Presidential Race Maps Writing on the Wall

New Yorkers Down On Paterson's Handling Of Senate Replacement

Posted Jan 30, 2009 at 1:29 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

A new Siena College poll finds that a majority of New York voters think Gov. David Paterson did just a fair or poor job filling the state's U.S. Senate vacancy. The polls reports that 33% of voters thought he did a fair job, while 29% thought it was poor. Only 27% said the process was good, and 6% rated it excellent. The poll is the first since the Kennedy leaks and Paterson's selection of Rep. Kirsten Gillibrand.

Minnesota Voters Ask Court To Count Their Ballots

Posted Jan 29, 2009 at 1:46 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

Minnesota voters appealed to a state court panel in Minnesota to count their absentee ballots: They testified that their ballots had been "unfairly rejected as Republican Norm Coleman argued thousands of disqualified absentee ballots should be counted in the U.S. Senate race. 'Perhaps my signature is not as good as it once was," Gerald Anderson, of St. Paul, told the three-judge panel hearing Coleman's lawsuit. "It gets cloudy and crooked. I am 75 years old.' But that shouldn't have disqualified his vote, he said: 'I want it back. I'm entitled to my vote.' A statewide recount gave Democrat Al Franken a 225-vote edge. The personal stories that Anderson and five other voters told are just one front on Coleman's effort to have more votes counted. Coleman's legal team had intended to submit copies of thousands of ballots as exhibits, but the judges disqualified them as evidence Monday because campaign workers had marked on some envelopes. On Tuesday, much of the panel's time was spent with state officials, lawyers and court staff working out a plan to get about 11,000 rejected absentees to St. Paul from counties throughout the state. Actual testimony didn't begin until afternoon in the case, expected to last weeks."

New York City Voters High On Mayor Bloomberg

Posted Jan 28, 2009 at 1:31 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

According to a Quinnipiac University poll, New York City voters continue to give Mayor Michael Bloomberg high marks for his performance. They are also happy to reelect him to a third term: Bloomberg holds double-digit leads over likely Democratic challengers. He's leads NYC Controller William Thompson (D), 50% to 34%, and beats Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY), 50% to 35%. New York voters approve of the job Bloomberg is doing by a 69% to 25% margin. In a Democratic primary, Weiner edges Thompson, 30% to 23% with 47% undecided. Another survey, by the local TV station, New York 1, suggests a closer race, however: "would win less than 50% of the vote against his two strongest Democratic opponents, a new poll says - and one of them, Rep. Anthony Weiner is 'within striking distance' of toppling the two-term incumbent . . . Bloomberg would get 43% of the vote against 36% for Weiner (D-Brooklyn-Queens). Running against Controller William Thompson, Bloomberg would win 45% to Thompson's 32%."

Minnesota Recount Now In The Hands Of The Court

Posted Jan 27, 2009 at 1:11 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

According to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, "a three-judge panel will begin what could be a weeks- or months-long trial to decide who won Minnesota's U.S. Senate race. The action starts at 1 St. Paul. The judges -- from St. Cloud, Minneapolis and Thief River Falls -- are largely unknown outside their community's legal circles. The three now will hear testimony and inspect evidence on the recount, which ended three weeks ago when the Canvassing Board certified results showing DFLer Al Franken with a 225-vote lead over Republican Norm Coleman. The judges already have shown each side their capacity for firm action. On Thursday, they rejected Franken's motion to dismiss the lawsuit. The next day, they swept aside Coleman's request to have inspectors fan out across the state in search of problem ballots."

Fallout For New York Governor David Paterson?

Posted Jan 26, 2009 at 4:26 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

Has the past few months of bad pressfor New York Govenor David Paterson --culminating in the poorly handled search for Hillary Clinton's US Senate replacement--taken its toll on his reelection chances? A new Siena Research Institute poll suggests that the Democrat has his work cut out for him: Governor David Paterson's lead over Attorney General Andrew Cuomo in a potential 2010 gubernatorial primary fell from 23 points in December to just two points today. For the first time since May, Cuomo has a better favorable/unfavorable rating than Paterson: “Whether because of the prolonged Senate selection situation or on-going budget issues, voters are less inclined to support Governor Paterson for election today than they were only one month ago,” said Steven Greenberg, spokesman for the Siena New York Poll. “While the Governor's favorability rating remains strong, it is now lower than the Attorney General's, who has his highest favorability rating ever. “For the first time since he's been Governor, more people are inclined to support 'someone else' than they are to elect Paterson as Governor in 2010."

