National - Let's start with the latest New York Times/CBS News poll, which speaks to the national 'fundamentals' of the 2014 cycle. The environment remains treacherous for Democrats:
- Republicans hold a six-point lead on the Congressional ballot among likely voters, winning independents by nine points and holding a double-digit enthusiasm advantage. Those are all very significant numbers. The GOP holds substantial voter preference edges on the economy (+11), terrorism (+21) and foreign policy (+12), while pulling even with Democrats on immigration and largely erasing Democrats' wide, decades-long lead on healthcare.
- Obama's overall approval rating is sagging at 40 percent, underwater by double-digits. He's fallen to new lows in this poll on his handling of terrorism (41 percent approval) -- formerly a bright spot amidst otherwise ugly numbers -- and foreign policy (34 percent).
- Nearly six in ten Americans say Obama's posture toward ISIS is "not tough enough, with 31 percent saying he's handling things "about right." Some respondents said he's being "too tough" on ISIS: Two percent, which is within the poll's margin of error.
- "This poll finds no improvement in overall views of the health care law."
Senate - I've been writing a lot about the disparity between national polling trends (see above) and many of the state-level polls of individual races, in which many Democrats have been outperforming the president and the overall environment. When, if ever, would those surveys "catch up" with the fundamentals? One headline-grabbing poll isn't necessarily a turning point, but the Iowa Senate poll Conn highlighted earlier is undoubtedly a shot in the arm to the GOP. Most striking about Joni Ernst's six-point lead is that she's hit 50 percent, with Democrat Bruce Braley sitting in the mid-40's, as quite a few Senate Democratic candidates in toss-up states are. Here's a new ad highlighting popular Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley's endorsement of Ernst in the race:
Braley infamously demeaned Grassley and farmers at an out-of-state fundraiser with fellow trial lawyers. Such a lawyer, that guy. And then there's this, out of Colorado:
USA Today/Suffolk poll for Colorado Senate has Gardner (R) up one point over Udall (D), 43-42.— Josh Jordan (@NumbersMuncher) September 17, 2014
An incumbent at 42 percent isn't in good shape, and that may not be the only favorable-looking poll to emerge from this race this week. See below for more.
Governor - Survey USA has Charlie Crist (the worst politician in America) trailing Florida Gov. Rick Scott by five points, and polling at just 39 percent. The respected Marquette University Law School poll shows a significant swing toward Scott Walker in the Wisconsin gubernatorial race; he now leads Mary Burke by three points. (A NYT/CBS poll last week gave Walker a four-point lead). And finally, this stunner out of Colorado:
Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper ties former U. S. Rep. Bob Beauprez, the Republican challenger, among women and trails among all likely voters 50 - 40 percent, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today. Libertarian candidate Matthew Hess and Green Party candidate Harry Hempy each have 3 percent.
Suffolk/USA Today shows this contest roughly tied (with Hickenlooper up by two points), but if Quinnipiac has Beauprez ahead by ten, we're looking forward to see their yet-to-be-released Senate data. Last but not least, why do we write some many posts on polls? Because the media hates showcasing data that makes them sad. Straight up bias:
Obama job approval is almost identical to Bush's in Sept 2006. Bias is just as much what isn't reported as what is. pic.twitter.com/BfxRSfq2Ub— Josh Jordan (@NumbersMuncher) September 16, 2014