Home > Inspiration and Insights, My Commentary, Quick Hits > In consideration of 2010 polling data.

In consideration of 2010 polling data.

December 23, 2009 Leave a comment Go to comments


I try to avoid talking about polls and elections which are far off. Things can change and  it is difficult to foresee the outcomes of elections  far in advance.

But, given the inevitable passage of the health care reform bill, and the increasing likelihood that the US Senate will pass a cap-and-trade bill, the first (and perhaps only) chance that Americans who are opposed to these two massive pieces of “transformative” legislation will have  to repeal them (barring a few astonishing rulings by the Supreme Court) will be through the 2010 elections. So, it is important to see if there will likely be enough of a mandate to turn the tide.

Many people do not agree with me that cap-and-trade is inevitable in 2010, but one merely has to point to the successes of Copenhagen and the recent health care legislation to see that for Democrats, the socialist  mother wheel has appeared in the sky and is calling them home.  Either they pass the legislation they have been clamoring for now, and create the over-regulated society they have always dreamed of, or they retreat.

But why should they be incremental at this point when they have majorities immune to the conservative opposition? It makes no sense. As influential Brazilian journalist Olavo de Carvahlo wrote in an essay November 18, 2008 titled What Will Obama Do?:

whatever its proclaimed goals, any scheme of power will always safeguard its own continuity and expansion first and foremost… The existence and continuity of the scheme are a prior condition of its doing whatever it may want to do. Thus, what we must consider before anything else is what the head of state will necessarily have to do, not to reach this or that goal, nor to face the objective problems that afflict the nation or part of it, but simply to keep – and, in the case of a revolutionary leader, to increase – the power of action it already possesses.

So, I am expecting cap-and-trade to be close, but eventually get passed because all the power amassed and being enjoyed by Democrats now, has been in development for a number of years. The cap-and-trade struggle will involve the same political legerdemain that was evident in the process to pass the health care reform bill. Institutionalizing federal control of health care reform and a  cap-and-trade system are the most important components in building not only a domestic, permanent, progressive political architecture, but also a global one.

Losing substantial power in the  next elections will not matter to the Left; there are always more elections. Better to use the  majorities now to expand government power and hope the bills facilitating it cannot be repealed in the future by a blundering and confused Right. Premature announcements by the Republicans and conservatives of impending repeal, will most likely put them under such  serious media assault throughout 2010, it may serve to weaken their growing strength before election season anyway.

House of Representatives

The Republicans need to win 40 seats to regain control in the House of Representatives. It is not clear yet if this is shaping up to be possible or not. Most agree that Republicans will be able to make significant gains in the House in 2010, but no one knows the extent.

There were a few developments yesterday  related to elections that deserve mention.  Of course, the most significant development was the announcement by  Rep. Parker Griffith of Alabama that he will be switching from the Democrat to the Republican Party. Griffith is a freshman congressman and a blue dog who voted against health care. Maybe he sees the writing on the wall for 2010.

This corresponds with the announced and somewhat unexpected resignations of four blue dog Democrats recently in Kansas, Louisiana, and Tennessee that would not be running for re-election in 2010. The collective wisdom is that for each of these seats polling data suggests they are  either  toss-ups or lean favorably Republican.

However, it is important to take into account that 12 incumbent Republican Representatives have also announced their resignation or retirement. Some of their districts, like the At-Large in Delaware or Michigan’s 2nd are vulnerable to Democrats.But Republicans have just topped Democrats in the generic Congressional poll:

Poll Date Sample Republicans Democrats Spread
RCP Average 12/3 – 12/20 43.3 40.8 Republicans +2.5
Rasmussen Reports 12/14 – 12/20 3500 LV 44 36 Republicans +8
USA Today/Gallup 12/11 – 12/13 898 RV 45 48 Democrats +3
Battleground 12/6 – 12/10 1000 LV 42 41 Republicans +1
Bloomberg 12/3 – 12/7 714 LV 42 38 Republicans +4

See All Generic Congressional Vote Polling Data

Even though there have been some positive developments for Republicans in light of the 2010 House elections, it is not at all clear how substantial the gains may be. Go to this link to see a comprehensive chart of the races.


