Republican Gov. Sean Parnell
• AK-Gov: The National Journal's Karyn Bruggeman checks in to see what's ailing Alaska Gov. Sean Parnell, who's mostly been trailing in the polls ever since Democrat Byron Mallot teamed up with and independent Bill Walker to create a "unity ticket" last month. Parnell's still bedeviled by a controversial oil company tax cut he pushed last year (which only narrowly survived a ballot-box repeal attempt in August), as well as a burgeoning sexual-assault scandal in the state National Guard.
But Parnell also faces a mathematical problem, too: He can't squeeze his way on to the airwaves because they're already so chock-full of ads for Alaska's hotly contested Senate race. Over 50,000 Senate ads had aired through Oct. 9, according to a Wesleyan Media Project study Bruggeman cites, compared with just 1,300 for the governor's race, and Parnell's only managed to run his own ads a paltry 170 times. Parnell may still get lucky thanks to his state's heavy red lean, but when you're behind and you can't get your message out, you're in a very uncomfortable spot.
• AR-Sen: Mark Pryor (D-inc) $2.2 million raised, $1 million on hand
• KY-Sen: Mitch McConnell (R-inc) $3.2 million raised, $5.2 million on hand
• IL-Gov: Pat Quinn (D-inc) $15.2 million raised, $4.7 million on hand; Brice Rauner (R) $19 million raised, $1.5 million self-funded, $3.7 million on hand
• House: We have our House fundraising chart for the third quarter of 2014, the final quarter of the election cycle.
All fundraising quarters are important and there's a lot at stake for this one. Both national party committees and their allies are looking at where to spend resources in the final critical few weeks of the campaign. They'll be looking to see if any races are emerging at the last minute and if any contests look like they're over. Candidate fundraising will help them make these decisions.
• IA-Sen: NRSC resets sign at HQ to "0 days since a candidate said something stupid about abortion":
Ernst voted for a fetal personhood amendment in the Iowa State legislature in 2013, and she told the Sioux City Journal editorial board on Wednesday that she also would support a federal personhood measure if she were elected to the U.S. Senate.
"I will continue to stand by that. I am a pro-life candidate, and this has been shaped by my religious beliefs through the years," she said. "So I support that."
When you hear Democratic ads that talk about Republicans wanting to outlaw "common forms of birth control," support for personhood—which would necessitate banning things like IUDs and the morning-after pill—is what they're basing these attacks on. And Joni Ernst just re-upped, handing Bruce Braley yet another gift. Will he take advantage?
• VA-Sen: Well, this is some good news, at least. Former RNC chair Ed Gillespie, who was eagerly pronounced the Dauphin of the Old Dominion by fawning Beltway courtiers despite his manifestly stillborn candidacy, has gone dark on the airwaves in the final weeks of the campaign. Gillespie never got closer than 9 points in a single poll and trails Democratic Sen. Mark Warner by 15 in the Huffington Post Pollster average. Long live the King!
• Polling: Senate stuff:
• AR-Sen: Rasmussen: Tom Cotton (R): 47, Mark Pryor (D-inc): 44 (Sept.: 47-40 Cotton)
• CO-Sen: Quinnipiac: Cory Gardner (R): 47, Mark Udall (D-inc): 41 (Sept.: 48-40 Gardner)
• GA-Sen: GAPundit.com (R): Michelle Nunn (D): 46, David Perdue (R): 45, Amanda Swafford (Lib): 6 (Aug.: 45-43-7 Nunn)
• LA-Sen: Vox Populi (R): Bill Cassidy (R): 48, Mary Landrieu (D-inc): 44
Quinnipiac looked like a big outlier when they first found Gardner leaping ahead by 8 points last month, but since that time, every other poll has found Udall trailing, except for one from YouGov and one internal. And now, the most Udall will do is claim his internals have the race tied, but he's not providing any more information than that. Gardner has a 2-point edge in the HuffPo average
, and Democrats seem to be hoping that Colorado's new all-mail voting system will be their savior.
