New surveys released in the last 24 hours show Democrats Barbara Boxer and Richard Blumenthal hanging on to modest leads in Senate contests in California and Connecticut, and Harry Reid and Sharon Angle still deadlocked in Nevada. But once again, the most notable result may be a single automated poll suggesting a continuing trend to Republican John Raese in West Virginia.
In West Virginia, the new automated poll by Fox News and Pulse Opinion Research now shows Raese with a five percentage point advantage over Democrat Joe Manchin (48% to 43%). A West Virginia survey conducted a week ago by Rasmussen Reports, using essentially the same methodology, gave Rease a slightly narrower edge (48% to 46%), but the two recent polls represent a significant shift from Manchin leads of 5 to 7 percentage points measured by Rasmussen in August and early September.
Only eight public polls have been released on this race to date, and all but two have been conducted by Rasmussen or Pulse, a Rasmussen subsidiary that replicates their methodology except for the questions that come after the vote. With no other public recent polling to go on, our trend estimate tracks closely with the Rasmussen/Fox-Pulse data and gives Raese a roughly five point advantage, enough to push this race into the "lean Republican" category.
While West Virginia's Senate race is giving Democrats reason to worry, two new Connecticut polls released yesterday confirm that Democrat Richard Blumenthal is maintaining a comfortable lead over Republican Linda McMahon. Fox News/Pulse shows Blumenthal leading by ten points (52% to 42%), while another automated poll conducted by the Merriman River Group for the CT Capitol Report.pdf) shows Blumenthal up by seven (52% to 45%). Our standard estimate gives Blumenthal a roughly seven-point advantage (51.2% to 44.0%), enough to merit a classification of "strong Democrat."
Our more sensitive trend lines (shown below), which give greater weight to the more recent polls, confirm that McMahon's surge since the August primary appears to have leveled off.
Two new California polls reconfirm that Democratic Senator Barbara Boxer narrowly leads Republican challenger Carly Fiorina. The latest live interviewer survey from Reuters/Ipsos and a new automated Rasmussen survey both show Boxer ahead by identical four point margins (49% to 45%). Our standard trend estimate now shows Boxer leading by four and a half (48.2% to 43.8%).
Two new Ohio polls, one from Fox News yesterday and one from Quinnipiac University this morning, show Republican Rob Portman running up a huge lead against Democrat Lee Fisher. Fox/Pulse now shows Portman leading by 16 points (53% to 37%), while Quinnipiac has Portman leading by 19 (55% to 36%). Both margins are bigger than what other recent Ohio polls have been showing, but Porter's margin easily qualifies for a "strong Republican" even without the two new surveys.
The new Fox/Pulse survey in Nevada shows Republican Sharon Angle with a three-point edge (49% to 46%) over Democratic Senator Harry Reid. A Rasmussen survey last week gave Reid a one-point edge (48% to 47%). Our trend estimate now makes this race the closest Senate in the nation (Reid 46.0%, Angle 45.7%).
And finally, The Hill newspaper is out this morning with a batch of new polls in 12 hotly contested U.S. House districts currently held by freshman Democrats. The polls, which were sponsored by America's Natural Gas Alliance and conducted by Democratic pollster Mark Penn, show the Republicans with nominal leads in 11 of 12 districts, although none of Republican challengers have reached 50 percent of the vote.