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. 


Blumenthal in dead heat with McMahon in Connecticut

New numbers out Tuesday from Quinnipiac University show Republican Linda McMahon has closed what was once a double-digit gap with state Attorney General Richard Blumenthal (D).

The latest poll has McMahon trailing by just three percentage points — 49 percent to 46 — with 4 percent of voters still undecided. In a Q-Poll from earlier this month, Blumenthal's lead was slightly larger, 51 percent to 45.

The movement toward the former World Wrestling Entertainment executive comes in part from a shift in independent voters. Earlier this month, Blumenthal led by a single point among independents — 47-46 percent. But Tuesday's numbers give McMahon the edge with independents, 49-44 percent.

"Blumenthal has to be concerned about Linda McMahon's momentum," said Quinnipiac University Poll Director Douglas Schwartz. "McMahon clearly is capitalizing on the anger that one-third of voters are feeling toward the federal government."

McMahon holds a big edge among "angry" voters. Respondents who described themselves as "angry" with the federal government are supporting McMahon 78 percent to 20. 

The Republican has spent more than $22 million of her own money on the race, and a full 95 percent of likely voters told Quinnipiac they have seen a McMahon TV ad. She has closed a large gap with Blumenthal, who began the race with a lead of more than 20 percentage points. 

One worry for McMahon: her favorables. Even as she has closed on the Democrat, her favorable numbers are split, with just 42 percent of likely voters holding a favorable view and 43 percent holding an unfavorable view of her.  

Blumenthal recently got a campaign boost courtesy of President Obama, but his approval numbers are upside down in the state, according to Quinnipiac — just 45 percent of likely voters approve. 

The survey polled 1,083 likely voters and has a margin of error of plus or minus three percentage points. 


Poll: GOP holds big lead with independents

New numbers out Thursday from the Pew Research Center show that independent voters are more motivated than usual for a midterm election and that they've turned against the party in power.  

The Pew poll gave Republicans a 7-point edge on the generic ballot question among all likely voters--50 percent to 43 percent. Among independents the lead is 13 percent. 

Pew's conclusion: "The Republican Party holds a significant edge in preferences for the upcoming congressional election among likely voters, in large part because political independents now favor Republican candidates by about as large a margin as they backed Barack Obama in 2008 and congressional Democratic candidates four years ago."

It's more bad polling news for Democrats with independent voters about as likely as Democrats to say they will definitely vote this fall. Among that highly motivated group of independents, 64 percent told Pew they plan to vote Republican.

While independents are largely unsupportive of the current Democratic leadership in Washington, they demonstrate no longterm allegiance to the GOP. A full 53 percent of independents said they are distrustful of both major parties. 

The survey polled 2,816 registered voters, including 2,053 voters considered the most likely to vote on Election Day.