What the Latest Polls Told Us: Paladino Surges

What the Latest Polls Told Us: Paladino Surges

By Sean Trende - September 22, 2010

A bevy of House polls came in yesterday and the day before . . . but first, some gubernatorial polling.


New YorkRasmussen Reports finds a bit of a bounce for attorney Carl Paladino in the New York gubernatorial race; he holds Attorney General Andrew Cuomo to 54 percent of the vote, while taking 38 percent of the vote for himself. One wrinkle: Rasmussen didn’t test Rick Lazio, who still holds the Conservative Party’s nomination.

Quinnipiac, on the other hand, finds Paladino surging into contention. He trails by a narrow 49 percent to 43 percent margin. This is the first likely voter poll that Quinnipiac has conducted, so it is hard to determine what kind of trend there is (if any). But once again, Conservative Rick Lazio isn’t tested, which may result in the poll overstating how close Paladino really is. Regardless, this race isn’t looking like the blowout we’ve been seeing for most of the cycle.

The interesting thing is that 58 percent of the state’s populace approving of the job Barack Obama is doing according to Rasmussen, and most people have a favorable impression of Cuomo. This is just a year where people are trying to get as far away from establishment candidates as possible, and we're now seeing it show up in general election numbers.

CaliforniaPublic Policy Polling (D) finds the California gubernatorial race a little bit closer than it found the Senate race, but nevertheless finds a little bit better result for the Democrats than most other polls are finding.  As I noted yesterday, it’s based upon a sample that’s a bit more Democratic than even the 2008 elections, which would be unusual for this cycle (though not impossible).

FoxNews/POR-Rasmussen, finds a tie race, which is a net six-point swing in Brown’s favor from the last iteration of the poll. Overall, Whitman has a one-point lead in the RCP Average.

Wisconsin – DailyKos/PPP (D), polling the Wisconsin Senate race, finds Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker leading Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett 50 percent to 41 percent.  Walker leads by 8.5 points in the RCP Average.

Massachusetts – Like Rasmussen Reports, Suffolk finds a tightening race for the Massachusetts governorship. Governor Deval Patrick leads Republican Charlie Baker and Independent Tim Cahill 41 percent to 34 percent to 14 percent. Patrick leads by 5.3 points in the RCP Average. If Baker can hold down Cahill’s percentages, he has a real shot here.

Maryland – Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley is receiving a stiff challenge from former Governor Bob Ehrlich, but he’s at 50 percent today, according to Rasmussen Reports. This is the only poll all cycle to show this result, so it could be an outlier. On the other hand, with both Ehrlich and O’Malley having widespread name recognition, the usual “incumbent rule” might not apply here, and undecideds might break toward O’Malley. O’Malley leads by 3.8 points in the RCP Average.

PennsylvaniaCritical Insights found a much closer Senate race than others had found, and likewise finds a one-point lead for Republican Tom Corbett in the Governor’s race, which makes it the only likely voter poll since April to show a single digit race. I suspect Critical Insights just didn’t push undecideds very hard – Onorato’s 37 percent is consistent with other polls, while Corbett’s 38 percent is much lower than most other polls have shown.

Quinnipiac shows a 15-point Corbett lead, while Fox News/POR-Rasmussen shows a 10 point Corbett lead. It will be difficult for Onorato to win in a state where the President has a 37 percent approval rating, which is what FoxNews is showing. Corbett leads by 10.8 points in the RCP Average.

Ohio, Fox News/POR-Rasmussen, Kasich (R) 47, Strickland (D) 41

Michigan, PPP (D), Snyder (R) 52, Bernero (D) 31

Michigan, Rasmussen Reports, Snyder (R) 51, Bernero (D) 38

Idaho, Mason-Dixon, Otter (R) 45, Allred (D) 29

Rhode Island, Ramsussen Reports, Chaffee (I) 33 percent, Caprio (D) 30 percent, Robitaille (D) 23 percent.


