The day’s most noticeable polling news is no doubt Gallup’s tracking poll that shows a 5% bounce in Obama’s favor - 8% over two days. He is ahead 48% to 42% in what is the first Gallup tracking taken entirely this week (though the Monday night interviews were mostly conducted prior to the primetime speeches). This bounce might be due to Hillary’s speech, which received an overwhelmingly positive reception according to Gallup.
That said, the Gallup tracking is for now more important for the way it will influence the convention’s coverage than for what it says about the direction of the race. A one day evolution of a tracking poll is not worth getting excited about, especially because this bounce is due as much to Saturday/Sunday interviews getting out of the 3-day total (McCain had good nights over the week-end, after Hillary supporters realized she would not be the VP) as to anything that has happened in Denver. A bounce will have to be measured by its stability over a few days and Rasmussen’s tracking is not showing much movement. Meanwhile, in state polls:
- In California, a PPIC poll taken in mid-August (the 12th to the 19th) finds Obama losing ground, up 47% to 38%. One interesting number is that Obama gets 71% of the Hispanic vote - enough to put to rest talk of any problem he might have with the Latino vote.
- In Colorado (polling history), a poll conducted by a Republican firm (Hill Research Consultants) for the Senate campaign of Bob Schaffer finds Obama narrowly ahead of McCain, 43% to 40%.
- In Idaho, a poll taken by Greg Smith and Associates finds McCain crushing Obama, 52% to 29%.
- A SUSA poll tested the Obama-McCain race in a South Florida district (FL-21) as part of a House poll (see below for the congressional numbers). Bush won here by 14% in 2004, but the race is now tied at 48%- quite a swing towards Democrats. The Cuban vote, however, remains solidly anchored in the GOP column (72% for the Arizona Senator).
There was some discussion this year about Democrats making inroads in the Cuban vote and McCain progressing among Latinos. Neither development is taking place according to these California and FL-21 polls, which should bring relief to the GOP for its Florida prospects and to Democrats for their chances in the Southwest.
Needless to say that Obama cannot afford seeing his margin shrink further than a high single-digit lead in California. Given the state’s importance, Obama cannot afford to give McCain any opening - but having to advertise in the Golden State would be very expensive. For now, Obama doesn’t have much to worry about. This is the 7th summer poll from California, and the first to have him in single-digits.
Meanwhile, in down-the-ballot polls:
- In FL-21, SUSA finds a tight race, with Democratic challenger Raul Martinez narrowly lead GOP incumbent Lincoln Diaz-Balart, 48% to 46%. Here is the interesting part: 20% of respondents opted to conduct the survey in Spanish, and among them the incumbent was leading 2:1. Indeed, a third of respondents were Cuban and the Republican got 70% of their vote. SUSA warns that surveys might be under-representing non-English speakers, thus understating GOP support.
- In FL-13, an internal poll taken for Republican incumbent Vern Buchanan finds him crushing his 2006 competitor, Christine Jennings - 48% to 30%.
- In PA-10, an internal poll released by the Carney campaign finds the incumbent Democrat leading Chris Hackett 54% to 27%. This comes two days after an independent SUSA poll found a tight race, with the Democrat ahead 49% to 45%.
- In the Colorado Senate race (polling history) the internal Republican poll mentioned above finds Mark Udall narrowly ahead of Bob Schaffer, 41% to 38%. Both candidates’ unfavorability ratings has shot up since the April poll - 33% and 34% compared to 15% and 18% four months ago.
- In the Idaho Senate race, a poll taken by Greg Smith and Associates finds Lieutenant Governor Jim Risch leading Larry LaRocco 41% to 30%.
- PPIC’s poll of California finds that Proposition 8 to ban gay marriage is failing, with 54% of respondents planning to vote “no” and 40% “yes.” A parental notification proposition is much narrower, with 47% planning to vote yes versus 44%.
A lot of interesting numbers today, starting with the internal polls from PA-10 and FL-13. This is why internal polls have to be taken with a grain of salt - there is a 23% difference between Carney’s survey and SUSA’s numbers. But notice that there is only a 5% difference between Carney’s percentage in both of these polls, which is what we should take away here: Carney is slightly ahead, but he is also hovering around 50%. The same is true of FL-13, where the race leans towards Buchanan (despite the fact that Jennings might very well have won in 2006) but an independent poll might find different results.
As for FL-21, it features a furious party for the control of South Florida, along with FL-18 and FL-25. Demographic changes in the region are putting all these seats in play and Democrats have already reserved plenty of time in the South Miami media market. This is now the second poll to find Lincoln Diaz-Balart in a difficult position. A Bendixen poll released in early July had him leading 41% to 37%. It is interesting that Democrats have managed to put this in play despite the fact that the GOP retains strong support among the Cuban community.