We're going to poll Iowa this weekend- we'll look at the races for Senate and Governor and 2016 but if you have any question ideas beyond those things or related to them, we would as always love to hear them! Thanks as always for the great suggestions.
North Carolinians give Pat McCrory a C for his work as Governor so far. We asked on our monthly poll what letter grade they would give McCrory based on his time in office to date and his reviews came in right down the middle. 42% give him an A or a B, compared to 37% who give him a D or an F. But since his F's (20%) outweigh his A's (17%) it puts him at a C overall.
McCrory's approval rating this month is 43% to 45% of voters who disapprove of him. For the fifth month in a row we find that a hypothetical contest between him and Roy Cooper would be within a couple points, with McCrory at 44% this month to 43% for Cooper. There is virtually no support for impeaching Cooper, a possibility allegedly brought up by a Republican legislator a few weeks ago. Just 16% of voters would favor that course of action to 42% who are opposed and 42% who have no opinion either way.
Richard Burr is one of the lowest profile Senators in the country- 32% of voters approve of him, 32% of voters disapprove of him, and even after 10 years in office a 36% plurality has no opinion about him either way- those numbers are pretty similar to what we found for Pat Roberts at the beginning of this cycle. Nevertheless Burr would start out with decent sized leads for reelection against a quartet of hypothetical opponents we tested against him- he would be up 44/37 on Janet Cowell, 45/35 on Anthony Foxx, 45/33 on Grier Martin, and 45/32 on Allen Joines. None of the Democrats are terribly well known- Foxx has 29% name recognition, Cowell 23%, Joines 18%, and Martin 12%- but the numbers nevertheless show that despite his weak approval numbers Burr is no pushover.
PPP's newest Kansas poll finds Pat Roberts badly damaged by his recent primary contest, and leading for reelection largely thanks to divided opposition. Roberts has emerged from the primary with only a 27% approval rating to 44% of voters who disapprove of him. That represents an 8 point net decline from his already poor numbers in February, when he stood at 29/38.
Roberts is polling at only 32% for November, followed by Democrat Chad Taylor at 25%, independent Greg Orman at 23%, and Libertarian Randall Batson at 3%. As weak as a 32% standing is for an incumbent, that still gives him a pretty clear lead due to his opponents pretty much splitting the anti-Roberts vote evenly. But if one of them was to pull out Roberts would really be in trouble.
In a head to head contest with Taylor, Roberts would lead just 43/39, down from a 48/32 advantage in February. And in a head to head contest with Orman, Roberts trails 43/33. Orman would take 30% of the Republican vote while losing only 11% of Democrats to Roberts, and would lead by 41 points with independents at 54/13. Orman is still relatively unknown- only 36% name recognition- but is at a 24/12 favorability spread among those who do have an opinion about him. He is seen favorably by Democrats, Republicans, and independents alike.
Roberts continues to be plagued by his residency issues. Only 18% of voters think he spends enough time in the state, compared to 61% who think he doesn't. There is very little partisan divide on that issue- 64% of Democrats, 63% of independents, and 59% of Republicans think he doesn't spend enough time in the state. Only 30% of voters think Roberts considers Kansas to be his home, compared to 50% who don't, and again there is bipartisan consensus on that issue.
In the race for Governor we continue to find Democratic challenger Paul Davis with a small lead over Sam Brownback, 39/37, with Libertarian candidate Keen Umbehr at 9%. This is actually an unusual instance where the Libertarian candidate is helping the Republican- Umbehr supporters say their second choice would be Davis by a 65/21 margin over Brownback, and when you reallocate those folks to their second choice Davis' lead expands to 44/39. Umbehr's presence in the race is actually doing Brownback a favor by splitting the opposition to him some.
PPP's newest North Carolina poll continues to find Kay Hagan in the lead, although the race has tightened slightly compared to a month ago. Hagan is at 42% to 38% for Thom Tillis with Libertarian Sean Haugh continuing to hold on to 8% of the vote. Haugh's supporters say they would support Tillis 61/19 over Hagan if they had to choose between the two major party candidates- when you allocate them to their second choice Hagan leads by just one point at 43/42.
Tillis' slightly improved position is a reflection of Republicans starting to close ranks a little bit more as the election approaches. Last month in the head to head with Hagan he led by 59 points with Republican voters at 72/13, now it's a 71 points advantage at 79/8. And although his favorability numbers still remain very poor at a 28/48 spread, those are also up some from a month ago when they were 24/47. That's also a reflection of improvement with his party base- he's gone from a 39/29 spread with GOP voters up to 52/24.
