PPP's new Colorado poll finds voters closely divided in their feelings about both Governor John Hickenlooper and Senator Mark Udall- but also that this could prove to be another place where Republicans waste an opportunity by running the wrong candidate.
In 2010 Hickenlooper defeated Tom Tancredo by 15 points. Yet despite having half a dozen candidates to choose from next year, Republicans are still leaning toward nominating Tancredo again. He gets 34% support among GOP primary voters to 15% for Scott Gessler, 9% for Greg Brophy, 3% each for Mike Kopp and Jim Rundberg, and 2% for Steve House.
Voters are pretty split in their opinions about Hickenlooper with 45% approving of him to 48% who disapprove. But in a head to head match up with Tancredo he still leads by 8 points at 48/40. He has similar margins against Mike Kopp (45/37) and Scott Gessler (47/40). The Republican who comes closest, despite having minimal name recognition, is actually Greg Brophy at 44/43. Tancredo and Gessler are both much better known but with favorability ratings of 31/42 and 15/24 respectively they are not particularly well liked so their being known isn't really a good thing.
We're seeing a similar story in the Colorado Senate race. Ken Buck proved to be a very poor candidate against Michael Bennet in 2010 and lost a contest Republicans were generally expected to win all year long. And now GOP voters are ready to run him again- 45% say he's their choice for Senate candidate to just 8% for Randy Baumgardner, 7% for Amy Stephens, 2% for Owen Hill, 1% for Jaime McMillan, and less than 1% for Mark Aspiri.
-Almost halfway through his first term, Mark Kirk is one of the most anonymous Senators in the country. 32% approve of him, 32% disapprove, and the largest percentage at 37% doesn't have an opinion about him one way or the other. What's interesting about Kirk's numbers though is that while Republicans are not that enthused about him (only a 35/27 approval), Democrats don't really have much of a problem with him compared to most Republican Senators (a 23/35 approval). That crossover support means he might not be an easy out in 2016- he ties Lisa Madigan at 41 in a hypothetical head to head, taking 15% of the Democratic vote while losing only 11% of Republicans.
-Even in President Obama's home state voters aren't particularly sold on the Affordable Care Act. Only 44% support it to 45% who are opposed. And when it comes to implementation, 70% of voters say it's been unsuccessful compared to only 26% who it's gone well. 82% of Republicans, 79% of independents, and even 53% of Democrats think that's gone poorly.
-As we're finding most places Illinois voters strongly support raising the minimum wage to $10 an hour. 58% support such a move to only 34% who oppose it. The concept has overwhelming support from Democrats (77/19) and independents (57/30), and even 34% of Republicans favor it.
-Chris Christie is the top choice of Illinois Republicans to be their candidate for President in 2016. 18% say he would be their top choice to 13% for Ted Cruz, 12% for Jeb Bush, 10% for Rand Paul, 9% for Paul Ryan, 7% for Scott Walker, 6% for Marco Rubio, and 4% each for Bobby Jindal and Rick Santorum. Walker's 7% standing is stronger than we've found for him anywhere else other than Wisconsin, probably because of geographic proximity, but it still shows he's just not that strong a national figure yet. We see the same pattern in Illinois as elsewhere- Christie crushes Cruz with moderates (26/8) and leads with 'somewhat conservative' voters (13/10) as well, which makes up for his getting blown out with 'very conservative' voters (24/12).
Colorado and Michigan won our vote on where to poll this week, and we're also due for our monthly North Carolina poll. We're going to do the Michigan poll during the week, and then we'll do Colorado and North Carolina over the weekend.
There are a ton of Republicans running for both Governor and the Senate in Colorado. Guidance on who is important to include in head to heads against John Hickenlooper and Mark Udall would be much appreciated. And of course any other question suggestions you have for Colorado would be as well.
In Michigan the races for Governor and Senate seem pretty well set, what else should we look at there?
And North Carolina we have our standard set of questions we ask every month but if there's anything in addition to what we normally ask those ideas would be much appreciated. Thanks as always for all the good ideas!
-Pennsylvania really shows what a wide disparity there is between Chris Christie's appeal and the rest of the Republican Presidential candidates. He leads Hillary Clinton 48/44 in the state, while the rest of the GOP hopefuls do as bad or worse than Mitt Romney did there last year. Clinton leads Jeb Bush 48/44, Rand Paul 51/43, Rick Santorum 51/42, and Ted Cruz 53/41.
