There is a lot of polling in the Thursday edition of the Wrap, and little-to-none of it is bound to make Democrats terribly optimistic about the direction in which the 2010 election cycle is heading.
Sure, a lot of the less-than-charitable data comes from partisan sources. But even a couple of independent sources come up with data that shows Democrats in considerably bleaker positions than earlier data would seem to indicate.
That warning offered in advance, let's trudge forward with the Thursday edition of the Wrap....
THE U.S. SENATE
FL-Sen: Crist internal gives him (narrow lead), as he gains Dem nod
Given where public polling was on this race as recently as three weeks ago, it is hard to get a lot of confidence for Independent Charlie Crist based on the release of his own internal polling by Keith Fredrick. The new poll gives Crist a lead of just a single point, with Crist at 35%, Rubio at 34%, and Kendrick Meek well behind the pack at 17%. Crist did get some welcome news today, as he locked in a surprising endorsement in the form of state senator Al Lawson. Lawson just finished with a closer-than-expected primary challenge to Congressman Allen Boyd, one in which he challenged Boyd to his left. Lawson's defection is particularly notable, given that he is an African-American Democrat who is choosing Crist over Kendrick Meek, who is seeking to be the first African-American member of the U.S. Senate ever from the state of Florida.
KY-Sen: New Braun Research poll puts Paul back in the lead
Braun Research is back with their semi-regular survey of Kentucky on behalf of CN|2, and their assessment of the race has changed quite a bit in the past few weeks. After giving Democrat Jack Conway a one-point lead in their last survey, the pollster moves Republican Rand Paul back into the lead. The new numbers put Paul at 42% and Conway at 37%. The poll also decides to look ahead to 2011, where they find Democratic Governor Steve Beshear in position to get re-elected narrowly, as he leads Republican challenger David Williams by six points.
NY-Sen: Primary poll puts undecided in the lead...by a lot
In a sign of how pedestrian the Republican primary to challenge Senator Kirsten Gillibrand has been, half of the GOP electorate is still undecided with less than two weeks to go, according to the latest Quinnipiac poll of the Empire State. Former Congressman Joe DioGuardi paces the field with 28% of the vote, with David Malpass trailing at 12% and Bruce Blakeman in the third spot at 10% of the vote.
OH-Sen: PPP poll gives Portman a solid edge over Fisher
PPP's new poll out of the Buckeye State is a reversal of fortune from the previous PPP survey in the state. Republican Rob Portman has pulled out to a seven-point lead over Democrat Lee Fisher (45-38). Tom Jensen of PPP points to an interesting dichotomy among the undecideds: they voted for Obama in 2008 by a two-to-one margin, but have a net disapproval (40-46) of the President at this point. What direction will those folks head in November? This pattern could be repeated in races all over the country.
THE U.S. HOUSE
IA-03: Boswell gets key endorsement as Dems hammer Zaun
In agricultural Iowa, incumbent Democrat Leonard Boswell got a key endorsement in his dangerously close battle with Republican Brad Zaun in the swing 3rd district. Boswell won the endorsement of the Iowa Corn Growers yesterday. Meanwhile, Iowa Democrats have launched a hard hitting ad on Brad Zaun that goes after the Republican for a domestic incident in 2001 that recently came to light (for what it's worth, DMR columnist Kathie Obradovich is not a fan of the ad).
NY-23: Hoffman vows to fight until November
For those hoping for some delicious Republican infighting saving a tough seat for the Dems, you are about to get some love from a very familiar source. Doug Hoffman has now made it clear--if he does not win the Republican primary in a couple of weeks, he will continue onward to the general election as the nominee of the Conservative Party. Interestingly, the Tea Party that launched Hoffman to prominence in 2009 is making it clear that they may not go along for the ride in November if Hoffman decides to split the conservative vote yet again.
PA-12: GOP internal predicts GOP to snag Murtha seat in November
Democrat Mark Critz might have won the special election to replace John Murtha in May, but a new internal poll out from Public Opinion Strategies is claiming that Republican Tim Burns will claim the district on his second attempt in November. An internal poll from the NRCC claims that Burns is at 48%, with the newly-minted incumbent Critz five points back at 43%. The district is a swing district, one carried by both John Kerry in 2004 and John McCain in 2008 (a rarity, to be sure).
VA-05: The ugliest poll on Earth just got...uglier
Republicans crowed, and Democrats blanched, when a summer poll in the 5th district held by Democrat Tom Perriello from SurveyUSA showed the incumbent trailed by twenty-three points to Republican Rob Hurt. SurveyUSA is back in the Fifth, and the results are even worse. The pollster, which has been unrelentingly negative in its assessment of Democratic House candidates this year, has Hurt now at 61% of the vote, with Perriello well behind at 35%.
