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Leading Off:

NC-Sen: PPP returns to their home state and brings Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan some good news. They find her leading Republican state House Speaker Thom Tillis 41 to 34, with Libertarian nominee Sean Haugh continuing to take a relatively big 8 percent. In June, she had a slightly smaller five-point lead.

Neither major party candidate is at all popular: Hagan's approval rating is underwater at 40/50, which would normally be fatal for a red state Democrat. However, probably due to the ugly legislative session, Tillis is in much worse shape with a horrific 24/47 favorable rating.

There are some big notes of caution here. Haugh's supporters are largely Republican leaning: When they are asked to choose between Hagan and Tillis, Hagan's overall lead shrinks from seven to three points. It's also quite possible that once the legislative session is over Tillis's ratings will start to recover. A similar thing happened to Republican Gov. Pat McCrory last year: As the 2013 legislative session became a distant memory for most voters, his approval went from an anemic 35/53 to a far less dire 42/47. Of course, this time Hagan and her allies will be spending millions to remind voters in November why they hate Tillis now.


CO-Sen/ Gov: Recent polls of both races have been all over the map, showing anything from a tight contest to mid-sized Democratic leads. PPP weighs in and finds both Democratic Sen. Mark Udall and Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper have identical 44-43 leads over their Republican foes, Rep. Cory Gardner and former Rep. Bob Beauprez respectively. They've found Udall in a dogfight for months but they have usually shown Hickenlooper in better shape.

Hickenlooper posts a 43/46 approval rating, not too much worse than Beauprez's 31/30 favorable rating. But Udall looks like he's in really bad shape, with a 36/47 approval compared to Gardner's 34/39 favorable rating. The undecideds don't look incredibly promising for either Democrat, with self described Obama and Romney voters being represented in roughly equal numbers. Most recent polls have shown at least Udall or Hickenlooper (but not often both) ahead by mid-single digits, so we'll need to wait and see who's right here.

IA-Sen: Gravis journeys to Iowa on behalf of the conservative publication Human Events and finds Democratic Rep. Bruce Braley leading Republican state Sen. Joni Ernst 44-43. Gravis is far from the most dependable pollster, but their numbers are almost identical to a Marist poll from last week.

Braley's allies at the DSCC are not taking any chances here and are spending a considerable $515,000 in the next two weeks. The spot depicts Ernst as someone who would recklessly endanger Social Security.

KS-Sen: You gotta consider the source, but this could be at least a mild "wow": a new poll taken by GEB International on behalf of the Tea Party Patriots Fund shows that incumbent GOP Sen. Pat Roberts has just a 12-point edge over primary challenger Milton Wolf (42-30). The TPPF also crows that Wolf absolutely boat-races Roberts in an "informed ballot" test, but there isn't enough salt in the world to account for what goes into some of those "informed ballot" summaries. Before rubbing hands together with glee, however, it is worth noting that a non-sponsored poll in late June (from SurveyUSA) gave Roberts a 56-23 edge. (Steve Singiser)

OK-Sen-A: Rasmussen: Jim Inhofe (R-Inc): 58, Matt Silverstein (D): 27. Shocking, I know.


AZ-Gov: Once again, we get a poll of the Republican primary sponsored by a GOP-leaning organization with a big rooting interest. The group, called "Veterans for a Strong America", have an apparently unquenchable hatred for gubernatorial contender and former Go Daddy executive Christine Jones, as they have run multiple ads against her (the latest linking Jones to Hillary Clinton). In addition, they sponsored a pair of polls by Harper Polling, the latest of which dropped on Monday. Your mileage may vary, but it seems to me that their spin on the new Harper poll is pretty unconvincing. Their claim is that the ads they have run have driven up her negatives. That may be true, but she is also far closer to the leader (state Treasurer Doug Ducey) than she was the last time VFSA hired Harper to take the temperature of the race.

This time around, they have Ducey at 23, Jones up to 21, with former Mesa Mayor Scott Smith and Secretary of State Ken Bennett a ways back (13 and 12 percent, respectively). Since Harper's poll in June, Ducey has dropped 10 points, while Jones is up 8 points. (Steve Singiser)

CT-Gov: What an asshole.

FL-Gov: SurveyUSA makes another pass through Florida and this time, they give Democrat Charlie Crist a 46-40 lead over Republican Gov. Rick Scott. Two weeks ago, SurveyUSA had Crist down 45-43, a figure more in-line with other recent polls.

It's hard to explain what happened in the last two weeks to cause an eight-point swing. Crist did recently choose Annette Taddeo-Goldstein to be his running mate. But while Taddeo-Goldstein is a good choice, it's very unlikely she's famous enough to cause anything like an eight point swing. This is a good poll for Crist, but we'll need a lot more information before it's clear if he's pulled ahead of Scott or if this is just a blip on the radar.

