• MI-Gov, -Sen: PPP's new Michigan survey is at once very similar to most polls we've seen from the state lately and also quite different. In the Senate race, PPP sees Democrat Gary Peters leading Republican Terri Lynn Land 41-36, the same margin that almost every other firm has come up with over the past few months, and in fact identical to the score PPP itself found back in April.
However, their gubernatorial numbers are much more optimistic for Democrat Mark Schauer than any he's had in a long time. PPP has Schauer tied at 40 apiece with GOP Gov. Rick Snyder, which is not only an improvement from Snyder's 43-39 lead last time but also the first time (apart from one outlier Clarity poll) that Schauer hasn't trailed in over a year. So what gives?
Well, as longtime observers know, Michigan is home to a lot of crummy pollsters, so it's hard to trust a lot of the data that comes out of the Wolverine State. It's also worth noting that Michigan is the first and so far only state that the DGA has seriously contested early on, spending $1.9 million to date and reserving $6 million more in fall TV time. The RGA has run ads here, too, but they've relied on incredibly dumb spots that make a stupid pun based on Schauer's last name. And Snyder's advertising has just been bewildering.
So perhaps this race is closer now that it's been for a while, or perhaps PPP just came up with a very Democratic-friendly sample. If you dig further down, you'll see that Democrats have a wide 48-34 lead on the generic legislative ballot, which would likely be enough for the party to retake the state House if it holds—and if it's accurate. Accuracy is the big question, of course, so let's see what other polls look like in the weeks ahead. Hopefully we'll get some reliable ones.
• AZ-Gov: Fred DuVal, the only Democrat running in Arizona's governor's race, leads the entire field in cash-on-hand with $1.1 million. Republican Doug Ducey has $1 million but he faces a multi-way primary. Figures for everyone else at the link.
• MA-Gov (June): Charlie Baker (R): $400,000 raised, $1 million cash-on-hand; Martha Coakley (D): $173,000 raised, $490,000 cash-on-hand; Steve Grossman (D): $151,000 raised, $932,000 cash-on-hand; Don Berwick (D): $163,000 raised, $225,000 cash-on-hand
• LA-Sen, -Gov: PPP's new Louisiana survey offers some better news for Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu compared to nearly all the polling so far this year, which has shown her trailing GOP Rep. Bill Cassidy. PPP instead has the two tied at 47, but things still aren't great, because that small group of undecideds voted for Mitt Romney by a 61-20 margin and give Landrieu just a 14-65 job approval rating.
The tricky thing here, though, is that it's hard to accurately model what a December runoff would look like, and that's almost certainly what we'll get. (Landrieu leads Cassidy in the November jungle primary, 44-27, with a couple of other Republicans pulling in single digits.) Rather famously, Landrieu pulled off an upset in the 2002 runoff, when black voters unexpectedly turned out in greater proportion than they had a month earlier. And of course, the recent Mississippi GOP runoff, where overall turnout (including, again, among African Americans) shot up is just the latest example to show how tricky it is to get a handle on second-round affairs. But Landrieu will still need a lot of luck to prevail.
PPP also asked about next year's open-seat race for governor, which of course will feature yet another electorate still, so these super early numbers are especially prone to change. But GOP Sen. David Vitter leads in all head-to-head matchups, though he's up just 48-44 on Democrat Mitch Landrieu, the mayor of New Orleans, and 40-34 on fellow Republican Jay Dardenne, the current lieutenant governor. PPP didn't include a kitchen-sink primary question, but Vitter and Landrieu would almost certainly be their party's respective front-runners.
• MS-Sen: So Chris McDaniel's still trying to undo the results of last month's election by looking for evidence of voters who cast ballots in the Democratic primary then impermissibly voted in the Republican runoff as well. McDaniel claims he's found some 1,500 "invalid" votes (Thad Cochran won by almost 7,000), and he may be gearing up to file a legal challenge.
The good news for McDaniel, as Joseph Lenski rather impressively points out, is that a similar challenge once worked in Alabama back in 1986. Lt. Gov. Bill Baxley successfully argued that state Attorney General Charles Graddick won the Democratic runoff for governor by encouraging Republican primary voters to illegally vote for him. (Even the margin was similar: Graddick had prevailed by about 8,800 votes.) The Democratic Party then awarded the nomination to Baxley, but the backlash was fierce, and voters elected Guy Hunt, who until then hadn't been taken seriously, as the state's first Republican governor since Reconstruction.
Democrats would be thrilled if Mississippi Republicans self-immolated in a similar manner, though that seems unlikely, and the repercussions wouldn't be as severe as they were back when Alabama was teetering on the brink of turning red forever. But in a twist that's almost too ironic to bear, Baxley's challenge was predicated on a claim that Graddick, in his role as attorney general, had impermissibly tried to change the state's anti-crossover rules without getting preclearance from the Department of Justice, in violation of Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act.
That's the same section of the VRA that the Supreme Court ruled was unconstitutional just last year. It was a terrible ruling, of course, but it would be quite something if it winds up hurting McDaniel, who undoubtedly cheered it on at the time.
LePage denies he discussed 'executing' Maine Democratic leaders• NM-Gov: An internal poll for Republican Gov. Susana Martinez from Public Opinion Strategies finds her leading Democratic Attorney General Gary King 54-38. That's very similar to a recent survey for the New Mexico GOP that had Martinez up 53-40.
• MI-11: An internal poll of the Aug. 5 GOP primary in Michigan's 11th District for foreclosure attorney Dave Trott finds him leading Rep. Kerry Bentivolio 33 to 19. A May poll from the same firm, National Research, had Bentivolio ahead 23-22.
• CA Controller: Vote counting in California's extraordinarily close primary for controller has finally concluded, leaving state Board of Equalization member Betty Yee just 484 votes ahead of Assemblyman John Perez, a fellow Democrat, for the crucial second slot. (Republican Ashley Swearengin, the mayor of Fresno, has a wide lead for first.)
But since the difference between the two is just .02 percent, Perez may seek a recount, so we might not know the actual results for some time. On election night, it looked for a while as though Democrats might get shut out of the general election entirely, but that awful scenario's been avoided, and whichever Democrat emerges will be a heavy favorite over Swearengin in the fall.
• Montgomery Mayor: Former Rep. Artur Davis rather infamously abandoned his party and abandoned his state, but apparently life as a Republican in Northern Virginia isn't quite suiting him, so ArturD2 now says he's planning to back to Alabama to run for mayor of Montgomery next year. The seat may be open if incumbent Todd Strange doesn't seek re-election, and while mayoral elections are non-partisan, Strange is a Republican, so in theory that doesn't preclude Davis from winning.
But Montgomery is also majority African American, and black voters utterly deserted Davis in the 2010 gubernatorial primary, after Davis turned his back on Barack Obama and the Affordable Care Act. So if he wants to return to anyone's good graces, he'll have a lot of work to do. Given all the bile Davis has spewed toward Democrats over the past several years, though, those bridges seem unmendable.
• Ads: Whew! No more T.W. Shannon spots, thank god!
• WA-04: Republican Dan Newhouse's narrator touts his agricultural background and declares, "The federal government can't grow our crops, and it certainly shouldn't tell us how to raise our families."
• Crossroads: American Crossroads and Crossroads GPS, the Gog and Magog of Republican politics, are reportedly reserving $14.6 million in fall TV time for Senate races in five states. All of them are GOP pickup opportunities: Arkansas ($2.5 million), Iowa ($3.1 million), Louisiana ($2.1 million), Montana ($1.7 million), and North Carolina ($5.1 million). That's on top of a previous $5.6 million reservation in Alaska.