POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 10/27

Another Poll Suggests Georgia Runoff Possible

A new InsiderAdvantage poll in Georgia finds Nathan Deal (R) leading former Gov. Roy Barnes (D) by six points, 47% to 41%, with Libertarian John Monds at 5% and another 7% still undecided.

It’s the third poll in a week that shows the race could head to a runoff.

Said pollster Matt Towery: “Deal got a little closer to the magic 50-per-cent-plus-one mark by improving his numbers among independent voters. This is likely the result of recent ads in which Deal has punched back at Barnes, who hammered Deal with a series of tough ads for months. But this race is not yet decided. Deal continues to have trouble bringing Republicans home.”

Angle Campaign Claims Reid Will Steal Election

Sharron Angle’s (R) campaign attorney wrote a fundraising letter to supporters charging that Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) “intends to steal this election,” according to Politico.

While light on specifics, the letter accuses Reid and his allies of illegally offering free food and gift cards in exchange for votes.

Obama Votes Early

President Obama, who has been encouraging early voting around the country, voted absentee from the West Wing today, the New York Times reports.

Midterm Elections are Mainly About Three Issues

A new Gallup poll finds that 43% of voters say that current economic conditions are the most important issue for the midterm elections, followed by health care and the size and power of the federal government.

“Together, the top three issues account for more than 80% of the total, suggesting the 2010 elections are being contested on a fairly narrow issue space. This is a departure from the past two midterm elections, when there was no dominant issue, and voters’ choice for the most important one spanned a greater number of issues.”

Democrats Well Ahead in California

A new Suffolk University poll in California shows Jerry Brown (D) with an eight point lead over Meg Whitman (R) in the race for governor, 50% to 42%.

In the U.S. Senate race, Sen. Barbara Boxer (D) leads by nine points over Carly Fiorina (R), 52% to 43%.

Said pollster David Paleologos: “The Golden State is looking to be a fairly deep shade of blue, with both Boxer and Brown reaching the all-important 50 percent mark, making it very difficult for either statewide Republican to catch their Democratic opponent. However, if the Democratic voters don’t show up next Tuesday, both of these races could be very close.”

A new Public Policy Polling survey also finds Boxer leading by a 52% to 43% margin and finds Brown leading 53% to 42%.

Forecast Shows GOP Easily Taking House

The Cook Political Report forecasts a Democratic “net loss of 48 to 60 House seats, with higher losses possible. A turnover of just 39 seats would tip majority status into Republican hands. The midterm maelstrom pulling House Democrats under shows no signs of abating, if anything it has intensified… Over a quarter of the entire 255-member House Democratic caucus have trailed GOP opponents in at least one public or private survey, and nearly half have tested under 50 percent of the vote in at least one poll.”

In the Senate, the forecast shows “a 7 to 9 seat net gain for Republicans… As various races begin to settle, the prospect of Republicans scoring the 10 seats necessary to reach 51 seats and the majority has greatly diminished… It’s not impossible, or even unprecedented. It’s simply very, very difficult.”

Americans Divided Over Control of Congress

A new Pew Research poll finds 32% of voters think the country will be better off if Republicans win control of Congress, 32% think the country will be better off with Democrats in charge and 30% think it doesn’t make any difference.

Dead Heat in Pennsylania

A new a Reuters/Ipsos poll in Pennsylvania shows the U.S. Senate race deadlocked with both Pat Toomey (R) and Rep. Joe Sestak (D) tied among likely voters at 46% each.

This result stands in contrast to a daily tracking poll which has Toomey pulling away.

Rubio’s Closing Ad

Marco Rubio’s (R) latest ad in Florida’s U.S. Senate race will have Republicans buzzing about a possible presidential bid if he wins. It’s that good.

See more…

Candidates Shatter Fundraising Records

Washington Post: “House and Senate candidates have already shattered fundraising records for a midterm election and are on their way to surpassing $2 billion in spending for the first time, according to new campaign finance data.”

“To put it another way: That’s the equivalent of about $4 million for every congressional seat up for grabs this year.”

Burr Remains in Lead in North Carolina

A new Civitas Poll in North Carolina shows Sen. Richard Burr (R) maintaining a solid ten point lead over challenger Elaine Marshall (D), 44% to 34%, with 18% still not sure.

Bonus Quote of the Day

“The day that we saw a spike in the polls was a day that some people had a prayer meeting for me that morning for this campaign so I believe that prayer plays a direct role in this campaign and I always ask please pray for the campaign; please pray for our staff; please pray specifically that the eyes of the voters be opened.”

