Mash-up in Michigan

U.P & the upper Mitten: Michigan CD1-Gary McDowell (D) vs. Dan Benishek (R)

This is one of the most intriguing districts we’ve ever polled. Frankly, political party labels seem to not mean much in this geographically enormous district. Conservative Democrat Bart Stupak made headlines before, during and after the health care reforms vote when he was heavily courted by both sides of the issue. Although the district’s reaction to health care reforms was decidedly negative, Stupak came out of the fray smelling like a rose thanks largely to his negotiations for a pro-life executive order concerning the initiatives (Click HERE). Despite those positive numbers, Stupak decided to call it quits, leaving this district that is split between the U.P. (Upper Peninsula for you left & right coasters) and the northern tier of the Mitten (Lower Peninsula) up for grabs.

Even before Stupak announced his retirement, Republican Dan Benishek was on the campaign trail–which turns out to be  fortunate for him since he won his primary by a razor-thin 15 votes. Benishek embraces the more conservative part of the political spectrum and has sidled up to local Tea Party Movement types and campaigned with Joe the Plumber Wurzelbacher at his side. His conservative Democratic opponent is Gary McDowell, is a state representative and former UPS driver. Those blue-collar roots, his U.P. locale and ties with local labor groups make Democrats believe that this race will tighten up considerably. We agree. His opponents will undoubtedly paint Benishek as one of those guys who will only fly on a plane that has two right wings while pointing out their own guy’s strong pro-life, anti-tax views. But will that be enough?

It should be noted that this poll was taken just a day after the Michigan primary when Benishek’s victory was believed to be by a single vote. That certainly gave Dr. Benishek (he’s a surgeon) a nice boost in the media.

Here are the results:

Michigan CD 1

Date of Poll: 8/4/2010
Participants: 1,016 registered voters
Margin of Error: ±3.07%
  AFFILIATION  
TotalDemocratRepublicanIndependent
CONGRESS CHOICE
(R) Dan Benishek44.75%12.80%77.88%40.74%
(D) Gary McDowell28.72%68.86%4.36%17.95%
Other/Unsure26.53%18.34%17.76%41.31%

Again, the timing of this poll should strongly be taken into consideration in this race. Even so, Benishek shows sizable support among the Independents in MI-1, but not enough to make McDowell and his followers believe that this one is over.

We’ve already put MI-1 near the top or our list of Races to Watch.

The Energizer Bunny: Michigan CD 3 – Justin Amash (R) vs. Patrick Miles (D)

Conventional wisdom has it that the retirement of Republican Congressman Vern Ehlers from this solidly GOP district would not put the district in play unless the Grand Old Party elected a candidate that was too conservative. Enter young Justin Amash–about as conservative as you can get, and an upset winner in this district’s primary over a local establishment favorite. Democrats rejoiced…but perhaps prematurely, as Amash is successfully using new media and his Energizer Bunny-level high-tech work ethic to cut a wide swath through this district. Democrat newcomer Patrick Miles, though, has excellent credentials (he was a classmate of Barack Obama’s at Harvard Law) and should be able to keep up or surpass his opponent in fund raising according to local sources. Miles isn’t exactly ancient…he’s 42 and has some very favorable media mentions over the past few months.

Like Illinois’ Aaron Schock four years ago, Amash’s youth (he’s 30 but looks younger) and surprise big win in a crowded primary gave the Republican a lot of ink the day we conducted this poll. Let’s see the results:

Michigan CD 3

Date of Poll: 8/4/2010
Participants: 1,006 registered voters
Margin of Error: ±3.09%
  AFFILIATION  
Other/Unsure19.00%14.17%14.07%28.75%
TotalDemocratRepublicanIndependent
CONGRESS CHOICE
(R) Justin Amash50.52%12.50%79.90%42.50%
(D) Pat Miles30.48%73.33%6.03%28.75%

As in MI-1, time will tell whether Amash is too far to the right to weather the coming storm in MI-3. But for now, Democrat Miles has his work cut out for him. He needs to find a way to catch fire if this district is going to change Party hands.