GenericRasmussen Reports weighed in with a poll showing a more-or-less typical result (given that they’re polling likely voters), showing the GOP leading 48 percent to 38 percent.

At the same time, Reuters-Ipsos shows the Democrats up a point, 46 percent to 45 percent. So what’s up? First, Reuters/Ipsos is polling registered voters, and so won’t account for any enthusiasm gap between the parties. Second, Reuters/Ipsos has typically shown the Democrats and Republicans roughly even – in August the Republicans were up one, in July they were up two, so most of this movement is well within the error margin. Republicans lead by 3.1 points in the RCP Average.

MI-15 – John Dingell has never fallen below 59 percent in any re-election effort, but may be on track to do so this year, according to pollster Glengariff. He leads physician Rob Steele 49 percent to 30 percent. A Dingell has represented this district since 1932, and we suspect that will still be the case in 2012. But Dingell’s district used to be confined largely to Dearborn; it has since been pushed out farther into exurban Detroit, and even includes some rural areas today (about 12 percent). Still, it is heavily Democratic (D+13), so Dingell probably pulls this one out.

ID – After a slew of polls showing Democratic Congressman Walt Minnick opening up a substantial lead over Republican Raul Labrador, Mason-Dixon finds a closer race, with Minnick up 46 percent to 36 percent. Right now, this one looks like an outlier, but this is one of the most Republican districts in the country held by a Democrat. We shouldn’t be surprised if it tightens. In the 2nd District, incumbent Mike Simpson (R) leads Democrat Mike Crawford by a surprisingly close 51 percent to 23 percent margin. Simpson will almost certainly win, but we’d expect better results in a year like this.

RI – Republicans had held out hope of picking up the open seat of retiring Congressman Patrick Kennedy. But if pollster Quest is to be believed, that is unlikely to happen. Democrat David Cicilline leads Republican state house minority whip 49 percent to 26 percent. In the 2nd District, Democrat Jim Langevin leads Republican Mark Zaccaria 54 percent to 20 percent. Still, these are D+13 and D+9 districts, respectively, so it is pretty jarring to see the Democrats near 50 percent in both of them.

AZ-05Harstad (D) shows Democrat Harry Mitchell leading Dave Schweikert 45 percent to 44 percent. This is a pretty bad result for Mitchell, a two-term congressman who has been leveling Schweikert with a barrage of ads. He should be doing better than 45 percent.

WA-03SurveyUSA shows Republican Jaime Herrera leading Democrat Denny Heck 52 percent to 43 percent. This represents some tightening from an earlier SurveyUSA poll showing Herrera with a 54/41 lead. Still, it's a substantial lead for Herrera in this swing district.

WA-09SurveyUSA also shows seven-term Congressman Adam Smith leading Republican Dick Muri 49 percent to 46 percent. This is reasonably consistent with Smith’s modest primary election win. Smith is still pretty close to 50 percent, so he’s in pretty good position here.

Campaign Polls

(note that these are all pretty bad results for the Democrat when placed in the context of a campaign poll, except perhaps the FL-25 and to a lesser extent the DE-AL poll).

GA-08 – Grove Insight (D), Marshall (D) 48 percent, Scott (R) 36 percent.

AR-01 – Anzalone Liszt (D), Causey (D) 46 percent, Crawford (R) 44 percent

DE-AL – Grove Insight (D), Carney (D) 50 percent, Urquhart (R) 32 percent

KY-06 – Mellman (D), Chandler (D) 53 percent, Barr (R) 33 percent

FL-25 – Greenberg Quinlan (D), Garcia (D) 40 percent, Rivera (R) 33 percent, Arrojo (TP) 7 percent, Porter (Whig (!)) 2 percent.

ND-AL – Garin Hart Yang (D), Pomeroy (D) 46 percent, Berg (R) 44 percent

LA-02 – Anzalone Liszt (D), Cao (R) 35 percent, Richmond (D) 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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