Eight or nine months ago I would have told you that contentious primaries were a bad thing. In mid-March we did a set of general election match up polls in Florida and Ohio. Hillary Clinton was getting only 47% of the black vote in Ohio and just 51% in Florida. Obama was doing poorly with white Democrats, leading him overall to be earning only 59% of the Democratic vote in Ohio and 53% in Florida. There was most definitely a PUMA effect at that early point in the race, and I was eager for the nomination fight to be wrapped up as quick as possible because I thought we were killing our chances in the fall.
Well I was wrong. No way does Barack Obama win his improbable victories in North Carolina and Indiana during the general election if he doesn't compete there and start building up an infrastructure in the primary. He may not have won Pennsylvania in quite the blowout he did, and the state was one of Obama's key firewalls. In this case at least, the extended primary was crucial to the extent of the electoral college victory.
Now it was not necessarily inevitable that this party unification occurred. Obama and Clinton both did exactly what they needed to do to bring her supporters on board. We wrote a report in mid-October about the declining PUMA's and looked at some of the other factors that helped to get folks on the same page.
I think the competitive primary in North Carolina's Senate race ended up being a good thing for Kay Hagan's ultimate prospects as well. It forced her to go on the air during the primary, which built up her name recognition. The polls tightened up enough that the Elizabeth Dole campaign felt the need to blow a bunch of money going on the air in June and getting their numbers back to where they wanted. It worked, but then they seemed hesitant to strike back immediately when they started getting whacked by the DSCC in August and the rest is history. Hagan having to compete with Jim Neal helped set that process in motion.
Brutal primaries certainly can be very damaging to a nominee's ultimate prospects. But as we saw this year, if folks get on the same page quickly enough it can be a good thing too.
Almost two thirds of Georgians who have a preference will be rooting for the Bulldogs on the gridiron Saturday, the newest survey from Public Policy Polling finds. There are more folks who don't care than there are planning to root for Georgia Tech.
The survey also finds that younger fans are most supportive of Georgia while the Yellow Jackets get their highest level of support from those over 65, an indication that fanhood in the state will be even more fixated on the Bulldogs moving forward. Those under 30 root for Georgia by a 58-16 margin. The closest spread between the two schools is a 46-32 margin with senior citizens.
Although Democrats and Republicans each support Georgia by a wide margin, Republicans are more likely to care about the outcome of the football game. 32% of self identified Democrats say they don't care what happens in the game while only 22% of Republicans do.
This important research concludes Georgia week at PPP. The full results are here. Happy Thanksgiving!
Topline results are below. Full results, including crosstabs, can be found here.
Q1 If the candidates for Governor in 2010 were Democrat Roy Barnes and Republican Casey Cagle, who would you vote for? If you would vote for the Democrat, Roy Barnes, press 1. If for the Republican, Casey Cagle, press 2. If you’re undecided, press 3. Barnes ............................................................ 43% Cagle .............................................................. 44% Undecided....................................................... 13%
Q2 If the candidates for Governor in 2010 were Democrat Roy Barnes and Republican John Oxendine, who would you vote for? If you would vote for the Democrat, Roy Barnes, press 1. If for the Republican, John Oxendine, press 2. If you’re undecided, press 3. Barnes................... 42% Oxendine............... 43% Undecided............. 15%
Folks who follow Georgia politics already knew that the 2010 race for Governor was wide open, and this poll just provides more evidence of that.
Lieutenant Governor Casey Cagle and Insurance Commissioner John Oxendine would each lead former Governor Roy Barnes by a point in a hypothetical 2010 match up. Oxendine would lead Congressman Jim Marshall by six points and Cagle would lead him by five points.
It's hard to decide whether this data provides good news for Barnes or not. On the one hand any time a Democrat is polling close in this Republican state it's a good thing for that individual. At the same time numbers at this stage are a function of name recognition more than anything else, and you might expect Barnes to have the lead in these hypothetical match ups by virtue of his higher profile from his previous tenure in the Governor's office.
The other preliminary conclusion you can make from this data is that there is no difference in general election viability between Cagle and Oxendine on the Republican side.
