• VA-Sen: Roanoke College's numbers on the Virginia Senate race have always been decided outliers, showing leads (often large ones) for Republican George Allen while every other pollster has seen a tossup or an edge for Democrat Tim Kaine. Tuesday's survey data is no different, with Allen up 44-36 among likely voters and 46-39 among registered voters... but I think I know why. It looks like Roanoke failed Survey Design 101, asking about horserace matchups well after some out-there questions about respondents' personal commitment to Christianity. For instance, here's one question that came just before the Kaine-Allen test:
To help describe your faith, would you say that you agree or disagree with each of the following statements:Holy smokes! And the presidential trial heat (which has Romney up a very improbable six points among LVs) is buried even further down, after questions like:
The Bible is the word of God.
Christians should share their faith in Jesus with others who might not already believe.
Salvation only comes through Jesus and not through the practice of other religions.
Thinking about your vote for President, how important is it for a candidate to have very strong religious beliefs. Is it very important, somewhat important, not very important, or not important at all?These kinds of questions are almost guaranteed to prime voters against Democrats, and especially Barack Obama, who has been the target of years-long smear campaigns about his religion. Question order really matters, and if you want to conduct a survey properly, you save potentially inflammatory or leading topics until after you've asked the basic election questions. Roanoke really needs to take some serious quality control measures, because this is not a proper way to structure a poll.
• CA-26: Tony Strickland (R): $770K raised
• CO-07: Joe Coors (R): $449K raised
• FL-10: Val Demings (D): $330K raised, $484K cash-on-hand
• IL-10: Rep. Bob Dold! (R): $602K raised
• KY-04: Thomas Massie (R): $150K raised (plus $80K self-loan)
• MN-Sen: Pete Hegseth (R): $160K raised (in March), $130K cash-on-hand
• MO-Sen: Sen. Claire McCaskill (D): $2.3 mil raised, $6 mil cash-on-hand
• NH-02: Annie Kuster (D): $350K raised, $1 mil cash-on-hand
• NM-01: Michelle Lujan Grisham (D): $205K raised, $344K cash-on-hand
• NV-04: Steven Horsford (D): $260K raised, $465K cash-on-hand
• VA-02: Paul Hirschbiel (D): $325K raised, $670K cash-on-hand
• WA-01: Laura Ruderman (D): $103K raised, $220K cash-on-hand
• WI-Sen: Mark Neumann (R): $650K raised
• We're changing our rating on one race and initiating coverage on another:
ME-Sen: Ever since Dem Rep. Chellie Pingree declined to run for Olympia Snowe's open Senate seat, independent former Gov. Angus King appeared to be the frontrunner, but the initial picture was too fuzzy for us to rate this as anything other than a Tossup. Now, though, we have further confirmation in the form of a recent poll from the Maine People's Resource Center, which shows King with a higher share of the vote than Democrats and Republicans combined in a three-way matchup. While this race feels like it'll wind up as Likely Independent by election day, we don't like to chase individual polls too hard, so for now, we're rating the contest Lean Independent.Senate:
WI-Gov: We had been waiting on two developments in order to rate the recall election of GOP Gov. Scott Walker. First, we wanted the state's Government Accountability Board to officially certify the race, and second, we wanted to see whether Milwaukee mayor Tom Barrett would enter the contest. Both of those things did indeed come to pass, and Barrett's position in the polls convinces us that we should rate this unusual race a Tossup.
• AZ-Sen: Self-funding businessman Wil Cardon, struggling badly in the GOP primary polls against Rep. Jeff Flake, is pouring in another $264K of his own money on a new TV ad touting his extreme anti-immigrant positions, including his support for Arizona's notorious SB1070 immigration law. You can watch the ad at the link or below:
• NE-Sen: AG Jon Bruning may be the frontrunner for the GOP Senate nod, but that never meant he'd have an easy time of it. A number of conservative organizations aren't happy with his candidacy, and now the Club for Growth is piling on with a $150K ad buy. The spot attacks Bruning as a free-spender who supported the stimulus, a pretty egregious black mark on the resume of anyone seeking a Republican nomination for anything. You can watch the spot at the link or below:
• PA-Sen: This is a pretty good ad from rich guy Steve Welch, attacking fellow rich guy Tom Smith as a "Republican impersonator" who was a registered Democrat for 42 years—"longer than Obama." (Both men are seeking the GOP Senate nomination.) I'm a little surprised to see Welch go here, given that he supported a number of Democrats himself in recent years, but I guess he figures Smith's much longer tenure as a Dem is more damning that his own brief dalliance. Welch also raises some ancient oppo that surfaced last month, about Smith supporting tax increases when he served as mayor of a tiny town back in the 1970s. Anyhow, you can watch this spot—which has a catchy opening—at the link or below:
• WA-Gov, WA-01: While I sympathize with Jay Inslee's desire to avoid flying cross-country on a near-weekly basis, I'm starting to wonder if instead of resigning from the House to focus on his gubernatorial job he should have just stuck with his day job and done a really crappy job at it, like everybody else (such as Michele Bachmann, Ron Paul, and probably a whole herd of Senate candidates). The problem here is that the GOP now has a handy issue in terms of the expense of the special election to replace him (which coincides with the regular election, but will involve added expenses because it'll involve different district lines than the regular election at the same time). The GOP is touting a $1 million cost, relying on a memo from Republican SoS Sam Reed. The actual figure from the state is $225K for "voter education" to explain what the hell is going on, but as long as the parties are quibbling about the costs of the election, Inslee is on the defensive, and explaining... and you know what they say you're also doing when you're explaining. (David Jarman)
• CA-02: Assemblyman Jared Huffman is out with an internal poll from pollster FM3, showing him leading the all-party field with 24% of the vote. As for Huffman's fellow Democrats, businesswoman Stacey Lawson is at 9, activist Norman Solomon at 7, and Marin County Supervisor Susan Adams at 5. A pair of Republicans, Dan Roberts and Michael Halliwell, are also at 5 apiece, but under California's new top-two primary system, the top two finishers regardless of party will advance to the November general election. This poll, combined with the district's strong Democratic lean (it went 71% for Barack Obama), indicates that neither of the Republicans will move on to round two, meaning the fall face-off would be an all-Dem affair.
