As part of our final round of polling across the country last weekend we also looked at the approval ratings for the 13 Senators up for reelection in 2016 in those states. Here they are:
Chuck Grassley (Iowa)
Richard Blumenthal (Connecticut)
Mike Crapo (Idaho)
Kelly Ayotte (New Hampshire)
John Boozman (Arkansas)
Jerry Moran (Kansas)
Mark Kirk (Illinois)
Lisa Murkowski (Alaska)
Rand Paul (Kentucky)
Johnny Isakson (Georgia)
Richard Burr (North Carolina
Marco Rubio (Florida)
Michael Bennet (Colorado)
-It's pretty notable given how unpopular politicians these are days that 11 out of these 13 have positive approval ratings. There are a lot of at least decently well liked people up for reelection next time.
-The Senator whose numbers stand out as the most notably good in this set is Kelly Ayotte. She saw her approval numbers decline quite a bit last spring in the middle of the gun debate, but she now she's recovered to the point where she's the most popular politician in New Hampshire. Democrats will likely need a very strong candidate to give her a good challenge.
-There are a lot of voters with no opinion about some of these Senators, which makes some of them very susceptible to having their fate decided by the wave if there is either a strong Democratic or Republican year in 2016. More than 30% of voters say they have no opinion about Boozman, Kirk, Burr, and Bennet. Given the Arkansas results Tuesday it's hard to see Boozman vulnerable under any circumstance. But Kirk and Burr may have trouble given their low profiles if it's a strong Democratic year, and the same goes for Bennet if it's a strong Republican year.
-Lisa Murkowski is going to have an interesting choice to make about how to run for reelection. Although her approval with Republicans has improved over the course of the year, perhaps a product of her embracing Dan Sullivan, her 44/41 spread with them is still worse than where she is with Democrats or independents. It seems like she could potentially struggle again in a Republican primary if someone on the right decided to challenge her, whereas she may be virtually unbeatable running again as an independent, particularly if Democrats don't put up a strong candidate.
-Most of the attention related to Marco Rubio and 2016 has been the potential for him to run for President, but reelection to the Senate in Florida for him is not a guarantee. We've consistently found voters pretty evenly divided in their feelings about him and even though he won by a huge margin in 2010 it should be remembered that a lot of that had to do with there being functionally two Democratic candidates. If he runs again and Democrats put forth a strong candidate it could get interesting.
-Although we haven't done an extensive public poll lately in Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania, or Wisconsin we have over time found approval ratings for Harry Reid, Rob Portman, Pat Toomey, and Ron Johnson that have suggested they could be vulnerable depending on the political climate and the opposition they draw.
PPP's final polls for the Senate and Governor in Georgia, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Kansas, and Iowa find close races pretty much across the board.
In Georgia David Perdue leads Michelle Nunn 46/45 with Libertarian Amanda Swafford getting 5%. It still looks like this race is headed to a runoff. Our polls over the last month have consistently found a close race with Perdue up 2, then tied, then tied again, and now up 1. The candidates have almost identical favorability ratings with Nunn at 45/41 and Perdue at 43/41.
In the Governor's race Nathan Deal appears to have a better shot at an outright victory tomorrow night. Deal is polling at 47% to 43% for Jason Carter, with Libertarian Andrew Hunt getting 4%. Libertarian candidates often poll better ahead of the election than they actually end up doing on election day- if that's the case here and Deal can hold onto his 4 point advantage he will win without a runoff.
There's not a ton of hope for Democrats further down the ballot in Georgia. Republicans lead for all the rest of the statewide offices by anywhere from 6 to 14 points.
In the North Carolina Senate race Kay Hagan leads Thom Tillis 46/44, with Libertarian Sean Haugh at 5%. PPP has polled this contest four times over the last two weeks and found Hagan leading by 3, 1, 1, and now 2. When you take Haugh out of the picture Hagan still leads Tillis by 2 points at 48/46- he is not really playing the spoiler role now that he was earlier in the campaign. This continues to be a race featuring two unpopular candidates, but as has been the case all year Tillis' numbers are worse than Hagan's. Her approval is 41/49, his favorability is 36/48.
