POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 9/29

SurveyUSA: McCain Clings to Lead in Florida

A new SurveyUSA poll in Florida shows Sen. John McCain with a one point lead over Sen. Barack Obama, 48% to 47%.

Key findings: “Compared to an identical SurveyUSA poll released on September 9, McCain has lost 11 points among Florida men… There was important movement among college grads, where McCain had led by 10, now trails by 4; among lower-income voters, where Obama had led by 3, now leads by 10; and among voters older than John McCain, where McCain had led by 24, now leads by 8.”

Interactive tracking graphs allow you to track the votes of every demographic group.

MTSU Poll: McCain Makes Inroads With Clinton Voters

A new MTSU poll in Tennessee notes Sen. John McCain’s campaign “seems to have had modest success” at attracting supporters of Sen. Hillary Clinton. A quarter of those who voted for Clinton in Tennessee’s Democratic presidential primary say that they would now vote for McCain in the general election.

“However, 56% of those who report that they voted for Clinton in the primary say that they would now vote for Obama. The rest of Clinton’s supporters remain undecided at this point or say they would vote for someone other than McCain or Obama.”

Overall, McCain leads Obama in the state, 48% to 36% with 10% still undecided.

Morning Call Poll: Obama Pulls Away in Pennsylvania

A new Morning Call/Muhlenberg College tracking poll in Pennsylvania shows Sen. Barack Obama opening up a seven point lead over Sen. John McCain, 49% to 42%, in the key swing state.

Bonus Quote of the Day

“I was a little disappointed the media called it a tie but I think that means, when they call it a tie, that means we win.”

— Sen. John McCain, quoted by Reuters, “during a telephone call that was caught by cameras filming him at his campaign headquarters.”

Bracing for More Palin

Howard Kurtz reviews last week’s trainwreck interviews Katie Couric did with Gov. Sarah Palin and notes “the worst may be yet to come for Palin; sources say CBS has two more responses on tape that will likely prove embarrassing.”

UpdateBen Smith confirms “the recorded segments are scheduled to air Wednesday and Thursday before the vice presidential debate.”

Private Poll Confirms McConnell in Tough Race

With news over the weekend that polls show Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) in a much closer than expected race for re-election, the Rothenberg Political Report has seen a private poll — not yet released — which confirms the dead heat. 

Bottom line: “Because of that, we are moving this race from Clear Advantage for McConnell to Narrow Advantage for McConnell, and we would not argue with anyone who rated the contest as a Toss-Up.”

Did Clinton Snub Obama Again?

When Bill Clinton was asked on Meet the Press yesterday if he would say Sen. Barack Obama is “a great man” — like he’s previously called Sen. John McCain — this is the best response he could muster: “Well, I don’t, look, I had my first conversation with him in my entire life in Harlem.”

Which leads First Read to note that “the 42nd president did it again: He’s put into doubt how much he really supports Obama. His non-response about whether Obama — like McCain — was a ‘great man’ made some wonder if Meet The Presswas running the Darrell Hammond SNL parody yesterday rather than the actual Bill Clinton. Seriously, watch Hammond and Clinton side-by-side on the issue of Obama, you can’t make it up.”

McCain Campaign Attempts Palin Makeover

Sen. John McCain’s campaign “moved its top officials inside Gov. Sarah Palin’s operation Sunday to prepare for what is certain to be the most important event of her vice-presidential campaign: her debate on Thursday with Democrat Joe Biden,” according to the Wall Street Journal.

Additionally, at the urging of McCain himself, Palin “will leave late Monday for his Arizona ranch to prepare for the high-stakes debate.”

“The moves follow several shaky performances by Gov. Palin last week and come amid concern and grumbling from Republicans, and even a few queries from her husband, Todd Palin.”

William Kristol: “I’m told McCain recently expressed unhappiness with his staff’s handling of Palin. On Sunday he dispatched his top aides Steve Schmidt and Rick Davis to join Palin in Philadelphia. They’re supposed to liberate Palin to go on the offensive as a combative conservative in the vice-presidential debate on Thursday.”

Phone It In

“I’ll leave that up to others to make that judgment. This was an issue that was transcendent. I suspended my campaign and came back to Washington because I thought that it was vital to do so. Sen. Obama said he was available to discuss the issue by phone. I didn’t want to phone it in. I’m proud that we were able to get this done, and I’ll give the credit to everybody else.”

— Sen. John McCain, in an interview with the Columbus Dispatch, on why he needed to be back in Washington, D.C. to work on the bank rescue package.

“He can effectively do what he needs to do by phone. He’s calling members on both sides, talking to people in the administration, helping out as he can.”

— McCain aide Mark Salter, quoted by CBS News, explaining why his boss could work on the rescue package over the weekend from his campaign office and wasn’t needed on Capitol Hill.

Bloomberg/LAT Poll: Debate Changed Few Minds

A new Bloomberg/Los Angeles Times poll finds the presidential debate “changed the preferences of few voters, reinforcing previous perceptions about the candidates’ strengths and continuing to give Sen. Barack Obama an advantage over Sen. John McCain.”

Among voters who watched Friday’s debate, Obama leads McCain, 49% to 44%. 

Key findings: “Obama scored much higher among these voters on the economy, as he did in a national poll last week, and McCain reaffirmed the perception that he is better on national security.”

