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Yep, so at this point the sheer mass of polling data is such that it is time for me to tiptoe back into the water. The fact that school has let out for the summer (though I am teaching summer school) helps out, as well.

So today, the Following the Polls series that I began back in 2006 makes its permanent return. It will start as a weekly series (Friday seems to be the logical day), and then it will become daily once we get past Labor Day.

And, week one of the series sees a big polling week, as there are 35 separate races that were polled this week. Head past the flip for all the numerical goodness.

First, to head off a likely counter to these diaries--Yes, yes...I know that a number of these diaries have been FP'ed throughout the week. I know. I. Can. Read. The point of this series is to put all the relevant polls in one place, and also to look for additional polls that you might NOT have seen already. Casey Kasem would say, on with the countdown...

AK-PRESIDENT: McCain (R) 45%, Obama (D) 41%
Rasmussen, presumably more interested in the Senate race, polls this race and finds it pretty close to toss-up status. This is one state where I could see a Bob Barr Libertarian bid really helping us. No Democrat running for President has been north of 40% here since...I dunno, Lyndon Johnson.

AK-SENATE: Sen. Ted Stevens (R) 46%, Mark Begich (D) 44%
One thing which gives a little more validity to the presidential numbers is the fact that this Rasmussen poll is probably the best numbers we have seen for Senator Stevens in months. That said, he is still underneath the 50% "doomed incumbent" threshold, and Begich is just getting his campaign warmed up.

CA-PRESIDENT: Obama (D) 53%, McCain (R) 41%
SurveyUSA polled here, and released it a few hours ago. Not as vast a margin as we saw in last month's Field Poll out of California, but a respectable edge nonetheless.

CO-PRESIDENT: Obama (D) 43%, McCain (R) 41%
Oddly, this Rasmussen poll is one of the few NOT to show a moderate-to-significant bounce for Obama since the beginning of June. This actually represents an erosion of a few points of Obama support since the previous poll in May. That said, this still looks like a state where the Democrats are better than 50/50 to snatch away a Bush '04 state.

CO-SENATE: Mark Udall (D) 49%, Bob Schaffer (R) 40%
Rasmussen hits this race as well, and they have a widening lead for the Democrats in the race to replace the retiring Wayne Allard. Call it a slight hunch, but I really don't think this race will be in single digits for long. Udall just seems to have a lot more horsepower than Schaffer here.

FL-PRESIDENT: Obama (D) 45.0%, McCain (R) 44.7% (3 polls)
A trio of polls here this week, with very disparate results. Rasmussen gives McCain an eight point edge (47-39), but that actually represents a bit of a bounce for Obama. Meanwhile, both Quinnipiac (47-43) and ARG (49-44) give Obama leads within the margin of error.

GA-PRESIDENT: McCain (R) 45%, Obama (D) 44%
InsiderAdvantage polls here (their polling outfit is apparently now going to be called "Poll Position"), and finds a result that I don't know if anyone in EITHER camp believes completely. One caveat--IA is one of the few outfits polling Barr as a third party option. In the state where Barr once served as a GOP congressman, this could be skewing the numbers quite a bit. That said, with Barr in the mix last time, McCain had a ten-point lead. So there is some real movement in the Peach State.

IA-PRESIDENT: Obama (D) 49%, McCain (R) 45%
Obama continues to lead in this Bush '04 state, according to SurveyUSA. That said, some of their demographic breakdowns were kind of absurd, including McCain carrying black voters in the state (both of them...j/k).

IN-GOVERNOR: Gov. Mitch Daniels (R) 49%, Jill Thompson (D) 49%
SurveyUSA polls here, and this is a weird one. They tested the strength of the candidates in a number of ways. The first, a traditional trial heat, had the outcome you see above. Later, they asked for the INTENSITY of voters on the race. When done that way, Daniels opened up a pretty substantial lead. Most recent polling has given Daniels a solid, but not overwhelming lead.

IN-09: Rep. Baron Hill (D) 51%, Mike Sodrel (R) 40%
This poll, done by SurveyUSA, has to be a bit of a blow for the GOP. This was considered one of their few Tier-One challengers. Sodrel is the former Congressman from the Ninth--indeed, this will be the FOURTH consecutive race in which the two have squared off. Hill holds an early lead, leading among both men and women in the district.

KS-02: Rep. Nancy Boyda (D) 54%, Jim Ryun (R) 37%
In another rematch race, the Democratic incumbent seems to be enjoying a solid edge. A CAVEAT--this is an internal poll, conducted for the Boyda campaign by Anzalone-Liszt. Always take polls with whatever measurement of salt suits you. But with internal polls, dump the entire shaker (more evidence of that later).

