Category Archives: Polls

An Eclectic Collection of Mid-October Polls: Reliable?

More mid-October polls are now public from races across the nation, many from unfamiliar survey firms or sources. Below are several of the most notable with an analysis as to the believability of the results:

GA-2: Lester & Associates (10/7-10; 500 GA-2 voters for the Sanford Bishop campaign)

Rep. Sanford Bishop (D) …… 50%
Mike Keown (R) ………………. 40%

Rep. Bishop released his internal poll after GOP challenger Keown’s late September Public Opinion Strategies survey posted him to within one point. This is a heavy African-American district, meaning a loyal Democratic base. A low black turnout is Keown’s only chance to come through on Election Day.

IL-10: We Ask America (10/15; 1,148 likely voters; automated)

Bob Dold (R) ……….. 50%
Dan Seals (D) ………. 39%

This race has been a bit of a mystery ever since the February 2nd primary. Just last week another poll (Penn Schoen – 10/2-7) went public showing Democratic nominee Seals to be holding a similar 49-37% advantage. We Ask America has conducted sporadic polls in several states. Their reliability track record is virtually unknown. Best guess: the race is a toss-up. Dold must have a favorable turnout model to achieve victory. Though the district has elected a Republican congressman for more than 30 consecutive years, the voting trends here lean Democratic in other races.

MN-1: Survey USA (10/12-14; 584 likely voters; automated from a pool of 800 registered MN-1 voters)

Rep. Tim Walz (D) ……….. 47%
Randy Demmer (R) ………. 42%

Survey USA has reported many polls this election cycle that have been out of the mainstream, and tending to favor Republicans. In this case, however, the poll results seem reasonable. Though state Rep. Randy Demmer is being heavily outspent by two-term incumbent Tim Walz, the district can certainly elect a Republican. Former Rep. Gil Gutknecht, for example, held the seat for twelve years, winning in the GOP landslide year of 1994 and losing in the 2006 Democratic sweep. If 2010 becomes a wave, this district could yield another surprise.

PA-7: Franklin & Marshall College (10/5-11; 471 likely PA-7 voters; live telephone interviews)

Pat Meehan (R) ………… 34%
Bryan Lentz (D) ……….. 31%

PA-8: Monmouth University (10/11-13; 646 likely PA-8 voters; automated)

Mike Fitzpatrick (R) ……………. 51%
Rep. Patrick Murphy (D) ……… 46%

Two college polls with differing degrees of reliability. The Franklin & Marshall survey period is extended, thus making the results less accurate. The fact that the undecided factor is still so high as the race becomes better defined also raises questions. The spread – Meehan leading, but his margin tightening – is consistent with many other surveys.

The Monmouth poll appears to be tighter, even with the automated format. This result is very consistent with other data that shows former Rep. Fitzpatrick to be leading beyond the margin of error in his attempt to regain the seat he lost to Congressman Murphy four years ago.

Government Image Dragging Down Dems

The Democrats are clearly headed for a rough mid-term election, and one of the fundamental reasons for their downturn was uncovered by a late September Gallup study released just yesterday. According to their survey of 981 adults on Sept. 20-21, 72% of the respondents answered with a negative term when asked to describe their impression of the federal government. Only 10% reported having a positive view of our national institutions. (See Gallup poll)

The four topical areas of discontent centered around the government’s perceived inefficiency, its expanding size, ineptness, and corruption stemming from within, according to the Gallup analysis. This poor image of government, at a time when Democrats have widely expanded its institutions and authority, is contributing mightily to the majority party now being perilously close to losing control of the House and facing diminishing numbers in the Senate.

Gallup also found that the federal government came in ahead of only oil and gas companies on their list of industry preference rankings, and behind lawyers and pharmaceutical companies, in addition to the real estate, healthcare, and banking industries which helped make up the most negative sector of their chart. The computer and food industries dominated the top of the graph, with the two industries securing all five of the most positive positions.

Those Wacky, Crazy Illinois Polls

Three pollsters just simultaneously surveyed the Illinois statewide political landscape and came up with decidedly different results. Suffolk University, Market Shares Corp. for the Chicago Tribune, and Public Policy Polling were all in the field from Sept. 23 – Oct. 3. In the Governor’s race, both Suffolk and Market Shares actually found embattled Gov. Pat Quinn (D) to be reclaiming the lead over state Sen. Bill Brady (R), after trailing for several weeks. Suffolk projected Quinn’s best margin; a 43-37% result. Still, an incumbent in the low 40s is a poor sign, and this is the top number for the Democrat who replaced impeached Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D) and barely won the Democratic nomination in February. Market Shares gives Quinn only a 39-38% advantage. Public Policy Polling, coming in with numbers more in line with other recent studies, gives Republican Brady a 42-35% lead.

The Senate numbers are similar. Market Shares finds state Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias (D) leading Rep. Mark Kirk (R) by just two points, 38-36%. Suffolk and PPP have Kirk ahead. Suffolk scores it 42-41% for the Republican and PPP finds Kirk’s advantage to be a mere four points, 40-36%. With companion polls forecasting different leaders, these two races are still anybody’s game with less than a month of campaign time remaining. Watch for a photo finish in both for both Governor and the Senate.

Meek’s Support Among Democrats Grows in Florida

The Florida Senate race continues to unfold as one of the most interesting three-way political campaigns of all time.

Right now, polling suggests that Republican Marco Rubio has a significant lead over Republican-turned-Independent Gov. Charlie Crist and the Democratic nominee, Miami Congressman Kendrick Meek. Crist led for the two months preceding the Democratic primary, and then the tables turned. Now that Rep. Meek is becoming better known statewide, a large segment of the Crist Democratic vote is beginning to return home. Thus, as Meek gains support, Crist loses it, and Rubio continues to unify conservatives and tick upward. Therefore, in order to position himself with a chance to win, Meek must first overtake Crist and hope for a roughly even split among the three candidates. Theoretically, such a mix could elect a Democrat against a Republican and former Republican.

Ohio Takes Shape

Two new surveys were released yesterday covering the Ohio Senate and Governor’s races with both pollsters coming to almost identical conclusions.

The CBS News/New York Times poll of 1,114 adults, 973 of whom were registered voters and 941 who characterized themselves as likely to participate in the November 2nd election, was conducted during the September 23-27 period. An Ipsos/Reuters poll (9/23-25; 600 registered OH voters; 440 of whom are likely to vote in the upcoming general election) was simultaneously in the field.

Both polls show former Bush Budget Director and Congressman Rob Portman opening up a large lead over Democratic Lt. Gov. Lee Fisher, while Gov. Ted Strickland has battled back into a draw with GOP former Rep. John Kasich.

The fact that two separate polls, conducted during the same time period, would draw exactly the same conclusions on these two diverse races actually confirms the accuracy of both polls. Particularly when considering last week’s data, it is clear that Rob Portman now has a substantial lead in the Senate race and could be close to finishing off his opponent, while both candidates in the Governor’s race are still very much alive.

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