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?

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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!!!