What the Latest Polls Told Us - Thursday Edition

What the Latest Polls Told Us - Thursday Edition

By Sean Trende - September 16, 2010

The polls are coming fast and furious these days . . .


New Hampshire – Kelly Ayotte emerged victorious from her primary battle, but she did not emerge unscathed. Public Policy Polling (D) found that, notwithstanding the firm’s transition to a likely voter model, Kelly Ayotte leads Congressman Paul Hodes by a slim 47-43 margin. Ayotte maintains a 51 percent/37 percent edge among Independents, and only 44 percent of the state’s voters approve of the job President Obama is doing.

There may be an undersample of Republicans here. If you take the 2004 exit poll numbers (32 percent R, 25 percent D, 44 percent I) and apply them to the crosstabs listed, you should get a 51 percent to 40 percent Ayotte lead. These numbers look more like what we’d expect with an electorate that looks like 2008. So caveat lector. Ayotte leads by 8.4 points in the RCP Average.

NevadaCNN/Time’s switch to a likely voter model brought welcome news for Sharron Angle, who now sports a one-point lead over Harry Reid, 42 percent to 41 percent. I note, once again, that this poll offers a “none of these” option, further supporting my theory that with Angle radioactive, the “none of these” option hurts Reid as much as it hurts Angle. Independents are breaking Angle’s direction as well, which is a good sign for her in the home stretch. Reid leads by .8 points in the RCP Average.

PennsylvaniaRasmussen Reports finds what just about everyone else in Pennsylvania is finding: Pat Toomey leads Congressman Joe Sestak by about eight points. Rasmussen puts the spread at 49/41. Toomey leads by nine points in the RCP Average. 

Ohio – Another day, another round of heavy polling in the Ohio Senate race. CNN/Time finds Republican Rob Portman leading Democrat Lee Fisher by 11 points, 52/41, while SurveyUSA finds a 49/40 Portman lead. Like Pennsylvania, the polls are lining up nicely here, as almost all the recent polls have put Portman in the lead, between seven and 11 points. Portman is even keeping it close in metro Cleveland, which is a terrible sign for Fisher. Portman’s lead in the RCP Average is 9.2 points.

Colorado Rasmussen Reports finds Republican Ken Buck leading Senator Michael Bennet 49 percent to 45 percent. Buck has better favorable ratings than Bennet, and a near-majority of voters strongly disapprove of the job the President is doing. Buck leads by 1.8 points in the RCP Average.

Florida – Two more polls in the Florida Senate race confirm that Marco Rubio is starting to put this one away. Reuters/Ipsos gives Rubio a 40/26/21 lead over Charlie Crist and Kendrick Meek, while Rasmussen Reports finds a 41/30/23 lead for Rubio. Rubio leads by 9.8 points in the RCP Average.

Washington – On the heels of the Elway poll showing a nine-point Patty Murray lead in Washington State, CNN/Time weighs in with another poll showing a similar lead for Murray. She leads Republican Dino Rossi 53 percent to 44 percent. The 66-31 lead in King County seems a bit high given that President Obama won 70 percent in 2008 (and this isn’t 2008). But these two polls, taken together, can’t be ignored. Murray leads by two points in the RCP Average.

Oregon SurveyUSA polled the Oregon Senate race. Hopefully this means we’ll be getting some House polls out of them. In any event, they find that Senator Ron Wyden is leading his GOP opponent 54 percent to 38 percent. This looked early on like it could become competitive, but it doesn’t look like Huffman is getting it done.


Florida – Probably the biggest news of the day is the Reuters/Ipsos poll showing Rick Scott opening up a two-point lead over Democratic state CFO Alex Sink, 47 percent to 45 percent. This is the first poll to show Scott leading since August, and it is an outlier compared to the FoxNews poll showing an eight-point Sink lead. But Sink’s numbers are fairly consistent; the real difference is in Scott’s numbers. This could be a sign that undecideds are leaning toward the Republican. Sink still leads by 4.4 points in the RCP Average.

Ohio – Three pollsters were in the field in the Ohio Governor’s race at roughly the same time. CNN/Time found Republican John Kasich leading Governor Ted Strickland 51 to 44. Rasmussen Reports found Kasich up 50 to 43. And SurveyUSA found Kasich leading in the Cleveland area (!) and leading statewide 52 to 40. Kasich leads by 9.5 points in the RCP Average, and Strickland hasn’t been above 45 percent in the polls since May. It is looking very bleak for the governor.

Nevada – Rory Reid is still looking weak in the Nevada Governor’s race. Former judge Brian Sandoval leads Reid 58 percent to 31 percent in the CNN/Time poll. Interestingly, it looks like Sandoval may be carrying the Hispanic vote (or at least coming close). Sandoval leads by 22.5 points in the RCP Average.

Vermont – The end of the primary campaign seems to have sealed the deal for Peter Shumlin. Shumlin trailed Lieutenant Governor Brian Dubie by double digits for most of the campaign, and Dubie was above 50 percent in the polls. But Shumlin is now up 49 percent to 46 percent. It looks like the Democratic nature of the state is finally asserting itself.

ConnecticutQuinnipiac switched to a likely voter model, and this race tightened correspondingly. Stamford Mayor Dan Malloy leads former ambassador to Ireland Tom Foley 50 percent to 41 percent. Malloy leads by eight points in the RCP Average. This remains a significant Democratic pickup opportunity.


CBS/NYT, a poll that typically has a Democratic bias in its job approval numbers, decided to poll registered voters 50 days out from an election. It finds Republicans leading Democrats by two points. Republicans lead by 7.1 points in the RCP Average.

Individual House polls:
NY-19 – SurveyUSA, John Hall (D) 42 percent, Nan Hayworth (R) 44 percent;
CA-19 (Radanovich (R) Open) – SurveyUSA, Denham (R) 63 percent, Goodwin (D) 30 percent;
CA-20 – SurveyUSA, Costa (D) 48 percent, Vidak (R) 46 percent
MI-09 Rossman (R) – Gary Peters (D) 41 percent, Rocky Raczkowski (R) 45 percent

Sean Trende is senior elections analyst for RealClearPolitics. He is a co-author of the 2014 Almanac of American Politics and author of The Lost Majority. He can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @SeanTrende.

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