US Mid-Term Election Campaign Reader

 

Insiders on Track in Florida
A new poll from Quinnipiac University poll of likely Florida voters finds Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum has seized a 9 percentage-point lead over former healthcare executive Rick Scott in the Republican governor's race, while U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek holds a 7 percentage-point lead in the Democratic race for the US Senate over billionaire investor Jeff Greene. In the last Quinnipiac poll back in late July, both McCollum and Meek trailed by double digits in their races. More from the Miami Herald.

The Florida Conundrum
Chris Cillizza has more on the conundrum facing Florida Democrats should Kendrick Meek pull out a win in the primary.

The worst kept secret in Florida Democratic politics: most party strategists don't believe Meek can win a general election but they do think he can siphon enough traditionally Democratic votes away from Crist to hand the race to former state House Speaker Marco Rubio.

Democrats have semi-openly admitted that with Greene as the party's nominee, they would feel little remorse in casting a vote for Crist -- believing that the billionaire businessman is not fit to serve in the Senate. The same cannot be said of Meek.

One Democratic aide who has worked extensively in the state summed up the conventional wisdom thusly: "[We] clearly cannot publicly support Crist but if Meek is the nominee [we] know he not only has no shot at winning statewide."

The Mason-Dixon poll released earlier this week suggests those fears may be well founded. With Greene as the Democratic nominee, Crist takes 39 percent to Rubio's 38 percent. (Greene clocks in at just 12 percent.) With Meek as the party standard-bearer, Rubio takes 38 percent to 33 percent for Crist and 18 percent for the Miami Congressman.

Combine Crist's clear signals that he would caucus on the Democratic with the widely-held belief among Florida strategists that Meek can't win a general election and you begin to understand the political cross-pressures going around the Sunshine State these days.

Whether Meek is electable or not, I cannot say at this time but defeating Marco Rubio is of the utmost importance. At any rate, the presence of Charlie Crist in the race makes the Florida Senate race this fall the nation's most intriguing one.

Pennsylvania Senate Race
A new poll of the Pennsylvania race for US Senate shows Pat Toomey has opened a lead over US Rep. Joe Sestak. The poll from Public Policy Polling found that Pat Toomey, the Republican nominee with ties to Grover Norquist's Club for Growth,now leads his Democratic opponent 45-36 percent.

Toomey's winning for the same reasons most Republican candidates across the country are doing well in key races right now:

-He has a 50-23 lead with independent voters.

-He's benefiting from a much more unified party, as he leads 74-9 with Republicans while Sestak is currently up only 64-15 with Democrats.

-This is our first poll of the race explicitly surveying likely voters and given the considerably greater enthusiasm on the Republican side we're seeing an electorate in the state that voted for John McCain by a point in 2008, in contrast to Barack Obama's actual 10 point victory in the state.

The biggest key to the race is probably Obama's considerably fallen popularity. His approval rating stands at only 40% with 55% of voters disapproving of him, one of the biggest declines from 2008 performance we've seen for him anywhere in the country. Part of Obama's low numbers is a reflection of the Republican trending voter pool in the state this year, but there are also more people who voted for Obama but disapprove of him now in Pennsylvania than there are most places. Our national poll last week found only 7% of Obama voters are now unhappy with the job he's doing but in Pennsylvania the figure is 15%. Toomey has a 14 point lead with those disaffected Obama voters, showing the extent to which those voters moving away from Obama are moving away from the Democratic Party in general.

Wyoming Primary Result
A bit late but the Cowboy State held a primary yesterday. The turnout was 52 percent in this heavily Republican state with competitive gubernatorial primary races on both sides. Governor Dave Freudenthal, a popular Democrat, is stepping down after two terms. On the Democratic side, Leslie Petersen, the chairwoman of Wyoming's Democratic Party, won her race over Pete Gosar of Laramie. Peterson took 48 percent of the vote to Gosar's 37 percent.

The GOP race ended in a photo-finish between three candidates separated by just a few percentage points. The winner is former US Attorney for Wyoming Matt Mead who captured 29 percent of the vote just ahead of the 28 percent secured by state auditor Rita Meyer, a Mama Grizzly endorsed by Sarah Palin. With 99 percent of the vote last night, just 50 votes separated Mead from Meyer. Following Mead and Meyer was GOP candidate Ron Micheli, with an unofficial 26 percent of the vote. Micheli is a former director of the Wyoming Department of Agriculture and longtime member of the state House.

A full roundup at the Casper Star Tribune.

Washington State Senate Race
The Evergreen State also held a primary yesterday. There Senator Patty Murray came in first in the top-two primary, with 46 percent. She'll face Republican Dino Rossi who finished with 34 percent.

This article from the Seattle Times breaks down the results nicely.

Tags: Wyoming Politics, Rep. Joe Sestak, Rep. Kendrick Meek, Marco Rubio, Florida Senate Race, Pennsylvania Senate Race, Senator Patty Murray, Washington State Senate Race, Pat Toomey, wyoming primary (all tags)

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