SUSA’s latest Iowa poll looks like an outlier (updated)

The Bean Walker, Iowa’s copycat version of The Drudge Report, was thrilled to link to the latest approval numbers from Survey USA yesterday:


Pres. Obama: 45 / 51

Sen. Grassley: 54 / 34

Sen. Harkin: 49 / 38

Gov. Culver: 36 / 51

This statewide poll of 600 adults was conducted on August 26 and 27 and is said to have a margin of error of 4 percent. It’s the first time any pollster has found the president below 50 percent approval in Iowa, and the first time any pollster has found the governor’s approval in the 30s. For more details about various demographic groups in this poll, you can find Culver’s chart here, charts on Harkin and Grassley here, and Obama’s chart here.

Looking at Survey USA’s trendlines for Culver since he took office, I noticed that Culver’s disapproval number is basically unchanged this summer, but his approval number has dropped significantly from 42 percent in June and 44 percent in July to 36 percent in late August.

Before anyone panics, note that Survey USA’s approval numbers for Culver tend to run low compared to other pollsters. In early July, the poll commissioned by The Iowa Republican blog found Culver’s approve/disapprove numbers to be 53 percent/41 percent. Later the same month, Hill Research Consultants’ poll for the Iowa First Foundation found Culver’s favorability at 52 percent. (The Iowa First Foundation did not release the governor’s approval number from that poll, but you better believe they would have if the number had been in the 30s or even the low 40s.) Meanwhile, Survey USA pegged Culver’s approval at 44 percent on July 20.

Survey USA’s numbers for Obama, Harkin and Grassley are also noticeably down in the latest poll. Obama is at a record low in Iowa. Grassley’s approval of 54 percent is the lowest Survey USA has found in at least four years. I couldn’t find a similar graph for Harkin’s numbers, but it’s been a very long time since I can remember seeing his approval rating below 50.

Of course, it’s possible that the recession and the health care debate have affected Iowans’ view of all political leaders. Still, I would like to see these numbers confirmed by some other pollster. Even with the best sampling techniques, approximately 1 in 20 polls is wrong just by chance.

I also agree with Steve Singiser that if Culver were this unpopular in Iowa, Democrat Curt Hanson would not have won yesterday’s special election in Iowa House district 90 (a swing district). The Republicans ran at least two television ads linking Hanson to Culver (see here and here).

I’m looking forward to the next Selzer and Associates poll for the Des Moines Register, which probably will come later this month or in early October.

Share any relevant thoughts in this thread.

UPDATE: Bleeding Heartland user ragbrai08 noticed this:

The sample composition:




Obviously, if considering registered adults, the D/R fractions should be reversed. However, back in July, they used:




so the Dem fraction was too high back then. Conclusion? Perhaps the July survey was a bit too favorable, and perhaps this one a bit too unfavorable.

In an off-year election, turnout among no-party voters is likely to be lower. Even with a demoralized Democratic base, I’d be surprised if Iowa’s electorate next year was comprised of 28 percent Democrats and 34 percent Republicans. Right now Democrats have a voter registration advantage of about 100,000 over Republicans.

IA-Gov: No bump for Culver in SUSA poll (corrected)

Survey USA released a new batch of approval ratings for governors based on polls taken June 16. Iowa’s Chet Culver was at 42 percent approval and 51 percent disapproval. The previous SUSA poll in Iowa, taken in late April, found similar numbers for Culver: 42 percent approval and 50 percent disapproval.

CORRECTION: I did not realize that SUSA also conducted a poll in late May, which showed somewhat better numbers for Culver: 48 approve, 47 disapprove.

Probably this is just statistical noise, and Culver’s support is somewhere in the 40s. Alternatively, if you have some hypothesis that would explain why the governor’s support rose in May but dropped by mid-June, please post a comment.

Click here to see all of SUSA’s approval numbers for Culver since he became governor.

It would be nice if some other polling firm released a new Iowa survey soon.

Having noticed that Culver’s SUSA numbers bounced up last May and June after being in net negative territory from February through April 2008, I wondered whether a “legislative session effect” might have dragged him down from February through April of this year. Either that was not the case, or the weaker economy this year has prevented the governor from getting a post-session bounce.