U.S. Senate

There are 36 seats up for election in the U.S. Senate in 2010 (38 if you include the special elections to be held in  Massachusetts and Texas). 19 seats are held by Democrats and 19 held by Republicans. 41 Democratic seats and 21 Republican seats will be retained by both parties as they will not be decided this year.

What this means is that in order to maintain control of the United States Senate, the Democratic Party only needs to win 9 of the total  19 Senate races they are running in, with Joe Biden providing the tie-breaker. On the other hand, Republicans would have to win 30 seats to gain control. That would mean that they would have to win all 19 races for seats they now hold and win 11 out of the 19 Democratic seats available in 2010. Barring a complete collapse for Democrats, many believe that is not going to happen.

So, the question becomes which Republican seats will be contestable by Dems in 2010 and what Democratic seats are visibly vulnerable at this point.

There are  7 Republican seats that have come open  due to resignation or retirement. These are FL, KS, KY, NH, OH, MO and  TX. It is generally believed that  New Hampshire and Ohio are toss-ups at this point. The rest are leaning Republican, but with some interesting developments in some of them.


Republicans will most likely hold onto this seat. However, Marco Rubio who is running against Governor Charlie Crist in the Republican primary has pulled even with him. Rubio is also supported by the Tea Party Movement and this is significant as the national media and leftists have tried to make it toxic for Republicans to embrace the Tea Partiers.

In the last couple of polls, Rubio has pulled even with Crist and he beats the leading Democratic candidate, Kendrick Meek, in the general election. This is a good sign for Rubio and it allows Republican supporters to safely abandon Crist for a potential winner.  The numbers show Rubio’s incredible gains against the Democratic candidate:

Date Sample Rubio (R) Meek (D) Spread
RCP Average 10/12 – 12/14 37.3 36.3 Rubio +1.0
Rasmussen Reports 12/14 – 12/14 49 35 Rubio +14
Daily Kos/R2000 11/16 – 11/18 30 38 Meek +8
Rasmussen Reports 10/20 – 10/20 46 31 Rubio +15
Quinnipiac 10/12 – 10/18 33 36 Meek +3
Rasmussen Reports 8/17 – 8/17 43 30 Rubio +13
Strategic Vision (R) 5/29 – 5/31 31 30 Rubio +1
Strategic Vision (R) 2/6 – 2/8 26 24 Rubio +2
Daily Kos/R2000 1/26 – 1/28 22 31 Meek +9

This chart shows Rubio’s gains against Crist:

Date Sample Crist (R) Rubio (R) Spread
RCP Average 10/12 – 12/14 46.7 38.3 Crist +8.4
Rasmussen Reports 12/14 – 12/14 431 LV 43 43 Tie
Daily Kos/R2000 11/16 – 11/18 400 RV 47 37 Crist +10
Rasmussen Reports 10/19 – 10/19 466 LV 49 35 Crist +14
Quinnipiac 10/12 – 10/18 396 LV 50 35 Crist +15
McLaughlin & Associates (R) 10/12 – 10/13 500 LV 53 29 Crist +24
Rasmussen Reports 8/17 – 8/17 470 LV 53 31 Crist +22
Quinnipiac 8/12 – 8/17 446 LV 55 26 Crist +29
Mason-Dixon 6/24 – 6/26 300 LV 51 23 Crist +28
Quinnipiac 6/2 – 6/7 486 RV 54 23 Crist +31
Strategic Vision (R) 5/29 – 5/31 468 LV 59 22 Crist +37
Mason-Dixon 5/14 – 5/18 300 LV 53 18 Crist +35

My bet is that he still has some ground to make up, but he is making Crist regret his embrace of Obama now.


