Washington and Wyoming Primary Preview

WA-Sen (Top 2): The billed main event tonight is the Senate primary in Washington, but really, there’s not much to see here, other than for Californians to get a good look at what they just signed themselves up for, with the weirdness that is the Top 2 primary. Polling has indicated that a Patty Murray/Dino Rossi is all but inevitable, with teabaggers Clint Didier and Paul Akers having gotten little traction (although they have successfully forced Rossi to the right, rhetorically). The real question for pollwatchers is what percentage Murray and Rossi get, as some sort of tea leaf for November. Polling would seem to project Murray in the mid-40s and Rossi in the mid-30s, with Didier in the low teens, but there is so much expectations management going on that that any result will be immediately spun as imminent doom/triumph. At any rate, the primary has always been a mediocre predictor of the general (just ask Darcy Burner, who beat Dave Reichert in the 2008 WA-08 primary), and that may be compounded today by mischievous Dems crossing over to try to help the unelectable Didier past Rossi (or else sitting out, as there’s no Dem-on-Dem drama anywhere above the state legislative level).

WA-03 (Top 2): When a number of solid Dems jumped into this open seat race in the wake of Brian Baird’s retirement announcement, this looked like it had the potential for a true rumble in the jungle (primary). But instead it coalesced into something pretty similar to the Senate race, where we were left with one establishment Democrat left standing, Denny Heck (a former state Rep. from long ago, now a wealthy businessman), and on the other side, one underwhelming establishment Republican (state Rep. Jaime Herrera) and a couple feistier Tea Party types (former Bush-era deputy assistant VA Sec. David Castillo, and David Hedrick, whose main claim to fame is shouting down Baird at a town hall). Which GOPer faces Heck is hard to gauge, without any polling evidence; Herrera has the financial advantage (enough to run ads on cable, unlike Castillo), but Castillo has more local endorsements and seemingly more ground-level enthusiasm. If this turns out close, it may be days before we know which GOPer advances, as Washington results are compiled notoriously slowly — ballots postmarked through today can be counted.

WY-Gov (D): Dave Freudenthal could have opted to challenge term limits in court but decided not to, leaving the Blue Team struggling to field a candidate here. State Democratic Party chair Leslie Petersen jumped in, as did former University of Wyoming quarterback Pete Gosar. and three Some Dudes. No one’s really paid much attention to this primary, given that whoever wins will be considered quite the long shot against whoever the Republican nominee turns out to be. The last (and only?) poll of this race had Petersen leading Gosar 30-22, with undecideds through the roof. Can you really blame the undecided 48% of Wyoming Dems though? (JMD)

WY-Gov (R): Seven GOPers have jumped into the race, perhaps sensing an opportunity. Four of them exceed the “Some Dude” threshold, namely state Auditor Rita Meyer, former US Attorney Matt Mead, state House speaker (and son of former US Senator Alan) Colin Simpson, and state Agriculture Director Ron Micheli. Sarah Palin’s gotten her grubby Grizzly paws in this race, endorsing Meyer; George H.W. Bush countered with an endorsement of Simpson. The same Mason-Dixon poll had Meyer leading Mead 27-24, with Simpson at 17 and Micheli at 12. No runoffs here, so whoever pulls the plurality tonight will be the nominee. (JMD)

CA-SD15 (special general): Abel Maldonado vacated this Central Coast state Senate seat months ago after he was confirmed as Lieutenant Governor, but no one got 50% in the special primary, so we’re doing it again! Republican state Assemblyman Sam Blakeslee of San Luis Obispo fell just a tad short of clearing the 50%+1 barrier last time, scoring 49.4% to Democratic teacher John Laird’s 41.8%, with two independents of different parties getting the rest. The frustrating (or humorous) part in all of this is that we get to do this four person dance all over again, since the top finisher of each party moves on from the primary to the general! Given that Blakeslee came so close last time, it’s hard to imagine what’s shifted in the last eight weeks that Laird can pull this out and put the CA Senate Dems one closer to the magic 2/3rds mark. The wildcard, as always in special elections, is low turnout, but given how the enthusiasm gap has been, we can probably get around to anticipating what arcana the special election for Blakeslee’s Assembly seat will bring. (JMD)

Polls close at 9 pm ET (7 pm MT) in Wyoming, and 11 pm ET (8 pm PT) in Washington.

If you have predictions, please feel free to share them in the comments.

