Saturday, September 22, 2012

GOP Chances For Taking Back The Senate Dying With Romney's Campaign?


Yesterday Ed Gillespie sighed that "the map is shrinking." He was talking about Romney's diminishing chances to win any of the swing states. New polling continues to paint an ever dimmer picture for him. Oh, he'll win the Deep South and the Mormon states but it doesn't look like he can count on much else. But it's what the recent turn of events is doing for Republican prospects to win the Senate and make Miss McConnell Majority Leader that is freaking out Republicans this week. As i was writing this yesterday a fresh batch of polls came across the transom from NBC/ Wall Street Journal/Marist showing that among likely voters Colorado was shaping up to give Obama 50% and Romney 45%; Iowa Obama 50% and Romney 42%;  and Wisconsin, home of Paul Ryan, Obama 50%, Romney 45%. That's what Gillespie meant by a shrinking map. And that same Marist poll confirms what other polls have shown this week, that Tammy Baldwin has pulled ahead of Tommy Thompson in Wisconsin as well.

Thompson's campaign is getting ugly and looking desperate. They've already descended into schoolyard name-calling and now they're claiming he's losing because of Romney. And he changed his mind about the polling firm. He hates them too.

August 19, 2012

Tommy Thompson Said He Would Help Carry Wisconsin for Mitt Romney And That The Marquette University Poll Was The “Gold Standard”

Thompson Said He Would Help Romney In Wisconsin. In an interview with Mike Gousha on August 19, Thompson said: “I am an individual that is going to be able to be helpful to that ticket. “ [Up Front with Mike Gousha, 8/19/2012]

Thompson Called The Marquette Poll The “Gold Standard.” In an interview in August 2012, Thompson said: “I think the Marquette poll which is considered pretty much the golden rule or the gold standard, came out and says I was 8 points up.  So, I feel very good about going in, and I sincerely believe the momentum is with me and I feel very comfortable about the election.”  [WKOW, Capital City Sunday, 8/12/2012]

September 19, 2012

Tommy Thompson Blamed Romney For Sagging Poll Numbers and Attacked Marquette University Poll

Thompson Blames Romney for Sagging Poll Numbers. WKOW reported that “Thompson hopes Romney's sagging numbers don't bring him down as well. ‘The Presidential thing is bound to have an impact on every election.  Whether you're a Democrat or Republican.  If you're a standard-bearer for the Presidency is not doing well, it’s gonna reflect on the down ballot,’ said Thompson.” [WKOW, 9/19/2012]

Thompson dismissed the MU results. Thompson's spokeswoman, Lisa Boothe, attempted to discredit the Marquette poll. "We do not think it reflects the opinions of Wisconsin voters," Boothe said. But on Tuesday at a Milwaukee manufacturing plant, the former governor expressed confidence in the accuracy of Marquette's survey work. [Associated Press, Mount Pleasant Patch and Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 9/19/2012]
The NY Times' political statistician, Nate Silver, dealt with Thompson's unraveling campaign as well... and how other Republican campaigns are on the rocks as well. "Polls," he writes, "show key races shifting decisively toward the Democrats, with the Republican position deteriorating almost by the day. The Senate races in Wisconsin and Virginia are especially in bad shape.
It would be only a modest exaggeration to say that it’s been hard to find any strong Senate polls for Republicans in the past two or three weeks. Wednesday also brought bad news for Republicans in Massachusetts, where a fourth consecutive poll showed the Democrat Elizabeth Warren ahead of Senator Scott Brown; in Connecticut, where a poll gave the Democrat Chris Murphy a slight advantage over their candidate, Linda McMahon; and in Florida, where a Fox News poll gave the Democratic incumbent Bill Nelson a 14-point lead. ...[O]ver the past two weeks of the Republicans’ position in Virginia, Massachusetts, Wisconsin, Florida and Ohio, all of which have broken sharply to the Democrats.

The Democrats’ chances of controlling the Senate have increased to 79 percent in the forecast, up from 70 percent on Tuesday.

Had we run the model a month ago, based on polls through Aug. 19, the Democrats’ chances of maintaining Senate control would have been listed at just 39 percent.

The velocity of the change is unusual. Although Senate races in different parts of the country can sometimes move in the same direction, there was never quite this rapid a shift in our Senate forecasts in 2008 or 2010.

