POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 5/5

Quote of the Day

“I think he’s a guy who’s willing to get down into the weeds. Because he immerses himself in that and understands it so well — the positions he adopts may not always be the ones that everyone else in our conference comes to.”

— Sen. John Thune (R-SD), quoted by Politico, explaining that Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) sometimes break ranks with his GOP colleagues because he actually thinks about policy.

Kentucky Senate Race Tightens

A new Public Policy Polling survey finds the U.S. Senate race in Kentucky closer than it’s been in months, with Rand Paul (R) leading Dan Mongiardo (D) by just four points, 42% to 38%, and just edging Jack Conway (D), 41% to 40%.

If Trey Grayson (R) is the nominee, Republicans have a much better shot at holding the seat. He leads Mongiardo, 43% to 35%, and beats Conway, 42% to 34%.

Woodward’s Next Book

Bob Woodward’s much-anticipated new book on the Obama administration will be published on September 28, 2010.

Obey Calls it Quits

“In a major blow to Democrats, House Appropriations Committee Chairman David Obey (D-WI) has told close associates that he will not seek re-election,” Politicoreports.

The Wisconsin Democrat “faces tough poll numbers at home but until Tuesday night his staff had insisted he was running aggressively and had hired campaign staff.”

Specter Widens Lead in Tracking Poll

The Muhlenberg/Morning Call tracking poll in Pennsylvania shows Sen. Arlen Specter (D) leading Rep. Joe Sestak (D) in their Senate primary by eight points, 48% to 40%.

Yesterday, Specter led by just four points.

Democratic Turnout Falls Significantly

“Turnout among Dem voters dropped precipitously in 3 statewide primaries on Tuesday, giving the party more evidence that their voters lack enthusiasm ahead of midterm elections,” The Hotline notes.

“In primaries in NC, IN and OH, Dems turned out at far lower rates than they have in previous comparable elections.”

Further evidence of an enthusiasm gap: The latest weekly Gallup Poll shows 43% of Republicans are “very enthusiastic” about voting, while just 33% of Democrats feel the same way.

Conservatives Lead in Britain

The latest YouGov poll in Britain shows Conservatives leading with 35%, followed by Labour at 30% and the Liberal Democrats fading to third at 24%.

How this national poll translates into control of Parliament is anyone’s guess.

In the event that no party receives a majority of seats, The Independent offers a guide to hung parliaments.

DSCC Spends Money to Save Specter

With polls showing Rep. Joe Sestak (D) closing in on Sen. Arlen Specter (D) in their Democratic primary fight, The Hotline reports the DSCC is spending a significant amount of money to ensure Specter wins the May 18 primary.

“One source said the DSCC is using coordinated funds to help Specter keep a robust TV presence. Ads that tout Specter’s candidacy now say they are paid for by the DSCC; last week, the disclaimers on the same ads indicated Specter’s campaign had paid for them.”

Tea Partiers are Almost All Republicans

A new Washington Post/ABC News poll finds the “tea party” movement “appeals almost exclusively to supporters of the Republican Party, bolstering the view that the tea party divides the GOP even as it has energized its base.”

That conclusion also suggests that the tea party may have very little room for growth.

Majority of Utah Republicans Support Tea Party

More than half of the 3,500 Utah GOP delegates meeting in convention Saturday support the tea party states’ rights movement, a Deseret News/KSL-TV survey shows.

That’s the main reason Sen. Robert Bennett (R-UT) is in danger of losing the Republican nomination for Senate.

Marshall Favored in North Carolina Runoff

A new Public Policy Polling survey suggests Elaine Marshall (D) will begin the runoff election against Cal Cunningham (D) for the Democratic Senate nomination strongly favored.

Marshall leads Cunningham, 43% to 32%. Among supporters of the other four candidates in yesterday’s primary, 51% said they’d go for Marshall in a potential runoff to just 27% who expressed an intention to shift their support to Cunningham.

GOP Hopefuls on Fox Payroll

“Three of the top five choices in the Southern Republican Leadership Conference’s recent straw poll on favorite 2012 presidential candidates had more than one thing in common: They’re all on the Fox News Channel payroll,” the AP reports.

Obama Urges Vote for “a Democrat” in Hawaii

President Obama recorded a robocall urging Hawaii voters to choose a Democrat in the upcoming special House election, as Democrats grow increasingly alarmed that Charles Djou (R) could win the seat, the Honolulu Advertiser reports.

The only problem? There are two Democrats splitting the vote in the three way race — Ed Case (D) and Colleen Hanabusa (D) — and Obama doesn’t specify which one he prefers.

Ben Smith: “The call is also a mark of how handcuffed Democrats are in a race that features two Democratic candidates and one Republican. Obama hasn’t officially endorsed either — though the White House considers former Rep. Ed Case the stronger of the two — and the robocall merely encourages a ‘crucial’ vote for ‘a Democrat’ for help with ‘our agenda for change.'”

The special election is on May 22.

Internal Poll Shows Critz Leading Burns in Special Election

Mark Critz (D) “has captured a burst of momentum” in special election to succeed the late Rep. John Murtha (D-PA), according to his own internal polling, Politicoreports.

Critz now leads Tim Burns (R) by eight points, 44% to 36%.

However, Critz’s poll “runs counter to the results from several other recent public polls” which show Burns leading.

The special election is on May 18.

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