• AZ-Sen: Holy Toledo, Batman! Or should I say Holy Tucson? PPP's new Arizona poll shows Democrat Rich Carmona leading GOP Rep. Jeff Flake 45-43, up from 44-43 Flake a few weeks ago, in a race that's now pointing very strongly toward "tossup." One difficulty in analyzing this contest, though, is that almost all public polling has been conducted by PPP or by Republican pollsters like Rasmussen (blech), so it'd be nice if some other reputable firms also provided some numbers. But if PPP's right, then Carmona's doing an amazing job in separating himself from the top of the ticket, seeing as Obama's losing 53-44 and has a rough 40-57 approval rating. (Remarkably, as Tom Jensen points out, Arizona voters have a favorable view of Romney, 54-42.) The other fact, of course, is that the DSCC is now playing here, which means their internals must look pretty promising as well.
To top things off, Carmona just announced raising an impressive $2.2 million in the third quarter, double his haul from the prior quarter. Flake hasn't announced his totals yet.
• MO-Sen: Sen. Claire McCaskill (D): $5.8 mil raised. Whoa!
• FL-, OH-, VA-Sen: Marist has another trio of swing state polls. Democrats listed first, trendlines in parentheses:
OH: Brown 50, Mandel 41 (49-42); Obama +8 (+7)
VA: Kaine 49, Allen 44 (46-46); Obama +2 (+5)
On the Senate front, the big news is obviously out of Virginia, where Tim Kaine has legged out to a five-point lead over George Allen. While some polling has still found the race tight, a number of other surveys have shown similar movement for Kaine (and no public poll has seen any kind of advantage for Allen). On the presidential front, Obama's standing has tightened in both the Old Dominion and down in the Sunshine State, but it doesn't seem to have affected the Senate contests—indeed, in Virginia, Kaine and Obama are moving in different directions.
Suffolk University also has new Florida numbers: Bill Nelson leads Connie Mack 40-34, which is just a deeply weird number of undecideds this close to the election. (Obama's edging Romney 46-43.)
• ME-Sen: I don't ask for much when it comes to polls: I want to know the name of the pollster, who paid for it, the field dates, the sample size, and the actual toplines. I mean, I'd always like more, but I'll give the time of day to most any poll which can actually tell me all this—and really, like I say, it's just the basics. So I don't understand outlets which report polls with less information than this, and case in point is this Republican survey leaked to The Fix. It's from a company called GS Strategy Group, on behalf of the NRSC, and it purportedly shows independent Angus King with just a 37-34 lead over Republican Charlie Summers, with Democrat Cynthia Dill at 17. But sample size? Not mentioned. And field dates? Just a vague "last week." C'mon, guys. (For what it's worth, previously unreleased trendlines supposedly had the race at 44-33-11.)
• MO-Sen: PPP's out with another Missouri poll, and it's their first with genuinely positive news for Dem Sen. Claire McCaskill. She now leads Todd Akin 46-40, with 9 percent going to Libertarian Jonathan Dine. (Who's Dine? Why, he's the ex-con who once sported a giant "Legalize Marijuana" faux tattoo across his pecs.) Tom Jensen thinks McCaskill's improved standing is due to Democrats finally rallying around her, though respondents say they prefer a GOP-held Senate by a 50-42 margin, so that could snap back. Meanwhile, Rasmussen also has McCaskill up six, but since they didn't include Dine, the spread is 51-45.
Meanwhile, he "Todd Akin idiotic comment of the day" is actually a blast from the (relatively recent) past, delivered in a 2008 speech on the House floor:
"You find that along with the culture of death go all kinds of other law-breaking: Not following good sanitary procedure, giving abortions to women who are not actually pregnant, cheating on taxes, all these kinds of things," Akin said in the speech, as captured on C-SPAN.And of course, Akin's standing behind his remarks:
"There's ample evidence that abortion doctors on any number of occasions have deceived women into thinking that they're pregnant, and then collect money for a procedure that they don't perform," said Rick Tyler, a spokesperson for Akin's campaign. "And I say they don't perform it because obviously the women weren't pregnant."Amazingly, Tyler cited an article in the Chicago Sun-Times... from 1978! So awesome.