Approval ratings in the low 40s are outside the comfort zone for an incumbent, but I wouldn’t hit the panic button yet. SUSA has tended to measure Culver’s support at lower levels than some other pollsters, and most governors have seen their approval ratings slip during the past year, presumably because of the economy and the fiscal problems affecting almost every state.

I couldn’t find any breakdown of Culver’s support among Democrats, Republicans and independents either at this site or on Survey USA’s site. If anyone has those numbers, please post a comment or send me an e-mail (desmoinesdem AT I still think a large number of Democrats and independents who may not “approve” of Culver would choose him in a heartbeat over Chris Rants or Bob Vander Plaats, who are most committed to running for governor.

We’ll have a better idea of the governor’s re-election prospects when we see polling of head-to-head matchups with potential Republican challengers. Some of the Republicans considering this race would be stronger than others in terms of personal appeal or fundraising (though Culver will probably be able to outspend even the best GOP fundraisers).

Finally, keep in mind that despite ups and downs in the economy, Iowa hasn’t voted an incumbent governor out of office since 1962.

Share any thoughts about Culver’s chances or the GOP gubernatorial primary in this thread. Who has the potential to overcome Vander Plaats’ head start on campaigning? Can Rants reinvent himself as a likable politician? Who would benefit from a more crowded Republican field? Will the GOP primary be negative enough to do lasting damage to the eventual nominee?

Final note: Swing State Project currently considers the Iowa governor’s race to be safe D. I would rate it as likely D, and the Culver-skeptic contingent at Bleeding Heartland would probably argue for a lean D rating.

SUSA: Paterson is in deep trouble

The short version, which is all I have time for: David Paterson under water in New York, according to SUSA’s latest tracking poll.

By 2:1 Margin, New York Disapproves of Paterson Performance as Governor: 66% of New York State adults today say they disapprove of the job performance of Governor David Paterson

[. . .]

One month ago, 54% of New York adults approved of Paterson’s performance as Governor.

This could just be a one time polling error, but given some of the other polling we’ve seen out of New York recently, I’m inclined to think that it’s the real deal. Bizarre tax/budget schemes and the Senate appointment process appear to have done deep damage to New York’s Governor.  

FL-13: Buchanan Ahead by 16 in SUSA Poll

SurveyUSA (9/30-10/1, likely voters, no trendlines):

Christine Jennings (D): 33

Vern Buchanan (R-inc): 49

Jan Schneider (I): 9

Don Baldauf (I): 3

Undecided: 6

(MoE: ±4.1%)

Polling has been all over the place in FL-13 just in the past month. First good old Vern released an internal that had him up 18. Then Jennings responded with her own showing her back just four. Research 2000 neatly split the difference, calling it a twelve-point race. Neither the R2K nor Jennings polls, though, included Democrat-turned-crybaby Jan Schneider, a three-time loser who seems to be digging her loser’s share directly out of Jennings’s hide.

Vern also poaches Dems directly. He scores a strong 76-11 among members of his own party, while Jennings takes just 62-19 from Dems. And he cleans up with indies, 43-25. Jennings has an extremely tough row to hoe in this district.

The one thing that stands out is at this point old hat for SUSA: voters 18 to 34 are Vern’s best demographic, favoring him by a 57-31 split. I know the preference for Republicans among young voters in SUSA polls has struck SSPers of all stripes as odd if not completely off-base. But perhaps SUSA sees something the rest of us haven’t.

A little history lesson may be in order here. I’ve been reading Rick Perlstein’s utterly awesome Nixonland, which I can’t recommend highly enough. He recounts that when the franchise was extended to 18-to-21-year-olds before the 1972 election, Democrats were convinced that this would be of huge benefit to them. After all, young people had been on the vanguard of the civil rights and anti-Vietnam War movements and surely despised Tricky Dick. Yet Nixon managed to split the youth vote en route to a massive landslide.

Now obviously, the differences between 2008 and 1972 are too many to count, not least that many Democrats back then completely misunderstood Nixon’s appeal. But either SUSA has made a huge mistake with its likely voter screen, or they’ve correctly identified trends among younger voters this year that most other pollsters have missed. We’ll see.

