Presidential Race Maps Writing on the Wall

CA Governor 2010: Field Poll Reports Meg Whitman With Big Lead

Posted Jun 07, 2010 at 1:27 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

The Field Poll in California reports that Meg Whitman now holds a 2 to 1 lead over Steve Poizer in the Republican gubernatorial primary--51% to 25%--with another 18% undecided. Another survey by Capitol Weekly/Probolsky Research tracking poll shows Whitman with a similar lead over Poizner, 48% to 20%.

PollTrack rates the race likely Whitman.


Will GOP Retirements Boost Democrats' Chances in 2010?

Posted Jan 05, 2010 at 1:38 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

A spate of GOP retirements in the US House of Representatves may well stem any gains made by the GOP this November. While conventional wisdom foresees formidable GOP gains in this House this November, the spate of recent Republican retirements--now at a whopping 14--representatives, "could curtail the expected GOP gains in the House in November," according to an analysis by Chris Cillizza in the Washington Post: "While much of the focus for the last month (or so) has been on Democrats' retirement problems -- set off by a quartet of announcements in swing and Republican-leaning districts over the last month -- a broad look at the open seat playing field suggests more parity in terms of the two parties' opportunities and vulnerabilities than conventional wisdom suggests."

Republicans Forging Ahead On Generic Ballot

Posted Dec 28, 2009 at 2:50 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

According to a new Rasmussen Reports survey, Republican candidates now lead Democrats by +8% in the latest "generic congressional ballot. The national telephone survey reported that 44% would vote for their district's Republican candidate; 36% percent would choose the Democratic.


"Enthusiasm Gap": Will it Hurt The Democrats In 2010?

Posted Dec 02, 2009 at 1:20 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

A new Research 2000/Daily Kos survey reports a striking "enthusiasm gap" in the intention of Democrats and Republicans to voter in next year's congressional election: "The results were, to put it mildly, shocking:

Voter Intensity: Definitely + Probably Voting/Not Likely + Not Voting

Republican Voters: 81/14
Independent Voters: 65/23

Two in five Democratic voters either consider themselves unlikely to vote at this point in time, or have already made the firm decision to remove themselves from the 2010 electorate pool. Indeed, Democrats were three times more likely to say that they will "definitely not vote" in 2010 than are Republicans."

Will this gap adversely effect the 2010 midterms?  PollTrack beliebes that while this is not a good sign for Democrats, it's still too early to tell. Stay tuned.

Generic Congressional Ballot: Who's Really Ahead?

Posted Nov 12, 2009 at 1:10 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

With the full House up for election next year, who's really ahead in terms of political support. The Congressional Generic ballot, which measures general support for the two major parties in these races, offers a snapshot of voter sentiment. Yet, given dramatic differences in likely voter models, three major polling organizations come out with startlingly different results. For the first time in months, for example, Republicans have moved ahead of Democrats by 48% to 44% among registered voters in the latest update on Gallup's generic congressional ballot for the 2010 House elections, after trailing by six points in July and two points last month. Two other pollsters also weigh in, with contradictory results:

  CNN/Opinion Research Democrats 50, Republicans 44 Democrats +6
Rasmussen Reports Democrats 38, Republicans 42


Republicans +4


CQ Politics Analysis: Democrats Have Lock On 2010 Congressional Elections

Posted Aug 14, 2009 at 2:35 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

According to an analysis by CQ Politics, the Democratic Party looks strong in the 2010 Congressional elections: "Democrats have a virtual lock on 198 seats for November 2010, and in another 31 districts the opportunities for a GOP upset are tenuous at best. Put those groups together and you have 229, well above the 218-seat majority threshold. In addition, one district that’s in Republican hands at the moment, which covers most of New Orleans, is expected to return to its Democratic roots next fall." Still, CQ Politics concludes that "Yet House election history alone gives the Republicans reason to hope for better results after the back-to-back setbacks of 2006 and 2008 thrust them deeply into the minority. The 2010 elections for the House will be the first since Barack Obama was elected president. With very rare exceptions over many decades, the party holding the White House has lost seats in the first such midterm election."

