POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 9/23

Another Poll Shows Cuomo Lead Shrinking

A new SurveyUSA poll in New York finds Andrew Cuomo (D) leads Carl Paladino in the race for governor by just nine points, 49% to 40%.

The results are similar to a Quinnipiac poll released earlier  which found Paladino just six points behind Cuomo.

The Pledge to America

The full text of the House Republicans’ “Pledge to America” has been released and will be formally unveiled Thursday.

From the introduction: “The need for urgent action to repair our economy and reclaim our government for the people cannot be overstated. With this document, we pledge to dedicate ourselves to the task of reconnecting our highest aspirations to the permanent truths of our founding by keeping faith with the values our nation was founded on, the principles we stand for, and the priorities of our people. This is our Pledge to America.”

See more…

The Investigation Agenda

Former President Bill Clinton warned that House Republicans would launch “two years of unrelenting investigations” if they took control of the House. Today, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) has apparently tipped his party’s hand in a new document.

Dave Weigel: “There are two lists: One of oversight totally neglected by Democrats, one of hearings requested by Republicans that never happened. The first list: federal agency performance management, federal emergency management, federal IT systems, federal financial management, the Presidential Records Act, ACORN, Countrywide, food safety, stimulus spending, the SEC, TARP, and “the independence of inspectors general.’ The second list: Food Safety, Homeland Security, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, Health care reform oversight, stimulus spending, the Minerals Management Service, and Climategate (which Issa’s staff calls ‘Politicization of Science’).”

Toomey Stays in Front in Pennsylvania

A new CNN/Time/Opinion Research poll in Pennsylvania shows Pat Toomey (R) is also ahead of Rep. Joe Sestak (D) among likely voters for U.S. Senate, 49% to 44%.

Said pollster Keating Holland: “The key to Sestak’s low numbers may be his showing in the Philadelphia suburbs. That’s his home territory, but he’s currently pulling only 46 percent in that region compared to 48 percent for Toomey. In addition, among the ten states that CNN has surveyed so far, Sestak is the only Democratic candidate in a two-person Senate race who does not have an edge among women.”

Feingold Trailing in Re-Election Bid

A new CNN/Time/Opinion Research poll in Wisconsin finds Ron Johnson (R) ahead of Sen. Russ Feingold (D) for U.S. Senate among likely voters, 51% to 45%.

Key findings: “Both candidates have solidified their bases, with 94 percent of Democrats and Republicans lining up behind their respective nominees, but Johnson holds a commanding 21-point lead among independent voters. What’s more, just two percent of voters are undecided about their vote, leaving Feingold little wiggle room to re-capture a lead.”

Buck Leads in Colorado

A new CNN/Time/Opinion Research poll in Colorado shows Ken Buck (R) leading Sen. Michael Bennet (D) for U.S. Senate by five points among likely voters, 49% to 44%.

Said pollster Keating Holland: “Bennet’s problem is that his support disappears the further you get from Denver. Bennet has a huge lead in Denver and Boulder, but the race is close in the Denver suburbs. Move further along the Front Range – the strip of fast-growing communities that strech out along the eastern edge of the Rocky Mountains – and Buck’s lead widens to 18 points. Buck also has a 20-point lead in the rest of the state.”

Another Poll Shows O’Donnell Trailing Badly

A new CNN/Time/Opinion Research poll in Delaware finds Chris Coons (D) leading Christine O’Donnell (R) by double-digits in the U.S. Senate race, 55% to 39%.

If Rep. Mike Castle were the Republican nominee, he would lead Coons, 55% to 37%.

Explained pollster Keating Holland: “Castle would have had a significant ideological and geographical advantage over O’Donnell. Castle would have had a 24-point lead among independents, but O’Donnell appears to have a seven-point deficit among them. Castle would have also had a 19-point edge in New Castle County, the most populous part of the state, but O’Donnell is losing that key region by 18 points.”

