Presidential Race Maps Writing on the Wall

DE US Senate: Republican Castle Way Ahead

Posted Mar 01, 2010 at 1:11 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

In a potential pick up for Republicans, a new DailyKos/Research 2000 poll in Delaware finds GOP Rep. Mike Castle (R) considerably ahead of Democrat Chris Coons (D) in the U.S. Senate race, 53% to 35%.

MA US Senate: Two New Polls Show Momentum With Republican Brown

Posted Jan 17, 2010 at 3:38 PM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

Two polls out tonight suggest that the momentum in the Massachusetts race to fill the seat of the late-Senator Edward Kennedy has swung towards Republican Scott Brown. Public Policy Polling survey shows Brown leading Martha Coakley, 51% to 46%, an advantage of +5%. A Merriman River Group poll finds that Brown ahead of Coakley by +9.6%--50.8% to 41.2%. PollTrack believes that the spate of late-breaking polls for Brown suggests that he has the clear momentum leading into Tuesday's election. With incumbent Democratic governor Deval Patrick holding onto an approval number in the low thirties, the usually true blue state may not be automatically hospitable to Democrats, and thus could be fertile turf for an upset. Stay tuned for more analysis throughout the next two days . . . and live blogging on Tuesday evening, Election night!

Support For Democratic Party Declines: A Harbinger of Midterm Loses?

Posted Dec 23, 2009 at 1:32 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

According to a new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll, "less than a year after Inauguration Day, support for the Democratic Party continues to slump, amid a difficult economy and a wave of public discontent" . . . . For the first time, less than half of Americans [47%] approved of the job President Barack Obama was doing, marking a steeper first-year fall for this president than his recent predecessors. Also for the first time this year, the electorate was split when asked which party it wanted to see in charge after the 2010 elections. For months, a clear plurality favored Democratic control."Also telling in the survey: the president negative number is nearly the same as his positive rating: 46%. Do these numbers presage a significant loss of Democratic seats in next year's congressional elections. It's still early, but this kind of erosion has, in the past, led to a significant loss of seats in the midterm.

Democratic Brand Suffering In Ohio

Posted Nov 17, 2009 at 1:54 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

What a difference a year can make in politics. A new Quinnipiac University poll suggests that the Democratic brand--and President Obama--are both suffering a decline in overall support in the key swing state of Ohio: The poll indicates a shift toward the Republicans, exemplified by President Obama's disapproval rating in the (50%) which is now higher than his approval rating (45%). And Republican Bob Portman, a former House member from the Cincinnati area and the party-endorsed candidate for the Senate, now holds slight leads--of +3% and +4% respectively--over Democrats Lee Fisher, the lieutenant governor, and Jennifer Brunner, the Ohio secretary of state. Given the bellwether status of the state, these numbers could signal problems ahead for the Democrats, both in locally and nationally.

VA Governor 2009: Obama Hurt Democrat Deeds

Posted Nov 11, 2009 at 1:09 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

Pollster Glen Bolger writes that President Obama became an important factor in voters' decision making in the 2009 Virginia gubernatorial race: "By a 55% to 35% margin, voters thought it was best to elect a governor who would serve as a check and balance to Obama . . . Concern about his policies overreaching permeated to a gubernatorial campaign and helped widen the size of McDonnell's win. It allowed the campaign to focus on issues that hadn't been working in recent years for Republican candidates. Concern about Obama's policies on spending, taxes, and jobs allowed McDonnell to thoroughly dominate those issues. The checks and balances message is a key one, but the bigger lesson about Obama's impact on Virginia is that his policies have put fiscal and economic messages back into play for Republicans."

VA Governor's Race: Young Voters Stayed Home

Posted Nov 03, 2009 at 11:13 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

According to exit polls, only 10% of young voters showed up in Virginia today, versus 20% in last year's election. Again, bad news for Democrat Deeds. Another issue: does this drop off--as well as the loss of independent voters--also suggest a weakening of the Obama coalition? 