Kentucky Senate Race Continues to Heat up and Tighten up

It has been a rocky road in Kentucky’s Democratic Senate Primary. First, we kept losing candidates as the establishment lined it up for Bruce Lunsford.  I actually lost interest in the race knowing I would vote my straight ticket in the fall. Now it seems we will be able to mount a successful Progressive challenge after all. That is because Greg Fischer has stepped to the plate and is charging to the finish. This race is heating up and has begun to tighten.  

In exchanges yesterday and today, these campaigns kept slugging it out. First, Bruce Lunsford released this:

LOUISVILLE – In a stunning display of hypocrisy, U.S. Senate candidate Greg Fischer touted his record as “an open book,” yet he failed to file his Personal Financial Disclosure (PFD) report with the Senate Ethics Committee until 11 days after the deadline.

Fischer has repeatedly attacked fellow Democrat Bruce Lunsford for his management of Vencor and spread false information about Lunsford’s business record. Yet, when Fischer finally filed his PFD, it revealed he has investments in five different publicly traded funds which invest in either Ventas or Kindred – both corporate descendants of Vencor.

“Greg Fischer has gone against the will of Kentucky’s voters and Democratic leaders by taking a page out of Mitch McConnell’s playbook, slinging mud at his fellow Democrat Bruce Lunsford rather than focusing on what he would do as Senator to improve the lives of Kentucky families,” Lunsford spokesperson Allison Haley said. “The fact that all the while, Fischer has investments in the very companies he claims Bruce ran into the ground makes Fischer’s actions the ultimate hypocrisy.”

Senate ethics rules require all candidates in the Kentucky Democratic Primary for U.S. Senate to submit their PFD form to the Senate Ethic Committee 30 days before the election. Greg Fischer didn’t even sign his form until more than a week after the deadline and then took an additional three days to send it in.

Examination of Fischer’s PFD shows his investment portfolio includes public funds that have a combined total investment of over $26 million in Ventas and Kindred.

“If I were Greg Fischer, I wouldn’t want the public to know I had been investing in the same companies I was openly criticizing either. Maybe that’s why he waited so long to file his PFD.,” Haley said. “What else is he hiding?”…

The Fischer campaign was quick to respond:

LOUISVILLE, May 6, 2008 – Kim Geveden, Political Director for Greg Fischer’s U.S. Senate campaign blasted Lunsford’s Swift-Boat-Style attack yesterday saying.  “Bruce Lunsford’s latest negative attack against Greg Fischer is as false as it its ridiculous and desperate.  It looks like it could have been authored by Mitch McConnell.

“You know Lunsford is desperate when he reverts to his true Republican roots and takes a page from his 2003 playbook in which he spent $8 million falsely attacking Ben Chandler, only to quit, desert our Democratic Party, stand with Mitch McConnell and publicly endorse Ernie Fletcher,” Geveden said.

“Confronted with independent poll results showing Fischer gaining rapidly, Bruce Lunsford has abandoned his much touted “Integrity Pledge” and is once again falsely attacking an honorable Democrat in Greg Fischer, while desperately trying to stop the political hemorrhaging that threatens his ego and quest for the Democratic nomination.”

The campaign added this “fact sheet” to counter Lunsford’s claims:

Lunsford’s False Claim:

“Fischer has investments in the very companies (Ventas and Kindred Healthcare) he claims Bruce ran into the ground.”

Fischer Fact:

Fischer has no direct or indirect investment in Vencor, the company that Bruce Lunsford ran into the ground and bankrupted.  Lunsford’s mismanagement of Vencor in the period leading up to its bankruptcy is well-documented and includes charges of patient abuse and falsely billing the federal government.

Fischer Fact:

Ventas and Kindred have absolutely nothing to do with Bruce Lunsford’s mismanagement of Vencor. Bruce Lunsford has absolutely no managing control over either Ventas or Kindred.  Lunsford’s is attempting to use Kindred and Ventas as a smoke-screen to hide his appalling behavior as CEO of Vencor.

Fischer Fact:

Fischer holds no direct investment in Ventas or Kindred – The truth is, Fischer owns shares in two mutual investment funds – iShares Russell 1000 Growth Fund and iShares Russell 2000 Value Fund.  Ventas and Kindred make up an extremely small fraction of the holdings of the two funds.

Fischer Fact:

Fischer owns 5,500 shares of iShares Russell 1000 Growth Fund. At market close yesterday, the Ventas portion of Fischer’s investment in the fund was valued at $289.18.