IA-Gov: Gravis also has a gubernatorial portion of their new survey. They find Republican Gov. Terry Branstad leading Democratic state Sen. Jack Hatch 50-42. This is closer than the general polling consensus, but it's hardly an outlier.

NY-Gov: As much as we enjoy dismissing Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino's hopes of becoming governor, it's much more fun to watch his fellow Republicans do it. When asked about competing in the race, New Jersey Gov. and RGA chair Chris Cristie stated, "We don't pay for landslides and we don't invest in lost causes." Ouch. Cristie of course did say that if the race becomes competitive he'd consider campaigning against Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo, but that's not very likely to put it very charitably.

Astorino of course is not happy with Cristie and called for him to consider stepping down as head of the RGA. Maybe somewhere there is a universe where a chastened Cristie takes Astorino's suggestion to heart and announces his resignation, but it sure ain't this one.


CO-Sen: It's environmental week in Colorado. Environmental Defense Action Fund spends $400,000 tying Republican Rep. Cory Garnder to big oil. The American Wind Energy Association has an ad up thanking Democratic Sen. Mark Udall for supporting wind jobs; On the other side, Crossroads GPS hits Udall for opposing the Keystone Pipeline.

GA-Sen: Ending Spending spends $200,000 tying Democrat Michelle Nunn to Obama.

KY-Sen: Democratic Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes attacks Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell over his declaration that bringing jobs to the state wasn't his job. The Kentucky Opportunity Coalition spends $720,000 painting Grimes as a serial liar.

MI-Sen: Republican former Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land has two new ads that surprisingly don't suck. In the first, she portrays Democratic Rep. Gary Peters as an ally of Wall Street who pretends to oppose it. The second spot hits Peters as an outsourcer.

CT-Gov: Senate Minority Leader John McKinney says Republican primary rival Tom Foley is lying about him, which is pretty rich.

FL-Gov: The Florida Republican Party has yet another Spanish language ad.

MA-Gov: Baldy trailing in the Democratic primary polls, state Treasurer Steve Grossman is out with the first TV spot of the race. The spot argues that Grossman's job record makes him a better choice to manage the state than a "career prosecutor," a not very subtle shot at frontrunner Attorney General Martha Coakley. The size of the buy is $300,000.

PA-Gov: PA Families First is spending almost $2 million hitting Republican Gov. Tom Corbett for education cuts.

WI-Gov: Republican Gov. Scott Walker again hits Democrat Mary Burke's family company, alleging they make most of their bikes overseas.

AZ-02: Democratic Rep. Ron Barber is out with his first spot, a biographical ad narrated by his wife.

HI-01: VoteVets praises Democratic state Rep. Mark Takai on veteran's issues.

KS-02: Bob Dole vouches for Republican Rep. Lynn Jenkins. It's unclear whether Jenkins is running this ad just out of caution or whether she actually believes she may be in a competitive contest against Democrat Margie Wakefield. Jenkins also faces an August 5th primary with Ron Paul activist Joshua Joel Tucker in another contest that hasn't been on many people's radar.

NY-23: Republican Rep. Tom Reed does in his new ad what most candidates wish they could do in real life and shoots his opponent into space. The narrator attacks Democratic Tompkins County Legislator Martha Robinson for her "out of this world" "extreme Ithaca agenda," concluding, "she's just not one of us". This is the first time I can recall a politician essentially telling a part of his or her constituency to go fuck itself in an ad. Reed has a less aggressive spot featuring his sister, a minute long version of a previous ad.

TN-03: Republican Weston Wamp attacks primary rival Rep. Chuck Fleischmann for being part of the mess in Washington and for attacking him. It's always fun when a candidate slams an opponent while complaining about negativity in the same breath. It's also a bit weird that Wamp is blaming sophomore Fleischmann for the longstanding problems in the government, especially when Wamp's father served in Congress for 14 years.

Other races:

CO Legislature: Democrats have narrow majorities in both the state House and Senate, and both chambers are likely to be very competitive this year. PPP finds Republicans in good shape on the generic legislative ballot, holding a 45-38 edge.

All is not lost for Democrats even if this margin holds up though. Team Blue has good pickup opportunities in the state Senate, where they have the chance to retake two heavily Democratic seats they lost in last year's recall. The median seat in the state House also is quite Democratic, backing Obama 55-42, so Democrats have a bit of a firewall there. Still, this is not the kind of result Democrats want to see at all.

OR Ballot: Pro-pot activists in Oregon failed to legalize marijuana for recreational use in 2012 after voters voted against the proposal, but they have another shot this cycle. A measure to legalize weed has just made it on to the ballot. If successful, Oregon will join Colorado and Washington in being the only states that allow the legal use of marijuana.

Grab bag:

Site news: If you read only one thing today, I hope it will be the eulogy Daily Kos Elections' chief David Nir delivered at his father's funeral on Monday. I'm not ashamed to admit I teared up while reading it.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Elections on Wed Jul 23, 2014 at 05:00 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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