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. 


More than 80 percent see problem with two-party system

A majority of voters see problems with the two-party political system, according to a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll.

According to the poll, more than 80 percent of people have a problem with the current system, with 31 percent advocating for a third party. Only 15 percent believe the two-party system works fairly well.

The poll was taken May 6-10 and will be released in full Wednesday evening.

Meanwhile, a new Public Policy poll is gives President Barack Obama his highest approval rating since October.

The poll shows that 50 percent give the president a favorable rating while 46 percent disapprove. 


Sestak narrows the gap with Specter

Multiple polls now show that in the aftermath of Sestak's first paid media blitz, the congressman has come within single digits of the former Republican senator in their Democratic primary in two weeks.

A Quinnipiac poll today shows Specter leading 47-39, and polls from Rasmussen and Muhlenberg College also show him within single digits. 

Quinnipiac's numbers are particularly noteworthy, given that they showed Specter leading 53-32 a month ago. Since then, however, Sestak has begun to unleash his $5 million war chest, and it appears to have paid some dividends.

But much is yet-to-be-determined. Nearly half of voters don't know Sestak well enough to rate his favorability, while Specter is almost universally known.

Look for this race to get dirty in the short time before the May 18 primary. Specter is known as a brawler, and he's got a fight on his hands.


Sen. Vitter grows lead on Melancon

Sen. David Vitter's (R-La.) lead on Rep. Charlie Melancon (D-La.) has grown to 18 points, according to a new Southern Media Research and Opininon Research poll.

The pollster last surveyed the race in October, when Vitter led 48-36. The lead, since then, has grown to 49-31.

Melancon has room to grown; he is still unknown to 41 percent of voters, compared to just 10 percent for Vitter. Vitter's approval rating, though, is solid, at 54 percent positive and 36 percent negative.

The survey was conducted for Baton Rouge businessman Lane Grigsby, a Republican donor who has contributed to Vitter. Grigsby also paid for the last poll.


Grayson poll shows tie in Kentucky Senate race

Kentucky Secretary of State Trey Grayson's (R) Senate campaign has released a poll showing his primary with Rand Paul is a tie.

The Voter/Consumer Research poll shows each candidate at 40 percent, with 20 percent of voters undecided. Six hundred likely primary voters were surveyed on Wednesday and Thursday,

The poll does not include crosstabs detailing either candidates strengths, and it did not include any of the minor candidates, who took a combined 6 percent in a recent SurveyUSA poll.

Pollster Jan van Lohuizen points out that both Grayson and Paul have similar name recognition and favorability numbers. But the numbers are not provided.

That Grayson needs to release a poll showing him tied with Paul shows that Grayson's campaign feels the need to assure donors that the race is competitive. Paul has shown a wide lead in other recent polling, and Grayson's campaign is dealing today with Dr. James Dobson switching his endorsement, which he originally made last week, from Grayson to Paul.

The primary is May 18.

Update 12:15 p.m.: Paul campaign manager David Adams responds: "No one, at this point, expects anything but a big Rand Paul lead based on his support for balanced budgets, term limits, a pro-life and pro-family agenda and a strong national defense."


Republican leads by eight in Hawaii special election

Republicans hold an eight-point lead in the Hawaii special election as the mail-in voting begins in the race, according to a new Honolulu Advertiser poll.

The poll shows Honolulu City Councilman Charles Djou (R) with 36 percent of the vote, former Rep. Ed Case (D-Hawaii) at 28 percent and state Senate President Colleen Hanabusa (D) at 22 percent. Just 13 percent of voters are undecided.

The poll is significant because voting beings this week, and voting is being done only by mail. That means a significant amount of the final vote total will begin to tabulate, and whoever has the momentum right now can start to build a lead in the May 22 race.

A two-week-old Research 2000 poll from the liberal website Daily Kos showed Djou with a smaller lead, besting Case 32-29, with Hanabusa at 28 percent.


Fisher primed to win Senate nod in Ohio

Ohio Lt. Gov. Lee Fisher (D) doesn't need to sweat his primary on Tuesday, according to a new poll.

The Suffolk University poll shows Fisher with a nearly 30-point lead, 55-27, over Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner.

The two had polled within single digits of each other since the start of the race, but now two polls this week show Brunner fighting a a losing battle. Quinnipiac University had him up 41-24, and now Suffolk shows him in with a clear lock on the nomination.