POLITICAL WIRES – 10/7

More Subpoenas Issued in Edwards Investigation

“A federal grand jury in Raleigh has issued a number of new subpoenas in its investigation of two-time Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards,” WRAL-TV reports.

“The grand jury has been investigating for more than a year whether any money from the Edwards campaign was used illegally to hide his affair with Rielle Hunter.”

Ben Smith: “It isn’t totally clear what charges they’d pursue, but they’re likely connected to disclosure. A lawyer points out to me that hush money, properly reported, would probably be legal.”

Nearly Half View Palin Unfavorably

A new CBS News poll finds Sarah Palin is viewed unfavorably by 48% of Americans.

She is viewed favorably by just 22% — including just 44% of Republicans, 21% of independents and 6% of Democrats.

Bonus Quote of the Day

“Running for president is like having sex: you don’t do it once and forget about it. It has a high, high recidivism rate.”

— James Carville, quoted by Politico, on the possibility of Hillary Clinton running for president again in 2016.

Blumenthal Still Up by Double-Digits

A new CNN/Time/Opinion Research survey in Connecticut finds Richard Blumenthal (D) leading Linda McMahon (R) by double digits among likely voters, 54% to 41%.

In the gubernatorial race, Dan Malloy (D) leads Tom Foley (R), 50% to 42%.

Blunt Holds Wide Lead Over Carnahan

A new CNN/Time/Opinion Research poll in Missouri shows Roy Blunt (R) with a double digit lead over Robin Carnahan (D) in U.S. Senate race, 53% to 40%.

Explains pollster Keating Holland: “Blunt is achieving what many Republicans can only wish for – he has nearly a majority of the women’s vote in Missouri. Among women it’s 49% for Blunt and just 44% for Carnahan. That’s bad news for any Democrat, but for a Democratic woman, it’s a major problem.”

Angle Edges Reid in New Poll

A new CNN/Time/Opinion Research poll in Nevada shows Sharron Angle (R) leading Sen. Harry Reid (D) in the race for U.S. Senate, 42% to 40%, with 7% for Scott Ashjian with 10% planning to vote for “none of the above.”

Said pollster Keating Holland: “It’s a two-point race with Ashjian on the ballot, but it’s also a two-point race when voters are asked a hypothetical question about a race with only Reid and Angle’s name on the ballot. That suggests that Ashjian is pulling his support about evenly from both sides, rather than taking most of his support from the Republican. Only about one in ten supporters of the Tea Party movement choose Ashjian in the three-way race.”

Another Poll Shows Tight South Carolina Race

A new Hamilton Campaigns (D) poll in South Carolina shows Nikki Haley (R) with a five point lead over Vincent Sheheen (D) in the race for governor, 49% to 44% with 7% still undecided.

poll last week found Haley leading by just four points.

Sestak Ties Toomey to Palin and Santorum

Rep. Joe Sestak (D-PA) is out with a tough new ad in which he uses Toomey’s own words to liken him to Sarah Palin and former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA).

See more…

Quote of the Day

“But it turns out we’d gotten our wires crossed and Joe hadn’t said anything like what I’d been told. So there’s no story here except the fact that the press put our personal emails online again, and again couldn’t even be bothered to conceal our email addresses or take any steps to protect our privacy.”

— Todd Palin, in a statement to the Weekly Standard, about his leaked emails to Alaska U.S. Senate candidate Joe Miller (R).

Explaining the Enthusiasm Gap

Nate Silver: “The enthusiasm gap has more to do with abnormally high levels of Republican interest in the election than with despondent Democrats… stories that cite the enthusiasm gap as evidence of malaise among the Democratic base are probably miswritten. Such stories may conflate the priorities of certain subsections of the Democrats’ broad constituency — or of some especially vocal activists — with those of Democratic voters writ large, most of whom are focused on the poor economy and the government’s efforts to respond to it, as voters of all political persuasions are. Such analyses may also ignore the history of midterm elections, which suggest that Democrats usually do suffer from an ‘enthusiasm gap’ of some kind. Finally, they may be burying the lead, which is the unprecedented level of political engagement by Republicans this year.”

Malloy Leads in Connecticut

A new Public Policy Polling survey in Connecticut finds Dan Malloy (D) leads Tom Foley (R) by 10 points in the race for governor, 50% to 40%.

Key findings: “The formula for a Republican to win in Connecticut is three fold: 1) get virtually all of the Republican vote, 2) get a fair amount of crossover support from Democrats, and 3) post a big lead with independents. Right now Foley is doing none of those things.”

October Surprise for Democrats?

In a new strategy memo, Democratic strategists James Carville and Stan Greenberg see a possible Democratic surge in the last month before the midterm elections.

“This is not a fool’s errand. In the 1998 election, we conducted national polls starting in September to see if Democrats could push back against the Republican overreach on Ken Starr and impeachment, as Democrats faced the prospect of historic losses in both the House and Senate. Only two weeks before the election did the plates shift and a Democratic counter-message on impeachment became effective in our polls. In the end, Democrats lost no net seats in Senate, gained five House seats and Newt Gingrich resigned.”

See more…

Democrats’ Secret Weapon in 2012: Marijuana?

The Wall Street Journal reports that Democratic strategists “are studying a California marijuana-legalization initiative to see if similar ballot measures could energize young, liberal voters in swing states for the 2012 presidential election.”

