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Two polls show Washington governor's race very close; Daily Kos Elections upgrades to 'Tossup' (June 19, 2012, 02:52 PM)
Jay Inslee (D): 40 (42)Public Policy Polling continues to see the Washington gubernatorial race as a tossup, with the numbers moving very little from poll to poll. June's look at the race finds a small lead for Republican Attorney General Rob McKenna, a bit of a decline in Dem ex-Rep. Jay Inslee's fortunes since PPP's previous poll in February, which showed the race as a tie. The basic principle of the race remains the same, though: McKenna, who's been elected statewide, is better-known than Inslee (40/30 favorables, vs. 33/29 for Inslee). The name rec advantage helps him overcome the state's Democratic lean, and it'll get closer as Dem-leaning indies start to tune in to the race, probably keeping razor-thin margins until Election Day.
The more interesting numbers that PPP released Tuesday may, in fact, be the numbers on the two big ballot initiatives that Washingtonians will face in November, both on culture war issues. Referendum 74 is a people's-veto referendum that just qualified for the ballot earlier this month, in which conservatives are attempting to overturn the state's same-sex marriage law that was enacted by the legislature earlier in the year. PPP didn't specifically ask about the wording of the referendum, but their more generically-phrased question about gay marriage suggests it's quite likely to fail (meaning that same-sex marriage would stay in place); by a 51-42 margin, voters think same-sex marriage should be legal. That's a bit of an improvement since just February, when voters broke 50-46 on that question.
There's also improvement for same-sex marriage on the more nuanced question of whether people support marriage, civil unions, or no recognition, which now breaks 47-30-21 (improved from 46-32-20 last time). Based on PPP's polling of Maine, Maryland, and Minnesota as well, it looks like same-sex marriage may actually go 4-for-4 in votes in November. (Obviously, it helps that the four votes are happening in blue states.)
The other ballot measure is Initiative 502, which would essentially legalize marijuana, regulate it, and tax it. Washingtonians seem to like pot even better than gay marriage, as the initiative is passing 50-37. That's thanks to a substantial crossover from Republicans, many of whom are libertarian-flavored in the northwest: while Republicans oppose same-sex marriage 82-10 in this sample, they're only 68-22 against legal marijuana.
Jay Inslee (D): 40 (36)There was also a poll released Monday by prominent local pollster Elway, and this one is a bit more attention-grabbing than PPP's, in that it showed a lot of movement in Inslee's direction. Elway's February poll of the race found Inslee down 9, but now has him back by 2. While PPP has always shown the race close and stable, the other major pollsters who've been regularly polling this race now have all shown the same thing since spring: Inslee narrowing the gap considerably, though the loss of McKenna's vote share to 'undecided' seems to be playing as big a role in the shift as Inslee's gains.
Similarly, SurveyUSA saw the race move from 49-39 McKenna to 40-38 McKenna between February and May, and Strategies360 saw the race move from 46-39 McKenna last fall to 43-39 in May. It's still not clear to me what caused Inslee's swoon this spring (which may have been rectified by his decision in March to resign from Congress and focus full-time on campaigning without the nuisance of constant cross-country flights), or if it even happened (maybe PPP had the right idea all along, and SurveyUSA and Elway coincidentally got weird rolls of the dice in February), but at any rate, things seem to have stabilized with both candidates hovering around 40.
When Daily Kos Elections first released its gubernatorial ratings in early April, our decision to place the race at "Lean Republican" was based on that February round of polling, but with the expectation that we'd, at some point, be moving the race to Tossup, assuming that Inslee's share of the vote would improve as he got better known. As we've gotten to the point now where the parties seem more evenly matched, we're upgrading the race to "Tossup."