RACE FOR THE HOUSE: Ayers McHenry heads west, and the ugly continues
Consider the source (Republican pollster, partisan sponsor), but the third wave of House polls from GOP number-crunchers Ayers McHenry looks at the West, and the numbers for the Democrats there are almost universally awful. The pollster, looking at ten Democratic-held districts, has the GOP going 6-3-1 in trial heats for November. The standard caveats apply for internal polls, but the Colorado blog ColoradoPols uncovered another potential issue: the fact that the firm did not appear to poll more than the two major party candidates. In races with active teabagger candidates, that could actually matter in a close race.
AZ-01: Paul Gosar (R) 47%, Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (D) 41%
AZ-05: Dave Schweikert (R) 50%, Rep. Harry Mitchell (D) 44%
AZ-08: Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D) 46%, Jesse Kelly (R) 46%
CA-11: David Harmer (R) 45%, Rep. Jerry McNerney (D) 44%
CA-47: Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D) 45%, Van Tran (R) 43%
CO-03: Scott Tipton (R) 51%, Rep. John Salazar (D) 43%
CO-04: Cory Gardner (R) 50%, Rep. Betsy Markey (D) 39%
NM-01: Rep. Martin Heinrich (D) 49%, Jon Barela (D) 42%
NV-03: Joe Heck (R) 48%, Rep. Dina Titus (D) 45%
OR-05: Rep. Kurt Schrader (D) 44%, Scott Bruun (R) 36%
THE GUBERNATORIAL RACES
FL-Gov: Scott selects running mate for November
Rick Scott made an interesting selection today, giving the nod to African American Republican state legislator Jennifer Carroll as his choice for Lt. Governor. Besides the obvious gender and racial balance represented by Carroll is a potentially more important political consideration: Carroll had been a supporter of Bill McCollum during the recently concluded primary. The thaw between Scott and supporters of McCollum could be a long time in coming, as the vanquished foe is still very reluctant to support his fellow Republican.
MD-Gov: Dems pounce on Ehrlich union endorsement
It has become common practice for Republicans to pooh-pooh union endorsements of Democrats, arguing that such endorsements are the work of the "bosses" and not good rank-and-file teachers/officers/etc. Therefore, it is a tad ironic that a rare union endorsement of a Republican candidate has such transparent evidence of such top-driven influence. The Democrats are pouncing on the endorsement of Republican Robert Ehrlich by the Maryland Classified Employees Association. Democrats were lightning-quick to point out that the union's executive director is a former Republican state legislator, who is running for office as a Republican this year (and could probably use some love from the top of the ticket).
NY-Gov: Republican primary poll shows race still in the air
Rick Lazio has been the frontrunner for the GOP gubernatorial nomination throughout the 2010 election, but that might be changing at the last, according to the new poll from Quinnipiac. Lazio's lead is down to twelve points (47-35) over businessman Carl Paladino. Lazio is probably close enough to 50% to be comfortable, but his days of having a two-to-one lead over Paladino are pretty much over.
OR-Gov: Labor comes in big for Democrat John Kitzhaber
Oregon is one of those states where donors can drop big coin on their favored candidates: at one point earlier in the cycle, the majority of Republican Chris Dudley's take came from just two donors. Labor is starting to weigh in on the race. The latest example: the AFSCME, which dropped six figures ($100K) during August into the coffers of Democratic gubernatorial nominee John Kitzhaber.
TX-Gov: Even GOP internal polls have Perry sitting at 50%
As a sign of how potentially vulnerable incumbent Republican Rick Perry truly is, even internal polling for the GOP cannot put the incumbent over 50% in his re-election bid. That said, the poll conducted by Wilson Research Strategies for GOPAC does give Perry a sizeable edge, with Perry at 50% and Democratic challenger Bill White at 38%.
Not a ton of data from the House of Ras today, but it joins the rest of the numbers from their day in that unremittingly negative tone. Team Ras-sie put both Rick Scott (FL-Gov) and Dino Rossi (WA-Sen) out in front today. The only poll that can come close to being construed as positive for Dems is the relatively small lead for GOP incumbent Sean Parnell in Alaska.
AK-Gov: Gov. Sean Parnell (R) 53%, Ethan Berkowitz (D) 43%
FL-Gov: Rick Scott (R) 45%, Alex Sink (D) 44%
WA-Sen: Dino Rossi (R) 48%, Sen. Patty Murray (D) 46%