“Democratic strategists liken the marijuana effort to the 2004 ballot drives to ban gay marriage in Ohio and 10 other states. Whether those measures helped then-President George W. Bush win that year remains a point of debate, as turnout was high even in states without the issue on the ballot. But many conservatives say the measure drove thousands to the polls in Ohio, the election’s central battleground, where Mr. Bush won by just two percentage points, or about 118,000 votes.”

“Now, some Democratic strategists say marijuana legalization could do the same for their party.”

Gillibrand Leads by Double-Digits

A new Public Policy Polling survey in New York finds Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D) leads challenger Joe DioGuardi (R) by ten points in the U.S. Senate race, 50% to 40%.

Meanwhile, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) leads his re-election race against Jay Townsend (R) by a huge margin, 59% to 37%.

Abercrombie Holds Slim Lead in Hawaii

A new DailyKos/Public Policy Polling survey in Hawaii shows Neil Abercrombie (D) barely leading Duke Aiona (R) in the race for governor, 49% to 47%.

Interesting: “As with most midterm contests, this race is going to come down to turnout. If turnout were like it was in 2008, the race wouldn’t be close — Abercrombie would be ahead by double-digits, 56% to 40%.”

Two Big Negatives for Candidates

An interesting new Pew Research survey finds two factors have emerged as major potential negatives for candidates during the midterm elections: “Fully 46% say they would be less likely to vote for a candidate who supported government loans to banks during the financial crisis two years ago, while nearly as many (42%) say they would be less likely to vote for a candidate backed by Sarah Palin.”

White House Denies Obama-Clinton Ticket

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs denied the red-hot speculation, fueled by Bob Woodward in a CNN interview, that President Obama may ask Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to be his running mate in 2012.

Said Gibbs: “No one in the White House is discussing this as a possibility.”

CNN also asked Clinton, who responded, “I don’t believe what I read. I have absolutely no interest and no reason for doing anything other than just dismissing these stories and moving on.”

The Coakley Lesson

First Read: “Here’s something worth paying attention to: the DSCC is advertising in Connecticut (despite the fact that Dick Blumenthal is leading), and the NRSC is now upping its advertising in Kentucky (even though Rand Paul is ahead). A theory why this is occurring — the parties are fearful of screwing up these races. Call it the Martha Coakley lesson.”

Spitzer’s Show Bombs

Variety: “Eliot Spitzer might want to reconsider politics. The former New York governor’s CNN talkshow Parker Spitzer opened poorly Monday with only 454,000 viewers in the 8 o’clock slot. That trailed the 3.1 million for Fox News’ The O’Reilly Factor and 1.1 million for MSNBC’s Countdown With Keith Olbermann.”

Palin Didn’t Like McCain’s Book

As she ends her book tour for Dirty Sexy PoliticsMeghan McCain says she was exasperated that the media “only focused on Sarah Palin. In every interview and review it was all Sarah all the time.”

She also notes that Palin “made it known to me, via an email to a third party, that she was not pleased with me or what I wrote in my book.”

Coons Holds Huge Lead in Delaware

A new University of Delaware poll shows Chris Coons (D) with a commanding lead over Christine O’Donnell (R) for U.S. Senate, 49% to 30%. With leaners included in the results, Coons’ lead expands to 61% to 37%.

A new Fairleigh Dickinson poll shows Coons leading O’Donnell, 53% to 36%.

Whitman Trails Despite Spending $140 Million

Meg Whitman (R) has now spent a record $140 million through the end of September to become California governor, according to the Sacramento Bee, but she’s now running behind rival Jerry Brown (D) in most polls. In a new polling memo, Whitman’s own pollster suggests the race is at best tied among likely voters.

First Read: “The race for governor has basically changed in a blink of an eye (in this case a week). For most of this cycle, Republicans have been bullish on Meg Whitman’s chances — due to her personal wealth, her business success at eBay, and her sophisticated (and expensive) campaign team. And she had a slight lead at summer’s end. But in a political environment benefiting almost every Republican, Whitman now finds herself in serious trouble…. The biggest problem for Whitman — beyond her handling of the housekeeper/nanny story — is that she can no longer spend her way out of the hole.”

Who is a Likely Voter?

In a must-read piece, Mark Blumenthal notes the enormous variation in polls of registered voters and “likely voters” and wonders “Does anyone know what the heck a likely voter is anymore?”

“That question is arguably the most important polling story of the year. The answer is not obvious, but the basic issue is simple. There were roughly 213 million eligible adults in 2008, but only about 68% of those adults told the U.S. Census that they were registered to vote and only 62% turned out to vote (up from 60% in 2004). More important, turnout is typically much lower in midterm elections. The turnout among eligible adults was 40% in both 2006 and 2002.”

“So conceptually, this is a simple problem: It doesn’t make sense to interview a sample that represents all registered voters, when somewhere between a third and half of those who say they are registered voters will not vote. The hard part is figuring out who the true ‘likely voters’ really are.”

Still Tight for Florida Governor

A new TCPalm/Zogby poll in Florida shows Alex Sink (D) edging Rick Scott (R) in the race for governor, 41% to 39% with 15% still undecided.

Schwarzenegger Says Obama Will Be Re-Elected

In an interview with Der Spiegel, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) predicts President Obama will likely get re-elected. The Republicans, he argues, are incapable at the moment of finding a viable candidate.

“If Obama’s Democrats lose their current majority in the House of Representatives — a development expected by many — Schwarzenegger says it could actually provide a boost to the US president’s prospects for re-election.”

Said Schwarzenegger: “Obama can watch this casually, knowing that afterwards he will be in a much better position.”

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