POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 10/20

Democrats Facing Big Losses

A new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll finds Republicans hold a 50% to 43% edge in the generic congressional ballot among likely voters — up from a three point lead a month ago. And in the 92 House districts considered most competitive, the GOP’s lead is 20 points.

Said Democratic pollster Peter Hart: “It’s hard to say Democrats are facing anything less than a category four hurricane. And it’s unlikely the Democratic House will be left standing.”

GOP pollster Bill McInturff noted that the Republican lead would translate into a pickup of 52 or 53 House seats, far surpassing the 39 seats needed to claim control.

One glimmer of hope for Democrats: 52% said performance of a lawmaker in their district is more important than national trends and 52% said their representative is part of the solution to the problems facing the country.

Going Rogue Auction

A Tina Fey signed copy of Going Rogue by Sarah Palin with the inscription, “I did not write this,” is up for auction on eBay.

Race for Georgia Governor Narrows

A new InsiderAdvantage poll in Georgia finds Nathan Deal (R) leading former Gov. Roy Barnes (D) in the race for governor, 45% to 40%.

Said pollster Matt Towery: “It should be noted that it is very hard to anticipate exactly what level Republicans will turn out in Georgia this year. The poll reflects a substantial Republican edge in its weighting. This edge could actually be higher but currently Georgia does not appear to be a state where there is frenetic Republican activity or enough hot races (such as Florida, Kentucky, California, etc.) to potentially generate the flood of Republicans that might be expected in those states.”

Obama Hints He’ll Run Again

In an interview with National Journal, President Obama signaled that he will seek reelection and dismissed as “completely unfounded” reports that he might replace Vice President Biden with Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton on the 2012 Democratic ticket.

Said Obama: “Obviously, I haven’t made any formal decision, but I feel like I’ve got a lot of work left to do.”

Told that his answer sounded like he was saying “yes,” Obama nodded, then broadly smiled. “Take it as you will,” he said, laughing.

 

Very Close in Washington

A new Public Policy Polling survey in Washington finds Sen. Patty Murray (D) clinging to a narrow lead over challenger Dino Rossi (R) in the U.S. Senate race, 49% to 47%. The result is basically identical to a similar July poll.

“The reason for the stability is that voters know these candidates, they know what they think of them, and nothing they’ve heard during this campaign has changed those opinions in one direction or the other.”

Tight Senate Race in Wisconsin

A new Wisconsin Public Radio survey finds Ron Johnson (R) with a small lead over Sen. Russ Feingold (D) for U.S. Senate, 49% to 47%.

Most other recent polls have shown Johnson with a bigger lead though Feingold’s own polls have shown a closer race.

Too Close to Call in Oregon

A new DailyKos/Public Policy Polling survey in Oregon shows former Gov. John Kitzhaber (D) edging Chris Dudley (R) in the race for governor, 48% to 47%.

More Waves Coming?

Charlie Cook: “The one sobering thought that veteran Republican consultants are already contemplating is that the larger the wave this year, the more difficult it will be to hold onto some of these seats in 2012 and 2014 in the House and 2016 in the Senate. The bigger the wave, the weaker the class and the harder it will be to hold onto those seats. Democrats only have to look at their 2006 and 2008 classes for plenty of examples.”

“What this means is that we will likely have our third wave election in a row this year, and the bigger this one is, the more likely that there will be a countervailing wave in either 2012 or 2014.”

Bonus Quote of the Day

“If nominated, I shall not run. If elected, I shall not serve. How about that? I’ll try that one tonight.”

— Chris Christie (R), quoted by WCBS-AM, denying presidential aspirations once again in the most Shermanesque way possible.

U.S. Satisfaction at Lowest Point Before Midterm Election

A new Gallup poll finds 21% of Americans satisfied with the way things are going in the United States. If that figure does not improve considerably in the next two weeks, it would be the lowest level of satisfaction measured at the time of a midterm election in more than 30 years of tracking.

Schwarzenegger’s Echo

Jerry Brown’s (D) latest ad in the race for California governor is very effective at tying rival Meg Whitman (R) to the very unpopular Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R).

See more…

The Unknown Tax Cut

New York Times: “In a New York Times/CBS News Poll last month, fewer than one in 10 respondents knew that the Obama administration had lowered taxes for most Americans. Half of those polled said they thought that their taxes had stayed the same, a third thought that their taxes had gone up, and about a tenth said they did not know.”

