• LA-Sen: PPP's new Louisiana poll has good news for Dem Sen. Mary Landrieu, and the numbers certainly look better than what two Republican pollsters found earlier in the week. Once again, Landrieu leads GOP Rep. Bill Cassidy by a 50-40 margin, just as she did in February. That's thanks to the support of almost a quarter of Republicans—a very healthy chunk—even though her job approval is a middling 46-43. As Tom Jensen notes, most undecideds lean to the right, so this gap will close, but Landrieu has to be pretty pleased with a poll like this.
In an interesting wrinkle, Cassidy's support plummets when multiple Republicans are included in various matchups. Louisiana law specifies that all candidates run together on a single ballot, with the top two vote-getters advancing to a runoff if no one clears 50 percent. This system is known as a "jungle primary," and PPP is the first public pollster to test some these Tarzanesque scenarios. Right now, Air Force vet Rob Maness is the only other declared GOP hopeful, though state Sen. Elbert Guillory has also expressed interest. Here's what happens when they're thrown into the mix:
Evidently, when confronted with more than one choice, a sizable chunk of Republicans are reluctant to make up their minds, even if the alternative options poll in Some Dude territory. When facing a traditional D vs. R matchup, though, this wobbly contingent finds their partisan backbone. I'd expect Cassidy to ultimately make up most of this gap, seeing as he's known to only half the state. But what I wonder now is whether it Landrieu could potentially win outright, without a second round of voting. Unlikely, perhaps, but not impossible.Landrieu: 47 Landrieu: 48
Cassidy: 20 Cassidy: 24
Guillory: 6 Maness: 5
Maness: 2 Undecided: 23
• KY-Sen: Why is it that people with phony degrees don't seem to have enough sense to avoid touting them? Then again, they did waste time and money on those bogus sheepskins in the first place, which suggests a certain lack of judgment. Anyhow, the latest bozo to inflict this kind of scrutiny on himself is businessman Matt Bevin, who's challenging Sen. Mitch McConnell in the GOP primary and who, until earlier this year, listed MIT in the "education" field at the top of his LinkedIn profile.
It turns out, though, that Bevin once took a three-week (!) seminar put together by some alumni who have no formal connection to the prestigious university. Even more chutzpahdik, Bevin described it as a "three-year program," when in reality, participants only attend for four days a year over a three-year period. Real nice. (Under education, doofus now puts "School of Life.")
The Hill actually reported all of this back in March, but it's come up again now because McConnell just released a new ad hammering Bevin over his deceptions. Bevin seems to know he's been nailed on this one, since he offered only the most half-hearted defense of his "MIT" coursework (I'd give up on that one entirely, dude) and mostly just tried to call McConnell a liar in response. McConnell is reportedly spending "six figures" on the buy.
• MI-Sen: Former Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land would very much like the GOP establishment to rally around her candidacy, but that hasn't really happened yet. When Rep. Dave Camp announced that he wouldn't run a few days ago, the statement he released did not include any mention of Land whatsoever. However, she did finally score an endorsement from one member of Michigan's congressional delegation, Rep. Candice Miller.
• NC-Sen: Ah, bummer. Rep. Virginia Foxx has decided not to run for Senate next year, depriving us of what would have been the most entertaining GOP candidacy in the race to take on Sen. Kay Hagan. That still leaves just state House Speaker Thom Tillis as the only notable Republican running, though we're still waiting to hear from a few folks, including state Senate President Phil Berger, former Ambassador James Cain, and Baptist leader Mark Harris.
• NJ-Sen: In the first post-primary poll (PDF) of the October special election to replace the late Frank Lautenberg, Monmouth University finds Newark Mayor Cory Booker with a 54-38 lead over his Republican opponent, former Bogota Mayor Steve Lonegan. That's basically unchanged from the 53-37 edge Monmouth found for Booker in their June poll, which, like their new survey, also tested likely voters. In a poll taken just before the primary, Quinnipiac had Booker ahead 54-29.
• SC-Sen-B: Toward the end of a piece about Republican eagerness to challenge veteran Sen. Lindsey Graham rather than newly appointed Sen. Tim Scott in an intra-party primary is mention of a potential Democratic opponent for the latter. Former Commerce Dept. official Rick Wade, who lost a race for Secretary of State in 2002, says he's considering. Wade is also currently an executive at GreenTech Automotive, the electric car company whose management Virginia gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe has come under fire for from Republicans.
• TN-Sen, TN-04: Recently, tea partiers started talking up the possibility of trying to unseat two-term Sen. Lamar Alexander in the GOP primary, and all of a sudden, they have a non-Some Dude candidate ready to give it a shot. State Rep. Joe Carr, who had been challenging another Republican incumbent, Rep. Scott DesJarlais, abruptly changed gears on Tuesday and announced that he'd go after Alexander instead. Alexander's sins, as movement conservatives perceive them, are no different from those of any generic establishment Republican, and given their huge disparity in resources, Carr's odds will be long. What's more, the Senate Conservatives Fund is already poor-mouthing Carr, hoping that someone stronger will jump in. Right now, though, no one else is on the horizon.
