Road To 60: The Good, The Bad And The Ugly

Goal Thermometer

First the good.

AK-Sen: As one would expect, the first poll since Sen. Ted Stevens was indicted shows Democrat Mark Begich surging. In the new Rasmussen Reports poll, which was in the field yesterday, Begich is up a net 9 points since the last poll three weeks ago.

Begich 52 (48)
Stevens 44 (49)

Not surprisingly, Stevens' favorables tanked although I continue to be amazed by the apparent lack of outrage among Alaskans at their senior senator.

Stevens is now viewed favorably by 43% of Alaska voters, down from 54% before the trial began. Still, even after the guilty verdict, 52% of voters say Stevens is about as ethical as most politicians. Fifteen percent (15%) say Stevens is more ethical than most of his peers while 31% say he is less ethical. These reactions say as much about perceptions of politicians as they do about Stevens.

Begich earns positive reviews from 57%, little changed from the previous poll.

On the other hand, some not so good news out of Minnesota.

MN-Sen: A new Rassmussen Reports poll of that race shows Norm Coleman with his first lead in a Rasmussen poll since mid-September (10/22 results in parentheses):

Coleman 43 (37)
Franken 39 (41)
Barkley 14 (17)

That's an almost unbelievable 8 point turnaround in less than a week. I'll have to see if other polls confirm a Coleman surge before I believe it. But it does appear that two factors are coming into play in the movement toward Coleman: 1. the ridiculous endorsement of Coleman by the Minneapolis Star-Tribune and 2. third-party candidate Dean Barkley.

...the latest survey, taken Tuesday night, shows Coleman solidifying his GOP base by taking votes from Barkley and also pulling Democratic votes away from Franken. [...]

Barkley is supported by 10% of Democrats and five percent (5%) of Republicans. That's a three-point gain among Democrats and a loss of five among GOP voters from last week's survey.

Thirty-four percent (34%) of unaffiliated voters support Coleman, while 29% back Barkley and 27% Franken. These numbers remain largely the same compared to a week ago.

NC-Sen: And coming in as one of the ugliest ads of the cycle is an Elizabeth Dole ad that accuses Kay Hagan of being "godless" and even has some woman's voice at the end, over a picture of Hagan, saying "There is no God!" -- the implication is clear.

The truth, however, as Think Progress notes, is that:

...Hagan is an elder at the First Presbyterian Church in Greensboro, NC, has taught Sunday School and accompanied youth mission trips.

Hagan is not taking this lying down. She held a press conference this morning with her family and her minister to denounce the ad and has threatened legal action if the ad is not pulled within 24 hours. Good for her. She refuses to be Chamblissed. So, it's time for one final push for our Road To 60 candidates who are in need of our help. We have an opportunity to defeat corruption, divisive Rovian politics and one of the biggest faux moderate Bush enablers in the Senate next Tuesday. Got to the Road To 60 ActBlue page and give what you can. I've set an ambitious goal of 300 total donors by Saturday. If you haven't given yet, please do so, even if it's just $5 of $10.

There's more...

PPP: Democrats Rising (Again) In North Carolina

I'm always interested to see what Public Policy Polling's results are out of North Carolina since a. they're based there and b. they saw an Obama surge in the South Carolina primary before anyone else did. So what do they show in this week's poll? Both Barack Obama and Kay Hagan are surging after a dip in support a week ago.

First Kay Hagan:

10/18-1910/11-1210/4-5
Hagan494649
Dole424440
Cole455

Hagan's success, in what Tom Jensen calls "one of the best run [campaigns] in the country this year," is based on her ability to limit Elizabeth Dole's support among registered Democrats.

North Carolina is a state with a large Democratic identification advantage. That means for Republicans to win here they need to take a much bigger chunk of the Democratic vote than Democratic candidates get of the Republican vote. But in this race those figures are nearly equal: Hagan is up 81-12 with Democrats and Dole is up 83-10 with Republicans. If Dole can't peel off more of the other party's voters than that she has virtually no chance of winning.

Jensen attributes some of this to a definite Obama coattails effect.

Next Barack Obama:

10/18-1910/11-1210/4-5
Obama514950
McCain444644
Barr212

Obama is also succeeding in uniting Democrats behind him but the primary reason for Barack Obama's strength in NC: white voters.

