SurveyUSA: GOP Senate Primary in New Mexico a Toss Up

On the eve of New Mexico’s GOP Primary for U.S. Senate, Rep. Heather Wilson (R-NM) and Rep. Steve Pearce (R-NM) are effectively tied, according to a newSurveyUSA poll. Pearce leads Wilson, 48% to 47%, making it a statistical tie.

However, in a general election match up, Rep. Tom Udall (D-NM) beats Pearce, 60% to 35%, and defeats Wilson, 60% to 36%. 

Obama Rounding Up Superdelegates

Sen. Barack Obama “worked furiously Monday to win over enough superdelegates to clinch the nomination with the final primaries Tuesday,” the AP reports.

Said Rep. Jason Altmire (D-PA): “Senator Obama is trying to line up people that are going to come out for him tomorrow during the day so that he’ll have enough that puts him over the top that he can declare victory tomorrow… He apparently is telling people that he has the numbers, and that’s what’s going to happen, at which point it would become moot what the rest of us do.”

Clinton Expected to Suspend Campaign

Sen. Hillary Clinton “has summoned top donors and backers to attend her speech tomorrow night in an unusual move that is being widely interpreted to mean she plans to suspend her campaign and endorse Barack Obama,” according to theHuffington Post.

“Obama and Clinton spoke Sunday night and agreed that their staffs should begin negotiations over post-primary activities. In addition to help raising money to pay off some $20 million-plus in debts, Clinton is known to want Obama to help out black officials who endorsed her and are now taking constituent heat, including, in some cases, primary challenges from pro-Obama politicians.”

UpdateTPM confirms Obama and Clinton talked on the phone last night, but a spokesman says he just called to congratulate her on winning in Puerto Rico.

Extra Bonus Quote of the Day

“This may be the last day I’m ever involved in a campaign of this kind.”

— Bill Clinton, quoted by NBC News, on a campaign swing through South Dakota possibly hinting at what his wife might do.

ARG Poll: Clinton Holds Big Lead in South Dakota

A new American Research Group poll in South Dakota finds Sen. Hillary Clinton leading Sen. Barack Obama, 60% to 34%.

Key findings: Clinton leads 56% to 39% among men and she leads 63% to 29% among women. Clinton leads 57% to 38% among voters age 18 to 49 and she leads 63% to 30% among voters age 50 and older.

If this poll is accurate, it will be considered a big upset for Clinton.

ARG Poll: Obama Holds Small Lead in Montana

A new American Research Group poll in Montana shows Sen. Barack Obama edging Sen. Hillary Clinton, 48% to 44%.

Key findings: Obama and Clinton are tied at 47% each among self-described Democrats (65% of likely Democratic voters), while Obama leads 50% to 39% among self-described Republicans and independents. Obama leads among men 56% to 35% and Clinton leads among women 52% to 41%. Obama leads 49% to 45% among voters age 18 to 49 and he leads 48% to 43% among voters age 50 and older.

Obama to Get Remaining Senate Endorsements

“Most of the seventeen Democratic senators who have remained uncommitted throughout the primaries will endorse Barack Obama for president this week,” CNNhas learned.

Sources say the senators “will wait until after the South Dakota and Montana primaries to announce their support for Obama.”

Update: The Washington Post confirms the undecided Democratic senators will meet tonight to discuss the race.


What Will Clinton Do?

Political Insider reads the tea leaves.

Americans Want Next President to Meet With Enemies

Gallup: “Large majorities of Democrats and independents, and even half of Republicans, believe the president of the United States should meet with the leaders of countries that are considered enemies of the United States. Overall, 67% of Americans say this kind of diplomacy is a good idea.”

Dole Ads Give Her Boost in North Carolina

After several polls showing the North Carolina U.S. Senate race tighter than expected, a new Public Policy Polling survey finds that after Sen. Elizabeth Dole (R-NC) ran her first television ads last week she has expanded her lead.

Dole now leads rival Kay Hagan (D), 47% to 39%.

Key finding: “The key difference between now and the poll three weeks ago is an uptick in undecided Democratic voters. Dole did a good job at attracting crossover support six years ago, and her new ad campaign may have some Democrats unsure about whether to do it again or to support their party’s nominee. The level of undecideds is particularly high among black voters.”

