CA-10: Polls Still Show us on Top, Public Option Remains a Top Agenda Item

Last night Survey USA and KPIX CBS 5 released a new poll showing that our campaign for Congress remains largely unchanged. With 25 percent of the vote, I still lead the pack, with Senator Mark DeSaulnier at 16 percent, Assemblymember Joan Buchanan at 12 percent, Anthony Woods at 9 percent, and undecided voters at 5 percent. This largely mirrors every publicly released poll since I entered the election.

Among Democrats, my lead is even starker: 37 percent favor me, 23 percent favor DeSaulnier, 18 percent favor Buchanan, 13 percent favor Woods, and only 2 percent are undecided. Most importantly, our great team of volunteers is effectively converting the support identified in the Survey USA and other polls into actual votes cast. Among those who have already voted, our considerable lead holds: 27 percent voted for me, 18 percent for DeSaulnier, 13 percent for Buchanan, and 10 percent for Woods.

Our lead holds among all demographic groups, including Obama voters, men, women, all age groups, all races, all levels of educational achievement, and all income levels. Our support is broad based and diverse. As the only candidate who has represented all corners of the 10th Congressional District, the voters know where I stand. As CBS 5 explained, "DeSaulnier and Buchanan have failed to make inroads since CBS 5's last poll 16 days ago."

Clearly, with Election Day fast approaching this Tuesday, we like where we stand.

The poll explains the what, but it fails to explain the why. I'm proud of the campaign we've run. We're convinced the polls are a reflection of voter support for a positive issues-based campaign that has emphasized solid Democratic principles and experience that can deliver results.

Health care over the flip...

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IA-Gov: SUSA finds Culver outside the comfort zone (corrected)

Survey USA released a new batch of approval ratings for governors based on polls taken June 16. Iowa's Chet Culver was at 42 percent approval and 51 percent disapproval. The previous SUSA poll in Iowa, taken in late April, found similar numbers for Culver: 42 percent approval and 50 percent disapproval.

CORRECTION: I did not realize that SUSA also conducted a poll in late May, which showed somewhat better numbers for Culver: 48 approve, 47 disapprove.

Probably this is just statistical noise, and Culver's support is somewhere in the 40s. Alternatively, if you have some hypothesis that would explain why the governor's support rose in May but dropped by mid-June, please post a comment.

Click here to see all of SUSA's approval numbers for Culver since he became governor.

It would be nice if some other polling firm released a new Iowa survey soon.

Having noticed that Culver's SUSA numbers bounced up last May and June after being in net negative territory from February through April 2008, I wondered whether a "legislative session effect" might have dragged him down from February through April of this year. Either that was not the case, or the weaker economy this year has prevented the governor from getting a post-session bounce. Iowa's legislative sessions usually run from January to April.

Approval ratings in the low 40s are outside the comfort zone for an incumbent, but I wouldn't hit the panic button yet. SUSA has tended to measure Culver's support at lower levels than some other pollsters such as Selzer and Associates. Also, most governors have seen their approval ratings slip during the past year, presumably because of the economy and the fiscal problems affecting almost every state.

I couldn't find any breakdown of Culver's support among Democrats, Republicans and independents either at this site or on Survey USA's site. If anyone has those numbers, please post a comment or send me an e-mail (desmoinesdem AT yahoo.com). I still think a large number of Iowa Democrats and independents who may not "approve" of Culver would choose him in a heartbeat over Chris Rants or Bob Vander Plaats, who are most committed to running for governor.

Rants is a former Iowa House speaker with an abrasive personality. He is best-known lately for trying repeatedly to bring anti-gay marriage bills to a floor vote in the Iowa House. He wants to pass a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage to overturn the Iowa Supreme Court's ruling in Varnum v Brien.

Vander Plaats is a Sioux City businessman who was Jim Nussle's running mate in the 2006 gubernatorial election. Since then, Vander Plaats has served as Iowa chair for Mike Huckabee's presidential campaign and has argued that Republicans are losing elections in Iowa because they're not conservative enough. He doesn't want to wait for the lengthy constitutional amendment process and insists that if elected governor he would immediately issue an executive order halting marriage equality until Iowans have had a chance to vote on the issue. (Another Iowa wingnut who holds the same view thinks Congressman Steve King deserves a primary challenge from the right.)

We'll have a better idea of Governor Culver's re-election prospects when we see polling of head-to-head matchups with potential Republican challengers. Some of the Republicans considering this race would be stronger than others in terms of personal appeal or fundraising (though Culver will probably be able to outspend even the best GOP fundraisers). Several possible Republican candidates have already passed on the race.