One of the most interesting results of the polling data is that Rand Paul, Congressman Ron Paul’s son, has taken a commanding lead in the Republican primary for U.S. Senate in Kentucky against Secretary of State Trey Grayson. The numbers:



Paul is running 54-18 amongst conservatives and is also  supported by the supposedly toxic Tea Party Movement. The Democrats believe that Rand Paul would be vulnerable as a Senate candidate. No doubt the campaign against him will try to link him to the “right-wing extremist” meme.

I think that’s pretty much played out by now.

There are a couple of somewhat vulnerable  incumbent Republicans according to the national political reports. These are Vitter in Louisiana and Burr in North Carolina. However, both incumbents hold 10-point leads or better over their Democratic rivals.

So, the best chance for Democrats to gain US Senate seats from Republicans is probably in New Hampshire and Ohio. But, Democrats  also have pronounced vulnerabilities in seats held by incumbents.

Democratic Vulnerabilities

Many observers believe that it is possible the Republicans can pick up seats from Democratic incumbents in AR, CO, CT, IL, ND, NV, and PA.

So what are the polls showing?

North Dakota

This is considered a safe seat for  Democrats by most observers. However,  one of the more interesting polls that came out yesterday was one for  a theoretical race for U.S. Senate between US Senator Byron Dorgan (D) and Gov. John Hoeven(R).  It shows that Republican challenger in the lead:

Hoeven (R)-58%

Dorgan (D)-36%

That is a large margin, however, some commentators have suggested that Hoeven may not run for the seat and other GOP challengers would not poll as high. Hoeven said he will announce his intentions soon.



In another very positive development for Republicans, it appears that Pat Toomey is now beating Senator Arlen Specter slightly in Pennsylvania. Although most polls show them running even, if you click the link “all Pennsylvania Data” in the chart below, Toomey has been making steady gains since the summer and now runs almost even with Specter even in the polls where he is behind.

Toomey (R)-40

Specter (D)-40

Polling Data

Poll Date Toomey (R) Specter (D) Spread
RCP Average 10/7 – 12/14 40.5 40.3 Toomey +0.2
Quinnipiac 12/8 – 12/14 44 44 Tie
Rasmussen Reports 12/8 – 12/8 46 42 Toomey +4
Franklin & Marshall 10/20 – 10/25 31 33 Specter +2
Susquehanna 10/7 – 10/12 41 42 Specter +1

See All Pennsylvania Senate – Specter vs. Toomey Polling Data



Sen. Christopher Dodd is losing ground to Rob Simmons and trails him in all polls, except those conducted by Daily Kos.  Dodd is also losing to, but appears to be stronger against Republican candidate Linda McMahon. Dodd has made up some ground against Simmons, but Simmons has improved his numbers steadily. However, it appears Dodd is in real trouble and there are many in Connecticut  asking if Dodd is electable in 2010.

Pollster Dates Simmons Dodd Other Undecided Not Voting Margin
GQR (D-Dodd) 12/15-17/09 51 46 +5R
Rasmussen 12/7/09 48 35 7 11 +13R
Quinnipiac 11/3-8/09 49 38 11 2 +11R
Quinnipiac 9/10-14/09 44 39 1 15 1 +5R
Rasmussen 9/10/09 49 39 5 6 +10R
DailyKos.com (D)/ Research 2000 9/8-10/09 46 42 12 +4R
Quinnipiac 7/16-20/09 48 39 0 10 2 +9R
Wilson (R-Schiff) 6/24-25/09 47 38 15 +9R
Quinnipiac 5/20-25/09 45 39 2 13 1 +6R
Quinnipiac 3/26-31/09 50 34 2 12 2 +16R
DailyKos.com (D)/ Research 2000 3/23-25/09 40 45 15 +5D
Quinnipiac 3/3-8/09 43 42 1 12 1 +1R



Senator Harry Reid is in trouble. He is losing to both Republican candidates, Tarkanian and Lowden. Although he has made some gains, he has been behind for a long time. Many are saying Reid’s numbers, especially because most Americans oppose the health care bill he shepherded, are unrecoverable. Presently he runs 6 points behind both Republican challengers.