In New Hampshire Jeanne Shaheen leads Scott Brown 49/47. Shaheen's support has not budged from the 49-50% mark in PPP's polling since August. She's led 50/44, 50/44, 49/45, 49/47, and now 49/47 again. Brown's support has crept up as undecideds have come off the fence, but if Shaheen continues to hold onto the level of support she's had it should be enough to give her a narrow victory. Brown's been plagued by poor favorability numbers throughout the campaign and on this final poll he's still under water at 44/46. The race for Governor in New Hampshire has tightened a little bit, but Maggie Hassan still has a relatively sold lead over Walt Havenstein at 51/45.
Both of the races in Kansas couldn't be much closer. Paul Davis leads Sam Brownback 46/45 and Greg Orman leads Pat Roberts 47/46. What's interesting is that even though the top of the ticket is incredibly competitive, everything else in Kansas pretty much looks like a normal election- Secretary of State Kris Kobach has a 5 point advantage and beyond that the Republican candidates for down ballot offices lead by 11 points for Insurance Commissioner, 27 points for Attorney General, and 28 points for Treasurer, pretty normal sorts of numbers for elections in Kansas.
It continues to be Brownback and Roberts' unique unpopularity that's making their races so competitive. Brownback has a 37/54 approval spread, and Roberts' is 34/54. Usually politicians with those kinds of approval ratings are doomed for reelection but Kansas' deep red hue is still giving them a shot.
Finally in Iowa we find Joni Ernst with a 48/45 advantage over Bruce Braley. She has a narrowly positive favorability rating at 46/45, while Braley's is slightly negative at 42/45. Terry Branstad continues to lead comfortably for reelection at 51/40 over Jack Hatch. Down ballot Democrats have big leads for Treasurer and Attorney General, with the Republican up big for Secretary of Agriculture. The races for Auditor and Secretary of State are closer. Republican Mary Mossiman leads 46/41 for the former, while Democrat Brad Anderson has moved into the lead for Secretary of State at 44/38 over Paul Pate.
Full results for Georgia here, North Carolina here, New Hampshire here, Kansas here, Iowa here, and the full release here
PPP's final Colorado and Alaska polls find the Republican candidates for the Senate with small leads, and both states have very tight races for Governor as well.
In Colorado, Cory Gardner leads Mark Udall 48/45 in the full field of candidates and 50/47 in a straight head to head contest. Udall is running up the score with Hispanics- he's ahead 64/35- but he's also down 53/40 with white voters. He is also ahead 46/37 with independents, but 15% of Democrats say they're going to cross over and vote for Gardner compared to just 9% of Republicans who say they're going to support Udall. Udall continues to be plagued by poor approval numbers, with only 38% of voters giving him good marks to 51% who disapprove. Meanwhile Gardner's proven to be a pretty appealing candidate, sporting a 49/39 favorability rating. Our 4 post Labor Day polls of this race have found Gardner up by 2, Gardner up by 3, a tie, and now Gardner up by 3 again.
The Governor's race could not be much closer. John Hickenlooper and Bob Beauprez are both at 46% and even when you take the results out to decimal places they're still tied at 45.9%. The slightest hint of an advantage for Beauprez might come in the numbers in a head to head rather than the full field- there Beauprez leads 49/48 because supporters of the third party candidates say they'd prefer him over Hickenlooper. Hickenlooper has a 40/48 approval spread, while Beauprez's favorability is 44/37.
Republicans also lead the down ballot races in Colorado. They have 6 point advantages in the contests for Secretary of State and State Treasurer, and a 13 point lead for Attorney General. Barack Obama is exceptionally unpopular in the state- a 35/58 approval spread- and that is surely contributing to the Democrats' struggles.
The one good piece of news for Democrats is that the state's Personhood amendment is headed for pretty emphatic defeat- only 38% of voters support it to 56% who are opposed. Personhood amendments also generally poll better before the election than they do at the ballot box, so it could end up losing by more than that.