WA-Sen: It’s Still Going to Be Murray and Rossi

SurveyUSA for KING-TV (8/6-9, likely and actual voters, 6/25-28 in parentheses):

Patty Murray (D-inc): 41 (37)

Dino Rossi (R): 33 (33)

Clint Didier (R): 11 (5)

Others: 10 (6)

Undecided: 4 (19)

(MoE: ±3.9%)

While Dino Rossi has been, in public, trying to stay above the fray and treat his advancing from Washington’s Top 2 primary as a given, he’s also been trying to consolidate support from various right-wing kingmakers (Jim DeMint, Tom Coburn), which suggests he’s at least somewhat sweating the challenge from various teabaggers on his right flank. SurveyUSA’s new poll (of likely and “actual” voters, the latter being those who’ve already sent in their mail-in ballots) shows that there his efforts may be warranted, as he’s flat while everyone else is gaining: principal Tea Party opposition Clint Didier, Democratic incumbent Patty Murray, and the vast hodgepodge that is “other” (partially fellow teabagger Paul Akers, who’s in the low single digits, but also 12 other assorted dreamers and cranks). Rossi, of course, is in no danger of losing his ticket to the big dance in November, but he probably wants to avoid an embarrassing finish in distant second.

As with the previous SurveyUSA poll, one red flag for Murray is that Rossi + Didier > Murray. PPP‘s recent poll of the primary is an interesting comparison point, because their numbers for the Republicans are pretty similar while finding Murray further along (Murray 47, Rossi 33, Didier 10, Akers 4)… but they don’t include an “Other,” suggesting that SurveyUSA is finding at least a handful of folks who prefer Murray to the GOPers but, given the full panoply of options, plan to waste their primary votes on one of the perennial candidates who are self-described Dems (like the ubiquitous Mike the Mover).

WA-Sen: Murray Has Small Edge Over Rossi

PPP (pdf) (7/27-8/1, Washington voters, no trendlines):

Patty Murray (D-inc): 47

Dino Rossi (R): 33

Clint Didier (R): 10

Paul Akers (R): 4

Undecided: 6

Patty Murray (D-inc): 49

Dino Rossi (R): 46

Undecided: 5

Patty Murray (D-inc): 50

Clint Didier (R): 39

Undecided: 12

(MoE: ±2.8%)

PPP’s first look at the Washington Senate race confirms what we’ve known for months: this is going to be a close race, but Patty Murray has a perceptible advantage thanks to the lean of the state and decent approvals. Check out the undecideds: only 5% in a Murray/Dino Rossi head-to-head. Thanks to Rossi’s two gubernatorial runs, everyone in the state already has an opinion of both candidates, and he’s not going to fall below 46% (which is about where he wound up in 2008’s gubernatorial race). It’s the getting from that base camp to the summit of 50%+1 in this blue state that’s the tricky part for him (and for all Republicans, period).

Murray’s approvals are 46/45, surprisingly not-bad for an incumbent politician this year; Tom Jensen points out that leaves her fairly exalted company (only five Senators up for re-election this year have better ratings). Rossi’s favorables are 43/48, again, pointing to the problem of who he wins over to get over the top. (Bear in mind, too, that this sample went 51-41 for Obama over McCain in 2008; the actual Obama margin was 17 points, so this sample may be about as good as it gets for the GOP.)

PPP also wisely looked at Washington’s weirdo top-two primary, finding Murray easily winning there, but also finding Rossi set to cruise into the 2nd slot in the general. Faced with monumental name rec and financial deficits against Rossi, teabagger candidates Clint Didier and Paul Akers wound up more on the Chuck Purgason/Patrick Hughes side of the ledger rather than the Rand Paul/Sharron Angle end. Murray’s numbers are pretty flat from primary to general, meaning that Rossi pretty thoroughly consolidates the Didier and Akers votes behind him for the general, despite a general carping from the far right about the establishment having cleared Rossi’s path.

Also of note in this race: both Murray and Rossi are hitting the airwaves. In fact, this is Rossi’s first ad from his own campaign (although he’s been aided by GOP 3rd-party advertising). His spot is mostly a soft re-introduction ad, although he does tout the GOP’s newfound interest in fighting debt. Murray, by contrast, is going negative, pointing out the correlation between Rossi’s Wall Street fundraising and his being the first Senate candidate out there to run in favor of repeal of the recent financial reform package. Murray’s ad even invokes the Bush years for good measure, as part of what may be a new trend for Dem advertisements (although there’s some questions as to the usefulness of that argument).

SSP Daily Digest: 8/2 (Afternoon Edition)

WA-Sen: I’m not sure how this will work, practically speaking, but the two Tea Partiers in the race, rancher Clint Didier and fastener mogul Paul Akers, are “joining forces.” They’ll be doing joint ads and joint online forums for the remaining few weeks. They can’t, of course, be jointly voted-for, so I don’t know what the endgame is, but it probably doesn’t matter, as both have been polling in the single digits in polls of the jungle primary. Apparently, it does give them a better venue for airing their grievances with the GOP establishment’s selection of Dino Rossi as standard-bearer; maybe this way, Akers can distract the ref while Didier puts Rossi in a sleeper hold.