• MT-Sen: Montana GOP = morans. Click through—a picture's worth $787 billion in this case.
• OH-Sen: What is it about trackers that, from time to time, makes candidates lose their self-control and just spazz? The latest incident involves Republican Josh Mandel—and because it's Mandel, he's also lying about it, too. As the Columbus Dispatch's headline puts it: "Mandel's account of confrontation differs from evidence." Here's reality:
Republican U.S. Senate candidate Josh Mandel said a political video tracker "made the initial physical contact with me" in an incident that occurred Friday in a public elevator, offering an explanation that is not supported by eyewitness accounts nor the video of the incident and is a twist from the original statement put out by the Mandel campaign. [...]I love that Mandel is such a lying liar that he lies even when he knows there's contradictory video. He'd make a wonderful apparatchik in the Ministry of Truth.
The video of the incident shows, as The Dispatch previously reported, the tracker following Mandel into the elevator. But it also shows Mandel approach the tracker, say his name loudly, step to the side of him, and then the camera shakes. The tracker, whose name is Tyler Hansen, said "please don't," and Mandel relented, asking the tracker "how you been" and quipping "good to see you." He also asked the tracker if he knew the Dispatch reporter who was in the elevator.
After Mandel and the Dispatch reporter got off the elevator, an unidentified woman who was also on the elevator can be heard on the video remarking to the tracker that she saw Mandel come "right over there to block" the camera. The woman can also be heard saying "(when) he walked in he scared me to death."
• WI-Sen: Marquette's last Senate poll, which had Democrat Tammy Baldwin up an eye-popping nine points, seemed like an outlier, so it's no surprise to see that their latest numbers have fallen in line with what we're seeing from other reputable pollsters. They now have Baldwin beating Tommy Thompson 48-44, though Barack Obama is still crushing in the presidential race, 53-42. Meanwhile, things hardly look set to get much better for Tommy: Majority PAC is out with a new ad blistering the crusty former governor with his instantly-infamous new quote. "Who better than me," asks Thompson rhetorically, "to do away with Medicaid and Medicare." Ouch-and-a-half.
• ND-Sen: DSCC (D)
• NJ-Sen: Bob Menendez (D)
• NV-Sen: SEIU (D)
• NV-Sen: NRSC (R)
• WI-Sen: NRSC (R)
• NC-Gov: Just another brick in the wall: SurveyUSA joins the sizable gang of pollsters who've found recent double-digit leads for Republican Pat McCrory, showing him up 51-39 over Democrat Walter Dalton.
• CO-03: The DCCC leaked four new internals to Politico on Wednesday, some of which cover races where we haven't seen much if any polling before. First up is Colorado's 3rd District (courtesy Grove Insight), where GOP freshman Scott Tipton barely edges Democrat Sal Pace, 42-39. Given how swingish this seat is (it went for McCain 50-48), it should be a real dogfight over those remaining undecided voters. Unfortunately, we don't have presidential toplines—indeed, the memo is awfully threadbare. The only additional information comes in the form of Tipton's job approvals, which stand at a negative 37-46.
• FL-02: It looks like the D-Trip has succeeded in putting a very unlikely race on the map: Following the DCCC's smallish ($61K) television buy on behalf of Al Lawson, the NRCC is jumping in with $160K worth of advertising to help shore up freshman Rep. Steve Southerland. Democrats just threw on another $46K, but if Republicans ultimately out-spend Team Blue here, then that's a victory in its own right. (Though I'm sure Lawson wouldn't enjoy hearing that.)
• FL-10: A second under-polled race is Florida's 10th, where Democrat Val Demings is hoping to unseat another GOP freshman, Daniel Webster. The D-Trip's survey (from Global Strategy Group) paints an unexpectedly close—though still challenging—picture for a race we have pegged at Likely R, with Webster up 46-41. Here we do have presidential numbers: Obama and Romney are tied at 47, which indicates a better environment for Democrats than in 2008, when McCain won 52-47. Of course, that 47% could be Obama's ceiling here, but in unambiguously positive news, Bill Nelson leads Connie Mack 48-40 in the Senate contest.