Carr's switch, though, is bad news for DesJarlais, who also faces the much better-funded state Sen. Jim Tracy. In a multi-way matchup, the scandal-plagued DesJarlais might have been saved by the proverbial clown-car effect, as the anti-incumbent vote would have been split between Tracy and Carr. Now, though, he's likely to face a direct one-on-one pairing with just Tracy, meaning he'd need a majority of Republican primary votes in order to survive. Right now, that doesn't seem very likely.
• IL-Gov: State Sen. Kwame Raoul, who is considering something of a dark-horse bid in the Democratic primary for governor, said over the weekend that he expects to make up his mind in the next 10 days or so.
• MA-Gov: Juliette Kayyem, a former Obama homeland security official who seems to have caught the eye of EMILY's List, has filed paperwork to run in the Democratic primary for governor. That makes her the first woman in the contest, in a field with four men, though state Attorney General Martha Coakley is still considering a bid.
• OH-Gov: I've agitated all year to have PPP poll Ohio, and though it took until August for that to happen, it looks like it was worth it. Their new survey, rather remarkably, shows Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald leading GOP Gov. John Kasich by a 38-35 margin, the first public poll to find the Democrat ahead.
However, you have to wonder why a) Kasich's numbers are so low and b) there are so many undecideds. The governor's approvals sit at 42-47 (down from 45-40 last November), which is certainly not great but also not truly awful. By way of comparison, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett also scored in the mid-30s in a PPP poll (PDF) earlier this year, but his approval rating was a rock bottom 33-58.
The sample might be a bit blue for a midterm (D+6, versus D+7 in last year's exit polls and R+1 in 2010), but that wouldn't explain much. And the fact that 7 percent of the electorate approves of what Kasich is doing but won't vote for him really stands out. FitzGerald, meanwhile, has just a 20-18 favorability score, so you'd expect lots of Democrats to be undecided at this point. But for a well-known incumbent like Kasich to lead Republicans by just a 68-9 spread, with almost a quarter still unsure? Something that unusual bears scrutiny, and we should definitely await further polling.
In the meantime, though, PPP has also given us some numbers for Ohio's downballot races next year. Sherrod Brown fans will be delighted to see that his 2012 opponent, Treasurer Josh Mandel, trails Democratic state Rep. Connie Pillich by 40-35, leading Tom Jensen to conclude that Mandel's mendacious campaign last year has done some real damage to his image. It's a different story for the guy Brown beat back in 2006, though: State Attorney General Mike DeWine beats former Hamilton County Commissioner David Pepper 46-32. The third race PPP tested is quite close, though, with Republican Secretary of State Jon Husted narrowly edging state Sen. Nina Turner 37-36.
• MN-07, NC-07: A couple more silly season ads from the NRCC, one targeting North Carolina Rep. Mike McIntyre, the other Minnesota Rep. Collin Peterson. The former goes after McIntyre for increasing federal spending and supposedly living high on the hog on the taxpayer dime. The latter attacks Peterson for abandoning farmers, with one making the amusing claim that Peterson's "vote on cap-and-trade is something that definitely hurt farmers." (The bill never passed into law.)
Both buys are small, as you'd expect: $10,000 in NC-07 and $22,000 in MN-07. So you might wonder why we even give such tiny expenditures any attention at all, and the answer is that sometimes these attacks offer previews of the broader themes both sides will try to hit next year. Right now, the party committees may just be throwing things against the wall to see what sticks, but invariably, some of it will. By scrutinizing these ads now, we can learn what to expect later.
• Detroit Mayor: Holy moly—what an insane turnaround. Election officials in Detroit are now saying that Wayne County Sheriff Benny Napoleon, and not former Detroit Medical Center CEO Mike Duggan, came in first in the city's mayoral primary two weeks ago, and the reversal is gigantic. Preliminary returns had Duggan, who was waging a write-in campaign, up 46-30, but now certified results have Napoleon leading 41-34. Both men will still advance to the November general election, sparing Detroit the extreme embarrassment of having to un-call a race, but there's absolutely no explanation so far for how this colossal cockup happened.
• Congress: The Hill is out with their annual compilation of the 50 richest members of Congress, arrived at by subtracting liabilities from assets as reported in each lawmaker's annual financial disclosures. Top of the list this year is GOP Rep. Darrell Issa of California, who is now worth at least $355 million. (Congressional rules only require members to provide ranges, not actual values, for each reported item; The Hill uses the most conservative estimates possible.) Last year's leader was another Republican congressman, Texas's Mike McCaul, but his total wealth fell nearly $200 million, but don't feel too bad for him: He's still in second place.