Daily Kos Elections Live Digest: 6/19 (June 19, 2012, 11:36 AM)
Daily Kos Elections Morning Digest: Richard Mourdock supports firms' right to deny cancer coverage (June 19, 2012, 08:00 AM)
? IN-Sen: Oh boy. Mega-problem time for Republican Senate nominee Richard Mourdock:
Of particular interest to the candidate is a mandate that requires an employer to pay for certain services they may be morally opposed to?such as birth control?which Mourdock said he opposes.Yep, you read that right. Mourdock thinks employers should be able to deny healthcare coverage for cancer treatment. And his campaign obviously doesn't know how to deal with this serious screwup. At first, they refused to respond altogether. Then Mourdock decided to dig in deeper?way deeper. Careful, though, and watch what he's trying to do:
"Simply put, Richard was making the point that a company that discontinued insurance coverage of life-threatening ailments would immediately become an unattractive place to work," Conner told TPM. "In no way, shape or form does Richard support companies discontinuing such insurance coverage, and any attempt to say otherwise is a complete falsehood."The question isn't whether Mourdock would support a company which denied its employees from receiving insurance coverage for cancer treatment. The issue is whether he supports their right to do so?and he most certainly still does. He's also damn right that any company which did so would "become an unattractive place to work"?but guess what? Countless Americans hold down jobs at awful companies because they have no other choice. So while Mourdock fantasizes, Mitt Romney-style, that such awful companies would quickly drive their employees elsewhere, reality dictates that if employers start treating their workers like shit, workers pretty much just have to take it.
Daily Kos Elections Polling Wrap: New Maine poll underscores huge dilemma for Senate Democrats (June 18, 2012, 09:00 PM)
If you wanted to look up the word "awkward" in the dictionary, it is quite possible at this point that a secondary or tertiary definition for the word could roughly describe what the Democratic Party's Senate campaign wing has to negotiate with regards to the state of Maine this season.
When you see Patty Murray get asked if the Democratic Party will be supporting the elected nominee of the Democratic Party, and you see her hemming and hawing, you get a real feel for how delicate the dance is for Senate Democrats right now down East, courtesy of one Angus King, the former two-term Independent governor of the state.
We get data today that bears out just how delicate that dance is going to be. Awkward doesn't begin to describe it, folks.
On to the numbers:
PRESIDENTIAL GENERAL ELECTION TRIAL HEATS:
NATIONAL (Gallup Tracking): Obama tied with Romney (46-46)DOWNBALLOT POLLING:
HI-02?D (Merriman River for Civil Beat): Mufi Hannemann 34, Tulsi Gabbard 33, Esther Kiaaina 10, Bob Marx 10A few thoughts, as always, await you just past the jump...
ME-Sen: In a world where Angus was King ... (June 18, 2012, 01:12 PM)
Cynthia Dill (D): 9We have our first poll of the Maine Senate race following last week's primaries, and the results are pretty much what you'd expect: Independent former Gov. Angus King crushes the field, and pulls more from the left than the right. That's borne out by the party crosstabs:
Dem GOP IndSoS Charlie Summers' higher take also reflects his slightly higher name recognition, compared to state Sen. Cynthia Dill. But Angus is undoubtedly King, with a 60-21 favorability rating. It's going to be hard for Summers to make the case to national donors that he can actually stop King, especially with Dill performing so poorly. (This sort of reminds me of the Connecticut Senate race in 2006, where Democrat Ned Lamont really needed Republican Alan "Gold" Schlesinger to peel away more votes from Joe Lieberman's right flank; Schlesinger's sub-10 percent finish just wasn't nearly enough.) I guess the good news is, at least the GOP hates Angus King.
One other detail worth mentioning are the presidential toplines. MassInc has Barack Obama up a healthy 14 points over Mitt Romney (he won by 18 in 2008). But the actual numbers?48-34?are a bit low on both sides. Other recent polling has shown the POTUS at 50 or above in Maine. But both the presidential and Senate margins seem to make sense, so I'm not suggesting there's anything off with these.
Daily Kos Elections Live Digest: 6/18 (June 18, 2012, 11:32 AM)
Daily Kos Elections Morning Digest: Elections board rules against runoff in SC-07, but lawsuit looms (June 18, 2012, 08:00 AM)
? SC-07: Well, that's one way to deal with advice you don't like: just ignore it. That's what the South Carolina Elections Commission did on Friday, voting 3-2 against counting votes for Ted Vick in the SC-07 Democratic primary. The South Carolina attorney general, however, had informed the commission (after it requested the advice) that a court would likely rule that Vick's votes should be tallied, a move which would force a runoff between Gloria Tinubu and Preston Brittain. Without those votes in the mix, Tinubu would automatically earn the nomination. (Vick of course dropped out a few weeks before election day, which is what prompted this entire dispute.)
