POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 7/29

Poll Suggests Romanoff is Closing on Bennet

Zata3 poll in Colorado shows Andrew Romanoff (D) is within striking distance of Sen. Michael Bennet (D) in the Democratic primary for U.S. Senate. Bennet leads 44% to 40%.

Colorado Pols: “But what Zata3 does not normally do is polling. That doesn’t mean that they definitely don’t have these numbers correct, but they are not a polling firm. You hire Zata3 to do persuasion phone calls or text messaging — not polling — just like you wouldn’t normally hire a polling firm to do your direct mail. This is no knock on Zata3, it’s just that it seems odd that you wouldn’t use a professional polling firm if you wanted real polling results.”

Opposition to Health Care Law Declining

The latest Kaiser tracking poll finds opposition to the landmark health care law signed into law by President Obama in March has declined over the past month, from 41% to 35%.

Meanwhile, 50% held a favorable view of the law, up slightly from 48% a month ago, and the highest level since the legislation was enacted.

Blagojevich Jury Begins Deliberations

A jury began deciding the fate of former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich yesterday, theChicago Tribune reports.

“There is, of course, no way to tell how long the jury may take to reach a verdict. But the task before them is considerable: Blagojevich faces 24 counts of corruption, and there is a second defendant, Blagojevich’s brother, Robert, who is charged with four counts. Over the past two months, dozens of undercover recordings were played in court and several former close advisers to the ex-governor were among 27 witnesses to testify for the government.”

Jack Bohrer: “But there were no bags of cash. Nobody got shoved up against a wall and had his pockets turned out. The government caught the Blagos talking deals on the phone, but in politics, that’s what you do. Hell, in any business, that’s what you do. And the prosecution has failed to show that the Blagojeviches did anything more than shoot the breeze. And when they even thought about doing more than that (and all the prosecution has proved are that they had those thoughts), their Ivy League lawyers assured them it was kosher — no crime to plot, only to act.”

Boxer Beating Fiorina for U.S. Senate

A new Public Policy Institute of California poll finds Sen. Barbara Boxer (R) leads challenger Carly Fiorina (R), 39% to 34%, with 22% undecided.

Brown Leads Whitman for Governor

A new Public Policy Institute of California poll shows Jerry Brown (D) leads Meg Whitman (R) in the race for governor, 37% to 34%, with 23% undecided.

Despite spending more than $100 million on her campaign so far, Whitman has barely moved the race.

Outsiders Lead in Florida Primaries

A new Quinnipiac poll in Florida shows two businessmen without previous political experience have completely changed the dynamics of the gubernatorial and Senate races in the final few weeks.

In the Republican race for governor, Rick Scott (R) leads Bill McCollum (R), 43% to 32%, with another 23% undecided.

In the Democratic race for the U.S. Senate nomination, Jeff Greene (D) has jumped in front of Rep. Kendrick Meek (D), 33% to 23%, with 35% undecided.

Said pollster Peter Brown: “If there was any doubt that enough money can make a political unknown into a front-runner, the Democratic Senate primary and the Republican primary for governor should lay them to rest. Both Greene and Scott have come from nowhere to hold double-digit leads with just a little more than three weeks until the voting.”

Chandler Leads in KY-6

A new Braun Research poll in Kentucky’s 6th congressional district finds Rep. Ben Chandler (D) with a 14-point lead over challenger Andy Barr (R),46% to 32%, with another 21% undecided.

New Hampshire U.S. Senate Race Tightens

A new WMUR Granite State Poll shows Kelly Ayotte (R) still holds an 8-point lead over Rep. Paul Hodes (D) for U.S. Senate, 45% to 37%, but that’s a slide from the 15-point edge she held in April.

Ayotte has seen her favorability drop slightly from 38% in April to 36% now. But her unfavorable rating has more than doubled to 27% since April.

The Democratic Message

Marc Ambinder argues that the Democratic message strategy for the midterm elections “just sort of came along, thanks to the Tea Party movement, which has invited into politics hecklers and cranks and fairly fringe candidates who are currently hurting the Republican Party in several key states.”

The message: “The Republicans want to be mayors of crazy-town. They’ve embraced a fringe and proto-racist isolationist and ignorant conservative populism that has no solutions for fixing anything and the collective intelligence of a wine flask. This IS offensive and over the top, and the more Democrats repeat it, and the more dumb things some Republican candidates do, the more generally conservative voters who might be thinking a sending a message to Democrats by voting for a Republican will be reminded that the replacement party is even more loony than the party that can’t tie its shoes. This is a strategy of delegitimization, not affirmation. It is how you reduce independent turnout.”

Jail Recordings Reveal Bewildered Greer

On the day Florida Republican chair Jim Greer was jailed for alleged fraud, recordings of his phone calls from jail “reveal a bewildered Greer, who had garnered a reputation as a high-rolling party boss. In jail, Greer often didn’t know the time, had little clue about the specific charges against him and acknowledged that jail was tough,” the St. Petersburg Times reports.

Greer’s wife also gave him some advice.

Said Lisa Greer: “Now listen, there’s going to be press all over this. So you smile. You hold your head up high. And don’t walk in there like a beaten down dog, you hear?”

More Negative Ads This Year

The Washington Post notes that during every election cycle “the tone of campaign rhetoric seems to grow sharper and more personal. But a 2010 calendar frontloaded with contested primaries, combined with scores of vulnerable incumbents and both sides playing the role of underdog, means there’s an extra dash of hot sauce this year.”

Said ad tracker Evan Tracey: “We always say this is the most negative cycle, but 2010 probably will be it. The national issues are huge, and both parties hold the view that you have to blow up your opponent.”

Will Bush Memoir Will Hurt Republicans?

Former Bush speechwriter Matt Latimer says many Republicans are “increasingly anxious” about the impact of the former President’s upcoming memoir, Decision Points.

Some Republicans, “particularly those most closely tied to the Bush regime, actually argue the book could help the party by reminding some voters of what they liked about Bush. Still, that has not stopped some Republicans, traumatized over the last two election cycles, from fearing the worst.”

Latimer notes “there is nothing that the Obama administration would like more than to re-lasso the GOP to the Bush years and, the Obama White House hopes, remind the country of why they turned to the Democrats in the first place.”

The book doesn’t come out until a week after the midterm elections, but many expect leaks from early copies ahead of actual voting.

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