Rematch: Michigan CD 7 – Incumbent Mark Schauer (D) vs. Tim Walberg (R)

Congressman Mark Schauer (D) appears to be in a classic Blue-Dog position in this race. Elected in 2008 with the assistance of Barack Obama’s success, Schauer has since suffered the slings and arrows from the aftermath of his votes for the locally unpopular bailout and health care reforms (click HERE).  As in the other two districts we’ve profiled today, Democrats will try to paint his opponent, former U.S. Representative Tim Walberg, as too extreme and point to his association with free-trade groups as a dangerous in a state that continues to reel from a continuous stream of job-loss haymakers. Walberg’s experience in Constitutional law is favored by local Tea Party Movement types, and has never stopped running since his defeat two years ago. Let’s look at the poll results:

Michigan CD 7

Date of Poll: 8/4/2010
Participants: 1,008 3.09%
  AFFILIATION  
TotalDemocratRepublicanIndependent
CONGRESS CHOICE
(D) Mark Schauer37.40%79.86%6.62%28.77%
(R) Tim Walberg44.90%11.95%80.46%41.92%
Other/Unsure17.71%8.19%12.91%29.32%

This district trends slightly Republican, and no one is predicting anything but a close, hotly contested campaign that could be a nail biter until the end. Since Schauer and Walberg faced each other in 2008, both have had the last two years to sharpen their tongues and rhetoric.

Fasten your seatbelts, folks…we’re in for a bumpy ride.

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Specter’s specter lingers in Pennsylvania

The race for the seat of Pennsylvania U.S. Senator Arlen Specter (R…then D) began with a high-profile primary where Joe Sestak thumped the newly re-minted Democrat by 10 points. But that primary proved to be very expensive for Sestak, who spent down his campaign funds and got caught in the middle of a brouhaha over the White House’s alleged job offer to get him out of the race. While Sestak’s win was decisive,  the former Navy Admiral and current Member of Congress has since been kept dancing to the tune of his opponent, Republican Pat Toomey, who has proved to be a marksman when it comes to shooting at Sestak’s feet.

Congressman Toomey is a former head of the fiscally conservative Club for Growth, and by all accounts has been running a textbook campaign thus far. Despite carrying the public perception baggage of being a former derivatives trader–not the kind of background that gives off a warm and fuzzy aura in a recession where Wall Street shenanigans have been targeted as a major culprit–local accounts of the race have Democratic operatives admitting that Toomey’s campaign has consistently been keeping Sestak “on his heels.” However, Sestak has been up against some steep odds before, so this one is a long way from being over.

Let’s see what the latest poll numbers in race show:

Pennsylvania Senate

Date of Poll: 8/4/2010
Participants: 1,000 registered voters
Margin of Error: ±3.10%
 AFFILIATION   
TotalDemocratRepublicanIndependent
SENATE CHOICE
(R) Pat Toomey47.55%17.71%81.07%38.59%
(D) Joe Sestak34.93%63.02%9.46%30.43%
Other/Unsure17.52%19.27%9.46%30.98%

Toomey’s lead is being fueled by a combination of an eight-point advantage among Independents and a sizable chunk of Democrats who are buying into his message. His ability to keep Sestak playing defense will undoubted be put to the test as the campaign progresses, though. This one will get revisited by We Ask America as we get closer to November 2.

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Adventures in Blago-land

As all political junkies know by now, one lone juror has–so far–kept Rod Blagojevich from becoming the Pin-up Pol for those enjoying an expense-paid stay at the government’s finer gray-bar hotels. Even though the feds pledge to re-try him soon and he faces sentencing from a perjury conviction, those of us who reside in the Land of Lincoln will be facing yet another string of his impromptu babble-thons where he whines about how the people of Illinois were robbed of his heavy-hair goodness.

Sigh.

Now that I have that out of my system, I remind you that this Quick-Shot series of polls are designed to measure the mood of Independent voters. We polled three congressional races and the race for U.S. Senate in Illinois to find out.

It’s Bleepin’ Golden – Illinois U.S. Senate: Alexi Giannoulias (D) vs. Mark Kirk (R)

What a weird race this turned out to be. Alexi Giannoulias’ well-documented woes from his family-owned bank and Mark Kirk’s spiced-up military resumé have resulted in two wounded choices come November. (The Green Party’s LeAlan Jones is underfunded and has not found a way to break through the political clutter.)

