Daines Up in Montana; Hayworth Rebounding in NY; Oklahoma Tightens

Montana Senate

Two new Montana polls were just released into the public domain, and both portend similar results.

According to Public Policy Polling (July 17-18; 574 registered Montana voters), Rep. Steve Daines (R-MT-AL) holds a 46-39 percent advantage over appointed Sen. John Walsh (D). Both men record similar job approval ratings. Sen. Walsh, who was appointed in early February to replace veteran Sen. Max Baucus (D) after the latter had accepted President Obama’s offer to become US Ambassador to China, tallies a 38:37 percent favorable to unfavorable job approval rating. Freshman Rep. Daines is in virtually the same position, though finding himself one point upside down, 39:40 percent.

An internal Harstad Strategic Research poll for the Walsh campaign (released July 17; number of respondents not provided), gives the freshman congressman a 43-38 percent edge over the appointed senator. Though the job approval numbers are much different from PPP’s – this is common because Public Policy Polling skews negative across the board on job performance questions – Daines scores a 49:36 percent favorable to unfavorable ratio, while Sen. Walsh posts an equally sound 47:32 percent score.

Both polls confirm the conventional wisdom about this race: that Rep. Daines is the favorite and maintains a small but discernible lead for the general election. For the Republicans to achieve their goal of winning the US Senate majority, Montana remains as a must-win race.


In 2010, ophthalmologist Nan Hayworth (R) defeated sitting two-term Rep. John Hall (D-NY-19) in that Republican landslide year. Two years later, in a redrawn and re-numbered 18th District, attorney Sean Maloney returned the seat to the Democratic column by ousting Hayworth. Now, the former congresswoman is attempting a comeback.

So far, the re-match has generated little in the way of national attention, but the competitive nature of the district makes it obvious that the 2014 campaign will end in a close result.

According to a new Gravis Marketing survey (July 17-19; 523 registered NY-18 voters), Hayworth has jumped out to a 44-40 percent lead over freshman Rep. Maloney. The favorability ratings for both candidates is similar, yet Maloney’s is surprisingly slightly better even though he trails on the ballot test.

Gravis finds the incumbent with a 37:34 percent favorability ratio, and Hayworth with a 41:40 percent. Neither are particularly strong scores, so we can expect a flurry of negative advertising to be unleashed before the Nov. 4 vote. Such is the common strategy when one’s own favorables aren’t particularly high.

Oklahoma Governor

Rasmussen Reports detects that Gov. Mary Fallin (R) may not have as easy a run for re-election as originally forecast. Their new Oklahoma survey (July 15-16; 750 registered Oklahoma voters) detects only a 45-40 percent lead for the incumbent over state Rep. Joe Dorman (D).

The surprisingly small Fallin lead could be related to bad publicity coming her way in light of rocky relations with state legislative leaders over many bills she chose to veto. With the state being so fundamentally conservative, however, expect Gov. Fallin to re-establish a dominant position in the race once the general election campaign hits full stride.

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