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FiveThirtyEight

Politics

So, I have a little bit more trouble getting worked up over polls in states like Massachusetts and Connecticut than I do in swingier parts of the country. But these are a very good set of numbers for Barack Obama, and I think they do tell us something.

There are two new polls out in Connecticut. Quinnipaic has Obama leading by 21 points, and Rasmussen has him ahead by 17. In the previous editions of those polls, Obama held leads of 17 and 3 points, respectively. The 3-pointer from Rasmussen might have been partially responsible for The McCain campaign’s insistence that Connecticut was a toss-up, but it was the only poll conducted since the new year to have shown McCain within single digits of Obama in Connecticut.

Perhaps the more important news out of the state, however, is that Joe Liberman’s approval ratings have fallen to 45 percent. A rating that low is relatively unprecedented for a Senator who was just re-elected 20 months ago and has not had a major scandal befall him. The piece of longer-term fallout from this is that we might now expect Liberman to try and make good with the Democrats if Barack Obama becomes President, figuring that he’ll have four years to rehabilitate his reputation. Whether the Democrats would welcome him back is another question, but frankly I’d expect them to be so giddy if they won the Presidency that they might be in a generous mood. If John McCain becomes President, on the other hand, Lieberman had better hope that McCain has a 60 percent or better approval rating by the time they both come up for reelection in 2012.

In Massachusetts, Rasmussen has Barack Obama up by 20; that’s up from 13 a month ago. And in New York, Rasmussen has his lead reaching 31 points — it was a 19-point lead in late May.

So what’s that little something these polls tell us? Whatever else the consequences of Obama’s perceived shift to the center, it certainly hasn’t cost him among the Democratic base.

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