Wow, a guy leaves town for a couple of days to beat the Thanksgiving travel crunch, and a bunch of pollsters figure that would be a dandy time to test the 2010 landscape. Sheesh!
In other words, there is quite a bit in the campaign inbox to clear.
MA-Sen: Pair of Polls Give Coakley An Edge, Capuano Clear Second
Two polls released over the course of the past few days confirm two trends a few weeks in advance of the Democratic primary to replace the late Senator Ted Kennedy. One trend has been there since the inception of the race: state Attorney General Martha Coakley is the clear frontrunner. The second trend is a new one--Congressman Michael Capuano is now the undisputed leading challenger to Coakley. The Boston Globe poll over the weekend had Coakley sitting at 43%, with Capuano at 22%. Trailing the leaders were businessmen Steve Pagliuca (at 15%) and Alan Khazei (at 6%). This poll was quickly followed by a Rasmussen poll which had the race somewhat closer: with Coakley at 36% and Capuano at 21%. They had Khazei even with Pagliuca, though both trailed Capuano clearly at just 14% of the vote. The primary is on December 8th.
MA-Gov: Patrick Still Leads, Even According to Rasmussen
Though they claim a narrowing margin, even the GOP-friendly pollsters at Rasmussen have incumbent Democratic Governor Deval Patrick staked to a lead as the 2010 election cycle rolls onward. The survey gives Patrick modest leads against either Republican challenger. Against 2006 Independent candidate Christy Mihos, the GOP candidate runs 3rd (26%), behind both Patrick (32%) and Democrat-cum-Independent state Treasurer Tim Cahill (28%). Against businessman Charlie Baker, the Republican runs second, but the Democrat's lead increases incrementally (33-28, with 26% for Cahill). Patrick registers low job approval (34%) in the poll, according to Rasmussen.
AZ-Gov: Dem Goddard Leads GOP Incumbent, According to 2 Polls
A pair of polls released in the Grand Canyon State confirm that Democrats have a solid chance of claiming a governor's race in Arizona, where incumbent Republican Governor Jan Brewer trails the likely Democratic nominee: state Attorney General Terry Goddard. In the new survey done by Arizona State University, the Democrat holds a nineteen-point edge (47-28) over Brewer. Rasmussen, perhaps not surprisingly, has it considerably closer: saying that Goddard leads Brewer by a narrower nine-point margin (44-35). Rasmussen also claims that Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, should he run as a Republican, would lead Goddard by double-digits.
WI-Sen: Feingold With Solid Leads Over GOP Contenders, Says PPP
An oasis of good polling news can be found in Wisconsin, where the team over at PPP reports that even if GOP dream candidate Tommy Thompson leaps into the race, three-term Democratic Senator Russ Feingold is a solid bet for re-election. Feingold has a nine-point edge on Thompson (50-41) according to the poll, while Feingold has even larger leads over more likely GOP challengers Terrence Wall (48-34) and Dave Westlake (47-32). PPP also teased that they will be releasing results on the competitive and open gubernatorial race on Friday.
NV-Gov: New Poll Says Sandoval Leads In A Possible 3-Way Matchup
This should not register as a surprise, but if Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman (a registered Democrat) elects to make an Independent bid for Governor of Nevada, it will make it much easier for Republican Brian Sandoval to be elected governor. Such is the lesson of a new poll conducted for the Nevada News Bureau, which gives Sandoval 35% of the vote, with Goodman trailing with 28% and Reid further back at 21% of the vote. Goodman has not finalized any 2010 plans, although the general speculation out of the state has been that if he runs for Governor, it will be as an Independent rather than as a Democrat. The polling outfit involved made one pretty surprising omission: they did not test a matchup between Goodman, Reid, and the current incumbent GOP Governor, Jim Gibbons.
ND-Sen: Zogby Poll For Right-Wing Client Claims GOP Pickup Possible
According to a poll conducted by Zogby on behalf of their conservative clients (the League of American Voters, described last week by Pollster as a right-of-center group opposed to Health Care Reform), Democratic Senator Byron Dorgan could be vulnerable to a challenge from the state's three-term Republican Governor, John Hoeven. The poll claims that Hoeven leads Dorgan by nineteen points (55-36). It also points out, though, that if Hoeven does not run, Dorgan should cruise--he leads Naval veteran Duane Sand (who has run statewide several times) by thirty-two points (60-28).
FL-12: Could the Dems Pick Up A GOP Open Seat? New Poll Says Yes
It is an internal poll (so, as always, apply as much salt as you deem necessary), but there are new numbers out of Central Florida's 12th Congressional District which imply that Democrats could have a fighting chance to pick up the seat held for most of the last decade by GOP Congressman Adam Putnam.
The poll, conducted by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner, claims a lead of four points for Democrat Lori Edwards in her challenge against Republican state legislator Dennis Ross. Putnam is leaving Congress at the age of 35 in order to pursue a race to be Florida's next state Agriculture Commissioner.
IN POLITICAL NEWS....
- Virginia 2009: A new study of the 2009 election in Virginia shows that voter turnout, when measured as a percentage of eligible voters, ticked up a bit higher in 2009 than it was in 2005 (among registered voters, this year's turnout was below 2005). This indicates that a Democratic dip in turnout was also accompanied by some level of a GOP voter surge, which might do well to explain the dramatically different electorate in the state in 2009 versus...say...2008.
- 2010: The Governors: In the battle to create a dominant theme for the 2010 Elections, Nathan Daschle of the Democratic Governors' Association is calling his shot early. Daschle is eyeing the 2010 group of GOP contenders/pretenders (which include names like Gingrich-era Congressmen Bill McCollum, Scott McInnis, Rick Lazio and Sam Brownback) and says that they represent "a throwback rather than a comeback." In a piece for the Huffington Post, Daschle writes:
The so-called "GOP Comeback" is not just a return to the failed ideas of the past, it's a return to the failed leaders of the past. The roster of candidates starring in the Comeback include lackluster has-beens."
He also points to the GOP civil war as reaching into the gubernatorial campaigns, citing Colorado (where, alas, there was a rumor this week that Tom Tancredo might be backing off of his plans to run for Governor) and Iowa.
- CT-Sen/CT-Gov/CT-05: Connecticut GOP chair Chris Healy has been a busy boy this week. The field has magically cleared down to two candidates in the once-crowded primary to battle Democratic incumbent Chris Dodd for his US Senate seat. As was widely predicted (and reported) last week, state legislator Sam Caliguiri moved out of the Senate race and into a challenge of sophomore Democratic Congressman Chris Murphy (a former Simmons staffer, Justin Bernier, was already in the field, and is pretty ticked off by Healy's interference in the race). Then, on Tuesday, it was confirmed that former ambassador Tom Foley was also looking at parachuting out of the Senate race, in favor of a gubernatorial campaign.
- Houston Mayoral: Over the weekend, one of the more interesting races left in the 2009 cycle got a potential game-changer as openly gay Houston city controller Annise Parker beat out former city attorney Gene Locke for the endorsement by the city's largest paper, the Houston Chronicle. The runoff in the race will be on December 12th. Parker lead Locke by five points in the first round of balloting earlier in the month.
- NY-23: Now that he has finally conceded the 2009 election for the third time (or, at least, we're pretty sure he has), it looks like we will have Doug Hoffman back for a return engagement in 2010, after all. Though Hoffman did not confirm it directly, he seems likely to run the next time around as a Republican, having already been the de facto GOP nominee in 2009.