• A ton of Senate polling came out late Wednesday and throughout the day on Thursday. Marist and Quinnipiac led 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)
• MA-Sen (PPP): Elizabeth Warren (D): 50 (48), Scott Brown (R-inc): 44 (46); Obama 55-41 (57-39)
• MA-Sen (Rasmussen): Elizabeth Warren (D): 49 (48), Scott Brown (R-inc): 47 (48)
• MI-Sen (Glengariff): Debbie Stabenow (D-inc): 50 (50), Pete Hoekstra (R): 38 (34); Obama 49-42 (52-38)
• MT-Sen (MSU Billings): Jon Tester (D-inc): 40, Denny Rehberg (R): 43; Romney 49-35
• NM-Sen (Rasmussen): Martin Heinrich (D): 52 (52), Heather Wilson (R): 39 (39); Obama 54-43 (51-40)
• 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
• PA-Sen (McLaughlin for Smith): Bob Casey (D-inc): 46 (49), Tom Smith (R): 44 (41)
• PA-Sen (Rasmussen): Bob Casey (D-inc): 49 (49), Bob Smith (R): 45 (42); Obama 51-46 (51-39)
• 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
• VA-Sen (We Ask America): Tim Kaine (D): 41, George Allen (R): 46
• WI-Sen (Quinnipiac): Tammy Baldwin (D): 48 (47), Tommy Thompson (R): 46 (47); Obama 50-47 (51-45)
I should add that Quinnipiac also has Colorado data: Romney's now up 48-47, flipped from a 48-47 Obama lead last month. For analysis of all these numbers, check out my colleague Steve Singiser's nightly Polling Wrap.
• AZ-Sen: Jeff Flake, who never expected to have a tossup on his hands, is turning into a desperate liar. First, the lying:
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.
• FL-Sen, MO-Sen: The DSCC's making a few new ad buys, and most notable among them are in Florida, where they're throwing down against Connie Mack for the first time ($618K), and Missouri, where they're back on the air against Todd Akin ($748K). More details on the other buys (in a wide array of competitive races) at the link.
• IN-Sen: Hahahah!
• ND-Sen: Shira Toeplitz has an interesting piece on North Dakota's so-called "man camps," temporary trailer camps which house untold thousands of mostly male workers who toil in the booming oil fields in the western part of the state. Because North Dakota has the most lax voting requirements in the nation—there's no registration; you just show up on election day with proof that you've resided in the state for 30 days—and because the expected voter pool is so small (perhaps 350,000), both parties are making a play for support among the inhabitants of the "man camps." And while you'd expect such folks to lean GOP, Democrat Heidi Heitkamp has one edge: Her campaign HQ is located in the western ND city of Mandan, while Rick Berg's home base is situated in Fargo, all the way on the state's eastern border with Minnesota. A good read.
• OH-Sen: Does anyone else think Republican Josh Mandel is just crazy stressed these days? From a new half-interview he did with Canton-area radio host Ron Ponder (audio here):
Ponder: Joe Aquilino I believe you pronounce his name, a former campaign aide, was named Director of Debt Management, paid $90,000, had no experience in finance and you sent him to a beginner's course in the subject. How do you answer those charges?• WI-Sen: Tommy, can you hear me?
Mandel: Well first of all, Ron, I thought I was going on the Ron Ponder show, not the Sherrod Brown campaign show.
Ponder: I'm asking you questions that people have asked you, and I'm just trying to get answers. I'll do the same thing with Senator Sherrod Brown, so don't accuse me of being a lackey for Sherrod Brown. I'm just asking you questions that my listeners want to know.
Mandel: Hey, I'm not accusing you Ron, I'm just telling you what it sounds like.…
Ponder: Now the Democrats are accusing you of the same thing, and I'm just asking you to answer the question about the salaries and the folks you've hired. I'm just asking you that question.
Mandel: Bunch of hogwash Ron, it's a bunch of hogwash. It's Sherrod Brown trying to distract from the record.
Ponder: Josh, is Michael Lord, is Michael Lord your former campaign manager, getting $100,000 from your office, is it yes or no?
Mandel: Ron we have qualified financial professionals in our office...
Ponder: Josh, is it yes or no?
Mandel: Sherrod Brown's the only candidate, the only candidate in this race, his transition director...
Ponder: Josh, just answer the question.
(After receiving no answers)
Ponder: Hang up on this dude, man.
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!
• CA-09: This news does not seem very bueno for Dem Rep. Jerry McNerney. A week-old internal taken by the Tarrance Group for Republican Ricky Gill and the NRCC finds McNerney trailing Gill, 45-46. There aren't any sanity checks provided (like presidential toplines), so it's hard to know what to make of these numbers. However, if there's any good news here, it's that the race has barely budged since late July, even according to Tarrance: Back then, they had McNerney up 47-45. (A McNerney internal from earlier that same month put him ahead 49-33.) We haven't yet seen any response to this latest survey from McNerney, but keep an eye out.
