• MS-Sen: Like a Japanese soldier retreating deep into the Philippine jungle to continue the fight long after the war is over, Mississippi state Sen. Chris McDaniel is still waging a guerilla battle to overturn the results of last month's Republican Senate runoff. But while the rest of the world acknowledges that the election situation has developed not necessarily to McDaniel's advantage, his supporters want him to keep at it, according to a new poll from PPP.
Fully 81 percent of McDaniel backers, who are furious that black Democrats crossed over to support Sen. Thad Cochran, think he rightfully won the runoff, while just 10 percent accept Cochran's victory. And 63 percent say he should forge ahead with his legal challenges, while just 28 percent say he should concede.
But this stubbornness has come with a hefty price. Just 29 percent of Mississippians now view McDaniel favorably while a majority—53 percent—see him negatively. And if somehow he were actually to prevail in getting the election's outcome reversed, McDaniel would start off trailing Democrat Travis Childers by a single point, 37 to 36.
Yet even back in reality, where Cochran and Childers will square off in the fall, the McDanielites are nevertheless having an impact. Cochran currently beats Childers 40 to 24, a very strange spread indeed, considering Cochran led 50-33 in PPP's last poll back in November. So angry are McDaniel's supporters that Cochran is earning just 48 percent of the Republican vote. That's down from 74 percent last time, all because a large fraction of McDaniel supporters are too pissed to even say they'll back the GOP nominee.
At the same time, many of the Democrats who sided with Cochran in the runoff are staying with him. Childers' advantage among members of his own party has shrunk to just 46-31, compared to his earlier 61-25 lead. That explains why his share of the total vote has shriveled up—but of course, so has Cochran's, leading to a massive 31 percent who say they're undecided.
So what'll happen to that gang of livid holdouts? In a normal world, you'd expect them to come home and grumpily vote for the Republican, just like they ordinarily would. But we're in anything but a normal world here. The depth of conservative furor at what happened in the runoff is hard to overstate. What they believe happened pushes so many of their buttons, stirring up long-held racial animus, resentment at a corrupt Washington establishment, and, of course, fears of "voter fraud." Consider it a tea-fueled trifecta of right-wing disgust.
But even if the McDanielistas remain in the wilderness, fighting their Lost Cause until the last man, Cochran's successfully reinvented himself as a friend of black Democrats in Mississippi. As improbable as that development's been, if he can avoid alienating this newest constituency, Cochran should be able to keep Childers at bay. This has been as bizarre a race as it's possible to imagine, though, so further surprises may yet be in store. And watch out for any Hiroo Onodas lurking on the bayou.
• CO-Sen, -Gov: Marist's new poll of Colorado on behalf of NBC News is the first to show real daylight for Democratic Sen. Mark Udall since GOP Rep. Cory Gardner joined the race. Udall beats Gardner 48-41, much healthier than the 1- and 2-point leads he sported in most recent surveys. In the gubernatorial race, by contrast, Gov. John Hickenlooper sports a 49-43 lead on Republican nominee Bob Beauprez, which is a little tighter than we've generally seen.
Still, both incumbents are cruising near 50, which has to feel good—assuming these numbers are accurate. However, this is Marist's first poll of Colorado, so we don't have any trendlines, and their polls of other states have been all over the place. They had Democrat Mark Pryor up 11 back in May in the Arkansas Senate race, while at the same time they put Republican Asa Hutchinson ahead by 7 in the state's gubernatorial contest. Their Kentucky Senate numbers showed a virtual tie, like everyone else has, but they gave found Jason Carter getting swamped, 50-40, in Georgia's race for governor while seeing his fellow Democrat, Michelle Nunn, competitive for Senate.
That just means this is definitely one of those cases where you want to see more polling before deciding that Udall's recovered.
• MI-Sen, -Gov: In addition to Colorado (see just above), Marist also polled Michigan, as did a local pollster Denno Research, on behalf of Vanguard Public Affairs. On the Senate side, Marist finds Democrat Gary Peters leading Republican Terri Lynn Land 43-37 while Denno gives Peters a narrower 40-37 edge, unchanged from March.
Marist also sees a close race for governor, with GOP Gov. Rick Snyder leading his Democratic challenger, ex-Rep. Mark Schauer, by just a 46-44 spread. Denno's numbers again are more favorable for Republicans, placing Snyder ahead 43-35. (Last time, Snyder led 42-39.) That's not a very good mark for an incumbent, though, and despite a flurry of recent ads, Schauer still has a name-recognition gap to make up, so this isn't the sort of poll that should have Snyder supporters cheering.
• TN-Sen: Hmm. A survey from a firm called Triton Polling on behalf of Tea Party Nation finds Republican Sen. Lamar! Alexander leading his underfunded primary challenger, state Sen. Joe Carr, by just a 43-36 margin. Ordinarily, I'd be inclined to write off a poll from an outfit I've never heard of, conducted for a group with a reputation for sketchiness, especially when the other surveys we've seen have generally given Alexander wide leads.
But interestingly, one of those prior polls was also from Triton, and it had Alexander up 44-20, so TPN at least was unafraid to release numbers that weren't quite so auspicious for their preferred horse. And in the post-Eric Cantor world, it sort of feels like you have to pay a little bit more attention to potentially struggling GOP incumbents, even if there isn't a lot of evidence to suggests trouble's brewing.
