Public Policy Polling is a Democratic-leaning polling firm, but with an excellent track record. And yesterday, they issued a couple of relatively hopeful results: Michael Bennet is leading Tea Partier Ken Buck by one in the Colorado Senate race, and Colleen Hanabusa is leading incumbent Republican Charles Dijou in the race for Hawai’i's First District.
Two immediate notes of caution come in:
1) This is clearly Bennet’s strongest showing in any poll, and I’m not sure that even PPP believes it [See Update below -- good news]; and 2) Hanabusa should be leading in her race. It’s Hawai’i, for crying out loud: Hanabusa lost this race back in April because the Democratic vote was split.
So why are they “relatively hopeful”? In Bennet’s case, because it shows that things are moving in his direction: previous polls showed him with large deficits, and even pro-Republican pollsters like Rasmussen show the gap closing. There is still time.
In Hanabusa’s case, earlier polls had showed Djou with a big lead: he’s an excellent politician, and Hawaii’ians generally don’t like kicking out incumbents. Remember: if Hanabusa wins, this is a Democratic pickup, which means that the GOP needs to gain more than 39 seats to regain control of the House. Unlike in 1994, there are four seats that lean Dem: LA-2 (Cao, who won only because Bill “Dollar Bill” Jefferson was a crook); IL-10 (Mark Kirk’s seat in a bluish district); DE-AL (Mike Castle’s old seat, which will almost definitely go Dem), and Hawai’i first. If we win those, then the Republicans need to get 43. The Delaware and Lousiana seats are pretty secure as pickups, and Dan Seals, the Dem candidate in the IL-10, has been a Netroots favorite for some time; Hanabusa has sort of been lost in the shuffle, and needs our help.
As Nate Silver mentioned earlier today, everyone knows that this is going to be a very good November for the Republicans; the question is how good. Every race counts here: small differences will make, well, a big difference.
And why else are these particularly important races? Well, they both just happen to be on my ActBlue page! These are winnable races that could make the difference. Show these candidates some love here.
UPDATE: A new poll out of Colorado has Bennet up by three. It isn’t clear if it’s an internal, and of course nowadays everything turns on how polls put on their “likely voter” screens, but this is very good news. This one ain’t over yet, folks.