No state polls had been released for a few days, but after yesterday’s orgy of national surveys it’s back to business as usual in presidential polling: the tracking polls and state results of varying interest:
- For the second day in a row, both tracking poll showed Obama’s national bounce fading. After a high on Saturday-Sunday, it’s back to usual for Rasmussen (47-46 Obama) and Gallup (47-41).
- In North Carolina, PPP’s latest polling finds a tight race, with McCain holding on within the margin of error, 47% to 44%. He was ahead 45% to 41% last months. Obama gets 82% of the black vote, McCain 57% of the white vote (versus 34% for Obama).
- In Pennsylvania, Obama is ahead 49% to 40% in Strategic Vision’s poll of the state since April. This is the first non-Rasmussen poll of the state in weeks. The previous Strategic Vision poll found McCain ahead by 8% here - but it was taken back in April…
- In Washington, Strategic Vision confirms Obama’s advantage as the Democrat leads 48% to 37%.
As I have regretted many times, Pennsylvania polling has been rare but the few results we have gotten find Obama ahead more or less comfortably. As Michigan has usurped Pennsylvania’s status of most endangered Democratic big state, Republicans are not likely to put quite as much emphasis on PA as they did four years ago and Obama should be helped by the Democratic registration gains in the state. However, this is one state in which a weak showing for Obama among working class voters could cost him dearly.
As for North Carolina, the race has been stable for weeks, as nearly every poll that is released shows a McCain advantage between 3% and 5% (Civitas, SUSA and Rasmussen). I refer you back to my recent analysis of the risk and rewards of Obama’s red state strategy, as this poll confirms what we have been seeing for a while: Despite spending in the state whereas McCain is not, Obama is not progressing further - a relief for the GOP. However, Republicans were hoping that the state would go back to its GOP roots as the general election progressed, but that is clearly not happening. McCain will have to invest in North Carolina sooner or later and divest resources from elsewhere; if he doesn’t, it would put Obama in an ideal position to take away those 15 electoral votes.
In down-the-ballot races, one independent and four internal polls to report today:
- PPP’s poll from North Carolina’s Senate race finds Elizabeth Dole slipping back under 50% and leading Kay Hagan 49% to 40%. Last month, after her first big wave of advertising, Dole led by 14%.
- In Indiana, the Daniels campaign released an internal poll finding the incumbent Governor crushing his Democratic opponent 53% to 35%.
- In MI-07, a race Democrats are targeting, GOP incumbent Walberg released an internal poll taken this month finding him ahead 47% to 31% - under 50% but a decent margin for a targeted incumbent.
- His Democratic opponent quickly fired back with a poll finding him trailing by only 3%, 40% to 37% - certainly very dangerous waters for an incumbent. However, the poll was taken in May so it is not necessarily a good response to the Republican’s internal poll.
- Another exchange of internal polls in NM-01. A few weeks ago, Democrat Martin Heinrich released a poll that found him to be ahead within the margin of error by 3%. Today, the campaign of Darren White released its own survey, conducted by Public Opinion Strategies, showing the Republican leading 47% to 41%.
It will be difficult to know where the Dole-Hagan match-up is heading knowing all the massive spending that will go on in this race starting in September, as the DSCC has reserved $6 million worth of money - an investment the NRSC will be hard pressed to meet. Until then, polls give us a good idea of Dole’s vulnerability: She has been hovering around the double-digit and 50% thresholds for weeks now, not strong enough to be considered safe but not weak for the race to be a sure opportunity.
The Indiana gubernatorial race, meanwhile, could potentially become part of the Senate battle. If Obama picks Evan Bayh as his running-mate, the winner of this gubernatorial election will get to pick Bayh’s replacement. Some independent polls have found a tighter race than this internal poll, but Long Thompson does appear to have fallen behind since the May 6th primary. I moved the race to “lean retention” in my latest gubernatorial ratings.