With the January 19th craziness behind us, it’s time to catch up on a few polls that were forgotten because of the focus on South Carolina and Nevada. And the first of these is a Rasmussen poll of California’s GOP primary that was released mid-week (the Democratic numbers have already been blogged):
- McCain is ahead with 24%, followed by Romney’s 17%, Huckabe’s 13%, Thompson’s 13% and Giuliani’s 11%.
This is obviously very significant given that California will be the biggest prize on February 5th. Giuliani was long crushing the field here, and his collapse to fifth-place is that much more significant. The trouble for McCain’s opponents is that numbers in states like California, Illinois and New York are likely to start reflecting national numbers given how huge those states are, and McCain has an unmistakable advantage there. And a win here would be particularly impressive for the Arizona Senator given that California is a closed primary (just like Florida), and McCain has not been doing that well among registered Republicans for now.
Second, we get a primary poll from Massachusetts by SUSA released on Thursday. MA is voting on February 5th and awards many delegates, particularly on the Democratic side, so these numbers are particularly important.
- On the GOP side, it looks like Romney will manage to hold on to his home-state. He defeats McCain 48% to 34%, with Giuliani at 8%.
- Among Democrats, Clinton crushes the field on the strength of a 42% lead among women (!). She gets 56% to Obama’s 23% and Edwards’s 14%.
Keep in mind that general election polls in MA have shown Romney much weaker than Giuliani and McCain, leading questions as to whether he would get any home-state effect in the GOP primary here. It would certainly be humiliating for him to lose the state. Second, MA is not generally considered to be in Clinton’s home-state region (as NY, NJ and CT are), so she would certainly be able to spin a big victory here as a success and she would get a big delegate advantage if she keeps up this lead. But odds are the numbers will tighten at least to some degree when campaigning picks up.
Second, we have a wave of general elections polls released by SUSA on Friday of three states that went bif for Bush in 2000 and 2004. This time, Virginia and Kansas show more than competitive Democrats, though Alabama is firmly anchored in the Republican camp. But in all three polls, McCain runs about 15% stronger than his Republican rivals, underscoring just how consistently better the new GOP front-runner is polling in general election polls:
- Virginia looks like a very promising state for Democrats, and this poll has Clinton and Obama leading Giuliani (50-44 and 46-45 respectively), Romney (51-43 and 48-44) and Huckabee (50-43 and 49-44).
- And now take a look at McCain’s numbers, who crushes Clinton 52% to 43% and Obama 52% to 40%.
- The scenario is the same in Kansas, a state Bush won by a massive 26%! Clinton manages to lead Giuliani 48% to 42% though Obama narrowly trails him 45% to 43%. The same is true against Huckabee (47-46 Clinton and 44-46 Obama), and both Democrats leadagainst Romney.
- But McCain handily defeats both Democrats 53% to 40% against Clinton and 53% to 39% against Obama. Notice that McCain’s margins are still half of what Bush won by in 2004, but they have got to be disappointing for Democrats after seeing how weakly the other GOPers run.
- Alabama, another state Bush won by 26%, looks better for Republicans. Giuliani beats both Clinton and Obama (50-42 against Clinton and 55-34 against Obama), so does Romney (52-42 and 56-34) and Huckabee (55-40 and 59-32) But here again McCain manages to run even better: He defeats Clinton 58% to 37% and Obama63% to 29%. Notice also how much better than Obama Clinton is faring in this poll.
Two thoughts here. First, Democrats obviously need none of these states to win the 2008 elections. But if McCain becomes the GOP nominee, the polls that are going to come out from states like VA and KY are suddenly going to look much worse for Democrats than they have grown used to in the past few months, and Republicans will be able to be much less worried about losing red states like this. And while there is no telling whether McCain will prove to be the most electable of candidates down the line, the fact that he runs so much better so consistently says something.
Second, Hillary does run better in all three states than Barack. Keep in mind that this is a dynamic we are very much used to: Clinton almost always polls much better in red states like these and in the South, where she rallies much more of the Democratic base; Obama, on the other hand, tends to do better in other areas, especially out West.