Let’s see what voters are saying at this early point in the election season:

Illinois Senate

Date of Poll: 8/4/2010
Participants: 998 registered voters
Margin of Error: ±3.11%
SENATE CHOICETotalDemocratRepublicanIndependent
(R) Mark Kirk39.19%12.32%74.48%37.65%
(D) Alexi Giannoulias32.68%64.43%4.20%22.84%
Other/Unsure28.13%23.25%21.33%39.51%

As you can see, Kirk is enjoying a big boost from Independent voters, and is getting more of his fair share (12+%) of Democrats. Like all Illinois statewide races, the turnout in Chicago and suburban Cook County will pay a huge role in the final outcome. Our internal numbers show that this is a bit closer than this poll indicates, and all here believe that it will tighten up sooner than later.

Third Time’s the Charm? Illinois CD 10: Dan Seals (D) vs. Robert Dold (R)

Illinois 10 has been in Republican hands since 1980 when John Porter was first elected.  However, CD 10’s current member of Congress, Mark Kirk, won some very close elections by skillfully reflecting this area’s vastly changed, more moderate demographic on many bills that weren’t exactly in the GOP mainstream. Kirk’s candidacy for the Senate could bode well for the Democrats. Republican nominee Robert Dold is the owner of a pest-control business (imagine the fun he could have with TV ads with that!), and looks the role of a former Eagle Scout and community leader. He won his primary over some very skilled and better-known challengers, but clearly presents a departure from Kirk’s more moderate views.

His opponent is Democrat Dan Seals, an accomplished businessman and son of a former member of the Chicago Bears who is running for the third time in this district. As we mentioned, this district has morphed into a much more moderate demographic over the past decade. Will that be enough to overcome Independents’ trend to the right come November?

Let’s look at the results:

Illinois CD 10

Date of Poll: 8/4/2010
Participants: 1,015 registered voters
Margin of Error: ±3.11%
 TotalDemocratRepublicanIndependent
CONGRESS CHOICE
(R) Robert Dold40.02%10.03%82.72%36.66%
(D) Dan Seals43.24%78.51%8.09%35.19%
Other/Unsure16.74%11.46%9.19%28.15%

It’s still very early, but the nearly even split among Independent voters may make it hard for Republicans to maintain this seat. Dan Seals, who made his fair share of rookie mistakes in earlier races, now seems to firing on all cylinders. Dold, however, is a quick learner, so don’t expect a blowout here…and the trend is Dold’s friend. Plus, some believe that Seals’ best shot was 2008 when Barack Obama swept through his home state.

In the Blue-Dog House? Illinois CD 11: Incumbent Debbie Halvorson (R) vs Adam Kinzinger (R)

Illinois’ CD 11 elected Democrat Debbie Halvorson in the wake of the Obama tidal wave that hit his home state. Halvorson is no slouch as a politician, but in her first term has supported most of the social programs that may work well in House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s district, but riles CD 11’s somewhat conservative-leaning mix of blue and white-collar voters. Adam Kinzinger is a newcomer, and has made up for whatever lack of political experience he has with an incredible work ethic and a dream resume (strong military background and was named “Hero of the Year” by the Wisconsin Red Cross for wrestling a knife-wielding man to the ground and disarming him after the creep had cut the throat of a woman on a street in downtown Milwaukee).  Halvorson has tried to nitpick Kinzinger’s resume to no avail.

Here’s what voters are thinking at this point in time:

Illinois CD 11

Date of Poll: 8/4/2010
Participants: 1,015 registered voters
Margin of Error: ±3.07%
 TotalDemocratRepublicanIndependent
CONGRESS CHOICE
(D) Debbie Halvorson31.72%70.03%5.90%21.74%
(R) Adam Kinzinger51.64%13.03%86.34%53.62%
Other/Unsure16.63%16.94%7.76%24.64%

Confirmation of trouble on Halvorson’s campaign came yesterday when it was announced that she had fired her campaign manager. It’s way too early to say this is over, but things are looking pretty good for young Mr. Kinzinger.

