Polls

Polls

Poll: Palin not the 'driving force' in Alaska Senate primary

A new Public Policy poll offers some reason to doubt former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin's (R) impact on Alaska's Republican Senate primary. 

Palin endorsed Tea Party-backed Joe Miller (R), and the candidate credited her with his strong showing against Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R) last Tuesday. Miller is clinging to a lead of less than 2,000 votes as the counting of some 24,000 remaining ballots is about to get under way in Anchorage.  

But the poll found only 15 percent of those who voted for Miller called Palin's endorsement "very important" in determining their vote choice. A full 59 percent said Palin's backing of Miller didn't matter at all.

The more pressing factor appears to be concern among Alaska Republicans that the party is moving too far to the left. The poll found 47 percent of primary voters labeled Murkowski "too liberal." Among that group, 85 percent voted for Miller.  

"Joe Miller's victory was driven by conservatives who think their party and more specifically Lisa Murkowski have gotten too liberal," pollster Tom Jensen writes. "Tea Party identification in Alaska is actually not that high, but Miller's advantage with that group was so overwhelming it gave him the win. Palin's endorsement certainly helped Miller, and it's unlikely he could have won without it, but it doesn't appear to have been the driving force in his upset."

Of course the upset isn't complete just yet. The Murkowski camp is still holding out hope that thousands of yet to be counted absentee ballots will close the gap with Miller.   

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Poll: Manchin's lead slim in W.Va. Senate race

West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin (D) was supposed to have an easy road to the Senate once Rep. Shelley Moore Capito (R) decided against challenging him in November's special election.

But the latest Rasmussen poll on the race shows Republican businessman John Raese within six points of the popular governor.

Manchin is running in a special election to fill out the remainder of the late Sen. Robert Byrd's (D) term.

The new poll gives Manchin 48 percent of the vote to Raese's 42. Another 4 percent prefer another candidate, and 7 percent remain undecided. The survey polled 500 likely voters and has a margin of error of plus-or-minus 4.5 percentage points.

An earlier Rasmussen poll on the special election had Manchin up 51-35.

Even though he holds just a six-point edge, Manchin's overall approval is high. The poll found that 70 percent of likely voters approve of the job Manchin is doing as governor.

So what's dragging Manchin down? Rasmussen suggests it's President Obama's unpopularity in the state, which Manchin's Republican opponent has made the hallmark of his campaign. Raese, who is expected to pour plenty of his own money into the campaign, has already run TV ads hitting the president.

Among the 34 percent of voters who just "somewhat approve" of the job Manchin is doing as governor, 64 percent strongly disapprove of the president's performance. Raese also holds a 45-40 edge among unaffiliated voters in the state.

The Raese campaign quickly trumpeted the results of the poll in an e-mail blast, while Manchin's camp dismissed Rasmussen as a "Republican pollster."

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GOP maintains generic ballot edge

Republicans still hold a three-point generic ballot edge over Democrats, according to the latest tracking numbers from Gallup.

The latest numbers show 47 percent of registered voters saying they would vote for the Republican candidate in 2010 to 44 percent who say they would vote for the Democratic candidate. 

That's a drop from Gallup's tracking numbers last week, when the GOP held a seven-point lead, but Gallup notes that Republicans have held the advantage on the generic ballot question for each of the past four weeks — the first time that has happened this year.

Gallup's Jeff Jones writes: "The consistent Republican advantages are also notable from a historical perspective. In Gallup's 60-year history of asking the generic ballot question, it is rare for the Republicans to be ahead among all registered voters. In fact, last week's seven-point lead is the largest Gallup has measured for the Republican Party at any point in a midterm election year." 

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Rep. Rodriguez challenger touts internal numbers

The congressional campaign of businessman Francisco Canseco (R) is touting new internal numbers it says have him leading Rep. Ciro Rodriguez (D-Texas).

According to a poll for the campaign done by the firm On Message, Inc., Canseco leads 43 percent to 37 percent. The poll has a margin of error of 4.9 percentage points. 

Canseco is on the National Republican Congressional Committee's list of "Young Guns," but Democrats have hammered him in recent weeks over hundreds of thousands of dollars in tax liens on several of his properties. 

Despite Republicans viewing the seat as a potential pick-up opportunity in the fall, Rodriguez is in a strong financial position ahead of November. The incumbent had more than $700,000 cash on had at the end of the second quarter. 

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Rep. Pomeroy still trailing GOP challenger

North Dakota state Rep. Rick Berg (R) has widened his lead over Rep. Earl Pomeroy (D-N.D.) in a new poll.

Berg is up 53 percent to 44 for the incumbent in a new Rasmussen Reports survey of 500 likely voters that was conducted Aug. 10-11. Last month, Berg was ahead by three points. Pomeroy holds the state's only House seat.

