Thursday polls: Flurry of down-the-ballot polls find Prop 8 failing, tight race in FL-21

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.

4 Responses to “Thursday polls: Flurry of down-the-ballot polls find Prop 8 failing, tight race in FL-21”


  1. 1 Jaxx Raxor

    You will probably talk about this more once you have your post on Obama’s speech, but I do think that Obama will get bounce. Fortantely for the McCain campaign, the fact that the GOP convention starts only a few days from now will limit the amount of time, if not the size, of Obama’s bounce and if McCain gets a bounce out of his convention, it will be much harder for Obama to counter that. One thing about California, a high single digit lead is not that damaging, and considering how extremely expensive the state is, McCain will need polls to consistly show him in the Margin of error in order for him to see Calfornia as a state worth spending valuable money in.

    On the down ballot races, that Cuban Americans are still overwhelming Republican isn’t a suprise. Cuban Americans have always been very Republican compared to the rest of the Hispanic American population, and the arguemnt that more young Cubans are more tolerant of the Castro regime probably won’t come to pass for a generation or two. Most Cubans-Americans still despise the Castro Regime and see the Republicans as much tougher. That Lincoln Diaz-Balart is behind in a independent poll despite his overwhelming Cuban support is a very bad sign for the GOP, althrough I still wager that him and his brother are favored to win because of this Cuban support.

  2. 2 Laura

    Are you people informed about the consequences if this Prop 8 fails???!! Massachusetts legalized gay marriage and it caused the Catholic Adoption agencies to close their doors in Mass. Priests will be sued for hate speech if they speak against gay marriage and if they refuse to marry a same-sex couple. That is happening in Canada right now which legalized gay marriage. Church sponsored universities will be required to provide same-sex marriage housing or lose their tax exemptions. Don’t let the media fool you about this! Please vote yes on PROP 8!

  3. 3 Tom

    Laura,
    Maybe the outcome of this question has a larger congeration than the catholic chruch.. I know it seems as if only Catholics are gay but there is a whole population of gay men and women out there who would wanted to be treated with justice and equality. I would go so far to say that even the Catholic gay men and women would like to be treated with justice and equality. I doubt any straight marriage will make a gay man able to faithfully marry a woman, so I am thinking no gay marriage will make any hetrosexual person decide to “bat for the other team”

  4. 4 Peter Dress

    Prop 8 transcends any specific religious and/or moral argument and should be viewed EXACTLY for what it is. Unlike other states who amended their constitutions BEFORE the right to marry was afforded to same-sex couples, Prop 8 changes the California constitution to REMOVE rights where they now exist. Venturing into these scary waters and should terrify anyone–gay or straight–as they go to the polls this November. Is this REALLY where we want to go as an enlightened electorate? Regardless of your personal view of the California Supreme Court’s decision (by the way, read their thoughts online regarding this decision), a class of people were given the rights the rest of the state already enjoys because, according to the court. to deny this is unconstitutional. Case closed. Move on. But wait, though, since some in the community object to this, we now must amend the constitution to retroactively take this right away? Really? This is terrifying to say the least. The court is a co-equal body and their decision was hardly “activist”. It was a thoughtful, measured action that corrected a perceived unconstitutional measure that had been passed by the voters. To then change the constitution ex-post facto is NOT where we want to go.

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