Senate 2008 Guru: Following the Races

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

Monday, November 05, 2007

Monday Quick Hits

  • A slew of recent Survey USA polling has Democratic Senate pick-up prospects continuing to look really good. The polling includes:

    Colorado: Udall 48, Schaffer 41, Undecided 11
    Maine: Allen 38, Collins 55, Undecided 8
    Minnesota: Franken 45, Coleman 46, Undecided 9; Ciresi 44, Coleman 44, Undecided 12
    New Hampshire: Shaheen 53, Sununu 42, Undecided 5
    New Mexico: Chavez 48, Pearce 43, Undecided 9; Chavez 48, Wilson 44, Undecided 8 (Tom Udall numbers here)
    Oregon: Merkley 39, Smith 48, Undecided 13; Novick 39, Smith 45, Undecided 16
    Virginia: Waner 57, Gilmore 35, Undecided 8

    My biggest reaction is: "Hey, the Democrats have Norm Coleman in a statistical dead heat! Awesome!" Healthy leads continue for Democrats in Virginia, New Hampshire and Colorado. Even New Mexico is looking better (and it will look better still once Tom Udall announces, knock on wood!). Meanwhile, the Democrats are inching up in Oregon - only a matter of time until we start seeing statistical dead heats there. And Maine continues its uphill battle.

  • South Dakota: Ultraconservative Gov. Mike Rounds' press person insists that Rounds did not visit with the NRSC while in DC recently, after all. So scratch those earlier GOP hopes of a Rounds reconsideration, at least for now.

  • New Hampshire: Pressure is building for Sprintin' John Sununu to testify on what he knew about the Republican phone-jamming scandal of 2002.

  • Kentucky: Mitch McConnell thinks this man has "wonderful character." Oh, and McConnell can't even pronounce the names of the towns in his state:

    He told a story about when he first campaigned for U.S. Senate in 1984 at a Casey County Lincoln Day dinner he tried to show off how much he knew about the county by mentioning in his speech another of its towns, which he pronounced Yo-sem-i-tee, like the national park.

    An official corrected him after the dinner that in Casey County, it's said "Yoz-myte."
    Smooth politician, that McConnell is.


    Blogger JeremiahTheMessiah said...

    Democrats really have done well for themselves in Minnesota. If you think about it, Al Franken started his campaign down by about 20 points, in less than a year he's created a statistical tie. Lets hope Allen and Merkley can muster a similar response from his state over the next 8-12 months.

    Can't wait for Udall to get in the race.

    12:27 PM, November 05, 2007  
    Blogger Neal said...

    Looking at the open Seats- CO,NM,and VA.

    Virginia- is a battleground state. The Democratic Nominee is a popular former Governor. The Republican Nominee is an unpopular former Governor.

    Colorado- is a battleground state. The Democratic Nominee is a Progressive Liberal Congressman from Boulder County. The Republican Nominee is a former Congressman from Eastern CO.

    New Mexico- is a Democratic leaning State unlike CO. The Republican nominee- both US House members are unelectable. One is Conservative the other is corrupt. On the Democratic side- The top tier contenders or potential contenders- is a
    1)Popular sitting Governor- who is currently running for National Office. Safe Democratic Pickup.
    2)a Popular US Congressman from Northern NM and a former two term State Attorney General- Likely Democratic Pickup.
    3)a Mayor of ABQ.

    Looking at Blue State Republican incumbents in NH,MN,ME,and OR.

    In NH- The Republican Incument is a partisan conservative- The Democratic Nominee is a Popular Former Governor- Likely Democratic Pickup.
    In MN- The Republican Incumbent is a Conservative who can moderate his image. The Democratic Challenger is a Controversial Comedian. Minnesota is going to the most expensive race-

    In OR- The Republican Incumbent is Conservative who can moderate his image. The Democratic Challenger is the State House Speaker. This is a race where an upset can happen.

    In ME- The Republican incumbent is a Moderate. Democratic Challenger is a popular Congressman from Portland.

    1:32 PM, November 05, 2007  
    Blogger Torrid said...

    I think some people are confused about the OR race. "The Democratic challenger" is actually TWO challengers, and as this poll confirms (from polling done earlier this summer), not only is Smith highly vulnerable, he faces a challenge from not just Merkley but also Steve Novick...and both times now, Steve's actually come out a little bit ahead.

    People in Oregon have been trying to point this out for months--no matter how much the DSCC and state elites have tried to prop Merkley up as the inevitable, it isn't working. There's a more dynamic candidate in the race, and he's not going away.

