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Senate polls today: CA FL KY NV OH RSS
Dem pickups: (None) GOP pickups: AR CO IL IN NV ND PA WI PDA

PW logo Sanford Will Not Rule Out Return to Politics Quote of the Day
Dayton Leads Three-Way Minnesota Race Conway Closes Gap in Kentucky
Perry Continues to Lead in Texas Portman Leads by Double-Digits in Ohio

News from the Votemaster            

Many Americans Think the Health-Insurance Bill Did Not Go Far Enough     Permalink

One of the planks of the Republicans' Pledge to America is repeal of the new-insurance law. A new poll conducted by Stanford University ought to give them some pause. Only 25% of Americans think that minor tinkering with the current system is enough. The rest want more radical changes. Now it may well be that the 25% who basically like the current system are all Republican primary voters, but keeping them happy won't be enough to win the general election. If the GOP makes repeal of the health-insurance law the theme of its campaign (without talking about what would replace it), that is not going to go down well with the 75% who think the current system is broken. They could talk about removing the less popular features, like the individual mandate to buy health insurance, but without the mandate people will wait until they get sick to buy insurance and the whole system will collapse. This poll is slightly surprising, but not so much because earlier polls have shown that of the 50% of the population that opposes the law, something like 15-20% oppose it from the left--that is, they want a Canadian-style single-payer system. These people are not likely to be happy with repeal at all.

Gender Gap Smaller than in 2006     Permalink

Historically, women prefer the Democrats (mostly because they are much more concerned with education, health care, and other issues that affect children strongly) and men prefer Republicans (because they emphasize talking about the military and national defense) but this year the gender gap is smaller than it was in 2006. Women still prefer the Democrats, but not by as much as in the past and not enough to compensate for men still strongly preferring the Republicans. If women vote in smaller numbers than in 2006, that makes things even worse for the Democrats. Their strategy at this point has to be motivating women to vote this year. Clearly one way to do this is to talk much more about how the health-insurance law affects children (e.g., insurance companies can't reject sick children any more, adult children can stay on their parents' policies until age 26, etc.). So far they haven't done this, though.

November Will Be the Test of the Tea Party's Strength     Permalink

The MSM are starting to realize that the real test of the tea party will be with the general election. Up until now, tea party candidates have had to appeal only to dyed-in-the-wool Republicans, the kind of people who show up to vote in Republican primaries. On Nov. 2 we get to find out how much these candidates appeal to Democrats and Independents. The Washington Post has a story on this today, where they point out that the "tea party" is really a movement part of which was spontaneously formed by angry citizens but part of which, such as FreedomWorks, was carefully planned by experienced Republican operatives such as former Republican House majority leader Dick Armey. A lot of the funding has come from shadowy billionaires such as the Koch brothers.

Current polling shows a mixed bag for the tea party candidates. In some states, such as Utah and Wisconsin, the tea party Senate candidate is way ahead and in one of them, Delaware, their candidate is way behind. But in most of the states in which a tea party candidate defeated an establishment Republican in the senatorial primary, such as Colorado, Kentucky, and Nevada, it is too close to call at this point. Imagine what will happen if the Republicans end up with 52 seats in the Senate despite losing the latter three states--which they could have won with more conventional candidates. It won't be pretty.

Democrats Trying to Localize House Races     Permalink

The two parties seem to be developing very different strategies for House races. Republicans are trying to nationalize all House races and convince people to vote against Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who, of course, is on the ballot in only one district (CA-08). In contrast, many Democratic House candidates are focusing on exposing the flaws in their specific opponents. For example, Rep. Betty Sutton (D-OH) is calling her opponent a "dishonest used car salesman" who has been sued over 400 times by customers and employees for overcharging on repairs, endangering their safety, and discrimination. When the Republican is a wealthy businessman, especially in an industry with a reputation for sleaze such as used car sales and real estate, these charges could easily stick, making the voter think: "Well, I don't like Pelosi much but I certainly don't want this sleazeball representing me in Congress." To the extent the Republicans will localize races it will be to hit on incumbents for unpopular votes in Congress rather than for past business activities.

Third-Party Candidates May Decide Some Races     Permalink

While third-party candidates rarely win elections in the U.S., their presence in a number of races this year could pull the rug out from under one of the major-party candidates. Charlie Crist and Lisa Murkowski's efforts to do so are well known, but there are many others. For example, insurgent Republican Tom Tancredo's run for governor of Colorado virtually guarantees victory for Democrat John Hickenlooper. Massachusetts' Treasurer Tim Cahill's third party run may save Gov. Deval Patrick's neck. Independent former Republican Tom Horner could draw enough votes from the Republican nominee, Tom Emmer, to elect Democrat Mark Dayton governor of Minnesota. The AP has a story discussing more such races.

Today's Polls: CA FL KY NV OH KY-06     Permalink

New Senate Polls

State Democrat D-pct Republican R-pct Ind. I-pct Start End Pollster
California Barbara Boxer* 51% Carly Fiorina 43%     Sep 15 Sep 22 LA Times
Florida Kendrick Meek 23% Marco Rubio 40% Charlie Crist 28% Sep 20 Sep 22 Mason Dixon
Kentucky Jack Conway 47% Rand Paul 49%     Sep 21 Sep 24 SurveyUSA
Nevada Harry Reid* 43% Sharron Angle 43%     Sep 20 Sep 22 Mason Dixon
Ohio Lee Fisher 40% Rob Portman 55%     Sep 16 Sep 20 U. of Cincinnati

New House Polls

Cong. Distr. Democrat D-pct Republican R-pct I I-pct Start End Pollster
KY-06 Ben Chandler* 51% Andy Barr 37%     Sep 21 Sep 22 Braun Research

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Recent Headlines (clickable)

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