Identifying and analyzing emerging trends in campaigns and elections.

Four New Senate Polls

In Polling, Senate on June 6, 2013 at 10:27 am

Four pollsters released new data in four different Senate states, each giving us some previously unknown information. Most of the results show an undefined electorate, but the one covering the upcoming Bay State special election shows a widening chasm between the two candidates.

Massachusetts

With the special senatorial election now four weeks away on June 25, New England College (June 1-2; 786 registered Massachusetts voters via automated interviews) released the findings of their latest poll. Their results show Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA-5) increasing his lead over Republican businessman Gabriel Gomez. According to the automated results, Markey now enjoys a 53-40 percent advantage, up from the single-digit spreads that previous surveys had projected.

The two candidates are vying for the right to succeed veteran Sen. John Kerry (D), who was appointed US Secretary of State earlier in the year. The winner serves the remaining segment of the current term, which ends when the 113th Congress adjourns. The new senator can then stand for a full six-year term in November of 2014.

Michigan

Public Policy Polling (May 30-June 2; 697 registered Michigan voters; 334 Republican primary voters) tested the open Senate race and found good news and bad news for Rep. Gary Peters (D-MI-14). The good news is that he leads all Republican potential candidates. The bad news is that he is unknown to two-thirds of the polling respondents.

Earlier this week, former Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land (R) announced her senatorial candidacy and she fares best against the Detroit congressman. According to PPP, Peters sports a 41-36 percent advantage over Land. He leads representatives Dave Camp (R-MI-4) 43-31 percent; Mike Rogers (R-MI-8) 42-32 percent; and Justin Amash (R-MI-3) 42-30 percent. In the Republican primary, Land finishes behind the three Congressmen (Camp 21 percent; Rogers 18 percent; Amash 16 percent; Land 15 percent), but it is unlikely that any of the trio will actually enter the Senate race.

Since Peters is only known by 34 percent of the respondents, it is apparent that his favorable standing is more indicative of political party preference than candidate personality. The fact that the congressman is clearly becoming the consensus Democratic candidate puts him in at least the early favorite’s position for the general election.

Kentucky

Wenzel Strategies (June 1-2; 623 registered Kentucky voters) tested Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell against several Democratic opponents. The data gives the senator an advantage in all configurations, but shows that former Miss America Heather French Henry actually fares slightly better than Democratic leadership favorite Alison Lundergan Grimes, the Kentucky Secretary of State. According to Wenzel, Henry pulls to within a 40-46 percent margin against McConnell, compared to Grimes’ 40-47 percent standing. McConnell leads attorney Tom Fitzgerald (D) 47-29 percent.

The senator’s job approval score, a measure in which he has previously fared poorly, improves to 51:48 percent favorable to unfavorable in the Wenzel survey.

Nebraska

The Harper Polling Nebraska electorate study (June 1-2; 538 “likely” Nebraska voters) is the least valuable of the week’s polls. Without pairing an individual in different configurations, no relevant pattern can be detected. This particular polling methodology pits only one particular Republican against one particular Democrat, even though they tested 10 potential candidates.

The most usable information comes from their Republican primary question, but even this is skewed because Attorney General Jon Bruning is added to the candidate list. Bruning already has announced his intention to run for re-election. Interestingly, the AG and 2010 senatorial candidate would lead the proposed field, scoring support from 29 percent of the sampling universe. Just-announced candidate Shane Osborn, the former state Treasurer and Navy pilot, is second with 18 percent, while investor and 2006 senatorial nominee Pete Ricketts posts 12 percent.

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