Finally, keep in mind that despite ups and downs in the economy, Iowa hasn't voted an incumbent governor out of office since 1962.

Share any thoughts about Culver's chances or the GOP gubernatorial primary in this thread. Who has the potential to overcome Vander Plaats' head start on campaigning? Can Rants reinvent himself as a likable politician? Who would benefit from a more crowded Republican field? Will the GOP primary be negative enough to do lasting damage to the eventual nominee?

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VA-Gov: McAuliffe surges in primary, trails McDonnell by 7

A SUSA poll has come out on the Virginia governor's race:

http://www.wdbj7.com/Global/story.asp?S= 10265296&nav=S6aK

Of 409 likely Democratic primary voters, it's 38% for McAuliffe, and 22% each for Brian Moran and Creigh Deeds.  But McDonnell leads all three Dems in a sample of 1396 RVs, with McDonnell leading McAuliffe 46%-39%.  Deeds runs only behind by 5, 44-39.  Moran does the worst against McDonnell, trailing 46-34.

Something has shifted in the primary race, and it's going to be uphill in November no matter who wins the primary.  Is McAuliffe that bad a candidate?  I do think Bill Clinton's campaigning for McAuliffe has given him a boost.

So, can Brian Moran turn it around?

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Survey USA Not Polling Obama/Clinton

Have you seen the new Survey USA general election polls? They're somewhat interesting insofar as they factor in running mates for McCain and Obama.

SurveyUSA put together four potential running mates for John McCain, four others for Barack Obama, and ran the sixteen resulting matchups against one other in each of seventeen states. For good measure, we began by asking registered voters if they would vote for McCain or Obama, without naming any running mates; the VP matchups were asked second.

The potential McCain VPs tested are Mike Huckabee, Mitt Romney, Tim Pawlenty and Joe Lieberman. Obama's VPs include John Edwards, Kathleen Sebelius, Chuck Hagel and Ed Rendell.

When posed as Obama v. McCain, Obama beats him by 7 in Pennsylvania and they're tied in New Mexico. Neither result should really be terribly surprising.

Then when VPs are factored in, the Republican ticket wins 12 out of 16 in New Mexico and the Democratic ticket wins 12 out of 16 in Pennsylvania. Obama's best running mate is Edwards, McCain's is Huckabee. Their worst are Sebelius and Pawlenty respectively.

Talk about an expensive exercise in futility. How can any speculative polling like this not factor in Hillary Clinton, if only to get a baseline of top level of support? Perhaps they were being respectful since she is still running for top of the ticket, but what ends up happening here is that John Edwards inevitably polls the best as Obama's running mate because A. he's been on a presidential ticket before and B. has the highest name recognition, so one may be tempted to take from this that Obama/Edwards is the ticket to beat, which is pointless considering Edwards has essentially ruled it out.

One thing I do find notable, however, is the drubbing Obama takes with anyone but Edwards. It doesn't take into account the potential impact of Richardson stumping for Obama in the state, of course, and arguably, this result makes the case that Obama + well-known VP pick beats McCain + well-known VP pick is running strong in the state, since at this point these results are so much a function of name recognition. But it also provides stark evidence of the level of goodwill McCain has in the western hispanic-heavy states, as a senator who hails from one. One of Barack's "expand the map" strengths is supposed to be his appeal in the west, but this poll shows that to maximize that appeal, he would be well-advised to pick someone as VP who has an even greater appeal among that community than McCain does. Obviously, if Clinton had been tested among the VP choices, we would have seen that loud and clear in the results.

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SUSA Indiana: HRC 54 / BHO 42

Clinton crusing to victory in Indiana.

Latest SUSA poll:

HRC - 54
BHO - 42

In 4 tracking polls over the past 5 weeks, Clinton has never polled lower than 52%, Obama has never polled higher than 43%. At the wire, they finish: Clinton 54%, Obama 42%. Among males, the two have been tied in 3 of the 4 tracking polls. Among females, Clinton has always led by at least 14, and finishes ahead by 22. Among Republicans and Independents, the two are effectively tied. Among Democrats, Clinton finishes ahead by 19. Clinton leads among Conservatives, Moderates and Liberals. She leads among Pro Life and Pro Choice voters, among regular and not-so-regular church goers. In Northern Indiana, she leads by 11. In Central and Southern Indiana, she leads by 27. In greater Indianapolis, Obama leads. Among voters under 35, Obama leads. Among voters over 35, Clinton leads.

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