Tea Party favorite Sharron Angle has opened up a two point lead over Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid as Republicans lead in statewide races in the Midwest and Southwest and Democrats shore up their position in the Northeast, a new CNN/TIME/Opinion Research poll shows. The survey also includes more bad news for Obama across the country, with dismal approval ratings in the swing states of Missouri and Nevada, and even relatively low numbers in Connecticut and New York as independents everywhere disapprove of his job performance.
In Nevada, 42% of likely voters say they would vote for Angle, 40% say they would vote for Reid, and 7% say they would vote for third party candidate Scott Ashjian. If Ashjian were out of the race, Angle maintains the same two point lead, 47% to 45% over Reid. Reid's biggest problem appears to be voters' enthusiasm. He holds a strong lead over Angle among registered voters, who support him 43% to 32%. That represents a 13-point deficit attributable either to disconsolate Democrats or motivated Republicans ahead of November's election.
No such reservoir of unmotivated voters is available to the heir of Missouri's powerful Democratic political family, Robin Carnahan, whose mother served as Democratic Senator from 2000-01 and whose father was governor from 1993-2000. She trails Republican Congressman Roy Blunt 53%-40% among likely voters and 50%-39% among registered voters. Blunt, who served as majority whip in the House during the Bush Administration, has rebounded after being ousted from party leadership in 2008.
One bright spot for Democrats is in the Northeast. In Connecticut, Democratic Attorney General Richard Blumenthal leads the Republican former World Wrestling Entertainment executive, Linda McMahon, 54% to 41% among likely voters. The poll was conducted from Oct. 1-5, so it includes voters from before and after this past Monday's contentious debate. Connecticut's plurality of registered Independents breaks for Blumenthal by a margin of 52% to 41%. In New York, Democratic incumbent Kirsten Gillibrand has opened up a wide 14-point lead over Republican Joseph DioGuardi, 55% to 41% among likely voters. Among registered voters the gap is 27 points, 60%-33%, in favor of Gillibrand.
Despite the Democrats' solidity in Senate races in the Northeast, Obama is faring poorly there. In Connecticut likely voters disapprove of his handling of the presidency 49%-46%. In New York, they disapprove 48% to 45%. Independents are key in both states on this issue. In New York, 55% of Independents disapprove of Obama's performance, compared to 37% who approve. In Connecticut, Independents break 53%-40% against the president.
In the Midwest and Southwest, Obama is deeply underwater. In Missouri, which gave Democrats control of the Senate in 2006 and went very narrowly for McCain in the presidential race in 2008, Obama's approval numbers trail his disapprovals by 27 points, 34% to 61%, among likely voters. In Nevada, Obama is down 14 points, 39%-57%, in job approval among likely voters.
Governor's races track the Senate polling in Connecticut, New York and Nevada. Democratic Attorney General Andrew Cuomo of New York has a solid 14-point lead over Republican Carl Paladino, with 55% of likely voters saying they support Cuomo and 41% saying they support Paladino, the poll found. In Nevada, Republican Brian Sandoval leads Rory Reid, Harry Reid's son, 56% to 33% among likely voters. And in Connecticut, Democrat Dan Malloy leads Republican Tom Foley 50% to 42%. There is no gubernatorial race in Missouri this year.
The poll was conducted Oct. 1-5 and surveyed slightly more than 1,500 voters in the four states. The sampling error for registered voters was +/- 2.5%. For likely voters it was +/-3.5% in Connecticut, Missouri and Nevada, and +/-4% in New York.