The Alaska Senate race is even tighter than the one in Colorado, with Dan Sullivan leading Mark Begich just 46/45 with the full field and 47/46 in a head to head contest. Begich leads 50/36 with independents and has 91% of the Democratic vote behind him to just 81% of Republicans who are for Sullivan. The picture in this race is pretty steady- Sullivan led by 2 points on our last poll in September. Begich has a very strong ground game and it could be enough to put him over the top.
The Alaska Governor's race is similarly tight with independent Bill Walker holding a 1 point lead over Republican incumbent Sean Parnell, 46/45. Walker held a 1 point lead in September as well. Voters are very closely divided on Parnell's job performance with 44% approving of him to 45% who disapprove. On the other hand voters like Walker with 45% rating him favorably to 26% with a negative view.
The contest that's seen a lot of movement in Alaska since September is the House race. Don Young now leads by just 6 points at 47/41, after having previously held a 15 point advantage at 48/33. His various incidents in the last month seem to be taking a toll.
Finally Alaska's ballot initiative to raise the minimum wage continues to be headed for overwhelming passage. 62% of voters support it to only 33% who are opposed. Independents support it 70/25.
Full results for Colorado here, for Alaska here, and the full release for both states here
PPP's final polls for Governor in Florida, Michigan, and Illinois find incredibly tight contests in all three states.
Florida is the closest. Rick Scott and Charlie Crist both have 44%, with Libertarian Adrian Wyllie polling at 6%. PPP usually has a policy of not releasing poll results to the decimal, but when we find a tie on our final poll of the cycle somewhere we make an exception. Crist is at 44.0% to 43.8% for Scott- in terms of raw respondents to the poll that's 526 for Crist and 524 for Scott. Wyllie may be playing a spoiler role for Crist's hopes of defeating Scott- those saying they support Wyllie would prefer Crist to Scott by 25 points, 43/18. In a straight head to head contest Crist leads Scott 47/46.
Scott (41/48 approval rating) and Crist (40/47 favorability rating) are nearly identically unpopular. They've gone in very different directions over the course of this election cycle. Scott's net approval rating has improved by 17 points from the -24 spread at 33/57 that we found for him in January 2013. Crist's net favorability rating has declined by 18 points from the +11 spread at 49/38 that he began with at the start of last year. Crist may win yet but it's ended up being a much more competitive race than it looked like it might be at the beginning of the cycle.
The news down ballot is good for Republicans in Florida. Pam Bondi leads by 9 for Attorney General, Adam Putnam is up 11 for Agriculture Commissioner, and Jeff Atwater is up 14 for Chief Financial Officer. And although it has 53/41 support,the amendment to legalize medical marijuana looks like it will fall below the 60% mark it needs to pass.
In Michigan Rick Snyder is clinging to a 46/45 lead over Mark Schauer. Our polling in this race has been remarkably consistent since Labor Day. Snyder has led by 1 points, 2 points, 1 point, been tied, and now he leads by 1 point on our final poll. Supporters of the third party candidates and leaners prefer Schauer over Snyder by 12 points though, so in a straight head to head contest they are tied at 47. After being under water for most of the election cycle on his approval, Snyder's final numbers come in at 46% approve and 45% disapprove, mirroring his one point lead.
Gary Peters looks to be headed for a double digit victory in the Michigan Senate race, leading Terri Lynn Land 51/38 in the full field and 54/41 head to head. Much of the coverage of this campaign has focused on Land being a poor candidate, and she is. Just 35% of voters see her favorably to 50% who have an unfavorable opinion. But Peters has proven to be a pretty strong candidate in his own right, with a +14 net favorability rating at 46/32. That's a lot better than most Senate hopefuls in the country can boast this year.
Republicans lead the other down ballot races in Michigan. Bill Schuette has a 47/37 advantage for Attorney General and Ruth Johnson is up 46/38 for Secretary of State.
