Wednesday, April 19, 2006


Judging by the latest Rasmussen polling, it appears as though the Republican Senate hopes are improving. Let’s get to the improving numbers:

Republican Senator Conrad Burns still struggles below the 50% level of support in the latest Rasmussen Reports election poll. But, he has managed to arrest the steady slide provoked by his connections to indicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff. Burns now leads State Senate President Jon Tester 47% to 44%. A month ago, Burns trailed Tester 46% to 43%. Two weeks ago, Burns had pulled even. Burns now trails State Auditor John Morrison 47% to 45%. That, too, is an improvement for the incumbent. In each of our previous two polls, Burns had trailed Morrison by five points.

I suspect that most of Burn’s improvement is due to the passing Abramoff storm, though part of it might be due to Republicans rallying around him after hoping that Marc Racicot would run instead. Now that that isn’t an option, they’re rallying behind their incumbent.

The latest Rasmussen Reports election poll of Washington state’s Senate race shows Republican Mike McGavick continuing to chip away at the incumbent’s lead. Democratic U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell now leads McGavick 48% to 40%. In March, Cantwell led 49% to 36%. The new poll is the third in a row in which the incumbent has lost a percentage point of support. And it’s the second poll in a row showing her at less than 50% support.

Meanwhile, McGavick, the former Safeco CEO, has made his strongest showing yet, and is firming up support among Republicans (now 86%) and conservatives (79%). This is the first poll showing McGavick within single digits of Cantwell. In each of the previous five Rasmussen Reports surveys, he had trailed by 13-15 percentage points.

That’s hardly a welcome trend to the Democratic faithful. Cantwell is a mediocre senator and an ever worse campaigner. If McGavick is a decent campaigner, I’d be surprised if he didn’t win. Also hurting Cantwell is the ‘Christine Factor’. Democrats are quick to cite the President’s bad poll numbers but Gov. Christine Gregoire’s popularity is as low as President Bush’s. (I suspect that this same thing is worrying Debbie Stabenow in Michigan, where Gov. Granholm’s popularity was tanking even before the auto industry ills were announced.)

The son of former Governor Tom Kean (R) now has a seven percentage point advantage in New Jersey’s U.S. Senate campaign. The latest Rasmussen Reports election poll in the Garden State shows Republican Tom Kean, Jr. leading Senator Robert Menendez (D) 43% to 36%. Seven percent (7%) of voters say that they will vote for some other candidate and 14% remain undecided in this Democratic leaning state. A month ago, Kean held a two-point advantage, 41% to 39%.
Kean has solidified support among Republicans since our last poll while Menendez has lost ground among Democrats.

If this trend continues, I think this is a potentially big pickup for the GOP.

Stay tuned to this website for the polling you won’t find at the Washington Post or NY Times.

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