Denny’s Den – Illinois CD 14: Incumbent Bill Foster (D) vs. Randy Hultgren (R)

Illinois CD 14 was the long-time seat for former Speaker of the House Denny Hastert (R). When the seat was won by Democrat Bill Foster in a special election and in the General, many GOPsters  viewed it as a colossal rip in the universe. But in reality, Republicans put up a candidate with lots of baggage, and not enough credit was given to Foster who is a very bright man indeed. Foster was previously a research scientist for Fermilab where he dealt with quarks and particle accelerators–a huge contrast from his opponent who was a smart, but blunt businessman. Foster may be able to hum crossword puzzles, but some of his votes for big-government initiatives have provided fodder for his opponents in a district that has a moderately conservative core with growing pockets of progressives.

Randy Hultgren is a state senator who beat Hastert’s son, Ethan, in the primary despite having almost no money and being up against the former Speaker’s political juggernaut. The affable Hultgren again finds himself far behind in the money, but is reportedly working hard…as is his opponent.

Let’s see what the latest numbers show:

Illinois CD 14

Date of Poll: 8/4/2010
Participants: 1,028 registered voters
Margin of Error: ±3.05%
 TotalDemocratRepublicanIndependent
CONGRESS CHOICE
(D) Bill Foster37.07%76.49%8.41%32.42%
(R) Randy Hultgren44.09%7.72%77.18%42.31%
Other/Unsure18.84%15.79%14.41%25.27%

Looking deeper into our internal numbers, we think it’s safe to say that this is  bit closer than the head-to-head numbers indicate. Should Hultgren prove that he’s hanging in there, money might flow faster. If not, Foster’s huge cash lead will be tough to overcome.

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Havoc in the Heartland?

Over the past few weeks, several acquaintances have express the opinion that Missouri’s 3rd and 4th Congressional districts may just be the Ones to Watch in the polls (as a friend said…“the gateway to heaven or hell depending on which side you’re on and which way it goes…“). Both districts offer an intriguing set of circumstances in one of the most fascinating election years in memory.

Missouri CD 3: Incumbent Russ Carnahan (D) vs. Ed Martin (R)

Missouri 3 includes the southern part of the City of St. Louis and contains a mix of blue and white-collar voters. Dick Gephardt held this seat since the original lungfish crawled out of the ocean (well…for 20 years) and since 1994 its been in the hands of  Democrat Russ Carnahan. The Carnahan name is Big Stuff in the Show Me State  (click here to read a brief synopsis), and the Cook Political Report pegs this district as a D+7. Carnahan should also benefit from all the media time his sister, Robin Carnahan, will undoubtedly be buying in her bid to win Missouri’s U.S. Senate seat (click here for related post).

So with all that Democratic mojo, why are people still keeping an eye on this district? First of all, many view the population of MO-3 to be a prototype for the slide to the right we’re measuring throughout the nation from conservative Democrats and Independents. Plus, the Carnahan family has it’s detractors even among local Democrats, and some of those most ardent ones are rumored to have both hands on the rug upon which Russ Carnahan stands. And then there’s the Republican challenger, Ed Martin. The former Chief of Staff for Missouri Gov. Matt Blunt  would “bring a bike chain to a playground fight” as one friend explains it. Martin was also affiliated with the Missouri chapter of the Club for Growth and brings some deep pockets with him to the battle. He’s stumbled some  recently (the Post-Dispatch has skewered him for comments concerning President Obama and Cong. Carnahan “taking away that freedom, the freedom, the ultimate freedom, to find your salvation, to get your salvation, and to find Christ for me and you.” While that type of rhetoric probably won him some points with his backers, it makes it tougher for a big breakthrough in this D-leaning area.

Where do they each stand now? Here’s what we discovered:

Missouri CD 3

Date of Poll: 8/17/2010
Participants: 1,089 registered voters
Margin of Error: ±2.97%
 PARTY AFFILIATION   
TotalRepublicanDemocratIndependent
CHOICE FOR CONGRESS
Russ Carnahan48.10%12.26%86.73%32.53%
Ed Martin38.83%77.78%7.14%44.89%
Unsure13.07%9.96%6.12%22.58%

As we’ve seen in so many other areas of the nation, Independents are leaning toward the Republican in this race. However, Carnahan is enjoying a 12% boost from GOP voters, and the natural tilt toward Democratic candidates is keeping his head above water at this time. Still, Carnahan remains below 50%, and if Martin gets a toehold, the hill isn’t that steep to climb.

