Tuesday polls: Obama ahead in PA, stable in NC; GOP leading in MI-07, NM-01

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.

6 Responses to “Tuesday polls: Obama ahead in PA, stable in NC; GOP leading in MI-07, NM-01”


  1. 1 Joe from NC

    I am a bit surprised that Obama has consistantly done well in Pennsylvania and has not done as well in neighboring Ohio. The two states are very similar demographically and politically with PA being a little further left due to the cosmopolitan east coast culture coming from Philadelphia. Still, for Obama to be so far ahead in a Republican poll, he must be doing reasonably well in Allentown, Scranton and the other industrial cities.

    As for the congressional polls, I don’t trust any of them, but the NM poll surprises me, assuming it’s accurate of course.

  2. 2 Guy

    I am surprised that Dole is ahead by so much since the other races in NC this year 9Presidental and gubernatorial) are very close. Obama has moved from 41 to 44% in the latest NC poll so he is already at the level Kerry and Gore got in 2004/2000. With 86% if the black vote there is also some scope for improvement.

    Regarding the general bounce - Obama is still higher in Gallup than he was earlier in July. Of course he will have gone down a little from the max he achieved at 9% but 6% is still respectable and his PA polling is very encouraging since it was a real battleground in 2004. Getting 49% pretty much means you win the state since Libertarian/Green and Nader will all take 1-2% in most states.

  3. 3 Jim W

    I believe Kay Hagen will move up once more people are exposed to her. She’s not as well known in NC as Bev Perdue or Obama.

    I will say this–Kay Hagen should have just as big a chance to win NC as either Perdue or Obama. She’s got a lot of good ideas that should resonate with the NC electorate.

  4. 4 Mike

    I am surprised Purdue to doing so well since McCory is a moderate Republican and Purdue supports free community college tuition for illegal immigrants - something that certainly doesn’t play well in NC (and I am a liberal!).

  5. 5 Nick in Wilmington

    I am hoping that Hagen will put some stress on Dole. I haven’t seen any commercial for Hagen.

    Dole is the one who took dirty money from Senator Ted Stevens and from Jack Abramhoff. It wasn’t until very recently that she decided it was bad to take money from them and returned it. She took the money long ago.

    Dole has some dark side to pull into the spotlight and I can only hope that the true E. Dole is put out there.

    Hagen can NOT play like Kerry and sit with her fingers crossed…she will lose. She has to get out and fight to win. This is a golden opportunity, with Obama pulling democrats to the polls, Perdue pulling democrats to the polls…. what is Hagen assisting with?

    Was Jim Neal a better candidate and choice?

    Come on Kay, we are waiting for you to do something.

  6. 6 Eli

    Pat McCory is a moderate in money matters, but he has proven he is a far right conservative on social issues. Very anti-black and anti-gay.
    He is possibly the closest thing to Jesse Helms since Jesse left office. Maybe he is trying to mimick Helms?

    People see this and even if they don’t care for Perdue, she will win by at least 15 points or more.

    My parents are far right republicans and won’t vote for McCain or McCory - they said that they are voting for Obama, Perdue, and Hagen.

    They were tired of the Republicans and Bush group.

    Who would have thought?

    I am voting the same…. democrat down the line.

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