Court Rejects Franken Bid

Posted Jan 23, 2009 at 4:09 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

Yesterday, a three-judge panel has refused Democrat Al Franken's request to block a lawsuit filed by Reoublican incumbent senator Norm Coleman over the Minnesota Senate recount outcome. Franken won the recount by 225 votes. The dismissal allows the trail to move forward on Monday.

NY US Senate: Patterson Appoints Gillibrand

Posted Jan 23, 2009 at 2:11 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

Confirming PollTrack's report yesterday, New York govenor David Psterson has selected a 42-year-old congresswoman from upstate who is known for bold political moves and centrist policy positions, to fill the United States Senate seat vacated by Hillary Clinton, according to report in the New York Times this morning based on a conversation with an aide to the governor: "The governor will announce his selection at noon in Albany. An aide to Ms. Gillibrand confirmed that she had accepted the appointment. Ms. Gillibrand is largely unknown to New Yorkers statewide, but is considered an up-and-coming and forceful lawmaker in her district and has gained considerable attention from Democratic leaders in Washington."

NY US Senate: Gillibrand Emerges As Frontrunner

Posted Jan 22, 2009 at 4:17 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

According to NBC News, "Rep. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) has emerged as the frontrunner for Hillary Clinton’s Senate seat after Caroline Kennedy dropped out of contention last night . . . Paterson had a conversation with Gillibrand Wednesday morning, [New York governor has her on his short list of contenders for the seat]. Gillibrand, a second-term congresswoman from upstate New York, has a resume that would please the Clintons. She served as a special counsel for the Department of Housing and Urban Development (under Andrew Cuomo!) in former President Clinton’s administration, and helped raise money for Hillary Clinton’s Senate campaigns in New York. Gillibrand would be a savvy political choice, as well. She has twice won election in one of the most Republican Congressional districts in New York, handily defeating her GOP opponent with 62 percent of the vote last year. She has assiduously courted the local officials in her district, almost all of whom are Republican."

Minnesota Recount: Franken Takes Coleman To Court

Posted Jan 22, 2009 at 1:51 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

More news in the endless Minnesota US Senate recount: Al Franken asked a three-judge panel on Tuesday to dismiss Norm Coleman's lawsuit challenging a recount that left him trailing Franken by 225 votes: Democrat Franken's legal team argued "that Minnesota law and the U.S. Constitution prevent Coleman, a Republican, from waging an exhaustive review of the recount that was certified by the state Canvassing Board and give the U.S. Senate power to fill the seat. Coleman says state law permits a court challenge to press his claims of widespread voting irregularities, including assertions that absentee ballots from Republican-leaning areas were wrongly rejected and that ballots in DFL areas were counted twice."

NY US Senate: Post Reports That Caroline Kennedy Has Withdrawn

Posted Jan 21, 2009 at 12:10 PM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

The New York Post this evening reports that Caroline Kennedy "tonight withdrew her name from consideration to replace Hillary Clinton in the U S Senate after learning that Gov. David Paterson wasn't going to choose her, The Post has learned. Kennedy's decision removes the highest-profile name in the ring to step into Clinton's now-vacant seat, as she departs after getting confirmed today as President Obama's Secretary of State."

NY US Senate: Gov Paterson Has Apparently Made Decision

Posted Jan 21, 2009 at 3:03 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

According to the New York Daily News, Democratic Governor David Paterson had made a decision concerning a replacement for US Senator Hillary Clinton who will soon be confirmed as US Secretary of State: "Sources close to Paterson say they believe Caroline Keenedy is still the front-runner - despite the fact the governor has recently been talking up Rep. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-Hudson). 'I have a good idea now which direction I want to go," said Paterson. Despite the national anticipation, Paterson said he will wait a few more days before making an announcement. 'I thought that with something this serious - that when I came to a point of view - that I wouldn't react to it immediately," he said. "I thought I would see if it feels the same way [tomorrow] ... as it did, I guess toward the end of [Monday] afternoon when I think I started to come to a point of view.' Paterson's process has left many befuddled in recent days as he has seemingly swung from one position to another."

