POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 10/12

Anger on Economy Fuels Republican Advantage

A new ABC News/Yahoo! News poll finds 85% of Americans are either angry about the economy or at least dissatisfied with it.

Key finding: “What’s crucial is not just the net total, but the ‘anger’ number — 25% of all adults in this survey, with broad political differences. Among registered voters, just 12% of Democrats are angry about the economy. That jumps to 30% of independents, and among Republicans it soars to a remarkable 41% — an extraordinary number to express so strong an emotion.”

Democrats Begin Triage Strategy

As Republicans made new investments in at least 10 House races across the country, the New York Times reports Democratic leaders “took steps to pull out of some races entirely or significantly cut their financial commitment in several districts that the party won in the last two election cycles.”

“The strategic decisions unfolded at a feverish pace on Monday over an unusually wide playing field of nearly 75 Congressional districts, including here in Ohio, a main battleground in the fight for the House and the Senate. The developments resembled pieces being moved on a giant chess board, with Republicans trying to keep Democrats on the defensive in as many places as possible, while outside groups provided substantial reinforcements for Republicans”

Republicans Still Very Unpopular

A new Bloomberg Poll finds that voters aren’t embracing Republicans as much as they are rejecting Democrats.

“The poll finds Republicans in an anomalous position — poised to make political gains while the party and its policies are unpopular. That stands in contrast to midterm elections in 1994 and 2006, when the insurgent party gained congressional control after polls showed voter attitudes tilting toward them.”

Key finding: 49% of likely voters said they had an unfavorable view of the Republicans, while 45% have an unfavorable view of Democrats.

Said pollster Ann Selzer: “People are insecure. Their own money is tight and the current administration has not convinced them the nation will not go broke from big spending programs. That insecurity does not translate into trust for Republicans, however.”

Wall Street Pay to Set New Record

The Wall Street Journal reports that Wall Street compensation is on pace to break a record high for a second consecutive year.

“About three dozen of the top publicly held securities and investment-services firms — which include banks, investment banks, hedge funds, money-management firms and securities exchanges — are set to pay $144 billion in compensation and benefits this year, a 4% increase from the $139 billion paid out in 2009, according to the survey. Compensation was expected to rise at 26 of the 35 firms.”

 

Toss Up for Florida Governor

A new Quinnipiac poll in Florida shows Rick Scott (R) barely edging Alex Sink (D) in the race for governor, 45% to 44%.

Said pollster Peter Brown: “In the last two weeks, Sink has moved into a statistical tie with Scott. Her image has improved while his has deteriorated. It would seem that the debate through television ads about their respective business careers may be the reason. At this point she is winning that debate handily and it is having an impact on the race.”

Does Sandoval Have a Whitman Problem?

KTVN-2 is reporting that Nevada gubernatorial candidate Brian Sandoval (R), who is running well ahead of challenger Rory Reid (D), may have hired an undocumented immigrant as a housekeeper 13 years ago.

Ben Smith: “The political problem — shared by Meg Whitman and Lou Dobbs — really stems from the combination of the charge of having employed an illegal immigrant and having taken a notably hard line on the issue, though unlike Whitman, Sandoval denies it.”

Michigan Race Tightens Slightly

A new Baydoun Consulting/Foster McCollum White poll in Michigan shows Virg Bernero (D) narrowing Rick Snyder’s (R) lead in Michigan’s race for governor.

However, Snyder still leads by a wide margin, 50% to 37%.

Brewer Maintains Lead in Arizona

A new Rocky Mountain poll in Arizona shows Gov. Jan Brewer (R) leading challenger Terry Goddard (D) by 11 points among likely voters, 46% to 35%.

 

Rape Case Haunts Buck

A woman who claims she was raped five years ago has released a taped conversation between her and Colorado U.S. Senate candidate Ken Buck (R) “that she says proves he tried to blame her for the episode,” Politico reports.

“The secret recording by the victim, provided to The Colorado Independent, reveals Buck telling the woman the details appeared to show she consented to the sexual encounter, though he admits the woman ‘never said the word yes.'”

Miller Refuses to Talk About His Background

Alaska U.S. Senate nominee Joe Miller (R) said that “he will not be answering any more questions about his personal background for the remainder of the campaign,” the Anchorage Daily News reports.

Said Miller: “We’ve drawn a line in the sand. You can ask me about background, you can ask me about personal issues. I’m not going to answer.”

Miller “has faced scrutiny in recent weeks on a number of fronts involving his personal background, including that his family received low-income medical benefits, low-income hunting and fishing licenses and that his wife drew unemployment benefits. Miller has been critical of such programs at the federal level, saying the nation suffers from an “entitlement mentality” and is on the brink of bankruptcy”

Still Very Close in Maine

A new Maine Center for Public Opinion poll in Maine finds Paul LePage (R) barely edging Libby Mitchell (D) in the race for governor, 29% to 28%, with independents Eliot Cutler at 11%, Shawn Moody at 5% and Kevin Scott at 2%. There are still a very high 24% undecided.

Key finding: “It should be noted that Libby Mitchell has been consistently performing in the high 20s and low 30s for the entirety of the general election in virtually every public poll conducted, and she has not been able to capitalize on the erosion of support among Paul LePage. In other words, she hasn’t been able to win over any of the newly undecided voters, and seems thus far unable to capitalize on the opportunity presented to her.”