KY-PRESIDENT: McCain (R) 53%, Obama (D) 41%
Hmmm...SUSA polls here, and they tell us that perhaps Obama is not the anathema to "hard working White voters" that those that shape conventional wisdom seemed to insist upon. While being down twelve is not anything to celebrate, really, it does represent a closer race than either Gore or Kerry could scare up in 2000 and 2004 for the Democrats.

KY-SENATE: Sen. Mitch McConnell (R) 50%, Bruce Lunsford (D) 42.5% (2 polls)
Heh. This is kind of amusing. Once again, an independent pollster shows the race close (SUSA--which has the race at 50-46). Within 24 hours, and oh-so-coincidentally, the McConnell campaign gets Voter and Consumer Research (their internal pollster) to throw a poll out there showing a wider gap (in this case, 11 points--50 to 39). Either way, this is becoming a race the NRSC is going to hate itself for having to defend.

LA-SENATE: Sen. Mary Landrieu (D) 49%, John Kennedy (R) 33%
A CAVEAT--This is an internal poll, taken for the Landrieu campaign by the Mellman Group. This does contradict other recent polls, which had Landrieu leading, but by a considerably smaller margin. This is one of two legitimate targets (New Jersey is the other one) that the GOP can claim in this Senate cycle.

ME-PRESIDENT: Obama (D) 55%, McCain (R) 33%
Rasmussen polls here, and they underscore a particularly amazing truth: There are two states where electoral votes can be split. Rock-ribbed Republican Nebraska is, it would seem, much more likely to split its votes than Maine, a state long considered a swing state leaning only slightly in the Democratic column. Think about that--Nebraska is more competitive than Maine. Wow.

ME-SENATE: Sen. Susan Collins (R) 49%, Tom Allen (D) 42%
A race I diaried earlier this week: Congressman Allen is finally tightening the gap in a significant way against two-term Senator (and self-proclaimed moderate) Susan Collins. This is no small feat--Maine is a state that has, in recent history, really favored its incumbents at the federal level, with wins over 60% becoming the norm.

MN-PRESIDENT: Obama (D) 47%, McCain (R) 46%
This is the most likely outlier in the bunch, save for the IA Georgia poll. They only have a 35-30 spread between Democrats and Republicans. In a state like Minnesota, that is exceedingly hard to believe. Other recent polls have had the Democratic lead closer to 10-15 points. In related news, there are reports out today that MN Governor Tim Pawlenty is on the very short list for McCain's VP selection. Apparently, the GOPers are convinced that Pawlenty will deliver both Minnesota AND Wisconsin for the Republicans. For a guy that damn near was made extinct in his own re-eleciton bid just 20 months ago, that seems to be a pretty tall order.

MN-SENATE: Sen. Norm Coleman (R) 52%, Al Franken (D) 40%
The same SurveyUSA poll that gave us the surprisingly close Presidential numbers gives us this surprisingly large lead for the embattled incumbent. Earlier polls in the month had the race well within the margin of error.

NC-PRESIDENT: McCain (R) 45%, Obama (D) 41%
Civitas/Tel Opinion polls this state, and gives us yet another state that went easily for GWB in both 2000 and 2004 but appears to be incredibly competitive today. All recent polling in the Tar Heel State has Obama within the margin of error.

NC-SENATE: Sen. Elizabeth Dole (R) 48%, Kay Hagan (D) 38%
Dole has apparently kicked her general election campaign into a taller gear, as a series of polls (this one part of the Civitas/Tel Opinion series) have shown her moving back out in front beyond the MoE. Dole is still under 50%, though, and cannot be considered a heavy favorite for November.

NC-08: Larry Kissell (D) 45%, Rep. Robin Hayes (R) 43%
A CAVEAT--this is an internal poll, taken for the Kissell campaign by Anzalone-Liszt. Kissell is on most national target lists, and despite some fairly disappointing money numbers, he clearly is in much better shape than he was two years ago, when he almost nipped Hayes at the wire. His campaign has released several internals over the course of the last six months or so, all with Kissell either even or leading against the multi-term incumbent. Perhaps more telling--we have yet to see any polling from Hayes offering a rebuttal to the Kissell numbers.

NH-PRESIDENT: Obama (D) 50.5%, McCain (R) 39.0% (2 polls)
Perhaps, this twin billing of domination from Rasmussen and ARG will put to bed, at least for the time being, the notion that New Hampshire is SO in love with McCain that Obama will struggle to compete here. He seems to be competing just fine, scoring double digit leads over the Republican in both surveys.

NH-SENATE: Jeanne Shaheen (D) 53.5%, Sen. John Sununu (R) 39.5% (2 polls)
Bad week for Senator Sununu--he is trailing by double digits in both the Rasmussen and ARG polls released during the week, and one of the political newspapers of record (Roll Call) likens his candidacy to that of former Sen. Rick Santorum, who never really managed to be competitive in his 2006 re-election bid against Casey.

