• Poll Closing Times: We've dusted off and updated our colorful poll closing times map (with assistance from Faith Gardner and Miles Kurland), and we've also put together a list of all the key races and arranged them by the hour polls close in each state, so that you'll know when to start looking for returns. You can find all of this at the link, which you'll definitely want to bookmark and keep open in a tab on e-night, but here's copy of the map as well:
• Prediction Contest: The Daily Kos Elections Nov. 6, 2012, prediction contest is here! Just click on over for full instructions, including links to the contest entry form. (Also, we've finally gotten around to announcing winners from our prior two contests, so check out the post to see if you've won.) You can submit your guesses up until 6 PM ET on Tuesday (when the first polls start to close).
• Site News: On Tuesday, Daily Kos will conduct two parallel liveblogs: On the Daily Kos front page, Markos will direct coverage of the presidential race, and he'll also be following other key statewide races, like the big Senate contests and the various marriage equality ballot measures. On Daily Kos Elections, we will, as always, comprehensively cover all competitive downballot affairs: Senate, House, governor, ballot measures, state legislatures, and more. You'll want to keep tabs open to both dailykos.com and elections.dailykos.com.
We're making five more ratings moves, two of which favor Democrats and three of which favor Republicans. Tune in to our Live Digest on Tuesday for our final tweaks and adjustments.
• CT-Sen (Tossup to Lean D): It looks like Democrat Chris Murphy is finishing strong: Polling in recent weeks has shown his margin expanding over Linda McMahon, who hasn't led in a public poll since September. That's capped off with PPP's latest, showing Murphy up 9. McMahon also needed to run a perfect campaign to pull off an upset in solidly blue Connecticut—her zillions were never going to be sufficient, and her stumbles over abortion and Social Security have proved it. While this race definitely got a lot hairier than any Democrat would have liked for a while, Murphy looks to have the advantage now.
• CA-33 (Safe D to Likely D): Here's a decent backgrounder on a race that's probably flown under your radar, from the L.A.-area Daily Breeze. Dem Rep. Henry Waxman's been in office for almost four decades, and while he is expected to win re-election, he's facing two major wrinkles this year. First, he only represents about half of the redrawn 33rd District, meaning that a lot of voters don't know him despite his lengthy tenure. And the seat, while still very Democratic at 64-33 Obama, is still several points less blue than Waxman's old 30th, which was 70-28.
Second and more importantly, wealthy businessman Bill Bloomfield, a Republican-turned-independent, has been spending freely, putting over $6 million into the race. Waxman's raised and spent over $1.5 million, but Bloomfield's cash advantage allowed him to dominate the airwaves early in the expensive Los Angeles market. Bloomfield didn't fare especially well in June's top-two primary, taking 25 percent to Waxman's 45. However, the total Dem take in the primary was about 52 percent, not exactly a dominant number. That said, a Bloomfield victory would still be quite an upset, but in an abundance of caution, we're slotting this race on to our Big Board at Likely D.
• KY-06 (Lean D to Tossup): This is definitely one of those "non-barking dog"-type moves. Earlier in the campaign, Dem Rep. Ben Chandler produced a couple of polls showing him with comfortable leads over repeat candidate Andy Barr. But it's been a long time since we've seen good numbers from him, and we're concerned that this race has grown closer since then. Barr lost by just a few hundred votes last cycle, and while you can say "that was 2010," the conservative nature of this district, combined with the fact that Obama's likely to do even worse here than in 2008 (despite the seat getting shored up a bit in redistricting), makes us not want to take any chances.
• MI-11 (Likely R to Lean R): I gotta admit, we're pretty much throwing up our hands on this race. It seems like both major party committees have no interest in touching either candidate in this freakish open-seat contest, particularly Republican Kerry Bentivolio, who by all accounts may actually be crazy. That has us reverting our rating to simply reflect the district's blank-slate status, which we view as Lean R. Recent revelations about Bentivolio's bizarre past may be enough to hand a fluke victory to Democrat Syed Taj—but let's not kid ourselves: A Bentivolio win would be pretty flukish, too. Someone has to emerge victorious, though, but at this point, truly nothing would surprise us.
• OH-07 (Likely R to Safe R): Once upon a time, a long time ago (all the way back in January), PPP coughed up a poll for House Majority PAC showing our old friend Generic D edging GOP freshman Bob Gibbs 43-42. Unfortunately, it seems like actual Democrat Joyce Healy-Abrams never quite lived up to Generic D's promise, and there's been no polling since, nor any meaningful outside spending here.
• HI-Sen, ND-Sen: A couple of Senate candidates are getting some last second top-of-the-ticket help: Barack Obama just cut an ad for Mazie Hirono in Hawaii, calling her "part of my ohana" (that's "family" for you mainlanders). The only other person he's done one for is Connecticut's Chris Murphy. Meanwhile, Mitt Romney recorded a spot for ND-Sen's Rick Berg, who joins an exclusive club that includes Denny Rehberg, Jeff Flake, and that lucky, lucky guy, Richard Mourdock.
• IL-Sen: GOP Sen. Mark Kirk just gave his first interview and made his first public appearance since suffering a debilitating stroke in January. Kirk even climbed 37 stories at Chicago's Willis Tower (the building formerly known as the Sears Tower). It sounds like Kirk is aiming to be back in D.C. when the next Congress convenes in January.
• NV-Sen: Dem Rep. Shelley Berkeley just plowed $250K of her own money into the race at the last minute, the first time either candidate has self-funded in Nevada.