Republicans in North Dakota are confident of picking him off, in part, because Gov. John Hoeven (R) will be at the top of the ticket as he's running for Senate. The popular governor has been polling 40 points ahead of his Democratic opponent.

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Romney tops GOP '12 field

Mitt Romney continues to lead the pack of potential Republican challengers to President Obama in 2012, while more Democrats are starting to favor a new candidate. 

Romney has the support of 21 percent of respondents in a new CNN/Opinion Research poll released Friday. Sarah Palin was the respondents' second favorite at 18 percent and Newt Gingrich was third with 15 percent. The survey of close to 500 Republicans was conducted Aug. 6-10, which means it doesn't reflect any possible fallout from Marianne Gingrich's interview with Esquire magazine.

Meanwhile, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee fell from being the pack leader in April with 24 percent to getting only 14 percent in the new poll.

On the Democratic side, there was a slight uptick in respondents preferring a "different candidate" to Obama in 2012. Back in March, 20 percent said they would like a new nominee, while now 23 percent favor a candidate change. The White House has recently been engaged in a public war of words with the "professional left," but even his liberal critics doubt a candidate will step forward to launch a primary challenge to Obama.

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Party identification edge erodes for Democrats

More states are set to be politically competitive in 2010 as fewer voters are identifying as Democrats.

New numbers from Gallup show 10 fewer states are considered “solid Democratic” this year compared to 2009, while an additional three states are now considered “solid Republican.”

The most politically competitive states in 2010, according to Gallup: Colorado, Mississippi, Missouri and Virginia. Each has a party ID gap of less than a single point.  

“The key finding at this juncture is that Democrats, not Republicans, have been the net losers as Americans shift away from the major parties,” wrote Gallup’s Frank Newport. “The overall result is a more competitive partisan environment this year than has been the case in the last two years, underscoring the potential for Republicans to do well and pick up seats in this year’s midterm elections.”

One caveat from Gallup — the state classifications are based on the political affiliations of “all residents,” not registered voters in a state. 

The results are based on interviews of more than 175,000 adults taken as part of Gallup’s daily tracking between January and June of this year.  

Nationwide, Democrats hold a 4-point party ID edge over Republicans this year — 44 percent to 40 percent. That’s down from the 8-point advantage the party held in 2009 and the 12-point edge it had in 2008.

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Poll: Obama approval at 44 percent

A new Quinnipiac University poll finds President Obama’s approval rating at the lowest point of his presidency. The poll found 44 percent of voters approve of the job Obama is doing, while 48 percent disapprove.

Among independents the gap is even wider — 52 percent disapprove to just 38 percent who approve of Obama’s performance.

A Q-poll in May found 48 percent of voters approving of the president, while 43 disapproved. Voters disapprove of the president’s handling of almost every major issue polled, from the economy to the Gulf oil spill to illegal immigration. Voters disapprove of Obama’s handling of the economy 56 percent to 39 percent. On illegal immigration, voters disapprove by a margin of 58-30 percent.

Against an unnamed Republican candidate for president in 2012, Obama is behind 39 percent to 36 percent, with 13 percent of respondents saying it would depend on who the GOP candidate is. 

“In politics a month is a lifetime, and we have 28 months until November of 2012. But politicians with reelect numbers at 40 percent bear watching,” said Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. 

One piece of good news for the president out of these latest numbers — by a margin of 42 percent to 32 percent, voters said Obama has been a better president than George W. Bush.

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Gallup: Dems take 6-point lead in generic ballot

A new Gallup poll appears to offer some good midterm news for Democrats.

The party has jumped out to a six-point lead on the generic ballot question — Democrats lead 49 percent to 43 percent over Republicans in Gallup’s latest tracking data.

It’s the first statistically significant difference Gallup has measured on the question since it began weekly tracking in March. 

The survey polled 1,535 registered voters, with a margin of error of plus-or-minus 3 percentage points. Gallup doesn’t screen for likely voters until closer to election day.

A couple of things might dampen Democratic enthusiasm with these numbers. While the generic ballot question is generally a solid indicator of a broader national trend, this is still a sample of registered voters, not of likely voters. 

And Republican enthusiasm for this fall’s elections spiked in the latest tracking — a full 51 percent of Republicans said they are “very enthusiastic” about voting in 2010. That’s up from 40 percent a week ago.

Democratic enthusiasm remained unchanged from a week ago, with 28 percent of Democrats saying they are “very enthusiastic.”

Gallup points to the passage of Wall Street reform as the likely cause of the shift. Gallup noted a similar increase in Republican enthusiasm right after passage of the healthcare bill.

But if financial reform gave Democrats a bounce on the generic ballot and among independents, as Gallup suggests, the numbers don’t indicate it did much to motivate the party’s own voters. 

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