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Leading Off:

NJ-Gov: Hmm. That Quinnipiac poll showing Cory Booker's lead dropping to just 12 points in the Senate race prompted some eyebrow-raising, and now their new gubernatorial numbers add a further question mark. As in the Senate race, Quinnipiac is using a likely voter screen for the first time, and in so doing, GOP Gov. Chris Christie has shot up to monster 64-30 edge over Democrat Barbara Buono. Their prior survey, which relied on registered voters, had Christie up 28 points, so the two can't be directly compared, but this is one of the largest leads Christie's had in a while. Is he really going to win by that much?

I'm also concerned that there's some weird cross-pollination taking place between the two races. Quinnipiac indicates they relied on a smaller sample for what will be a lower-turnout October special election for Senate versus the traditional November contest for governor, 948 voters versus 1,249. But the field dates for both polls were the same, so the Senate data is piggybacking on the gubernatorial data, and it's hard to say how this might affect the results. It goes without saying that back-to-back statewide elections like this are extremely unusual, and it may be hard to get an accurate read on each race when polling both at once.

At least Quinnipiac is using different screens for each race, though, as have Monmouth and Rutgers, two other schools that have released likely voters numbers. But it appears that Stockton College relied on the same sample for both contests in their recent poll, as did Kean University in their new survey, for which they relied on Pulse Opinion Research (aka Rasmussen-for-hire). Like Stockton, Kean/POR seems to have used a single sample with a single screen, finding Christie up 52-34 and Booker ahead 52-32 over Republican Steve Lonegan. This is really no way to poll.

Senate:

IL-Sen: A new poll from conservative pollster We Ask America finds Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin leading state Sen. Jim Oberweis 50-39, and the wealthy Oberweis now says he's considering a bid. (The poll was apparently not conducted for him.) We've noted We Ask America's poor Illinois track record in the past—they consistently over-estimated GOP performance there in 2012. But if Oberweis wants to draw encouragement from a friendly poll showing him down 11 and the incumbent at 50, well, considering how many races he's lost, that would be fitting.

Gubernatorial:

VA-Gov: Rasmussen Reports: Terry McAuliffe (D): 44 (45), Ken Cuccinelli (R): 38 (38).

House:

AL-01: As expected, Tuesday night's GOP primary in the special election to fill ex-Rep. Jo Bonner's seat was inconclusive, and a runoff will be held on Nov. 5 between ex-state Sen. Bradley Byrne and businessman Dean Young. Byrne finished first with 35 percent while Young took 23 for the second slot. (State Rep. Chad Fincher was third with 16.)

The matchup in this dark red district is about as classic as they come for the modern GOP. Byrne is an establishment fixture who believes in bringing home federal bacon for his constituents; Young is a tea partying religious fundamentalist who wants to impeach Barack Obama and said during the campaign, "I'm against homosexuals pretending like they're married."

After his win Tuesday, Byrne was immediately endorsed by conservative columnist Quin Hillyer, the fourth-place finisher, and local analyst George Talbot thinks Byrne is likely to garner more support from backers of the other also-rans. But Young has enthusiasm on his side, as well as the endorsement of Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore, a potent figure in the conservative movement. Byrne has all the traditional advantages, but a tea party upset is very much a possibility here.

MA-05: State Sen. Karen Spilka has released another internal poll from Greenberg Quinlan Rosner, once again showing her neck-and-neck with fellow state Sen. Karen Spilka in the Democratic primary. Compared to her July numbers, though, there's mostly been very little relative movement in the special election to fill Ed Markey's seat:

Katherine Clark: 19 (15)
Karen Spilka: 18 (14)
Peter Koutoujian: 15 (12)
Will Brownsberger: 11 (11)
Carl Sciortino: 11 (4)
Undecided: 26 (43)
Sciortino, a state representative, has seen the greatest improvement, which makes sense, since this poll went into the field after his popular "tea party dad" ad started circulating. But given the low vote shares for each candidate, the tight spread between first and last, and the still-sizable portion of undecideds out there, this race seems very much up for grabs.

NY-24: I'd figured that GOP ex-Rep. Ann Marie Buerkle wasn't going to make a comeback bid after President Obama nominated her for a seat on the Consumer Products Safety Commission. But now she's made it official that she won't challenge Rep. Dan Maffei in this blue-leaning district in upstate New York next year.

OH-16, -Sen: Does the name Benjamin Suarez ring a bell? He's the wealthy GOP donor and businessman whose employees started making suspiciously large donations, seemingly in concert, to two Ohio Republicans, state Treasurer (2012 Senate nominee) Josh Mandel and 16th District Rep. Jim Renacci. The Toledo Blade uncovered the story in 2011, and though Suarez denied reimbursing his workers—which is illegal—the New Republic reported last year that the FBI was investigating the matter.