    2:45 PM, November 05, 2007  
    Blogger JeremiahTheMessiah said...

    The problem with Novick is that he has no experience as a legislator, let alone a politician. He worked behind the scenes of a failing senate campaign 12 years ago. Nice. That gives him a huge opening to be blown down with once the campaigning gets tough and criticism looms. But still, his supporters have been hostile to pro-Merkley vibes online. Refering to a recent spat on SSP.

    Neal - Richardson isn't going to run for US Senate under any circumstances. You, along with other people on the blogs, have GOT to quit listing him as a possible candidate.

    Tom Udall is most likely going to run. Chavez is a major underdog in the primary.
    The big difference between Merkley and Novick in this poll is three points. That is rather insignificant with a year left in the campaign. I doubt you can take two polls and say, "Look! It's perfectly clear now!" Especially considering Novick has been campaigning for at least a few months longer than Merkley.

    3:41 PM, November 05, 2007  
    Blogger Neal said...


    I know Bill wants to be VP or Secretary of State than Senator but I would not be surpised that he pulls a Lieberman(2000) runs for Senate and Vice President at the same time.

    Udall is a shoe in in the Primary against Chavez.

    4:14 PM, November 05, 2007  
    Blogger JeremiahTheMessiah said...

    If he isn't Vice President, or a cabinet position, he is more likely to go back to being governor, and finish out his term before running for US Senate. I don't see him being keen on a legislative position when he can still be top dog in New Mexico. There is no scenario where he would take the senate seat, he has said no numerous times.

    4:17 PM, November 05, 2007  
    Blogger Torrid said...

    The problem with Novick is that he has no experience as a legislator, let alone a politician. He worked behind the scenes of a failing senate campaign 12 years ago. Nice. That gives him a huge opening to be blown down with once the campaigning gets tough and criticism looms. But still, his supporters have been hostile to pro-Merkley vibes online. Refering to a recent spat on SSP.

    Actually, he was policy advisor to Tom Bruggere in 1996. But he was also policy advisor to Governor Ted Kulongoski, current two-term governor. He was also Chief of Staff in the State Senate during the 90s when they turned the tide from being Republican to Democrat. And he worked in DOJ suing polluters...and winning, including $120mil in the famous Love Canal case.

    I don't think you've been paying attention to this race, or Novick, frankly. The idea that he has any trouble with tough campaigning or criticism is laughable--you can ask his opponents like Bill Sizemore, Howard Rich, and the video lottery industry. He's easily the more dynamic and aggressive candidate between the two. He has no elected experience, but what's that gotten us so far? He knows very well how the system works--and how to change what doesn't, that's the important thing.

    The "SSP spat," if we're talking about the same one, was not "pro-Merkley vibes" at all, but rather a direct attack on Novick. Interesting spin. By far the most negative thing in the race has been elected supporters of Merkley lodging false and personal attacks on Novick.

    The polling is significant when you consider the forces attempting to align behind Merkley at the federal (DSCC) and state levels. After all that pressure, Merkley is no better known and is no more appealing (possibly less so) than Novick.

    4:37 PM, November 05, 2007  
    Blogger Neal said...

    Big Bill will remain as Governor until Jan 2011. Once Bill leaves the Governorship. He will have to decide his political future. In 2012-Bingaman Seat is up but I doubt Bingaman is going retire- He still the Top Democrat on the Energy Committee. He could run for President again if a Republican is in the Whitehouse or if a Democrat is in the Whitehouse- Richardson can get a cabinet position in HRC Second Term.

    Richardson is right now focused on the Presidential Race- It is foolish for Richardson to say he wants to run for the US Senate when He is fighting for the Democratic Presidential Nomination. Assuming he drops out of the Presidential Race after Feb 5 Super Tuesday Primary and before the Feb 12 deadline. Richardson can announce his Senate Run for practical reason. He gives up the Governorship to his Lt Governor runningmate Diane Denish who will the incumbency advantage in 2010- Richardson moves to Washington D.C. sooner rather than later. As a US Senate Candidate- Richardson is a shoe in. All of the GOP and Democratic contenders will be force to drop out- Richardson can campaign across the Country for Hillary Clinton and other US Senate Candidates while at the same he raises money for his own Senate campaign. If he runs for the US Senate and VP simultaneously and wins both races- Richardson gets sworn in Senator before he gets sworn in as VP - A Senate Vacancy then occurs- Governor Denish appoints Tom Udall to the US Senate who then will be favored in the next election. Another option is Richardson completes his Term as Governor and retires from elected politics. Becomes an Elder statesman.