Christie Handily Defeats Lonegan in NJ GOP Gubenatorial Primary

Posted Jun 02, 2009 at 3:52 PM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

Well, New Jesey Republican chose the more moderate of the two main rivals for the GOP nomination for Governor: With 86 percent of precincts reporting, Mr. Christie had 162,210 votes to 124,196 for Mr. Lonegan, or 55 percent to 42 percent. Assemblyman Rick Merkt drew 3 percent, according to the Associated Press. PollTrack can now call the GOP primary for former US federal prosecutor, Christopher J. Christie.

Does Democrat Corzine Want To Run Against Lonegan?

Posted Jun 02, 2009 at 10:11 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

See post below, New Jersey Governor 2009: Incumbent Jon Corzine (d) Trailing Republican Rivals to get a sense of why Democratic incumbent NJ governor Jon Corzine may favor the more conservative Lonegan as his GOP challenger. It is no accident that Lonegan--who does 4% less well than Christie in a hypothetical match up against Corzine--is both more conservative and more appealing to the Republican base than Christie. But will GOP voters choose to endorse the candidate who appears to have a better chance of defeating Corzine of the candidate who remains truer to hardline Republican principals? We will know later tonight.

Today's NJ GOP Primary: Could Lonegan Score An Upset?

Posted Jun 02, 2009 at 9:48 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

Could former Bogota Mayor Steve Lonegan, very popular with the party faithful in New Jersey, score an upset over the presumptive leader in today's GOP primary for Governor, former U.S. Attorney Chris Christie? Well, hard to say. But two factors could produce the perfect storm for a Lonegan upset: light turnout, which would favor the candidate most likely to do well among GOP diehards and the spate of very negative TV commercials adainst Christie run recently by incumbent Democratic Govorner Jon Corzine. So, are these commercials actually meant to defeat Christie in the primary, in order for Corzine to run against a candidate possible less appeal to middle-of-the road voters and independents? Or has Corzine misculated, running commercials against a candidate he (perhaps prematurely) believes is the presumptive GOP nominee? PollTrack's guess: the former seems to be the more likely scenario. 

Vote Going Smoothly In NJ GOP Primary

Posted Jun 02, 2009 at 9:31 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

According to the Newark Star-Ledger, voting is going smoothly in today's NY GOP primary for Governor: "It's been a relatively clean day of polling across the state in the Republican race for governor, according to officials from all three GOP camps. So far, the campaigns of Chris Christie, Steve Lonegan and Rick Merkt said they have encountered virtually no problems with their voters being disenfranchised at the polls or experiencing major problems with voting machines. State election officials have also reported no problems at the polls. The Secretary of State's Office, which oversees elections, has so far not had to deal with any major elections problems, according to agency spokeswoman Susan Evans."

Today's NY GOP Gubernatorial Primary: Christie Headed For Victory

Posted Jun 02, 2009 at 1:54 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

In their campaign to unseat incumbent Democratic Governor Jon Corzine in New Jersey, Republicans are appatently prepared to nominate Former U.S. Attorney Chris Christie, according to a Fairleigh Dickinson University poll. Christie leads former Bogota Mayor Steve Lonegan by a whopping 24%--54% to 30% in the race for the GOP gubernatorial nomination that will be decided in today's primary. This represents a marked improvement for Christie from numbers he received las week from a Rasmussen Reports poll, which showed him leading Steve Lonegan by 11 points, 46% to 35%.

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)


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"


US Senator Specter Not Popular With Fellow Republicans in Pennsylvania

Posted Apr 29, 2009 at 1:00 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

One major reason why incumbent US Senator Arlen Spector jumped to the Democratic party yesterday: he remains very unpopular with fellow Republicans in Pennsylvania. According to a recent poll, the moderate sentaor trailed former conservative Congressman Pat Toomey by 21 points in "an early look at Pennsylvania’s 2010 Republican Primary. 51% of Republican voters statewide say they’d vote for Toomey while just 30% would support Specter. Specter is viewed favorably by 42% of Pennsylvania Republicans and unfavorably by 55%, according to a new Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of voters in the state. Those are stunningly poor numbers for a long-term incumbent senator. Specter was first elected to the Senate in 1980." The Senator chances appear much stronger with Democrats, with whom his approval rating has remained generally high in the state.

