Poll watch: Deeds leads (again), Doyle trails and Bloomberg dominates

A second poll has Deeds ahead

Last week, Rasmussen released the year’s first poll finding Creigh Deeds leading in the Virginia gubernatorial race - quite a dramatic bounce for the Democrats’ just anointed nominee to enjoy. A few days have passed, and we got some confirmation in the form of an Anzalone Liszt Research survey: Deeds leads McDonnell by a narrow margin (42% to 38%) and enjoys a slightly superior favorability rating (48%-14% compared to 43%-19% for the Republican).

The poll should be taken with a grain of salt since it is a poll conducted for the DGA by a Democratic firm. But Anzalone Liszt is a reputable outfit and the poll’s results resemble those of the Rasmussen survey. Furthermore, what I find to be the survey’s central finding is not Deeds’s lead but the fact that the two candidates - the Attorney General and the state Senator - enjoy the same level of name recognition.

This confirms what I already wrote last week is the obvious explanation for Deeds’s bounce: Over the past few weeks, Deeds was able to define himself with few interferences and high publicity; increased coverage of the Democratic primary (culminating in the tremendous free publicity of his victory) introduced him to voters who did not know him in a positive light - and that is being reflected in those polls. The question is whether Deeds can keep that up once (or is it if?) Republicans go on air hammering him; we will have to wait a few more weeks to get the answer to that question.

Wisconsin Democrats should not rest

If the Virginia survey confirmed last week’s findings, the same cannot be said of a new poll released from Wisconsin. Whereas Research 2000 had found a landscape favorable to Democrats, PPP finds a far more worrisome situation for the state party:

  • Governor Jim Doyle trails Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker 48% to 40% and he trails former Rep. Mark Neumann 42% to 41%.
  • Senator Russ Feingold is looking better: He has a solid approval rating (53% to 36%) and he leads Rep. Paul Ryan (who has already said he will not run) 51% to 39%. That might not be the most solid of margins, but it does put him above 50%.

Republicans don’t look like they’re positioning themselves to contest the Senate race - even if they got their wish and a top-tier candidate like Ryan entered, it does not look like they’d have much to work with - so the gubernatorial results are far more interesting. Just last week, R2000 found Doyle leading Walker and Neumann by 12% and 14%, respectively.

That makes for a big differential between these two surveys, what gives? Nothing in either poll screams out as a glaring problem, and it’s worth pointing out that Research 2000’s survey did not paint a particularly favorable landscape for the Governor either. His favorability rating was negative (43-48) and he was under 50% in these match-ups - both against mostly unknown Republicans; that’s not the position in which a two-term incumbent wants to be in. As such, PPP’s results are believable and it seems pretty clear that the Governor will be in for a huge fight next year - if he even seeks re-election!

I like and trust PPP polls, but I am disappointed that they once again chose to include a paragraph with unlikely spin: “The incumbent does have one great ally, and that is time. With November 2010 more than 16 months away he will certainly have an opportunity to rehabilitate his image.” This is not a convincing argument when we are talking about a well-known incumbent (a Governor stuck at 40% this early is generally considered to be in bad shape because of the poll’s timing, and these low-profile Republicans also will benefit from having the time to introduce themselves). And it’s a point PPP typically includes in its discussion of vulnerable Democrats (like Bennet) but not of vulnerable Republicans (like Burr, even when he led all his challengers by double-digits).

Bloomberg in command

A new Quinnipiac survey of New York finds that Mayor Mike Bloomberg is coasting towards a third term:

  • In a match-up against City Comptroller William Thompson, Bloomberg leads 54% to 32%. He is ahead among all partisan groups - including Democrats, 49% to 40% - and all racial groups - including African-Americans, 43% to 42%. Against Queens City Councilman Tony Avella, Bloomberg leads 57% to 27%.
  • Bloomberg’s approval rating (66% to 27%) and favorability rating (64% to 30%) remain formidable, while the two Democratic contenders are unknown: 63% have no opinion of Thompson, 87% have no opinion of Avela.

Yes, that last figure suggests Democrats have room to grow, but let’s not kid ourselves: With only 5 months to go before the election, it’s beyond worrisome for Democrats that their presumptive nominee is unknown to nearly two-thirds of city voters. Bloomberg is preparing to spend more than $70 million (!) from now until November, a sum that will be more than enough to get voters to think of Thompson as negatively as the Mayor sees fit.

Money doesn’t always win you elections, but when the wealthier candidate enjoys this type of poll numbers money can certainly ensure that no bad surprises occur.

5 Responses to “Poll watch: Deeds leads (again), Doyle trails and Bloomberg dominates”


  1. 1 Ron

    I dont understand how these Democratic governors(Doyle, Corzine, and Paterson) are in so much trouble, while Republican incubment executives like Mike Bloomberg are in no trouble. You would think that in an economy like this, somebody like Bloomberg would be in major trouble.

  2. 2 Taniel

    Ron,

    Very good question, worthy of a post if I find something intelligent to say about why some executives are remaining popular while other aren’t.

    One thing I would say, however, is that this really isn’t that much of a partisan gap. For one, Paterson is in a category all by himself; no other Governor who is not knee-deep in scandals (like Gibbons) is in Paterson’s catastrophic situation.

    While it does seem like a lot of the Democrats with decreasing numbers are Democrats (not only Doyle and Corzine but also Patrick, Ritter and Culver), a better way to think of it is that there only seems to be one prominent Governor who is keeping his head over water - Charlie Crist. Republican Governors like Schwarzenegger and Perry aren’t in a glorious situation (did you know that SUSA’s latest poll has Arnold’s approval rating at 25%?)

  3. 3 Ron

    There are some other Republican governors who appear to be doing well despite the bad economy who should otherwise be in trouble. Most notably Jodi Rell, Jim Douglas, and to a lessor extent, Sarah Palin.

  4. 4 Taniel

    Ron,

    I don’t think that smaller states should factor in this discussion, not because they are not important but because political dynamics of state politics in places like Vermont, Wyoming, Alaska or the Dakotas tends to be very different than those in larger states; for one, politicians tend to have a better relationship with voters and be personally more popular. Henry (OK) and Lynch (NH), for instance, look to be fairly popular.

    Also, springtime SUSA polls suggest that Kaine and Nixon are two large-state Democratic Governors who retain good approval numbers.

  5. 5 emily matthews

    We are the BAD,RAD,DAD, and the just plain MAD. That is, we are Businessmen Against Doyle, Republicans Against Doyle, Democrats Against Doyle (oh, yes!), and the just plain Mad Against Doyle. And if we have our way, we won’t even have to put up with him for another 16 months. GO, http://www.recalldoyle.com!

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