NY POST: Caroline Kennedy To Be Paterson's Pick For US Senate

Posted Jan 19, 2009 at 6:16 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

According to the New York Post, Caroline Kennedy will be Gov. David Paterson's pick to replace outgoing US Senator Hillary Clinton. The Post reports: "Despite claims that he's still undecided, Gov. Paterson is 'certain' to pick Caroline Kennedy to replace Hillary Rodham Clinton in the US Senate, several unhappy contenders for the job have told friends and associates in recent days. The contenders based their conclusion on the view that Paterson, after nearly two months of indecision, would "greatly embarrass" and "entirely humiliate" Kennedy, anger her prominent political family and even offend President-elect Barack Obama by picking someone other than President John F. Kennedy's daughter."

NJ Democratic Governor May Be In Trouble

Posted Jan 19, 2009 at 1:48 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

One major race in 2009 with a cloudy future: New Jersey Governor. With popular former U.S. Attorney Chris Christe deciding to seek the Republican nomination run against Democratic Gov. Corzine,  the outcome of the matchup is far from certain. A Monmouth University/Gannett New Jersey poll conducted last week reports that Corzine maintains a "statistically insignificant" 2% lead--38% to 36%--over Christie, with 2% preferring another candidate, 4% not intending to vote, and 21% undecided. "If voters are asked which way they'd come down between Corzine and a Republican other than Christie, Corzine runs ahead 36% to 32% with 18% undecided and 12% saying it depends who the Republican was

New Yorkers Solidly Favor Cuomo (Not Kennedy) To Replace Clinton In US Senate

Posted Jan 15, 2009 at 2:39 PM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

According to a new Marist poll, New York voters solidly support NY State attorney General Andrew Cuomo over Caroline Kennedy for the US Senate seat being vacated by Hillary Clinton. These numbers are a sharp reversal of several earlier polls. Indeed, the most recent statewide polling universally indicates a sharp erosion of support for Kennedy. Marist writes that 40% of registered voters in New York State want Gov. David Paterson to appoint Cuomo; another 25% believe Caroline Kennedy would be the better choice. A month ago, the same poll showed the two in a virtual tie, with 25% support for each.

Minnesota Recount: Coleman Proposes Staging Of Lawsuits

Posted Jan 15, 2009 at 3:57 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

The Minneapolis Star Tribune reports that the end may be near in the seemingly endless Minnesota US Senate recount: "In the first sign that Coleman might cut short his challenge of the Senate recount, his campaign proposed that his lawsuit be conducted in stages. The proceedings would continue through all the stages only if he gains enough votes to show he could emerge the winner. In a court filing, Coleman's lawyers suggested that the trial's first phase begin Feb. 9. The campaign downplayed the significance of the announcement and did not elaborate on how many votes Coleman would have to gain during each stage in order to proceed."

Minnesota US Senate Recount: Coleman (r) Not Giving Up

Posted Jan 12, 2009 at 4:57 PM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

In a sign that the Minnesota US Senate race may not be over--but most probably still will end with Democratic challenger Al Franken assuming the seat--the legal team of Republican incumbent Norm Coleman "has begun pressing some Minnesota counties for documents on hundreds of thousands of ballots that were not previously disputed. The lawsuit that Coleman filed last week to erase DFLer Al Franken's 225-vote lead cites a few dozen specific ballot errors that he says favored Franken. But Coleman's camp is also now casting a much wider net for other mistakes that could cost Franken votes." According to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, the Coleman team rests much of its case on 654 absentee ballots that local officials rejected for not complying with state law. "Coleman wants the three-judge panel that will hear his lawsuit to include those ballots, most of which come from rural and suburban areas favorable to Republicans."

Former eBay Head Meg Whitman Inches Closer To Run For CA Governor

Posted Jan 11, 2009 at 7:36 PM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

According to the Associated Press, former eBay Inc. chief executive Meg Whitman has edged closer to a run for California governor. The Republican is strongly considering a run for the seat when Arnold Schwarzenegger's term is up in 2010. Whitman confirmed on Monday that she has resigned from three corporate boards. A person who is knowledgeable about Whitman's political aspirations told the AP "that the 52-year-old Silicon Valley leader is planning to run for governor in 2010, not the seat of Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer, who will be up for re-election in two years."

