Daily Kos
Political analysis and other daily rants on the state of the nation

Sunday | October 20, 2002

Weekend poll update

Lots of new polls to report, and all for this installment, the news isn't too hot for Democrats.

In the good news department, yet another poll indicates a surge in MN Sen. Wellstone's support. While his anti-war vote was supposed to harm his candidacy (according to the talking heads), the latest Star Tribune Minnesota Poll gives Wellstone a 47-41 lead against GOP challenger Coleman.

Wellstone scored big among the many respondents who cited the prospect of war or the economy as the most important problem facing the nation. Coleman was a strong choice of those most concerned about terrorism. Together, those three issues were tops on the minds of two-thirds of the respondents.
Meanwhile, still in MN, the governor's race is locked in a three-way tie:
A little more than two weeks before election day, Minnesota's three leading candidates are separated by a mere 2 percentage points, with 11 percent undecided, the latest Star Tribune Minnesota Poll shows.

In a survey of 1,048 likely voters conducted Oct. 11-16, DFLer Roger Moe and Republican Tim Pawlenty each were the choice of 29 percent, and the Independence Party's Tim Penny was the choice of 27 percent. Ken Pentel of the Green Party lagged behind with 3 percent.

Polls had consistently shown Moe lagging in this race, so this result either indicates a late surge for his candidacy, or the margin of error run amock (all polls on this race have been tight, within the margin of error).

In Texas, a new Dallas Morning News poll confirms numbers seen in recent polls: GOP governor Perry leads Dem challenger Sanchez 50-35, while Cornyn leads Dem candidate Ron Kirk 47-37 in the Senate contest. There is some question as to the veracity of the polling models, but unless a record minority turnout can materialize on election day, these two races are not looking good for Dems. (MyDD tackles the polling model issue here.)

Kirk and Sanchez also have their race/ethnicity to deal with. Even in presumably more progressive NY, a black candidate cannot escape the reality of the color of his skin:

For the first time since he began voting nearly 60 years ago, Joe Lawrence has the chance to vote for a black person for governor.

But Lawrence won't take that opportunity.

And neither will any of the cross section of young and old voters, Republican, Democratic and independents, interviewed last week in this Adirondack Mountains community or in the city of Malone about 60 miles up the road.

To a person, though, all of those interviewed, all of whom are white, said H. Carl McCall's race is not the issue.

"The only person I won't vote for is an atheist," Lawrence said.

But each of the voters also quickly added they know plenty of friends and neighbors who won't vote for McCall - solely because he is black.

"Not for me, but it's definitely an issue for others," Rose Rousell, a Malone resident, said as she headed into a grocery store.

The same dynamic will work against the two non-white Dems at the top of the Texas ballot.

In Tennessee's guv race, Democrat Bredesen's lead over GOP candidate Van Hilleary has now shrunk to a virtual tie -- 35.1 to 34.5, with a quarter of the electorate undecided. Bredesen's camp claims its internals show the Dem leading 48-40, while Van Hilleary's camp claimed their internals confirm the results of the independent Univ. of Tennessee poll.

And in South Carolina, a Mason-Dixon poll delivered a double-blow to the state's two top-ticket Democrats. GOP challenger Mark Sanford has now taken a 45-41 over Dem guv Jim Hodges. The results are within the margin of error, but not encouraging to the incumbent governor. The same polling outfit also gives GOP senatorial candidate Lindsey Graham a healthy 51-34 margin over Dem candidate Alex Sanders.

Taking a step back, the only poll of this bunch that is truly significant is the Minnesota poll. Wellstone is one of the three most endangered Democrats in the Senate. If he can keep his seat, it becomes increasingly difficult for the GOP to retake the Senate. While it would be a coup to snag either the Texas governorship or Senate seat, neither would be a loss to the Dems. The fact they have been competitive has been enough to force the GOP to spend valuable time and resources in the state. Ditto for South Carolina's Senate race.

Posted October 20, 2002 08:54 PM | Comments (2)


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