Public Policy Polling just released its new survey of the Michigan electorate (March 2-4; 702 registered Michigan voters) and, after showing Gov. Rick Snyder (R) with poor job approval ratings (a 37:54 percent favorable to unfavorable ratio), the survey shows Detroit Congressman Gary Peters (D-MI-14) to be the Democrat with the best potential to unseat the one-term incumbent. According to their data, Peters would lead Snyder 44-37 percent in a hypothetical ballot test question. At the current time, no challenger from either party has announced an official campaign for governor.
When paired with the man he beat 58-40 percent in 2010, Gov. Snyder trails Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero 38-43 percent. Finally, against former Rep. Mark Schauer (D-MI-7), who was defeated in 2010 after serving one term in office, the potential challenger leads this ballot test, too, but by a smaller 40-36 percent.
Though these numbers clearly show that Snyder has political weakness, he is far from moribund status for next year’s re-election contest. Single-digit leads change frequently, and polling more than 19 months from the election doesn’t mean a great deal. Still — and even more so when considering Michigan’s voting history — the numbers do yield trends and they reasonably tell us to expect a competitive statewide campaign in 2014.
Though Snyder’s job approval is poor, such a conclusion must also be qualified. PPP tends to poll this question in a way that typically registers negative job approval responses for almost every public official. Even here, the very Democratic potential candidates who lead Snyder in their latest poll, also produce upside down favorability ratings about themselves.
Bernero scores a 20:26 percent ratio when asked if the respondents have a favorable or unfavorable opinion of him. This result is actually a bit worse than the spread Continue reading >
Rep. Tom Latham (R-IA-3) announced yesterday that he will not seek the open Iowa Senate seat next year. His decision is not particularly surprising. Iowa insiders had been indicating for more than a week that the 10-term congressman was leaning against launching a statewide bid.
In publicizing his decision, Latham indicated that he had just been re-elected to the House in a much different post-redistricting CD — in fact, 83 percent of the constituents are new to him — and a two-year statewide campaign would take him away from properly fulfilling his current responsibilities.
Politically, though he was commonly seen as the best general election candidate the Republicans could field, he faced a major obstacle in the GOP primary. Rep. Steve King (R-IA-4), fresh from his own convincing re-election victory over a strong and well-known Democratic opponent, commands the inside track to the Senate nomination. King is backed with vigorous Tea Party support and enjoys strong grassroots presence for his Republican nomination campaign, which are major factors.
Late January and early February polling provided us a quick glimpse into how the Continue reading >
A new Public Policy Polling survey (Feb. 15-17; 1,011 registered Montana voters; 371 “usual” Democratic primary voters) shows clear vulnerability for Senate Finance Committee chairman Max Baucus (D-MT). The senator, first elected in 1978, is preparing a run for a seventh term next year. Prior to his service in the Senate, Baucus spent four years in the US House of Representatives.
While the senator’s numbers aren’t particularly strong, he fares much worse against individuals unlikely to challenge him. Former Gov. Brian Schweitzer (D), who has repeatedly said he has no intention of running for the Senate, compares very well to Baucus if he were to oppose him in the Democratic primary. According to the survey results, the ex-two-term governor would bury the veteran federal incumbent 54-35 percent. Schweitzer’s personal favorability index registers a strong 56:37 percent positive to negative. In contrast, Sen. Baucus’ job approval ratio is an upside down 45:48 percent.
Three Republicans are highly competitive with the senator, but at least two of them won’t become candidates. Former Gov. Marc Racicot (R) leads Baucus 47-42 percent. Freshman Rep. Steve Daines (R-MT-AL) enjoys a 49-44 percent margin over the incumbent. Newly elected Attorney General Tim Fox (R) trails Baucus only 43-46 percent.