• IL-16: I really didn't feel like touching this story—which offers some more, ahem, backstory to the whole Eric Cantor-Don Manzullo intra-GOP feud—but click through if you want to see some serious (alleged) ugliness.
• MN-06: Great news for Democrats: Wealthy hotel operator Jim Graves, who first emerged as a possible candidate just a couple of weeks ago, will indeed launch a campaign against the Republican queen of crazy, Michele Bachmann. Graves' non-partisan, business-y background seems like a good fit for this district, which John McCain won 55-43, making it the reddest in Minnesota. And his personal wealth means he'll be able to compete with Bachmann's hyper-charged fundraising machine. First, though, Graves has to score his party's nomination, and there are two other Democrats already running: businessman Brian McGoldrick and attorney Anne Nolan.
• NY-13: What a shock: Less than a week after publicly expressing doubts about whether he'd continue his congressional bid, Vince Morgan has dropped his challenge to his old boss, Rep. Charlie Rangel. Instead, he's endorsing state Sen. Adriano Espaillat to take on Rangel in the Democratic primary.
• OR-04: One of the biggest riddles of our time has been solved: Matt Groening has finally admitted that the Springfield that the Simpsons live in is Springfield, Oregon. (Given Groening's Portland roots... and the fact that major characters are named Flanders, Kearney, Lovejoy, Quimby, and Terwilliger, it always seemed likely to me.) At any rate, this means that their corrupt congressman who sells Springfield National Forest is Peter DeFazio, that their governor is not Mary Bailey, but rather John Kitzhaber (does that make Chris Dudley Mr. Burns?), and that their mayor for many years wasn't Joe Quimby but the hapless Sid Leiken. (David Jarman)
• PA-12: I like Keegan Gibson's summary of Monday night's debate between Reps. Mark Critz and Jason Altmire because it shows you just how bizarro this primary really is, with two conservative Democrats actually forced to pretend like they really are Democrats and tying themselves in knots to do so. Of course, this is something that would never happen were it not for redistricting, which makes this situation so unusual—and interesting.
• VA-LG: Prince William Board of County Supervisors chair Corey Stewart says he will soon announce his candidacy for lieutenant governor, a post that isn't up for election until 2013. That would make him the first person to officially declare for the seat, which is being left open because LG Bill Bolling is running for governor. However, several other Republicans are in the mix, as are a number of Democrats, with former White House Chief Technology Officer Aneesh Chopra seemingly closest to an actual bid.
• WI-LG: While most attention is (rightly) focused on the recall of GOP Gov. Scott Walker, his no. 2, Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch, will also be on the ballot. (The two were elected in 2010 on the same ticket but must run separately in the recall.) The Republican State Leadership Committee (the GOP equivalent of the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee) is therefore out with an ad touting Kleefisch's achievements as LG... though really, it's just a list of Walker's "achievements" (dubious as they are) with her name also slapped on `em. (You can watch the spot at the link.) Kleefisch will most likely face Democrat Mahlon Mitchell, the head of the Wisconsin firefighters union, in the recall.
• Census: If you thought that the numbers from the 2010 Census count for New York City, especially for Queens, were a little on the light side, you're not alone. All manner of NYC politicians called attention to strangely flat growth in Queens (a gain of only 1,343 between the 2000 and 2010 censuses), saying that contradicted their own internal numbers. Adding some fuel to that fire are new 2011 estimates from the Census Bureau that just came out, suggesting that Queens gained a whopping 17,126 people in the year since the 2010 census (or else suggesting that the 2010 count missed a lot of people). (David Jarman)
• Demographics: Here are some very interesting data points from a new study on Latinos, and on their likelihood of voting Democratic or Republican. The most important factor seems to be religion: Evangelical Latinos are almost evenly split between Ds and Rs (47/45), while Catholics are much more solidly Dem (60/33) and secular Latinos even more so (65/27). They also find a significant split between the pre-Vatican II generation of Catholics (54/38) and the post-Vatican II cohort (62/30), though that's really just a fancy way of saying "old" and "young." I'd be curious to know, though, which group is growing faster among Latinos: the evangelicals, or the seculars? (David Jarman)
• AZ Redistricting: Arizona, which was one of just three states still waiting on preclearance of its maps under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, just got approval from the Dept. of Justice to use its new district lines this year, as expected. The other states with pending preclearance issues, according to Justin Levitt's indispensible site, are Texas (which is embroiled in long-running litigation) and Florida. And once New Hampshire finally finishes the remapping process, it, too, will have to seek preclearance.