Missouri CD 4: Incumbent Ike Skelton (D) vs Vicky Hartzler (R)

MO 4 encompasses west central part of the state including Kansas City eastern ‘burbs and Jefferson City. This district is tabbed with a R+14 by the Cook Political Report, and the conservative Democrat Ike Skelton has been untouchable here since 1977. But in 2008,  MO 4 supported John McCain with more than 60% of the vote, and this district is a poster child for Big Government discontent, so many are keeping an eye on this race for any signs of havoc in the heartland.

The Republican challenger is Vicky Hartzler, a former state representative and spokesman for the Coalition to Protect Marriage–a group that helped pass by a wide margin a state constitutional amendment banning gay marriage. Skelton has always enjoyed a big crossover vote due to his conservative roots, but has backed the party line on some issues that social conservatives dislike. Will those votes and the current throw-the-bums-out mentality be enough to knock off the venerable Skelton? Cue the poll results…

Missouri CD 4

Date of Poll: 8/17/2010
Participants: 1,207 registered voters
Margin of Error: ±2.82%
 PARTY AFFILIATION   
TotalRepublicanDemocratIndependent
CHOICE FOR CONGRESS
Ike Skelton45.18%26.61%79.23%36.59%
Vicky Hartzler41.73%61.59%15.43%40.55%
Unsure13.09%11.80%5.34%22.87%

We were surprised to not only find this one so close, but that the trends we’ve measured elsewhere are weak here. While it is no surprise that Skelton is receiving a sizable chunk (26+ percent) of the GOP vote, Hartzler’s 15% of the Democratic nod is an eye opener. The small but important lead Hartzler has with Independents–if it stays–is putting this race at the very top of  our Watch List.

While conventional wisdom may dictate that Skelton will pull this one out, there isn’t too much conventional about this year’s elections.

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Triple Play in the Buckeye State

Those of you old enough to remember the 1970’s Cincinnati Reds know that they earned the nickname of The Big Red Machine. Now, many pundits want us to believe that the State of Ohio will become a political big red machine this fall when the Buckeyes choose whether to retain “Blue Dog” members of Congress who were swept into victory in the Obama tsunami of 2008. We looked at three key Ohio districts in our Quick-Shot Series of polls:

CD 1-Victory in the Burbs:
Incumbent Steve Driehaus (D) vs. Steve Chabot (R)

Ohio CD 1 provides one of the more intriguing races in the state. This district encompasses part of Cincinnati and some western and northern suburbs. Republican Challenger Steve Chabot was a seven-term incumbent who had never tracked well in the city but was always able to pull out victories in the burbs. But 2008 was a different story, as Barack Obama brought out more city voters and Independent suburbanites, and Steve Driehaus won by a 52-48 margin. But this won’t necessary be a one-and-done term for Driehaus. As a former Minority Whip for the Ohio House, Driehaus is a fiscal conservative , is fairly moderate on many key issues and by all accounts a good campaigner. Still, Chabot is running roughly even in fund raising and is no political neophyte. We would urge you to read the following poll results carefully and check back with us to see if it tightens up…as we suspect it will.

Ohio CD 1

Date of Poll: 8/4/2010
Participants: 1,001 registered voters
Margin of Error: ±3.10%
 TotalDemocratRepublicanIndependent
CONGRESS CHOICE
(D) Steve Driehaus38.70%85.13%5.57%26.67%
(R) Steve Chabot50.77%7.59%90.40%53.33%
Other/Unsure10.53%7.28%4.02%20.00%

CD 12-The Tiberi Shuffle:
Incumbent Patrick Tiberi (R) vs. Paula Brooks (D)

Are Independent voters adopting a throw-the-bums-out attitude, or turning to the political right? This series of Quick-Shot Polls has been measuring Independents’ views of a number of Democratic incumbents, but what about office holders from the GOP?

To test that out, we turned to Ohio CD 12, where, in 2008, Republican incumbent Patrick Tiberi defended the seat he’s occupied since 2000 in a district that contains most of Columbus’ African-American population. However, most agree that Tiberi’s opponent in 2008 was weak, and Ohio observers feel that  Paula Brooks will present a much more aggressive challenge for him. Plus, many believe that Congress’ microscopic approval rating will help shuffle Tiberi out of office.