• MI-01: One House race that's been extensively surveyed is MI-01, and the polling has been just about uniformly optimistic for Democratic challenger Gary McDowell. The DCCC's latest (from Benenson) is, of course, no different: McDowell leads GOP freshman Dan Benishek 43-40, with Libertarian Emily Salvette taking 7 and Green Party candidate Ellis Boal at 2. The generic congressional ballot is actually 45-44 Republican here, which suggests that these third-party Some Dudes are hurting the GOP more than the Dems. On the presidential front, it's all tied at 48—very similar to Obama's two-point edge here four years ago.
• NC-08: Rep. Larry Kissell, the first (and so far only) incumbent Democrat left to fend for himself by the DCCC, is out with a new poll trying to show that he still has a shot... but the trendlines really are not good. Kissell's survey (from his usual pollster, Anzalone Liszt) has him edging GOPer Richard Hudson 40-39, but that's down from 43-39 in August and 46-36 back in March. Given how red this district is, it's pretty safe to say that these undecided voters lean right.
• NH-01: Pushing back against a long string of polls showing the race a tossup (as well as disputed claims that they're letting their incumbent twist), the NRCC leaked some toplines from a Public Opinion Strategies poll showing Rep. Frank Guinta up 51-43 over Democrat Carol Shea-Porter. Before you get worried, the presidential numbers should give you some pause: Romney leads Obama 47-46, even though the president won by seven points in 2008, and even though all recent public polling excluding Rasmussen has found Obama winning in New Hampshire. Yes, the state's 2nd Congressional District is actually a bit bluer, but it seems very unlikely that the POTUS's statewide lead comes entirely from NH-02.
• NV-03: The last of the DCCC's internals comes out of NV-03, where the only prior numbers came from a problematic SurveyUSA poll that put GOP freshman Joe Heck up 53-40 over Democrat John Oceguera. Global Strategy Group sees a very different picture, with Heck leading by just a 42-38 spread. I'm not exactly sure what to make of the trendlines, though: A previously unreleased August poll had Heck leading 46-37, which means that on the one hand, the incumbent's standing dropped but on the other, his challenger's barely budged. As for the rest of the memo, the generic congressional ballot is +3 Dem (obviously a good thing), but the presidential race is terribly pessimistic. Even though Obama won this district by nine points in 2008, he leads just 47-46 now. Obama's much weaker standing in Nevada this time around (due at least in part to the still-awful housing picture in the state) is going to make it a lot harder for Oceguera to pull off the upset.
• PA-06, LA-03: In the pantheon of outside money groups, there's the strange phenomena of organizations which insist on spending money to help incumbents who are a lock for re-election. I understand why they do it (they want to keep these guys in their pockets), but for a horserace guy like me, it all seems so pointless. Nevertheless, the American Hospital Association is spending almost a million bucks on five different Republicans, only two of whom are in potentially competitive races. One is the all-GOP incumbent-vs.-incumbent matchup in LA-03, where the AHA is supporting Charles Boustany against Jeff Landry. The other is PA-06, where GOP Rep. Jim Gerlach faces Democrat Manan Trivedi, who, interestingly, is a physician. The AHA's interests, though, tend to be pretty conservative, except when they're eating at the Medicare trough.
• Reshuffling Roundup: Because the word "triage" is so loaded—and so often misapplied—we're going to start consolidating all reports about shifting television airtime reservations for House races under the heading of our new "Reshuffling Roundup" each day. As I've noted repeatedly, even if one group cancels ads in one competitive seat, another similarly-aligned organization might step up, so it's important to be careful with any notion of triage. In any event, here's what we learned on Wednesday:
• FL-18: The DCCC is once again curtailing its ad buys in FL-18, to the tune of $96K, for the week of Oct. 16. (The previously cut the prior week as well.) However, as Roll Call's Joshua Miller notes, House Majority PAC has lately upped its investment here from $1 mil to $1.5 mil. The picture is fairly complicated, because HMP's Oct. 16 reservation hasn't increased, but SEIU's also involved, and Miller says that "Democratic groups are scheduled to be outspending Republican groups over the course of that week."