And indeed, court is where this is going to end up. A Brittain supporter filed a suit last Thursday in anticipation of the commission's decision, and a judge will hold a hearing this coming Thursday. And Brittain's campaign put out a statement indicating they favor a judicial resolution?presumably they'll piggyback on this ally's lawsuit. In the meantime, the judge "has ordered election officials not to calibrate voting machines for the runoff or distribute runoff materials" until the hearing is held. Time is very short?the runoff is scheduled for June 26?though I imagine the judge could order it delayed if necessary.
It's also worth noting that Brittain filed a pre-runoff fundraising report with the FEC on Friday (a day late)?something he was obligated to do if, in fact, there were to be a runoff. He raised $53K between May 24 and June 6 and had $46K on hand. Unsurprisingly, Tinubu?who of course doesn't think there should be a runoff at all?didn't file a report.
Daily Kos Elections Weekend Digest: Welcome to an election cycle where everything is up in the air. (June 16, 2012, 05:00 PM)
With the big speeches and the big money starting to get thrown around in this 2012 campaign cycle, it is fair to argue that the general election is shifting into another gear as the long, hot summer looms in front of us.
And what little polling dropped this week (one of the thinnest weeks for data in months) painted a very clear picture of the state of play, both in the battle for the balance of power at the White House and on Capitol Hill.
Holy crap, things are gonna be close.
National polling has the Obama-Romney battle almost uniformly close, and the state polling has, to some extent, come in line with that conclusion. A back of the envelope estimate, based on the most recent state polling averages in each state, gives the president an edge of 3-4 points, and a (more math-y) estimate by Nate over at the NYT had it between 2-3 points this morning.
Meanwhile, the Senate could be equally interesting. The range of possible outcomes keeps getting wider and wider, it seems. No one was talking about Maine, Indiana, and North Dakota as critical races in the battle for a Senate majority at the start of the year. Now, they are all there, while races in places like Massachusetts and Nevada continue to look like pure toss-ups that could allow the Democrats to build a bit of a firewall for their Senate majority.
Meanwhile, the roster for November at the House level keeps building week-to-week, as the first half of the primary elections season is rolling to a close by the end of this month.
All this (and more!) in the "school's out, for summer" edition of the Weekend Digest...
Daily Kos Elections Weekly Open Thread: What races are you interested in? (June 16, 2012, 12:10 AM)
Daily Kos Elections Polling Wrap: Rasmussen raises eyebrows, but not how you'd expect. (June 15, 2012, 08:30 PM)
On a day when virtually no new polling came in (thus, for the first time, there actually aren't any thoughts awaiting you just past the jump), leave it to the House of Ras to throw a curveball at us to close the week.
After their eye-popping, and yet somehow predictable, pro-Romney numbers in Iowa and Wisconsin over the past week, here come the Rassies with a Michigan poll.
A poll in which Barack Obama leads. Quite handily, in fact.
On to the (incredibly small set of) numbers:
PRESIDENTIAL GENERAL ELECTION TRIAL HEATS:
NATIONAL (Gallup Tracking): Romney d. Obama (46-45)Note: There was no downballot polling released today.
The Michigan numbers are particularly surprising, given that the two most recent polls in the state had the race essentially even, with an EPIC-MRA poll last week actually putting Romney in the lead (albeit very narrowly). President Obama easily carried Independent voters in the Ras poll (Obama +12), which seems a bit loftier than what we've seen even in most recent national polls. By way of contrast, our own Daily Kos/SEIU State of the Nation Poll this week showed the president up eight points among unaffiliated voters.
Too good to be true? It remains to be seen. I was a bit skeptical about that EPIC-MRA poll, as their numbers all cycle long have seemed to run more favorably to team Romney than their compatriots (when looking at contemporaneous polls, that is). Once again, whether to one extreme or another, a Rasmussen poll screams out for confirming or contradictory evidence.
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