Chris Matthews Unlikely to Challenge Specter in 2010

Posted Jan 08, 2009 at 5:53 PM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

According to, Chris Matthew's brother Jim thinks the journalist and MSNBC anchor will not challenge incumbent Republican Pennsylvania Senator Arlen Specter in 2010: "'There is no hint of him running for office,' said Matthews . . . 'That's 1,000 percent true.' Jim Matthews, a Republican commissioner in Montgomery County, emphasized that it's his opinion -- he didn't hear it directly out of his brother's mouth. But he said his brother was very upbeat about returning to "Hardball" and already had a new contract offer in hand from the cable news network. I know there's been discussion about (a Senate run) ... but I would be stunned beyond words if he does anything besides but look forward tomorrow to going to work . . . I just think he's recharged.'" Yesterday, Chris Matthews echoed his brother's sentiment, telling his staff at MS NBC Hardball that he has NO intention of taking on Specter in 2010.


Franken Likely To Be Minnesota's Junior Senator

Posted Jan 07, 2009 at 4:53 PM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

In case you were still wondering about the identity of Minnesota's Junior US Senator, PollTrack suggests that the answer is now almost certainly Democrat Al Franken. While lawyers for Norm Coleman are filing a petition in Minnesota state court, it is highly unlikely that the incumbent Republican will prevail. At this point, the certified recount results will be difficult to overturn given the state's meticulous pocedures and rigorous standards for recounting votes.

Burris Will Probably Become IL US Senator; Franken Win LikelyTo Prevail

Posted Jan 07, 2009 at 3:17 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

According to the Associated Press, Senate Democrats now appear ready to let Roland Burris fill President-elect Barack Obama's vacant seat: "After being rejected Tuesday when he tried to join the class of incoming freshmen senators, Burris is finding new support on Capitol Hill among Democratic leaders." If Burris is seated, the US Senate will still be one short: the contested seat in Minnesota, though PollTrack now believes that with Democrat Al Franken's victory now certified by the Minnesota election officials, it is likely that he will wind us as the state's junior senator.  


MN US Senate Recount: Coleman (r) Refuses To Concede Defeat

Posted Jan 06, 2009 at 4:43 PM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

A defiant Norm Coleman refused today to concede defeat in the US Senate recount in Minnesota, despite the state's official certification yesterday of Democrat Al Franken. Next stop for Coleman: the Minnesota courts. Stay tuned.

New Yorkers Growing Wary Of Kennedy

Posted Jan 05, 2009 at 10:41 PM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

A new Public Policy Polling survey reports that Caroline Kennedy’s popularity has taken a "major hit" as the result of her
public campaign to be appointed to Hillary Clinton’s Senate seat:
"44% of the state’s voters now say they have a lesser opinion of Kennedy than they did before she started vying for the position. 33% say it’s made no difference, and 23% report now having a more favorable opinion of her. A plurality of Democrats, Republicans, and independents all say that her efforts have caused them to view her less favorably. When it comes to whether they would prefer to see Kennedy or Andrew Cuomo appointed, 58% now prefer Cuomo to 27% for Kennedy." It looks like Kennedy's less than stellar debut as a political candidate--and the attendant negative press--has severely harmed her standing the the state. Still, several published reports say that she is likely to be named to the seat by NY Governor David Paterson.

Minnesota Canvassing Board Certifies Final Results: Democrat Franken by +225

Posted Jan 05, 2009 at 10:16 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

Via the Minneapolis Star Tribune: the Minnesota Canvassing Board certified final results this afternoon in the US Senate Race. But, as the paper warns of the endless recount, that won't end the battle between Democrat Al Franken and Republican Norm Coleman, whose Senate term ended on Saturday: "Moments after the board certified that Franken had eked out 225 more votes than Coleman, attorneys for Coleman said they would file a lawsuit within 24 hours."

Monnesota Supreme Court Rejects Coleman Petition

Posted Jan 05, 2009 at 5:45 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

The Minnesota Supreme Court has reject a bid by Republican incumbent Norm Coleman to "have hundreds of rejected absentee ballots considered in the U.S. Senate recount, apparently clearing the way for a state board to certify election results showing Democrat Al Franken on top — and also opening the door to a post-recount lawsuit that the Coleman campaign said 'is now inevitable.'" The state Canvassing Board is scheduled to meet this afternoon to review recount results.

