Presidential Race Maps Writing on the Wall

Former GOP Gov. Pataki Strong Against Gillibrand in 2010 NY Senate

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

Former GOP New York Governor George Pataki would make a formidable opponent against Democratic US Senator Kirsten Gillibrand in her 2010 reelection effort. Indeed, with a relative low approval rating, the Democrat may have a tough reelection race. A new Siena Institute poll reports:  "While 27 percent of voters are prepared to elect her Senator in 2010, 39 percent of voters prefer 'someone else.' This is a significant improvement for Gillibrand since April when it was 20-47 percent. In head-to-head matchups, Gillibrand leads Nassau County Congressman Peter King 48-26 percent (up slightly from 47-23 percent in March). But, significantly, she remains tied with Pataki 43-43 percent (was 41-41 percent in March)."

New York Governor Paterson Still At Record Low Approval

Posted May 28, 2009 at 2:18 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

Things continue to look very dire for Governor David Paterson's 2010 reelection chances. According to a new Siena Institute Poll, his approval rating remains at a record low level: "Paterson is viewed favorably by 27 percent of voters and unfavorably by 60 percent, virtually identical to last month’s 27-63 percent. His job performance rating is 18 percent positive, 81 percent negative, unchanged from last month. Only 15 percent of voters are prepared to elect Paterson as Governor in 2010, compared to 71 percent who prefer someone else,' barely up from 12-71 percent in April."

“Voters are continuing to deliver bad news to the Governor. His popularity remains at record low levels, with more than twice as many voters having an unfavorable view of him as have a favorable view and fewer than one in five voters saying he’s doing an excellent or good job as Governor,” said Siena New York pollster
Steven Greenberg. “If a Democratic primary were held today, Andrew Cuomo would beat David Paterson by a 70-19 percent margin, with African American voters supporting Cuomo by better than two-to-one.”

Minnesotans Expect Their Governor To Run For President (And Fail)

Posted May 27, 2009 at 1:48 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack


While Republican Minnesota governor Pawlenty remains popular, most expect him to run for president in 2012, but fail to achieve his party's nomination: "53% approve of Pawlenty’s job performance, including 28% who Strongly Approve . . . 46% don’t approve of the Republican governor, with 26% who Strongly Disapprove. . . 59% of the state’s voters now say it is at least somewhat likely that Pawlenty will run for president, including 17% who say it’s Very Likely he will do so. Twenty-nine percent (29%) say the governor is not very or not at all likely to seek the White House. But just 37% say Pawlenty is even somewhat likely to win the GOP presidential nomination in 2012. Only seven percent (7%) say it’s Very Likely. For 55%, it’s not likely that their governor will be the party’s standard-bearer."


Public Policy Polling: US Senator Approval Ratings

Posted May 26, 2009 at 2:06 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

A very interesting survey from Public Policy Polling takes stock of the approval ratings of a number of US Senators. The highest approval rating of the lot: Democrat Amy Klobuchar from Minnesota. The lowest: embattled Illinois Democratic Roland Burris, who replace Barack Obama. Here is the list:



Amy Klobuchar (D-MN)


Tom Coburn (R-OK)


Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX)


Tom Carper (D-DE)


Kit Bond (R-MO)


Mark Pryor (D-AR)


John McCain (R-AZ)


James Inhofe (R-OK)


Dick Durbin (D-IL)


Blanche Lincoln (D-AR)


Jim Webb (D-VA)


Mitch McConnell (R-KY)


Bill Nelson (D-FL)


Mark Udall (D-CO)


Richard Burr (R-NC)


Ted Kaufman (D-DE)


Michael Bennet (D-CO)


Kay Hagan (D-NC)


Johnny Isakson (R-GA)


George Voinovich (R-OH)


Jim Bunning (R-KY)


Mel Martinez (R-FL)


Roland Burris (D-IL)


Day Off: Happy Memorial Day

Posted May 23, 2009 at 3:51 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

To Our Readers: Were off-line on Memorial Day, taking a break like most Americans. We will return on Tuesday morning, 26 May. We wish our readers a happy holiday!

