Apologies for the lack of a wrap-up on Thursday night. The real world, in the form of the high school football season, intervened.
The good news: twice as much numerical goodness and political news to mine through as the weekend beckons.
CT-Sen: Dodd Trails Simmons In 2010 Senate Matchup, According to Ras
Rasmussen heads into the field in the Nutmeg State, and finds incumbent Chris Dodd to be as endangered as everyone already thought he was. Dodd trails former Congressman Rob Simmons by ten, according to the GOP-leaning pollster, with Simmons at 49% and Dodd at 39%. Dodd also struggles with little-known Republicans like Sam Caliguiri and Peter Schiff. DK, along with Research 2000, polled Connecticut this week, as well. Those numbers will be along after the weekend.
NC-Sen: GOP Senator Not Secure Either, According to PPP
Unlike Chris Dodd, Republican first-term Senator Richard Burr maintains a lead over his Democratic rivals in North Carolina, according to the folks at PPP. Like Dodd, however, there are certain warning signs (PDF). Burr's job approval spread is still a mediocre 38/32, and Congressman Bob Etheridge (who is still mulling a bid) holds Burr to a very modest 41-34 lead. The most recent entrant into the race, Secretary of State Elaine Marshall, trails Burr by 11 (42-31). While nowhere near a cliffhanger, this is nonetheless closer than Kay Hagan was at this point in 2007.
CO-Gov: Rasmussen Polls Colorado, Finds Ritter in Deep Trouble
Rasmussen has been busy at the end of this week, and spent the week polling in Colorado as well as Connecticut. In the Colorado Governor's race, they find incumbent Democrat Bill Ritter trailing former Congressman Scott McInnis by five points (44-39), while leading state legislator Josh Penry by a point (41-40). Ritter, who has had a few high-profile squabbles with essential base groups like labor, seems to have a base issue. He trails McInnis despite fighting the Republican to a draw with unaffiliated voters. Since there are roughly similar numbers of Republicans and Democrats, this means that McInnis is cleaning up with his base at a much better clip than Ritter is with his base.
CO-Sen: Ras Doesn't Like Democrats In This Race, Either
In the Colorado Senate race, the appointed Democratic Senator finds himself in a dogfight, as well. Michael Bennet, appointed in January to replace Ken Salazar, is in a toss-up with either Republican candidate polled. In the survey, Bennet leads Weld County DA Ken Buck by six (43-37) and trails Aurora City Councilman Ryan Frazier by a point (40-39). There is a great deal to raise eyebrows here. Why didn't Ras poll Jane Norton, who people have known for weeks is the NRSC's horse in this race? Why didn't Ras poll a primary between Bennet and former legislative Speaker Andrew Romanoff, since both of them are likely to be fighting from a similar level of name recognition, and the primary may well be ultracompetitive? It also seems strange that an unknown city councilman would be polling even with a Senator, especially when you consider that a DA in a fairly populous county actually does worse. Very strange. That said, I totally buy Bennet's vulnerability at this point. As we have seen with Kirsten Gillibrand in New York, appointed Senators remain an unknown quantity much longer than those who raise their profile in a statewide campaign. The campaign will go a long way to defining Senator Bennet.
CA-Sen: PPIC Polls State, Finds Boxer To Be Fairly Well-Liked
It would be a stretch to call Senator Barbara Boxer beloved in her home state, but a new set of numbers from one of the regular survey teams in the Golden State (PPIC) shows that Boxer sure doesn't seem terribly vulnerable, either. The poll, taken at the end of August and the first couple of days in September, found Boxer sitting with a 53/32 spread in her job approval, virtually identical to that of fellow Senator Dianne Feinstein. President Obama does better (63/32), while Governor Schwarzenegger does considerably worse (30/61). Boxer could still find herself in a competitive tilt next year with businesswoman Carly Fiorina, but it is hard to believe that a Senator with a +21 spread in her approval is in severely dire straits.
NV-Gov: In Shocker, Dems Lose One Of Their Leading Candidates
This one could leave a mark: Democrats in the Silver State lost arguably their most electable candidate for Governor when state Assembly Speaker Barbara Buckley decided not to run for the statehouse next year. Buckley's absence leaves only Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman (an...ahem...iconoclastic personality who may well run as an Independent rather than a Democrat) and Clark County Commissioner (and Harry Reid progeny) Rory Reid as the most likely Democrats to take the plunge. Republican Governor Jim Gibbons has the lowest poll numbers you're likely to find, but he is likely to be primaried by Brian Sandoval.
OH-18: Space Gets GOP Challenger For 2010, But Geography May Be A Challenge
The bad news for third-term Congressman Zack Space of Ohio--he has drawn a challenge for next year against a state legislator with some experience. The good news for Space: his challenger, state Senator Bob Gibbs, is going to need a whole lot of introduction. Gibbs' Senate district only overlaps the 18th district in one county: Gibbs home county. Gibbs is also not preordained as the GOP nominee--several candidates are considering the race.
AK-AL: Young Gets GOP Primary Challenge From Palin Critic
Here is some news from Thursday that is worth a mention, because it raises the possibility of a truly intriguing primary for the GOP. Andrew Halcro, a former GOP state legislator best known for (a) a fairly strong showing as an Independent in the 2006 Governor's race and (b) being a prominent critic of Sarah Palin, is going to challenge Don Young. Young, you will recall, only narrowly avoided forced retirement in 2008, when then LG (and current Governor) Sean Parnell came within a few hundred votes of dispatching the nineteen-term veteran.