WASHINGTON POST Poll: Republican Has Clear Lead in 2009 VA Governor's Race

Posted Aug 17, 2009 at 2:03 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

A new Washington Post poll suggests that the Republican candidate for Governor in Virginia, Bob McDonnell has a clear lead over his Democratic opponent, R. Creigh Deeds: "McDonnell is favored over Deeds among all registered voters, 47 to 40 percent, and is up by an even steeper margin, 54 to 39 percent, among those who say they are certain to vote in November. In vote-rich Northern Virginia, where President Obama and other successful Democrats have won large majorities, the two run about even, 45 percent for Deeds to 42 percent for McDonnell among all registered voters. Even in the innermost Washington suburbs -- which the Democrat from rural Bath County won handily in his party's primary -- the candidates are running about even. McDonnell, who lives outside Richmond, leads by nine points in the rest of the state. McDonnell's advantage in a race being watched nationally as an early electoral test for Obama serves as a warning sign for Democrats, who are eager to hold on to the governor's mansion in what has become a crucial swing state."

Republican Burr Looking Vulnerable in 2010 NC Senate Race

Posted Apr 02, 2009 at 1:51 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

The Republican incumbent US Senator in North Carolina, Richard Burr, is looking vulnerable in his 2010 reelection effort. According to a recent poll by Public Policy Polling, "Burr continues to have approval ratings worse than Elizabeth Dole’s at the same point in the election cycle two years ago as he prepares to run for reelection in 2010, the newest survey from Public Policy Polling finds. 35% of voters in the state approve of the job Burr is doing, with 32% disapproving. Dole’s numbers were 43%/31% around this time in 2007. Burr leads Secretary of State Elaine Marshall 43%-35% in a hypothetical contest. Dole led Marshall 46%-35% during the period Democrats were recruiting a candidate two years ago. Even after more than ten years in statewide office and a 2002 Senate campaign, more than half of the voters in the state don’t hold any opinion about Elaine Marshall in an either positive or negative direction. 28% of voters have a positive view of her, 19% a negative one, and 53% have no opinion. Tested against a generic Democratic candidate, Burr leads 42-38. That number is somewhat misleading though as 22% of Democrats, unsure who their nominee will be, say they are undecided while only 12% of Republicans report the same."

A recent poll by conservative-leaning think tank Civitas Institute conducted March 16 to 19 "confirmed what many others have found - Burr continues to struggle with name recognition. Fifty percent of registered voters told Civitas they either has no opinion or were unaware of the first-term Republican senator. That is down from 54% when Civitas asked the same question in January. Thirty-seven percent held a favorable opinion of Burr in the most recent poll, which held steady from January. The Civitas poll also showed Burr trailing Democratic Attorney General Roy Cooper 41% to 38% in a hypothetical match-up."

PollTrack makes one observation: with a very popular Barack Obama at the head of the ticket in 2008, Democratic voter groups turned out in very healthy numbers. With Obama not a factor on the 2010 ballot, will Democrats turn out with the same intensity?

NY-20: Associated Press Reporting Light Turnout

Posted Mar 31, 2009 at 10:47 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

The Associated Press is reporting generally light turnout in today's special election to fill the house seat vacated by Kirten Gillibrand's in New York's 20th CD: "Volunteers knocked on doors and surrogates fired off e-mails Tuesday afternoon amid reports of light turnout in a special congressional election focused on President Barack Obama and his economic stimulus plan.Voters who did show up admitted to being exhausted by the torrent of negative ads from Republican Jim Tedisco and Democrat Scott Murphy . . . Polling places and local election boards reported light turnout throughout the day, not unusual in a special election in which there are no statewide offices or big names on the ballot to attract more casual voters." A truly light turnout could be good news in a congressional district with a decided Republican advantage in registration.

NY-20: Voting Brisk

Posted Mar 31, 2009 at 4:01 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

PollTrack has just received several eyewitness reports about voting in today's special election in New York's 20th congressional district. While voting is not heavy, it also appears to be greater than the usual historically low turnout in off-year or special elections. One voter described activity as brisk in her precinct in Upstate Chatham. With millions spent on the race and a cavalcade of publicity and local and national advertising and press, the NY-20 contest may well bring out more voters than the norm. Indeed, the president himself has gotten into the act, attempting to increase turnout, sending supporters a last-minute pitch Monday night. In an e-mail sent out via the Democratic National Committee's Organizing For America grassroots effort, the president urged the party's voters to head to the polls to vote for venture capitalist Scott Murphy. "I need you to go vote . . . It's going to be a very close race, and your vote could make all the difference," he wrote.