GOP internal shows Rep. Connolly trailing

Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.) is the latest Democrat on the short end of a poll.

Connolly's 2008 opponent, Keth Fimian, released a poll Tuesday showing the incumbent trailing 40-35 in a head-to-head matchup. The McLaughlin and Associates poll surveyed 300 likely votes in late February and early March and showed Fimian ahead 43-28 among independents.

Connolly dispatched Fimian 55-43 in 2008, but the district went even more for President Obama -- 57-42. It was hard to see this race emerging as a top target at the start of the cycle, but Fimian has plenty of money and looks to be making this a race. And the man Connolly replaced, former Rep. Tom Davis (R-Va.), has said districts like his old one should be in play for the GOP.

Of course, first Fimian has to deal with the matter of a June 8 primary with Fairfax County Supervisor Pat Herrity.

UPDATE: Democrats note that Fimian released a poll in July 2008 (when nobody knew who he was and Connolly was well-known), showing him trailing Connolly by just four, 29-25. He wound up losing by 12.


Dems holding lead on generic ballot

Republicans seem to have all the momentum, but Democrats still hold the edge on the generic ballot, according to Gallup.

The latest Gallup poll shows voters still prefer Democrats to Republicans when it comes to their congressional district, 47-44.

The difference here appears to be that those 44 percent who will vote for Republicans are a lot more pumped up to do so. But if those Democratic-leaning voters find some reason to vote, maybe Democrats can avoid huge losses.


Anti-establishment fever? Paul, Mongiardo lead big in new poll

Kentucky primary voters appear to be spurning the establishment.

Anti-establishment candidates Rand Paul and Daniel Mongiardo have opened up wide leads in their respective Senate primaries, according to a new SurveyUSA poll.

The survey shows Paul, an eye surgeon and son of Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas), leading Kentucky Secretary of State Trey Grayson 42-27 on the GOP side and Mongiardo, the state's lieutenant governor, leading Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway 45-27 among Democrats.

The poll also reinforced the toss-up nature of the general election, with Republicans holding a statistically insignificant 43-42 lead on the generic ballot.

Results of head-to-head general election matchups were not provided in the poll, which surveyed more than 1,000 likely primary voters overall and was conducted for local media outlets.

All four candidates recently went up with their first TV ads. The primary is set for May 18.


After helming DSCC, Menendez will have own reelect to worry about

We've said before that 2012 will be a very difficult year for Senate Democrats. They have only a couple real targets on the map and will be defending about two dozen seats overall -- many of which could be competitive.

DSCC Chairman Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) could be in one of them.

A new Fairleigh-Dickinson poll shows Menendez leading 2006 GOP nominee Tom Kean Jr. within the margin of error, 39-38, in a potential rematch. The poll shows Menendez with a 29 percent favorability, compared to 25 percent unfavorable. Kean's split is 28-11.

Menendez holds a more comfortable lead -- 43-25 -- over state Sen. Mike Doherty.


Few chinks in Boren's armor

Many Blue Dogs are in trouble, but Rep. Dan Boren (D-Okla.) doesn't appear to be one of them.

Despite representing a district where President Obama has a 27 percent approval rating, Boren has a 51 percent approval rating, with just 33 percent of voters disapproving, according to a new Public Policy Polling (D) survey.

He also leads every Republican he is facing by at least 16 points. With no top candidates having signed up to face him, Boren is a strong bet for reelection. He is under 50 percent -- which is generally not a good sign for an incumbent -- but voters aren't picking Republicans on party affiliation alone, as none of them breaks 30 percent in the poll.

Without a well-funded candidate to run against Boren, it's hard to see him not adding a few points and cracking 50 percent.

We keep seeing this over and over again: when Democrats vote the right way, they tend to be OK. Reps. Bobby Bright (D-Ala.) and Larry Kissell (D-N.C.) have been shown to be reasonably strong in early polling, and it shouldn't surprise that a popular true Blue Dog like Boren is holding it down in a tough district.


Ford dropped in polls before exit

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) led former Rep. Harold Ford Jr. (D-Tenn.) 50-19 before he dropped out of the race Monday, according to a new Marist poll.

The poll shows Ford would have faced a steep climb, but it also shows Gillibrand's campaign was off to a good start in their primary.

The last Marist poll, from one month ago, showed Gillibrand with a considerably smaller lead -- 44-27 -- meaning that the offensive against Ford was paying dividends on both ends, bringing Gilliband up and bringing Ford down.

It is the first time Gillibrand has cracked 50 percent in a primary poll.

In the general election, she is also over 50 percent against Mort Zuckerman and declared GOP candidate Bruce Blakeman. She leads Zuckerman 59-26 and Blakeman 58-28 in a pair of general election matchups.


Poll shows Deal has work to do

It looks like Rep. Nathan Deal (R-Ga.) had good reason to leave his day job.

A day after Deal announced he would be resigning from Congress to focus on running for governor, an InsiderAdvantage poll shows him in third place in the primary.

State Insurance Commissioner John Oxendine is at 27 percent, former Georgia Secretary of State Karen Handel is at 13 percent, and Deal is at 9 percent. Deal is expected to compete for the nomination, but so far he's not showing much movement.

Maybe shedding his title will help.


Bright getting it done

We've been waiting for Democrats to fight back with some polling that shows they might not be in such bad shape.

In Rep. Bobby Bright's (D-Ala.) district, we have such a poll.

The internal Bright campaign poll, conducted by Anzalone Liszt, shows Bright with 68 percent favorability, including 70 percent among Republicans. He leads a top NRCC recruit, Montgomery City Councilwoman Martha Roby, 54-30.

Bright has stood out among vulnerable Democrats in conservative districts in that he has voted against nearly all major contentious Democratic legislation. It appears that, at least in the South, that could be a recipe for success.

Of course, Republicans will do their best to tie Bright to the Democrats in Congress and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi over the next eight months, but it doesn't appear their efforts so far have done much of anything, really.


Giannoulias holding strong early

Illinois state Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias (D) is looking just fine so far.

Giannoulias holds a seven-point lead over Rep. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) in a new Research 2000 poll of their Senate race matchup.

The poll, which was conducted for the liberal website Daily Kos, echoes a Public Policy Polling (D) survey from before the Feb. 2 primary. While the PPP poll had Giannoulias up 42-34, the new poll shows him up 43-36.

It's interesting that Giannoulias's favorables remain superior to Kirk's, even after a difficult Democratic primary. Giannoulias has a 49-34 favorability, while Kirk's is at 42-35.

The difference isn't huge, but with the beating Giannoulias has taken recently, he looks relatively unscathed. He actually is doing better among independents than Kirk, leading 36-35 and with a higher favorability rating. Neither man has lost much of his base.