Thursday, February 25, 2010

GOP trouble on I-85

In 2004 Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina all replaced retiring Democratic Senators with Republicans. Now those three states look like they might provide the best opportunities for Democratic offense in 2010.

Richard Burr's approval issues have been well documented for months because North Carolina is a heavily polled state- his approval is in the mid 30s and if the 2008 Senate race is any guide he could be in trouble once the Democrats get a nominee and that person builds up their name recognition.

South Carolina is one of the least polled states in the country so Jim DeMint's standing hasn't received much attention, but his numbers aren't a whole lot better than Burr's. When we did a statewide poll in December his approval was at 44/29. A Winthrop poll today finds him at a similar 43/28. Those are pretty tepid numbers and the high level of 'no opinions' about DeMint in his home state suggests that perhaps he has been too focused on being a national figure and not enough about being visible in South Carolina.

We actually found in December that 41% of voters in the state thought DeMint was most focused on being a national leader in the conservative movement while only 29% believed his top priority was advocating for the state.

Georgia gets polled more than South Carolina but the surveys there have been heavily focused on the Governor's race and the in state pollster that had shown solid numbers for Johnny Isakson was Strategic Vision sooooo I wouldn't exactly take those to the bank. I've thought Isakson might be more vulnerable than the conventional wisdom going all the way back to November of 2008 when we found his approval at just a 30/25 spread with 44% of voters holding no opinion.

Rasmussen had a new poll out yesterday showing Isakson under 50% on the generic ballot. Given that 57% of Georgians disapprove of Barack Obama it seems like Isakson should be in a much better position.

Of course Democrats are missing one key ingredient if they're going to make a race of it in Georgia and South Carolina- candidates. But there's still time, and as Jim Martin showed in Georgia two years ago you can enter the race late and make it pretty competitive.

Certainly if the political climate in November is the same as it is now Democrats would have little chance in either of these states but it's possible that things will be different by the fall. I'll be interested to see how (or if) these races develop and we'll have Georgia numbers next week to give a clearer idea of just how endangered Isakson is.

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