Christie also leads the Republican primary field in the state with 26% to 16% for Ted Cruz, 14% for Rand Paul, 10% for Jeb Bush, 8% for Rick Santorum, 6% for Marco Rubio, 5% for Paul Ryan, and 3% each for Bobby Jindal and Scott Walker. Even there Christie is weak with 'very conservative' voters, getting just 11% to 23% for Cruz and 19% for Paul. But with moderates Christie gets 45% to 13% for Paul, 10% for Bush, and just 5% for Cruz.
In the Democratic primary there's not much of a home state bonus for Joe Biden. Hillary Clinton still gets 61% to 13% for Biden, 11% for Elizabeth Warren, 3% for Andrew Cuomo, and 2% for Cory Booker. Clinton does well with pretty much every segment of the Democratic electorate.
-Bob Casey (44/42 approval) is faring better with voters in the state right now than his junior colleague Pat Toomey (36/46 approval). Both Senators are down a net 7 points on their approval compared to when we last polled the state in March. Toomey would tie Joe Sestak at 42 in a rematch of their 2010 match up that he pulled out by a couple points, and he would trail Attorney General Kathleen Kane 46/42 in a hypothetical contest. 2016 is certainly a long way off but early indications are that this should be a competitive race.
PPP's newest Illinois poll finds that the race for Governor next year is a toss up. Pat Quinn continues to be one of the most unpopular Governors in the country, but the Democratic lean of the state is enough to still make him neck and neck in hypothetical contests with the Republicans vying to take him on next fall.
Only 34% of voters approve of the job Quinn is doing to 60% who disapprove. That ties him for the third most unpopular Governor in the country. That's actually an improvement for Quinn though- his numbers are up from a 25/64 approval spread a year ago at this time, which had made him the most unpopular Governor anywhere. He's seen a little bit of improvement with Democrats, Republicans, and independents alike.
In match ups with his potential GOP foes Quinn leads Bruce Rauner 41/38, trails Dan Rutherford 41/39, and ties both Bill Brady and Kirk Dillard at 41% and 39% respectively. Quinn trails by 4-7 points with independents and loses 13-15% of the Democratic vote in each of the match ups.
Just out of curiosity we tested to see how some other Democrats would fare against Rutherford, and although they do better than Quinn it looks like this race would be competitive no matter who the Democrats put forward next year. Lisa Madigan would lead Rutherford by 5 points at 45/40, Rahm Emanuel would lead him by 2 at 40/38, and Dan Hynes would be tied at 34.
Tom Corbett's situation has gone from bad to worse in the eight months since PPP last polled Pennsylvania. Corbett is now the most unpopular Governor anywhere in the country that we've polled, with only 24% of voters approving of him to 65% who disapprove. It's gotten to the point where Corbett's numbers are even upside down with Republicans, only 37% of whom approve of him with 51% disapproving.
Corbett already trailed his potential Democratic opponents by 7 to 11 points in March but those deficits have increased to 12-20 points now. He trails Jack Wagner by 20 (50/30), John Hanger by 19 (51/32), Rob McCord by 19 (50/31), Allyson Schwartz by 15 (48/33), Katie McGinty by 15 (47/32), Ed Pawlowski by 12 (45/33), and Tom Wolf by 12 (44/32). All of the Democrats win at least 23% of the Republican vote, and take independents by at least 22 points.
There's not much doubt Republicans would be better off with a different candidate. We also tested Schwartz in hypothetical match ups with GOP Congressmen Jim Gerlach and Mike Kelly. Despite each having only around 30% name recognition statewide, they each do 7 points better in a head to head than Corbett. Gerlach trails 39/31 and Kelly has a 41/33 deficit. Corbett has poisoned the well enough for Republicans that they'd start out at a disadvantage even with a different candidate, but they'd at least be in a range where they might be able to come back.
-As tough as things look for Democrats in the Montana Senate race right now, they wouldn't necessarily be much better if Max Baucus was running for reelection. Only 38% of voters in the state approve of the job he's doing to 53% who disapprove. That makes him the second most unpopular Senator in the country in our polling, and the most unpopular Democratic Senator by a good margin. He'd be trailing if he was running again too. Jon Tester's approval has dropped from positive territory at 48/43 to now 44/50.
-Despite things generally getting worse for Democrats in Montana over the last five months the one person who's holding up well is Governor Steve Bullock. 47% of voters approve of him to 28% who disapprove, numbers that are actually a tick up from their 46/29 standing in June. He has a +15 net approval with independents and an unusually low 39% of Republicans disapprove of him.
