Daily Kos Affiliated Pollster Projects GOP Wins in AK, CO, IL, PA, WA; CA "Tightening"

Posted: Nov 01, 2010 11:40 AM
Some encouraging final numbers from PPP, Daily Kos' polling firm whose president is a major Democratic donor:

Alaska Senate: Joe Miller is favored heading into the final two days of the US Senate campaign in Alaska. 37% of voters say they'll pick him while 30% plan to vote for Scott McAdams and another 30% plan to write in Lisa Murkowski.

Colorado Senate: The Senate race in Colorado continues to look like it will be one of the closest in the country on Tuesday night. PPP's final poll there finds Ken Buck ahead of Michael Bennet by the slimmest of margins, 49-48.  Each candidate has his party base pretty much sewn up. Bennet is winning 87% of Democrats and Buck is winning 86% of Republicans. Giving Buck his slim lead is a 50-46 advantage among independents.

Illinois Senate & Governor: Republicans continue to lead the races for both Governor and Senator in Illinois, albeit by close margins. Mark Kirk is ahead of Alexi Giannoulias 46-42 for the state's open Senate seat and Bill Brady is ahead of Pat Quinn 45-40 for Governor.  Independents are leaning strongly toward the GOP. Kirk leads Giannoulias 46-31 with them and Brady has a 45-27 advantage over Quinn with them.  Republican voters are much more unified around their candidates this year than Democrats are. 87% of GOP identifiers are planning to vote for Kirk while only 78% of Democrats are planning to vote for Giannoulias.

Pennsylvania Senate & Governor: In the Senate race Pat Toomey leads Joe Sestak 51-46 and in the race for Governor Tom Corbett is up 52-45 on Dan Onorato. The story here is an inordinate number of Democrats unhappy with Barack Obama -- and voting Republican because of it. The President’s approval rating within his own party is only 73% in Pennsylvania, with 21% of Democrats disapproving of him. Those Democrats unhappy with Obama are leaning strongly Republican, planning to vote for Toomey by a 68-23 margin and for Corbett by a 69-25 spread.

Washington Senate: Every time PPP has polled the Washington Senate race this year it's found the race to be within 2 or 3 points and our final poll there is no exception. But there is one twist- for the first time we find Dino Rossi leading Patty Murray, by a 50-48 margin. The most worrisome number for Murray within the poll, beyond her small overall disadvantage, is that among voters who say they've already returned their ballots Rossi's advantage is wider at 52-47.

Another noteworthy item in the final PPP numbers is an apparent tightening of both major California races:

The contests for Senate and Governor in California have tightened over the final week of the campaign, although the Democratic candidates still retain the lead in both races. Barbara Boxer is up 50-46 on Carly Fiorina for the Senate, while Jerry Brown is ahead of Meg Whitman by a 51-46 margin for Governor.

Boxer leads despite posting atrocious approval numbers in this final poll at 40% of voters happy with her job performance and 50% displeased. Fortunately for her Californians aren't real enamored with Fiorina either- only 42% rate her favorably to 44% with a negative opinion. Boxer's position right now might be a lot more perilous if she had drawn a stronger opponent.

The formula for winning as a Republican in a deep blue state is to get about 20% of the Democratic vote to cross over and to rack up a large advantage with independents. Fiorina is winning only 12% of Democrats and actually trails Boxer by a 50-46 margin with independents. She'll have to outperform her poll numbers on both of those measures Tuesday to have a chance at winning.

Color me deeply skeptical of the premise that Barbara Boxer, whose job approval rating sits at a paltry 40 percent, leads among California independents. CNN/Time's latest poll, for instance, shows an eight-point edge for Fiorina in this demographic.  PPP's throwaway analysis that Boxer could be in real trouble if she faced a "stronger opponent" is silly.  Carly Fiorina is the strongest California GOP Senate candidate in recent memory and has run an outstanding race.

UPDATE: A Republican operative with who's been tracking the California Senate race very closely emails with a response to the PPP data:

1) There's a good chance, based on voting we've seen already, that they're undersampling Rs: http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2010/10/early-voting-numbers-in-california-close-races-ahead/65452/

2) This is a 5-point drop for Boxer in a week, from a DEMOCRAT firm.  That is in and of itself dreadful.

3) They are WAY oversampling Latinos. Many pollsters expect about 15% of the electorate will be Latinos.  Including the LAT poll people.  Here is what Derry Sragow, who does the LAT poll, said on KTTV (Fox LA) said on October 25, "The number of Latino voters in the election will be 15% to 16%."

I agree with you on the independents point, but that's based more on anecdotal evidence than anything else...