Also on the weird timing front, Washington’s Republican SoS, Sam Reed, is just out with a new book on the 2004 gubernatorial election and the protracted recount and court challenges he oversaw. Relations between Reed and the rest of the state Republicans were severely tested during the recount, seeing as how the scrupulous Reed wanted to, y’know, follow the rules. While the book doesn’t seem to paint Rossi in a terribly unfavorable light, it can’t help but remind everyone of his “perennial candidate” status.

AZ-Gov: You might recall that NRA board member Owen Buz Mills recently ended his GOP primary campaign against the once-endangered, now-all-powerful Jan Brewer several weeks ago. Well, he’s not quite done, his spokesperson is now saying: he’s going to enter a Rob Simmons-style state of electoral limbo. Mills won’t be spending any more money on the race, but he will leave his name on the ballot. (Other dropouts Dean Martin and John Munger have filed papers of formal withdrawal from the race.)

OR-Gov, OR-05: Now that Oregon has opted to join New York in the weird world of fusion voting, now it even has its own Independent Party trying to quirkily play it down the middle. Based on its online straw poll of members (with a vote total of a whopping 2,290), the IP gave its backing to Democrat John Kitzhaber in the gubernatorial race, but to Republican state Rep. Scott Bruun in OR-05 (instead of incumbent Dem Kurt Schrader).

TX-Gov: A number of prominent Dallas business leaders have signed on to a letter announcing their support for Bill White in the gubernatorial race. About half of the signatories, a mix of moderate Republicans and independents, are, in fact, former Kay Bailey Hutchison supporters.

WY-Gov: I think this trumps her earlier Wilford Brimley endorsement. State auditor Rita Meyer (the only woman in the four-way GOP primary field) got added to Sarah Palin’s stable of Mama Grizzlies late last week.

AL-02, AL-05: The “generally conservative” Alabama Farmer’s Federation handed out helpful endorsements to two Dems today: not just to Rep. Bobby Bright (who seems to fit their profile well) but also to Steve Raby, running in the 5th. Raby seems well connected with the agriculture world through his former work for ex-Sen. Howell Heflin.

MI-02, MI-03: A poll for the Grand Rapids Press, taken by Practical Political Consulting, looks at the GOP primaries in the two western Michigan open seats. In the 2nd (Peter Hoekstra’s seat), former NFL player and Family Research Council executive Jay Riemersma has a small lead at 22, followed by former state Rep. Bill Huizenga and teabagging businessman Bill Cooper, both at 15, and state Sen. Wayne Kuipers at 13. In the 3rd (Vern Ehlers’ seat), state Rep. Justin Amash (anointed as chosen one by the DeVos family) leads at 28, followed by African-American state Sen. Bill Hardiman at 23 and ex-Kent Co. Commissioner Steve Heacock (the moderate in the field, and Ehlers’ endorsee) at 17.

FL-12: We keep mentally writing this race off due to Lori Edwards’ paltry fundraising, and then polling evidence to the contrary shows up. For the second time, the Edwards camp has released an internal poll giving them a lead in this R+6 open seat. Edwards leads GOP ex-state Rep. Dennis Ross 35-32 in a poll taken by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner. The catch here is one of the most legitimate Tea Party candidates anywhere is here: Randy Wilkinson, a Polk Co. Commissioner who briefly sought the GOP nomination before deciding to go the third-party route. Wilkinson polls at 20%, although we’ll have to see if the near-broke Wilkinson can keep those numbers up through November.

TN-03: Newt Gingrich handed out a last-minute seal of approval in the GOP primary in the 3rd. He’s backing the more-or-less establishment candidate, former state GOP chair Robin Smith. Smith’s main opponent is Chuck Fleischmann, a partly-self-funding attorney who seems tighter with the Mike Huckabee crowd than the teabaggers.

WA-03: The Beltway media seems to take it as an article of faith that GOP state Rep. Jaime Herrera is going to be Denny Heck’s opponent in November, but David Castillo shouldn’t be counted out. Not being on the ground, they wouldn’t pick up on the general sense of underwhelmingness that seems to surround Herrera, but it seems like they would, at some point, have noticed that nearly all the endorsements of consequence in the district have gone to Castillo. He got endorsements from the newspapers in Vancouver, Longview, and Centralia, as well as the out-of-district Seattle Times. AG Rob McKenna, probably the state’s best-liked Republican, had endorsed Castillo before Rep. Brian Baird’s retirement and Herrera’s entry, but he’s been pointedly sticking by his endorsement, hosting a Castillo fundraiser last week.

