Senate 2006: GOPers Burns, Kyl Struggling in the West
by Jonathan Singer, Mon Dec 26, 2005 at 03:39:51 PM EST
New polling seems to buttress Democratic optimism about the West. First, Charles S. Johnson writes up the results of the latest Mason-Dixon poll out of Montana for the Billings Gazette.Republican U.S. Sen. Conrad Burns' lead over two top Democrats has eroded, with a majority of Montana voters voicing concern over his taking campaign funds from indicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff's clients, a new Gazette State Poll shows.
One Democratic challenger, state Auditor John Morrison, is within striking distance of Burns.
If the election were held today, Montana voters favored Burns over Morrison by a 46 to 40 percent margin, with 14 percent undecided, the poll showed. In a Gazette State Poll conducted in May, Burns enjoyed a 49 to 34 percent lead over Morrison, with 17 percent undecided.
Among men, Burns leads Morrison, 49 to 40 percent in the recent poll, with 11 percent undecided. Results among women show Burns at 43 percent to Morrison's 40 percent, with 17 percent undecided.
Burns leads the other top Democrat, state Senate President Jon Tester, by a 49 to 35 percent margin, with 16 percent undecided, in the December poll. The May poll showed Burns over Tester by a 50 to 26 percent margin, with 24 percent undecided.
By gender, Burns tops Tester by a 51 to 36 percent margin among men, with 13 percent undecided. Burns has a 47 to 34 percent lead among women, with 19 percent undecided. [emphasis added]Note that three-term incumbent Burns cannot crack 50 percent against either leading Democrat in the race despite the fact that relatively little is known about his relationship with indicted GOP superlobbyist Jack Abramoff. As more leaks out about Burns' ties to Abramoff -- which is highly possible given the reported investigation into the alleged "corruption scheme involving at least a dozen lawmakers and their former staff members" -- Burns' numbers aren't likely to jump up.
Burns is not the only Republican Senator in the West facing a difficult reelection bid. Today, Rasmussen Reports released numbers out of Arizona showing second-term GOP Senator Jon Kyl stuck at 50 percent against his well-funded Democratic challenger, Jim Pederson.The latest Rasmussen Reports Election 2006 poll finds Kyl with 50% of the statewide vote. Jim Pederson, who currently chairs the state's Democratic Party, earns 30% of the vote.
Kyl, seeking his third term in the Senate, is viewed favorably by 53% of the state's voters and unfavorably by 35%. For Pederson, the numbers are 40% favorable and 34% unfavorable. [emphasis added]While a 20-point lead at this stage in the game is somewhat enviable, Kyl's inability to rise above 50 percent in a head-to-head matchup against Pederson -- coupled with his subpar approval rating (his approval spread has been halved from fourteen to seven points in just three months) -- means that this race is still wide open.
Though these races provide the Democrats with a great opportunity to retake the Senate in 2006, each of these Democratic candidates -- including multi-millionaire Jim Pederson -- stand at cash-on-hand disadvantages against the Republican incumbents.
The winter fundraising period ends on New Years Eve, meaning that every donation turned in before midnight Saturday will boost candidates' FEC filings (which, to an extent, are a gauge of a candidate's viability). So if you're even considering giving some of your Christmas money or Hanukkah gelt to a Democratic candidate -- in the West or anywhere across the country -- try to get it in before the end of the year.