And of course we don't know who of these folks will really end up running and what other viable candidates might end up entering the fray over the course of 2009.
Topline results are below. Full results, including crosstabs, can be found here.
Q1 Do you approve or disapprove of Senator Johnny Isakson’s job performance? If you approve, press 1. If you disapprove, press 2. If you’re not sure, press 3. Approve................. 30% Disapprove............ 25% Not Sure................ 44%
Q2 If the candidates for US Senate in 2010 were Democrat Thurbert Baker and Republican Johnny Isakson, who would you vote for? If you would vote for the Democrat, Thurbert Baker, press 1. If for the Republican, Johnny Isakson, press 2. If you’re undecided, press 3. Baker .............................................................. 39% Isakson ........................................................... 45% Undecided....................................................... 16%
Thinking about the 2012 race for Governor in North Carolina and the 2014 race for Senate, it's really hard at this point to see who the Republicans are going to put up in those races.
Starting with the Senate race, think about the North Carolina GOP delegation in Congress. For one thing it's dwindling- they're down to five. And for the most part they're pretty darn old. The only one you can really see having any sort of political future is Patrick McHenry, but it's debatable how well he would hold up to the scrutiny of a statewide campaign. I think they're pretty much out.
In the Governor's race Pat McCrory would seem like the Republicans' best bet again. Of course Dino Rossi ran again as the Republican nominee for Governor of Washington this year after losing narrowly in 2004 and he got beat much worse the second time than he did the first time.
Another question: would the Republican field clear for McCrory if he wanted to give it another shot? It's worth remembering that he didn't get to 50% in the primary, and if a single conservative challenged him and actually ran a normal media driven campaign it seems like there's some chance McCrory wouldn't even make it to the general.
Republicans had a chance with open seats for Lieutenant Governor and Treasurer this year to get some folks into a good launching point for a Gubernatorial campaign but they fell short and I don't think a Labor or Agriculture Commissioner in the state has ascended to higher office any time recently or maybe ever.
So it doesn't look good for the GOP moving forward- but at the same time no one probably would have imagined two or three years ago that Kay Hagan would be headed to the US Senate. So there's certainly a precedent for successfully moving from relative political obscurity to the limelight.
Who do you think will be the emerging statewide stars for the Republicans over the next few election cycles?
New polling from PPP finds a high level of ambivalence toward first term Senator Johnny Isakson from Georgia voters. Only 30% of voters approve of his job performance but there isn't a large mass that disapproves either- a plurality have no opinion of him one way or the other.
Isakson has not done much to appeal across party lines during his first term. His approval among Democrats is just 8%. The problems with the economy may be hurting his appeal as well. Among voters who name it as their top issue just 27% approve of him with 29% disapproving.
In purely hypothetical match ups with Attorney General Thurbert Baker and Congressman Jim Marshall Isakson leads by six and nine points respectively. In each case there are at least twice as many undecided Democratic voters as there are Republican voters, an indication that the Democrats have more room to gain against Isakson once they line up behind a candidate.
Those leads for Isakson may seem solid but it is worth keeping in mind that early polling showed Jim Martin much further behind Saxby Chambliss than this poll shows Baker and Marshall behind Isakson. A June Strategic Vision poll showed Chambliss leading Martin 57-28 in what was then a hypothetical match up, and even as recently as September after Martin had been chosen as the nominee a SurveyUSA poll showed Chambliss leading him 53-36. It looks like at this very preliminary stage Isakson may be more vulnerable than Chambliss was.
The question of course is whether Democrats will strongly contest the seat. They don't have the deepest bench in Georgia, but Jim Martin's success has shown that even a relative obscure candidate can compete in the state under the right circumstances.
This data was derived from the same poll that showed Chambliss ahead of Martin 52-46 in the runoff yesterday.
PPP is best known for putting out highly accurate polling on key political races across the country, but we also do affordable private research for candidates and organizations. Why pay tens of thousands of dollars for a survey when one of the most reliable companies in the nation can do it for less?"