House: Nate Silver’s out with a new toy that SSPers will certainly be interested in: having found that Democratic House candidates tend to overperform vis-à-vis presidential numbers in districts with lower median household income, he’s created a new index that’s a mashup of prez numbers and income, called the Partisan Propensity Index. (He looked at only results in open seat races, which eliminates the main problem with trying to fit House numbers on top of prez numbers, which is the overwhelming staying power of incumbents.) At the end of the day, it’s still not too different from PVI, inasmuch as Chet Edwards has the worst district of any Dem and Joe Cao has the worst district of any GOPer, but it does reflect the reality that suburban Sun Belt districts that are truly swingy at the presidential level are a harder nut for Dems to crack at the House level than rural Appalachian districts that are red at the presidential level.


NV-Gov: Rory Reid (D) 40%, Brian Sandoval (R) 50%

OK-Gov: Jari Askins (D) 36%, Mary Fallin (R) 57%

PA-Gov: Dan Onorato (D) 39%, Tom Corbett (R) 50%

PA-Sen: Joe Sestak (D) 39%, Pat Toomey (R) 45%

SC-Gov: Vincent Sheheen (D) 35%, Nikki Haley (R) 49%

WA-Sen: Patty Murray (D-inc) 49%, Dino Rossi (R) 47%

WA-Sen: Patty Murray (D-inc) 48%, Clint Didier (R) 45%

WA-Sen: Patty Murray (D-inc) 48%, Paul Akers (R) 42%

WI-Gov: Tom Barrett (D) 45%, Mark Neumann (R) 44%

WI-Gov: Tom Barrett (D) 43%, Scott Walker (R) 50%

SSP Daily Digest: 7/16 (Afternoon Edition)

CT-Sen: Quinnipiac (7/8, registered voters, likely Republican primary voters, 6/2-8 in parentheses):

Richard Blumenthal (D): 54 (55)

Linda McMahon (R): 37 (35)

Undecided: 7 (8)

Richard Blumenthal (D): 55 (54)

Rob Simmons (R): 35 (33)

Undecided: 9 (10)

Richard Blumenthal (D): 58 (56)

Peter Schiff (R): 31 (29)

Undecided: 9 (12)

(MoE: ±2.7%)

Linda McMahon (R): 52

Rob Simmons (R): 25

Peter Schiff (R) : 13

Undecided: 10

(MoE: ±3.4%)

Not much change in the Nutmeg State. And it looks like Rob Simmons might have some pretty serious disincentive to not get back into the Senate primary again, as he briefly threatened.

FL-Sen: Marco Rubio’s $4.4 million haul blew a lot of people away, but what’s equally impressive (and didn’t get any coverage at the time) is his burn rate. It turns out that, even though he no longer has a primary to worry about, he spent almost all ($4 million) of what he made.

NY-Sen-B: You might remember that there was some uncertainty as to whether Joe DioGuardi, who has the Conservative line for November, would even make it into the Republican primary thanks to his poor finish at the GOP state convention. Well, after gathering enough signatures, he has now successfully petitioned his way onto the primary ballot. He has consistently led polls of the GOP primary, although generally in the low 20s. (H/t andyroo312.)

WI-Sen, WI-Gov (pdf): Apparently, voters in Wisconsin are dimly aware that something called an “election” may be transpiring at some point in the future, as more than half of all those surveyed not having decided yet on a Senate pick, at least according to Univ. of Wisconsin’s Badger Poll. The likely voters in Wisconsin are currently going for Russ Feingold at 33 and Ron Johnson 28. RVs are Feingold 27, Johnson 21, and Wisconsin residents are Feingold 25, Johnson 19. In a remarkable contrast with Rasmussen (who’d have thunk?), nobody knows who Johnson is: he has 12/8 favorables among likely voters. They also look at the even-more-disinteresting gubernatorial race, finding Tom Barrett losing to both Scott Walker and Mark Neumann by the same margin of 32-15 (!). (UPDATE (DavidNYC): Here’s another good reason to mistrust this poll: It was in the field for a month. What the…?)

WV-Sen: The West Virginia legislature is still busy tinkering with their state’s election laws today as part of the preparations for the special election to succeed Robert Byrd. Perhaps most significantly, it sounds like they are planning special primaries (tentatively set for fast-approaching Aug. 28), rather than a jungle-style election in November. They threw out a Joe Manchin proposal, however, that would scrap the special primaries if only one candidate from each party decided to run.

