Poll roundup: Missouri looks like a toss-up, and testing Sen. Roberts

Given how obsessively we have all been following the Clinton-Obama race for 18 months now, it is strange to think that we will soon go entire days without mentioning Clinton's name once or including her in blog posts. Here is a poll roundup post, for instance, with no survey testing Clinton's name! I am offering this little prelude to ease your way into this post-Clinton election season, one with new code words and constituencies to watch.

The first noteworthy poll of the day is CBS's latest national poll that shows Bush's approval rating has sank to 25%. I have never monitored the president's ratings nor will this be a recurrent feature, but this is the lowest number even attained by President Bush, who has now gone under Nixon's 26%. He still needs to beat Harry Truman and Jimmy Carter, however. The data's relevance to the general election is obvious. We all know that McCain has been able to distance himself from Republican woes surprisingly well and that he is quite possibly the only candidate his party could have nominated that would not automatically have sank because of the national environment. Yet, there is only so much that even a politician like McCain can do and the lower Bush's approval rating remains (or falls further) the hardest it will be for the Arizona Senator to mount a credible campaign over the next 6 months.

Second, we have a series of general election polls from important states:

  • Rasmussen released numbers from Missouri and finds Obama edging out McCain 43% to 42%. This is a great trendline for the Democrat, as he trailed by 5% last month and by 15% in March.
  • In Kansas, Research 2000 found McCain surprisingly low, leading 51% to 40%.
  • In West Virginia, finally, Rasmussen has a surprisingly tight race with McCain ahead 45% to 38%. Obama suffers from a disastrous approval rating (40% favorable, 58% unfavorable).
This is the second Missouri poll this week to show Obama edging out McCain, the first having been released by SUSA. This is a favorable turnaround for the Illinois Senator. As the trendlines of the Rasmussen and SUSA polls indicate, he had been trailing in the past few months -- by narrow margins, yes, but constantly enough to warrant my rating Missouri as a "lean McCain" state in my first electoral college ratings. With Florida potentially out of reach, Obama needs to demonstrate that he has an ample reach elsewhere and the Midwest looks within reach. Also, if Obama is able to be highly competitive in Missouri (something Kerry gave up on early), it speaks well of his chances in Ohio.

Finally, we close with two congressional polls from two races that clearly lean Republican:

  • In the Kansas Senate race, Research 2000's survey is now the second poll to find Senator Roberts in an unexpectedly competitive race. Sure, he leads former Rep. Slattery 50% to 38% but this is a very Republican state and a state almost no one has been talking about.
  • In OH-07, an open seat in which the top Democrat declined to run noting that chances of victory were too small, an internal poll conducted for Democratic candidate Neuhart finds him trailing state Senator Auria 41% to 35%. Bush won the district with 57%, so it is not as conservative as some of the other open seats Democrats won this spring.
  • However, this is definitely the type of poll meant to make a candidate look good (as a further question is asked after biographical information is read), so take the results with a grain of salt.
Such polls do have an effect on campaigns as they get the attention of national Democrats. With a Rasmussen poll and now a Research 2000 survey finding Roberts barely at the 50% threshold, Chuck Schumer will probably move to test the incumbent's vulnerability, commission a poll himself and see whether it is worth sending a few staffers. And with the decline of Minnesota as a pick-up opportunity, Democrats will be looking to expand the map even further to guarantee a large number of take-overs and keep open the (small but existent) possibility of a 60-seat majority.

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  • Obama's numbers in Missouri is great news! It seems that in Missouri the deep wounds from the Democratic primary have healed faster than other states, including democratic strongholds like Connecicut. As I have said in some my comments under other posts: If Clinton supporters are willing to back Obama in a moderate swing state, they will definitely back him in liberal states like CT, NY, NJ, and MA. I would still say that Missouri leans Republican because McCain's favorability rating is higher than Obama and the undecicded people in this poll would probably go for McCain.

    The West Virginia poll is very suprising. I would have thought that McCain would get over 60% of the vote based on Clinton's dominating win in the democratic primary. A clue to why this is so is that McCain has mediroce rating according to Rasmussen: 48% approve, 48% dissaprove. Plus West Virginians strongly despise President Bush despite him winning in 2004. It seems that McCain will win WV only because Obama is despised so much more than him (maybe because of racism?). This is also strong evidence that this state would have been completely safe for democrats if Clinton had been the nominee. I hope polls from Arkansas are relesed soon to see how bad Obama does in that would-be-safe-Clinton state.

    Obama will lose Kansas. Maybe he gets some points from his mother's ties, the governor's support, and some support from moderate Republicans but it won't be enough for a win. The senate race on the other hand is a bit more interesting. Roberts is dangerouly in the position that Dole was in except for the last few weeks: ahead by double digits but barely or under the 50% mark. I still think Roberts will be favored because he is the incumbent and he doesn't have the problems Dole does, but Schumer will probably put money in the race just to force the GOP waste money.

    Also on the Minnosota race, if a poll comes out showing Franken losing by 8 points or more to Coleman, I think the Democrats will try to push him out and make Cirsi the nominee, rather than give Coleman a pass. This race is just to tempting for the democrats to give it up, and Franken would definitely drop out if both the DFL and the national Democrats tell him he's unelectable. The only probablem is that a new nominee would be massive behind in fundrasing and would need the DSCC as a crutch.

    It is true that no matter how much Obama crushes McCain in Minnesota, Franken WILL lose if Democratic women abandon him.

    By Anonymous jaxx raxor, At 06 June, 2008 14:26  

  • More important are the internals from the Research 2000 out of KS:

    Under Independents, McCain is only leading by 5.

    they are tied among young voters.

    They are statistically tied among women (McCain 46 / Obama 44)

    They are statistically tied in CD-01.

    The party breakdown for the poll:

    GOPers: 45
    DEMs: 33
    IND: 22

    I am not sure if these numbers jive with the current registration stats for KS.

    According to the Kansas voter registration website, it is:

    GOPer: 45
    DEM: 27
    Ind: 27

    By Blogger Mark, At 07 June, 2008 08:24  

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