails in Colo. Senate race

Colorado's Senate contest remains tight less than a month from Election Day with prosecutor Ken Buck (R) leading Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) by just five points--50 percent to 45 percent.  

Two percent of likely voters prefer someone else, while four percent remain undecided. 

The new Rasmussen numbers paint a picture of a race without much movement over the past few weeks. The last Rasmussen poll in the race from late September gave Buck a lead of 51 percent to 43 percent--it was the first time the challenger crossed the 50 percent threshold in Rasmussen's polling.  

The poll surveyed 750 likely Colorado voters and has a margin of error of plus-or-minus four percentage points. 


Rep. Boozman maintains lead over Lincoln in Arkansas Senate race

Rep. John Boozman (R-Ark.) still holds a commanding lead over Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.) in the latest poll in the Arkansas Senate race.

The new Rasmussen poll out Monday gives Boozman an 18-point lead over Lincoln--55 percent to 37 percent. Five percent of likely voters remain undecided while three percent chose another candidate.

The math remains daunting for Lincoln, but the latest numbers do show some slight movement toward the incumbent. This is the first Rasmussen survey where Boozman has dropped below 60 percent since this past spring.    

After surviving a tough primary challenge from Lt. Gov. Bill Halter (D) earlier this year, Lincoln is still struggling with her party's base. She has the support of just 72 percent of Democrats, while Boozman enjoys the support of a full 95 percent of Republicans.

While the national party is unlikely to spend any money on the race ahead of November, Lincoln is still getting support from one prominent Democrat--former President Bill Clinton. The former president penned a fundraising email to Lincoln supporters last week and is expected to campaign for her before Election Day. 

The poll surveyed 500 likely voters and has a margin of error of plus-or-minus 4.5 percentage points.


Rubio maintains lead in Florida Senate race

A new poll out Thursday shows Republican Marco Rubio maintaining his double-digit lead in Florida's three-way Senate contest.

The Quinnipiac poll shows Rubio with a 13-point edge over Gov. Charlie Crist (I). Rubio garners 46 percent of the vote to Crist's 33. Rep. Kendrick Meek (D-Fla.) remains stuck in third with 18 percent. 

The findings mirror the result of a slew of polls in the month of September that give Rubio a double-digit lead over his rivals. 

Even though Crist is polling well behind Rubio, the poll found that likely voters still approve of the job he's doing as governor — 51 percent to 43.

"If Gov. Crist winds up losing the race, he may kick himself for giving up his day job in Tallahassee," said Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac poll.  

Anger at the federal government and opposition to the Democratic leadership in Washington are both factors driving support toward Tea Party favorite Rubio.

A full 48 percent of likely voters told Quinnipiac they are "angry" with the federal government. And by a margin of 53-41 percent, respondents said they want a senator who will oppose the policies of President Obama. 

The survey polled 1,151 likely voters and has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.9 percentage points. 


Poll: Murkowski in dead heat with Miller in Alaska Senate race

A new poll out Wednesday shows Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) polling nearly even with Republican nominee Joe Miller in Alaska's Senate race. 

According to a new CNN/Time poll, the Tea Party-backed Miller leads Murkowski by just two percentage points--38 percent to 36 percent. Sitka Mayor Scott McAdams (D) is in third with 22 percent of the vote. The survey polled 927 likely voters and has a margin of error of plus-or-minus 3 percentage points.

Murkowski is waging a write-in bid this fall after being upset by Miller in the state's GOP Senate primary. 

The poll found a high level of support for Murkowski among Democrats. A full 39 percent of Democrats said they intend to write-in Murkowski's name in November, while 55 percent said they will vote for McAdams. 

Among Republicans, Murkowski garners 32 percent to Miller's 63 percent. 

The results come with a major caveat given the difficulty of polling a write-in campaign. Alaska-based pollster Marc Hellenthal said he expects a large drop-off between the percentage of voters who say they back Murkowski in pre-election polls to her actual vote percentage on Election Day. 

Here's the way the question was asked: "If the election for U.S. Senate were held today and the candidates were Scott McAdams, the Democrat and Joe Miller, the Republican, who would you be more likely to vote for or would you write in the name of Lisa Murkowski, who is also running?"

National Republicans have largely abandoned Murkowski since she announced her write-in campaign and the NRSC is backing Miller.