• CT-Sen (PPP): Murphy (D): 52-43; Obama 55-42
• FL-Sen (Mason-Dixon): Nelson (D-inc): 49-43; Romney 51-45
• FL-Sen (Marist): Nelson (D-inc): 52-43; Obama 49-47
• FL-Sen (PPP): Nelson (D-inc): 51-46; Obama 50-49
• MA-Sen (PPP): Warren (D): 52-46; Obama 57-42
• MA-Sen (UMass Lowell): Brown (R-inc): 49-48; Obama 57-37
• MA-Sen (WNEU): Warren (D): 50-46; Obama 58-40
• ME-Sen (Critical Insights): King (I): 49, Summers (R): 33, Dill (D): 11; Obama 49-42
• ME-Sen (PPP): King (I): 50, Summers (R): 36, Dill (D): 12; Obama 55-42
• MO-Sen (SurveyUSA): McCaskill (D-inc): 51-36; Romney 50-43
• MT-Sen (GHY for Majority PAC): Tester (D-inc): 44-43, Dan Cox (L): 6
• MT-Sen (Mason-Dixon): Rehberg (R): 49-45, Dan Cox (L): 1
• MT-Sen (PPP): Tester (D-inc): 48-46; Romney 52-45
• NM-Sen (POS for Wilson): Heinrich (D): 46 (43), Wilson (R): 46 (44), Jon Barrie (IAP): 3 (6); Obama 49-41 (47-42)
• NV-Sen (PPP): Heller (R-inc): 48-46; Obama 51-47
• OH-Sen (Columbus Dispatch): Brown (D-inc): 51-45; Obama 50-48
• OH-Sen (Marist): Brown (D-inc): 50-45; Obama 51-45
• OH-Sen (PPP): Brown (D-inc): 52-42; Obama 52-47
• OH-Sen (Rasmussen): Brown (D-inc): 50-48
• OH-Sen (SurveyUSA): Brown (D-inc): 44-41; Obama 49-44
• OH-Sen (Univ. of Cincinnati): Brown (D-inc): 51-47; Obama 50-49
• PA-Sen (PPP): Casey (D-inc): 52-44; Obama 52-46
• VA-Sen (Marist): Kaine (D): 49-46; Obama 48-47
• VA-Sen (PPP): Kaine (D): 52-46; Obama 51-47
• VA-Sen (Rasmussen): Kaine (D): 49-47
• WI-Sen (PPP): Baldwin (D): 51-48; Obama 51-48
• MT-Gov (PPP): Bullock (D): 48, Hill (R): 48
• NC-Gov (PPP): McCrory (R): 50-43; Obama 49-49
• NH-Gov (New England College): Hassan (D): 47-45; Obama 50-46
• NH-Gov (PPP): Hassan (D): 51-47; Obama 50-48
• NH-Gov (UNH): Hassan (D): 49-40; Obama 50-46
• WA-Gov (PPP): Inslee (D): 50-48; Obama 53-46
• MT-AL (Mason-Dixon): Kim Gillan (D): 40, Steve Daines (R): 51
• MT-AL (PPP): Kim Gillan (D): 44, Steve Daines (R): 48
• NH-01 (UNH): Carol Shea-Porter (D): 43, Frank Guinta (R-inc): 43
• NH-02 (UNH): Annie Kuster (D): 47, Charlie Bass (R-inc): 40
• NY-24 (Siena): Dan Maffei (R): 44 (43), Ann Marie Buerkle (R-inc): 44 (43), Ursula Rozum (G): 8 (7); Obama 53-42 (55-36).
• NY-27 (Siena): Kathy Hochul (D-inc): 47 (47), Chris Collins (R): 48 (47); Romney 55-42 (51-42).
• UT-04 (Dan Jones): Jim Matheson (D-inc): 43 (43), Mia Love (R): 48 (49)
• ME Ballot (Critical Insights): Same-sex marriage legalization passing 55-42
• MI Ballot (PPP): Emergency manager law repeal succeeding 45-36; amending state constitution to guarantee collective bargaining rights failing 55-33
• MN Ballot (PPP): Constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage failing 52-45; voter ID amendment failing 51-46
• WA Ballot (PPP): Same-sex marriage legalization passing 52-42
• Polltopia: Poor Nate Silver:
As part of his continued effort to torment the 34-year-old statistician and blogger, feared New York Times bully Derek Kriesel reportedly slapped a stack of opinion polls from Nate Silver's hands Friday, scattering the surveys across the floor of the organization's newsroom. "Pick them up, you little fuckin' dweeb," said Kriesel, who eyewitnesses confirmed kicked the papers down the hallway before Silver could gather them up. "Hey, Silverdork, I got a poll for you. It says there's a 90 percent chance that I'm going to beat the shit out of you, what do you think of that?" At press time, sources said Silver was hiding in a supply closet and analyzing the latest electoral data as a menacing voice from across the hall called out, "Oh, Silver! Where are you, Silver?"• Voting: Due to Hurricane Sandy, the state of New Jersey has taken the unusual step of allowing affected residents to cast ballots online. (It's not as unusual as it sounds, since many states already allow members of the military and overseas citizens to vote electronically.) Meanwhile, Gov. Andrew Cuomo says that New Yorkers displaced by the storm may vote at any polling location by casting an affidavit ballot. Unfortunately, that will mean some voters will only be able to vote in the presidential and Senate races, but that has to be better than not being able to vote at all.