In a new memo
, first reported by Mike Allen in Politico Playbook, we look at five Democratic senators in trouble. While the DSCC trumpets these senators' poll numbers as a sign of strength, the devil is in the details. When compared to their previous election results, it becomes clears these five are polling poorly.
We suggest reading the full memo
, but check out some key nuggets from it:
1. Mary Landrieu:
At this point in 2008 Landrieu led her Republican opponent by 17 points and in every public poll from December 2007 through Election Day. In 2008, a wave Democratic election cycle, Landrieu underperformed her own public polling and won by just six points. In 2014, polls already show that Landrieu trails Dr. Bill Cassidy. In fact, Dr. Cassidy has been ahead (7) or tied (2) in nine of ten public polls in 2014 in a head-to-head matchup. The polls show that Mary Landrieu's ceiling is approximately 45%.2. Kay Hagan:
In 2008, Landrieu had a significant financial advantage over her opponent. This August, Dr. Cassidy has a cash on hand advantage over Landrieu. In fact, Landrieu has spent millions this spring and summer and is still in a terrible position politically. Landrieu is currently embroiled in a scandal after being caught spending taxpayer dollars on private jet travel (more and more trips keep being exposed) to campaign events. It isn’t going away, and even more explosive could be Landrieu’s husband’s real estate business and deals with lobbyists with business before her committee – raising even more ethical questions.
We’ve said for the past six months that there are many parallels between the 2014 Senate race and the 2008 Senate race, with 2014 Kay Hagan playing the role of 2008 Elizabeth Dole. In August 2008, the generic ballot polling average favored Democrats by an average of 9 points, 47%/38%. In August 2014, the generic ballot polling average was a statistical tie, 41%/40%. Despite the generic ballot, at this point in 2008 16 of 17 public polls showed Elizabeth Dole (a vulnerable incumbent) ahead of Kay Hagan by an average of 8 points. The mood shifted over Labor Day and on 9/18/08 the first non-partisan poll showed Hagan pulling ahead by five points. Thom Tillis is already well ahead of Kay Hagan’s 2008 pace. In 2014, 10 public polls have put Thom Tillis ahead or tied (despite a primary), a huge difference from 2008. 3. Mark Begich:
Of the 18 public polls in the 2008 calendar year, 15 of them showed Mark Begich ahead by an average of 10 points. On Election Day - a wave year for Democrats - Begich completely underperformed, despite news of Ted Stevens' indictment on the front pages winning by a mere point. Sensing an enormous vulnerability, Democrats have spent more than $4.5 million attacking GOP nominee Dan Sullivan. Harry Reid’s Majority PAC have laundered over $5.2 million through “Put Alaska First” Super PAC, designed entirely to mislead voters as to the origin of the attack. Their efforts failed, miserably. Not only did Sullivan win the primary, but 2014 polling averages show Begich in a statistical tie with him. Now that the Republican primary has concluded and Republican/Independent voters coalesce behind Sullivan, it is reasonable to expect that he will jump ahead Begich with the party now united behind him.4. Jeanne Shaheen:
If you think this race isn't extremely close, you need to leave Washington and get up to the Granite State. This election cycle is already far more competitive for Jeanne Shaheen than 2008 proved. At this point in 2008, Jeanne Shaheen was ahead of John Sununu in all fifteen public polls by an average of 11 points. Since Scott Brown entered the race, public polls show Jeanne Shaheen in the lead by an average of just eight points - despite the ongoing Republican primary. In a head to head matchup, Scott Brown has clear momentum in this race which polls will soon reflect.5. Mark Udall:
Should Granite state voters behave similarly to 2008 post Republican Primary (a reasonable assumption given the far more favorable atmosphere for Republicans today compared to six years ago), Shaheen's lead will all but disappear setting up a straight sprint to the finish line.
It is very difficult to compare the 2008 Colorado Senate race to 2014 simply because of the strength of the Republican nominee, Cory Gardner. It is noteworthy, however, that in 2008 Mark Udall led in every single public poll (27 in total) by an average of 14 points. Today the race is a dead heat – a statistical tie - despite Democrats spending millions to viscously and falsely attack Gardner, whose energetic and positive campaign is rallying voters to his side. Democrats from the DSCC and Senate Majority PAC are on pace to be the two biggest spenders in Colorado by election day, having already spent or committed nearly $13 million dollars of TV advertising between them, on top of Udall’s $3.1 million commitment. On the Republican side of the equation, Cory Gardner's campaign is on pace to be the top Republican spender, not an outside group, having spent or reserved $4.2 million through Election Day. Mark Udall’s campaign is old and rusty – a relic of yesterday – which reinforces to voters that Cory Gardner is a new kind of Republican.
Any fair analysis of the polling data reveals that Republicans are in good shape to win in November. Democratic candidates are trailing in seven states and tied in four others.
Four more states will continue to tighten. Come mid-to-late September, Democrats will be on defense in fourteen or fifteen races!
Republicans have better candidates who are running better campaigns.