Pat Quinn is one of the most unpopular Governors in the country. Only 31% of voters approve of the job he's doing to 54% who disapprove. But he's still clinging to a slight lead for reelection over Republican challenger Bruce Rauner, 47/45. Only 58% of Democrats approve of the job Quinn is doing, but 83% are nevertheless voting for him. Rauner is under water on his favorability but still in much better standing than Quinn, at 39/42. This is a race where the Libertarian candidate could play spoiler for GOP hopes. Chad Grimm is only polling at 3%, but those voting for him say they would pick Rauner over Quinn 54/14. In a head to head without him Quinn and Rauner would be tied at 48.
In the Illinois Senate race Dick Durbin leads Jim Oberweis 51/41. Durbin is narrowly popular with a 44/41 approval spread, while Oberweis is narrowly unpopular with 32% of voters seeing him favorably to 37% who have an unfavorable opinion.
Full results for Florida here, for Michigan here, for Illinois here, and the full release for this trio of polls here
PPP's final polls in Arkansas and Kentucky find Republicans in a strong position to win the Senate seats in those states on Tuesday, but the Louisiana Senate race still has the potential to be pretty competitive.
In Kentucky Mitch McConnell leads Alison Lundergan Grimes 50/42, with Libertarian David Patterson getting 3%. In a head to head match up, McConnell's lead is 53/44. McConnell remains unpopular, with only 39% of voters approving of him to 50% who disapprove. But his campaign succeeded in making Grimes just as unpopular- her 39/49 favorability rating is nearly identical to his approval rating. For the millions and millions of dollars spent on this race it's ended up right back around where it started- when we first polled it in December of 2012 McConnell led Grimes by 7 and in this final poll he leads by 8.
In April we found Grimes leading McConnell 45/44. At that time Grimes led McConnell by 37 points with Democrats and trailed him by 2 points with independents. Now she leads him by 35 points with Democrats and by 2 points with independents, nearly identical numbers to what they were 7 months ago. The story of McConnell's comeback is one of getting his party to pretty universally vote for him, even if it's still not in love with him. In April McConnell led Grimes by only 49 points with Republicans, 69/20. Now he leads her by 76 points with Republicans, 85/9. His resurgence with the GOP is the story of the race.
In Arkansas, we find Republicans leading the races for Governor and the Senate by 8-10 points. Tom Cotton is up 49/41 on Mark Pryor, and Asa Hutchinson is up 51/41 on Mike Ross. At the end of the day Barack Obama's unpopularity in the state may be too much for the Democratic candidates to overcome- only 29% of voters approve of the job he's doing to 62% who disapprove. The Republican candidates have proven to be relatively strong in their own right though. Hutchinson has a 49/35 favorability rating and Cotton's is 48/40, better than we're seeing for most candidates across the country this year.
Republicans lead all the down ballot races as well. The one where Democrats have the best chance at pulling out a win is Attorney General, where Republican Leslie Rutledge leads Democrat Nate Steel only 44/40. GOP nominees are ahead by 8-12 points in the rest of the contests. There is one piece of positive news for progressive voters in the Arkansas poll- the state's initiative to raise the minimum wage leads for passage 65/31. It has near unanimous support from Democrats (88/9), majority support from independents (55/41), and even GOP voters are pretty much evenly divided on it (46/47).
In Louisiana it looks like Mary Landrieu will finish first in Tuesday's election. She's polling at 43% to 35% for Bill Cassidy, 15% for Rob Maness, and just 1% for 'someone else.' We find that a head to head between Landrieu and Cassidy would be pretty close at this point, with Cassidy ahead just 48/47. Whether a runoff election would really be that close depends on whether Landrieu can get Democratic leaning voters, especially African Americans and young people, to come back out and vote again in December.
There's been little movement in this race over the last 6 weeks. Landrieu led Cassidy 42/34 in late September. This is yet another contest where neither candidate is well liked. Landrieu has a 45/50 approval rating, but Cassidy also has a 36/44 favorability rating.