In both 2000 and 2004 George W. Bush won about two thirds of white voters here, but Obama is holding John McCain to a 55-39 lead with that group, almost halving the margin by which the GOP won them in the last two elections. McCain will likely need to increase his lead with whites by at least ten points if he's going to win North Carolina.

As of this poll, the Pollster trend estimate has Obama up 3.3% and 538 projects an Obama victory by just 1.1%.

Dean Debham of Public Policy Polling gives his take on what to expect November 4th:

Today is the first time I've truly believed that if there is no major shift in McCain's direction nationally over the next two weeks, Barack Obama really will win North Carolina.

One thing Jensen does not address on the blog is what he believes is responsible for the reversal of what appeared to be a McCain/Dole surge last week. Was it random noise? The result of a recent McCain or Palin visit? Or are we simply just seeing a solidifying of support for Obama and Hagan? I'll be sure to ask them.

There's more...

Kay Hagan: The Right Choice for North Carolina Senate

North Carolina is another key battle ground this year with Obama neck and neck with Bush-Republican McCain for President and Kay Hagan neck and neck with Bush-Republican Elizabeth Dole for Senate. Kay Hagan has picked up some very key endorsements, as highlighted in her latest ad:

And here is a rundown of some of those endorsements:

There's more...

NC Sen: Kay Hagan is fighting back against false Freedom's Watch Attack Ads

Freedom's Watch has at least two robo calls out attacking Kay Hagan, one color glossy mailer attacking Kay Hagan and at least one television ad attacking Kay Hagan and about the only kernel of truth that can be found in any of them is when they state who funded the calls, mailers and ad.  Of course, even that doesn't disclose the full truth since Freedom's Watch is funded in large part by Sheldon Aldelson, a gambling mogul who has padded his fortune developing massive gambling resorts in China.  

"While Elizabeth Dole surely welcomes this group's intervention on behalf of her flailing campaign, North Carolinians would be distressed to know that Sheldon Adelson makes his billions off of investments in China, a country that benefits greatly from trade deals while workers here pay the price," Hagan Campaign Communications Director Colleen Flanagan said. "Adelson directly lobbied members of Congress, including disgraced Representative Tom Delay, on behalf of Chinese politicians and opened one of the largest casinos in the world in Macao. With those billions he's funded Freedom's Watch, whose staff is largely made up of former Bush White House staffers."

There's more...

NC-Pres, NC-Sen: North Carolina Looking Bluer And Bluer

Wow. Public Policy Polling has released its latest poll from their home turf of North Carolina (1,041 LVs, Sept. 28-29. MOE +/- 3%) and it just keeps looking better and better for Barack Obama and Democratic senate challenger (and Road To 60 candidate) Kay Hagan.

First the presidential:

9/28-299/17-199/9
Obama474644
McCain454648
Barr354

From PPP's blog:

Independents are moving toward Obama in droves. Where last week he had a 42-39 advantage with them, now he is up 48-37. He also now receives 36% of the white vote, up from 33%. He will likely need 35-38% in that demographic to win the state, depending on how high turnout from black voters is.

Next the Senate race

9/28-299/17-199/9
Hagan464643
Dole384142
Cole666

And again, from PPP's blog:

Particularly troubling for Dole is how well Hagan is connecting with white voters. She trails Dole just 47-38 with that group. Usually for a Republican to win statewide here they need at least a 20 point advantage with whites to offset overwhelming African American support for Democratic candidates.

As was the case a week ago and really, all year, the Democrats' rise in the state has directly correlated with the increase in the number of people who list the economy as their top issue. Last week, 58% said it was their top issue and Obama and McCain were tied; this week that % is up to 64% and Barack is up by 2%.

This is now the 4th poll (2 of which were PPP) in less than 2 weeks that have shown Obama either tied with or ahead of McCain in North Carolina. Pollster's trend estimate has McCain up by just 1.5% while RCP's average has Obama up .7%. North Carolina is now a bona fide toss-up. And if you'd like to take a look at what an election night with a blue NC looks like, check out this sweet sweet EV map from RCP.

As for Hagan, this is just the latest poll showing her ahead of Elizabeth Dole. Hell, even Pollster has it colored a light shade of blue. Help Kay Hagan turn that a bright shade of blue by contributing to her campaign at our Road To 60 ActBlue page.

Update [2008-9-29 23:16:51 by Todd Beeton]:Updated with promised link to rockin RCP EV map.

There's more...

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