Fischer Fact:

Fischer owns 1,300 shares of iShares Russell 2000 Value Fund. At market close yesterday, the Kindred portion of Fischer’s investment in the fund was valued at $113.47…

All this comes at the same time a new SurveyUsa poll is released which shows Fischer creep steadily up the polls as time runs quickly away:

Two Weeks Out, Lunsford Still Well in Front in KY Dem Senate Primary: In a Democratic Primary for United States Senator from Kentucky today, 05/06/08, 2 weeks until the primary, Bruce Lunsford defeats Greg Fischer, 41% to 22%, according to a SurveyUSA poll conducted exclusively for WHAS-TV Louisville and WCPO-TV Cincinnati. Five other candidates are in single digits. Compared to an identical SurveyUSA poll released one week ago, Fischer is up 4, Lunsford is down 2. Among men, three weeks ago, Lunsford led by 40 points; one week ago, by 21; today, by 20. Among women, Lunsford led by 35, by 27, and now by 19. Among voters 50+, Lunsford led by 44, by 21, and now by 14. The winner of the 05/20/08 closed Democratic Primary advances to face incumbent Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader of the U.S. Senate, who is running for his 5th term.…

The Political Director of Fischer’s campaign had this to say about the new numbers, showing a steady rise for Fischer:

The polling trends clearly shows that Bruce Lunsford is a fatally flawed candidate,” said Kim Geveden, political director for the Fischer campaign.  Matt Stoller, a nationally prominent political commentator who regularly appears on CNN and other national news broadcasts, has described Lunsford as, “…definitely the worst Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate in the country.”

She then went on to explain this sentiment which is shared by many Kentuckians including myself:

“Kentucky Democrats are starting to focus on this race.  They’re learning more about Greg Fischer.  And they’re remembering Lunsford’s defection to the Republican party in 2003 and his support of Republican Ernie Fletcher for governor.” said Geveden.  “The conclusion they’re coming to is the obvious one:  Greg Fischer is the best Democratic candidate in this race and he’ll give Mitch McConnell more than he’s bargained for in the general election this fall.”…

Now, Ms. Geveden summed up nicely how I feel about Bruce Lunsford and Greg Fischer. I don’t come upon this opinion lightly. Here are some of Lunsford’s political contributions:


This video sums it up nicely:

Now, Fischer’s rise in this race has given me hope that we can actually run a candidate I can be proud of, a candidate that hasn’t been fighting against me through all these long years we have been losing here. A candidate that is Progressive, and won’t turn on us if he gets mad.

Greg Fischer believes in our kind of Change:

He tells a truth Kentuckians can believe in:

Please help us avoid risking our support to elect another DINO into the United States Senate. Greg Fischer can still win this race!! All the momentum is his, and he still has time. Two weeks can be an eternity in politics!! Please help us and support Greg here:…

Be sure to visit his site, and spread the word about a great Senator-to-be in Kentucky!!:

CA-Pres: Giuliani’s lead evaporating?

Whoa. The latest poll from SurveyUSA on the GOP presidential primary race in California shows Giulani’s lead having shrunk from 20% last month to just 2% a mere 5 days after Fred Thompson’s announcement on Jay Leno. If Thompson can pick off California, we could be moving a lot closer to a deadlocked GOP convention.

Obviously, this is just one poll, and it could be an outlier. All of us regular SSP readers know better than to jump to conclusions just yet. But to go from a 20% lead to a 2% lead with a 4.4% MOE strongly suggests something big could be going on here.

Crosstab analysis below the flip.

Thompson leads by 4% with men, but trails 12% with women. The partisan breakdown by gender is huge here: 63% of the likely GOP primary voters were men. Thompson remained completely flat with women since last month, while Romney gained 8% among women.

Among conservatives (58%), Thompson beats Giuliani 31% to 22% (with McCain and Romney trailing at 17% and 16% respectively). Moderates (33%) strongly go for Giuliani (40%). Thompson gains 8% with conservatives.

Blacks (3%) preferred Thompson to Giuliani 35% to 23%. Thompson gains 20% here, more than double his previous numbers.