    5:01 PM, November 05, 2007  
    Blogger JeremiahTheMessiah said...

    First, I was mainly refering to Portlandia in the Diaries section-The diary was "New Senate Rankings:..."

    Portlandia: "Merkley has so far exhibited lackluster campaigning skills and has been dogged by gaffes. He seems to be a little bit touchy and has a pattern of sending out surrogates to complain that he has been "smeared" when he has been criticized for a controversial legislative vote on a 2003 pro-Iraq war resolution that said a few kind words about the troops. He has also avoided taking detailed positions on the issues, apparently to make it more difficult for his primary opponent to draw distinctions between them."

    "He can be a little bit monotonous (OK, more than a little bit) and lacking in animation. He's not exactly Mr. Charisma. It's great that so many members of the Willamette University community of legislative interns and hopefuls embrace him, but I'm not sure what that proves."

    It was kind of unwarrented and I don't think most of those hold up. He started the comment joust between himself and some people who were Pro-Merkley.

    As for you, you said Merkley's never been tested in an election. Merkley is an elected official, so I beg to differ.

    You also said "These are horrible numbers for Merkley; he's got almost the entire elected Democratic apparatus behind him at the state and federal (DSCC) levels."

    I don't disagree that he has the entire Democratic apparatus behind him, but I wouldn't say these are horrible numbers. He only has something like 32% name recognition. How are these horrible numbers???

    6:07 PM, November 05, 2007  
    Blogger Kari Chisholm said...

    I know Bill wants to be VP or Secretary of State than Senator but I would not be surpised that he pulls a Lieberman(2000) runs for Senate and Vice President at the same time.

    Is that legal in New Mexico? It's legal in very few states. I know Connecticut and Texas (where LBJ did it in 1960) allow you to run for two offices at once, if one of the offices is president or vice-president. But not many others.

    6:09 PM, November 05, 2007  
    Blogger The Sleep said...

    A front page post on MYDD today linked to an older post that had an interesting historical comparison viz a viz the Maine Senate race: "By February 1998, Zogby pegged D'Amato's lead over Schumer at 47 percent to 24 percent, a poll conducted by Zogby in June 1998 put D'Amato up 51 percent to 28 percent, and in August 1998 D'Amato led Schumer 48 percent to 30 percent. For those looking for corroboration from other pollsters, Mason-Dixon/PMR survey from June 1998 showed D'Amato up 47 percent to 29 percent over Schumer, and an Emerson College/Suffolk University survey from March 1998 put D'Amato's lead at 39 percent to 29 percent." I am still pessimistic but I think these things are important to keep in mind. Anyway, I think the big news from this slew of polls was Coleman. A dead heat at this point is disastrous.

    9:44 PM, November 05, 2007  
    Blogger Matthew said...

    Speaking of George "The Noose" Allen, November 12, 2007 will be the fifteen month anniversary of Macaca-gate.

    10:20 PM, November 05, 2007  
    Blogger Torrid said...


    I see we are indeed discussing different posts. One was a main page post; this is a diary you're talking about.

    Not sure why presenting different views in a thread about Merkley is unwarranted; are we all supposed to talk happily about how great everyone is? That doesn't help anyone decide, and we have an important choice at hand.

    Just because Merkley's an elected official doesn't mean he's been tested. I believe he's had five: two were uncontested, and the other three he had 60% or more. He's never faced more than token Republican opposition. As I said, he's never been tested.

    Where did I say here that those are terrible numbers for Merkley? I don't see it. But they're certainly not good; all that backing, money and buzz the last 90 days, and he can't shake Novick in the slightest? (And 32% recognition after all that IS a bad number). He'd darn well better adjust himself quickly to stop thinking he's running against Gordon Smith, and start running against Steve Novick.

    12:03 AM, November 06, 2007  
    Blogger JeremiahTheMessiah said...

    You said those were horrible numbers for Merkley, I copied it straight from SSP. Don't bother lying about that.

    I couldn't name the speaker of my assembly, I know it's a Republican, but it will be a Democrat after 2008. I'm a political junkie, mostly federal, but still. If I don't know the speaker of the assembly, who does? Most people don't follow races until a couple weeks before the primary. Unless if Jeff has run for a statewide race, his name recognition sounds about right right now. As he campaigns it should slowly edge its way up over time. 32% sounds right.