On Wednesday, Suarez and a business partner were indicted in federal court on charges that they "recruited company employees and spouses to contribute to the two Republicans' campaigns, then reimbursed them through payments disguised first as 'salary' and later 'profit sharing.' " Mandel and Renacci gave back all the tainted money last year (which amounted to six figures each), and neither were mentioned in the indictments, but a press release from the U.S. Attorney's office notes that the investigation is "ongoing."

Other Races:

Boston Mayor: Tuesday night's primary in Beantown added some clarity to this chaotic race by mercifully winnowing the candidates left in the running from twelve to two. Taking first with 18.5 percent was state Rep. Marty Walsh; his November 5 general election opponent will be City Councilor (and fellow Democrat) John Connolly, who won 17.2 percent. Close behind but not close enough was non-profit exec Charlotte Golar Richie at 13.8 percent.

Walsh's first place finish was a pretty big surprise: The three polls released last week agreed Connolly would win the most votes with Walsh in a heated battle for second place with several other candidates. It appears either the polls were a bit off when it came to Walsh's final percentage, or he enjoyed a very late surge.

Turning to the general, those same polls suggest Connolly has a significant advantage over Walsh. MassINC, the University of New Hampshire, and Suffolk University each show Connolly with a significantly better net favorability ratings than Walsh, while Suffolk released a (now no-longer hypothetical) head-to-head matchup in which Connolly easily defeated Walsh 44 to 29. However, these polls underestimated Walsh before and now that there are only two candidates left, a lot can change. (Darth Jeff)

NC State Sen: PPP has conducted a ton of generic legislative polling in North Carolina, and thanks to Republican over-reach, the numbers have consistently looked good for Democrats. The problem, of course, is that thanks to the GOP's devilish gerrymanders, a lead on the generic ballot doesn't necessarily translate into gains in actual districts. But PPP's now shedding more light on the situation with polls of eight separate state Senate seats, and the results are positive for Democrats.

Two Republican senators, when paired against a generic Dem, trail by sizable margins: Thom Goolsby in the 9th by 12 points, and Wesley Meredith in the 19th by 7. Meredith is the only GOP senator to hold a district won by Barack Obama last year, which actually makes the other six polls all the more notable. Those races are all quite close, ranging from D+4 to R+3 in head-to-heads, despite the fact that Obama earned an average of just 43 percent in those six seats.

One note of caution here, though, is that except against Goolsby, generic D is in the low 40s in every race. (Goolsby trails by a pretty terrible 50-38.) Even if Democrats land strong candidates in each of these, the climb to 50 percent won't be easy, since none of these seats offer friendly turf.

Special Elections: Some "yikes" results from Johnny Longtorso:

California AD-52: This one was a close one, but it appears that Democrat Freddie Rodriguez has won. He currently has a 51-49 lead over independent Paul Leon, and since the ballots that come in after Election Day usually favor the Democrat, it seems likely that his 365-vote margin will expand.
What's weird is that Democratic candidates took 61 percent of the overall vote in the first round of voting back in July, so this result can't be blamed on classic Democratic dropoff. (And that wasn't even too bad a decline from 2012, since this is a 65 percent Obama district.) Perhaps Leon was aided by his party switch: He used to be a Republican but dropped the label earlier this year after getting crushed in another special election for the state Senate. Leon is also mayor of Ontario, a decently sized city of 164,000.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Elections on Thu Sep 26, 2013 at 05:00 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (15+ / 0-)

    Get the Daily Kos Elections Digest in your inbox every weekday. Sign up here.

    by David Nir on Thu Sep 26, 2013 at 05:00:16 AM PDT

  •  Big night in the VA-Gov race! (4+ / 0-)

    Check out the Blue Virginia live blog of last night's live TV governor's debate, moderated by Chuck Todd (who somehow managed to ask about the Washington NFL team with the highly dubious name, but completely FAILED to ask about Ken Cuccinelli's assault on climate scientist Michael Mann or Cuccinelli's climate science denialism - priorities, priorities, I guess)

    Also, on Tuesday night, EW Jackson debated the Dem nominee for Lt. Governor of Virginia, Ralph Northam, and claimed that his hundreds of offensive/extreme comments over the years were all "taken completely out of context."  Here's one response, and here's another, to that Big Lie.

  •  Christie/Buono (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Aquarius40, JPhurst, Jay C

    I'm inclined to believe the new numbers.  I'm guessing Democratic turnout will be very low, considering how many people, in politics, the media and the general public, believe that Buono has no chance whatsoever to win.

    •  I canvassed for nominating petition signatures (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Stude Dude, Odysseus

      for Buono.  I was working from a dem party list of registered dem voters.  You have no idea how many people had never heard of Buono, and she hasn't done a thing in south Jersey to overcome the anonymity.  Buono has no money, no dem party support at any level.  The dems in NJ are solidly in Christie's back pocket.  I've spoken to a couple of Buono operatives about yard signs, just to get her name up, and no one has called back.

