Republican edge with independents shrinking

Tom Jensen, director of Public Policy Polling, has good news and bad news for Democrats:

The party's candidates are still losing [independent voters] in almost every important [U.S. Senate] contest- but it's not by nearly the margins that led to losses in Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Virginia in the key races so far this cycle.

Our final polls in those contests found Scott Brown leading Martha Coakley by 32 with independents, Bob McDonnell up 30 on Creigh Deeds with them, and Chris Christie holding a 23 point edge over Jon Corzine.

The Democratic candidate is losing independents in 7 of the 9 key Senate races we've polled over the last three months. But it's not by more than 15 points in any of those instances and the average deficit is only 7 points, a far cry from the mean of 28 points in those contests that have already occurred.

Click over to view Jensen's chart showing the Democratic candidate's margin with independent voters in nine states with competitive Senate races. They bode well for holding states where Democrats have a large advantage in voter registration (Pennsylvania, Illinois).

Chris Bowers noted recently that Democratic Senate candidates have gained a lot of ground in the last few months' polling. If PPP's data are accurate, the GOP's shrinking advantage among independents could explain the phenomenon.

Speaking of polls, Nate Silver compiled a new set of pollster rankings at FiveThirtyEight.com, using this methodology.

Tags: 2010 elections, Congress, Senate (all tags)

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