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 James Dobson switching his endorsement, which he originally made last week, from Grayson to Paul.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.


Poll shows McCain with comfortable lead over Hayworth

A new poll shows John McCain with a comfortable lead over primary opponent J.D. Hayworth. The incumbent senator leads Hayworth 54 to 28 percent in a Rocky Mountain Poll released Tuesday.

The results give Hayworth only a slim chance of defeating McCain. The former congressman would have to capture all of the currently undecided primary voters to come within eight points of McCain. He'd then have to get Independents to cross over.

Independents can vote in either the GOP or Democratic primaries in Arizona.

Among the 20 percent of Independents who lean toward voting in the GOP primary, Hayworth gets 43 to McCain's 46 percent. If he can get traction on issues other than just border security, he may give McCain a scare.

McCain's reelection worries wouldn't end after the August primary, according to the poll.

In a match up against Democrat Rodney Glassman, McCain's share of the vote goes down to 46 percent. Glassman, the vice mayor of Tucson, gets 24 percent, with 30 percent undecided. Meanwhile, Hayworth polls only 37 percent against Glassman.

The survey was conducted by the Phoenix-based Behavior Research Center April 12-25.


Ohio Senate: Fisher opens 17-point lead on Brunner in Tuesday primary

Reports of Ohio Lt. Gov. Lee Fisher's (D) demise appear to be premature.

Through signs of potential trouble in his Tuesday Senate primary with the underfunded Jennifer Brunner, Fisher has opened up a 17-point lead in the latest Quinnipiac poll of the race. He leads the Secretary of State 41-24 after holding just a 33-26 lead in the last Q poll.

Perhaps most notable in Quinnipiac's new numbers is the following: Fisher is leading Brunner 43-24 among women, which is even better than his numbers among men. Without a majority of women, Brunner stands virtually no chance.

Fisher, who had yet to lead by double digits in any other polling on the race, has opened the lead thanks to a $900,000 cable media buy and more than $3 million spent overall. Brunner has spent less than $1 million.

That Fisher has been able to use his large cash advantage to open up a lead on Brunner is not surprising. It would have been more noteworthy if he hadn't been able to do so. Still, the poll is likely to sooth some Democratic worries about Fisher's fate on Tuesday.

He'll be a heavy favorite, but the primary has cost him most of his money. If he wins the primary, the two months of fundraising between May 4 and the end of June will be massive for his campaign's prospects.


Young people 'not enthusiastic' about voting

Young people need motivation to vote in November, according to a new Gallup poll. The April 1-25 survey found that almost half of 18-to-29-year-olds were "not enthusiastic" about casting a ballot in the midterm elections.

The poll did have some good news for Democrats. The Gallup survey confirmed that 18-to-29-year-olds prefer Dems to Republicans by a 12-point margin. The party will just need to find a way to motivate this lethargic portion of its base.

Ballot initiatives may help in some states. Young voters, California Democratic Party Chairman John Burton suggested recently, may turnout in the Golden State in order to support a ballot initiative to tax and regulate pot.

A spokesman for the Marijuana Policy Project said that initiatives to legalize medical marijuana are expected to be on the ballot in South Dakota and Arizona, where there are a several competitive races.



Dem Senate primary in North Carolina could be headed to runoff

North Carolina Secretary of State Elaine Marshall holds a small lead heading into the final week of her Democratic Senate primary with Cal Cunningham, but the two could be headed to a runoff.

A Public Policy Polling (D) survey and a SurveyUSA poll both show Marshall with a small lead in the primary, which will be held next Tuesday. But there remain plenty of undecided voters in the state, where neither candidate has had much in the way of a media presence.

Marshall leads Cunningham 23-19 in the SurveyUSA poll and 26-23 in the PPP poll. In both surveys, 34 percent of voters are undecided.

If enough of those voters go to other candidates, like attorney Kenneth Lewis, that could hold both Marshall and Cunningham below 40 percent, which would mean a two-candidate runoff on April 22. That's a long runoff, and it would all be time that the two won't be focusing their time and resources on Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) and his $5 million war chest.

It's looking especially tough for Cunningham to win the primary outright next week. He would have to win at least half of those undecided voters and/or steal some support from his opponents.

Conversely, if it does go to a runoff, Cunningham will probably be the favorite. He has suffered from a lack of name recognition, but he has been raising money faster than Marshall. Presumably, he would be on TV more during the runoff, which would help him overcome Marshall's statewide profile.