• MN-01: Meanwhile, the D-Trip has also cut back $260K worth of airtime in MN-01, where Dem Rep. Tim Walz looks increasingly safe. I'm wondering if this cancellation is what convinced The Hotline that the DCCC was actually scaling back its buys in MN-08, since there's good reason to believe this reservation was made in the Twin Cities. The 1st and 8th may be at opposite ends of the state, but the Minneapolis-St. Paul media market actually covers most of Minnesota.
• NJ-03: The NRCC seems pretty confident that freshman Rep. Jon Runyan is safe, since they're reportedly ditching $780K worth of airtime in the expensive Philadelphia market, for the period of Oct. 5-18. Toeplitz notes that the NRCC still has time reserved for the final two weeks of the election, which could be used to help either Runyan or PA-08's Mike Fitzpatrick.
• OH-07: The DCCC is cancelling a $240K buy in Cleveland for Oct. 18-22, where Democrat Joyce Healy-Abrams is trying to unseat GOP freshman Bob Gibbs.
• PA-12: The NRCC isn't giving up its hopes of knocking off Dem Rep. Mark Critz: They've added $200K in Critz's home base of Johnstown-Altoona. Also worth noting: Grover Norquist's Americans for Tax Reform is jumping in with a $495K expenditure on behalf of Republican Keith Rothfus.
• UT-04: It's been a while since we've seen Democratic money come in to help Rep. Jim Matheson—in fact, the DCCC hasn't spent a dime here, relying instead on HMP and Center Forward. But Harry Reid's Patriot Majority USA is now stepping in with a $170K buy backing two new ads, so perhaps Matheson still has a chance.
• CA-24: Abel Maldonado (R)
• CA-36: DCCC (D)
• CA-47: Chamber of Commerce (R)
• CA-52: Scott Peters (D)
• CO-03: Scott Tipton (R)
• CO-07: Ed Perlmutter (D)
• FL-22: Adam Hasner (R)
• IN-08: Dave Crooks (D)
• IN-08: Larry Bucshon (R)
• KY-06: Andy Barr (R)
• MI-01: Gary McDowell (D)
• MI-03: Steve Pestka (D)
• MN-06: Jim Graves (D)
• MN-06: Michele Bachmann (R)
• MN-08: Rick Nolan (D)
• ND-AL: Pam Gulleson (D)
• NH-02: Annie Kuster (D)
• NV-03: Joe Heck (R)
• NY-21: Matt Doheny (R)
• NY-21: Matt Doheny (R)
• NY-24: Ann Marie Buerkle (R)
• NY-25: Maggie Brooks (R)
• PA-12: Mark Critz (D)
• TX-23: Pete Gallego (D) (Spanish version of this ad)
• WI-07: DCCC (D)
• NY-St. Sen (PDF): After conducting an extensive round of House race polling in New York, Siena's turned its attention to the state Senate. They're out with two new polls of open seats: the Westchester-based 37th District (where Democrat Suzi Oppenheimer is retiring) and the Rochester-area 55th District (where Republican James Alesi chose not to seek re-election after voting in favor of gay marriage last year).
In SD-37, Democratic Assemblyman George Latimer leads 2010 GOP nominee Bob Cohen 44-41, with 15% undecided. That's actually pretty good news for Latimer, seeing as Cohen lost two years ago by less than 1% after a protracted recount. What's more, Obama isn't faring especially well in this suburban seat, trailing 48-47, and Republicans also lead on the question of which party respondents would like to see control the Senate, 46-45, so Latimer is out-performing the rest of his party. Democrats also have a sizable 40%-29% voter registration advantage over Republicans here, which gives Latimer a nice cushion.
Meanwhile, things don't look quite so bright in SD-55. There, GOP Assemblyman Sean Hanna is beating Democrat Ted O'Brien (a Monroe County legislator) by a 47-39 margin. Obama's actually stomping Romney here, 53-39, so you'd think that should really boost O'Brien, but "control of the Senate" is tied at 45. This sort of ticket-splitting is a phenomenon found around the state, perhaps because Senate Republicans have always been forced into bipartisan compromise due to unshakable Democratic control of the Assembly, meaning that they haven't scared New Yorkers as much as national Republicans have. Democrats also have an enrollment edge here, too, albeit a smaller one than in the 37th, at 38%-32%. But let's not forget, though, that the Senate GOP had a free hand to draw the new map this year, and they know how to pick their voters.