Public Policy Polling’s newest South Dakota survey finds Mike Rounds continuing to show an inability to pull away in the Senate race. Rounds is at 39% to 31% for Democrat Rick Weiland, 16% for independent Larry Pressler, and 5% for independent Gordon Howie.
Key findings from the survey include:
-Weiland has the best net favorability of any of the candidates at +15 with 42% of voters rating him favorably to 27% with an unfavorable opinion. That represents a 10 point improvement for Weiland since our April poll. Pressler is actually the second most popular candidate in the race with a +9 favorability at 42/33, and despite leading Rounds has the worst favorability at -4 with 44% of voters seeing him positively but 48% giving him poor marks.
-Weiland is only 8 points out of the lead despite continuing to have the lowest name recognition of the candidates. He actually leads the race with 42% to 33% for Rounds among voters who are familiar enough with him to have an opinion. That bodes well for his prospects as he becomes better known over the last three months of the campaign.
-If Pressler’s support declines in the final stretch of the race, as tends to happen with independent candidates, Weiland stands to be the beneficiary. His favorability with Pressler supporters is a 40/20 spread, compared to 18/74 for Rounds.
PPP interviewed 726 likely voters on Augusts 12th and 13th on behalf of People for Weiland. The poll’s margin of error is +/-3.6%. 47% of those surveyed were Republicans and 33% were Democrats (R+14), representing a more GOP leaning sample than the voter registration numbers in the state (45% Republicans and 35% Democrats for R+10).
PPP's newest Kentucky poll finds mostly good news for Rand Paul:
-At least for now it looks like Paul would be a safe bet if he decided to run for reelection to the Senate in 2016. He has a 47/39 approval spread and in a hypothetical match up with his toughest potential opponent, Steve Beshear, he would lead by a 9 point margin at 50/41. The seat could get interesting if Paul decided not to run for reelection though- Beshear would lead Thomas Massie 45/30 in a hypothetical Senate contest.
-By an 18 point margin, 44/26, Kentuckians say that Paul is their favorite of the state's two Senators. Republicans in particular like Paul better than Mitch McConnell, 56/31, but Democrats like Paul more by a 32/24 spread as well.
The news is a little more mixed when it comes to Paul and a potential 2016 Presidential bid:
-Paul leads the Republican primary field with 25% to 18% for Mike Huckabee, 15% for Jeb Bush, 8% for Chris Christie and Marco Rubio, 7% for Ted Cruz, 5% for Scott Walker, 4% for Paul Ryan, and 3% for Bobby Jindal. Although it's always good to be in the lead Paul's standing doesn't seem particularly impressive for his home state, and it shows how formidable Huckabee will be if he actually ends up deciding to enter the race.
-Only 34% of voters in the state want Paul to run for President in 2016, compared to 50% who think he should sit it out. Nevertheless Paul performs the best of any potential GOP candidate in the state against Hillary Clinton, leading her 49/43. Clinton would also trail Bush 48/43 and Huckabee 47/44 in Kentucky but would hold leads over Chris Christie at 44/41 and Ted Cruz at 46/41.
We're going to poll North Carolina and Kansas this weekend- we'll look at the Senate race in North Carolina and the races for Governor and Senate in Kansas...what else would you like to see us delve into on these polls? Thanks as always for the good suggestions!
PPP's newest Alaska poll finds that voters in the state continue to hold a very dim view of Sarah Palin and any aspirations she might have about running for President in 2016. Only 36% of voters in the state have a favorable opinion of Palin to 55% who view her negatively. Just 20% would like to see her make a bid for the White House, compared to 74% who think she should sit it out. There's actually almost as many Democrats- 17%- who want Palin to run as there are Republicans- 23%- suggesting there are as many Alaskans who want to see her run for the entertainment value as because they actually want her to be President.
Palin finishes 6th when it comes to who Republican voters want to be the 2016 Presidential candidate in her home state. Ted Cruz leads with 16%, followed by Rand Paul at 15%, Mike Huckabee at 14%, Jeb Bush and Chris Christie at 12%, Palin at 11%, Scott Walker at 7%, Paul Ryan at 6%, and Marco Rubio at 5%. Beyond the lack of enthusiasm for her among Republicans, Palin also has the dubious distinction of being the only potential GOP candidate who would trail Hillary Clinton in a head to head match up- Clinton leads Palin 46/40. The rest of the potential Republican hopefuls all lead Clinton by at least 8 points- Huckabee leads her 47/39, Bush has a 47/38 advantage, Christie is on top 45/34, and Paul has a 50/36 edge.
