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Leading Off:

MO-Gov: Some good news on the polling front for Dem Gov. Jay Nixon, who has now legged out to a 54-35 lead over Dave Spence in PPP's latest poll (the same one which put Claire McCaskill up six). The governor's race has been remarkably under-polled, but this is the largest advantage Nixon's ever had since PPP's first survey all the way back in January. It's also only the second poll showing him over 50 (SurveyUSA had him at 51 in August). It doesn't seem like the RGA is going to come in and help Spence, though I'd likely want to see some confirmatory polling before we consider changing our "Lean D" rating on this race. [UPDATE: The RGA did in fact send $1 million to Spence last month.]

More interesting are the numbers in the LG and AG races. Republican Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder, who suffered a year of bad press before deciding to seek re-election rather than run for governor, is edging former state Auditor Susan Montee by just a 42-38 margin. That's not exactly where you want to be if you're an incumbent. The attorney general's race isn't actually looking all that competitive, but that's still noteworthy because the sitting AG, Chris Koster, is a Democrat, and he's manhandling Ed Martin 52-34, rather similar to Nixon's numbers. And more globally, you've gotta wonder if Todd Akin's disastrous Senate campaign is acting as a drag on his party elsewhere on the ballot.

3Q Fundraising:

MT-Sen: Jon Tester (D-inc): $2.3 mil raised, $1.3 mil cash-on-hand

VA-Sen: Tim Kaine (D): $4.5 mil raised, $1 mil cash-on-hand; George Allen (R): $3.5 mil raised, $2.6 mil cash-on-hand. Note: Kaine's lower CoH is due to his recent purchase of $3 mil of additional TV airtime.

FL-22: Adam Hasner (R): $475K raised (since July 26)


AZ-Sen: It's officially "game on" in Arizona. According to Politico's Alexander Burns, the NRSC is following the DSCC and will be going on the airwaves in Arizona, to boost GOP Rep. Jeff Flake's flagging fortunes. No word yet on how much Republicans are spending, but the DS's new ad (backed by over $500K) is now available. Interestingly, it attacks Flake for hoping women will "remain silent" as he "votes to defund Planned Parenthood" and "pushed to let insurers deny us needed medical care—even breast cancer screenings our own doctors request." That last line is accompanied by an arresting still image of a mostly hairless woman who is evidently meant to invoke cancer patients.

Also: Majority PAC is also going into Arizona, with a $130K buy targeting Flake. (Note that they're also spending another $150K in NJ-Sen, again on "voter outreach and printing," doubling their total outlay so far.)

CT-Sen: I guess we're not out of the woods quite yet in Connecticut. Quinnipiac's latest has Democrat Chris Murphy trailing Republican Linda McMahon 48-47, a much less optimistic than the 48-42 Murphy lead that PPP found just a week ago. However, Quinnipiac had McMahon +3 at the end of August, so at least the numbers aren't moving in the wrong direction. Still, not good, though it would be nice if some other reputable pollsters would actually go into the field here (almost all public polling has been conducted by the letters P & Q).

HI-Sen: Mazie Hirono is trying to slam the door on her Republican opponent, Linda Lingle, with a new internal from Benenson Strategy Group that features the Democrat crushing by a 54-37 margin. That's up from 51-40 in the last poll Hirono made public, from June.

MA-Sen: A poll by Opinion Dynamics for the consulting firm Mass Insight Global Partnerships has Elizabeth Warren beating GOP Sen. Scott Brown 48-44. For some reason, though, the survey is of registered, rather than likely, voters. The same firm's January poll gave Brown a hefty 52-42 lead; the latest data also gives Obama a monster 60-34 edge over Romney.

MO-Sen: I'm only posting this (and—ugh—linking to the Washington Examiner) because we wrote about a Claire McCaskill internal the other day. So, for what it's worth, Todd Akin is out with a poll of his own, from Wenzel Strategies—best known as the pollster for the-sky-is-orange wingnut organ WorldNetDaily. Anyhow, Akin claims he's up 49-47, and that Romney's leading by an actually-plausible 50-40. McCaskill's survey had her up 50-41 but did not provide presidential toplines.

And while we're at it, Akin's dumbass move of the day is actually in deed, rather than word, form. It turns out he failed to report income from a state pension on his federal financial disclosure forms... income of almost $130,000. While this kind of thing is hardly a major ding (especially on Akin, who has far greater wounds to worry about), it doesn't look good when you manage to "forget" over six figures worth of income, and it also undermines GOP attacks on Dem Sen. Claire McCaskill over her late tax payments on her (since sold) private plane.

