While more attention will undoubtedly get paid to the presidential numbers today (including nearly a half-dozen new state polls that broke over the weekend), there are two sets of numbers downballot that ought to command quite a bit of attention, both with real implications for the battle for the balance of power in the United States Senate.
If it is true that Claire McCaskill has dug herself out of a hole in Missouri, and it is true that little-known state legislator Deb Fischer is about to teabag her way to the GOP Senate nomination in Nebraska, those would potentially be two additional blows for the GOP in their quest for a Senate majority. And, as anyone who reads this Wrap and the other offerings at Daily Kos Elections already knows, the GOP has taken plenty of blows on that front in the past few weeks.
First, the numbers:
PRESIDENTIAL GENERAL ELECTION TRIAL HEATS:
NATIONAL (CBS News): Romney d. Obama (46-43)DOWNBALLOT POLLING:
NATIONAL (Gallup Tracking): Obama d. Romney (46-45)
NATIONAL (Rasmussen Tracking): Romney d. Obama (48-44)
GEORGIA (Landmark/Rosetta Stone): Romney d. Obama (51-40)
MAINE (Critical Insights): Obama d. Romney (50-42)
MICHIGAN (Glengariff Group): Obama d. Romney (45-40)
MINNESOTA (SurveyUSA): Obama d. Romney (52-38)
NEW YORK (Siena): Obama d. Romney (57-37)
AR-04--D (Talk Business/Hendrix College): Q. Byrum Hurst 23, Gene Jeffress 22, D.C. Morrison 11A few thoughts, as always, await you just past the jump ...
AR-04--R (Talk Business/Hendrix College): Tom Cotton 51, Beth Anne Rankin 33, John Cowart 6
IN-SEN (Global Strategy Group for Donnelly): Joe Donnelly (D) 40, Richard Mourdock (R) 40
MO-SEN (Mellman Group for Majority PAC): Sen. Claire McCaskill (D) 44, Todd Akin (R) 39; McCaskill 46, John Brunner (R) 38; McCaskill 45, Sarah Steelman (R) 36
NE-SEN--R (We Ask America): Deb Fischer 39, Jon Bruning 34, Don Stenberg 18, Sharyn Elander 4, Pat Flynn 3, Spencer Zimmerman 2
NY-SEN (Siena): Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D) 59, Bob Turner (R) 25; Gillibrand 60, Wendy Long (R) 26; Gillibrand 60, George Maragos (R) 25
NY-SEN--R (Siena): Bob Turner 15, Wendy Long 12, George Maragos 6
WI-GOV (We Ask America): Gov. Scott Walker (R) 52, Tom Barrett (D) 43
5:08 PM PT: The Polling Wrap was updated shortly after it published to Daily Kos Elections to reflect the new CBS national poll. Please note that this is a "panel-back" poll. Simply put, this is a re-interview of folks who were already surveyed in April by CBS. It also has one hugely curious underlying stat: a one-point gender gap. According to this sample, women favor Romney, albeit by just two points. That should invite, one would think, some pretty hefty skepticism.
- If the poll conducted by the (Democratic-affiliated) Mellman Group, and the poll conducted by the (GOP-affiliated) We Ask America are on the fairway, the GOP might be suffering another two shots in their quest to attain a Senate majority. The general consensus (admittedly fueled in part by polling from the House of Ras) was that Claire McCaskill was in deep trouble, and might have moved into position as the most vulnerable Democrat in the Senate. This poll, while it has her quite a ways below 50 percent, puts her in modest leads, no matter the GOP candidate that emerges from their primary later this year. Meanwhile, if W.A.A. is correct, we are on the cusp of a major upset in Nebraska, where the state attorney general and the state treasurer appear poised to fall at the hands of an uber-conservative state senator who was polling in the single digits not too long ago. This could be outstanding news for the Democrats, who must defend a brutal open seat here with former Sen. Bob Kerrey. Kerrey polled best against Fischer in the general election trial heats to date. However, those polls were conducted when she was a distant third wheel in the GOP primary, and one has to wonder if the increased visibility that has come with her rise into contention has also changed her general election prospects, as well.
- In another indicator of how the Senate landscape has changed, a new poll for Democratic Senate contender Joe Donnelly in Indiana shows him deadlocked with newly-minted Republican standard bearer Richard Mourdock, who easily dispatched incumbent Sen. Dick Lugar last week. Now, one could make the argument that only being tied in your internal polling is hardly a sign of strength, but the poll was conducted since last Tuesday's primary win, when Mourdock would presumably be enjoying the afterglow of a huge primary win. "Afterglow" might be the wrong word, though, when you consider that the GSG poll had Mourdock with favorabilities that were underwater (Donnelly was less well known, but had better net favorability ratings).
- Meanwhile, Mitt Romney gets his best set of state numbers in a long while, with a double-digit lead in Georgia (where the Landmark/Rosetta poll claims that Barack Obama's statement on same-sex marriage may be extracting a high cost), coupled with new polls that show him within striking distance (although still down modestly) in Maine and Michigan. However, those incrementally rosier numbers are offset by the fact that new numbers also show Romney getting smooshed in New York (not a surprise) and Minnesota (not a surprise, either, except that the margin actually exceeds Obama's 2008 margin of victory).
Worth noting: Even with these pretty amenable state polls, Mitt Romney is still not running the 10-15 points ahead of John McCain's 2008 margins that the Rasmussen tracking poll insists he is pulling off nationally.
- We Ask America also delves into the Wisconsin recall, and finds Scott Walker up by nine. But one number there raises my eyebrows a bit: In their write-up of their poll, W.A.A. notes that Walker only leads Barrett by three points (48-45) among independent voters. That means, I suppose, that either (a) there are way more Republicans than Democrats in the sample, or (b) Walker is doing dramatically better with Democrats than Barrett is doing with Republicans. Anyone on the ground in Wisconsin care to assess this one? Are either, or both, of those assumptions legitimate?