Poll watch: Carnahan and Bloomberg lead, Paterson still inches downward

Carnahan leads in Missouri

Charlie Crist might have thrown the NRSC a lifeline in Florida, but the GOP still has to defend tough open seats elsewhere in the country - starting with Missouri. A new poll released by Democratic but reliable outlet Democracy Corps finds Republicans in a difficult position:

  • Democratic Secretary of State Robin Carnahan leads GOP Rep. Roy Blunt 53% to 44%. Against former state Treasurer Sarah Steelman, Carnahan is ahead 54% to 42%.
  • Interestingly, 49% of respondents said they would rather elect a Senator who would “mostly support” Obama’s agenda while 40% said they would rather elect a Senator who would “mostly oppose” Obama’s agenda. (The same respondents say they voted for McCain 47% to 43%).

There is no question that Carnahan is a strong Democratic candidate whose candidacy makes the Missouri Senate race one of the party’s top takeover opportunities of the cycle. The fact that she holds comfortable leads against two credible Republicans only confirms that the NRSC has a lot to worry about. On the other hand, the survey suggests that some of Carnahan’s advantage is derived from the Democrats’ edge in the current environment.

Respondents now claim that they would prefer to elect a Senator who supports Obama’s agenda - and they say so by the same margin by which Carnahan leads Blunt. Yet, we are talking about a midterm election with a Democrat in the White House and we are talking about a red-leaning state that voted for McCain when all other swing states went for Obama. If the political environment becomes more favorable to the GOP and if Obama’s approval rating goes down (as is likely), Carnahan will automatically face more complicated a race, whatever her personal appeal.

No improvement for Paterson

David Paterson’s horrific poll numbers have become quite routine, but they are still entertaining. While Paterson has already fallen too low for new surveys to continue as dramatic a collapse, Quinnipiac’s monthly release finds that his numbers are still inching downward:

  • In a primary match-up with Andrew Cuomo, Paterson trails 62% to 17%; among African-American, he is behind by 22%. In April, Paterson trailed 61% to 18%.
  • In general election match-ups, Rudy Giuliani crushes Paterson 54% to 32% (53% to 32% in April) and he even manages to edge out the Governor in New York City; Giuliani even looks competitive against Cuomo, whom he only trails 47% to 41% (Cuomo was ahead by 17% in April).
  • Another has another number to worry about in the poll: His favorability rating falls from 63% to 51%, though only only 13% of respondents have an unfavorable impression of him. Paterson’s numbers continue to inch downward (Only 24% have a favorable view of him) and Giuliani posts surprisingly strong ratings (56% 5o 32%).

With no sign whatsoever of a recovery, it looks increasingly certain that Paterson will not be the Governor of New York come January 2011. The first question then becomes whether he will retire, lose in the Democratic primary or in the general election? At this point, it would be more interesting for polling outlets to test him against Democrats other than Cuomo: How big a lead would a lower profile politician like Tom Suozzi start with? The second interesting question is whether his unpopularity will drive down Kirsten Gillibrand’s numbers; Quinnipiac is expected to release Senate numbers tomorrow.

Bloomberg coasting to re-election

Michael Bloomberg’s opponents have a few more months to convince New Yorkers that their Mayor does not deserve a third term, and they have had no success so far. In fact, a new Marist survey finds that Bloomberg’s first wave of ads might be having an effect:

  • Bloomberg’s approval rating shot up 7% since February, with 59% approving of his performance and 32% disapproving. Quite fascinatingly, Democratic and Republican respondents give Bloomberg similar marks.
  • In general election match-ups, Bloomberg leads Anthony Weiner 50% to 36%. He is ahead among Democratic voters - a sign of just how much things have to change for Democrats to have a shot. Weiner barely musters a 12% lead among African-Americans. Against City Comptroller Bill Thompson, Bloomberg is ahead 51% to 33%. And the Mayor crushes City Council Member Tony Avella 52% to 27% (he leads among Democrats by 20%).
  • No movement in the Democratic primary, with 34% going to Weiner, 29% to Thompson and 8% to Avella.

With only four months to go until the Democratic primary, we still do not know what the field will look like and Weiner is no longer committed to challenging the Mayor. Combined with Bloomberg’s popularity among Democratic voters, the millions he can use on his campaign and the fact that a number of the state’s Democratic leaders are expected to back the Mayor or at least stay on the sideline, it’s hard to see how Bloomberg’s opponents could build any momentum.

And a few more

In other polling news, The Chicago Sun Times’s Lynn Swett was leaked a Republican-sponsored Senate poll showing Rep. Jan Schakowsky leading a Democratic primary and GOP Rep. Mark Kirk tying Alexi Giannoulias and Chris Kennedy in general election match-ups. It is not worth taking more about this poll, as its sponsors have quite transparently chosen to leak parts of the poll: What about Lisa Madigan and Schakowsky’s general election numbers?

I am also skeptical of a New Hampshire survey released by Dartmouth University; the poll, which finds competitive general election match-ups between Paul Hodes, John Sununu and Charlie Bass, was conducted by students and the polling outlet has almost no track record.

3 Responses to “Poll watch: Carnahan and Bloomberg lead, Paterson still inches downward”

  1. 1 Rob

    Re to: “If the political environment becomes more favorable to the GOP and if Obama‚Äôs approval rating goes down (as is likely), Carnahan will automatically face more complicated a race, whatever her personal appeal.”
    It’s true that if Obama’s support drops it will hurt Carnahan. But it won’t take care the fact that Blunt is very weak and with so many ties to Washington’s Republicans that make him an easy target. He’ll have trouble winning even if Obama becomes unpopular.

  2. 2 Stephen

    Missouri is hardly Red leaning, its more toss up, McCain won by a handful of votes and they have elected Democrats statewide the last two election cycles.

  3. 3 MSW

    I agree with Stephen–Missouri is more of a tossup. Obama would have beaten any of the other GOP candidates except possibly Huckabee here. One of my Missouri friends told me that he liked McCain because he had a certain Harry Trumanesque quality about him, which probably resonated with the Show-Me state. In addition, race may have played a factor in pushing Missouri in McCain’s column in 2008.

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