CBS/NY Times senate polls confirm Democrat fears

CBS News and the New York Times created a panel of 100,000 voters who they intend to interview four times between July and Election Day. Their first set of senate polls produced a Republican Senate with the GOP holding leads in 53 races.

The survey tracks very closely with Republican optimal scenarios with Michigan included as a bonus. For Democrats, the survey is everything they feared. For starters, CBS/NYT finds Republican Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell at 50% and leading by four points over Alison Lundergan Grimes. In Georgia, Republican David Perdue is also at 50% and leads Michelle Nunn by six.  Conventional wisdom said Democrats would lose those red states, but for some time polling has shown the races as toss-ups. The GOP now appears to be to be taking these races off the table.

Republicans holds large leads with Mike Rounds in South Dakota (61-34),  Steve Daines in Montana (56-40), and Shelley Moore Capito (51-43) with a somewhat diminished lead in West Virginia. This puts them at 48 seats.

The GOP adds five more seats from Arkansas, Iowa, Louisiana, Michigan, North Carolina. However, with the exception of Arkansas these are one point races.

Arkansas – Tom Cotton 50, Mark Pryor 46
Iowa -Joni Enrst 48, Bruce Braley 47
Louisiana – Bill Cassidy 47, Mary Landrieu 46 (need 50% to avoid run-off)
Michigan – Terri Lynn Land 48, Gary Peter 47
North Carolina – Thom Tillis 48, Kay Hagan 47

Good news for Democrats is scare, but not non-existent. Colorado incumbent Mark Udall has a four-point lead over Cory Gardner (51-47) while Alaska incumbent Mark Beghich leads both of his potential Republican challengers. Democratic incumbents also hold double digit leads in Minnesota, New Hampshire, Oregon, and Virginia (although Republican Ed Gillespie significantly closed the gap from other polls).

While the Republican advantage is certainly helped by the four statistically insignificant one point leads (although the margin of error was much lower in the key states than other polls),  the CBS/NYT Senate polls demonstrate the strength and depth of the GOP field this year. Republicans could lose two of their one point leads and still win a majority. They are also close in Alaska and Colorado, which gives them five chances for seat number 51.

2014 North Carolina Senate race


Recent North Carolina Presidential Elections

2012 Presidential Election: Romney 50, Obama 48
2008 Presidential Election: Obama 50, McCain 49
2004 Presidential Election: Bush 56, Kerry 44
2000 Presidential Election: Bush 56Gore 43

North Carolina Elected Representatives (party – year elected)

Senate Delegation: Richard Burr (R – 2004), Kay Hagan (D- 2008)
House Delegation: 9 Republicans, 4 Democrats
Governor: Pat McCrory (R- 2012)
State Senate: Republicans 77, Democrats 42
State House: Republicans 33, Democrats 17

2014 North Carolina Senate race 
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2014 Senate Races – July update

Senate 2014 - 0723


Good news for Democrats: Their tough races in red states are not being nationalized. Their fundraising and candidates in Alaska, Arkansas, Louisiana, and North Carolina are still running strong, particularly in North Carolina where Kay Hagan is building a small,  lead over the very unpopular Tom Tillis. If these races remain candidate-based Democrats have a chance to maintain their majority.

Good news for Republicans: Iowa and Colorado have moved into toss-up territory.  Republicans have capitalized on weak Democrats in those states and expanded the map. In Montana, their brief worries that the short-time Democratic incumbent might be back in the race abated when a plagiarism scandal all but ended the race (again).

Projection -  Democrats 50, Republicans 50 

Current Senate make-upDemocrat 55 (including 2 independents)Republican 45.

Seats not up for re-election – Democrat 34, Republican 30.

Safe Democrat (6)-  Delaware, Hawaii*, Illinois*, Massachusetts*,  New Jersey*, Rhode Island*

Lean Democrat (5)-  Minnesota*, New Hampshire*, Oregon*New Mexico*, Virginia*,

Slight Lean Democrat (3)- Colorado*, Michigan, North Carolina*

Toss-up (4)Alaska*, Arkansas*, Iowa, Louisiana*, 

Lean Republican (5) - Georgia, Kentucky*, Montana, South Dakota, West Virginia

Safe Republican (13)- Alabama*, Idaho*, Kansas*, Maine, Mississippi*, Nebraska, Oklahoma (2), South Carolina (2)*, Tennessee*, Texas*, Wyoming*