• 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?
• FL-02, UT-04: Here's another believer in Al Lawson's chances: Patriot Majority USA, which is following the DCCC's lead and tossing in $118K in an effort to unseat GOP Rep. Steve Southerland. They're also not giving up on Dem Rep. Jim Matheson in UT-04, throwing another $170K on the pile to help him against Mia Love as well.
• FL-18: The House Majority PAC is out with yet another ad attacking GOP Rep. Allen West in Florida's 18th, but they don't appear to be upping their overall investment. (Their press releases have been holding steady at $1.5 million for a couple of weeks.) The SEIU is also getting into the mix with this new spot, backed by a $160K buy over two weeks.
• IA-04: The Humane Society really has it in for GOP Rep. Steve King: They've been hectoring him with a few ads so far, but now they're going big with a $366K buy, much larger than any prior expenditure. Here's their new ad, attacking him on a variety of animal-related issues (like voting against a ban on taking kids to dog fighting rings).
• IL-08: Well, as you know, We Ask America (despite their best efforts to conceal it) is the polling arm of the conservative Illinois Manufacturers' Association—an affiliation I wouldn't necessarily have such a problem with except, well, for their efforts to conceal it. So I'm always left wondering whether to trust their polling, which did a pretty decent job of House races in Illinois last cycle but has also offered some seriously questionable numbers in various races this year. Anyhow, they somehow have GOP Rep. Joe Walsh up 48-45 over Democrat Tammy Duckworth in a one-day robopoll, the first time he's ever led in any survey. I don't think I believe it, but I do believe Duckworth isn't manhandling Walsh in quite the way many of us had hoped and expected.
• MA-06, NH-01, -02: So who's getting the shaft here? Or alternately, who's the DCCC feeling particularly good about? Shira Toeplitz says the D-Trip's cut back $650K worth of TV time in the Boston media market for the week of Oct. 23-29. That potentially covers three races: the GOP-held NH-01 and NH-02, and the Dem-held MA-06. In all three cases, it's possible to believe either scenario, though these days, I'm more inclined to believe the former rather than the latter.
• 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!")
• 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.
• NV-04: HMP is also coming into Nevada's 4th, a district where Republicans have remained much more competitive than a lot of Democrats probably imagined it would. They have a new ad targeting Danny Tarkanian as "part of a six-figure buy."
• OH-06: Democrat Charlie Wilson is responding to GOP Rep. Bill Johnson's recent internal with one of his own, from Anzalone Liszt. Wilson's poll has him up 49-43 over Johnson, an improvement from a 46-all tie in the first half of September. But there's a bit of a red flag: Though it's not mentioned in the memo, Roll Call's Shira Toeplitz says that Romney's up just 48-47 in Wilson's survey. That seems too optimistic, given that McCain won here by 8. Of course, Johnson's poll had the same problem in reverse: He was up 8 while Romney was up 14. So either the district is a lot redder or a lot bluer this time around... or the truth lies somewhere in between.
• PA-06: Manan Trivedi (D): $433K raised.
• 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.) (David Jarman)
• CFIF: The Center for Individual Freedom, a conservative non-profit at least partly funded by Karl Rove's Crossroads organization, has now made good on the $1.9 million in TV ad reservations the Huffington Post reported on last month. They're targeting Democrats in six races: IA-03, KY-06, NV-04, NY-21, NY-24, and UT-04. The buys range from $104K (Kentucky) to $464K (Nevada).
• House: Very cool: The Cook Political Report has just re-published their Partisan Voting Index for the country's new congressional districts. This means that they've actually gone back and crunched the 2004 Bush-Kerry results according to the new lines as well, so that you can see how the last two presidential elections played out under the 2012 set of districts. (Our Obama-McCain data is, as ever, here). In addition to the raw data, Dave Wasserman also offers some extended analysis about how redistricting has affected the landscape in general, including how the so-called "median district"—the one which gets you to a theoretical majority of 218 seats in the House—has shifted rightward. That median seat is now R+3, or three points more Republican than the national average, after sitting at R+2 for the prior decade and R+1 in the 1990s, making the Democrats' task of retaking the lower chamber tougher than ever.
• NRCC: The NRCC must be feeling quite good about its September haul, seeing as it released its fundraising figures a full 10 days early. They took in $12.4 million for the month, leaving them with $29.5 million in the bank. I hope it's not a worrying sign that, per Roll Call, the DCCC "declined [Wednesday night] to release its fundraising numbers for last month."
• 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.