Mental Health Break

According to a new poll, “nearly 20% of U.S. citizens now believe Barack Obama is a cactus, the most Americans to identify the president as a water-retaining desert plant since he took office.”

“The poll, conducted by the Pew Research Center, found a sharp rise in the number of Americans who say they firmly believe Obama was either born a cactus, became a cactus during his youth, or has questionable links to the Cactaceae family.”

Boozman Maintains Solid Lead in Arkansas

A new Reuters/Ipsos poll in Arkansas shows Rep. John Boozman (R) leading Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D) by 14 points in the race for U.S. Senate among likely voters, 53% to 39%.

Said pollster Julia Clark: “At this moment, Boozman is the pretty easy winner. Lincoln is certainly fighting for her political life.”

Angle Explains the Power of Conservative Media

The Las Vegas Sun has a recording of Nevada U.S. Senate candidate Sharron Angle (R) at a house party explaining the power of conservative media.

Said Angle: “Here’s the deal: when I get a friendly press outlet — not so much the guy that’s interviewing me — it’s their audience that I’m trying to reach. So, if I can get on Rush Limbaugh, and I can say, ‘Harry Reid needs $25 million. I need a million people to send twenty five dollars to SharronAngle.com.’ The day I was able to say that [even], he made $236,000 dollars. That’s why it’s so important. Somebody… I’m going on Bill O’Reilly the 16th. They say, ‘Bill O’Reilly, you better watch out for that guy, he’s not necessarily a friendly’… Doesn’t matter, his audience is friendly, and if I can get an opportunity to say that at least once on his show — when I said it on Sean Hannity’s television show we made $40,000 before we even got out of the studio in New York.”

Boiling Mad

In the mail: Boiling Mad: Inside Tea Party America by Kate Zernike.

The book is billed as “the first and only definitive account of who the Tea Partiers are, where they came from, what they stand for, and what they mean for the future of American politics.”

Measuring the Enthusiasm Gap

A new McClatchy-Marist Poll finds Republican voters are more excited about their vote than are Democratic voters.

Key findings: “46% of Republican voters compared with 30% of Democrats are very enthusiastic about voting in the upcoming midterm elections. 23% of independent voters also express a high level of enthusiasm.”

“The oldest members of the national electorate are more enthusiastic than the youngest members.  43% of voters 60 and older, compared with 16% of those younger than 30, are very enthusiastic about casting their ballot in November.”

Time for Democrats to Run Against Sarah Palin?

Public Policy Polling looks at undecided voters nationally and finds they are “pretty ambivalent” when it comes to their feelings about President Obama: 44% of them approve and 44% disapprove. However, when it comes to Sarah Palin a stunning 65% have an unfavorable opinion while just 17% who see her in a positive light.

“The group of folks who haven’t made up their minds yet is 14% Democrats, 21% Republicans, and 65% independents. They’re not really sold on the President but they know they don’t like Sarah Palin- making the Republican Party the Palin Party could help push Democratic candidates across the finish line in a lot of this year’s close races.”

Bonus Quote of the Day

“Republicans constantly claim to be the party that defends the Constitution. We have no legitimate right to that claim until we get right on gay rights.”

— GOP strategist Mark McKinnon, writing for the Daily Beast in the wake of yesterday’s successful effort by Senate Republicans to block repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”

Not a Fan of Holbrooke

The best leaked quote from Bob Woodward’s new book, Obama’s Wars, is Vice President Joe Biden calling special envoy Richard Holbrooke “the most egotistical bastard I’ve ever met.”

Otter and Crapo Look Safe in Idaho

A new Mason-Dixon poll in Idaho finds Gov. Butch Otter (R) with a solid lead over challenger Keith Allred (D), 45% to 29% with 20% still undecided.

While most candidates would love a 16 point lead, it looks small in comparison to the U.S. Senate race where Sen. Mike Crapo (R) is crushing challenger Tom Sullivan (R), 61% to 17%.