Democrat Al Franken To Be Declared Winner in Minnesota Recount

Posted Jan 05, 2009 at 2:25 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

The Associated Press reports that Democratic challenger Al Franken will shortly be declared the winner over Republican incumbent Norm Coleman in the Minnesota US Senate recount. The state Canvassing Board is "posed to certify the results of the recount in Minnesota's grueling Senate election in Al Franken's favor — but that doesn't mean the race is definitely over. The board was to meet Monday and was expected to declare which candidate received the most overall votes from nearly 3 million ballots cast. The latest numbers showed Franken, a Democrat, with a 225-vote lead over Republican Sen. Norm Coleman. But after the announcement, there will be a seven-day waiting period before an election certificate is completed. If any lawsuits are filed during that waiting period, certification is conditional until the issue is settled in court."

MN Supreme Court To Rule On Disputed Absentee Ballots

Posted Jan 05, 2009 at 12:57 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

The Minneapolis Star Tribune reports that the Minnesota Supreme Court will soon rule on the question of whether to let the final stage of ballot tallying proceed or to redesign the process once more: As state officials completed their count of 953 disputed absentee ballots Saturday, "the court is expected to decide soon whether to instead open the door to a new centralized review of about 2,000 such ballots, as requested by Sen. Norm Coleman -- or at least order the review of hundreds of additional ballots identified by the Coleman and Al Franken campaigns." If Coleman should loose this decision, PollTrack believes that Democratic challenger Al Franken will inch much closer to victory in the disputed (and long-winded) race, now in its third month of post-game wrangling. The contest, no doubt, would still be far from over as the Star Tribune notes: "If the court refuses the Coleman request... he would likely lose the recount and immediately move to legally contest the state Canvassing Board's certification of final results."

Minnesota Recount: Al Franken Now Leads By +225 Votes

Posted Jan 03, 2009 at 3:45 PM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

Things are really looking up for Democratic challenger Al Franken in the US Senate recount in Minnesota. With the recount complete--and all outstanding absentee ballots tabulated--Franken has an unofficial lead of 225 votes over Republican incumbent Norm Coleman. Going into today's accounting of improperly discarded absentee ballots, Franken led unofficially by 49 votes. He gained a net 176 votes by Saturday evening. The Minneapolis Star Tribune observes:  "[Coleman's] term as a U.S. Senator ended at noon Washington time today, and by evening his hopes of winning a second term had been dealt an expected but serious setback as state officials counted previously rejected absentee ballots in St. Paul." The Republican's probable next step: the Minnesota Supreme Court.

Live Blogging On The Minneapolis Star Tribune Website

Posted Jan 03, 2009 at 9:07 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

For this of you who can't get enogh of the Minnesota US Senate Recount, the Minneapolis Star Tribune is blogging live, covering in meticulous detail the opening of 953 mistakenly rejected absentee ballots by the office of the Secretary of State that began morning in St. Paul. Click hear to follow the Live Blog.

Colorado US Senate: Michael Bennet to replace Ken Salazar

Posted Jan 02, 2009 at 8:20 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

The New York Times reports this afternoon that Governor Bill Ritter, Democrat of Colorado, is set to announce that he’s selected Denver Schools Superintendent Michael Bennet to replace Ken Salazar in the United States Senate. Senator Salazar, Democrat from Colorado, is up for confirmation to be the Secretary of the Interior. The Denver Post is reporting that Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter may make the announcement as early as this Saturday.

Clinton US Senate Replacement: Sources Say Paterson To Pick Kennedy

Posted Jan 02, 2009 at 4:39 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

According to the Associated Press, New York State officials with ties to Gov. David Paterson say the daughter of the late President John F. Kennedy will be the governor's choice to fill the New York Senate seat being vacated by Hillary Rodham Clinton. Still, Paterson cautions he's still looking.

Minnesota US Senate Recount: Franken (d) Lead Bumps Up To 49

Posted Jan 02, 2009 at 1:55 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

According to the Associated Press, Democratic challenger Al Franken's lead in the US Senate recount in Minnesota has officially bumped up to 49-votes over incumbent Reoublican Norm Coleman, after the Secretary of State's office updated its numbers Wednesday night.