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I'm willing to make an educated guess here—Democrats are probably kicking themselves in the arse a little bit today as they gaze upon the Lone Star State.

You see, tomorrow, in all probability, the GOP will forsake (yet again!) their more well-funded and "more electable" general election candidate, in favor of a candidate who prays at the altar of ideological purity.

It is this kind of party purge via primary process which gave the Democrats victories in perilous races in Delaware, Nevada, and Colorado last time around. It is that same dynamic that has made Indiana a legitimate pickup opportunity for the Democrats this time around, as Democratic Rep. Joe Donnelly finds himself facing teabagging state treasurer Richard Mourdock rather than an Indiana institution in (sooner to be former) Sen. Dick Lugar.

Alas, in Texas, tomorrow's Democratic Senate runoff pairs a poorly-funded former state legislator and a Some Dude who last name is the same as a famous former Texas politico. It is hard not to see tomorrow's GOP runoff as tantamount to election, barring an incredibly dramatic change in circumstances.

Alas, a missed opportunity. On to the numbers:

PRESIDENTIAL GENERAL ELECTION TRIAL HEATS:

NATIONAL (Democracy Corps—D): Obama d. Romney (50-46)

NATIONAL (Gallup Tracking): Obama tied with Romney (46-46)

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

MISSOURI (Mason Dixon): Romney d. Obama (51-42)

OHIO (Magellan for Opportunity Ohio—R): Obama d. Romney (45-43)

DOWNBALLOT POLLING:
HI-02—D (Mellman Group for Gabbard): Tulsi Gabbard 37, Muffi Hannemann 32, Esther Kia'aina 7, Bob Marx 7

MO-SEN (Mason Dixon): John Brunner (R) 52, Sen. Claire McCaskill (D) 41; Sarah Steelman (R) 49, McCaskill 41; Todd Akin (R) 49, McCaskill 44

MO-SEN—R (Mason Dixon): John Brunner 33, Sarah Steelman 27, Todd Akin 17, Other Candidates 4

NC-07 (Public Opinion Strategies for Rouzer): Rep. Mike McIntyre (D) 44, Dave Rouzer (R) 40

OH-SEN (Magellan for Opportunity Ohio—R): Sen. Sherrod Brown (D) 45, Josh Mandel (R) 38

TX-SEN—R (Baselice and Associates for Dewhurst): David Dewhurst 48, Ted Cruz 43

TX-SEN—R (PPP): Ted Cruz 52, David Dewhurst 42

WI-SEN (Rasmussen): Tammy Baldwin (D) 45, Eric Hovde (R) 42; Baldwin 48, Mark Neumann (R) 42; Baldwin 48, Tommy Thompson (R) 41; Baldwin 47, Jeff Fitzgerald (R) 37

WI-02—D (Greenberg Quinlan Rosner for Pocan): Mark Pocan 50, Kelda Roys 21, Matt Silverman 4, Dennis Hall 2

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

The campaign of Texas GOP "establishment" candidate David Dewhurst (the well-funded state lieutenant governor) gamely released a poll at the last showing him still up by five over Ted Cruz, but there are few people who expect Dewhurst to hang onto the lead he forged during the first round of primaries in late May.

Dewhurst's campaign, intriguingly, is claiming their polling is superior to that of Cruz because they are assuming that the runoff will bring out voters who did not participate in the primaries two months ago. Given that runoff turnout is usually a fraction of those primaries, this seems to be a bit of wishful thinking.

What propelled this "upset"? As much as anything, the elongated process in Texas worked to Cruz's favor. Dewhurst, you might recall had a lead in the high single digits back in May. But there was an nine-week interim period, which was more than enough time for Cruz to rally support, and continue to crack the perception that Dewhurst's nomination was inevitable. It also gave the right-wing interest groups ample time to mount a serious effort for Cruz, especially when one considers that July is the quietest month in the primary schedule. In other words, there was not a lot of other high-priority races sucking up oxygen at the same time as the Cruz-Dewhurst runoff was ramping up.

It'll still likely to be close: Dewhurst spent a mint trying to win it, and he did get the endorsement of the 3rd and 4th place finishers. But the entirety of the momentum seems to be with Cruz, and when you see right-wing groups like Club for Growth already taking curtain calls, and Dewhurst supporters doing postmortems under the aegis of anonymity, it doesn't look good for the former frontrunner.

In other polling news...

  • It is reasonable to assume that Wisconsin Democratic Senate frontrunner Tammy Baldwin could have received some kind of comparative advantage due to the fratricidal Republican primary brewing in the Badger State. But Rasmussen wants you to believe that it has cost (former?) GOP frontrunner Tommy Thompson a total of more than 20 points in the span of a month. Man, even when they give Democrats good news, it is hard to consider the House of Ras to be anything approaching credible...
  • The new Mason-Dixon poll out of the Show-Me State is an unyielding buffet of suck for Democrats. Not only does the poll show Barack Obama now trailing in a 2008 coin flip state by nine points (with Mitt Romney north of 50 percent), it also shows that the competitive GOP primary in Missouri for the U.S. Senate has not paid a Badlwin-esque dividend for incumbent Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill. She currently trails all three Republican comers, by margins ranging from 5-10 points. There is still time on the clock, however, and one can hope that an flamethrowing close to the GOP primary might put McCaskill closer to parity. While this poll was particularly pessimistic (and some in our community consider Mason-Dixon to be a bit GOP friendly, on balance), it is hard to find a poll of recent vintage that looked good for McCaskill.
  • A heads-up courtesy of the Twitter feed of our pals at PPP: they will be releasing Senate and Presidential numbers in Florida later this week. And if their tweets are any indicator, look for (slight) edges for both Barack Obama and incumbent Sen. Bill Nelson in the Sunshine State when PPP's numbers drop. They also hint at comparably pessimistic numbers in blue-state Connecticut, where they did reveal only a single-digit edge for the president.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Elections on Mon Jul 30, 2012 at 05:00 PM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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