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Leading Off:

House: Two big organizations focused on the House announced large fall ad reservations on Tuesday. For the Republicans, the NRCC is booking $18 million in airtime across 17 Democratic districts and another $11.5 million to defend 11 GOP-held seats, their first known reservations of the cycle. A complete list is at the link, though there are no real surprises. It's the omissions that stand out more, like IL-17 (where ex-Rep. Bobby Schilling is trying to win his seat back from Democratic Rep. Cheri Bustos) or NY-11 (where GOP Rep. Mike Grimm's been indicted).

On the Democratic side, the House Majority PAC is blocking off another $6.2 million, on top of the $6.5 million it reserved back in April. However, HMP's list is broken down by media market rather than congressional district, so we've done our best to guess which seats they're actually targeting in this Google Doc (organized in each case from most likely to least likely). Note, though, that reservations can easily be redirected toward any race within a given market, or potentially cancelled as well.


GA-Sen: A Gravis Marketing poll for the conservative website Human Events finds Rep. Jack Kingston beating businessman David Perdue 49-38 in the GOP Senate runoff. That's pretty much the same as what everyone else has seen.

KY-Sen: The Kentucky Opportunity Coalition is spending a hefty $575,000 on a spot portraying Democratic Secretary of State Alison Grimes as an anti-coal fanatic. The narrator describes how Grimes appeared at a fundraiser with "anti-coal Senate boss Harry Reid" and that Grimes lied about defending coal.

So what did Grimes do at the fundraiser? Talk about how she supported Obama's environmental policies? Say something nice about renewable energy or the EPA? Tell an offensive joke about how many coal miners it takes to screw in a light bulb? Nope, she demonstrated her anti-coal bona fides when she "didn't mention coal, not one word." That's it. I'll give you a moment to recover from the shock. (Jeff Singer)

MN-Sen, -Gov: Unlike SurveyUSA, whose most recent Minnesota poll saw both the Senate and governor's races growing tighter (especially the latter), PPP finds that things are pretty much the same as they ever were in the Land o' Lakes:

Al Franken leads all of his potential Republican opponents by double digits. He leads his most likely potential foe, Mike McFadden, 49-38. Those numbers are exactly the same as they were eight months ago. Franken's leads against the rest of the GOP field are 50/39 over Jim Abeler, 49/38 over David Carlson, 50/35 over Patrick Munro, and 50/33 over O. Savior. [...]

The story in the Governor's race is similarly stable from the fall. Mark Dayton leads Kurt Zellers 47/37, Jeff Johnson and Marty Seifert 47/36, and Merill Anderson and Scott Honour 47/35. In October he led Zellers, Johnson, Seifert, and Honour all by 10-11 points as well. Dayton has a 48/41 approval rating now, nearly identical to his 48/42 spread from our previous survey.

NC-Sen: Once again, PPP finds Libertarian Sean Haugh taking 11 percent in North Carolina's Senate race, keeping both of the major-party candidates in the 30s. The difference compared to last month, though, is that Sen. Kay Hagan is now up to a 39-34 lead on Republican Thom Tillis, compared to a 38-36 Hagan edge previously. Pollster Tom Jensen ascribes this to the fact that the state legislature is once again in session, a phenomenon that typically generates bad headlines for the party in charge and has driven down Tillis' numbers in the past.

If Jensen is indeed right about this connection, the question for Hagan will be whether she can keep a bit of daylight between herself and Tillis after lawmakers go home on July 1. What's also interesting is that Haugh's supporters aren't just disaffected Republicans. In fact, they're almost evenly split between the two main options, supporting Hagan by a 42-38 spread, so as some of these would-be Libertarians come home (or decide to stay home), they could wind up being a wash. The large share of undecideds (16 percent), however, still leans Republican: They supported Romney 49-37. So Hagan needs to maintain some of that distance in order to stay ahead when these voters ultimately make up their minds.

OK-Sen-B: Hmm. This American Viewpoint poll for a conservative group called the Foundation for Economic Prosperity, which is supporting Rep. James Lankford in the GOP primary, is a few weeks old but is only surfacing now. What's odd is that Viewpoint gives Lankford a huge 48-26 lead over T.W. Shannon, claiming it's ballooned from a narrow 36-34 edge in April. Lankford's own polling, though, just put him up only 7 points, with a tightening race. Yes, there's such a thing as a poll looking too gaudy, especially when it clashes with a candidate's own portrayal of where things stand.

The FEP is also running a new TV ad that accuses Shannon and his allies of airing "over the top" and "deceitful" attack ads in order to "hid[e] that Shannon voted for higher debt and expanded Medicaid." Lankford, meanwhile, is praised as a "rock-solid conservative." The buy is for $127,000.

Shannon, meanwhile, has another ad of his own, mostly just tossing out conservative red meat like, "We are heading down the road to ruin with more spending, more debt, and less liberty" and "It's time to stand up to Barack Obama and say 'no' to more debt and demand a balanced budget." Several vehicles distractingly appear on the street behind Shannon at one point, then disappear with the next jump cut.