AZ-Gov: We reported yesterday on the Rocky Mountain Poll (by the ominously-named Behavior Research Council), and it looks like they also have general election numbers. GOP incumbent Jan Brewer leads Democratic AG Terry Goddard 45-25, a surprisingly large margin since most non-Rasmussen pollsters have seen a close race (although that was mostly before SB 1070-mania hit).

CO-Gov: SurveyUSA, on behalf of the Denver Post, is out with a snap poll on the subject of Scott McInnis, post-plagiarism-scandal. It turns out that this scandal does have a lot of resonance — there’s a lot less semantic ambiguity here than with Richard Blumenthal or even Mark Kirk… either you wrote it or you didn’t (and then tried to pass the blame on an octogenarian ally). 20% of Republicans now say they’ll vote for someone else, but 39% say they’ll still vote for him. Looking ahead to a replacement, the poll also asked who “the strongest Republican” would be, and the number one pick was… you guessed it… Tom Tancredo, at 29. McInnis followed at 19, with primary opponent Dan Maes at 13. Jane Norton (a possible switchover, given her dwindling Senate campaign) was at 11, former candidate and state Sen. Josh Penry was at 7, and Univ. of Colorado Bruce Benson was at 3. (In other polling news, note that even Rasmussen can’t find a way to polish this turd, as seen in a poll (see below) taken last night.)

If you’re wondering who Benson is, he’s now the subject of perhaps the most speculation as the GOP’s preferred fill-in. Another name getting tossed around is long-ago former Sen. Hank Brown, who more recently served as president of Univ. of Northern Colorado. The Post also was apparently set to do its regularly-scheduled endorsement for the primary this week, and they said that prior to this week, they would have endorsed McInnis; now they can’t endorse anyone at all (which is quite the slap at Maes).

GA-Gov: Not that he seems to need a lot of help at this point, but Roy Barnes is getting the endorsement of Atlanta’s new mayor, Kasim Reed. Turnabout’s fair play, as Barnes gave Reed a late endorsement in last year’s election.

NY-Gov: Well, this race is effectively over: Andrew Cuomo reported raising $9.2 million in the last six months for a total of $23.6 million CoH. (You think he could redirect a little of that to the DGA? Of the nation’s 10 most populous states, 9 have gubernatorial races, and of those 9, New York is the lone one that isn’t highly competitive.) Rick Lazio, by comparison, raised $1.4 million in that period, and has $689K CoH, which might make him competitive in an upstate House race. GOP primary rival Carl Paladino reported raising $1.7 million during the same period… but $1.6 million of that came out of his own pocket.

TN-Gov: We normally don’t report on Mitt Romney’s many endorsements, as he seems to hand out low-four-figures sums of money to any Republican with a pulse who survived a primary. Here’s one that’s a big race though and where the decisive primary hasn’t happened yet. Romney backed Bill Haslam, the establishment and most moderate of the three GOPers in the primary.

TX-Gov: With full information available from Rick Perry, we know now that Bill White won each fundraising category. White outraised Perry $7.4 million to $7.1 million in the post-primary period, and White leads in CoH by a $9 million to $5.8 million margin. And here’s an interesting tidbit: the White campaign says it’s raised more than $1 million from former Kay Bailey Hutchison contributors.

CO-04: EMILY’s List is weighing into the 4th with a big independent expenditure. They’ll be spending $300K on TV advertising on behalf of Betsy Markey over the next three weeks; the ad’s a negative spot hitting Corey Gardner, including on health care issues.

FL-17: The Miami Herald has some helpful background on the largely-forgotten Democratic primary in the open seat 17th, which is where all the action will be in this dark-blue district. (This seat, long held by the Meek family, hasn’t had a competitive primary in decades.) They look at state Sen. Frederica Wilson as frontrunner, and they cite an AFL-CIO poll from March (the first I’ve seen of it) that had Wilson at 34, with 12 for Miami Gardens mayor Shirley Gibson and 10 for North Miami city councilor Scott Galvin. The race’s rapidly emerging wild card, though, seems to be physician Rudolph Moise, by virtue of having over $900K CoH, at least six times what anyone else has. Some of that is self-funded, but he seems to have raised the most from other donors too, and he plans to start an advertising blitz soon.

GA-12: Rep. John Barrow’s been burning cash fast lately: he raised $204K last quarter but spent $374K in that period, leaving him with $655 CoH. But that’s probably because his big challenge this year is in the Democratic primary (next week), not in the general, where his possible GOP opponents are all pretty weak. Of course, Regina Thomas doesn’t present that much challenge to him, either, if her financials are any indication: she raised $2,400 last quarter and had $6,600 CoH. But hey, at least she managed to file her FEC report on time this year.

