The Campaign Spot

Election-driven news and views . . . by Jim Geraghty.

The Great Big Midwestern House Race Polling Roundup


The American Action Forum has completed its second round of polling of key House races, this time focusing on the Midwest. (Last time I referred to a state as being in the Midwest, I heard some gripes, so let’s just say “the middle part.”)

All of the races feature Democrat incumbents.

Among the highlights:

IA-3: “Despite challenger Brad Zaun having 71 percent name recognition compared to Representative Leonard Boswell’s 98 percent name recognition, Zaun leads by a 51 to 41 percent margin.”

MO-3: “Our polling, conducted for American Action Forum on August 16, 17, and 21, with 400 likely general election voters, shows Representative Russ Carnahan with a comfortable lead at the start of the Fall campaign. Carnahan’s 51 to 35 percent favorable-unfavorable rating (with 98 percent total name ID) exceeds challenger Ed Martin’s 16 to 9 percent rating (with 43 percent total name ID), and Carnahan leads by a 54 to 38 percent margin.”

MI-7: “Our polling, conducted for American Action Forum on August 16-18, with 400 likely general election voters, shows a competitive contest in the district. Challenger Tim Walberg has a 41 to 31 percent favorable rating compared to Representative Mark Schauer’s 40 to 36 percent rating, and leads by a 50 to 40 percent margin on the ballot test.”

OH-1: “Challenger Steve Chabot’s 53 to 31 percent favorable-unfavorable rating is better than Representative Steve Driehaus’s 43 to 39 percent rating, and Chabot leads by a slim 47 to 45 percent margin.”

OH-13: “Despite Representative Betty Sutton having an advantage in name recognition (87 percent, compared to 65 percent for challenger Tom Ganley) she leads by just a slim 43 to 41 percent margin.”

OH-15: “Challenger Steve Stivers has a 35 to 18 percent favorable rating with 80 percent name recognition compared to Representative Mary Jo Kilroy’s 43 to 47 percent rating with 99 percent name recognition. Stivers leads by a slim 49 to 44 percent margin on the ballot test.”

OH-16: “Despite challenger Jim Renacci having 66 percent name recognition compared to Representative John Boccieri’s 93 percent name recognition, Renacci leads by a 49 to 35 percent margin.”

WI-8: “Despite Representative Steve Kagen having 99 percent name ID (with a 43 to 48 percent favorable-unfavorable rating) compared to challenger Reid Ribble’s 59 percent (21 to 11 percent favorable), Ribble leads on the ballot by a 49 to 39 percent margin.”

UPDATE: One more addition, held up by a tech issue:

IN-2: Challenger Jackie Walorski has a 36 to 28 percent favorable rating with 78 percent name recognition compared to Representative Joe Donnelly’s 48 to 38 percent rating with 97 percent name recognition. Donnelly leads by a slim 46 to 44 percent margin on the ballot test.

I would summarize these results as pretty good, but not fantastic, for Republican aspirations. Clearly, this is a cycle where a bunch of GOP challengers have garnered leads over well-known Democrat incumbents, so it’s actually a little bit disappointing to see strong candidates like Walorski or Ganley trailing. This is not to say that these candidates won’t win; I think they have excellent chances.

Looking more broadly at these districts, the pollsters find:

A plurality of voters prefers a Republican on the generic ballot test. While each of these nine districts have Democratic incumbents, voters in these districts prefer a Republican to a Democrat as their next congressman by a 38 to 33 percent margin.

President Obama and Speaker Pelosi are both viewed unfavorably in these districts. Voters in these districts give Barack Obama a 44 to 49 percent favorable to unfavorable rating and give Nancy Pelosi a 27 to 56 percent rating.

A majority of the likely voters in these districts opposes the health care reform plan. Voters oppose the new law by a 52 to 38 percent margin, including 42 percent who strongly oppose it.

Tags: 2010


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