Of course Palin seems more interested in money making opportunities than seeking elected office again anyway- but her new internet TV channel isn't likely to get a lot of traction in Alaska- only 4% of voters in the state say they're interested in buying a subscription to it compared to 89% who say they won't and 7% who are unsure.
PPP's newest Kentucky poll finds Mitch McConnell taking a small lead, with 44% to 40% for Alison Lundergan Grimes, and 7% for Libertarian David Patterson. Patterson's supporters say if they had to choose between the major party candidates they would pick McConnell by a 44/34 spread, and when you reallocate those voters to their second choice it leaves McConnell with a 47/42 advantage.
In early April we found Grimes leading McConnell 45/44. The main thing that's changed since then is McConnell seeing some consolidation in his base. At that point, in the middle of his primary fight with Matt Bevin, he had only a 49 point advantage with Republican voters at 69/20. Now in the two way contest he is up 67 points with GOP voters at 78/11, and when you include the Libertarian his advantage is 63 points at 72/9. That unification of Republicans accounts for most of the change we've seen over the last four months.
This is the first time PPP has looked at approval and favorability ratings for McConnell and Grimes since December, and although he remains unpopular McConnell's seen improvement on that front as well. Then he had a 31/61 approval spread, but now it's improved to 37/54. That shift is also largely a function of movement among Republican voters- he's gone from having just a 47/41 approval rating with them up to 58/30 now. Grimes has seen her name recognition increase from 68% to 86% over that period of time but there's been little shift in her net favorability- she's gone from -6 at 31/37 to -4 at 41/45.
Barack Obama's unpopularity in Kentucky continues to make the landscape difficult for Democrats- only 32% of voters approve of the job he's doing to 63% who disapprove. 38% of the voters who disapprove of McConnell also disapprove of Obama, and among that group McConnell is receiving 20% of the vote, which is how you get to 44% of the vote with only a 37% approval rating.
All said the race remains close and McConnell remains unpopular- and among the undecided voters McConnell has just a 10% approval rating to 66% of voters who disapprove of him. So Grimes should at least have a chance with those folks.
Moving onto next year's race for Governor it's looking like a pretty wide open race. Republicans are closely split on who they want their candidate to be- 25% say Matt Bevin to 20% for James Comer, 18% for Hal Heiner, and 11% for Cathy Bailey. In a head to head Heiner leads Comer 28/22, with 50% of voters undecided. The indecision on the Republican side is a function of the candidates not being terribly well known- even coming right off his Senate bid Bevin has only 50% name recognition and Heiner at 33%, Comer at 30%, and Bailey at 15% are even lower profile than him.
PPP's newest Arkansas poll finds that Mike Beebe has the best approval numbers of any Governor in the country that we have looked at in the last two years. 60% of voters overall approve of him to just 23% who disapprove. He's overwhelmingly popular with both Democrats (79/9) and independents (58/21) and is even narrowly approved of by Republicans (41/39).
John Boozman meanwhile is one of the lowest profile Senators in the country. A plurality of voters in the state- 38%- have no opinion about him one way or the other. 34% approve of him to 28% who disapprove. Boozman's big victory in 2010 was really a reflection on voters disliking Blanche Lincoln more than anything else, and it doesn't appear that Boozman has made much of an impression in his own right.
In a hypothetical 2016 Senate contest, Beebe leads Boozman 46-40. Of course given how close that is despite how overwhelmingly popular Beebe is and how anonymous Boozman is, that suggests about the only way this seat could be competitive in 2016 is if Beebe does run. But it does give another data point showing the extent to which 2014 is not 2010 in Arkansas- in January of 2010 we tested this same hypothetical Beebe/Boozman match up, before Boozman had even entered the Senate race, and found Boozman leading Beebe 44/43.
Arkansas is a rare state that is relatively enthusiastic about the prospect of having a native son jump into the 2016 Presidential race. 42% of voters in the state want Mike Huckabee to seek the White House to 45% who think he should sit it out. Although not quite a plurality in favor of him running it's the best we've seen for any potential GOP contender yet this cycle in their home state. 33% of Republicans in the state say Huckabee would be their top choice for the nomination to 12% for Ted Cruz, 10% for Jeb Bush, 8% for Chris Christie, 7% for Rand Paul, 6% for Scott Walker, 5% for Bobby Jindal, 4% for Marco Rubio, and 3% for Paul Ryan. Huckabee is particularly strong with women and seniors.
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