But what do voters think?

Ohio CD 12

Date of Poll: 8/4/2010
Participants: 995 registered voters
Margin of Error: ±3.11%
 TotalDemocratRepublicanIndependent
CONGRESS CHOICE
(R) Patrick Tiberi51.10%15.95%85.08%45.17%
(D) Paula Brooks34.42%70.76%7.46%30.34%
Other/Unsure14.48%13.29%7.46%24.48%

In this district, Independents are–at the moment–clearly looking at Republican Tiberi as their choice. Obviously, one poll in a single district should never be used as proof of a national trend…and you’ll see in the coming days why. But for now, Congressman Tiberi is enjoying a comfortable lead thanks in part to his Independent backers.

CD 15-Kilroy was here:
Incumbent Mary Jo Kilroy (D) vs. Steve Stivers (R)

CD 15 covers the part of Columbus with The Ohio State University (my Buckeye friends would fry me if I left the “The” out of the title) and promises to be one helluva contest come November. Democrat Incumbent Mary Jo Kilroy eked out a victory in 2008 over Republican Steve Stivers by less than a percentage point in a five-way race, and the two are are the top of the fight card again this year.

Although Stivers is certainly counting on gaining ground from the diminished popularity of President Obama, his background as a bank lobbyist was easy pickings last time…and banks continue to be the target of concern for many today. But multiple reports hint that Kilroy lacks some fundamental political skills (there are some YouTube deer-in-the-headlights moments hanging out there) and hasn’t set the world on fire in her first term. This one was nasty in 2008, and most believe that matters will escalate this summer.

Let’s see where each stands with voters:

Ohio CD 15

Date of Poll: 8/4/2010
Participants: 998 registered voters
Margin of Error: ±3.10%
 AFFILIATION   
TotalDemocratRepublicanIndependent
CONGRESS CHOICE
(D) Mary Jo Kilroy40.64%76.80%6.67%31.68%
(R) Steve Stivers46.33%11.73%87.27%44.27%
Other/Unsure13.03%11.47%6.06%24.05%
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Mild about Harry

The state flag of Nevada  bears these words: Battle Born–a phrase that seems quite appropriate for the upcoming campaign for U.S. Senator from this state.

It wasn’t that long ago that many political pundits had Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada) dead and buried. High unemployment, a rapidly growing Tea Party Movement and Reid’s leadership in passing such Big Government issues as health-care reforms had the four-term senator down by double digits in the polls. But Republican challenger Sharron Angle has seemingly allowed Senator Reid up off the mat.

The firebrand Angle has been criticized for leading a lackluster campaign that has featured politically risky positions on Social Security, pulling the plug on the U.S. Education Department, and approval of nuclear waste processing in Nevada–not a real solid platform to win the hearts and minds of local voters. Democrats have torn into her like gamblers at a free buffet, and they can do it early and often with Reid’s sizable war chest and inexpensive TV time available in the Sagebrush State. The turnaround in Senator Reid’s fortunes are dramatic–but have clearly not yet resulted in a lock on re-election.

For such a powerful and well-healed figure, Reid’s numbers (in this and other polls) are milquetoast at best. Nevada voters seem dissatisfied with their choices, and a 4.5 point lead at this juncture probably only moves this race from a loss for Democrats to a tossup. And since the main point in this Quick-Shot Series of polls is to measure where Independent voters are heading, let’s take a look at the results:

Mild about Harry

Date of Poll: 8/4/2010
Participants: 1,070 registered voters
Margin of Error: ±2.99%
 TotalDemocratRepublicanIndependent
SENATE CHOICE
(D) Harry Reid45.60%78.97%15.55%32.28%
(R) Sharron Angle41.00%12.47%71.34%47.02%
Other/Unsure13.41%8.56%13.11%20.70%

Like many other states, Independents seem to be turning toward the GOP in Nevada. But unlike many other races we’ve polled, the Democrat incumbent is getting the nod from more than 15% of the Republican voters. Published polls show both candidates with a high percentage of the electorate who view them in an unfavorable light, and the mud that’s flying there isn’t going to help either one out.

Battle Born indeed.