ID-01: Here’s another way that Raul Labrador is an unconventional candidate: he thinks that following that unspoken rule that you release your internal polls only when they have good news for you is for pussies. He’s out with an internal, by Moore Insight, that gives Rep. Walt Minnick — in theory one of the most vulnerable freshmen by virtue of his district and narrow win last time — a 37-27 lead. Minnick’s re-elect is only 38/40, though, which I guess is worth something. Reid Wilson also has more detail on Labrador today, slamming Kevin McCarthy’s efforts to reach out to citizens for help on creating a new Contract with America-type-thing. (The democracy-hating Labrador, no fan of the 17th Amendment either, thinks House leadership should impose the agenda top-down.) Also, were you wondering why Labrador didn’t loudly tout his fundraising haul from last quarter? Well, that’s because he raised $101K in the post-primary period of May and June, and is sitting on all of $69K CoH with $30K debt.

MI-01: Is this the smallest sample size ever? Another Inside Michigan Politics poll of a House primary is out, this time in the Republican field in the open seat race to replace Bart Stupak, and it’s got a whopping n of 140. State Sen. Jason Allen and physician Dan Benishek (who was the lone GOPer before Stupak’s retirement announcement) are tied at the top with 20 each. There’s also a handful of no-names polling in the low single digits, one of whom, Linda Goldthorpe, just dropped out yesterday. (H/t TheGradyDem.)

Caucuses: Well, it was only a matter of time before this happened. Michele Bachmann is taking out the paperwork to create a whole new caucus in the House: the Tea Party Caucus. Hmmm… I thought that already existed, and it was called the RSC.

NY-St. Sen.: Here’s an interesting piece on the fundraising and infrastructure collapse behind the scenes for the GOP in the New York State Senate (who may, via GOP-held open seats, actually manage to lose further seats in November despite the nature of the year). Case in point: the race to replace retiring Senator Vincent Leibell in the Hudson Valley, where there’s cat fud a-flyin’ between establishment pick Mary Beth Murphy and teabaggish Greg Ball (who you may recall from briefly making a splashy entry in the NY-19 field).


CO-Gov: John Hickenlooper (D) 45%, Scott McInnis (R) 43%

DE-Sen: Chris Coons (D) 36%, Mike Castle (R) 47%

DE-Sen: Chris Coons (D) 39%, Christine O’Donnell (R) 41%

GA-Gov (D): Roy Barnes (D) 59%, Thurbert Baker (D) 16%, Dubose Porter 5%, David Poythress 5%

PA-Gov: Dan Onorato (D) 38%, Tom Corbett (R) 48%

WA-Sen: Patty Murray (D) 45%, Dino Rossi (R) 48%

WA-Sen: Patty Murray (D) 45%, Clint Didier (R) 48%

WA-Sen: Patty Murray (D) 46%, Paul Akers (R) 41%

WA-Sen: Murray, Rossi Look to Advance From Primary

SurveyUSA for KING-TV (6/25-28, likely voters, no trendlines):

Patty Murray (D-inc): 37

Dino Rossi (R): 33

Clint Didier (R): 5

Others: 6

Undecided: 19

(MoE: ±4.4%)

SurveyUSA is doing a couple things right with their newest poll of Washington: first, they’re looking at Washington’s “top two” primary, which is the first hurdle that Patty Murray and Dino Rossi have to clear. (Their only previous poll of this race was of the November general election; the only public poll of the race to have shown a Rossi lead, it was declared, pretty much by universal consensus, to be an outlier.)

In not much of a surprise, considering that Murray is the only legitimate Democrat while Rossi has to fight off a teabagger challenge from Clint Didier, Murray has a single-digit lead. Note that Rossi + Didier is about equal to Murray (although maybe not every Didier voter will shift to Rossi in November, as the state’s movement conservatives seem a lot more lukewarm about Rossi than they did two years ago, when he was the vehicle for their “we wuz robbed” indignation)… presaging a close general election race, though. (They also painstakingly list all 15 candidates, including perpetual perennial candidates like Mike the Mover and the mighty GoodSpaceGuy… who, despite his fondness for things technological, doesn’t seem to have his own website.)

The other thing that SurveyUSA is doing is adding cellphones to the mix here, despite the added expense of having to use a call center with live callers to reach cellphone users (owing to laws prohibiting auto-dialing cellphones). This is an issue I’ve groused about a lot, and it’s one where the distortion, I’ve always believed, is particularly pronounced in Washington (where the 18-34 year old set is particularly liberal, and also where they tend to be the tech-savvy early-adopters who would be the first to cast off the shackles of their landlines), so I want to offer SurveyUSA props for doing so.

