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Poll Good News For Nunnelee Camp

October 20, 2010
tags: 2010 House, Alan Nunnelee, MS-01, polling, Travis Childers
by Brett

It is hard to describe the independent polling done by Penn Schoen Berland for The Hill as anything but good news for Alan Nunnelee’s campaign. The challenger boasts a five-point lead over Travis Childers, and Childers’ doesn’t even hit 40 in this poll.

If any polling or political historians would like to do some digging, it will be interesting to see how many times an incumbent is polling at 39 percent two weeks out and has gone on to win re-election (in a two-way race).

The 44-39 Nunnelee lead gives three percent to ‘other’ and 12 percent undecided. If you were to split those undecided’s down the middle you’d still end up with 49-51 for Nunnelee and 44-46 for Childers. Of course, you can’t imagine they will break evenly for both candidates. Rather a closer prediction may be 65-75 percent of that group break for Nunnelee which would put him comfortably in the 51-53 range.

The reason I think they will break strongly for Nunnelee is twofold: 1) It is just the natural tendency for undecided voters to break for the challenger. 2) The largest groups of undecided voters come from the 35-54 and 55+ range. Those two age brackets back Nunnelee by 11 percent and 7 percent (respectively). In each group, 13 percent are undecided. Childers’ strongest group is the 17-34 year olds. Only three percent are undecided so there is not much room to pick up voters there.

There are plenty of other indicators in the poll that are nothing but trouble for Childers. The incumbent is trailing among independents by a 48-27 margin. Only 79 percent of Democrats in the poll ‘definitely will vote,’ compared to 90 percent of Republicans. Males also answer that question in stronger numbers than female voters (86-81). Keep in mind; male voters are breaking for Nunnelee 52-33. Approval for Pres. Obama stands at 35 percent versus 63 percent who disapprove and approval for Congress is at 26 percent.

Childers’ favorability is a respectable 47-38, although it isn’t quite as good as Nunnelee’s 49-27. Interestingly, Childers is probably getting a bounce from Republicans- with a rather high 29 percent giving him a favorable impression. Among independents, Childers is underwater 40-44 while Nunnelee is standing at 54-20.

Good signs for Childers? My strongest takeaway would be that voters said the top reason for supporting a Democrat would be ‘to protect our social security, healthcare and other benefits.’ And the 35-54 and 55+ range are the strongest backers of this sentiment. Childers feels this is a winning issue for him, and it might be the best one he has. Other than that, I wouldn’t expect anything other than attack, attack, attack from Childers and supporters.

The fact that the DCCC has stayed in this race is a good sign for Childers. We have seen them leave a number of districts that they judged unwinnable. Of the 10 polls The Hill most recently completed, we saw a bigger lead for a Republican in only one of them. Continuing to invest in MS-01 is a decision they are going to have to make.

One Comment leave one →
  1. GOP to the Bone permalink
    October 20, 2010 1:45 pm

    Nunnelee is a great candidate and others know it.

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