With the presidential race in a bit of a holding pattern (especially with most of us waiting a few days to see what sea change, if any, emanates from the president's historic announcement on Wednesday), today's Wrap discussion will focus on the Senate.
Markos noted earlier this week that the conventional wisdom on where the balance of power in the Senate will come to rest after November has shifted markedly. Whereas once a Republican majority post-2012 was a foregone conclusion, a series of shifts in key races (case in point: the Mourdock nomination in Indiana) have put some races back into contention.
However, champagne corks should remain unpopped: not only are victories in those shifting races still far from guaranteed, but there are also some Democratic races that everyone presumed would remain in the "D" column that are right on the edge of concern. Two of those races had polls drop today that underscore that point: Ohio and New Jersey. Democrats are still the betting favorites in both, but neither incumbent is likely to feel very comfortable right now.
On to the numbers:
PRESIDENTIAL GENERAL ELECTION TRIAL HEATS:
NATIONAL (Gallup Tracking): Romney d. Obama (47-44)DOWNBALLOT POLLING:
NATIONAL (North Star Opinion Research for Resurgent Republic--R): Obama d. Romney (49-42)
NATIONAL (Public Religion Research Institute): Obama d. Romney (47-38)
NATIONAL (Rasmussen Tracking): Romney d. Obama (49-45)
OHIO (Quinnipiac): Obama d. Romney (45-44)
WASHINGTON (SurveyUSA): Obama d. Romney (50-36); Obama d. Romney and Ron Paul (40-27-20)
FL-18 (Frederick Polls for Murphy): Patrick Murphy (D) 45, Rep. Allen West (R) 45A few thoughts, as always, await you just past the jump...
MA-SEN (MassInc): Elizabeth Warren (D) 43, Sen. Scott Brown (R) 41
NJ-SEN (Fairleigh Dickinson): Sen. Robert Menendez (D) 42, Joseph Kyrillos (R) 33
(2013) NYC-MAYOR (Quinnipiac): Christine Quinn (D) 48, Ray Kelly (R) 33; Bill DeBlasio (D) 46, Kelly 34; William Thompson (D) 46, Kelly 34
OH-SEN (PPP): Sen. Sherrod Brown (D) 45, Josh Mandel (R) 37
OH-SEN (Quinnipiac): Sen. Sherrod Brown (D) 46, Josh Mandel (R) 40
TX-SEN--R (Perception Insight for a pro-Dewhurst SuperPAC): David Dewhurst 57, Ted Cruz 16, Tom Leppert 12, Craig James 4
WI-GOV (Rasmussen): Gov. Scott Walker (R) 50, Tom Barrett (D) 45
- A trio of Senate races saw new polling releases today, and all of them are within single digits. That the race between incumbent GOPer Scott Brown and Democrat Elizabeth Warren in Massachusetts is a coin flip should surprise absolutely no one. However, Ohio is clearly tightening, with both PPP and Quinnipiac showing Republican challenger Josh Mandel drawing ever closer to Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown. And, in a poll that should surprise a lot of folks, a new FDU poll out of New Jersey shows freshman Sen. Robert Menendez with a decidedly unimpressive 42-33 lead over his little-known GOP challenger, state legislator Joseph Kyrillos. There have now been more than a dozen Senate races in this cycle with at least one poll showing a competitive race in the single digits. Anyone claiming that they have a solid grip on the direction of the Senate come 2013, it must be said, is dreaming a little bit.
- Meanwhile, two national polls, both of which show Barack Obama with solid leads, highlight the presidential end of Thursday's edition of the Wrap. The Resurgent Republic poll is particularly intriguing, because it is a GOP-affiliated organization finding the Republican nominee down seven points. Plus, if you click on the polling memo, you find that there were some attempts to frame the poll with some economic questions prior to the trial heat. To no avail: not only does Obama do quite well in the survey, but the Democrats also lead the Congressional generic ballot test by five points in the poll (45-40). President Obama, meanwhile, also does well in a new poll conducted on behalf of the Public Religion Research Institute. Among the more interesting findings there, as the Chicago Tribune noted earlier today, is the fact that Mitt Romney runs eleven points behind George W. Bush's 2004 numbers among evangelical voters (though he still holds a mammoth 68-19 lead with that segment of the electorate).
- At the statewide level, in the name of being reality-based, I have to give the House of Ras a bit of credit. I more or less mocked their finding the other day that Ron Paul would drain votes equally from Barack Obama and Mitt Romney. Yet, in Washington state, SurveyUSA finds the exact same thing. Without Paul in the mix as an Indie candidate, Obama leads Romney by fourteen points. With Paul added to the ballot, the lead actually is cut to thirteen points, with Paul taking a rather eye-popping 20 percent of the vote.
- I noted in the intro that the community of elections junkies are eagerly anticipating the polls in several days which will tell us the impact, if any, of the president's decision to state his support for marriage equality. If you can't wait that long, check out this exceptional bit of analysis from our own community on this question. It aggregates a year's worth of polling on the matter. A must-read.
- Finally, one poll that didn't make the cut above the fold because of the vague nature of the information. For those who had "Smoky Joe" Barton on your potential casualty list in TX-06, a new (internal?) poll out today from Shaw and Associates would seem to disabuse anyone of that notion. Barton, according to the poll, leads a multicandidate Republican field with 62 percent of the vote. Texas holds its primaries at the end of this month.