Arkansas won our vote on where to poll this weekend and we'll also do the North Carolina Republican primary for Senate. We'll obviously ask the key horse race questions on both of those polls, but what other topics would you like to see us delve into? Thanks as always for the suggestions.
Wisconsin Republicans are more excited about the prospect of Paul Ryan running for President in 2016 than Scott Walker...but they both lag behind Hillary Clinton even in their home state.
Ryan leads the GOP Presidential field in Wisconsin with 25% to 21% for Walker, 8% each for Chris Christie, Mike Huckabee, and Rand Paul, 7% for Ted Cruz, 6% for Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio, and 3% for Bobby Jindal. Asked one on one who they'd prefer out of their state's potential homegrown candidates, Republicans in the state pick Ryan 52/35. And while GOP voters pretty firmly want Ryan to run in 2016- 55% say he should go for it to 26% who dissent- they're much more divided about Walker with 43% saying he should run and 42% that he should not.
When it comes to the general election though Hillary Clinton leads all comers. Ryan comes closest at 50/45, with Walker not far behind at 51/44. All of the other potential Republican hopefuls trail Clinton by double digits- it's 50/39 against both Bush and Paul, 50/38 against Huckabee, and 49/36 against Christie. The overall electorate doesn't think either Ryan (33% yes, 52% no) or Walker (29% yes, 61% no) should run for President in 2016.
Even with potential home state candidate Russ Feingold in the mix, 57% of Wisconsin Democrats say they want Clinton to be their nominee in 2016 to 19% for Feingold, 8% for Joe Biden, and 5% for Elizabeth Warren.
Other notes from Wisconsin:
-For the first time PPP finds a plurality of voters in the state in support of gay marriage- 47% support it to 45% who are opposed. Those numbers represent a 13 point net increase in support from 2011, when we found only 39% there supported gay marriage with 50% against it. Showing the direction public opinion is headed in on the issue, 65% of voters under 30 support it to only 35% who are opposed. When you broaden the discussion to include civil unions 71% of voters in the state, including 55% of Republicans, support some form of legal recognition for same sex couples, to only 26% completely opposed.
PPP's newest Wisconsin poll finds a close race, with Scott Walker leading his Democratic challenger Mary Burke 48/45. Walker's 48% is exactly the same as what we had in our September poll of the state, while Burke's seen a slight uptick in her support from 42% on our previous poll.
Burke's increased support is likely a function of her name recognition increasing significantly over the last seven months. In September only 39% of voters had an opinion about her but that has spiked to 71% with voters pretty evenly split on her- 36% rate her favorably, 35% unfavorably. Burke's been able to consolidate Democratic support as she's become better known with 86% of her party base behind her now compared to 75% on the poll in the fall.
Nevertheless Walker has shown that he will be tough to beat. 50% of voters approve of him to 47% who disapprove and he has the Republican base on complete lockdown with 93% supporting him to only 4% who are for Burke. That puts Burke in a position where she would have to win independents by a good margin to overtake Walker and while she does have a narrow 46/44 advantage with them on this poll that's not enough.
Looking forward to the 2016 Senate election, Democrats at least for now are pretty well positioned to put Ron Johnson out of office after just one term. Johnson has only a 34% approval rating to 36% of voters who disapprove of him, and even after more than 3 years in the Senate 30% don't know enough about him to have formed an opinion.
Russ Feingold would lead Johnson 47/41 in a hypothetical rematch of their 2010 contest, including a double digit lead with independents at 47/34. Despite his loss last time around, Feingold remains largely popular in the state with 46% of voters rating him favorably to 36% who have an unfavorable opinion. Johnson would hold a 41/39 lead in a potential contest with Ron Kind but the undecideds skew strongly Democratic, likely owing to Kind currently having only 38% statewide name recognition.
PPP's newest Texas poll makes it pretty clear that when it comes to politicians Ted Cruz is the top dog in the state. Cruz has a better net approval rating than both Rick Perry and John Cornyn at +12, with 47% of voters approving of him to 35% who disapprove. Cruz also continues to lead the Republican primary field for President in the state with 25% to 14% for Jeb Bush, 10% each for Mike Huckabee, Rand Paul, and Rick Perry, 5% for Chris Christie and Paul Ryan, and 4% for Bobby Jindal and Marco Rubio.
