News and Notes: Following up Previous Posts

McConnell Replies

You may remember last week that Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell’s campaign manager launched a public attack on the Public Policy Polling survey research firm when they published numbers showing the senator with only a 37:55 percent favorability index. Though the PPP numbers showed his popularity at a low point for any incumbent senator, McConnell still maintained consistent 47-43 percent leads over actress Ashley Judd, Attorney General Jack Conway and Lt. Gov. Jerry Abramson. The latter two have already ruled out a 2014 senatorial run.

Yesterday, the senator’s campaign released their internal Voter/Consumer Research poll taken during the Dec. 10-13 period. Interestingly, though the McConnell team disparaged the PPP results, their own data projects him to be leading Judd by exactly the same 47-43 percent margin. What is vastly different, however, is the Minority Leader’s approval rate among the voters of his home state. While PPP forecast him in hopelessly upside down job approval territory, the Voter/Consumer Research poll posted him to a 51:40 percent favorable to unfavorable ratio.

Obviously, the 2014 Kentucky Senate race will draw a great deal of national attention, particularly if Ms. Judd actually decides to run, but the first two very different, yet similar, survey conclusions have already given us some surprising returns.

Scott Brown Special Numbers

With Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry (D) now nominated to replace Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State by Pres. Barack Obama, a special election will be held in order to choose someone to serve the balance of his current term. The seat comes in-cycle during 2014, so the special election winner will immediately be forced to turn around and run in the regular election. With that in mind, the MassINC polling firm tested defeated Sen. Scott Brown (R) against several potential Democratic special election candidates. Brown has not said he will run in the hypothetical special, but also has not ruled out a future run for political office.

The early numbers look good for Brown, a rather strange situation for a person who was defeated at the polls just last month. Against sitting Gov. Deval Patrick, who has said repeatedly he will not be a senatorial candidate, Brown leads 47-40 percent; paired with the person he defeated in the 2010 special election, Attorney General Martha Coakley, the Republican has a 51-36 percent advantage; against lesser known House members, Brown enjoys spreads of 51-24 percent, 48-30 percent, and 47-28 percent against Reps. Stephen Lynch (D-MA-8), Ed Markey (D-MA-5), and Mike Capuano (D-MA-7), respectively.

Brown also has the option of running for governor in 2014, where Republicans have enjoyed much better success. Gov. Patrick, who is eligible to seek a third term, has not indicated whether he will run for re-election. Regardless of what people decide, Bay State politics will be attracting a great deal of attention in the next few weeks and months.

Hawaii Update

Hawaii Democratic Party chairman Dante Keala Carpenter says the party apparatus will complete its role in the senatorial replacement process by Dec. 28. Under state election law, the political party of the vacating incumbent must submit three names to the governor, from which the Hawaii chief executive chooses the eventual replacement. Carpenter pledges to send the three names to the state capitol during the last week of December so that Gov. Neil Abercrombie (D) can replace the late Sen. Daniel Inouye (D) in time for the beginning of the new congressional session on January 3rd.

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