Interestingly, though, the addition of cellphone users doesn’t seem to make much of a difference in the overall numbers. SurveyUSA offers a variety of different models with varying cellphone composition, and Murray always has a 4 or 5 point lead. With no cellphones in the mix, Murray’s up 39-34, and with cellphones comprising 30% of the mix, she leads 37-32. And most puzzlingly, 18-34 year olds are still the only age group in the crosstabs who favor Rossi (albeit narrowly, 33-28, while even those cynical members of Generation X opt for Murray, 40-26). So maybe, in the same way that they can’t be bothered to fill out their Census forms, Seattle’s urban hipsters still can’t be bothered to respond to phone calls from pollsters either.

WA-Sen: Murray Leads, Didier Goes to DC

Elway Poll (6/9-13, registered voters, 4/29-5/2 in parens):

Patty Murray (D-inc): 47 (51)

Dino Rossi (R): 40 (34)

Undecided: 13 (15)

Patty Murray (D-inc): 47 (50)

Paul Akers (R): 33 (26)

Undecided: 20 (24)

Patty Murray (D-inc): 46 (50)

Clint Didier (R): 32 (24)

Undecided: 22 (26)

(MoE: ±5%)

Elway’s last poll of the Washington Senate race, taken before Dino Rossi made his entry official, had seemed a little optimistic; a 17-point lead is pretty showy in a state where a Republican is guaranteed at least 40% in a statewide race just for showing up (but where 50% is nearly impossible). A 7-point lead is very plausible.

I’d be curious to see Elway (or anyone else… maybe PPP will finally poll Washington?) take a look at the Republican primary, which in the wake of the robust showing for support for Clint Didier at the state convention last weekend and the ‘meh’ that greeted Dino Rossi, looks like it could turn very interesting. (OK, the “top two” primary, which would require polling Murray, Rossi, Didier, and Paul Akers all in one big pile.) In fact, with a Sarah Palin endorsement boosting him, Beltway Republicans are actually starting to have to take notice of Didier: he’s going to be meeting in DC this week with staff from the RNC and the NRSC (which just finished laboriously recruiting Rossi into the race).

UPDATE: Apparently Elway has polled the “top two” primary as well, but those numbers didn’t start making the rounds until later today. The results (bearing in mind that all candidates are thrown together in one pool) are: Murray 43, Rossi 31, Didier 5, and Akers 2. For those who don’t like to do their own math, that combined GOP vote is 38. Didier is also out with a breathless tweet today announcing that he just met Ron Paul today while in DC! It was teh awesome! It makes him “want to fight harder for Liberty!” (Well, except for Liberty from all those farm subsidies…)

WA-Sen: Murray Leads in Two Polls over Rossi

Elway Poll (4/29-5/2, registered voters):

Patty Murray (D-inc): 51

Dino Rossi (R): 34

Undecided: 15

Patty Murray (D-inc): 51

Don Benton (R): 27

Undecided: 22

Patty Murray (D-inc): 50

Paul Akers (R): 26

Undecided: 24

Patty Murray (D-inc): 50

Clint Didier(R): 24

Undecided: 26

(MoE: ±5%)

Looks like that SurveyUSA poll that gave a 10-point lead to Dino Rossi (and was subsequently dismissed by both campaigns) has “outlier” written all over it. Elway, probably the best-regarded local pollster in Washington, takes a first look at the Senate race and finds Patty Murray in very solid shape, leading by double-digits and hitting 50% against not only the minor opposition but against Rossi as well. Elway also, in the fine print, does some extrapolating to project “likely voter” and “perfect voter” models, and finds that Murray still wins those scenarios, including a 49-40 win among “perfect voters.”

Add to that a new Rasmussen poll today that, like the previous Rasmussen effort, finds Murray with a 2-point lead over Rossi and breaking 50 against the minor announced candidates. Obviously not as good a result as Elway, but taking the source into consideration, it’s a double-whammy that should give Rossi serious pause about whether this is the race where he wants to put his credibility on the line one last time.

Polling memo over the jump:

SSP Daily Digest: 4/29 (Afternoon Edition)

CA-Sen: Huckabee hearts Chuck DeVore. The once and perhaps future presidential contender endorsed the conservative Assemblyman, who’s buried deep in third place in the GOP Senate primary but still flying the right-wing flag with pride.

UT-Sen: Bob Bennett finally reeled in the endorsement that’ll help him salvage his career at the state convention… Karl Rove! OK, I’m being a little facetious, but Utah is dark-red enough that Rove might actually still be more asset than liability here.

