Raleigh, N.C. –Though Kay Bailey Hutchison’s retirement created an open seat, in January it seemed as though Republicans would have no problem winning the race. However, the race has tightened considerably since then. Though the Republicans still have the advantage, if the Democrats run a strong candidate or draw a weak opponent, Texas could once again send a Democrat to the Senate.
Republican Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst runs strongest. He leads actor Tommy Lee Jones 43-39, former general Ricardo Sanchez 45-37, and former Comptroller of Public Accounts John Sharp 43-37 (49-31 in January). Former Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert has a narrower lead, topping Jones 38-37, Sanchez 38-35, and Sharp 39-38 (42-30). Former Solicitor General Ted Cruz trails Jones 37-38, leads Sanchez 41-32, and leads Sharp 40-36. Though independents favor the Democrats in every matchup, neither party receives much crossover support, thus giving the Republicans the edge in a state where they have a 44-35 advantage.
Raleigh, N.C. – Republicans have an eight-point advantage in partisan identification in Montana, and the essentially unknown Republican candidates for Denny Rehberg’s soon-to-be-abandoned at-large U.S. House seat unsurprisingly have a four- to ten-point edge over the equally faceless potential Democratic nominees at this nascent stage in the race.
At most 21% of Big Sky voters have an idea who any of the four tested candidates for the seat are, and that is Steve Daines, the GOP establishment’s choice. As the lieutenant governor nominee just three years ago, he is the only one to have run statewide, yet most have forgotten about him. The only other announced Republican is John Abarr, whose claim to fame is that he is an unabashed Ku Klux Klan member. Yet while Abarr is the least-known and least-liked of the four candidates (3% favorable, 10% unfavorable), there is hardly a difference between his favorability rating and any of the others.
Raleigh, N.C. – Bolstered by greater name recognition, Martin Heinrich has a strong lead over Hector Balderas in the Democratic Primary, 47-24. Although Heinrich is weaker among Hispanics, who make up 46% of the Democratic primary electorate, he still leads Balderas 39-36. However, since a majority of Democratic voters are still unwilling to give an opinion of Balderas, Balderas has more room to grow.
On the Republican side, voters are ready to give Heather Wilson a shot in the general in her second run for the senate. Even if Gary Johnson chooses to abandon his long shot presidential run and pursue a senate seat, he will start off with a major deficit in the primary. Wilson leads with 43% to Johnson’s 22%, John Sanchez’s 18%, Greg Sowards’ 4%, and Bill English’s 3%. Without Johnson, Wilson’s reaches majority support. She takes 52% to 24% for Sanchez, 8% for Sowards, and 4% for English. Wilson leads by strong margins across the Republican ideological spectrum. She leads Sanchez 48-19 among Moderates and 48-31 among very conservatives.
On Tuesday I posted a strange e-mail from some folks purporting to be Burmese demanding that we poll the Virginia and Missouri Senate races. You can see that e-mail here. I responded to their e-mail telling them they were welcome to commission a poll and giving them our pricing information. The response we got is below...these folks e-mail us three times a day so I must say I am quite impressed that anyone can live on under $100 a year and still have that kind of access to technology
Republicans start out with the advantage for the open Senate seat in Texas being vacated by Kay Bailey Hutchison's retirement but prospective Democratic candidates are within close enough striking distance that an upset is possible if the breaks all go their way.
David Dewhurst is the strongest candidate at this point. He's the only one with greater than 50% name recognition and he leads all the Democrats we tested- it's a 4 point advantage over actor Tommy Lee Jones at 43-39, a 6 point one over former Comptroller John Sharp at 43-37, and an 8 point edge over former general Ricardo Sanchez at 45-37.
There are clear front runners in both the Democratic and Republican Senate primaries in New Mexico: Martin Heinrich and Heather Wilson.
Heinrich leads Hector Balderas 47-24. Heinrich dominates the white vote, leading 58-16. More importantly he also has a slight advantage among Hispanic voters for the time being at 39-36. If Heinrich can remain that competitive with Latinos he will be very difficult to defeat in the primary.
And the Bachmentum just keeps rolling on...our new Republican primary poll in New Mexico finds her leading the field with 21% to 18% for Mitt Romney, 13% for Gary Johnson, 11% for Sarah Palin, 10% for Herman Cain, 7% for Tim Pawlenty, 6% for Newt Gingrich, and 5% for Ron Paul.
Bachmann's lead in New Mexico is built on strong support from the far right. 28% of 'very conservative' voters say she's their top choice to 16% for Palin and 12% for Romney. Johnson has the upper hand with moderate voters- 21% to Romney's 18% and Bachmann's 14%. And Romney has the advantage with voters just to the right of center- 27% to Bachmann's 14% and Johnson's 13% with 'somewhat conservative' folks. But that 'very conservative' voter bloc is the largest part of the Republican electorate in New Mexico at 43% and that lead with them gives Bachmann the overall advantage.
None of the leading candidates in the open Montana House race have greater than 21% name recognition and as a result the Republicans start out with modest leads over the Democrats, based largely on the overall partisan orientation of the state.
The field hoping to replace Denny Rehberg is pretty unknown at this point. Republican Steve Daines is the 'best' known, but only 21% of voters are familiar with him. That goes down to 16% for Democrat Kim Gillan, and 14% for Republican John Abarr and Democrat Franke Wilmer.
Raleigh, N.C. – Perhaps the clearest indication of the weakness of the Republican field is their performance in ruby red Texas. Texas wants to be rid of President Obama with only 42% approving of his performance and a 55% majority disapproving. However, it would be a single digit race against any of Obama’s perspective Republican opponents. Obama performs weakest against Mitt Romney, trailing 42-50 (49-42 in January). Obama trails native son Ron Paul 40-45, Michele Bachmann 44-47, and Tim Pawlenty 43-44. Obama ties Herman Cain 43-43, and leads Sarah Palin 46-44 (46-47) and Texas Governor Rick Perry 47-45 (45-45).
Bachmann is the most popular Republican contender and the only one in positive territory with a 39-36 favorability rating. She is followed by Romney at 37-43, Cain at 27-33, Pawlenty at 22-37, Paul at 30-46, and Palin at 37-55. Perry is also unpopular with 43% approving and 52% disapproving of his performance. Texans are even less enthusiastic about a Perry candidacy for Presidency with only 33% saying he should run and 59% saying he shouldn’t. Republicans do want him to run though, 52-38.
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