Perry's approval numbers may be on the rise, but there's still little appetite for a repeat White House bid from him among voters in the state. Only 23% think he should run in 2016, compared to 66% who think he should sit it out. Even among GOP primary voters only 34% think he should make another bid with 52% dissenting. Republicans do, by a 46/38 spread, want Ted Cruz to seek the Presidency in 2016 but among all voters only 32% think he should make a bid to 54% who say no. We tend to find in most states that voters aren't keen on their home state politicians running for President.
All of the potential Republican candidates for President lead Hillary Clinton in Texas, although the margins are all much closer than what Mitt Romney won by in 2012. Rand Paul does the best with a 10 point advantage at 50/40, followed by Mike Huckabee and Jeb Bush with an 8 point lead at 50/42, Ted Cruz up 7 points at 50/43, Rick Perry with a 5 point edge at 49/44, and Chris Christie with just a 2 point advantage at 44/42.
There's no questioning that Texas is a conservative state but on a trio of hot button issues going on right now public opinion there sides with the Democrats. By a 55/37 spread, voters support increasing the minimum wage to $10 an hour. By a 49/35 spread they support expanding Medicaid. And by a 50/30 spread, they support the Paycheck Fairness Act- reflecting a sentiment 93% of Texas voters say they agree with that 'women and men should earn equal pay for equal work.'
PPP's newest Texas poll finds Republicans leading by double digits in all of the state's major races for 2014.
In the Governor's race Greg Abbott's at 51% to 37% for Wendy Davis. Those numbers are largely unchanged from our last poll of the state in early November when Abbott had a 50/35 advantage. Davis had a 39/29 favorability rating right after her famous filibuster last June, but since then voters in the state have mostly moved toward having negative opinions about her and now she's at a 33/47 spread. Davis' name recognition is actually 12 points higher than Abbott's, but his reviews break down favorably with 40% having a positive view of him to 27% with a negative one.
One thing that may be working to Abbott's benefit is that for the first time ever in PPP's Texas polling Rick Perry has a positive approval rating, with 48% of voters approving of him to 44% who disapprove. Perry's net approval has improved 18 points from where it was 2 years ago at this time in the wake of his failed Presidential bid, when only 39% of voters gave him good marks with 53% disapproving.
There's been some thought that Democratic prospects might be better in the race for Lieutenant Governor but Leticia Van de Putte actually trails by slightly more than Davis, regardless of who her Republican opponent ends up being. Dan Patrick leads her by 16 points at 51/35 and incumbent David Dewhurst leads her by 18 points at 50/32. Even with a divisive Republican nomination fight between Patrick and Dewhurst there doesn't appear to be much risk of the party failing to unify before the fall- they lead 83/9 and 82/5 respectively with GOP voters in the general election.
-PPP's newest North Carolina poll finds that Pat McCrory remains unpopular, and would find himself in a toss up contest for reelection. 40% of voters approve of the job McCrory's doing to 45% who disapprove. This marks the 10th month in a row McCrory's approval numbers have been under water. McCrory finds himself tied in a hypothetical contest with Attorney General Roy Cooper at 43%. Cooper is unknown to 50% of North Carolinians, but among those who do have an opinion about him 33% see him favorably to 17% with a negative view. McCrory would lead former Raleigh Mayor Charles Meeker 45/38 in a head to head, mostly because Meeker is currently known to only 28% of voters in the state.
-PPP continues to find that North Carolina is likely to maintain its new found swing state status in 2016 if Hillary Clinton is the Democratic candidate for President. Clinton leads all of her potential Republican opponents in the state by small margins- it's 45/44 over Jeb Bush, 46/44 over Chris Christie, 47/43 over Rand Paul, and 48/43 over Mike Huckabee. Huckabee is the first choice of Republican voters in the state- 22% say they'd like him as the nominee to 18% for Jeb Bush, 12% each for Chris Christie and Ted Cruz, 9% each for Rand Paul and Paul Ryan, 7% for Scott Walker, 5% for Marco Rubio, and 2% for Bobby Jindal. Huckabee leads based on his strength with 'very conservative' voters, while Bush does better with moderates.