WA-Sen: The DSCC sent opposition researchers to Washington to comb-over Dino Rossi’s business dealings in a Dan Coats-style pre-emptive attack, and already unearthed an interesting nugget: $20,000 in back taxes on an investment property owned by an investment group in which Rossi is a partner. Also, I’d speculated last week that minor candidate (and Rossi friend) Chris Widener‘s dropout may foreshadow a Rossi entry. Not so, Widener is now saying: he has no insight into Rossi’s plans, and his departure had nothing to do with Rossi one way or the other. Widener felt that Don Benton and Paul Akers were coalescing as front-runners in a non-Rossi field, leaving Widener not much of a shot even with Rossi out.

CT-04: Things got whittled down in the GOP field in the 4th, to take on freshman Democratic Rep. Jim Himes. Former state Sen. Rob Russo, a former aide to and ally of ex-Rep. Chris Shays, dropped out and threw his support to his former colleague, the somewhat more conservative state Sen. Dan Debicella. Russo seemed squeezed by the late entry of moneybags Thomas Herrmann.

GA-08: The 8th was one of the GOP’s biggest recruiting failures in a year that saw them round up a remarkably full dance card; it’s an R+10 district where Democratic Rep. Jim Marshall has never won by a crushing margin, but they were left with only an assortment of non-self-funding businessmen and local cranks. That may change, though, as reports suggest state Rep. Austin Scott, who’s had little luck breaking out of the low single-digits in the GOP gubernatorial primary field, may be willing to try his hand in the 8th instead. (Scott had also been urged to get into the Lt. Governor primary against Casey Cagle.) It still seems an uphill fight for Scott (especially getting in the fundraising game so late), but definitely an upgrade for the GOP; Scott will have to finalize his decision soon, as Friday is the filing deadline.

KS-03: One more Republican decided to get into the field in the open seat race in the 3rd, where there’s a gaping hole where presumed front-runner state Sen. Nick Jordan used to be (after his surprising dropout). Lawyer and ice rink owner Jean Ann Uvodich launched her candidacy today.

MI-01: Connie Saltonstall, who got NARAL and NOW endorsements in the primary in the 1st back when Bart Stupak was still planning to run, is saying if she doesn’t win the primary she won’t back a general election candidate who isn’t pro-choice. That seems to limit her choices: of the three state legislators who piled into the Dem field after Stupak’s retirement, only one (Matt Gillard) is pro-choice; Gary McDowell and Joel Sheltrown are pro-life. EMILY’s List is still pondering whether to get behind Saltonstall, polling the race to see if she’s a viable candidate.

NJ-03: Rep. John Adler has turned out to have a more conservative voting record (characterized by his anti-HCR vote) than pretty much anyone expected, given his track record in the state legislature. Adler’s standing among the Democratic base will get put the test with a primary challenge, it turns out: Barry Bendar, the chair of the local Democratic committee in Lacey Township (in Ocean County), will run against Adler. Bendar says he’ll still support Adler in the general in the very likely event he doesn’t win the primary.

Michigan: At the Michigan Liberal blog, they’re taking a look at the prospects in the state Senate and House in November… and they’re using a variation on Swing State Project’s own House Vulnerability Index as the metric for making predictions. Democrats look likely to lose a few seats in the House (where they have a decent-sized majority) but the Senate (where they’re a few flips away from the majority) looks like it could be anyone’s game at this point.

WA-Sen: Murray With 11-Point Edge Over Rossi

Research 2000 for Daily Kos (3/22-24, likely voters, 2/16-18, 2009 in parentheses):

Patty Murray (D): 51 (53)

Dave Reichert (R): 43 (40)

Undecided: 6 (7)

Patty Murray (D): 52

Dino Rossi (R): 41

Undecided: 7

Patty Murray (D): 54

Don Benton (R): 35

Undecided: 11

Patty Murray (D): 55

Paul Akers (R): 28

Undecided: 17

(MoE: ±4.0%)

There’s been emerging conventional wisdom in the last couple months that Dino Rossi poses a threat to Patty Murray in the Washington Senate race, if he gets in. That seems to have entirely two pillars of support holding that up, though: a couple polls from Rasmussen, and another one from Portland-based Republican internal pollster Moore Insight. Research 2000 has a rather different take: Murray has an 11-point lead on Rossi, who, with a 47/47 favorable (thanks to the heavy exposure of losing two contentious gubernatorial races), really doesn’t have much more room for growth.

Rep. Dave Reichert (who’s generally well-liked and isn’t covered in two-time loser stank) is probably the GOP’s best bet in Washington, and even he comes up short against Murray — in fact, thanks to one-year-old trendlines, we can see there’s been only a small amount of erosion for Murray, either in the matchup against Reichert or in her favorables (52/41 now, 55/40 then), despite all the craziness of the last year. Murray also easily takes care of two of her actually announced GOP opponents, state Sen. Don Benton and businessman Paul Akers (the only candidate to have advertised so far).

RaceTracker: WA-Sen