Thompson leads by 1% among a crucial GOP voter segment, complete idiots people who think Global Warming is made-up, whereas more sensible GOP voters (relatively speaking here) prefer Giuliani by 5%.

76% of likely GOP voters oppose gay marriage, and they prefer Thompson by 1%

Gun owners prefer Thompson by 2%, the gunless go for Rudy by 7%.

Young voters prefer Rudy, and increasing agge correlates with increasing preference for Thompson.

Here’s a really odd one. Giuliani leads among Bush voters (85%) by 2%. Thompson leads among Kerry voters (7%) by 3%. However, those who think Bush is one of the Greatest American Presidents (26%) prefer Thompson by 2%, and those who think he is one of the worst (18%) prefer Giuliani by 6%.

So, why do we care? If Thompson wins CA and the South, and Romney wins the Mountain West, eastern New England, and gives a strong showing in the Midwest (winning IA, MI, and perhaps some of the Great Plains states), and Giuliani does his thing in the Mid-Atlantic, Illinois, and Swing States like FL, MO, OH, and CO, then we could be headed for a deadlocked contest that goes to the convention for a resolution. This would force the GOP candidates to spend money on the primaries rather than saving for the General election. It would also increase the chances of the GOP’s weakest candidate, Mitt Romney, getting nominated and then crushed by the Democratic nominee in the general.

By what margin will Bob Shamansky win?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

Senate ’08: SUSA Popularity (Nov ’06) – Final Update

(I just like this diary. – promoted by DavidNYC)

The November approval numbers are out from SurveyUSA. Let’s see how the class of 2008 is faring.

How unpopular is Frank Lautenberg this month? All numbers represent net spproval (approve minus disapprove).

100. DeWine -25%
99. Talent -22%
98. Santorum -21%
97. Burns -15%
96. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) -5%

Picture a huge cliff. Now picture Santorum, Talent, Burns, and Dewine being thrown off of it by angry voters. Lautenberg is hanging on the edge of that cliff, but at least he’s a long way from those other four guys… so far. And the vibe of the ’06 election seems to be helping – he’s climbed 7 points since last month. It’s a good start, Frank, but you’re going to have to build it up from there.

95. Mel Martinez -3%

OK, I feel better now. Kudos to the brilliance of the GOP for making their least popular senator the face of their party. Wow.

94. Bunning -3%
93. Kyl -2%

OK, you can get re-elected at -2%. There hope for you, Frank.

92. John Kerry (D-MA) -2%

Presidential bid’s not looking good, John. At this rate, you might not even win the presidential primary in your own state. The infamous gaffe, repeated ad naseum by the media just like the Dean Scream, drops Kerry a whopping 16%. Ouch. No matter what happens, his seat will stay in Democratic hands, though. It’s Massachusetts.

91. Dayton -1%
90. Menendez 0%

Some more hope for Frank – a little proof that New Jerseys are willing to hold their nose and vote for a Democrat they don’t much like. While Dewine and Talent nosedived 8% and 17% respectively this month, Menendez soars 13% and gets re-elected.

89. Wayne Allard (R-CO) 1%

Allard gains 5% this month despite the national trends.

88. Burr 2%
87. Sarbanes 2%
86. John Sununu (R-NH) 3%

Sununu dives 8% from last month. The mood in NH has gotten quite frosty to the GOP.

85. Frist 3%
84. John Cornyn (R-TX) 3%

Cornyn gains 6% this month. Still makes a good target.

83. Allen 4%
82. Voinovich 4%
81. Norm Coleman (R-MN) 5%

Coleman stays the same as he was last month, which is 3% better than recently re-elected governor Pawlenty. But remember, there’s nobody out campaigning against him yet, so this is still a good position for us to start from.

80. James Inhofe (R-OK) 5%
79. Chafee 6%

Inhofe gains 14% this month, but he’s not out of the woods yet as Chafee’s ranking shows. Chafee gains 5% himself, possibly for his post-election declaration that he wasn’t sure if he was a Republican anymore.