Conway Narrows Gap with Paul

A new Rasmussen survey in Kentucky shows Rand Paul (R) leading Jack Conway (D) in the U.S. Senate race, 47% to 42%.

The result is Conway’s best showing in the firm’s polls since June.

O’Donnell Questions Separation of Church and State

Delaware U.S. Senate candidate Christine O’Donnell (R) drew gasps this morning in a debate with rival Chris Coons (D) by questioning if the U.S. Constitution requires separation of church and state and appearing not to know about the First Amendment’s establishment of religion clause, the AP reports.

“When Coons responded that the First Amendment bars Congress from making laws respecting the establishment of religion, O’Donnell asked: ‘You’re telling me that’s in the First Amendment?'”

As video of the exchange shows, O’Donnell’s comments generated considerable buzz from the audience. She also needed a reminder from the moderator about the 14th and 16th amendments.

See more…

Burr Still Holds Solid Lead in North Carolina

A new Public Policy Polling survey in North Carolina shows Elaine Marshall picking up undecided voters and closing the gap against Sen. Richard Burr (D) but she still trails by 8 points, 48% to 40%.

“Burr appears to be in good shape but Marshall does find herself in the strongest position she’s been in in over a month and we’ll see if she can continue that momentum over the final two weeks.”

Mayor’s Car Raises Questions

North Miami Mayor Andre Pierre apparently can’t remember who exactly gave him a dark blue 2010 Porsche Panamera.

NBC Miami: “Where the $100,000 ride came from is a little sketchy. Pierre first said he borrowed the car from friend David Kidd, but Kidd denied lending the car, saying that it actually belonged to his business partner Renal Roberty, who confirmed he gave the car to Pierre… at the end of the day Pierre was still big pimpin’ in a Porsche – a Porsche he didn’t disclose, as is required by state and county ethics laws if it was a gift.”

Senate Race Still Tight in Colorado

A new Fox News poll in Colorado shows a very tight U.S. Senate race with Ken Buck (R) just edging Sen. Michael Bennet (D), 46% to 45%.

“Bennet and Buck both boast high degrees of commitment from their voters – only 5 percent of all those who expressed a preference said they were even open to considering another choice. With such firm support, the battle will be over the 4 percent who remain undecided.”

Update: A new Reuters/Ipsos poll shows Buck leading by three points, 48% to 45%.

Palin Threatens Third Party

In an interview on Fox News, Sarah Palin suggested a third party could form out of the Tea Party movement.

Said Palin: “Some in the GOP — it’s their last shot. It’s their last chance. We will lose faith, and we will be disappointed and disenchanted from them if they start straying from the bedrock principles… if they start straying, then why not a 3rd party?”

Sestak Catches Toomey in Pennsylvania

A new Public Policy Polling survey in Pennsylvania shows Rep. Joe Sestak (D) now leads Pat Toomey (R) in the U.S. Senate race, 46% to 45%, among likely voters.

In August, Sestak trailed by nine points.

Key factor: “Sestak has wiped out what was an enormous deficit with independents. In August Toomey led 50-27 with them. He hasn’t really lost any support with them but Sestak has picked up most of the undecided ones and now trails only 49-48 with that voter group.”

Tancredo Makes it a Race

A new Fox News poll in Colorado finds Constitution party candidate Tom Tancredo (C) has drawn within fives points of John Hickenlooper (D) in the race for governor, 45% to 40%.

Tancredo’s new support has come from the crumbling candidacy of Dan Maes (R), who gets just 10% support.

Meanwhile, the Denver Post reports Maes was offered money to drop out of the race, something that is illegal under Colorado law.

Update: A new Reuters/Ipsos poll shows Hickenlooper at 46%, Tancredo at 35% and Maes at 14%.

Raese Holds Edge in West Virginia

A new Fox News poll in West Virginia shows John Raese’s (R) lead over Gov. Joe Manchin (D) shrank slightly from two weeks ago, but he still leads in the U.S. Senate race, 48% to 45%.

What Should Republicans Do in Alaska?

With Joe Miller’s (R) U.S. Senate campaign imploding — first handcuffing a journalist, then admitting to ethics violations — national Republicans must be getting worried.

