Senate polling roundup

Magellan Strategies, which provides analysis for Republicans and conservative groups, has released poll results for seven important Senate races: Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Iowa, Louisiana, Michigan, and North Carolina. In most cases, the candidates are running neck-and-neck according to Magellan, which surveyed 600 to 900 voters in each state.

Let’s start with Arkansas. According to Magellan, our friend Rep. Tom Cotton leads Sen. Mark Pryor by three points, 46-43. Two recent polls, one of which we questioned, have found Pryor leading by 10 points. I’m not sure what to make of this race right now, but suspect that it’s very much up for grabs.

In Alaska, Republican Dan Sullivan (who hasn’t been nominated yet) leads Sen. Mark Begich 46-41. In March, Rasmussen had the race tied at 44-44. This race will probably be close but I suspect that Sullivan has the edge. Like Pryor, Begich benefits from his family name. But unlike Pryor, Begich’s victory in 2006 was a fluke (he narrowly defeated Ted Stevens who was laboring under the handicap of criminal prosecution).

In Colorado, Sen. Mark Udall leads his Republican challenger Rep. Cory Gardner 45-42, according to Magellan. All four polls that I’m aware of since March show Udall leading by 1 to 3 points. Edge, Udall but not by much.

Magellan’s Iowa survey contains good news for Republicans. Republican Mark Jacobs (whose nomination isn’t certain) leads Rep. Bruce Braley 41-40. Braley, you will recall, was caught on tape warning an audience of trial lawyers that if Republicans capture the Senate, an Iowa farmer will head the Judiciary Committee. Previous polls, including one taken after Braley’s comments became public, had Braley leading fairly comfortably. Magellan’s results suggest that Iowa is, as I have said, “fully competitive.”

In Louisiana, Rep. Bill Cassidy leads Democrat Sen. Mary Landrieu 44-42 in the Magellan poll. This is reasonably in line with other polls taken in 2014. Only PPP, a Democratic firm, has found a better result for Landrieu (in February, it had Landrieu leading 45-44). This race is probably headed to a run-off, since neither candidate looks likely to capture the required 50 percent. The polling looks marginally favorable to Cassidy, but I remain concerned that Landrieu will find a way to snatch victory.

In Michigan, the Democrat, Rep. Gary Peters, has a five point (46-41) lead over challenger Terri Land. Republicans would have been hoping for a better showing. But even with this result, the RCP average of polls taken since early February have Peter up by only 0.4. So Michigan seems to be in play.

The Magellan poll in North Carolina found Sen. Kay Hagan tied at 43-43 with Republican Thom Tillis. The Republicans haven’t held their primary yet (it will occur on May 6), but Tillis has a 26 point lead in a PPP poll released today. Hagan leads by 0.8 in the RCP average of four polls taken since late March. Thus, this race looks like a toss up right now. It will be interesting to see how it shapes up once the Republicans have their nominee.

Viewed in themselves, the Magellan results seem mildly encouraging for Republicans. But they arise in context of bad numbers for President Obama and the Democrats. So I guess I’m a little disappointed not to see Republican Senate candidates polling a bit better as a group.


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