When paired individually against the two Republicans who have announced a campaign for the Senate — ex-state Senate Minority Leader Corey Stapleton and state Rep. Champ Edmunds — Sen. Baucus re-establishes healthy leads. He tops Stapleton 45-38 percent, while posting a full 10-point advantage over Edmunds, 47-37 percent. Continue reading >
Two different pollsters tested the Georgia electorate about their new open Senate race (Sen. Saxby Chambliss retiring) and came away finding that one party’s strongest candidate is someone who shows no interest in running.
Both Harper Polling (Feb. 11-12; 939 registered Georgia voters; 375 Republican primary voters; 338 Democratic primary voters) and Public Policy Polling (Feb. 15-18; 602 registered Georgia voters; 366 Republican primary voters) found that Democratic former Sen. Max Cleland, who served one term from 1997 to 2003 (he lost his 2002 re-election to Sen. Chambliss 46-53 percent), would defeat all potential Republican nominees if he were to run in 2014. The former senator, now 70 years old, has given no indication that he is contemplating a political comeback, however.
Tested against the four Republican US representatives who have either entered the race or are considering such, Harper projects that Cleland would place ahead of Continue reading >
The MassINC Polling Group (Feb. 11-13; 498 registered Massachusetts voters) surveying for WBUR Public Radio in Boston, the New England region’s largest NPR affiliate, reveals a major tightening of the special US Senate Democratic primary contest between Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-MA-8) and Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA-5).
Contrasting with a Public Policy Polling survey conducted Jan. 29-30 of 404 registered Massachusetts Democratic voters that showed Markey crushing Lynch 52-19 percent, the new MassINC study projects the Boston congressman pulling to within just seven points of the front-runner, trailing only 31-38 percent.
The MassINC poll has some structural flaws, i.e. the Democratic primary sampling universe’s size is not disclosed but must fall within a range of 270 to 304 respondents, most likely around the 284 figure. This is very low for a statewide primary survey, thus making their final conclusions less reliable.
Still, the MassINC findings do seem more plausible than the previous PPP study that staked Markey to a 33-point lead, a spread that seemed excessive so early in the process. Based upon the MassINC results it Continue reading >
Public Policy Polling recently surveyed a Louisiana (Feb. 8-12; 603 registered Louisiana voters) sampling group for purposes of testing three-term Sen. Mary Landrieu’s (D) re-election viability. What they found is a senator who leads all of her potential Republican opponents, but only by close or relatively close margins. Ironically, it is the individual most likely to run, Rep. Bill Cassidy (R-LA-6), who appears to be in the weakest position.
On the job approval front, Sen. Landrieu scores a very mediocre 47:45 percent positive to negative, but this is a big improvement over PPP’s last poll (August 2010) when she was upside down to the tune of 41:53 percent.
Perhaps the bigger news is how far Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) has dropped in popularity. Though Jindal has already removed himself from consideration for the Senate race, PPP Continue reading >
State Rep. Jason Smith, the Missouri House of Representatives’ Speaker Pro Tempore, was chosen Saturday as the Republican nominee for the June 4 special election called to replace resigned Rep. Jo Ann Emerson (R-MO-8). Earlier this month, the congresswoman left the House to become the president and CEO of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA).
Eighty-four of the 86 designated members from the 30 county Republican committees that comprise the 8th Congressional District, and 14 at-large voters, caucused in the small town of Van Buren to nominate a standard bearer. Smith won on the sixth ballot, defeating Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder and former state Sen. Jason Crowell. Ex-Missouri Republican Party Executive Director Lloyd Smith withdrew after the fifth ballot. Former one-term congressman Wendell Bailey was eliminated after three. Smith led the balloting in all six rounds and recorded 55 votes on the final vote, five more than he needed to claim the nomination. Neither Kinder nor Crowell ever topped the 20-vote mark.
Jason Smith, an attorney and farmer, is serving his fifth term in the state House, originally coming to the legislature via special election to fill a vacancy in 2005. He was unopposed in new District 120 last November. Born in St. Louis, the 32-year-old legislator moved to Dent County Continue reading >