-The city of Charlotte's statewide reputation has taken a little bit of a hit over the last couple years. In 2012 a statewide PPP survey found that 59% of North Carolinians had a favorable opinion of the city to 18% with a negative opinion. Now the city's favorability has declined a net 20 points to 44/23. The reason for that hit is a little ambiguous though- certainly it could be because of Patrick Cannon's recent resignation as Mayor, but it also might be partially because voters don't care for the city's former Mayor who's Governor now. The dip in Charlotte's numbers has come roughly equally across party lines.
-In 2012 North Carolinians voted by a 22 point margin to ban gay marriage in the state. Now less than 2 years later voters say they oppose gay marriage by only 13 points, mirroring the kind of movement we've seen on the issue across the country. 40% say they think it should be legal to 53% who continue to think it should be illegal. Showing the direction things are headed in on the issue, 62% of young voters support it to only 33% who believe it should be illegal.
There is increasingly little division among voters in the state about whether gay couples should at least have some sort of legal rights in the form of civil unions. 62% support either marriage or civil unions for same sex couples to only 34% who think they should have no legal recognition at all. 68% of both Democrats and independents support at least civil unions, and even Republicans narrowly do by a 50/48 spread.
Texas won our vote on where to poll this weekend. Obviously we'll look at the major statewide races for this fall...beyond that we'd love to hear your other question suggestions for the state. Fire away!
-It looks like Michigan will remain solidly in the blue column if Hillary Clinton runs for President in 2016. She leads her potential Republican opponents in the state by anywhere from 9 to 12 points: it's 46/37 over Chris Christie, 48/39 over Rand Paul, 49/38 over Jeb Bush, and 50/38 over Mike Huckabee.
Republicans are split a lot of different ways when it comes to who they'd like as their nominee in 2016. 16% want Rand Paul, 15% each support Chris Christie and Mike Huckabee, 11% are for Ted Cruz, Jeb Bush is at 9%, Paul Ryan and Scott Walker each get 5%, Marco Rubio's at 4%, and Bobby Jindal is last at 3%. Paul and Huckabee do well based on their strength with 'very conservative' Republican voters, while Christie does better with more middle of the road ones.
-Medicaid expansion is meeting with positive reviews so far from voters in the state- 50% say they support Healthy Michigan to only 19% who say they're opposed. Republicans are only narrowly against the program (28/33) while Democrats (72/7) and independents (47/18) both express overwhelming support for it.
-Michiganders narrowly (49/44) think the state should recognize the gay marriages that were performed last month. Every age group except seniors thinks the marriages should be recognized, and it has particularly strong support with independents (53/38).
-Increasing the minimum wage to $10 an hour continues to be a popular concept in the state with 56% of voters supporting such a move to only 36% who are opposed. Democrats pretty overwhelmingly favor it (85/10), a majority of independents (52/36) do, and it has 28% support from Republicans.
Four weeks out from primary day, the Republican race for Senate in North Carolina continues to look like it's headed for a runoff. Thom Tillis leads the GOP field with 18% to 15% for Greg Brannon, 11% for Mark Harris, 7% for Heather Grant, 6% for Ted Alexander, 5% for Alex Bradshaw, 2% for Jim Snyder, and 1% for Edward Kryn. 34% of voters remain undecided and Tillis will probably have to win most of them in order to get to the 40% mark needed to avoid a runoff.
Tillis' small lead comes in spite of having far greater name recognition than the rest of the Republican field. 60% of voters know enough about him to have formed an opinion compared to 31% for Brannon and 30% for Harris, the other serious Republican contenders at this point. Tillis and Harris have both seen their support increase 4 points from a month ago, while Brannon has gained just one point. No one else seems to be gathering any momentum in the primary race.
The general election story is the same as it's been for six months now- Kay Hagan has negative approval numbers and finds herself within the margin of error against all of her potential Republican opponents. 41% of voters approve of the job Hagan's doing to 48% who disapprove, pretty much what we've found ever since ads started attacking her over Obamacare in October.
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