    As for debating the candidates, the comment from portlandia was unwarranted for a number of reasons.
    1. I've listened to a 20 minute interview of Jeff Merkley. He is not monotone, I can be monotone a lot, I know what it is, and again, Jeff Merkley is not monotone.
    2. I watched a campaign rally, he had the crowd engaged. I don't see engaging people as "lackluster"
    3. Jeff Merkley has been very clear on his position in regards to Iraq and the troops, naming the House Resolution a "Pro-Iraq War" resolution is a stretch, borderline lie. It also paints a "You can't be for the troops unless you're for the war" Picture.

    You can debate the candidates. I am all for having numerous candidates in a primary. If you're going to debate them, debate them, don't debate the lies you are trying to stick on them.

    12:28 AM, November 06, 2007  
    Blogger VA Blogger said...

    Its not analogous to compare Collins to Chaffee, D'Amato, etc. Maine is much more Independent than New York and Rhode Island, which are much more Democratic. Collins and Snowe's moderate images plays well in the state, as opposed to flat-out leftism.

    8:09 AM, November 06, 2007  
    Blogger Senate2008Guru said...

    That's why Collins is much more comparable to Santorum than Chafee. Snowe is a moderate. Collins tries to pass herself off as a moderate. I'm NOT saying Collins is as far to the right as Santorum. I AM saying that, like Santorum, she is out of her state's mainstream, especially on Iraq. Collins consistently looks to Snowe for political cover. (Remember how angry Collins was over the habeas corpus vote?) If Tom Allen can effectively illustrate:
    1) where Snowe and Collins differ
    2) how tied to Bush Collins is
    3) how disingenuous Collins is
    then he'll close the gap comfortably and win. If he can't illustrate that effectively, Collins will continue to hold the edge.

    9:11 AM, November 06, 2007  
    Blogger Neal said...

    I was reviewing the Survey USA Poll regarding the NM US Senate Race
    In a matchup between Chavez vs Pearce and Chavez vs Wilson

    Among Independents-
    Chavez leads Wilson 51-40
    Chavez leads Pearce 49-41

    Denish leads Wilson 54-34
    Denish leads Pearce 47-41

    Richardson leads Wilson 62-32
    Richardson leads Pearce 57-37

    In matchups against Pearce/Wilson
    Richardson gets 20% of the Republican vote while Denish/Chavez gets 12-14%

    In matchup against Richardson- Pearce/Wilson gets 12% of the Democratic vote.
    In matchup against Denish/Chavez- Pearce/Wilson get 20% of the Democratic vote.

    Richardson is not going to be a US Senate Candidate. Denish is running for Governor in 2010. That leaves us Chavez.

    Lets assume Chavez is the Nominee- Udall who I will support if he enters the race decides not to run.

    Chavez loses to Wilson/Pearce among Republicans 80-20

    Chavez beats Wilson/Pearce among Democrats 80-20

    The key electorate is Independents
    Chavez has a 10point lead among Independents.

    The difference between a UDall vs Chavez candidacy is in the General Election Udall increase High Voter Turnout among Democrats. While Chavez relies on Crossover Appeal or winning 60% of the Undecided or Independent Voter.

    1:16 PM, November 06, 2007  
    Blogger VA Blogger said...

    Collins isn't at all comparable to Santorum. Seriously, what a dumb analogy. And Pennsylvania is more blue than Maine is.

    You calling Susan Collins out of the mainstream doesn't make it so.

    3:58 PM, November 06, 2007  
    Blogger Neal said...

    Maine is more Blue Than Pennsylvania.

    The difference between Collins and Santorum is

    Santorum is an outspoken Conservative extremist like Jesse Helms or James Inhofe. He would be introducing Extreme Policies or make Controversial statements.

    Collins is more disciplined- She talks like A Moderate but when push comes to shove- She will rubberstamp Bush-Cheney's policies.

    Collins is similar to Jim Talent-of Missouri. or Mike Dewine of Ohio.

    4:36 PM, November 06, 2007  
    Blogger Senate2008Guru said...

    va blogger - you typing "you saying X doesn't make it so" over and over again doesn't make your argument so. (See how I turned that around on you?)

    Me saying "Collins is out of the mainstream" doesn't make it so. Collins voting again and again for endless Iraq War without a timetable makes it so. Collins voting against habeas corpus makes it so. Collins supporting Real ID even though Maine overwhelmingly opposes it makes it so.

    5:07 PM, November 06, 2007  
    Blogger Matthew said...

    NLS has predicted that the wife of Representative Tom Davis will be sent home... or to K Street... or whatever happens to State Senators that lose.

    8:01 PM, November 06, 2007  

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