NH-GOVERNOR: Gov. John Lynch (D) 65%, Jim Kenney (R) 21%
ARG polls the governors races, as well (alas, no House races). Once Manchester mayor Frank Guinta demurred from a bid for the statehouse, this race ceased to be competitive. Lynch is on his way to yet another win by 40% or more.

NV-PRESIDENT: McCain (R) 45%, Obama (D) 42%
Rasmussen released this one this morning. I find it a bit tough to believe that Georgia is closer than Nevada...but, that is what the numbers are telling us. Mason-Dixon polled her a bit earlier, and got almost the exact same result.

NY-PRESIDENT: Obama (D) 51.0%, McCain (R) 32.5% (2 polls)
The New York Times and Siena University both poll the Empire State, and get nearly identical results. This represents a nice bump from Obama, who led in most NY polls in the past couple of months by somewhere between 8-14 points.

OH-PRESIDENT: Obama (D) 47.0%, McCain (R) 41.7% (3 polls)
A trio of polls out of the Buckeye State, with results that range from a McCain squeaker (Rasmussen: 44-43) to an Obama wipeout (PPP: 50-39). Quinnipiac middles the numbers, giving Obama a respectable six-point lead (48-42).

PA-PRESIDENT: Obama (D) 52%, McCain (R) 40%
Quinnipiac hits this as part of their swing state series (along with Florida and Ohio). They have Obama winning this one with room to spare. How long before the pundit class stops declaring this a major pickup opportunity for McCain??!!??

PA-11: Lou Barletta (R) 47%, Rep. Paul Kanjorski (D) 42%
A (BIG-ASS) CAVEAT--This is an internal poll, conducted for the Barletta campaign by Susquehanna Research. This one, to me, is a stretch, and believe it or not, it has nothing to do with party ID. Here is my rationale--Barletta (mayor of Hazelton, PA) has run against Kanjorski before, in the very Republican-friendly year of 2002. In that race, in a good GOP cycle, Barletta got cracked, losing by fifteen points. Now, I am supposed to believe that in 2008, where the climate for Republicans bit less comfortable, this guy now has a five-point LEAD? Sorry, I am not seeing it.

TX-10: Rep. Michael McCaul (R) 43%, Larry Joe Doherty (D) 34%
A CAVEAT--This is an internal poll, conducted for the Doherty campaign by Goodwin Simon and Victoria. There have been a number of polls (including one independent poll conducted by IVR) that have indicated that this race might wind up being closer than most folks think. McCaul at 43% is very bad news, if this campaign poll is to be believed.

VA-PRESIDENT: Obama (D) 46.0%, McCain (R) 44.5% (2 polls)
Both PPP and Rasmussen hit this race, and both give Obama a lead. Both races, however, are essentially ties, given the narrowness of the margins (two points and a point, respectively), and the margins of error. One thing is beyond question--Virginia is one of those battleground states for this cycle, after being relatively safe Republican territory for quite some time.

VA-SENATE: Mark Warner (D) 59.5%, Jim Gilmore (R) 30.5% (2 polls)
Rasmussen (60-33) has it a little closer than PPP (59-28), but both polls agree that this race is pretty much a non-starter (so does John Ensign, as I covered in a diary last week). The only question remaining is which will be the easier Dem pickup: Warner in VA or Udall in NM??

WA-02: Rep. Rick Larsen (D) 56%, Rick Bart (R) 38%
SurveyUSA gives us a few House races this week, and this is one of those races a lot of Republicans thought might be a sleeper. Bart is the recently retired sheriff of Snohomish County, and is a pretty well-known figure. Larsen starts off with a lead, but not a landslide. Bart's FEC report in July will be very interesting.

WA-08: Rep. Dave Reichert (R) 51%, Darcy Burner (D) 45%
SurveyUSA hits this race as well, and I am sure I am not the only one slightly disappointed in their findings. I had actually projected this as a leaning-to-likely pickup for the Democrats. Burner is polling about the same (actually, a point or two worse) than last time around. In fairness, though, those polls came a bit later in the summer.

WI-PRESIDENT: Obama (D) 52%, McCain (R) 43%
A squeaker for the Democrats in both 2000 and 2004, Obama seems to have staked himself to a nice early lead in the Badger State (a poll earlier this month had him with a 13-point lead here). According to some reports, McCain thinks that this state might be one of the Gore/Kerry states that they can pick off, which is why Pawlenty is under consideration for VP.

That's all (whew! I forgot how damned long these things took) for today. I'll see y'all next Friday.

Originally posted to Steve Singiser on Fri Jun 20, 2008 at 03:07 PM PDT.


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