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Back on crack — i.e. political poll results

I was away for a few days, staying with a friend who doesn’t have an internet connection. Amazing what that can do to clear your brain.

But I’m back now and in reading around to catch up, I naturally got back on the crack cocaine of political junkies — poll results. Hypocritically, I recommend that we all take our crack with plenty of salt (is that a mixed metaphor or an attempt at humor?). But here are some of the more interesting poll results floating around (with credit to some of my usual suppliers of the evil stuff: pollster.com, Realclearpolitics, and Taegan Goddard’s political wire).

In the two big 2009 governor races (big only because they are the only 09 guv races, I am on record as not believing in their harbinger-ness):

  • In Virginia, Republican Robert McDonnell seems to hold a solid, steady but not quite insurmountable lead in the seven percentage point range.
  • In New Jersey, where incumbent Dem Gov. Jon Corzine trailed badly in July and August, we now seem to have a dead heat. There’s an independent candidate in that one, polling in double digits and rising.
  • Maine is one of those states that allows voters to reject a law that has been recently passed by the Legislature. (Remember the South Dakota vote in 2006 that repealed what would have been the most restrictive abortion law of any state?) In Maine, it’s the social conservatives who want to repeal a recent state law allowing same-sex couples to marry. Maine is the first state that has had a gay marriage bill pass through the Legislature (rather than having a state court legalize gay marriage). If the law is retained, it will also be the first time in any state same-sex marriage survived a referendum. The latest poll shows a 48-48 percent tie on the question.
  • Chris Cillizza of the Wash Post goes inside the fresh Post/ABC poll and finds that, while Democrats and especially Pres. Obama have seen slippage in support, approval and confidence, the really bad numbers measure a fundamental problem for generic Republicans. Only 20 percent respondents indentified themselves as Republicans, the lowest for that figure since 1983. (Independents won that question, with 42 percent. Dems registered 33.)
  • Goddard read the same poll and summarized: “Brutal finding: ‘Less than one in five voters (19%) expressed confidence in Republicans’ ability to make the right decisions for America’s future while a whopping 79% lacked that confidence.'”
  • On the other hand, if you look at Cillizza’s “The Fix,” he lists and frequently updates a list of the U.S. Senate seats that he considers most likely to switch parties in the next election. For the first time in a long time (I think, I don’t check it every single day) he has more seats held by Dems on the likely to switch list than seats held by Repubs. According to Cillizza, the three likelikest switcher seats are all held by Dems, including the seat held by Sen. Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada.

What think?

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Comments (2)

  1. Submitted by Annalise Cudahy on 10/20/2009 - 02:14 pm.

    The poll on political parties is the most interesting to me because it’s the continuation of a trend that’s been moving for at least 6 years. There are no cross-tabs by age available in the WashPo/ABC poll, but generally speaking the younger someone is the more likely they are to consider themselves independent. That’s very bad news for both parties. We see in this poll that independents are on top with a strong plurality. Politics as we know it is changing.

    I have a lot of trouble with this poll, however, and not just with the lack of cross-tabs. It’s way, way too long to be considered representative. Most sane people would have begged off about halfway through. They seriously need to focus if they want good data.

  2. Submitted by Howard Miller on 10/20/2009 - 04:45 pm.

    Is Republican Robert McDonnell the one who wrote a grad thesis at a religious university some 2 decades back that asserted some very fundamentalist beliefs about gender roles and sexual orientation?

    If he’s leading the Democrat with that anchoring his profile, wonder what’s up with the Democrat?

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