7.22.2005

New Polls throw wrenches in my analyses

Rasmussen has the latest Pennsylvania Senate race poll. At first glance it looks really bad for Rick Santorum: 41% for Santorum, 52% for Bob Casey. But if we look at the internals, we find weird things that my be good or bad for Santorum. We see Casey garnering 85% umong self-described liberals, and 62% of moderates. But Santorum only gets 66% of conservatives. Now we could look at that as being a bad sign, but I thnk it is good that Santorum has much room for improvement umong conservatives. Being one of the most conservative Senators there is, this should be done easily. Also, Casey's unfavorability rating is really low at 27%, while Santorum's is 43%. Driving up the negatives will be easier for Santorum to do to Casey thn for Casey to do to Santorum. In fact, since conservatives are going to be the key to the election, if Casey makes negative attacks, it may hurt Casey more than it would help him. The internals show that Santorum needs to use Rovian strategies to pump up his base and use GOTV efforts to win in a state he should probably lose. And also of note, Santorum has raised twice as much as Casey to date.

And a new poll of the Florida Senate race might not be as bad as Rove, Bush and co. seem to think. A Strategic Vision poll, which RCP often calls (with some debate) a Republican polling firm because a lot of their clients are Republican, puts the race at Nelson 48%, Katherine Harris 40%. That, my friends, is a winnable race. Gov. Bush and his allies have been pushing House Speaker Alan Bense, who, in a Republican primary is down 59% to 13%, and polls the same against Nelson as Harris, except that in a Nelson vs. Bense matchup, there are more undecideds. Harris's negative ratings are high, supposedly the reason the GOP leadership wants to run the unknown Bense, but Nelson's negatives are high also. Since I believe Harris can raise enough money to at least win a primary, I think it would be better to let her run unopposed. She actually polls similar against Nelson to anyone except retired Gen. Tommy Franks, who has flatly declined to run. The dilemma to getting the slightly better candidates against Nelson is that they cannot win a primary against Harris. I can't believe I'm taking issue with Karl Rove on political strategy, but I think it's time for both Bushs to suck it up and get ready to endorse Harris.

EDIT: Actually, now that I look at it, Toni Jennings, considered a gubernatorial candidate, polls within 6 points of Nelson with a large segment undecided. Jennings has the fundraising power and name recognition to possibly beat Harris, and he should try. Congressman Mark Foley could be a possibility also. I think that if Rove doesn't want Harris, Bense isn't the best option. But there are NO indications that Foley or Jennings would even consider running against Harris.

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