VA Governor: Slight Shift In Democratic Primary Polling

Posted May 22, 2009 at 1:49 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

Who's ahead in Virginia in the June 2009 election to achieve the Democratic nomination for Governor. According to Survey USA: Former Democratic National Committee chair Terry McAuliffe continues to run strongest of the 3 candidates for Democratic nomination for Virginia Governor . . . three weeks to the Primary, it's McAuliffe 37%, Creigh Deeds 26%, Brian Moran 22%. Compared to an identical SurveyUSA poll three weeks ago, McAuliffe and Moran are flat, Deeds is up. 57% of likely Democratic Primary voters today say they may change their mind -- down from 64% three weeks ago - but high enough to describe a fluid electorate still evaluating its options. McAuliffe, who ran Hillary Clinton's 2008 presidential campaign, is 11 points atop Deeds, a state senator -- but Deeds is the only candidate with momentum, and today leads McAuliffe in Central Virginia by 12 points, a 19-point swing to Deeds in the past 3 weeks. Deeds and McAuliffe remain tied in the Shenandoah; McAuliffe remains in command in the southeastern portion of the state. In Northern Virginia, Moran's 23-point lead three weeks ago is today a 10-point lead." 

Still, according to a Daily Kos/Research 2000 poll, the overall picture is NOT good for the Democrats in Virginia: In general election match ups, presumptive Republican nominee Bob McDonnell (R) bests all of the potential Democratic nominees. McDonnell is ahead of McAuliffe 44% to 34%, tops Moran, 42% to 35%, and leads Deeds, 45% to 32%.

2010 MO US Senate: Democrats Have The Edge

Posted May 21, 2009 at 2:00 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

According to a statewide poll in Missouri (Democracy Corps), Democrats may have the edge in the 2010 US Senate Race: "The closest state during the 2008 presidential election, Missouri shows early signs of opportunity for Democrats to pick up the senate seat currently held by Republican Kit Bond. [The survey] shows Secretary of State Robin Carnahan leading Republican Congressman Roy Blunt 53 to 44 percent and leading former Treasurer Sarah Steelman 54 to 42 percent. At this early and uncertain stage, Carnahan starts off the contest with a strong personal and professional standing that puts her in a position to defeat either potential opponent. At the same time, it appears as if Steelman may be the tougher foe with a stronger profile than Blunt and the potential to run a fresh outsider candidacy that Blunt cannot offer."



Minnesota Voters Want Coleman (R) To Concede

Posted May 20, 2009 at 1:14 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

According to Rasmussen Reports, 54% of Minnesota voters say Republican incumbent Norm Coleman should concede the race after months of legal challenges and let Al Franken be seated in the U.S. Senate. But 41% disagree . . . 87% of Democrats want Coleman to quit, while 77% of Republicans want him to stay in the fight. Most (53%) of those not affiliated with either major party say that Coleman should concede. 63% of all voters in the state are now convinced that Franken will ultimately be named the winner of the Senate race. Just 16% say Coleman will win in the end. 21% are still not sure who the winner will be."

2009 NJ Governor: Republican Christie Leads Incumbent Democrat Corzine

Posted May 19, 2009 at 1:40 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

Incumbent Democratic Governor Jon Corzine continues to suffer in his attempt to retain his seat in this year's re-election battle: "Corzine trails Republican challenger Chris Christie by nine percentage points. The latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of Garden State voters shows Christie with 47% of the vote and Corzine with 38%. The Governor does better when matched against Republican Steve Lonegan. In that case, it’s Lonegan with 42% and Corzine just a point behind at 41%. These numbers, while disappointing for an incumbent, are actually an improvement for Corzine. In March, as the Governor announced announcing his budget plan including $916 million in new and increased taxes, Corzine trailed Christie by fifteen points and was eight points behind Lonegan"

2009 NJ Governor: Attorney General Christie Leads GOP Pack

Posted May 18, 2009 at 2:17 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

There appears to be a front-runner in the contest for the GOP nod to run against incumbent NJ Governor Jon Corzine. According to Rasmussen Reports survey, "with less than three weeks to go until New Jersey Republicans select their nominee for governor, Chris Christie attracts 39% of the state's GOP voters while Steve Lonegan earns 29%. Another 29% remain undecided, and three percent (3%) say they’ll vote for some other candidate, according to the latest Rasmussen Reports telephone poll in the state. Rick Merkt, an assemblyman from Morris, is also running, but he did not qualify to participate in the first debate between the frontrunners. The candidates debated Tuesday night for the first time. That was also the night of the survey."

2010 NY Gov: Cuomo Bests Paterson In Hypothetical Matchup

Posted May 15, 2009 at 1:24 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

Things continue to look bleak for Democratic incumbent Governor David Paterson for his 2010 reelection bid: A new Quinnipiac poll finds Andrew Cuomo (D) beating Gov. David Paterson (D), 62% to 17%. Paterson's 61% to 28% disapproval is at an historic low, even below former Governor Spitzer during his infamous resignation last year. "With support in every demographic sub-group, including a 22-point lead among black voters, Attorney General Andrew Cuomo trounces Gov. Paterson in a Democratic primary. Paterson has time to turn things around before the 2010 election, of course, but there's not a hint of good news for him in this poll." The general election match up, though close, bodes well for Cuomo: he leads Rudy Giuliani (R), 47% to 41%.