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Wisconsin 7: Life after Obey

I can’t think of the north woods of Wisconsin without thinking of the old Hamm’s beer jingle: “From the land of sky-blue waters (wa-ha-terssss)…” This is the land of logging camps, muskies, rustic cabins with knotty-pine interiors and an electorate that historically held an independently progressive streak. When this district’s venerable Congressman, David Obey, announced his retirement after 40 years of serving the area, local Republicans believed that they finally had a chance to break through. But do they?

While it’s not official until their primary is held in September, the pundits agree that that the GOP will have a strong candidate in Ashland County District Attorney Sean Duffy. Duffy has garnered a reputation as a tireless worker whose strong fund-raising efforts are keeping him in the game. The Democrats’ likely candidate is no slouch as well: State Senator Julie Lassa. In this election where, nationally speaking,  new=better, Lassa has the burden of having a legislative voting record which will undoubted be forensically examined and splashed. Also at play here is the fact that this district’s Independent voters’ negative reaction to Obey’s votes on a variety  of President Obama’s reform measures–notably health-care reform. (See post HERE.)

That leads us to the purpose of this Quick-Shot series: to measure the mindset of the all-important Independent voters at this point in the election cycle.  This series of polls are aimed at just that, and while we feel confident about the overall head-to-head numbers, the focus here is on INDEPENDENTS. Got it? OK.

Late last week we asked 1,002 randomly selected voters in Wisconsin’s 7th Congressional District two simple questions:

If the election for your member of Congress were held today, for whom would you vote? and…

What is your political party affiliation?

Here are the results:

Wisconsin CD 7 - Life after Obey

Date of Poll: 8/4/2010
Participants: 1,002 registered voters
Margin of Error: ±3.10%
CANDIDATETotalDemocratRepublicanIndependent
(R) Sean Duffy41.83%11.53%79.50%37.77%
(D) Julie Lassa33.09%72.88%4.68%22.87%
Other/Unsure25.08%15.59%15.83%39.36%

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As you will see as our Quick-Shot Series, WI-7 mirrors a trend in two areas:

  • Democrat voters are straying a bit more off base than Republicans. In WI-7, 11.53% of those who said they were Democrats chose Sean Duffy, but only 4.68% of Republican chose Julie Lassa.
  • Independents are  leaning the GOP’s way. In WI-7, the GOP enjoy a 15% margin. However, this district has one of the highest percentages of undecided Independents, so this is a long way from over.

You may be wondering whether the advantage that Republicans have over Democrats among Independents is an anti-incumbent sentiment or a turn to the right. Watch for more in this series to find out!

to measure the mindset of the all-important Independent voters at this point in the election cycle.  This series of polls are aimed at just that, and while we feel confident about the overall head-to-head numbers, the focus here is on INDEPENDENTS. Got it? OK.
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The Show Me State

After a busy season conducting contracted poll, We Ask America is today announcing a series of “Quick Shots” where we poll key races with two questions only:

  1. If the election for your [U.S. Senator/Member of Congress] were held today, for whom would you vote?
  2. What is your political party affiliation?

We kick off the series in the Show Me state–Missouri. Tuesday’s primary in Cardinal-land did more than set the ballot in November–it provided a whopping 71-29 passage of a referendum essentially nixing national health care reforms. Missouri’s race for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Republican Kit Bond, though, will certainly not be a lopsided affair.  Most pundits view this one as The One to Watch: expensive and as loud of the crack of Albert Pujols’ bat.

The principals here are Democrat Robin Carnahan and Republican Roy Blunt. Both sides have hit each other with the dreaded insider tag, and with some justification. Carnahan is attempting to become heir apparent to her family’s extensive political history in Missouri, while House Minority Whip Blunt is a fixture in the House. And–as if the two previous baseball references weren’t enough–they do play hard ball in Missouri, so we’ll be keeping a close eye on this one.

The results, below, give you the top-line results (TOTAL COLUMN) with breakdowns on party-affiliation lines.

MISSOURI SENATE

Date of Poll: 8/4/2010
Participants: 1,024 registered voters
Margin of Error: ±3.06%
SENATE CHOICETotalDemocratRepublicanIndependent
(D) Robin Carnahan43.22%82.84%6.46%33.67%
(R) Roy Blunt46.63%9.92%88.62%46.80%
Other/Unsure10.15%7.24%4.92%19.53%
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