First Read: “At what point do Republicans begin directing their fire at Scott McAdams (D), to help either Miller or Lisa Murkowski (R-ite-in) win? Miller’s getting close to being in free-fall if some private polling is to be believed. And while the national Republicans have to be careful not to anger Palin publicly and also come out and endorse Murkowski, about the best way they could assist may be in going after McAdams. Of course, Alaska is a cheap state and, Democrats might decide to play as well. It’s going to be a wild ending in Alaska. And here’s the best part: We may not know the winner for three weeks, because state law doesn’t count the write-ins until it’s been determined there are enough write-ins to alter the outcome.”

Political Theater in New York

“The first — and possibly last — debate in the New York race for governor unfolded as 90 minutes of political theater verging on farce Monday night, with a format that allowed even cursory discussion of issues like taxes and schools to be interrupted by random one-liners and sometimes inexplicable answers,” reports the New York Times.

Some highlights: “Kristin Davis, a former prostitution madam, made frequent brothel jokes. Jimmy McMillan, the candidate of the Rent Is Too Damn High Party, responded to a question about same-sex marriage by declaring ‘If you want to marry a shoe, I’ll marry you.’… And Carl P. Paladino, the Republican candidate, startled those watching by accidentally walking off stage during the closing statements, in search of the men’s room.”

Gillibrand Way Ahead

Though Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D) once seemed vulnerable, a new New York Times poll shows she holds a massive lead over challenger Joseph DioGuardi (R) in the U.S. Senate race, 50% to 25%, among likely voters.

In the state’s other U.S. Senate race, Sen. Charles Schumer (D) is crushing challenger Jay Townsend (R), 61% to 21%, among likely voters.

O’Malley Still Leads in Maryland

A new Gonzales Research poll in Maryland finds Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) leading former Gov. Bob Ehrlich (R) in their gubernatorial rematch by five points, 47% to 42%.

“The O’Malley campaign’s media barrage against Ehrlich is having its intended effect … two weeks before the election, Ehrlich has become the incumbent… O’Malley’s negatives among Republicans and independents are up since July, but this election has always been about securing the base, and his campaign appears to be doing that heading into the November 2nd election.”

 

Democrats Face Further Loss of Southern Whites

“The Southern white Democrat, long on the endangered list, is at risk of being pushed one step closer to extinction,” the New York Times reports.

“From Virginia to Florida and South Carolina to Texas, nearly two dozen Democratic seats are susceptible to a potential Republican surge in Congressional races on Election Day, leaving the party facing a situation where its only safe presence in the South is in urban and predominantly black districts.”

“The swing has been under way since the passage of the Civil Rights Act in 1964, when President Lyndon B. Johnson predicted that his fellow Democrats would face a backlash of white voters that would cost the party the South. It continued with Ronald Reagan’s election and reached a tipping point in the Republican sweep of 1994, with more than one-third of the victories coming from previously Democratic seats in the South.”

Quote of the Day

“Heaven forbid the GOP machine strays from this message. If so, the GOP is through.”

— Sarah Palin, in an interview with CNN, on how the Tea Party is saving the Republican party.

Miller Admits to Ethics Violations

Alaska U.S. Senate candidate Joe Miller (R) acknowledged that he was disciplined for violating ethics rules when he was a part-time lawyer for the Fairbanks North Star Borough, the Anchorage Daily News reports.

Said Miller: “I’ll admit I’m a man of many flaws. I’m not going to sit back and say that I’ve conducted my life perfectly. I will tell you that anything that I’ve done that’s not right, it’s been accounted for and it’s been taken care of and I move on and I learn from mistakes.”

The statement “represents a reversal for Miller, who vowed last week not to answerany questions about his past after questions were raised about his borough work history.”

Kasich Maintains Solid Lead for Ohio Governor

A new Quinnipiac poll in Ohio finds John Kasich (R) continues to lead Gov. Ted Strickland (D) in the race for governor, 51% to 41%.

Key finding: Kasich’s lead is built on a 59% to 32% margin among independent likely voters.

Said pollster Peter Brown: “Kasich’s lead has remained the same and the sand is slipping through the hour glass. If Gov. Strickland is going to turn this election around, he needs to do it quickly. But the obvious question is, ‘What can Strickland do in the two weeks before Election Day that he has been unable to do so far?'”

Meanwhile, a new Fox News poll shows Kasich leading by six points.

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