— Delaware U.S. Senate candidate Christine O’Donnell (R), in an interview with CBN’s David Brody.

Will House Losses Be Bad or Horrendous?

Stuart Rothenberg: “With a week to go until Election Day, House Democrats face the potential of a political bloodbath the size of which we haven’t seen since the presidency of Franklin Delano Roosevelt.”

For comparison: “The largest midterm House loss for the president’s party during the last 50 years was 52 seats in 1994. The previous largest losses were 55 seats in 1942 and 71 seats in 1938.”

Will Divided Government Work?

For those that think divided government may force the political parties to work together, the New York Times notes “the opposite could just as well be true.”

“Most of the casualties will be fiscally conservative Democrats from Republican-leaning areas, leaving a smaller, more solidly liberal caucus less inclined to support cost-saving changes in future Social Security benefits, for example… Republicans’ ranks will almost certainly be strengthened by a wave of conservatives, including Tea Party loyalists, who are opposed to raising any taxes and to compromising with Democrats generally — a stand Congressional Republican leaders have adopted. And incumbents otherwise inclined to make deals are now wary, Republicans say privately, mindful of colleagues who lost primary challenges from Tea Party candidates.”

Enthusiasm Comparably High for Obama Reelection

A new Pew Research survey finds enthusiasm for President Obama’s reelection greater than the levels for President Clinton in 1994 and President Reagan in 1982. A majority of voters would like to see Obama run for reelection, 47% to 42%, while just 36% said in August 1982 that they wanted to see Reagan run.

Interesting observation: Clinton and Reagan both received less than 50% support in the poll and went on to be reelected by wide margins, while Presidents Carter and H.W. Bush, polled in 1978 and 1990 respectively, both received 50% or more and failed to win reelection.

Paul Maintains Lead in Kentucky

A new Fox News poll in Kentucky shows Rand Paul with a solid seven point lead over Jack Conway (D) in the U.S. Senate race, 50% to 43%.

Key finding: While Paul was viewed favorably by 48% of voters and unfavorably by 41% of voters, only 38% had a positive impression of Conway while 51% held an unfavorable view.

A new Public Policy Polling survey shows independent vioters “have moved toward Rand Paul in droves over the last month and a half and as a result he’s built his lead in the Kentucky Senate race up to 13 points,” 53% to 40%.

Raese Has Small Edge in West Virginia

A new Fox News poll in West Virginia shows John Raese (R) with a two point lead over Gov. Joe Manchin (D) in the U.S. Senate race, 48% to 46%.

“Raese’s 2-point advantage is within the poll’s margin of error, but his steady support in the face of a barrage of attack ads and media scrutiny must concern Democrats.”

The Audacity of Nope

Vanity Fair: “With his perma-tan, two-pack-a-day baritone, and natty wardrobe, House Republican leader John Boehner is a backslapping, deal-making throwback to the G.O.P.’s past. But his recent ‘Hell, no!’ anti-Obama strategy, as he seeks to ride the Tea Party wave, may point to an ugly future.”

Quote of the Day

“It’s hard to message 9.5 percent unemployment.”

— White House press secretary Robert Gibbs, in a must-read GQ profile, when told President Obama has a communications problem.

How Democrats Keep the House

First Read: “Despite the polls and predictions of big GOP gains, there is a visible path to Democrats holding on to the House. It’s a tricky path, but it’s a path we’ve seen traveled before in politics (John McCain’s presidential primary in ’08), sports (the Red Sox vs. the Yankees in ’04), and even movies (the blackjack scene in The Hangover) — to win, you have to run the table. Here’s a race-by-race guide how they could do it. First, Democrats need to win the four or five GOP-held seats they’re counting on (DE-AL, FL-25, HI-1, IL-10, LA-2), which would increase the Republicans’ Magic Number from 39 to 43 or 44 (i.e., the GOP needs to pick up 43 or 44 seats to win back the House).”

“Then Democrats need to triumph in the Toss-Up contests where they’re still competing. In the 7:00 pm ET poll-closing states, the key races to watch are: GA-2 (Sanford Bishop) GA-8 (Jim Marshall), IN-2 (Joe Donnelly), IN-9 (Baron Hill), and SC-5 (John Spratt). In the 7:30 pm ET states, they’re OH-18 (Zack Space) and WV-1 (the Mollohan open). In the 8:00 pm ET states, they’re AL-2 (Bobby Bright), IL-17 (Phil Hare), MA-10 (Delahunt open), MS-4 (Gene Taylor), MO-4 (Ike Skelton), NH-2 (Hodes open), NJ-3 (John Adler), PA-8 (Patrick Murphy), and PA-10 (Chris Carney). And in the 9:00 pm ET poll-closing states, they’re CO-3 (John Salazar), MI-7 (Mark Schauer), NY-20 (Scott Murphy), NY-23 (Bill Owens), NY-24 (Michael Arcuri), SD-AL (Stephanie Herseth-Sandlin), and WI-7 (Obey open).”

