Poll update: When Wyoming becomes a (congressional) battleground

The Rules and Bylaws committee is about to convene, and it is remarkable that the Democratic primaries have made a meeting about party rules must-see political spectacle. It will take a few hours to figure out what decision -- if any -- comes out of the committee, so for now let's start with the day with a look at the latest polls. I never thought the day would come when I would lead a poll update post with a survey from Wyoming, but a Research 2000 poll released yesterday is certainly noteworthy:

  • In the open and at-large House seat currently held by Republican Rep. Cubin, Democrat Gary Trauner narrowly leads Republican Cynthia Lummis, 44% to 41%. Among independents, Trauner leads 58% to 32%.
  • In the presidential match-up, John McCain is leading Obama 53% to 40% in a state Bush triumphed in 2004 69% to 29%. Obama has the narrowest of leads among independents.
There are many signs that the GOP is in trouble in the Mountain West and that the Republican brand is suffering in many states in which the party is used to dominate. Wyoming is too red a state for Democrats to have a chance at the presidential level, but a Trauner victory would be a shocking development that seems very much in reach. Keep in mind that at-large congressmen positions are often stepping-stones for statewide office, either the governorship or the Senate, so a House victory by Trauner could cost the GOP a Senate seat down the line (see North Dakota, for instance, where the entire congressional delegation is made up of Democrats).

Meanwhile, three general election polls were released yesterday by three different polling institutes:

  • In Wisconsin, SUSA found Obama ahead of McCain 48% to 42% in its latest installment of VP match-ups. Obama leads McCain by 17% among independents. When vice-presidents are included, the range varies though there is little surprising that cannot be explained by name recognition.
  • In California, the all-important Field Poll finds both Democrats leading McCain by 17%: 52% to 35% for Obama and 53% to 36% for Clinton.
  • In Washington, the Elway poll finds Democrats leading as well, 44% to 38% for Obama and 41% to 36% for Clinton. 74% of Clinton supporters would vote for Obama, which is certainly a decent number.
No surprises in those match-ups, except perhaps the fact that Obama does not run stronger than Clinton in Washington. After all, the Pacific Northwest is a region in which Obama typically runs better than Clinton. Also, the latter poll suggests that Washington State is not quite as secure for Obama as some have been suggesting. It is true that Obama's appeal will be strong here, but the McCain campaign believes that it, too, can find a way to woo Washington independents. As for California, there have been some polls in recent weeks that have found a single-digit race but most surveys found McCain lagging far behind. This is key, for Democrats cannot afford to waste any time and money defending the Golden State without which they have no electoral path to the White House.

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