It's Official: Democrat Murphy Wins NY-2- By 726-Votes

Posted May 14, 2009 at 1:24 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

While not by a landslide by any means, Democrat Scott Murphy has official won the special election in New York's 20th-Congressional District to replace now US Senator kirsten Gillibrand. According to the Albany Times Union, Murphy won his seat in Congress over Jim Tedisco by 726 votes.  The final tally, which the commissioners will meet to certify at a noon meeting in Albany, is 80,833 to 80,107.

NH US SENATE: Republican Leads In Hypothetical Match Up

Posted May 13, 2009 at 1:43 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

In a hypothetical match up for the 2010 US Senate race in New Hampshire, it's the GOP candidate who has the edge: If Republican incumbent senator Judd Gregg does not choose to run in 2010, a likely decision at this point, "a likely Republican candidate is former Senator John Sununu, who lost his reelection battle to Shaheen in 2008. Sununu is well known, but his popularity is still suffering from the bruising 2008 election campaign. [In a recent poll] currently, 47% of New Hampshire adults have a favorable opinion of Sununu, 36% have an unfavorable opinion of him, 5% are neutral, and 12% don’t know enough about him to say. Sununu’s net favorability rating is +11%. Although Sununu has not indicated that he plans to run in 2010, a hypothetical matchup for Senate between Hodes and Sununu is likely to be a close match. If the election were held today, 46% of New Hampshire likely voters say they would vote for Sununu, 41% for Hodes, 2% for some other candidate, and 11% are not sure. Both candidates have the full support of their partisans, and Sununu holds a narrow 38% to 31% lead among Independents."

Democratic NY US Senator Gillibrand In Weak Position For Reelection

Posted May 12, 2009 at 1:57 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

According to a Marist Institute Poll, Democratic NY Senator Kirsten Gillibrand is in a weak position, re: her 2010 reelection bid: "Hers was an atypical ascent to the Senate, and . . . Gillibrand has a long way to go to convince New Yorkers that she belongs there . . . 19% of voters today think she is doing an above average job.  And, more voters have formed an opinion of Gillibrand.  While half of voters back in March reported they weren’t quite sure how Gillibrand was doing, fewer — 43% — feel that way now.  However, there’s a rub.  More New York voters — 10% — currently view Gillibrand as doing a subpar job compared with two months ago when 5% shared that view. . . "

". . . . What are Senator Gillibrand’s chances for election to the U.S. Senate in 2010?  In a hypothetical matchup against former New York State Governor George Pataki, Gillibrand trails Pataki, 38% to 46%.  Gillibrand has lost ground to the former governor.  In Marist' March surve, Gillibrand led Pataki 45% to 41%.  Although still in the lead, Gillibrand has also lost support in a hypothetical pairing against U.S. Representative Peter King.  Currently, 42% of voters say they would back Gillibrand while 31% report they would vote for King.  27% are unsure.  However, in March, Gillibrand led King 49% to 28% with 23% reporting they were uncertain about whom they would support."

NY Gov. David Paterson Sinks Even Lower In Polls

Posted May 11, 2009 at 2:01 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

Can unpopular Democratic NY Governor David Paterson get reelected next year? The answer may well be no, if a new Marist Institute poll is correct: "Not quite one-fifth of New York registered voters statewide — 19% — report that Governor David Paterson is doing either an excellent or good job in office. That is a seven percentage point drop since The Marist Poll last asked this question in its Masrch 2009 survey. In fact, voters are so dissatisfied with the governor’s performance that a majority — 51% — say they would prefer his sex scandal-plagued predecessor, Eliot Spitzer, be in office than he. On both questions, Paterson doesn’t even receive backing from a majority of voters in his own party. Just 22% of Democrats think he is doing well as governor, and half say, 'Resurrect Spitzer!'" PollTrack suggests that these numbers are striking, lower than any NY state governor in the history of statewide polling. It's hard to see how Paterson could win his party's nomination at this point--especially running against the state very popular Democratic Atoorney General Andrew Cuomo--let alone the 2010 general election.

