Senate 2008 Guru: Following the Races

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

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Saturday Items

  • The Cook Political Report has its October Senate Race Ratings up. On the Democratic side, it's no different from their August Senate Race Ratings, with Louisiana "lean dem," South Dakota "likely dem," and the rest "solid dem." On the Republican side, however, there has been much movement. Virginia has swung from "solid rep" to "likely dem" for obvious reasons. Colorado is joined in the "toss up" category by New Hampshire and New Mexico. And Nebraska moved from "solid rep" to "likely rep." The only good news for Republicans is that, due to recruitment setbacks, North Carolina moved from "likely rep" back to "solid rep."

  • North Carolina: Media outlets both national and local are saying that we can expect an announcement from State Senator Kay Hagan next week regarding a 2008 Senate challenge to Elizabeth Dole. If the rumors are true, we should expect that she'll enter the race. Just to tease the Guru, Rasmussen has another poll out with North Carolina's Democratic Governor Mike Easley beating Dole by 8 points in a hypothetical match-up, 50-42.

  • Kentucky: Not that anybody should be surprised, but Mitch McConnell is pushing for a $25 million earmark for a defense contractor who is under criminal investigation for bribery but happens to also be a big donor to McConnell. Shocked! Shocked! I know. DMKY has more.

  • Nebraska: An effort to draft Scott Kleeb into the 2008 Senate race is up and running.

  • Oregon: Gordon Smith's latest election-cycle conversion: immigration.

  • Virginia: GOP Rep. Tom Davis, of course, recently withdrew from consideration for the 2008 Senate race. You may not know that Davis' wife is a state senator in the Virginia state Legislature. Davis' wife is in a tough re-election battle and is resorting to some truly reprehensibly dirty campaign tactics to attack her Democratic opposition. Not Larry Sabato is covering all the sordid play-by-play. Anyway, if you can, contribute a few bucks to Chap Petersen, who is looking to help further dislodge the Davis family from state and federal politics.


    Blogger youngbuckbear said...

    This is a question I've had on my mind for awhile: What is going on with Tom Allen of Maine? I just don't understand it; He was the mayor of Portland, is a current US Congressman, is a solid progressive in a liberal blue state, is a hard worker and hasn't done too badly in fundraising, but Susan Collins is still beating him in the polls! Why the dissconect, Mainers? :(


    4:50 PM, October 27, 2007  
    Blogger JeremiahTheMessiah said...

    Want my opinion? There are a couple of things you need to consider.

    1. There is over a year left till election day. No election was ever won in a day.

    2. Most of Tom Allen's money being raised hasn't been spent yet. He's building the warchest, not using it. (yet)

    3. In November, 2006, Susan Collins approval ratings were 73%/23%. In a recent poll, we had Tom Allen losing something like 55-35. The shift is about 30 points over the span of the last year. If this continues, Susan Collins will lose.

    You're being impatient. Relax and wait. If you are seeing the tidal wave I am seeing in 2008, you shouldn't be too worried at all.

    5:11 PM, October 27, 2007  
    Blogger VA Blogger said...

    JTM, the first poll was a SurveyUSA poll, a IVR polling firm. The second was Research 2000, a live-operator polling firm. You cannot just take the results of one poll and flatly compare it to the results of the other given the difference in methodologies.

    If you want to look at trendlines, you have to look at trendlines from the same polling firm. So if SurveyUSA released a poll that showed her approval rating at 53%, then yes, that would be a 30% drop. Likewise, if Research 2000 did a poll in November of 2006 that had her approval at 73%, you could again argue the same point. But since neither of those are true, then its an invalid argument.

    6:08 PM, October 27, 2007  
    Blogger youngbuckbear said...


    You make good points. Part of the reason I'm so happy to have found this blog is that it's for and by people like me, all about the '08 Senate Races.

    I know that talking about 2008 when it's more then a year away is a little crazy in and of itself, but am just so excited about the possibilty of huge gains that I get a little frantic. Also, I lived in PA when at this time in 2005, Bob Casey Jr. was already holding a double digit lead over Rick Santorum. Not every race can be a blowout, I know.

    So I'll chill out a bit, but will keep an eye on it. Don't want Maine to become another Minnesota or Oregon, ie, a race that shouldv'e been a gimme that the Dems are going to have to fight for.


    6:40 PM, October 27, 2007  
    Blogger JeremiahTheMessiah said...

    Okay, 2 points worth making.

    1. What are the significant differences between IVR and live-operator polling that would significantly change the results of a poll? (In case you're wondering, I never really followed your rants on it).

    2. Has SUSA done any recent polling of Collins' approval rating? I just google bombed it and came up empty handed. That being the case, (assuming you don't have anything to add here), then we do have to resort to taking polls from different polling firms to get a grip on what is going on in Maine.

    6:56 PM, October 27, 2007  
    Blogger The Sleep said...

    I would be curious to see some name recognition on Tom Allen. If it's high, as I'll bet it is, we're in big trouble, because he has a lot less room to move. I'm actually a real pessimist about this race, especially comparing the polls in RI this far out last time. But given that you are right, it is far out and anything could happen, I should just shut up about it. It's not like being able to say "I told you so" if Allen does win will give me any great pleasure.

    9:43 PM, October 27, 2007  
    Blogger The Sleep said...

    I mean, if he loses and Collins wins. If Allen wins, you can take all the pleasure in saying "I told you so" you want. I'll be happy to have my nose rubbed in it.

    9:45 PM, October 27, 2007  
    Blogger JeremiahTheMessiah said...

    Well, Tom Allen has been elected in his district 5 times over the last 10 years.

    Seeing as Maine is split into two congressional districts, he probably has about 90%+ name rec in that district. He has never had to campaign in the other half of Maine, so I'm guessing he had very small name recognition in the other district. Due to his Senate campaign, we don't really know what his name recognition is in the other district anymore. But he's probably sitting at 50-70% name recognition now.

    10:25 PM, October 27, 2007  
    Blogger JeremiahTheMessiah said...

    Overall name recognition**

    Sorry for the double post.

    10:26 PM, October 27, 2007  
    Blogger VA Blogger said...


    Different firms have different methodologies. They ask different questions, or ask the same questions in different ways, or use different criteria to record answers. Assuming the question was asked the same way, here's the difference:

    If you have a favorable impression of Susan Collins, press 1. If you have an unfavorable impression of Susan Collins, press 2. If you do not have an opinion of Susan Collins, press 3.


    Now I'd like to talk to you a little bit about political figures. Have you heard of Susan Collins?

    Great. And would you say that your impression of Susan Collins is favorable or unfavorable?

    What difference does that have? I don't have a Masters' in scientific research, so I can't give you a dissertation on the issue, but I can tell you it has an impact.

    If you look at all the opinion polling Survey USA has done, and all the election polling Survey USA has done, and compare it to any other live-operator call, two things stand out. Survey USA always has less undecideds, and has less people who don't have an opinion.

    To answer your second question, no, SurveyUSA has not done more recent polling on Collins. That does not mean that we therefore should take the results of two different polls using two different methodologies and just line them up against one another. With all due respect to "trying to get a grip on the race", using invalid comparisons doesn't help. I would rather have no information about a race than use bad information.

    8:31 AM, October 28, 2007  

    Post a Comment

    << Home