Bonus Quote of the Day

“You couldn’t have written a novel with all the crazy stuff that has happened in this election… I’ve seen all the cycles of ups and downs, twists and turns.”

— Sen. Barack Obama, quoted by the Washington Post.

Obama, McCain Likely to Support Bailout Plan

“The emerging plan to rescue wounded U.S. financial markets received the tentative support of both presidential candidates and key lawmakers, as days of haggling over the $700 billion package appeared to be coming to a close,” the Wall Street Journalreports.

Said Obama: “Today, thanks to the hard work of Democrats and Republicans, it looks like we have a rescue plan that includes these taxpayer protections. And it looks like we will pass that plan very soon.”

Said McCain: “I’d like to see the details, but hopefully, yes.”

Early Voting Begins in Ohio

The Cleveland Plain Dealer: “For the first time in a presidential election, registered voters across Ohio can cast ballots early — beginning Tuesday — without giving any of the reasons required in the past. All you need to do is mail in an absentee ballot or show up in person to vote at your county Board of Elections or another site chosen by the board”

Obama’s National Lead Grows

The latest Gallup tracking poll shows Sen. Barack Obama opening up an eight point lead over Sen. John McCain, 50% to 42%. It’s “just one point shy of his strongest showing of the year.”

Meanwhile, Nate Silver reviews the national tracking polls and concludes Obama “has as large a lead in the election as he’s held all year. But there is much less time left on the clock than there was during other Obama periods of strength, such as in February, mid-June or immediately following the Democratic convention. This is a very difficult combination of circumstances for” McCain.

Was Davis Hiding Freddie Mac Payments?

Here’s more on the payments McCain campaign manager Rick Davis received from Freddie Mac:

“The McCain campaign told reporters the fees were irrelevant because Davis ‘separated from his consulting firm… in 2006,’ according to the campaign’s Web site, and he stopped drawing a salary from it. In fact, however, when Davis joined the campaign in January 2007, he asked that his $20,000-a-month salary be paid directly to Davis Manafort, two sources who asked not to be identified discussing internal campaign business told Newsweek.”

Another Poll Finds Obama Won Debate

A new USA Today/Gallup Poll shows 46% of people who watched Friday night’s presidential debate say Sen. Barack Obama did a better job than Sen. John McCain; 34% said McCain did better.

Quote of the Day

“She took over at the last minute. The last hour-and-a-half she really brought things together and made it possible to reach this point.”

— A House staffer, quoted by the Wall Street Journal, on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s role in reaching an agreement on a $700 billion bank rescue package.

CQ Politics has a good rundown of the marathon negotiations.

 

Bluegrass Poll: McConnell in Trouble in Kentucky

A new Courier-Journal Bluegrass Poll finds Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) in a dead heat with challenger Bruce Lunsford (D), 41% to 41%, among likely voters.

However, McConnell does inch ahead 45% to 44% “when undecided likely voters who were leaning toward a candidate were included into the poll results.”

Knocking off McConnell would dramatically help Democrats in reaching 60 seats in the U.S. Senate.

Said Larry Sabato: “If Lunsford is actually doing this well, its got to be because the public is so upset by the economic meltdown and may be blaming the legislative leaders. If this is true, Democrats may win a lot more seats in both the House and the Senate than people are predicting.”

Tracking Poll Update

The latest daily tracking polls all show Sen. Barack Obama moving into a clear lead over Sen. John McCain over the course of the last week.

Diageo/Hotline: Obama 48%, McCain 43% 

Gallup: Obama 49%, McCain 44% 

Rasmussen: Obama 50%, McCain 44% 

Research 2000: Obama 49%, McCain 43%

These trackers do not include the impact of the presidential debate but will serve as a useful baseline.

Debate Decoder

The Washington Post launches Debate Decoder, a very interesting tool to review the presidential debate.

Focus Groups Find Obama Won Debate

During and after the debate, Democracy Corps conducted focus groups among 45 undecided voters in St. Louis, Missouri. 

Though these voters “had an unmistakably Republican tilt,” McCain “could only manage a draw among this group. Of our 45 initial undecided voters, a quarter moved to Obama and a quarter to McCain after the debate with the rest remaining undecided. Moreover, by a 38 to 27 percent margin these voters said that Obama won this debate.”

Meanwhile, Marc Ambinder notes a finding from a Democratic strategist running another focus group: “Whenever Sen. McCain leaned on Obama for being naive and repeated the phrase ‘Sen. Obama doesn’t understand,’ the tracking lines nosedived.”

Dole Spent Little Time in North Carolina

Sen. Elizabeth Dole (R-NC) — facing a very tough re-election fight against Kay Hagan (D) — is now under fire for spending very little time in North Carolina over the last few years.

“To determine how much time Dole spent in the state, Media General News Servicereviewed six years of Senate records that document dates of trips paid for by the government, and combed through press releases from her office and reviewed North Carolina newspaper clips.”  The news service found that Dole spent only 13 days in North Carolina in 2006 and only 20 in 2005. 

New McCain Ad Uses Biden

Sen. John McCain’s campaign unveils a brutally tough ad against Sen. Barack Obama featuring a clip of Sen. Joe Biden during the Democratic primary campaign. 

The tag line: “Barack Obama. Playing politics. Risking lives. Not ready to lead.”

The ad is expected to run nationally

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Explore posts in the same categories: Candidates, National, Politics

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