Full results for Kentucky here, for Arkansas here, for Louisiana here, and the full release for all three here
PPP's final polls for the cycle in Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Idaho find close races for Governor in the New England states, with Republican Butch Otter pulling away in Idaho.
In Connecticut Democrat Dan Malloy leads Republican challenger Tom Foley 44-41, with independent Joe Visconti getting 6%. When you take Visconti out of the mix and push undecideds about who they would vote for, Malloy maintains a 3 point lead at 47/44. The race has tightened since a month ago when we found Malloy leading 43/35. Since that time Foley's party has unified around him, taking him from 63% of the Republican vote to 80%. Foley is also keeping it close in the normally blue state by winning independents 43/29.
Even though there are many races across the country this year where voters don't like either candidate, Connecticut is on another level in that regard. Malloy has a 38/52 approval spread, but Foley has a 33/48 favorability rating. The race still remains very close but it may be in the end that in a race with two similarly unpopular candidates, the state ends up voting to form with its normal party allegiances.
In the race for Governor of Massachusetts Republican Charlie Baker leads Democratic foe Martha Coakley 46/42, with third party candidates combining for 7% and 6% still undecided. It's worth noting that undecideds, when prodded about who they lean toward, choose Coakley 39/14. Supporters of the third party candidates also say Coakley would be their second choice by a 38/29 spread. In a 2 way race Baker's lead goes down to 48/47, so there is some reason to think the contest could end up being tighter.
The big story in this contest is Baker's popularity. 52% of voters have a favorable opinion of him to 33% with an unfavorable one. Few candidates across the country are managing that level of popularity this year. Coakley isn't unpopular- 44% see her favorably and 44% unfavorably- but Baker's on another level. Baker is winning independents 57/29, and he's receiving 86% of the Republican vote while just 69% of Democrats are for Coakley right now.
Ed Markey leads Republican challenger Brian Herr by a comfortable 52/38 spread in the US Senate race. Markey has proven to be a decently popular Senator, sporting a 46/32 approval rating.
When we polled Idaho in October the race for Governor was surprisingly competitive, with Republican Butch Otter leading his Democratic opponent A.J. Balukoff only 39/35. Since then the race has broken open though, and Otter now leads Balukoff 49/37. This is simply a story of GOP voters unifying around Otter as the election has moved closer. In October he was getting just 62% of the Republican vote, and now that's up to 76%. Balukoff leads with independents (45/33) and also has his party more unified around him, getting 87% of Democrats to Otter's 76% of Republicans. But it takes more than that for a Democrat to win in Idaho.
Republicans lead by double digits for the down ballot offices in Idaho too, with the exception of Superintendent of Public Instruction. That race looks very competitive with Republican Sherri Ybarra leading Democrat Jana Jones only 46/45.
Full results for Connecticut here, for Massachusetts here, for Idaho here, and for the overall release here
Public Policy Polling’s newest Maine survey finds that after three televised debates, the race for governor is still a very tight contest between incumbent Paul LePage and Democrat Mike Michaud. LePage and Michaud each have 40%, with Eliot Cutler trailing at 17%.
Key findings from the survey include: -Paul LePage continues to be one of the most unpopular governors in the country. Only 43% of voters have a favorable opinion of him to 53% who have a negative one. His numbers among independents are particularly low with only 34% seeing him favorably to 60% who have an unfavorable opinion.
-The biggest factor in this race remaining so close is that Cutler, consistently in a distant third place, is continuing to siphon off enough of the anti-LePage vote to keep the contest in toss-up range.
-Among the voters who support Cutler, 55% say Michaud would be their second choice to just 35% who say LePage would be their second choice. In a head to head contest, Michaud would have a five point lead over LePage, 49 to 44. This is supported by the fact that 73% of Cutler supporters have a negative view of LePage.
-Michaud has the highest favorability rating of the candidates in the race at 47%, followed by LePage at 43%, and Cutler at 39%.
-Michaud leads with: independents (40% Michaud, 28% LePage, 29% Cutler); women (43% Michaud 37% LePage and 17% Cutler); and young people (47% Michaud, 43% LePage 10% Cutler).
