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A relatively quiet opening to the week on the political polling front, but a big headline first thing in the morning kicks off our coverage this week.

Last week, in our elections panel at Netroots Nation in Providence, I noted that the dearth of polling being released by the campaigns in the special election to replace the retiring Gabby Giffords in AZ-08 led me to conclude that the race was a coin flip. PPP, this morning, hints that I may be wrong. Propelled by a mammoth lead with early/absentee voters, PPP has Democrat Ron Barber staked to a double-digit lead over Republican Jesse Kelly. But there is not an undisputed conclusion.

More on that later. First, the numbers:

PRESIDENTIAL GENERAL ELECTION TRIAL HEATS:

NATIONAL (Gallup Tracking): Romney d. Obama (46-45)

NATIONAL (Rasmussen Tracking): Romney d. Obama (47-44)

NATIONAL (TIPP for Christian Science Monitor and Investors Business Daily): Obama d. Romney (46-42)

NORTH DAKOTA (Mason Dixon): Romney d. Obama (52-39)

DOWNBALLOT POLLING:
AZ-08 (PPP): Ron Barber (D) 53, Jesse Kelly (R) 41, Charlie Manolakis (G) 4

ND-AL (Mason Dixon): Kevin Cramer (R) 49, Pam Gulleson (D) 35, Eric Olsen (L) 4

ND-AL—R (Mason Dixon): Kevin Cramer 60, Brian Kalk 21

NY-SEN (Siena College): Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D) 63, Bob Turner (R) 25; Gillibrand 65, George Maragos (R) 23; Gillibrand 65, Wendy Long (R) 22

NY-SEN—R (Siena College): Bob Turner 16, Wendy Long 11, George Maragos 3

SD-MAYOR (SurveyUSA): Bob Filner (D) 46, Carl DeMaio (R) 43

A few thoughts, as always, await you just past the jump ...

  • PPP most definitely turned heads with their poll this morning, the only public poll to date that has examined the special election to replace outgoing Democratic Rep. Gabby Giffords in AZ-08, which will be rechristened AZ-02 when the new maps are implemented for November. PPP gives Democrat Ron Barber, the former district director for Giffords, a very solid lead over Republican Jesse Kelly, who nearly defeated Giffords in the Republican landslide election of 2010. Most notably, the poll showed Barber thumping Kelly among early/absentee voters, with a margin well north of 20 points. This was a sample that looked pretty amenable to Democrats: The sample favored Obama in 2008, whereas the district was actually carried by John McCain modestly in that year. There was also some near-immediate pushback from anonymous Democratic sources, who said their private polling had the race considerably closer. Whether that was a legitimate complaint about the PPP poll, or merely an effort to avoid complacency and game expectations, will be answered at around this time tomorrow, I suppose. Neither campaign, for what it is worth, has released numbers on their own.
  • Rarely do I post mayoral numbers, but the new SUSA numbers out of San Diego are intriguing for two reasons. For one thing, they show that former GOP assemblyman Nathan Fletcher (who ran, and took third, as an independent candidate) really had become post-partisan, in terms of his support. Slightly more of his support, it appears, went to the Democrat (Rep. Bob Filner) than the Republican (Carl DeMaio). That, and huge support for Filner among supporters of 4th place finisher Bonnie Dumanis, propelled Filner into a tiny lead. He trailed DeMaio slightly during the count on Election Night one week ago.
  • Other than those two intriguing polls, the rest of the data today was pretty much par for the course. We still see the lack of cohesion between those daily trackers and standard national polling. We still see Democrat Kirsten Gillibrand lapping an extremely undefined field of Republicans in New York. And we still see the GOP with a solid, though not dominant, edge in North Dakota, a fact which might give more credence to those Mason-Dixon numbers last week for Democrat Heidi Heitkamp. If the M-D poll had also showed Pam Gulleson on the cusp of a lead, or a tight race between Romney and Obama, I might've been willing to discount the poll as unduly optimistic. But these numbers fall right in the range of what one would expect to see from the Peace Garden State (yes, that really is one of its nicknames). Bad news, perhaps, for Obama and Gulleson. Great news, however, for Heidi Heitkamp.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Elections on Mon Jun 11, 2012 at 05:00 PM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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