Thursday polls: McCain leads big in Florida, Udall opens a lead in CO

The pace of polls certainly looks to have picked up after a big wave of surveys yesterday brought good news to Obama's campaign yesterday. Today's polls serve as a reminder that the presidential race remains close:

  • Fox News's national poll finds Barack Obama leading John McCain by a narrow 45% to 41%. In a four-way race, Obama's lead is 42% to 39% with 4% for Ralph Nader and 2% for Bob Barr.
  • Fox News included questions about which candidate "loves America" the most. These questions are silly enough that I see no need to include the results.
  • In Florida, Rasmussen found John McCain leading 47% to 39%. This is a slight improvement from McCain's 50% to 40% lead last month.
  • Obama's favorability is negative (46% to 48%) and 33% have a very negative impression of him, versus 21% for McCain (the Republican's overall rating is 50% to 46%).
  • Asked whether they think offshore drilling would lower oil prices, 61% of Floridians responded in the affirmative.
  • Finally, Colorado is a toss-up in the latest Rasmussen poll, as Obama leads 43% to 41% -- down from a 48% to 42% lead last month.
  • Here again Obama has a high very unfavorable rating (31%, against 18% for Obama) and his favorability rating has dropped to 50%.
Colorado is one of Obama's top targets and the fact that he has not trailed once in Rasmussen's 5 polls from the state confirms that he ought to target Colorado's 9 electoral votes. But after yesterday's two Florida surveys showing Obama leading by 4% and 5%, Rasmussen's poll is a reminder that, as long as the election remains tight, we will be seeing a lot of inconsistency in these big swing-states. While yesterday's polls should reassure Democrats that McCain has not locked Florida in his column and that this contest will remain competitive, Obama retains a number of disadvantages in the Sunshine state, which has been trending Republican over the past eight years and which resisted to the Democratic tsunami better than other states back in 2006.

These presidential surveys were accompanied by a fair number of congressional polls:

  • In Colorado, Rasmussen finds Mark Udall extending his lead over Bob Schaffer. He is now leading 49% to 40%.
  • In Kentucky, the McConnell campaign released an internal poll showing the incumbent with a 50% to 39% lead against "Democrat" Bruce Lunsford.
  • In one of the most hotly disputed Dem-held House seats, incumbent Nancy Boyda released an internal poll conducted by Anzalone Lizst that finds Boyda crushing her two potential opponents, 54% to 37% against former Rep. Jim Ryun and 57% to 27% against state Treasurer Lynn Jenkins. It goes without saying that you should take this poll (and any internal poll) with a huge grain of salt.
  • The poll also finds McCain beating Obama by 7% in a district Bush carried by 20%.
  • Finally, SUSA released two congressional polls from Washington State. In competitive WA-08, Rep. Dave Reichert is holding off on his Democratic challenger Darcy Burner 51% to 45%. This is a rematch of a 2006 race which Reichert won 51% to 49%.
  • In WA-02, a district Kerry won by only 4%, Rep. Larsen leads 56% to 38%, confirming that the Democrat is safe in this district the GOP could hope to contest in better conditions.
In Colorado's open gubernatorial race in 2006, Democrat Ritter unexpectedly opened an early lead against his highly-touted Republican opponent and never looked back, easily carrying the election in November after a campaign that was never truly competitive. This was certainly a reflection of how toxic the environment was for the GOP. The same exact pattern held in Minnesota's open Senate race, and Democrats were expecting Mark Udall to enjoy similar success this year. But the race has remained very tight, giving Republicans hope that all is not lost. It is only in the past two months that Udall has opened up a somewhat consistent lead, boosted by the bad press Schaffer has gotten over corruption issues and even ads he ran. Keep an eye on polls over the summer: If Udall maintains a lead, we might be in for a repeat of the CO and MN races from 2006 and the NRSC would probably abandon Schaffer to his fate.

As for Kentucky, this is the second time that McConnell is releasing an internal poll immediately after an independent survey found a competitive race. The first was in late May after Rasmussen found Lunsford leading him by 5%. This one is a response to a SUSA survey released earlier this week with McConnell up 4%. Both of McConnell's internal polls have found the same result -- 50% to 39% -- and it is telling that this is being spun as reassuring numbers by the incumbent. For the Senate Minority Leader to be hovering on the vulnerability threshold of 50% is certainly cause for worry and should encourage the DSCC to look closely in Kentucky's direction.

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