POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 1/19

Cuomo Dominates, Paterson Ties

A new Siena poll in New York finds Andrew Cuomo (D) leading two potential Republican candidates by 42 points in the race for governor. Cuomo — who has yet to formally enter the race — leads Rick Lazio (R) 66% to 24%, and Chris Collins (R) and 65% to 23%.

In contrast, embattled incumbent Gov. David Paterson (D) is tied with both Lazio, 42% to 42%, and Collins, 40% to 40%.

A Little Context

Ezra Klein: “If Scott Brown wins today, Democrats go from having the largest Senate majority since the 1970s to… the second largest Senate majority since the 1970s. They go from 60 votes for health-care reform to 59. Republicans haven’t had a majority this large in generations.”

Andrew Sullivan: “The FNC/RNC machine will describe it as a crushing referendum on health insurance reform and Obama, period. The trouble with this analysis is that Scott Brown has actually supported a near carbon copy of the Obama plan on a state level, and his opposition to the Senate bill is primarily that Massachusetts already has universal health insurance, so what’s in it for his state?”

Everyone is a Pollster

Mark Blumenthal notes that two automated polling outfits will soon offer the ability for anyone to conduct a poll for less than $1000.

“Scott Rasmussen will soon launch a new venture, Pulse Opinion Research, that will allow anyone willing to pay $600 to go to the website, type in their credit card number, and run any poll that they wanted, with any language that they want…”

“That news coincided with the launch of Precision Polling, a self-service Web site that allows anyone to enter their own questions, call a toll-free number and record the questions in their own voice, submit a list of telephone numbers and start dialing at a cost of 10 cents per call.”

Senate Holds Delay Confirmations

Foreign Policy: “One year into the Bush administration, there were 70 appointees awaiting confirmation. One year into the Obama administration, there are 177.”

Edwards Popularity Sinks Further

In the wake of new revelations about him in the book Game Change, a new Public Policy Polling survey finds that John Edwards has seen his popularity in North Carolina plummet so that just 15% now have a favorable opinion of him.

Edwards is the most unpopular person ever found by the firm.

Ensign Investigated

Jon Ralston emails that the Justice Department has begun an investigation into Sen. John Ensign’s (R-NV) sex scandal and the payments made to his mistress and her family.

High Turnout Predicted in Massachusetts

Massachusetts Secretary of State William Galvin told WBZ-TV he expects about 40-percent of voters to turn out for the special election.

“Galvin said about 800,000 came out for the primaries and he believes that should double to 1.6 million based on the intense interest in this campaign.”

Most Don’t Want Palin to Run

A new CBS News poll finds that 71% of Americans do not want Sarah Palin (R) to run for president, while just 21% say they want her to run.

Even within her own party, 56% of Republicans do not want her to run in 2012, compared to 30% that do.

Final Polls Show Clear Brown Lead

Charles Franklin crunches the numbers and notes the final aggregation of polls in Massachusetts show a solid lead for Scott Brown (R) over Martha Coakley (D) in the U.S. Senate race.

“The caveats are that turnout may yet matter, for either side. Reps enjoy an enthusiasm advantage, according to the polls, but Dems might yet mobilize their voters beyond what the polling suggests. And there is the unknown of the GOTV efforts on Tuesday.”

Voinovich Gets Meeting with Obama

President Obama will meet today in the Oval Office with Sen. George Voinovich (R-OH), Roll Call reports.

“The meeting with Voinovich could be a sign that as Democrats face the possibility of losing a Senate seat in Massachusetts Tuesday, the White House has begun trolling for a Republican vote to preserve its 60-vote filibuster-proof tally for the health care reform bill.”

What to Watch in Massachusetts

Politico has a very good piece on the five things to watch tonight as election returns come in from Massachusetts.

1. Look at the South Shore as a proxy for the the working class vote that Scott Brown has successfully courted.

2. Watch for signs of life from the Democratic machine and in particular voter turnout in Boston and Cambridge.

3. Pay attention to the Boston suburbs which helped several Republicans win the governorship in the highly Democratic state.

4. Look at the female vote to see if they come out for Martha Coakley in significant numbers to make her the first woman senator from the state.

5. Check for signs that Vicki Kennedy’s late endorsement for Coakley will help drive up Democratic turnout.

Wesley Clark Considering Bid?

Talk Business: “There is chatter in Democratic circles about possible interest from Wesley Clark as a candidate for retiring Democrat Vic Snyder’s congressional seat… A credible source says that an internal discussion is taking place, and that Clark is giving it serious consideration.”

Democrats Lead for Hawaii Governor

A new Mason Dixon poll in Hawaii finds Democrats leading in the gubernatorial race.

Neil Abercrombie (D) leads Duke Aiona (R), 43% to 34%. Mufi Hannemann (D) also beats Aiona, 41% to 35%.

In the Democratic primary, Abercrombie barely edges Hannemann, 37% to 34%.

No Fear Factor

Jeff Greenfield: “Put bluntly, who’s afraid of Barack Obama? Who in the political arena frets over what might happen if he or she crosses the president? After the 2008 election, much was written about Mr. Obama’s massive social network — the millions or people tied to him through Facebook, Twitter, e-mail — ready to be mobilized on behalf of his agenda.”

“If there is any evidence that this army, now under the ‘Organizing for America’ umbrella, has had any impact on any wavering Democrat, it’s harder to find than those weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.”

Quote of the Day

“I think you can make a pretty good argument that health care might be dead.”

— Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY), in an interview on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, on the status of health care reform legislation if Republicans win today’s special election in Massachusetts.

As an important aside, Weiner’s website says he will oppose the final health care bill unless “it represents a genuine improvement on the Senate bill.”

Case Leads Race for Abercrombie’s Seat

A new Mason-Dixon poll finds former Rep. Ed Case (D-HI) holds an early lead in the soon-to-be-declared special election for Rep. Neil Abercrombie’s (D-HI) seat.

Case leads with 37% of the vote, followed by Colleen Hanabusa (D) with 25% and Charles Djou (R) with 17%.

Abercrombie, who is running for governor, will vacate his seat on February 28.

Getting Out the Vote

Polls are open in Massachusetts from 7 am to 8 pm ET for the special U.S. Senate election pitting Martha Coakley (D) against Scott Brown (R).

The weather forecast isn’t great for mobilizing voters in the state as it’s cold and wet with the possibility of freezing rain and sleet.

Nelson’s Approval Sinks in Nebraska

The battle over health care reform “has taken its toll” on Sen. Ben Nelson’s (D-NE) political well-being, a new Omaha World-Herald Poll finds.

Nelson’s approval rating is now down to 42%. By comparison, Sen. Mike Johanns (R-NE), who voted against the bill, had a 63% job-approval rating.

Obama Plans Combative Response

President Obama “plans a combative response if, as White House aides fear, Democrats lose Tuesday’s special Senate election in Massachusetts,” reportsPolitico.

Said one senior administration official: “This is not a moment that causes the president or anybody who works for him to express any doubt. It more reinforces the conviction to fight hard.”

“Whatever words Obama chooses, however, will have trouble masking the substantive reality: A Massachusetts embarrassment would strongly increase the pressure Obama was already facing to retreat or slow down the ‘big bang’ agenda he laid out a year ago.”

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