To be updated tomorrow. Wow, I got front-paged! I better finish this now…

78. Bond 8%
77. Reid 9%
76. Lieberman 9%
75. Gregg 11%
74. Specter 11%
73. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) 12%
72. Elizabeth Dole (R-NC) 12%

Lieberman gains 4% and is re-elected, so we probably want to see our targets move below 9% net approval. Landrieu is our lowest-rated red-stater, so it’s good to see her above the Chafee line; with all the positive Dem mojo, however, her gain of merely 2% this month is underwhelming. A rough campaign could easily bring her down into the danger zone, so Schumer will need to invest here. Dole is our next target, and you can see we’ll need a good challenger (or some Macaca-like gaffes, or retirement) to bring her down in reddish NC. Momentum is on our side at the moment – she falls 8% from last month, and is down from a high of +30% in July.

71. Coburn 12%
70. Murkowski 13%
69. Tom Harkin (D-IA) 13%
68. Richard Durbin (D-IL) 15%

A presidential election year in Iowa – expect Harkin to get a strong challenger who declares early, because every GOP wannabe-prez will be helping him raise money. Harkin gains 6% this month – that’s a good thing. Durbin’s pretty safe in blue Illinois but gains only 1% this month as Dems fail to pick off Mark Kirk or Hyde’s open seat in the House.

67. DeMint 15%
66. Pat Roberts (R-KS) 15%
65. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) 15%

Roberts and McConnell are basically in pre-Macaca George Allen territory. In order to pick them off, we’d need two out of three factors: A strong candidate (Sebelius, Chandler), a memorable gaffe or scandal, and/or retirement. Before we get too optimistic, remember that the Tennesee race had all these three factors (Frist retires and is clouded by scandal, Corker had the 911 call fiasco and his abortion flip-flop, and Ford, a sitting congressman, ran a very strong campaign) and we still lost. Roberts gains 10% this month (ouch) and McConnell gains 3.

64. Isakson 15%
63. Brownback 16%
62. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) 16%
61. Gordon Smith (R-OR) 17%
60. Russ Feingold 17%
59. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) 17%

Beating Chambliss would feel pretty damn good, and his numbers aren’t unreachable. On the downside, he gained 9% this month – we need momentum going the other direction. Smith gains 5%, another trend we need to reverse – Oregon ain’t as blue as Rhode Island. Alexander gains 13%, probably on the vibes of the GOP noise machine that pushed a turd like Corker into Frist’s open seat. When you consider how much lower Frist’s numbers are, this does not look like a first or even second tier opportunity.

58. Akaka 17%
57. Murray 18%
56. Lincoln 18%
55. Carl Levin (D-MI) 18%
54. Mark Pryor (D-AR) 19%

Stabenow’s re-election brings positive vibes in Michigan, as Levin gains 12%. This seat’s safe unless he retires. Too bad Beebe doesn’t seem to have done the same for Pryor, who actually drops 6% this month. He’s still in pretty safe territory for Arkansas, however, which is looking reddish in presidential elections but bluish for everything else.

53. Boxer 20%
52. Bill Nelson 20%
51. Stabenow 20%
50. Dodd 20%
49. Salazar 21%
48. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) 22%

Graham gains 12% this month. Unless the Club For Growth or some ultrareligious 3rd party candidate intervenes in the primary, this seat stays red.

OK, I’ll finish the rest when I get home tonight. Thanks for front-paging me, David!Stupid internet connection problems. Here goes.

47. Ensign 22%
46. Mikulski 23%
45. Hutchinson 24%
44. Feinstein 25%
43. Chuck Hagel (R-NE) 25%
42. Thune 25%
41. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) 25%

Hagel drops 4%, but it doesn’t matter. He’s sharp, polished, willing to be a maverick, politically savvy, and besides which, he owns the voting machines. And it’s Nebraska. All we can do is hope he runs for president and vacates his seat. Sessions gains 7% this month. If you decide to run, Artur, good luck – you’ll need it.

40. Bennett 25%
39. Wyden 26%
38. Schumer 27%
37. McCain 27%

08′ hopeful McCain loses 2%, victorious DSCC chair Schumer gains 11%. Nice.

36. Cantwell 28%
35. Ted Stevens (R-AK) 28%
34. Larry Craig (R-ID) 29%

Incidentally, Cantwell jumped 23% in the past month. Now that’s a damn fine endgame. Stevens drops 3%, but his approval ratings aren’t like a truck you can dump on – it’s a series of tubes! No, it’s a series of numbers that never dip below 26%. Just retire, you old bastard! Stop teasing and do it – spend some time with your family before you hop on the metaphorical Bridge to Nowhere. Craig drops 6%, but seriously… Idaho. If we can’t defeat a guy like Bill Sali… Craig’d have to dropkick Santa Claus to lose this race.