Caprio Leads Three Way Race in Rhode Island

A new Quest poll in Rhode Island finds Frank Caprio (D) leading the race for governor with 36%, followed by Lincoln Chafee (I) at 24% and John Robitaille (R) at 13%.

Not Even Close in Tennessee

A new Crawford Johnson and Northcott poll in Tennessee shows Bill Haslam (R) with a huge lead over Mike McWherter (D) in the race for governor, 55% to 24% with 19% still undecided.

Emanuel May Leave Within Weeks

White House aides are preparing for the possibility that Rahm Emanuel “may step down as chief of staff as soon as early October if he decides to run for mayor of Chicago,” Time reports.

“One issue hastening the timing of Emanuel’s departure is concern over whether he can build a campaign operation while holding down the second most powerful job in the Federal Government. If he chooses to go forward with the mayoral race, Emanuel intends to be sensitive to the fact that his dual role could create the appearance of using his government office to his personal advantage, say two people familiar with internal deliberations.”

Quote of the Day

“Who didn’t do some questionable things in high school, and who doesn’t regret the ’80s, to some extent? I certainly do, and I most certainly regret bringing it up to Bill Maher.”

— Delaware U.S. Senate candidate Christine O’Donnell (R), in an interview with Fox News, on “dabbling” in witchcraft when she was younger.

Following the Money

“Republicans enter the final six weeks of the election with a political wind at their back and opportunities for victory across the country, yet several state parties are at a severe financial disadvantage with Democrats, raising questions about whether Republicans can fully capitalize on a favorable climate,” the New York Times reports.

“At this point in previous campaign cycles, a large check has usually been in the mail from the Republican National Committee to help pay for the ground game. But this year, the party cannot afford to execute a robust voter turnout program, which could make a difference in tight races where Democrats hold a financial and organizational advantage.”

However, according to an internal Democratic spreadsheet obtained by Politico, “there is a canyon-size gap between the two parties right now when it comes to spending by outside groups. As of Monday, pro-Republican third-party organizations had paid for a total of $23.6 million worth of ads, while Democratic-aligned groups had spent just $4.8 million on TV.”

Palin Looks Like a Candidate in New Video

Sarah Palin’s political action committee released a video “that makes it hard not to believe that she is making a 2012 run for the American presidency, or least seriously testing the waters wrapped in the Tea Party flag,” CBS News reports.

“The video is a highly produced campaign ad for the Tea Party movement. The one minute, 20 second video shows images of Palin giving speeches to large crowds, proclaiming that the Tea Party is ‘the future of politics,’ with ‘real people, not politicos’ speaking out for ‘common sense conservative principles.'”

“The video leaves no doubt as to who is the leader of the Tea Party and the person trying to remake the Republican party as well.”

See more…

Paladino Within Striking Distance of Cuomo

A new Quinnipiac poll in New York finds Andrew Cuomo (D) leading Carl Paladino (R) by just six points among likely voters in the race for governor, 49% to 43%.

Said pollster Maurice Carroll: “The question was whether Carl Paladino would get a bounce from his big Republican primary victory. The answer is yes. He’s within shouting distance and — you can count on it — he will be shouting. Andrew Cuomo might be a victim of his own excess. Politicians and polls have depicted him so relentlessly as a sure thing that he might be a victim of the ‘throw the bums out’ attitude that hits incumbents in this angry year.”

Toomey Keeps Lead in Pennsylvania

A new Quinnipiac poll in Pennsylvania shows Pat Toomey (R) now leads Rep. Joe Sestak (D) by seven points among likely voters in the race for U.S. Senate, 50% to 43%.

Said pollster Peter Brown: “Toomey’s lead among independents is why he is ahead. With only 7% of the likely voters undecided and another 14% who are for a candidate saying they might change their mind, the battle for the Senate seat appears likely to come down to a relatively small number of voters and in the final weeks expect the campaigns to target their messages for those undecided and softly committed voters.”

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