But the one polling headline that might be worth remembering next week is a pair of GOP internal polls that hint that California may not be the treasure trove of pickups for the Democrats that everyone thinks. The reason: Two nominally Democratic seats may be more competitive than we thought.
On to the numbers:
PRESIDENTIAL GENERAL ELECTION TRIAL HEATS:
NATIONAL (Gallup Tracking): Obama d. Romney (48-44)DOWNBALLOT POLLING:
NATIONAL (Rasmussen Tracking): Obama d. Romney (47-46)
CALIFORNIA (Pepperdine Univ. School of Public Policy for the California Business Round Table): Obama d. Romney (52-33)
FLORIDA (SurveyUSA): Obama d. Romney (48-43)
NORTH CAROLINA (National Research for Civitas Institute—R): Romney d. Obama (49-48)
PENNSYLVANIA (Rasmussen): Obama d. Romney (48-44)
CA-SEN (Pepperdine Univ. School of Public Policy for the California Business Round Table): Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D) 49, Elizabeth Emken (R) 30A few thoughts, as always, await you just past the jump ...
CA-24 (Public Opinion Strategies for Maldonado): Rep. Lois Capps (D) 48, Abel Maldonado (R) 46
CA-47 (Probolsky Research for DeLong): Alan Lowenthal (D) 44, Gary DeLong (R) 41
FL-SEN (SurveyUSA): Connie Mack IV (R) 48, Bill Nelson (D) 42
OH-SEN (Rasmussen): Sen. Sherrod Brown (D) 46, Josh Mandel (R) 42
WA-SEN (SurveyUSA): Sen. Maria Cantwell (D) 51, Michael Baumgartner (R) 40
When the commission-drawn map for California's 53 House districts was released last year, the immediate, and essentially universal, reaction was that any roadmap to the majority for the Democrats had just been made more plausible. Gains out of the Golden State seemed inevitable, and some even speculated that the Democrats could gain as many as five or six of the seats they needed in California alone.
That optimism has been tempered dramatically over the course of this year. The June primaries, while not necessarily reflective of a November electorate, were nevertheless pretty disappointing for the Democrats. The biggest blow was the fact that a multi-candidate Democratic field wiped out any Democratic prospects in a swing district (the Inland Empire's 31st District) when the two Republicans in the mix made the top two slots, earning a spot in the general election.
Elsewhere, Democratic candidates seemed to perform under expected totals in a number of districts. It was easy, however, to chalk that up to a primary electorate that was among the smallest in recent history.
But two new polls, in districts that were generally assumed to be leaning to the Democrats, show very close races. Yes, these are both polls taken on behalf of the Republican candidates, but given where the primary numbers were, these don't feel like they are out of realm of possibility. So, now, it would seem, we wait to see if the Democratic campaigns in question offer a retaliatory data strike sometime next week. If they stay silent, as we often point out, that is usually pretty telling.
In other polling news:
- It was a tad too lengthy to cite in the upper half of the Wrap, but Pepperdine University's School of Public Policy has gotten into the polling game, with an extensive survey of November's California ballot propositions, a poll conducted on behalf of the California Business Round Table. There is now a marked gap between the competing tax measures on the ballot this November. The proposal being promoted by Gov. Jerry Brown (dubbed Proposition 30) has a pretty solid lead thus far: 56 percent currently support it, while 39 percent oppose it. The competing measure to Brown's, promoted by Molly Munger, is dubbed Proposition 38. It currently trails by a sizable margin: 35 percent would currently vote yes, while 54 percent would vote no. Worth noting: This is a poll conducted online. Historically, we've found YouGov to be an online pollster that can find the fairway. But for every YouGov, there's a Zogby Interactive (which, for those of you scoring at home, seems to have morphed into something called "JZ Analytics"). So, salt this poll accordingly.
- Meanwhile, it must be said—that new SUSA poll in Florida is just a funky one. For most of the cycle, incumbent Democratic Senator Bill Nelson ran a little bit better than incumbent Democratic president Barack Obama in the Sunshine State of Florida. Then, for the last month or so, Nelson and Obama's numbers have tracked fairly closely, with Obama's numbers maybe a point or two better, at most. Now, if you're buying stock in this SUSA poll, Barack Obama is eleven points stronger than Bill Nelson? If true, something has caused Bill Nelson's support to just crater, and I cannot imagine it is the juggernaut of campaign greatness that is Connie Mack IV. Florida peeps—what gives? Bad poll, or bad incumbent?
- If having a seven-day tracker was designed by Gallup to smooth out wild swings in support, something went off the rails to close this week. It has been decidedly rare, since Gallup switched to the seven-day model, to see a 4-point swing in a single day. But that is exactly what we got today, as Barack Obama goes from a dead-even battle to a lead of four in just one day. My guess, and it is just that—a guess, is that a bad Obama dropped off at the exact same time a decent one popped on. That, or Obama had a monster night last night for no clear and discernible reason. Rasmussen also put Obama back in the lead, albeit by just a single point. However, a lead from the House of Ras for Obama is rare enough lately to be worth noting, I suppose.