Colorado and Arkansas

Colorado is too early to call as appointed Senator Bennet will be running in a primary in 2010. The Democratic candidate will then be facing Lt. Gov. Jane Gordon in the general election. And Norton is polling well against Bennett:

Poll Date Sample Norton (R) Bennet (D) Spread
Rasmussen Reports 12/8 – 12/8 500 LV 46 37 Norton +9
Rasmussen Reports 9/15 – 9/15 500 LV 45 36 Norton +9

Arkansas will be competitive, but there is no clear Republican candidate. The incumbent, Blanche Lincoln, has been polling in the low forties. She is vulnerable.


In another development yesterday,  Rudy Giuliani announced he will not run for higher office in New York. This is disappointing because the polling data shows he is the only candidate that gives Andrew Cuomo any competition for Governor and up until recently, he has been beating  Sen. Kirsten Gilibrand by huge margins for the U.S. Senate. The most recent polls show:

Giuliani (R)-49


She has closed a bit on him as  a poll in November showed:

Giuliani(R) -54


Even though New York is considered a safe seat for Democrats, it is clear that it is not that safe. But, the Republicans are weak in New York and are becoming weaker and have not announced a candidate for U.S. Senate yet. If it is a RINO like Dede Scozzafava, this seat will most likely be gifted to a weak Democratic candidate.


So what to make of all this?

There are a number of predictions that the Republicans could regain the House in 2010. Many pollsters sympathetic to Democrats have been saying the trends show massive losses for Democrats. In 1994, most pundits did not believe that the Republicans would win a majority in 1994. That year, they needed to win 40 seats but instead won 52.

So, it remains a possibility that the Republicans can take the House.

It will be much harder in the U. S. Senate. Larry Sabato has said that “the Republicans have a chance to become relevant again in the Senate by netting a few seats. There is the possibility that they will do better, retain their incumbent seats and beat all the weak Democrats, which will yield a Senate of 52 Democrats and 48 Republicans.”

That’s probably the best case scenario for the Senate.

So, if the Republicans have a good year, there is a possibility they will be able to begin either slowing down or slowly repealing health care reform and cap-and-trade. However, it will be difficult to get anything done on either front while Obama holds the veto until 2012 and if the House and Senate remain fairly even.

I also think that it is clear the Tea Party Movement is having an effect on things. Republicans will probably do well by not running away from these millions of committed  American voters.

The Left is going to attack the Tea Party Movement regardless of what their actual positions are. It is time for Republicans to get their cajones back  and stand against the Obama-ite,  Soros-funded  mob, and embrace the Tea Party Movement and its ideas.

It appears the Tea Partiers stand ready to run interference against the left-wing mob, but only for candidates willing to stand up for principle. The Tea Party Movement may also be an important resource in coming years if 2010 does not go so well. It will be the center around which a long-term extra-governmental resistance to Big Government may must be organized.


  1. Jay Richards
    December 23, 2009 at 8:32 pm

    In North Dakota the declared Republican is Paul Sorum of Fargo. I might add that Sorum is conservative while the often mention John Hoeven is not conservative. It is Sorum who is engaging the TEA Party, not John Hoeven. No Hoeven avoids the TEA party people. It is Sorum who is campaigning and raising money. Not Hoeven. It is Sorum who takes a stand on issues, not Hoeven. A vote for John Hoeven, a man who has given (yes you are reading this right) money to Byron Dorgan in the past is the same as voting for Byron Dorgan. They are one in the same. We need a conservative v. liberal battle not a liberal v. liberal battle. Paul Sorum is the answer in North Dakota.

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