Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Five Weeks To Go

The Dems chances in the House improved with the Mark Foley perversion parade. It’s not just that seat which they now have a shot at, but the possibility of tarring the entire Republican Party with moral laxity. They not only knew about this guy’s activities last year and didn’t reveal anything, they left him as chairman of the subcommittee for protection of children – have they no shame? Okay, they don’t, but if the Dems can’t use this anywhere, they’re more inept than even I think they are.
As for the Senate, trends seem to be inching slightly toward the Dems, leaving the possibility of a takeover quite real.

RI- Basically unchanged, this race is one of the really tight ones. Mason-Dixon poll had Whitehouse up 42-41, so this race isn’t trending for anyone.

NJ- Three traditional polls in the last week of September – Mason-Dixon had Menendez up 44-41, Marist has Kean up 42-37, and Rutgers has Menendez 45-44. M-D has the biggest sample, but all-in-all, it’s hard to see a serious trend here, although taken together, one could assume Kean’s lead has shrunk, if not disappeared.

VA- This race is a battle between reality – news reports of Allen’s racism – and perception – Allen’s incredible advertising advantage, presenting him as a wonderful human being and Webb as a sexist pig. By incredible, I mean a money edge of about 10-1. In June, the reported cash on hand was $6.6 million for Allen, $450,000 for Webb. Since then, Allen has spent $3.5 million, Webb, next to nothing. If the Dems are serious about this seat they need to pour some cash into it -- now. That said, as wonderful as it would be to win this, there are some really tight racees where money could be imperative and clearly pay off. This is the advantage of incumbency, the ability to take bribes for six years...er, take “campaign contributions” for six years.

TN – Rasmussen has Ford up by 5, causing a celebration among the faithful, but Middle Tennessee State’s subsequent poll has Corker up by 1, so let’s put the victory parade on hold for now. The key here is that this is a far tougher campaign than the GOP has faced in this state in a while. It’s been a very long time since a southern GOP seat changed hands. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if it hasn’t happened since Reconstruction.

MO- One poll has McCaskill up by 1, the other has Tallent up by 1 – this is unpredictable. If TN is big because the Dems never take southern seats back, this is big because they have to start winning border and midwestern seats.

OH- Speaking of midwestern seats, here’s a biggie. Brown seems to be inching ahead and it would be a good takeaway. States like MO, OH, MN, and PA are states where incumbency is huge, since you get to raise a ton of money to defend the seat and put a lot of pressure on any challenger in a state where neither party has a big adavantage.

MT- This is here for consistency’s sake from last week’s post, but it’s looking more and more like Tester is taking control. What a strange state Montana has become politically – solidly Republican in Presidential races, yet with a Democratic Governor and possibly two Dems in the Senate.

A word on polling data – we take these numbers on their face, since there would be little to talk about without that. But Survey USA, which does the most polling, has an interesting anomaly. They poll by autodial with a prerecorded announcer asking the questions. Many people question the methodology, but in the 2004 races, they were at least as accurate as any other poll. The anomaly exists in the Latino vote. They have the Republicans winning a decided majority of the Latino votes nationwide – this would be earth-shaking if it were true. In VA, they have George Allen winning 75% of the Latino vote. Yes, it was only a 48 person sample, but 3-1? Here in California, they have Schwarzenegger getting 46% of the Latino vote (to Angelides 48%) – that ain’t gonna happen. They have Mountjoy getting 35% of the Latino vote against Feinstein – there is no reason why he should be getting any of it. Is there an underlying problem here in the methodology of their polling (and Rasmussen’s as well, but I don’t have their raw data)? Those who speak little or no English can’t be effectively polled by a prerecorded voice in English. Even those with a small language difficulty could bail out of the call. Again, with this same methodology they were very effective last cycle, so it may all even out in the wash, but the numbers are odd and have to give one a little pause.


Blogger samG said...

Thanks for the summary. I believe the Webb campaign has seen a surge in contributions since the 'nigger' rvelations were reported. In NJ, the Dems seem to be suffering from the advantage they derive in PA i.e. many voters think they are voting for the father. I'm curious to know why the the MD is not a slam dunk.

8:12 AM  
Blogger Barry Rubinowitz said...


I mentioned the Casey/Kean parallel last week -- names help, even at the Presidential level.
MD is an odd state -- solid blue, yet with the occasional Republican Governor. Steele may well be getting an inordinate share of the black vote for a Republican.


12:27 PM  
Blogger samG said...

There is good news today in the NJ race. An FDU poll has Menendez up by 5%.

6:42 AM  
Blogger samG said...

And there is more good news. Charlie Cook's latest "Race Ratings" has moved AZ from 'likely rep' to 'lean rep' and VA from 'lean rep' to 'toss up'. Comparing his assessment and Rasmussen, Cook has 2 'toss ups' (NJ and MO) the same as Rasmussen and 5 other 'toss ups' (MT, OH, PA, RI, TN) which Rasmussen shows as 'leaning dem'.

7:18 AM  
Blogger Barry Rubinowitz said...

Not to diss Charlie Cook, but I think he's misreading AZ -- although given Napolitano's poll numbers, it's hard to believe that much ticket splitting.
I still have some hope for VA, but I wouldn't rank it a toss-up until I see one poll with Webb ahead.MT is sort of the flip side of that -- there has been no good news for Mr. Burns in a while, while Tester's lead appears to be expanding a bit.

2:47 PM  

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