-Ted Cruz is the top choice of Montana Republicans to be their candidate for President in 2016. 20% pick him to 14% for Rand Paul and Chris Christie, 11% for Jeb Bush, 10% for Paul Ryan, 8% for Marco Rubio, 4% for Rick Santorum, 3% for Bobby Jindal, and 2% for Scott Walker. Cruz is dominating among voters describing themselves as 'very conservative,' getting 28% to 16% for Rand Paul and only 6% for Chris Christie.
Even with home state candidate Brian Schweitzer in the mix, Hillary Clinton is still the overwhelming pick of Montana Democrats. She gets 47% to 26% for Schweitzer, 8% for Elizabeth Warren, 6% for Joe Biden, and 3% for Andrew Cuomo with everyone else at 1% or less.
Illinois and Pennsylvania won our vote for where to poll this week.
In Illinois our main focus will be the race for Governor. We'll test Pat Quinn against Bill Brady, Kirk Dillard, Bruce Rauner, and Dan Rutherford. Anyone else we need to look at? In the Senate race we'll do Dick Durbin against Jim Oberweis but if there are any other Republicans worth looking at we'd love those ideas as well. And any Illinois question suggestions beyond the races for Governor and Senator would be appreciated as well.
In Pennsylvania our main focus will be Governor as well. We'll do the 6 main Democratic candidates against Tom Corbett as well as the Democratic primary. Should we see how a Republican alternative to Corbett would do and if so who should it be? And of course any other Pennsylvania question suggestions would be much appreciated as well. Thanks as always for the good ideas!
-Mississippi may be one of the most conservative states in the country, but even there only 28% of voters think employers should be able to discriminate against their employees based on sexual orientation to 66% who think it should not be allowed. Even Republican voters in the state, by a 41/52 margin, think that should not be permitted.
Mississippi probably continues to be the most conservative state in the country when it comes to same sex marriage though. Only 22% of voters think it should be legal compared to 69% who think it should be illegal. Even with those numbers you can see signs of a shift though- 2 years ago we found only 13% support for gay marriage with 78% of voters opposed to it. There's been a marked shift in support among Democrats, from a 19/66 spread a couple years ago to 40/48 now. That's largely due to movement among black voters who have gone from 15% support to 37% since 2011.
On the broader issue of civil unions 49% of Mississippians support some form of legal recognition for same sex couples to 45% who think there shouldn't be any. That's up from just 38% supporting legal recognition to 60% for a total ban a couple years ago.
-Mississippi voters support the proposed increase in the minimum wage to $10 an hour by a 54/37 margin. Democrats (89/7) are overwhelmingly in support of it as are a majority of independents (50/39), and a quarter of Republicans (25/61).
-Our first look at Phil Bryant's approval numbers since he became Governor finds him with slightly above average popularity. 44% of voters approve of the job he's doing to 31% who disapprove. There are no real surprises in his numbers- Republicans like him (64/11), Democrats don't (21/52), and independents are kind of in the middle (44/37). Roger Wicker has a 40/35 approval rating. Similar to Thad Cochran that represents a big drop from a couple years ago when he was at 56/23. His numbers with Democrats are pretty similar to what they were then, but he's seen a big drop with Republicans from 80/7 to 56/23.
PPP's first Montana Senate poll since Steve Daines officially got into the race finds him starting out with pretty substantial leads for both the general and primary elections. Daines leads Democratic challengers John Bohlinger and John Walsh by spreads of 51/36 and 52/35 respectively. He also has a 66/7 lead in the primary over Champ Edmunds.
Daines' leads aren't a function of his being particularly popular. He has a 37/42 approval spread, down a net 13 points from June when he was at 41/33. It does appear anger over the shutdown has had some effect on his image. But the number that may be most important to the US Senate race at this point is 34. That's Barack Obama's approval rating in the state, with 63% of voters disapproving of him. Only 31% of voters in the state support the Affordable Care Act to 58% opposed, and just 14% think the rollout of the ACA has been a success to 82% who think it's been unsuccessful. 63% rate it as being 'very unsuccessful.' All of that is making it a tough start to the race for Democrats.
Daines has his large early leads because he gets 87-90% of the Republican vote, compared to only 75-76% of the Democratic vote for Bohlinger and Walsh. Daines is also up by 13-14 points with independents. If there's any silver lining for Democrats it's that a lot more of their voters are undecided, but with Daines over 50% it's looking like a climb.
John Walsh is starting out with the lead in the Democratic primary. He's at 39% to 31% for John Bohlinger and just 3% for Dirk Adams. Walsh's lead is wider among voters describing themselves as 'very liberal' (53/29) while he has single digit advantages with those who identify as 'somewhat liberal' or moderate.
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