Deal Still Leads in Georgia

A new InsiderAdvantage poll in Georgia finds Nathan Deal (R) leads former Gov. Roy Barnes (D) by eight points in the race for governor, 49% to 41%.

Said pollster Matt Towery: “The problem for Barnes is that independent voters are now making up their minds and they have reached nearly 50 percent for Deal with only 10 percent undecided and Barnes at 36 percent. For Barnes to have a chance to win this race or force a runoff, the Libertarian must hold to at least 3 percent and Barnes must improve his numbers among independents and male voters, where he is now trailing 56 percent to 34 percent.”

Author Threw His Book at Obama

According to the Secret Service, the person who threw a book at President Obama “was an overzealous author who just wanted to toss his book into the president’s reading list,” CNN reports.

Republicans Maintain Big Lead in Generic Ballot

The latest Gallup tracking poll shows Republicans maintain “a substantial advantage” over Democrats among likely voters in the generic ballot for Congress.

In Gallup’s higher-turnout scenario, Republicans lead 53% to 41%. In a lower-turnout scenario, Republicans lead 56% to 39%.

Two ways to close the gap: “First, Democrats could seek to shift the voting intentions of the electorate — and more specifically, independents — in a more Democratic direction. Second, they could work to increase enthusiasm and turnout among Democratic voters.”

Bonus Quote of the Day

“I believe in my heart, my people have nothing to do with other candidates.”

— Rep. John Adler (D-NJ), quoted by the Philadelphia Inquirer, going Reaganesque on allegations Democrats planted a Tea Party candidate to siphon off votes from his Republican challenger.

A Tale of Two Californians

Despite similar profiles, California gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman (R) and U.S. Senate candidate Carly Fiorina (R) have chosen two decidedly different messages as election day approaches, according to the Los Angeles Times.

“Whitman is following the well-tested route of Republican candidates who have succeeded statewide in California. After stressing her conservatism in the primary, she softened her rhetoric and began emphasizing her moderate stances to appeal to independents… Fiorina has chosen a riskier strategy. She has stood firm on the conservative positions she staked out in the primary, betting that Republicans’ enthusiasm this year will help overcome Democrats’ registration advantage and that swing voters will overlook the areas where her views are out of sync with theirs.”

Americans Still Like Republicans Less

The latest CNN/Opinion Research poll shows that likely voters disapprove of the jobs that both Congressional Democrats and Republicans are doing.

Among likely voters, just 32% approve of Democrats’ job performance, while 66% disapprove. For Republicans, the number is slightly worse: 29% of likely voters approve, while 67% disapprove.

Manchin Totes Rifle, Shoots Climate Bill in Ad

West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin (D) is out with a must-see ad in which he loads a rifle and shoots a bullet into a copy of Democrats’ cap-and-trade bill to tell voters in the state’s U.S. Senate race that he’d oppose climate legislation and fight to protect Second Amendment rights.

See more…

Rallying Black Voters While Shunning Obama

The Wall Street Journal reports that Democratic candidates in swing states, such as Missouri’s Robin Carnahan (D) and Pennsylvania’s Joe Sestak (D), are dealing with a difficult reality: trying to pump up black voters, who still overwhelmingly support President Obama, while not alienating swing and independent voters by embracing Obama too much.

“Still, Mr. Obama remains key to turning out black voters, strategists say. A national poll and several focus groups commissioned by the Service Employees International Union and the Atlas Group found that Democrats should make the election about Mr. Obama as a person, not just his agenda.”

“But winning African American voters isn’t sufficient. Even amid the excitement among black voters in 2008, Mr. Obama lost Missouri to Republican Sen. John McCain, by less than 4,000 votes, badly beaten in rural parts of the state.”

Ayotte Maintains Lead in New Hampshire

A new Rasmussen survey shows Kelly Ayotte (R) leading Rep. Paul Hodes (D) among likely voters in the New Hampshire U.S. Senate race, 51% to 44%. The result is unchanged from last month’s poll.

Quote of the Day

“I’m not a homophobic. I have no reservations whatsoever about gays, except for marriage.”

— New York gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino (R), quoted by The Hill, distancing himself from prepared remarks which noted there is “nothing to be proud of in being a dysfunctional homosexual.”

Congressional Staffers Gained on Stock Trades

The Wall Street Journal identified at least 72 congressional aides who traded shares of companies that their bosses help oversee.

While the aides identified insist they didn’t profit by trading on inside information, “even if they had done so, it would be legal, because insider-trading laws don’t apply to Congress. A few lawmakers proposed a bill that would prevent members and employees of Congress from trading securities based on nonpublic information they obtain. The legislation has languished since 2006.”

The Not-So-Magic 50% Threshold

Every day you read about incumbents not breaking the 50% mark in polls and therefore obviously in trouble. The reasoning is the “incumbent rule” which suggests that undecided voters typically break towards the challenger.

However, Nate Silver notes that “even in the Democratic wave year of 2006, 10 of the 11 Republicans who were under 50 percent in the polling with a month to go, but who did hold a lead, managed to hang on for the victory.”

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