NY-20: Democrat Scott Murphy Leads By 273-Votes

Posted Apr 17, 2009 at 7:36 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

At this point in the counting of ballots in the special congressional election in NY-20, Democrat Scott Murphy has a 273-vote lead over Republican Jim Tedisco. PollTrack believes that this advantage will be enough to secure victory for the Democrat. The Republican Party, however, has vowed to take the matter to count. Challenged absentee ballots--numbering over 1,000--will be counted on Monday. Most of these have been challenged by the Republicans, suggesting that there is little change that even if all of these were included in the total, Tedisco could overtake Murphy's lead.


Will GOP Retirements Sink Republican's House Chances In 2010

Posted Apr 16, 2009 at 2:10 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

A Flood of retiring US House members may spell trouble for the Republican Party. According to Stuart Rothenberg, "House retirements are running a bit ahead of schedule this cycle, at least compared with where they stood in 2005 and 2007. And if they even approach the same numbers as in the past two election cycles, retirements could play a significant part in the eventual 2010 House battleground." Significantly, more Republicans are retiring than Democrats, leading Rothenberg to wonder about GOP prospects in 2010: "The last time more Democrats than Republicans retired was in 1998, when 17 Democrats and 16 Republicans did not seek re-election... Over the past five elections, 106 Republican House Members have not sought re- election, while only 49 Democrats have walked away from their seats -- a significant difference."

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Ohio US Senate: Democrats Look Good For 2010

Posted Mar 23, 2009 at 2:15 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

According to a new Quinnipiac University survey, the race for the Democratic nomination to seek the Ohio seat of retiring Republican Sen. George Voinovich is "a wide-open affair" while, on the GOP side, former Rep. Rob Portman holds a significant lead: "In general election match-ups, the Democrats come out ahead of the Republicans." For the Democrats, Lt. Gov. Lee Fisher leads at 18%, followed by Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner at 14% and Rep. Tim Ryan at 12%. As for the Republicans, Portman leads State Auditor Mary Taylor 31% to 14% with 52% undecided. The general election match-ups: Fisher leads Portman 41% to 33% with 24% undecided and Taylor by 41% to 31% with 25% undecided. Brunner bests Portman 39% to 34% with 25% undecided and Taylor by 38% to 31% with 28% undecided.

PA GOP Senator Arlen Specter Lagging In Popularity

Posted Mar 06, 2009 at 1:28 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

According to a new poll, GOP US Senator Arlen Specter from Pennsylvania may be the latest northeast Republican in danger of loosing his seat: "53% of Pennsylvanians -- and 66 percent of Republicans -- want someone to replace Specter. "Asked whether they think Specter, a Philadelphia Republican, has done his job well enough to win re-election or whether they'd prefer a 'new person' in that job, registered voters by a 53-38% said it's time to give someone else a chance, according to the poll by Susquehanna Polling and Research. 8% were undecided."


Democrats Improve On Congressional Generic Ballot

Posted Feb 27, 2009 at 1:04 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

Things have improved a bit for Democrats in their congressional prospects for 2010: "Democrats have pulled slightly further ahead this week in the latest edition of the Generic Congressional Ballot.Rasmussen Reports national telephone surveys found that 41% of voters said they would vote for their district’s Democratic candidate while 37% said they would choose the Republica." 

More US Senate Loses For Republicans in 2010?

Posted Dec 22, 2008 at 5:02 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

The inimitable Charlie Cook speculates that Republicans may once again be in for a rough ride in contest for US Senate seats in 2010. "If the playing field is level and no national dynamics are in play," Cook concludes, "Democrats should pick up a few more seats, but it's hard to think that national dynamics won't be at work, one way or another. New presidents often make missteps, and their honeymoons can end quickly. If that happens this time, a few of the vulnerable Republican seats would likely become less so, and a few of the Democratic seats that appear relatively safe would come into play." Yet, Cook wonders if downturn in enthusiasm for the Republican brand will continue to haunt the party in two years:
"If Republicans are still 8 or 9 points behind in party affiliation, if their 'brand' hasn't been repaired, and if they are still facing a competence gap -- an attribute they used to own -- this could be yet another very painful cycle for them."