The forecast model is not doing anything particularly fancy; it’s just that an overwhelming number of Senate polls recently have shown the Democratic candidates’ standing improving.

Republicans could also have some reason to be concerned about Nevada, which has not been polled recently but where their candidate, the appointed Senator Dean Heller, maintains a slight advantage over the Democratic Representative Shelley Berkeley. Mr. Heller is a fairly strong candidate, but if there is some sort of national tide against Republicans, he could become the underdog in that race as well.

...I can think of two major theories to explain why the shift is occurring, one focused on Mitt Romney, and another on the overall positioning of the Republican brand.

Theory No. 1: Is Romney a Downballot Drag?

Polls show that Mr. Romney has middling personal favorability ratings but that many voters will choose him anyway because of the deteriorating economy.

Senate races, however, are less dictated by national economic conditions. Instead, they often turn more on the strengths and weaknesses of the individual candidates, and then by their stances on fiscal and social policy.

Mr. Romney has not dictated much in the way of detailed programs in these areas, and some of the policy stances that he has articulated are unpopular.

Mr. Romney has also been less able to campaign effectively against an unpopular Democratic initiative, the Democrats’ health care bill, because he passed a similar bill as governor of Massachusetts.

Finally, some voters who disapprove of Mr. Obama, but who also have lukewarm feelings toward Mr. Romney, might lean toward voting Democrat for Senate in effort to ensure divided government, especially since Republicans also have control of the House.

Theory No. 2: G.O.P. Conservatism Is Hurting

An alternative hypothesis is that the shift has to do with overall perceptions of the Republican platform.

Our research has shown that statistical measures of candidate ideology are a reasonably powerful predictor of the outcome of Senate races, with candidates who are rated as holding “extreme” views performing poorly.

But in practice, ideology is in large part perceptual for voters, and may depend on which issues seem most salient at any given time.

August, at which point the shift toward Democrats in Senate races appeared to begin, was dominated by two major news items: Mr. Romney’s selection of Representative Paul D. Ryan as his running mate, who has very conservative views on fiscal policy, and by the comments about rape made by the Republican Senate candidate in Missouri, Todd Akin, which may have reinforced the idea that Republicans hold very conservative positions on social issues.

These factors may have made it harder for Republicans to position themselves toward the ideological center. And in several states, including Missouri, Indiana, Michigan and Ohio, Republicans nominated sub-optimally conservative candidates.

More moderate Republican candidates, like Mr. Brown of Massachusetts and Mrs. McMahon of Connecticut, have increasingly sought to distance themselves from the national Republican brand, and sometimes also from the Republican presidential ticket.

It doesn't seem to be working for either Brown or McMahon; both are currently losing to their Democratic opponents. And, most shocking of all, so is Rep. Jeff Flake in Arizona. The open Jon Kyl seat is very competitive at this point and voters are leaning towards Democrat Richard Carmona. A few weeks ago a poll showed Flake up by one point but KTVK-Channel 3 in Phoenix reports that a new poll shows him pulling away.

The results of a surprising new poll in the U.S. Senate race were released Wednesday showing Democrat Richard Carmona beating his Republican rival. 

The survey, which was conducted by a GOP-friendly firm, shows Carmona holding a 5-point edge over Jeff Flake. 

Heading into the race, Flake was considered the heavy favorite to win in a state where Republicans hold a comfortable registration advantage over Democrats. 

Officials with Flake's campaign declined to comment on the poll. But Flake's spokesman, Andrew Wilder, said, "We've always known this race is going to be a close one. That's why Jeff Flake is working hard to gain the trust of voters." 

But a spokesman for Carmona's camp said they were pleased. 

"We don't put too much weight in any poll, but this confirms what our campaign has been saying all along," said spokesman Andy Barr. "Dr. Carmona is a unique candidate with a background that appeals to Independents, Republicans, and Democrats." 

Specifically, the numbers show Carmona with 44 percent and Flake with 39. But 16 percent of those questioned said they were undecided.

If Carmona wins in Arizona, still far from a certainty, the Democrats would be in position to win a filibuster-proof Senate in 2014-- or if one of the living corpses like Chuck Grassley or Richard Shelby is called home to their Maker... or if Orrin Hatch goes off to Kolob prematurely.

Blue America has endorsed only 3 candidates for Senate this year. We're being very strict about demonstrable commitment to progressive values. If you can, please help elect the only three who have met our almost-impossible standards.

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