8:12 AM PT: A ton of Senate polling came out on Thursday, with Marist and Quinnipiac leading the way to declare that the sky hasn't quite fallen—but if you prefer to hedge, you can add the words "not yet" and "not entirely" to the end of that sentence:
• FL-Sen (Marist): Bill Nelson (D-inc): 52 (52), Connie Mack (R): 39 (41); Obama 48-47 (47-46)
• MI-Sen (Glengariff): Debbie Stabenow (D-inc): 50 (50), Pete Hoekstra (R): 38 (34); Obama 49-42 (52-38)
• NV-Sen (PPP): Shelley Berkley (D): 44 (48), Dean Heller (R-inc): 47 (44); Obama 51-47 (52-43)
• NV-Sen (Suffolk): Shelley Berkley (D): 37, Dean Heller (R-inc): 40; Obama 47-45
• OH-Sen (Marist): Sherrod Brown (D-inc): 52 (50), Josh Mandel (R): 41 (41); Obama 51-45 (51-43)
• PA-Sen (Pulse Opinion for LFR): Bob Casey (D-inc): 44, Tom Smith (R): 41; Obama 47-45
• VA-Sen (Marist): Tim Kaine (D): 47 (49), George Allen: 46 (44); Romney 48-47 (Obama 48-46)
• VA-Sen (Quinnipiac): Tim Kaine (D): 51 (51), George Allen: 44 (44); Obama 51-46 (50-46)
• VA-Sen (McLaughlin for Allen): Tim Kaine (D): 46, George Allen (R): 49; Romney 51-44
• WI-Sen (Quinnipiac): Tammy Baldwin (D): 48 (47), Tommy Thompson (R): 46 (47); Obama 50-47 (51-45)
MODERATOR: Did you sign the Grover Norquist no-tax pledge?As Jules would say, "Yes you did. Yes. You. Did, Jeff!" HuffPo:
MODERATOR: Would you sign such a pledge?
FLAKE: The only pledge I'd sign is a pledge to sign no more pledges. We've got to ensure that we go back and represent our constituents in a way—I believe in limited government, economic freedom, individual responsibility. I don't want higher taxes. But no more pledges.
Flake is listed as one of the 279 signers of the pledge against new taxes on the website of Americans for Tax Reform. The pledge is a promise to voters to "ONE, oppose any and all efforts to increase the marginal income tax rate for individuals and business; and TWO, oppose any net reduction or elimination of deductions and credits, unless matched dollar for dollar by further reducing tax rates."As for the desperation, get a load of this new ad of his. A former HHS official, Cristina Beato whom Democrat Rich Carmona worked under while serving as surgeon general has cut a spot for Flake claiming Carmona "has issues with anger, with ethics, and with women." Beato previously testified about these allegations before Congress in 2007—but remember that this was during the same timeframe that Carmona went public with his accusations that the Bush administration had "had improperly interfered in public health decisions for purely political reasons." And Beato was a Bush hack who, thanks to Democratic opposition, never received Senate confirmation and was instead appointed in an "acting" capacity, partly because of allegations that she lied about her résumé. Carmona, of course, denied the allegations when Beato's testimony first came to light earlier this year, and denies them again now.
9:23 AM PT: CA-30: Sheesh. Now Howard Berman, who has nakedly been making a play for the GOP vote for quite some time, is touting endorsements from ten California Republican congressmembers. As I've suggested before, this strikes me as a losing proposition borne out of desperation: There just aren't very many Republican voters in the new 30th District to begin with, but the better Berman does at scooping them up, the more he's apt to drive left-leaning voters into the arms of fellow Dem Rep. Brad Sherman. But as we've also said before, the demographics of this seat favor Sherman in a pretty structural way, so what else is Berman gonna do?