“If Democrats can win an overwhelming majority of these races, they’re on track to keeping their losses below 40. If not, Republicans will win the majority. It’s that simple.”

Jackson Will Not Run for Chicago Mayor

Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D), “whose career and personal life have been buffeted by political controversy in recent months,” said he would not run for Chicago mayor in 2011, the Chicago Tribune reports.

Grayson Trails Webster in Florida

A new Sunshine State News poll in Florida’s 8th congressional district finds challenger Daniel Webster (R) leading Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL) by seven points, 48% to 41%.

Said pollster Jim Lee: “Webster has to be the favorite here. Grayson has failed to turn his negative image around, and is still viewed in a negative light by a 55-38 margin. This means Grayson has very little if any room to grow.”

Toomey Rebuilds Lead in Pennsylvania

After finding the race a dead heat last week, the latest Morning Call/Muhlenberg College tracking poll shows Pat Toomey (R) leading Rep. Joe Sestak (D) by eight points in the U.S. Senate race, 48% to 40%, with 12% still undecided.

Ugly in Kentucky

The Louisville Courier-Journal reports that violence broke out at last night’s debate between supporters of Kentucky U.S. Senate candidates Rand Paul (R) and Jack Conway (D), with Paul supporters stomping on the head of an activist from MoveOn.org who “approached Paul and tried to give him an ’employee of the month award’ from Republicorp… a fake business MoveOn created to symbolize what it says is the merger of the GOP and business interests controlling political speech.”

See more…

Brady Holds Small Lead for Illinois Governor

A new Chicago Tribune poll in Illinois finds Bill Brady (R) edging Gov. Pat Quinn (D) in the race for governor, 43% to 39%.

“The poll indicates a sizable chunk of voters — nearly one in three — still have no opinion of Brady despite a year of campaigning for the state’s highest office. That Brady now has a slight lead in the poll indicates a willingness among many voters to seek change during a time of economic uncertainty and go with an unfamiliar candidate rather than a better-known commodity like Quinn.”

Sink Broke Rules at Debate

Florida gubernatorial candidate Alex Sink (D) violated the rules at a debate last night when her make-up artist delivered a message during a television break, CNN reports.

Sink “was shown a two-sentence message on a cell phone that offered her advice during the debate. Republican nominee Rick Scott who was sitting next to her in this nationally televised debate, noticed the violation and notified a CNN official, who approached the make-up artist and Sink and confiscated the cell phone.”

The St. Petersburg Times reports that after the debate, the Sink campaign announced that the advisor who sent the message has been dismissed from the campaign.

Blumenthal Holds Solid Lead in Connecticut

A new Quinnipiac poll in Connecticut finds Richard Blumenthal (D) leading Linda McMahon (R) by 12 points in the U.S. Senate race, 54% to 42%, among likely voters. This is virtually unchanged from a similar survey two weeks ago.

Said pollster Douglas Schwartz: “The vote for Connecticut governor and senator is solidifying. There has been little movement in either race in the last two weeks. McMahon has tried to raise Blumenthal’s negatives over the last several weeks, but she hasn’t been successful. He remains popular, but McMahon’s own negatives have risen above 50 percent. One has to wonder if over the last few weeks McMahon would have been better off spending more of her millions on positive ads.”

Malloy Keeps Edge in Connecticut

A new Quinnipiac poll in Connecticut shows Dan Malloy (D) leads Tom Foley (R) in the race for governor by just five points, 48% to 43%, among likely voters.

Malloy held a seven point lead two weeks ago in a similar survey.

Kasich Still Leads for Ohio Governor

A new Quinnipiac poll in Ohio shows Gov. Ted Strickland (D) has cut John Kasich’s (D) lead to just six points, 49% to 43%, percent among those likely to vote.

Said pollster Peter Brown: “Strickland has made the race for governor competitive. He still trails by six points, and certainly has his work cut out for him. But Strickland has had the momentum in the last month. To be sure, one would much rather be in Kasich’s shoes today, and the Republican remains the favorite to be Ohio’s next governor. But if Strickland can continue his momentum he might surprise people.”

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