      You can't run a state wide campaign with no money and amateurs.  I knew she was in trouble when I saw who was running the various campaign efforts.  And then, not the briefest sighting around these parts.  C'mon, Barbara, at least put on a decent show.

      “The road to success is always under construction” --Lily Tomlin

      by CarolinNJ on Thu Sep 26, 2013 at 08:39:39 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Christie does very well here in NJ (5+ / 0-)

    simply by not being as major an asshole as other Republicans who have a national profile.  It's like okay, he may have defunded Planned Parenthood, axed the Hudson River Tunnel even though it was all paid for, and stuck it to the unions so they are still bleeding but hey, HE WAS NICE TO OBAMA ONCE!  DIDN'T EVEN SAY ANYTHING ABOUT KENYA! He's the Voice of Reason! Wowee, cool, man!  It's enough to make you want to give up.

  •  Doesn't NJ tend to poll more Republican (0+ / 0-)

    than it votes? I seem to recall that.

    But it does look like Christie wins easily.

  •  Not surprised about Buono (4+ / 0-)

    She is a horrible candidate.  Seriously.  I have not seen one ad of hers on TV since she announced her candidacy, whereas Christie is onto his 3rd or 4th different attack ad on her.

    Heck, I hadnt even heard of her before I saw Christie's first attack ad.  Shows how terrible a job she's doing of defining herself.

    "Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it... unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense." -The Buddha

    by Brian A on Thu Sep 26, 2013 at 06:26:03 AM PDT

  •  MA 05 (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Christopher Walker

    Correction: the Karens are mixed up; one repeats.

    "It's the Supreme Court, Stupid!"

    by Kestrel on Thu Sep 26, 2013 at 06:47:30 AM PDT

    •  walsh got turnout in his district (0+ / 0-)

      Walsh and Connolly both got huge turnout in their districts, but Walsh is from dorchester...rows and rows of triple deckers...if they hevn't voted by 6pm, you just knock on the door.

      Minority turn was lower but not awful, but they had like 9 running and split the vote.

      Charlotte Golar-Ritchie came third and closer than expected but was the typical great person for job bad candidate on ground type.

      polling a mayors race in a city where they only run one every 20 years is pretty hard to do.

      people in Mass really don't like their prosecutors running for other office...they rarely win. so the Conley conley got dusted...also wonder how many voters called took the time to distinguish who was who

  •  Benjamin Suarez scandal (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Stude Dude

    That should be used against Mandel if he runs for re-election in the OH-Tres race (I'm not sure if Mandel is running for re-election to that post).

    My parents made me a Democrat. Scott Walker made me a progressive.

    by DownstateDemocrat on Thu Sep 26, 2013 at 07:04:55 AM PDT

  •  I like Buono, but.... (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Pale Jenova, Jay C, Stude Dude, Odysseus

    ...her campaign has been horrible.  No fundraising, no excitement, no building relationships with other Democrats.  In NJ each candidate gets to submit a bio which goes on the back of the ballot.  Buono was the ONLY CANDIDATE who failed to meet the deadline.  Realistically the ballot statement doesn't mean much, but it is just amateur hour.

    I live in Jersey City, where we just elected a new mayor who ran against the old political machine.  Buono came in before the election and endorsed the incumbent, pissing off a lot of the current mayor's supporters who are very engaged and active citizens (not to mention pissing off the mayor himself).

    I am not going to blame Buono for all of this.  The Democratic party in New Jersey is a mess ever since Corzine basically purchased loyalty by funding the various county and local machines.  The result was no bona fide party building and reliance on one man's bags of money.  NJ tilts Democratic, but if the party had built up strong local bases of support, it could dominate.

    If missiles were falling where my two daughters sleep, I would do everything in order to stop that. -- President Barack Obama

    by JPhurst on Thu Sep 26, 2013 at 07:08:28 AM PDT

    •  Agree with you about Buono's campaign (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Stude Dude

      It seems to have been taken for granted that, given Gov. Christie's popularity, the Dem candidate for Governor this year was going to be little more than a sacrificial lamb goat: and Barbara Buono has certainly played the part. Lack of money and advertising hasn't helped, either but the Democrats seem to have given up on this race altogether.

      I read somewhere (probably here on DK), that another factor bolstering Christie's reelection bid was that he has/had worked some sort of deal with some of those Dem "county and local machines" to keep them from pushing too hard to replace him.  It's Jersey, no surprise there...  

  •  For those of you who live in NJ (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Stude Dude

    What percentage of these Christie-Democrats will/would stay with him in a presidential election?  I assume that if Hillary is the candidate, that changes everything, but I personally don't think Hillary will run.  The Clintons have also pissed off a lot of the machine Dems around the country over the years, so she may not have too many friends in high Dem places (as evidenced in 2008).  Other than Al Gore, she's the only Dem with a higher profile than Christie (and no, barring a bullet or a heart attack, Joe Biden will never be president).    

    If it's someone other than Hillary, do you think Christie can win NJ, especially if he doesn't have to go too crazy in the primary?

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