Senate polls: KY, WI, FL finishing strong; WA, PA still close

A flurry of new polls have hit today in key Senate races, mainly confirming what we have already seen in five key contests.  Rather than rehash the entire analyses, let’s just look at the highlights in each:

KENTUCKY: Rand Paul extended his lead over Jack Conway after the Aqua Buddha flop in Survey USA and Rasmussen polls released today.  Survey USA puts Paul up nine points, 52/43, while Rasmussen makes it 12, 53/41.  Both surveys were conducted during the controversy over the melee involving a protester and Paul supporters, which indicates that the new ad by Conway blaming it on Paul — which even President Obama rejected — hasn’t done Conway any good, either.

WISCONSINPPP more or less corroborates what the White House already knows — the state is lost, and not just the Senate seat held by Feingold.  The pollster gives Ron Johnson a nine-point lead in the final stretch for the Senate and the Republican gubernatorial candidate, Scott Walker,  a similar edge over Tom Barrett.  PPP’s analysis should have the White House deeply concerned about its prospects for re-election in 2012 (via No Runny Eggs):

1) Wisconsin has one of the largest enthusiasm gaps of any state in the country. Although it appears Democrats will have turnout issues pretty much everywhere the problem is unusually severe in Wisconsin. Those saying they’re likely to vote this fall report having voted for Barack Obama by only 3 points in 2008. He actually won the state by 14 points. This year’s electorate in the state appears as though it will be very Republican friendly compared to the last few election cycles.

2) Barack Obama’s popularity in Wisconsin has declined at a rate much faster than the rest of the country and the state’s Democratic Governor is one of the most unpopular people holding his position anywhere in the country as well. Obama’s approval with likely voters is only 37%, with 54% of voters disapproving of him. Those bad numbers are partly a function of the state’s more conservative electorate this year but worrisome for the President is that only 70% of voters in the state who supported him in 2008 still approve of the job that he’s doing. Meanwhile 93% of McCain voters disapprove of his performance.

When was the last time a Democrat won the presidency while losing Wisconsin?  For that matter, when was the last time a Democrat lost Wisconsin at all?  I’d say it’s at least 20 years ago, perhaps all the way to the Reagan wipeout in 1984.

WASHINGTON: Survey USA still shows this a dead heat at 47% between Republican Dino Rossi and incumbent Democrat Patty Murray:

5 days until voters must return a ballot, much polling and little consensus on whether incumbent Democrat Patty Murray will keep her US Senate seat, or Dino Rossi will snatch it for Republicans as part of a Red Tide, according to SurveyUSA’s 4th and final pre-election tracking poll for KING-TV in Seattle. Murray 47%, Rossi 47%, at the wire, and offered with circumspection given the disparate findings of 9 different pollsters attempting to characterize the race.

Republican Rossi has a nominal 2-point advantage among voters who tell SurveyUSA they have already returned a ballot. Democrat Murray has a nominal 2-point advantage among voters who tell SurveyUSA they promise to mail back the ballot but have not yet done so. When the 2 groups are combined: tie game. Metro Seattle (which, as always, includes Pierce, Snohomish and King counties) breaks 6:5 Democrat. Eastern WA breaks 4:3 Republican. Western WA breaks 8:7 Republican. Women appear to give Rossi another look at the finish line. Murray’s advantage among female voters had been as high as 17 points, now 6. Lower-income voters are 5:4 for Murray. Middle-income voters split. Upper-income voters are 8:7 for Rossi.

This will come down to enthusiasm and GOTV, but in Washington, that’s almost over anyway.  Most counties now vote by mail.  The late momentum towards Rossi may or may not have come in time.

PENNSYLVANIA: Barack Obama and Joe Biden have spent plenty of time here, and it may have helped Joe Sestak somewhat — but he still trails Pat Toomey in Rasmussen’s final poll, 50/46.  The gap hasn’t changed in a week, but Toomey made it over the 50% mark for the first time.  The poll gives Democrats only a two-point edge in the turnout model, though Democrats have a +14 in registration advantage.  Republicans will need to turn out in force in order to make that a reality.

FLORIDA: Two media polls in the state show Marco Rubio cruising to victory.  The Orlando Sentinel uses a Mason-Dixon survey to show a Rubio lead over Charlie Crist and Kendrick Meek at 45/28/21 respectively, leading M-D’s pollster to proclaim, “Stick a fork in it, because it’s done.”   In the Sunshine State News poll, Crist is in danger of dropping into third, with a 47/27/23 result.

Wouldn’t a third-place finish for Crist be a delightful bonus?