9:29 AM PT: Polltopia: On Wednesday, your brain probably exploded when you heard about the remarks from Suffolk University pollster David Paleologos, who said that his outfit wouldn't poll Florida, Virginia, or North Carolina again this cycle because they'd "already painted those red." New York Magazine's Dan Amira got some other pollsters (you know, legitimate ones) to offer their thoughts in response to Paleologos deciding that three bona fide swing states were actually safely Republican. Make sure you get to the last bit:
"I think all three of those states are still toss-ups," Public Policy Polling's Tom Jensen told us. "We've already polled Virginia since the debate and Obama was up by 3. I don't agree with his assessment, and I don't know why he would have made it without even conducting any polling after the debates."
Gary Langer, who runs the ABC News/Washington Post poll, quipped tartly, "With that kind of foresight, we should find out who he likes in the fifth at Aqueduct."
SurveyUSA CEO Jay Leve was harsher. "This guy from Suffolk is obviously a jackass," he said.
9:50 AM PT: NM-01: Democrat Michelle Lujan Grisham is evidently eager to put this one to bed: She's just released a new internal poll from Greenberg Quinlan Rosner that gives her a commanding 55-40 lead over Republican Janice Arnold-Jones in this open-seat race. There are no presidential toplines, but MLG does provide trendlines for what I believe was a previously unreleased July survey that had her ahead 50-42.
10:37 AM PT: MN-08: There are two new polls out in Minnesota's 8th Congressional District, and neither of them make me want to be GOP Rep. Chip Cravaack. The first is from SurveyUSA, in what may be the first independent look at the race to date. They find Democrat Rick Nolan edging Cravaack 46-45, but the presidential toplines actually paint an even worse picture for the incumbent: Mitt Romney's up 47-45, in a district Barack Obama won by eight last time. A 10-point swing seems rather implausible, so this sample is probably overly optimistic for Republicans.
Meanwhile, Nolan himself has an internal from Victoria Research that puts him up 48-44. Somewhat unusually, Nolan seems to be responding to recent polling from his own side that painted a decidedly weaker picture for him: You'll recall that the D-Trip just put out toplines showing the race tied at 42, something Nolan's poll writeup specifically mentions. Sort of a head-scratcher of a move by the DCCC, since those were actually the softest numbers to date for Democrats. (Check out the second graf of Nolan's memo—it definitely sounds like he's saying, "Gee, thanks a lot for the help, fellas!")
Mr. Thompson, usually gregarious, sounds anything but upbeat as he talks about his reason for running now. Is he having fun? No, he says twice. "I don't need this," he said.Neither does Wisconsin!
10:55 AM PT (David Jarman): Portland mayor: Got a mayoral election? SurveyUSA can
pickle poll that! Their latest look at Portland, Oregon's mayoral election finds city councilor Charlie Hales leading state Rep. Jefferson Smith 37-30. Thanks to increased support among Republicans, that's a bigger lead for Hales this time, up from 34-29 last month. (Hales and Smith are both liberals, in a nonpartisan race, but Hales is more downtown/insider.)
11:12 AM PT: Site News: Sorry for the confusion and disruption, folks. Apparently, a major change to the site was rolled out overnight, and I don't believe there was any advance warning. (I didn't know about it myself.) Jason Libsch, Daily Kos's VP of Products and Technology, explained late last night:
The second change is to the [New] decorations you see next to comments you have yet to read, as well as the 12/33 New text in stories listed in the side bar telling the number of unread comments for that story. We have implemented a major shift in where the records behind this feature are kept—this data is now stored in the browser, not on the server. This should go a long way in reducing the load on our database servers. It will have the downside that different browsers you use will no longer be in sync regarding unread comments. However, it will have the upside that the new comment text and counts will be available to anonymous and logged out users.It sounds like this change is permanent, but you can submit any questions or thoughts you have to the Helpdesk.
• MT-Sen (MSU Billings): Jon Tester (D-inc): 40, Denny Rehberg (R): 43; Romney 49-35
• PA-Sen (McLaughlin for Smith): Bob Casey (D-inc): 46 (49), Tom Smith (R): 44 (41)
• VA-Sen (We Ask America): Tim Kaine (D): 41, George Allen (R): 46