WA-Sen: Rasmussen: Maria Cantwell (D-inc): 57, Michael Baumgartner (R): 37.

WI-Sen: Heh, give `em credit for trying. Now or Never PAC, the super PAC that once upon a time was devoted to helping Sarah Steelman beat Todd Akin (hahahah) in the Missouri GOP primary, has spread its wings and has lately been involving itself in races all over the place. Recently, a false ad of theirs got knocked off the air by Democrat Tammy Duckworth in IL-08; now, they're messing about with a new poll in the Wisconsin Senate race. Sadly for them, their survey (from WPA Research) shows Republican Tommy Thompson losing to Tammy Baldwin 48-45, which they furiously try to spin as being "within the margin of error." Maybe that works if you're some unknown House candidate, but when you're a former governor with 100% name recognition... well, it's gonna be more like "never" than "now."

And Tommy just continues to run the strangest campaign:

U.S. Senate candidate Tommy Thompson says he held six campaign stops on Monday.

Just don't expect to get answers about them too quickly.

Under criticism that he hasn't been on the campaign trail enough, Thompson told WBAY-TV in Green Bay on Sunday that he had six events slated for the next day. For three days since then, campaign spokeswoman Lisa Boothe would not provide any details about them despite repeated requests.

On Thursday, she listed eight events that Thompson participated in on Monday, though some of them would not traditionally be considered "campaign stops." Thompson attended a Republican Party event in Waukesha, held a visit to Herzing University that was closed to the general public, sat down for four one-on-one interviews with reporters and held two fundraisers.

For a guy who spent the post-primary period resting up, and who's behind in all public polling, this "lay low" strategy is just bizarre.


MA-Sen: Elizabeth Warren (D)
NV-Sen: Majority PAC (D)



MT-Gov: Rick Hill (R)
WA-Gov: Rob McKenna (R)


CA-10: Democrat Jose Hernandez has a new internal from Momentum Analysis, and it shows him trailing GOP Rep. Jeff Denham just 45-43. That's a definite improvement from a previously unreleased July survey which had Denham up 48-40. And the presidential toplines make sense: Obama's up 47-46 in a district he won 50-47 last time. If anything, that might be slightly pessimistic, since this is the sort of turf where it would be reasonable to expect the president to do better than he did four years ago. It's also worth clicking through to see the actual polling memo because it includes something I haven't seen before: word clouds condensing free-form comments offered by respondents about Hernandez's and Denham's television advertising. "TV," "ads," and "commercial" are, unsurprisingly, the most common for both men, but after that, the most frequently-cited word with regard to Denham's ads is "negative" while for Hernandez, it's "astronaut." So clearly, Democrats are winning on the awesomeness front.

CT-05: Politico's Jake Sherman says the conservative American Action Network has a new poll from American Viewpoint showing Republican Andrew Roraback leading Democrat Elizabeth Esty 42-35—but he provides no field dates or sample size, leaving us to wonder when it was taken and what the margin of error might be. And here's something odd: The toplines are identical to a Roraback/NRCC poll taken a month ago.

KY-06: It's about the thinnest polling memo you can find—just toplines and trendlines—but Republican Andy Barr and the NRCC are out with a new survey from Public Opinion Strategies showing Dem Rep. Ben Chandler up 49-46. That's a bit tighter than POS's June survey showing Chandler leading 47-42, which is obviously the reason Republicans are leaking these numbers. But if Chandler is just a hair's breadth away from that magic 50% mark in even a GOP poll, that's not very optimistic for Republicans.

NH-01, -02 (PDF): The House portions of UNH's latest New Hampshire poll are finally available. In the 1st District, Democrat Carol Shea-Porter leads GOP Rep. Frank Guinta by an enormous 47-38 margin (including leaners). That's up from a 45-43 CSP edge in August. The race in the 2nd is much tighter, with Democrat Annie Kuster holding a slim 42-41 advantage over Republican Rep. Charlie Bass. But before you start fretting that Kuster's unfortunate tracker incident is dragging her down, let me point out that this, too, is an improvement for her, seeing as Bass led 42-37 in August. Of course, I've griped about UNH's issues for many years, so I'd be much more inclined to trust PPP here.

NJ-03: If Stockton College's new poll numbers are accurate, this might help explain why the NRCC just cancelled a huge ad buy on behalf of GOP Rep. Jon Runyan. The freshman Republican leads his challenger, Democrat Shelley Adler, by a 49-39 margin, suggesting he's very close to sealing the deal. If anything, this sample is very optimistic for Democrats, since Obama's leading Romney 49-41—in 2008, he won just 51-48, so that's a much bluer spread.