33. Shelby – 29%
32. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) – 29%
31. Joe Biden (D-DE) – 29%

Not even Shelley Moore Capito could beat Rockefeller without a good scandal, even though he drops 6% this month. No one will mount a credible campaign against Joe Biden – in Delaware, the only thing safer than a popular incumbent is a popular incumbent Democrat. He gains 10% this month on his son’s coattails, or maybe vice versa. Of course, there’s that whole presidential run to think about…

30. Hatch 30%
29. Kennedy 31%
28. Bayh 31%
27. John Warner (R-VA) 32%

OK, seriously, when’s the last time a very popular senator was beaten by a very popular governor? Why is everyone so excited about the prospect of Mark Warner running here? George Allen lost because he’s a dickhead, always has been, always will be. John Warner’s not going to make those kind of mistakes. He gains 1% this month, but seriously, whatever. Maybe he’ll retire, but I heard he won’t.

26. Crapo 32%
25. Jeffords 34%
24. Thad Cochran (R-MS) 36%

Cochran gains 3%, and hasn’t said anything about retiring yet. No sense in thinking about this now when Barbour will be up for re-election in ’07.

All right, I need to get to bed. I’ll finish tomorrow – dumb internet problems prevented me from finishing tonight. Let’s do this.

23. Vitter 38%
22. Grassley 38%
21. Kohl 39%
20. Mike Enzi (R-WY) 39%
19. Jack Reed (D-RI) 39%

Nothing to see here. Move along. Kohl shows us what happens to Senators with approval this high – they get re-elected without any trouble. Enzi gains 12%, Reed gains 1% (and pretty much never dips below 35%).

18. Lott 39%
17. Byrd 40%
16. Lugar 41%
15. Inouye 42%
14. Ben Nelson 42%
13. Carper 43%
12. Thomas 43%
11. Pete Domenici (R-NM) 43%
10. Tim Johnson (D-SD) 44%

Domenici gains 12% – if he runs, he wins, and he says he’s gonna run. Maybe he wants to be Senate President Pro Tem someday, if Stevens retires and the Democrats lose the Senate. Johnson gains 2% – why would anyone want to even try to seriously challenge this guy? I expect top tier challengers to stay away for now. Johnson’s numbers are stellar and stable.

9. Bingaman 44%
8. Leahy 46%
7. Obama 48%
6. Max Baucus (D-MT) – 49%

Believe it or not, Baucus might not be as safe as these numbers suggest. He gains a whopping 18% on the strength of Montana’s blue wave. Before that though, his numbers were more “great” than “incredible”. If support for Tester, Schweitzer, and the Democrats remains high, Baucus is safe. If our party takes a fall in Montana, however, Denny Rehberg or Marc Racicot might – *might* – make a race of this.

5. Clinton 50%
4. Susan Collins (R-ME) 50%
3. Conrad 54%
2. Dorgan 56%
1. Snowe 62%

Hilary gains 14% – NY luuurrrrvvves her now. That’s a lot of electoral votes in her pocket. Maybe we shouldn’t be working so hard to dis her, seeing as how in less than 2 years we’ll probably be trying to get her elected in the general. I’m not saying we should all support her right now or anything, just that we should stop acting like she’s the boogeyman that the right wants her to be.

So, Susan Collins… Look. Lincoln Chafee’s BEST number this season was 19% net approval. Susan Collins’ WORST number was 41% net approval. Tom Allen has a better chance of being struck by lightning than unseating Collins head-to-head. Here’s hoping she honors her term limit pledge or switches parties. She gains 2% this month.

OK, done at last. But expect a version with color-coded maps soon.

By what margin will Bob Shamansky win?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

2008 Senate: Appoval Ratings show us the way

On Oct. 24th, 2006, Survey USA released the last batch of Senate approval ratings before the election. Who were the least popular senators facing re-election?