• Pres-by-LD: We're hitting the heartland today, with 2012 election results according to legislative districts in four more states. (As always, a permalink to all our data is here.)
|State||CD||LD (Upper)||LD (Lower)||CD||LD (Upper)||LD (Lower)|
|MI||X||X||X||Pres.; Sen.; Prop. 1; Prop. 2||Pres.; Sen.; Prop. 1; Prop. 2||Pres.; Sen.; Prop. 1; Prop. 2|
|ND||X||X||Pres.; Sen.; US Rep.; Gov./Lt. Gov; Audit.; Treas.; Ins. Comm.; PSC||Pres.; Sen.; US Rep.; Gov./Lt. Gov; Audit.; Treas.; Ins. Comm.; PSC (coterminous)|
|SD||X||X||X||Pres.; US Rep.; PUC (6-yr); PUC (4-yr)||Pres.; US Rep.; PUC (6-yr); PUC (4-yr) (nested)|
The House, meanwhile, has always skewed conservative, and Democrats aren't in much of a position to change that at the moment. They hold 33 seats in the 125-seat chamber (with eight Democrats from HDs that went for Romney). Obama won a total of 29 districts, four of which are held by Republicans. The median HD is 62-35 Romney and the median SD is 61-37 Romney, both slightly to the right of the state as a whole (60-38). That follows from the heavy concentration of Democrats in Kansas City, and indeed, there are several districts in both chambers in which Obama scored north of 70 percent.
• Our calculations for the Michigan legislature were complicated by the fact that the Senate didn't have any elections at all in 2012! (Accordingly, our summary sheet doesn't list any legislators' names, since there's been some shifting of district numbers to accommodate population changes.) Democrats currently hold 12 seats in the 38-member body, and would need to win all districts on the new map where Obama received 56 percent or higher to maintain their position. The road to a majority is harder, seeing as the median district went narrowly for Romney by less than 1 percent. This is well to the right of Obama's 9.5 percent margin in the state, likely owing both to geography (Obama voters outnumber Romney voters more than 46:1 in the city of Detroit) and gerrymandering.
Substantial attention has been paid to the Michigan House this cycle, where Democrats gained 5 seats in 2012 and find themselves at only a 59-51 disadvantage. Obama won 53 of the 110 districts, and Democrats hold 49 of those seats (including all those at 51.7 percent Obama and above). Another five-seat gain would be needed to recapture the chamber and would requiring venturing into Romney-won territory: The median district here is also 50-49 Romney.
We also calculated results for two of the six failed proposals on the ballot last year: Prop. 1 (a referendum on GOP Gov. Rick Snyder's Emergency Manager law), and Prop. 2 (which would have amended the state constitution to guarantee a right to collective bargaining). The results, for Prop. 1 especially, don't fall neatly into the usual patterns: The strongest districts both for and against the law are Republican-held, and nowhere do we see margins similar to those for the partisan races.
• Both chambers of the North Dakota Legislature are also Republican-controlled, which is unsurprising given the overall tilt of the state. The state is divided into 47 LDs, and, following a model we've seen in other states, each LD elects one Senator and two Representatives. The Dem-NPL (the local affiliate of the Democratic Party) holds 14 seats in the Senate and 23 seats in the House, slightly outperforming Obama's haul of eight LDs. Combined, those eight LDs send six Dems to the Senate and 13 Dems to the House.
Interestingly, North Dakota is one of the few states in which Obama did better in the median district (58-40 Romney) than statewide (59-39 Romney). This result actually holds for six of the eight statewide partisan contests on the ballot, even though individual candidates had their own pockets of strengths that differed from Obama's in the state.
• South Dakota's legislature operates a model that's a hybrid of its northern neighbor North Dakota (LDs electing two Representatives and one Senator each) and its eastern neighbor Minnesota (a Senate District is broken down into two House sub-districts, labeled "A" and "B"). Thirty-three of 35 districts rely on the North Dakota model, while the remaining two (SD-26 and SD-28) are split into sub-districts to create two Native American-majority districts (HDs 26A and 28A).
Democrats hold seven of 35 seats in the Senate; Obama carried four of those. Obama won five districts in total, meaning there are 3 Democrats in Romney districts and 1 Republican in an Obama district. In the House, Democrats hold 17 of 70 seats. There, Obama won districts comprising 10 seats, eight of which are held by Democrats. (Obama carried SD-26, but only HD-26A and not HD-26B. In exchange, the split of SD-28 means Obama also carried HD-28A.) There are also two Republicans in Obama districts and nine Democrats in Romney districts.
As in North Dakota, both chambers here feature median districts to the left of the statewide total: Romney won the median district by 17.3 percent, compared to his 18.0 percent statewide margin. (This result also holds for two of the three downballot races, representative in Congress and the 6-year seat on the state Public Utilities Commission.)