Michael Barone has taken a look at two non-battleground states – New Jersey and Connecticut – and sees something interesting:
In three recent polls in heavily affluent suburban Connecticut, Obama leads Romney by only 52%-43%. He carried the state 61%-38%. Obama is running 9% behind his 2008 percentage; his 23% margin is now 9%. Polling in New Jersey, also heavily affluent suburban, is averaging 50%-40%, down from Obama’s 57%-42% in 2008. Neither state is a target state (though south Jersey gets Philadelphia TV, with any Pennsylvania-targeted ads) or likely to be one on these numbers. But if the apparent CT and NJ trends are happening in affluent suburbs in target states, assumptions based on 2008 benchmarks could prove to be unjustified.
Barone goes on to note a what he (and I) consider to be too-good-to-be-true poll of Cook County, IL; but even if Cook County is not in play it still remains unlikely that Obama will make his 2008 numbers there, either, which is largely Michael Barone’s point. But let’s go back to CT & NJ for a moment. Specifically, the Senate races in both.
You probably have heard already that the McMahon/Murphy Connecticut Senate race is getting interesting: Rasmussen and Quinnipac both came out with McMahon ahead in the polling at this point. Even the Democratic-controlled PPP couldn’t get more than a 48/44 lead for Murphy… and if you look at the trend there you’ll see that this is a steady erosion of Murphy’s lead over the course of the election season. When a candidate is getting at or above 50 and then steadily loses it – which is what happened in PPP & Quinnipac – that candidate is not in a good position. Meanwhile, over in New Jersey: the Menendez/Kyrillos Senate race is not showing the same drift. It’s in fact pretty static (if you look at the 2006 polling, Menendez is in a much better place now than he was then). Menendez is not consistently hitting 50%, but that happens a lot in NJ polling.
Which means, alas, that while I think that you can see suburban retreat from the Democrats being reflected in the CT-SEN race (no real data on the House races yet) it’s not really showing up yet in the NJ-SEN one. I still hold out hope on the latter race – after all, Robert Menendez has been rumored to be dirty for years (an occupational hazard of coming up from the ranks of the Hudson County Democratic party, which is where NJ grows the really corrupt politicians) – but Obama is probably not going to be one of those universal panaceas for our down-ticket races. Well, he will not reliably be one. We still actually have to win the darn things.
Moe Lane (crosspost)