Trailing by 23 points with only 11 days to go until the election, there is virtually no way Cutler can overtake LePage and Michaud. But by splitting the anti-LePage vote, the support Cutler is pulling from Michaud could be just enough to re-elect LePage in this razor-thin contest.
PPP interviewed 660 likely voters on October 22nd and 23rd. The margin of error for the poll is +/-3.6%. This survey was conducted on behalf of Maine Conservation Voters Action Fund.
PPP's newest Colorado poll finds very close races for both Governor and the Senate. Cory Gardner is up 46/43 on Mark Udall in the Senate race, while John Hickenlooper has a 45/44 advantage over Bob Beauprez in the Governor's race.
Both Democrats are doing well with the groups Democrats tend to do well with in Colorado. Hickenlooper is up 49/39 with women, 60/28 with Hispanics, and 59/31 with young voters. Udall is similarly ahead 46/42 with women, 64/24 with Hispanics, and 59/22 with young voters. The problem for the Democrats is that they are down by significant margins with men- Hickenlooper trails by 10 points, Udall by 11 points- with white voters- Hickenlooper trails by 5 points, Udall by 12 points, and with seniors- Hickenlooper trails by 9 points, Udall by 13 points. The struggles with those groups are largely offsetting their strength with their traditional constituencies.
Udall continues to struggle with his approval numbers, as only 37% of voters think he's doing a good job to 52% who disapprove. Hickenlooper's approval is under water as well, with 43% of voters approving of him and 49% disapproving. Both Republican candidates have narrowly positive favorability ratings- Gardner comes in at 45/42 and Beauprez at 41/39.
For Hickenlooper and Udall's struggles, they may actually be outperforming the overall political climate in the state. Republicans lead by 8 points on the generic legislative ballot, 48/40, a measure that really shows the difficulties Democrats overall are having in Colorado this year.
Further down the ticket the closest race is for Treasurer, where incumbent Republican Walker Stapleton leads Democratic challenger Betsy Markey 42/40. Stapleton's lead had been 10 points when we last polled the state in July. Republicans have larger leadsin the other down ballot races- Wayne Williams is up 36/31 on Joe Neguse for Secretary of State and Cynthia Coffman has a 46/32 advantage over Don Quick for Attorney General.
PPP's newest North Carolina poll finds a steady race, with Kay Hagan leading at 46% to 43% for Thom Tillis and 5% for Sean Haugh. This is the third month in a row that Hagan has held an advantage of either 3 or 4 points. In a two candidate race Hagan still leads Tillis 47/44, indicating that Haugh's potential 'spoiler effect' on the race is waning. Haugh's supporters only say their second choice would be Tillis by a 34/30 spread now, considerably closer than the difference was earlier in the campaign.
Both candidates remain unpopular in the closing stretch of the contest, but Hagan at least fares a little bit better with voters than Tillis does. 41% of voters approve of the job she's doing to 50% who disapprove, for a -9 net approval rating. That's not good but it puts her ahead of Tillis who just 37% of voters see favorably to 49% who have a negative opinion, for a -12 net favorability rating.
There's nothing very surprising about where the candidates' support is coming from. Hagan is up 49/37 with women, 85/4 with African Americans, and 61/27 with young voters. Meanwhile Tillis is up 49/42 with men, 55/34 with white voters, and 54/37 with seniors. Tillis is ahead 43/38 with independents but in an unusual finding for North Carolina politics, Hagan is getting the same share of the Democratic vote (81%) that Tillis getting of the Republican vote and if you do that as a Democrat in North Carolina you're generally going to win given the party's voter registration advantage in the state.
It's still a close race but Hagan's lead- though small- has certainly been persistent and something dramatic may need to happen in the final two weeks to allow Tillis to come out on top.
We're going to poll Colorado and North Carolina this weekend...obviously we'll look at the Senate races in both states and the Governor's race in Colorado...what else should we ask about about on these polls? Thanks as always for your suggestions!
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