FL-Gov: Republican Gov. Rick Scott and his allies have been flooding the airwaves for months attacking Charlie Crist, and Democrats are finally starting to return the favor. The Florida Democratic Party has a new spot worth at least "six figures." The narrator goes after Scott over his then-company paying a huge fine for Medicare fraud.

It seems like the type of ad that would be great ... in 2010. The problem is this news, while still troubling, is very old. Voters heard it all before four years ago and voted for Scott anyway (albeit narrowly). It's often difficult to get people to care about old news that they already know and a bit weird that the state party is using this when they have so much fresh material to work with, but maybe it can still move votes, especially with the economy no longer quite as dire as it once was. (Jeff Singer)


IA-03: It's very hard to know what will happen at this weekend's GOP convention in Iowa's 3rd Congressional District, where the party will pick a nominee thanks to the fact that no candidate cleared 35 percent in the June 3 primary. A conservative website says it conducted an online poll of delegates, receiving responses from 118 of the 513 who will be seated, and found David Young and Brad Zaun tied for first with 27 apiece. Zaun, a state senator, took first on primary night, but Young, a former chief of staff to Sen. Chuck Grassley, finished fifth, and as Des Moines Dem notes, who knows how representative this poll is?

MI-03: A new EPIC-MRA poll for the Detroit Free Press and WXYZ-TV finds Rep. Justin Amash with a 55-35 lead on businessman Brian Ellis in the August GOP primary. That's very similar to an independent survey from early June that put Amash up 42-23. A FreedomWorks poll from last month had Amash ahead by an even larger 53-23 spread.

VA-07: If there's one person making it hard to stop piling on John McLaughlin for his awful polling, it's John McLaughlin. He just penned a terribly feeble letter in response to a critical Politico article, trying to explain why some of his lousy polls were so lousy. None of the explanations add up, and he doesn't even bother trying to defend others, like his comical NY-06 survey.

But the best part comes at the end, when McLaughlin claims that all of his misses are only being dredged up by "unnamed Republican sources" who are working for candidates opposed to his clients in primaries and are trying to get him fired. Sorry, bub, but the people responsible for cataloging your disastrous track record ... are we.

While Vox Populi (the other Republican pollster who blew the primary) hasn't come in for as much derision as McLaughlin, they felt compelled to write their own defense, too, which appeared in Roll Call. The last line seems kind of odd, though:

Everyone has losses, but we hang our hat on our many victories.
Vox Populi has been in business for all of two months, and the only poll they've performed of any race that has actually concluded was their whiff in Virginia, so that victory total currently stands at zero. (David Nir & David Jarman)

Grab Bag:


AK-Sen: Another day, another American Crossroads ad hitting a Democratic senator on Obamacare. This time Mark Begich is the lucky guy, with the spot featuring a local small business owner complaining about what the program is allegedly doing to his company.

HI-Sen: Democratic Sen. Brian Schatz is running the first of what will probably be many ads reminding voters that he has President Obama's support.

MI-Sen: Republican Terri Lynn Land portrays Congress as two squabbling little boys and declares it's time to start working together. Sounds nice, though unlike children, you can't just put Boehner in the timeout corner.

MS-Sen: Rick Santorum returns for a new Citizens United spot touting Chris McDaniel. The Senate Conservatives Fund also has a new ad for McDaniel. It features a lot of random people singing his praises, but the commercial doesn't even bother to include their names or towns so that the audience can at least know they're regular Mississippians or whatever.

MI-Gov: Republican Gov. Rick Snyder's new ad may have some kind of message, but all it's done for me is make me hungry.

TX-Gov: Republican Gregg Abbott's first ad of the race is entirely in Spanish and features his in-laws.

GA-01: Bob Johnson portrays Republican runoff foe Buddy Carter as a career politician and secret liberal.

NY-21: American Crossroads continues to go after fellow Republican Matt Doheny, depicting him as dishonest and fiscally irresponsible. The group is backing Doheny's primary rival, Elise Stefanik.

NY-23: Republican Rep. Tom Reed's commercial features his sister Mary saying how great he is.

Demographics: The New York Times offered a plausible-sounding theory on Monday, but one without any supporting data, in a piece suggesting that the results in the GOP primaries in VA-07 and MS-Sen could be because of in-migration by new residents seeing politics through a nationalized lens. Unfortunately for the Times, there's actually Census data on the subject, and it offered a lazy softball across Nate Silver's plate.

By plotting percentage of transplants in each county against Eric Cantor and Thad Cochran's electoral results, Silver finds that there was no relationship (especially in Virginia, where transplants may have broken toward Cantor). Instead, the one clear relationship was in Mississippi, where he plotted Cochran and Romney county-level performance against each other; the more conservative a county was in the 2012 general election, the more conservative it was also likely to be in the 2014 GOP primary.

By the same token, Cochran's success also correlates with how Romney did in the presidential primary, as a new series of maps from our own dreaminonempty shows. Chris McDaniel, on the other hand, shares some overlap with Newt Gingrich, while Rick Santorum's best areas generally featured low turnout. That represents an opportunity for McDaniel, since Santorum endorsed McDaniel just before the primary and has been cutting ads for him. (David Jarman & David Nir)

Originally posted to Daily Kos Elections on Wed Jun 18, 2014 at 05:00 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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