Senate 2008 Guru: Following the Races

Keeping a close eye on developments in the 2008 U.S. Senate races

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Maine Reverberations and Other Tidbits

  • Maine: No sooner does Congressman Tom Allen announce his Senate bid than the first poll numbers come out. In a nutshell: Susan Collins leads Allen 57-32. Also, Bush's approval in Maine sits at 20% and approval of Bush's Iraq policy sits at 22%.

    Why is the 57-32 poll not bad news for Tom Allen? Three reasons. First, Collins clocking in at 57 is already 16 points below her November approval of 73%. It demonstrates that her approval rating is not a rock solid indicator. Second, the 25-point differential isn't way off of the 18-point differential by which Collins beat Chellie Pingree in 2002. With a year and a half before Election Day, and with much better financing than Pingree, Allen starts off only nominally behind where Pingree finished. (Note also that Collins won 59% of the vote on Election Day 2002, so she starts off already behind where she left off in 2002.)

    Finally, note that the poll was conducted in late April, well before Tom Allen was an announced candidate. He wasn't a legitimate alternative because he wasn't a Senate candidate yet. Now, he is. Similarly, polling had Al Franken 20 points behind Norm Coleman in Minnesota on the very day Franken announced. About a month later, polling only had Franken 10 points down. A month from now, expect polling to be significantly tighter than the 25-point gap between a two-term incumbent and an as-of-then-unannounced candidate.

    Separately, but probably not coincidentally, on the day Congressman Allen announced his Senate bid, Susan Collins announced that "she will consider calling for troops to be withdrawn from Iraq if sufficient progress has not been made in the country by September." (HT: Collins Watch) The Guru would like to personally thank Susan Collins for illustrating as clear as a bell the difference in "leadership" between herself and Tom Allen. Allen opposed Bush's Iraq War from the start, even when it was unpopular to do so. He saw Bush's "plan" fraught with peril and opposed it. Susan Collins, however, enabled Bush, offered no oversight and certainly no leadership; and now that the war is horribly unpopular and she has a top tier challenger, she says she'll consider bringing the troops home several months from now. Susan Collins has exhibited zero leadership on Iraq. Tom Allen now has a statewide platform as a Senate candidate to tour the entire state and explain this to voters.

  • New Mexico: Pajamas Pete Domenici was subpoenaed. No, not in the Iglesias-firing/Attorney Purge scandal (yet). Rather, it is in the case of peace activists who wanted to speak with Domenici about Iraq. The peace activists wanted only to speak with their public representative. So, of course, the FBI, a SWAT team and the Department of Homeland Security were called in. I'm sure this will help turn around Domenici's plunging approval numbers.

  • New Hampshire: Lots and lots and lots of people are protesting Sprintin' John Sununu.

  • North Carolina: How often does Elizabeth Dole say she believes something and then votes in direct contradiction with her stated belief? More often than you might think. Hypocrisy much?


    Blogger Blue South said...

    The worst part about doing the research on Dole was realizing that her saying she was against the OLF might actually turn out to be a bad thing for those of us who think its a bad idea (by us I mean the NRA, CSE, Sierra Club, Farmers, Environmentalists, etc etc)

    12:48 AM, May 09, 2007  
    Blogger Sean said...

    57-32 and trailing miserably in his own Congressional district isn't bad news for Allen? Give me a break. It's not over, to be sure, but he certainly has his work cut out for him. It's not like he's an unknown out to build his name recognition. He's a sitting Congressman in a two-district state and he starts out well behind.

    2:24 AM, May 09, 2007  
    Blogger VA Blogger said...

    1) Its not bad for Collins to poll 16 points under her approval rating. All that indicates is that many Democrats approve of the job she's doing, but would rather have a Democrat in office.

    2) While Allen may recieve a bump for becoming an announced candidate at the end of the month, he's been "all-but-announced" for a long while now. Furthermore, you can't honestly say that Franken went up ten points in the span of a few weeks. Those were two polls conducted by two different agencies (SUSA and Rasmussen), who use two different methodologies. Trendlines count when you have a multitude of public polls to pull from, or when you can follow one firm's results from beginning to end.

    3) The fact that Bush has a 20% approval rating and Collins polls at 57% shows that the voters of Maine make little-to-no connection between Bush and Collins. Furthermore, after February, the GOP will have a new standard-bearer, and the Senate campaign won't have heated up yet, so that little-to-no connection will be almost negligible.

    Its a shame that, out of four states for the GOP with so-called "vulnerable incumbents", the only one you can find a top-tier candidate in starts off this much in the hole.

    9:05 AM, May 09, 2007  
    Blogger Blue South said...

    Hat tip to Raising Kaine for this news story

    Summary is, John Warner will announce plans in September, and his chief of staff is leaving for a job as a lobbyist, but he already has a replacement, someone who used to work for him.

    10:21 AM, May 09, 2007  

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