CQ Politics rates the race Republican Favored.

Barr Could Be Factor in North Carolina

A new Public Policy Polling survey in North Carolina finds Sen. John McCain edging Sen. Barack Obama in a general election match up, 43% to 40%, with Libertarian candidate Bob Barr getting 6% support.

Key finding: Barr draws Democratic support from McCain — “those who weren’t intending to vote for the party’s nominee in the first place” — and “also appears to be pulling a lot of support from conservative leaning independents.”

Candidates Spent $200 Million on Ads

According to new analysis by TNS Media Intelligence/CMAG, the presidential candidates have spent nearly $200 million on television ads this year.

The Democrats spent about $137 million on political ads, led by Sen. Barack Obama at $75 million and Sen. Hillary Clinton at $46 million. Meanwhile, Republicans spent only $58 million, led by Mitt Romney at $32 million and Sen. John McCain at  $11 million.

Bonus Quote of the Day

“We’ll have a big rally there one of the days. Since they won’t give us a spot, we’ll make our own spot. We won’t disrupt things — that doesn’t achieve anything. But we’ll have a presence and present views and try to… get in on the committees to vote on platforms. That’s not disruptive.”

— Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX), quoted by Newsweek, on his plans for the Republican National Convention.

Low Turnout Ends Clinton’s Hope of Popular Vote Win

Though Sen. Hillary Clinton continues to claim the popular vote lead in the Democratic presidential race, Bloomberg notes that “low turnout in Puerto Rico ended any chance of her winning the popular vote overall.”

The New York Times notes the Clinton campaign’s popular vote count “includes Michigan, where Mr. Obama’s name was not on the ballot, and it does not include some caucus states won by Mr. Obama and where the popular vote was not reported.” 

As a result, Sen. Barack Obama’s campaign “gently pushed back at her assertions that she had won the popular vote.”

Political Insider: Clinton’s popular vote claim stretches the truth.

Quote of the Day

“It does appear to be pretty clear that Senator Obama is going to be the nominee. After Tuesday’s contests, she needs to acknowledge that he’s going to be the nominee and quickly get behind him.”

— Former Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack, a national co-chairman of Sen. Hillary Clinton’s campaign, quoted by the Associated Press.

Pearce Leading Wilson in New Mexico GOP Primary

With just a day before the Republican primary in New Mexico, a new Albuquerque Journal poll shows Rep. Steve Pearce (R-NM) leading Rep. Heather Wilson, 45% to 39%, in their race to face off against Rep. Tom Udall (D-NM) for U.S. Senate.

After staying neutral, CQ Politics notes that Sen. Pete Domenici (R-NM) “finally emerged from the background and threw his support behind Wilson, his longtime protegee, but analysts wonder if it came too late to give her much bounce.”

CQ rates the race Leans Democratic.


Obama Cuts Ties With Church

In a letter to Trinity United Church over the weekend, Sen. Barack Obama left his church of nearly 20 years, according to the Wall Street Journal.

“Trinity has been a consistent source of political troubles for the Democratic front-runner, from incendiary remarks by the church’s former pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright Jr., to a guest sermon last week by a Catholic priest and former Obama adviser mocking Sen. Hillary Clinton.”

Clinton Sheds Staff

Members of Sen. Hillary Clinton’s advance staff “received calls and emails this evening from headquarters summoning them to New York City Tuesday night, and telling them their roles on the campaign are ending,” according to the Politico

“The advance staffers — most of them now in Puerto Rico, South Dakota, and Montana — are being given the options of going to New York for a final day Tuesday, or going home, the aides said. The move is a sign that the campaign is beginning to shed — at least — some of its staff. The advance staff is responsible for arranging the candidate’s events around the country.”

Meanwhile, Newsday reports Clinton “is headed to Chappaqua late tonight for a somber and potentially momentous homecoming” where she “will huddle with advisers and husband Bill Clinton at her mansion tomorrow… She will monitor results from the final 2008 primaries in South Dakota and Montana and decide whether, how and when she will end her campaign as Barack Obama nears the nomination threshold.”

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