*Denotes incumbent is running

Races most likely to change parties
1. South Dakota (75%) Polls, candidate, environment, and terrain favor GOP. 
2. West Virginia (75%) Polls, candidate, environment, and terrain favor GOP.
3. Montana (75%) Polls, environment, and terrain favor GOP.
4. Louisiana (50%) Terrain and environment favor GOP. Solid Democratic incumbent. Looks like a December run-off.
5. Arkansas (50%) Terrain and environment favor GOP. Solid Democratic incumbent.
6. Alaska (50%) Terrain and environment favor GOP. Strong Democratic incumbent.
7. Iowa (50%) Republicans got their candidate. Terrain slightly favors Democrats, while environment slightly favors Republicans.
8. Colorado (45%) Terrain slightly favors Democrats. Environment favors GOP. 
9. North Carolina (45%) Terrain and environment slightly favor GOP. Mediocre Democratic incumbent, fractured GOP. Republican candidate has very high unfavorables.
10. Michigan (40%) Terrain favors Democrats. Environment slightly favors Republicans. Democrat is starting to build a small but consistent lead.
11. Kentucky (40%) Terrain and environment favor GOP. The later it gets with the race still tied, the more vulnerable McConnell looks.
12. Georgia (40%) Terrain and environment favor GOP.  Solid Democratic candidate. 
13. Minnesota (15%) Terrain and candidates favors Democrats.         14. New Hampshire (15%) Terrain and candidates favors Democrats.
15. Virginia (5%) Terrain and candidates favors Democrats.

2014 Iowa Senate race

IowaRecent Presidential Elections

2012 Presidential Election: Obama 52, Romney 46
2008 Presidential Election: Obama 54, McCain 44
2004 Presidential Election: Bush 50, Kerry 49
2000 Presidential Election: Gore 49, Bush 48

Iowa Elected Representatives

Senate Delegation: Chuck Grassley (R – 1980), Tom Harkin (D- 1984)
House Delegation: 2 Republicans, 2 Democrats
Governor: Terry Branstad (R- 2010)
State Senate: Democrats 26, Republicans 24
State House: Republicans 53, Democrats 47

2014 Iowa Senate race  Continue reading

Obama’s job approval hits new lows

Barack Obama Usually an unfavorable poll will carry a silver lining, but the latest Pew Poll marks several lows for the President. Obama’s overall job approval came in at a weak 44% and that was the highpoint of the survey for him. Respondents gave him lower approval marks when they were asked about individual issues.

Obama’s approval on the economy dropped two points to 40% with 56% disapproving. By a two-to-one margin respondents disapprove of the way he has handled the current immigration crisis. On Iraq and foreign policy he is now polling in the mid-30s with disapproval levels in the mid-50s.

The President also saw a noticeable  drop in how Americans view his leadership style. Only 47% of Americans view Obama as a strong leader, which represents the lowest number of his Presidency. Obama also hit lows in “Trustworthy”, “Stands up for what he believes”, “Good communicator”, and “Cares about people like me.” His  “able to get things done” number was only a point off of his all-time low.

Besides show further erosion in Obama’s job approval, the Pew Poll also showed Republicans regaining a very slight advantage in who voters trust on immigration. Forty percent of those polled believe illegal immigrants should be allowed to apply for citizenship, while 54% are roughly divided  between supporting deportation or permanent legal status, but no citizenship. By a fourteen point margin Americans support speeding up the process so the children coming across the border can be deported faster.


Chris Christie is still alive

Chris Christie Chris Christie picked a good time to screw up. In the fall of 2012 he angered the Republican base needed to win the GOP primary by embracing President Obama. He then proceeded to upset independent and centrist Democrat voters with Bridgegate. The independents and centrist Democrats were critical because they made Christie the most viable candidate to take on Hillary Clinton.

Electability was his primary strength after the hug. With the right already mad at Christie, losing the electability argument threatened to be a knockout punch. Nevertheless, due to fortuitous timing, Chris Christie is still alive in the race for the 2016 GOP nomination.

His poll numbers and favorability rating are nowhere near where they were in the fall of 2012, but compared to the rest of the GOP he is performing well enough to still warrant top-tier consideration. While Christie has regained the lead in New Hampshire over Rand Paul, most of his drop-off in South Carolina and Florida appears to have gone to Jeb Bush. Conventional wisdom says that either Bush or Christie will run, but not both. Should Bush decided not to run, Christie has a large segment of the vote read to be won over.

Quinnipiac’s national poll showed that Christie is still considered more favorably with independents (+17)  than any other GOP candidate. Christie’s national polls now mirror other GOP candidates. His head-to-head standing with Clinton is very similar to Rand Paul, Mike Huckabee, and Jeb Bush.

The big worry for Christie is that he has lost the GOP base for good. The right was remarkably quiet during the media’s Bridegate assault and left him to fend for himself while the media tried to fan the flames in the aftermath. This doesn’t bode well for a potential nominee.

While Christie’s standing with independents is still the envy of other Republicans he now will likely need to sacrifice some votes in the middle in order to win the nomination. It now appears that Christie may need to take the Romney and McCain path, surrendering the middle to win the base. This is a route he had hoped to avoid and will make his path to the nomination and general election victory much tougher.


2014 Montana Senate Race


Recent Presidential Elections

2012 Presidential Election: Romney 55, Obama 42
2008 Presidential Election: McCain 50, Obama 47
2004 Presidential Election: Bush 59, Kerry 39
2000 Presidential Election: Bush 58, Gore 33

Montana Elected Representatives

Senate Delegation: Jon Tester (D – 2006), John Walsh (D- 2014)
House Delegation: 1 Republican
Governor: Steve Bullock (D – 2012)
State Senate: Republicans 29, Democrats 21,
State House: Republicans 61, Democrats 39

2014 Montana Senate race  Continue reading

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