In this case, though, there's another factor at play, which is that radio host Laura Ingraham, who was a big booster of Cantor's primary opponent, Dave Brat, has also declared herself "all in" for Carr. In fairness, it's hard to imagine Ingraham can find the same magic a second time, especially since her show barely airs in Tennessee—and that's not to mention Alexander's 7-to-1 cash edge.
But Cantor also had a massive fundraising advantage, and we all know what happened to him. The Aug. 7 primary is still a few weeks away, so it's worth keeping an eye on this race. Alexander won't want to take any chances, and while he undoubtedly has internal polling of his own, so, of course, did Eric Cantor.
• KS-Gov: As Republican Gov. Sam Brownback continues to burn his state's civil society to the ground with his ultra-radical tax cuts, many members of his own party have turned against him. On Tuesday, over 100 Kansas Republicans endorsed Democrat Paul Davis for governor, including many former politicians: three state Senate presidents, three state House speakers, two lieutenant governors, a congressman, and even a one-time state GOP chair for good measure.
Kansas has a long tradition of moderate Republicans working with Democrats—a tradition Brownback himself tried to end by exterminating as many moderates as he could in primaries last cycle. But while they may not hold office anymore, they're still out there, and they speak for plenty of voters. It's why Brownback's polling has been so awful, and it's why Davis has a chance to pull off the biggest upset of the year.
• Chicago Mayor: Democratic Mayor Rahm Emanuel hasn't gotten a lot of good news lately, but he may have finally caught a break. On Tuesday, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle announced that she would not challenge him for re-election in 2015. Early polling showed Preckwinkle competitive with, or even badly beating, Rahm in a hypothetical match-up. The incumbent isn't out of the woods by any stretch of the imagination, though: Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis is still seriously considering a run, and a recent We Ask America poll gave her a 45-36 lead. (Jeff Singer)
• NY State Senate: John Liu only entered the primary against renegade Democratic state Sen. Tony Avella in late May, but he's already raised more than most U.S. House candidates do in a quarter. Liu pulled in $509,000 and has $444,000 cash-on-hand; Avella, by contrast, raised just $132,000—with $50,000 of that coming from fellow members of the breakaway Independent Democratic Conference—and has only $88,000 in the bank.
• WA Ballot: There isn't a single statewide electoral position up for grabs in Washington this year, but that isn't stopping Elway Research from polling the Evergreen State. The most (or only) noteworthy thing on the ballot this year is probably the two dueling initiatives on background checks for guns. I-594 would create more extensive background checks; it's passing 70-22, down only slightly from 72-19 in April. I-591, by contrast, would prohibit Washington background check standards from exceeding national standards; it's passing 46-42, though that's down from 55-33 in April.
That still means, though, that one-third of all voters plan to vote for both measures, despite the fact that they utterly cancel each other out. Presumably that number will go down, however, once there's some advertising out that helps people sort out the confusingly-similar language. (David Jarman)
• Ads (Jeff Singer):
• GA-Sen: With the July 22 Republican runoff looming, both candidates are on the air with new spots. Businessman David Perdue once again compares Congress to crying babies, and links opponent Rep. Jack Kingston with the public's unhappiness with the body. Kingston hits back by claiming Perdue isn't a real conservative, and even features a David Perdue mannequin getting wheeled in, propped up, and then falling down.
• CT-Gov: Democratic Gov. Dan Malloy has a new spot depicting him as a leader during tough times. Republican Senate Minority Leader John McKinney is also on the air, going after both Malloy and GOP primary frontrunner Tom Foley.
• SEIU: The major labor group SEIU is launching a Spanish language "six figure buy" targeting Republicans on immigration in four races. It hits Rep. Cory Gardner in Colorado's Senate race and incumbents Mike Coffman, David Valadao, and Joe Heck in CO-06, CA-21, and NV-03 respectively.
• FL Redistricting: In a new piece on last week's ruling that Florida's new congressional map violated the state constitution, Stephen Wolf argued that there were good reasons to be pessimistic about the decision's impact for Democrats (and good government, hurrah). It turns out he was right: Republicans in charge of the legislature have decided not to appeal and say they'll redraw the map themselves. That means they think they can get away with minimal changes that comply with the law and do little damage to their partisan interests. Republicans are also asking that the court delay the implementation of any new maps until 2016.
Plaintiffs, meanwhile, want a new map in place this cycle, though it's not clear if they plan to appeal themselves. While the judge ruled in their favor regarding two congressional districts, most other challenges were turned aside. Given the shaky reasoning supporting the judge's decision regarding the 13th and 14th Districts in particular, plaintiffs could well have good arguments to make on appeal—unless they're afraid of getting reversed on the issues they did win on. But the fact that Republicans are happy with this ruling suggests that opponents might as well go for broke, because right now, they stand to make virtually no gains.
• Netroots Nation: A reminder: The Daily Kos Elections team, plus the amazing Carolyn Fiddler, will be hosting our annual horserace Q&A panel this Saturday at 11 AM CT at Netroots Nation in Detroit. No presentations, no PowerPoints, no speeches—just your questions! So if you're attending, drop by and ask us about any race in the nation. Look forward to seeing you there!