1. Santorum, -19% net approval
2. DeWine, -17% net approval
3. Burns, -16% net approval
4. Menendez, -13% net approval
5. Talent, -5% net approval
6. Chafee, -1% net approval
7. Kyl, 0% net approval
8. Allen, +1% net approval

Are approval ratings a good way of determining which incumbents are vulnerable? DUH, YES!

Below the flip, let’s see how the class of 2008 is looking. Hey, do you smell that? Smells like… Wayne Allard. Yeah, he’s a little over-ripe. Prepare for harvest!

Bottom of the class: Least popular senators, class of 2008:

1. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), -12% net approval
2. James Inhofe (R-OK), -9% net approval
3. Wayne Allard (R-CO), -4% net approval
4. John Cornyn (R-TX), -3% net approval

Paging Brad Henry, Mark Udall, and Chet Edwards… strong challengers wanted!

If we managed to pick off George Allen, we can defeat Inhofe and Cornyn with the right challenger. Yes, we can, even in Texas and Oklahoma.

Of course, fortunes can change… One year before that poll was taken, on Oct. 17, 2005, Lincoln Chafee had 19% net approval. Don’t let today’s approval rates discourage you too much, because things can change. Chafee’s steady, quiet fall from grace proves that. John Kyl had a net approval of +17% in August – a good, hard campaign can do a lot. George Allen had a +31% approval rating in December.

Now, for God’s sake, can we please stop saying that Lautenberg is safe? He’s overdue for his next retirement. If you want to see him re-elected, he’s going to have to save a few drowning puppies or something.

So, what about the rest of the class?

Lamar Alexander (R-TN), +3%
Norm Coleman (R-MN), +5%
Pat Roberts (R-KS), +6%
Carl Levin (D-MI), +6%
Saxby Chambliss (R-GA), +7%
Tom Harkin (D-IA), +7%
Mary Landrieu (D-LA), +10%
Lindsey Graham (R-SC), +10%
Gordon Smith (R-OR), +11%
John Sununu (R-NH), +11%
Mitch McConnell (R-KY), +12%
Richard Durbin (D-IL), +13%
John Kerry (D-MA), +14%
Jeff Sessions (R-AL), +19%
Joe Biden (D-DE), +19%
Elizabeth Dole (R-NC), +20%
Mark Pryor (D-AR), +24%
Michael Enzi (R-WY), +27%
Pete Domenici (R-NM), +31%
John Warner (R-VA), +31%
Max Baucus (D-MT), +31%
Ted Stevens (R-AK), +32%
Thad Cochran (R-MS), +33%
Larry Craig (R-ID), +33%
Jay Rockefeller (D-WV), +34%
Jack Reed (D-RI), +38%
Tim Johnson (D-SD), +46%
Susan Collins (R-ME), +48%


1. I wouldn’t start worrying about Tim Johnson just yet. He’s almost as popular as Kent Conrad. Unless Gov. Mike Rounds challenges Johnson, this seat is safe. Against Rounds, I’d still give the edge to Johnson by a fair amount.

2. I wouldn’t get too excited about a Collins vs. Allen matchup. She’s almost as popular as Olympia Snowe. What’s Allen gonna do, knock her margin of victory down to 15%? Let’s hope she defects or retires.

3. Warner vs. Warner – competitive maybe, but not likely to be a win for Mark. Let’s hope John retires.

4. Max Baucus is safe. And I mean Kent Conrad safe.

5. Mark Pryor is safe. With Beebe as the new governor, it’s clear that Arkansas votes Dem on anything that isn’t Presidential.

6. John Sununu and Gordon Smith are good targets, if we can knock them down. They’re popular enough now, but a good candidate running a good campaign could knock either of them into vulnerability with some hard work.

7. Graham = Akaka. Those who don’t approve of his performance are probably not likely to vote for his opponent, either.

8. Landrieu is defensible. +10% is a good base to work from.

9. Harkin and Levin have a little work to do. Hopefully their majority status will raise their image some.

10. Saxby Chamblis and Pat Roberts ain’t untouchable! I’d rate them as Likely Republican now, but a great candidate could beat either. Yes, even in Kansas!

11. Lamar Alexander and Norm Coleman can be defeated.

12. Cornyn and Inhofe need conservative Dem challengers who will fight against these two incumbents. Do that, and we win.

13. Defense in New Jersey – maybe we should encourage Lautenberg to retire.

14. Allard’s going down!!!