Democrat Gov. Corzine Still In Trouble In New Jersey

Posted May 07, 2009 at 1:18 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

Democratic Givernor Jon Corzine is still in trouble in his 2009 reelection bid: "In a state that favors Democrats, the Republicans are hanging tight in their bid to oust incumbent Governor Jon Corzine. The latest Monmouth University/Gannett New Jersey Poll finds former U.S. Attorney Chris Christie with a small lead over Corzine, while the incumbent has a slight advantage over former Bogota mayor Steve Lonegan. But voters seem to be wondering why no one is talking about their number one issue – property taxes. Governor Corzine’s job performance rating currently stands at 40% approve to 49% disapprove, a slight improvement from the 34%-51% rating he held in February. Currently, 43% of voters have a personally favorable view of Jon Corzine compared to 47% who have an unfavorable view. In head-to-head match-ups with the two leading GOP contenders, Jon Corzine trails Chris Christie by 39% to 35% among registered voters. However, Corzine leads Steve Lonegan by 37% to 33%." PollTrack suggests that despite his lead over Lonegan, Corzine's standing is SO low relative to that of a popular incumbent that they strongly suggest a rough road ahead for the Democrat, numbers nowhere near where a sitting governor wants to be at this stage in a re-election campaign.

Republican Retirements In House Come From Strong GOP Districts

Posted May 05, 2009 at 11:34 PM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

In what can be interpreted as a bit a good news for the Republican Party, CQ Politics reports that while "the partisan skew of the early 2010 open seats might be bad news for the GOP . . . there is some salve for the GOP, though, in its early 2010 cycle open-seat situation. The districts that are being left open by Republican retirees or seekers of other offices are reliably Republican-leaning . . . the nine open Republican districts all voted for McCain and gave him a robust average of 61 percent of the vote." The news is not exactly bad for Democrats: "As for the four Democrats who are not seeking re-election to the House -- all are running for either governor or senator in their home states -- Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama won all of their districts with an average of 71 percent of the vote"


Eight Big US Cities To Pick Mayors This Week

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

In the next seven days, no less than eight large American cities will pick mayors. As Governing. com writes: "Big city mayors often are rising political stars, generally command powerful political machines and invariably make important policy decisions. The national media ignores them almost entirely. So, it comes as no surprise that no one has noticed that we're about to enjoy a splendid week of mayoral elections. Voters in eight of the nation's sixty-five most populous cities will elect new mayors over the next week." For an excellent rundown by Josh Goodman, click here.

A Ray Of Hope For GOP In 2010 Pennsylvania Senate Race?

Posted May 05, 2009 at 12:46 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

Is there a ray of hope for the GOP in its efforts to unseat newly minted Democrat US Senator Arlen Specter in his 2010 reelection drive in Pennsylvania? Perhaps: "Former Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge (R) is considering running for the U.S. Senate nomination in his home state." According to Roll Call and reported by Political Wire, national Republicans "have been publicly and privately urging Ridge to consider a Senate bid since Sen. Arlen Specter (D-PA) announced earlier this week that he was switching parties and would run for re-election as a Democrat in 2010." Ridge's 'moderate politics and national profile would make him a more viable candidatei in the general election than former Rep. Pat Toomey (R-PA)." A new Susquehanna Polling & Research poll also finds Ridge would edge Specter, 39% to 38%, in a match up for U.S. Senate.

$6 Million Spent In NY-20

Posted May 04, 2009 at 1:17 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

How much did it cost Democratic Scott Murphy and his Republican challenger, Jim Tedisco, to battle it out in the recent special election in New York's 20th Congressional district?: $6 million according to a report in CQ Politics: "Murphy, who won the March 31 special House election in upstate New York, and state Rep. Jim Tedisco, his Republican opponent, combined to spend more than $3.8 million on that exceptionally close race. According to campaign finance documents filed with the Federal Election Commission (FEC), Murphy raised $2.15 million and Tedisco raised $1.68 million through April 20. They raised those prodigious sums even though the campaign only began in January, after Democrat Kirsten Gillibrand— who had won a second term in the 20th District seat last November — resigned to accept an appointment to the U.S. Senate seat that Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton vacated to become secretary of State. Add to this, the more than $2 million worth of contributions from the respective political parties' congressional committees, and you're talking a good $6 million spent in NY-20. 

One Democrat Jumps To Lead In Party Primary for VA Governor

Posted May 01, 2009 at 1:53 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

One candidate appears to have an advantage in the 2009 Democratic primary for Virginia Governor: A new SurveyUSA poll in Virginia finds Terry McAuliffe leading his rivals for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination with 38%, followed by Creigh Deeds and Brian Moran each with 22%." The survey also reports that "64% of likely primary voters say they may change their mind," thus blunting the overall result of the poll.