NY-21: Cue the theme from "Deliverance," because we've got dueling internals—and only one can be right. Dem Rep. Bill Owens is touting a poll from Global Strategy Group that shows him up 50-36 over Republican Matt Doheny, though the presidential numbers seem very optimistic, with Obama leading 51-39. The POTUS won here 52-47 in 2008, so his share isn't implausible, but Romney all the way down at 39... man, I dunno about that. But Doheny's own survey (from POS) isn't entirely awesome for him, either. He trails Owens 45-40 but doesn't provide presidential toplines, making the two polls harder to compare. Still, I think I'd rather be Owens right now.

SC-07: Here's a race I didn't expect to see polled, and with good reason: Republican Tom Rice is predictably crushing Democrat Gloria Tinubu 49-36 in a new survey from Winthrop University. Winthrop actually polled the primaries a bit, so I guess it's not too surprising to see them giving the general a go. But Tinubu, who twice ran for mayor of Atlanta (Georgia!) on the Green Party line, is a spectacularly bad fit for this conservative district, and we moved this race to Safe R quite some time ago.

VA-02: Some very tough numbers for Democrats in VA-02: Freshman GOP Rep. Scott Rigell is out with a new internal from Public Opinion Strategies showing him with a commanding 54-32 lead over Democrat Paul Hirschbiel. I'm surprised Hirschbiel's name recognition is so low (he's been on the air), but I'm not surprised to see Rigell over 50. However, no presidential toplines were provided. Note that the DCCC recently cut back its ad buys here, but House Majority PAC stepped in with a $126K expenditure. It'll be worth seeing whether they continue to spend here.

Reshuffling Roundup:

AZ-02: Even though—or perhaps because—the DCCC announced just a day earlier that they're pulling out of AZ-02, the NRCC has placed a new $225K one-week broadcast buy on behalf of Martha McSally, starting Friday. McSally also says she has an internal poll from OnMessage showing the race tied at 47 apiece—a stark difference from a recent Ron Barber internal that had him up 54-40. We did note, however, that even though the D-Trip is leaving the playing field, House Majority PAC did move in with a $143K expenditure.

CA-21: Has something gone wrong for Republicans? After Democrats experienced a serious recruiting fail and wound up with the Some Dude-ish John Hernandez (who somehow had negative cash-on-hand in his last fundraising report), the GOP had to feel pretty chuffed about Assemblyman David Valadao's chances in this swingy district. But somehow Hernandez scraped together some dough for a few (low-budget) TV ads, while Valadao, notes Scott Bland, "has only just gone on the air with a TV ad of his own, and his campaign hasn't posted new news to his website since March."

But why mention all this? Because Bland reports that Eric Cantor's YG Action Fund has just jumped in with a $200K TV reservation for the final two weeks of the campaign. I'd also note that while other prognosticators have written this race off, we've steadfastly kept it at "Likely R" for precisely this sort of reason. The 21st is heavily Latino, and in a low-information election, it's easy to envision a sufficient number of Hispanic voters pulling the lever for the more familiar surname—which is what appeared to happen in the Democratic primary. (Valadao is of Portuguese descent, like several other members of Congress from California's Central Valley, including Jim Costa and Devin Nunes, as well as ex-Rep. Dennis Cardoza.) So let's see if Republicans somehow screw this one up and let Valadao sleepwalk to defeat.


AZ-01: Ann Kirkpatrick (D)
AZ-02: Martha McSally (R)
CA-26: Tony Strickland (R)
CA-39: American Sunrise (D)
FL-10: Daniel Webster (R)
FL-18: House Majority PAC (D)
GA-12: Chamber of Commerce (D)
IL-13: David Gill (D)
MA-06: John Tierney (D)
MI-11: Syed Taj (D)
MI-11: Syed Taj (D)
NC-07: David Rouzer (R)
NH-01: Carol Shea-Porter (D)
NY-01: Chamber of Commerce (R)
NY-18: Chamber of Commerce (R)
NY-21: Chamber of Commerce (R)
NY-24: Chamber of Commerce (R)
NY-25: Chamber of Commerce (R)
NY-27: Chamber of Commerce (R)
PA-18: Tim Murphy (R)
UT-04: Chamber of Commerce (D)

Originally posted to Daily Kos Elections on Fri Oct 05, 2012 at 05:00 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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