Barack Obama is heading off to his Hawaii vacation, the Olympics have started (though NBC is intent that American viewers see no images from the opening ceremony before 12 hours have passed) meaning that we should not expect any game changer over the next week or so. The tracking polls have the same numbers as yesterday and as pretty much every day since Obama wrapped up his nomination. State polls aren’t showing many surprises either, with today’s presidential deliveries all coming from Rasmussen:
- In Michigan (polling history), Rasmussen shows Obama leading 47% to 40% (he was ahead by 8% last month), though the margin tightens to 49% to 45% when leaners are included (he led by 8% last month). The two candidates have a comparable favorability rating.
- In Missouri (polling history), Rasmussen confirms what other polls have found - McCain has an advantage. He leads 48% to 41%, 50% to 44% when leaners are included. The margins are comparable to last month’s survey, and McCain has a slight favorability advantage (59% compared to 53% for Obama).
- In Washington (polling history), Rasmussen finds Obama holding on to a solid lead, 52% to 40% (54% to 42% with leaners). He led by 9% last month.
The last few polls out of Michigan were showing a tightening race, a trendline somewhat confirmed by Rasmussen. MI is the Kerry state the GOP is most hopeful about and it has focused a significant amount of fire power in this state over the past few weeks (Michigan is one of only 4 states in which the RNC aired the general election’s first contrast ad). Yet, it is Obama that has undoubtedly improved his position ever since spring polls showed him tied and sometimes trailing.
Missouri, meanwhile, remains surprisingly tight though McCain appears to be salvaging a narrow advantage with only one poll showing Obama ahead here since mid-June. Missouri’s 11 electoral votes make it a prime target for Democrats, one whose loss would undoubtedly be a disaster for the GOP. Yet, the state is often overlooked in the list of battlegrounds - perhaps because Missouri falling would surely signal that Obama has gained a big enough advantage in the Midwest that he has also overtaken McCain in Iowa and Ohio - thus pretty much ensuring an electoral college majority without this state. (I have been warned against the same argument being used in North Carolina/Virginia [all things are not equal between those two states, since McCain is contesting VA but not NC], but both campaigns are investing in Missouri.)
As for the down-the-ballot polls:
- In the Washington gubernatorial race (polling history), Christine Gregoire is leading 47% to 43% in the latest Rasmussen poll (50% to 46% with leaners) - in line with what we have seen from most other surveys.
- In hotly contested AL-02, a very Republican open seat in which Democrats have hope they can pull a stunning upset, (very conservative) Democratic candidate Bobby Bright released an internal poll conducted by Anzalone-Liszt shows him leading 50% to 40% against Republican state Senator Jay Love. Bright has very high favorability ratings (63% to 16%) and a high profile as the mayor of Montgomery.
- The Democratic challenger in CA-26, a district Bush won by 11% in 2004, released an internal poll conducted by Greenberg Quinian Rosner Research. It shows Democrat Russ Warner holding the Republican incumbent David Dreier under 50% but trailing by double-digits, 49% to 37%. (It is unclear when the poll was taken.)
The latest Gregoire-Rossi survey had the Democratic incumbent opening up a large lead but most surveys have found a tight race, with Gregoire generally leading within the margin of error. This race has been a sure toss-up for four years now, so it’s unlikely the next few months will do much. AL-02, meanwhile, is a very interesting contest and whether the GOP loses open seats like this one (and MO-09, LA-04, NM-02) will determine the size of their House losses.
AL-02 is the type of district that should never even be mentioned as remotely competitive, let alone have the Democratic candidate leading by double-digit. And while it is true that this is an internal poll, Bright’s very strong favorability ratings and his higher name recognition makes this a surprisingly ripe seat for a Democratic gain. Not that progressives stand much to gain from a Bright victory, as the Montgomery Mayor would be sure to vote with Republicans on many high-profile issues.