And one interesting thing to note about Georgia is that the NRSC's executive director, Rob Collins, is now simply arguing that a Nunn victory on Election Day—in other words, the prospect of her clearing the 50 percent mark—is "a bridge too far." That seems like an admission that Nunn is indeed leading, as the last two public polls have shown, and as unreleased Democratic internals allegedly show as well.
• FL-Gov: Do you live in a climate so swelteringly hot that it's addled your brain and your softened cortex has consequently failed to absorb the biggest campaign story of the week? Then you need to pour yourself a glass of ice water and click this link. Or just switch on your fan.
• Polling: Only three gubernatorial polls this time around. Which still makes them a better trilogy than most movie series.
• AZ-Gov: Adrian Gray Consulting (R): Doug Ducey (R) 43, Fred DuVal (D) 35 (Conducted for the Environmental Defense Action Fund)
• GA-Gov: GApundit.com (R): Jason Carter (D) 44, Nathan Deal (R-inc) 44, Andrew Hunt (L) 6 (Aug.: 44-42-7 Deal)
• MA-Gov: Rasmussen: Charlie Baker (R) 48, Martha Coakley (D) 46 (Sept. : 42-42 tie)
This is the first poll we've ever seen from Adrian Gray Consulting, though Gray himself is a Republican political veteran.
• Polling: How many House polls can dance on the head of a pin? Five:
• FL-09: Data Targeting (R): Alan Grayson (D-inc) 40, Carol Platt (R) 35 (Conducted for the Carol Platt campaign)
• MN-07: Tarrance Group (R): Torrey Westrom (R) 44, Collin Peterson (D-inc) 43 (Sept.: 45-40 Peterson) (Conducted for the NRCC)
• NJ-02: Monmouth University: Frank LoBiondo (R-inc) 56, Bill Hughes (D) 35
• NY-18: Public Opinion Strategies (R): Sean Maloney (D-inc) 43, Nan Hayworth (R) 39 (Conducted for the Nan Hayworth campaign)
• NY-19: Public Opinion Strategies (R): Chris Gibson (R-inc) 56, Sean Eldridge (D) 30 (Conducted for the Chris Gibson campaign)
Some thoughts on each poll:
• The race in Florida's 9th District has received virtually no attention and for good reason. This Orlando-area seat is very blue, going for Obama 62-37. While it is prone to midterm Democratic dropoff, it still voted for Alex Sink 53-43 in the 2010 gubernatorial race as she was narrowly losing statewide. Moreover, Platt hasn't gotten much attention and no outside groups have spent anything here. Her pollster Data Targeting is also new to us. Maybe they're on to something, but we're going to need to see more convincing evidence before concluding that Grayson is in any trouble.
• Over in Minnesota, this is the first publicly released poll that Westrom has led in. About a week ago, an independent SurveyUSA poll gave Peterson a 9-point lead here. In September when Westrom released a survey showing him in striking distance, Peterson's camp very quickly countered with a poll showing the congressman up 24 points: We'll see if he does the same thing again.
• There's only been one other public poll in NJ-02, a Stockman Polling Institute survey that showed LoBiondo leading only 47-42. That one raised plenty of eyebrows but it looked hard to believe: While Hughes is LoBiondo's toughest challenger in a long time, national party groups haven't gotten involved here. We'll see what happens, but it feels like Monmouth is more on target right now.
• There have been a few other recent polls in NY-18, a swingy Democratic-held seat in the Hudson Valley. Both Gravis and Siena gave Maloney the lead, by 6 and 8 points respectively, so this POS poll isn't implausible. Both parties are spending here and it does look like this contest is competitive, though Maloney should be happy the best poll Hayworth can find still shows him up.
• However, the neighboring NY-19 hasn't looked like a good bet for Team Blue in a long time. Eldridge has plenty of money available but he's been portrayed as a carpetbagger from New York City since day one. Siena recently gave Gibson a 24-point lead and this POS poll isn't much different.
• Early Voting: The Democratic edge among Iowa's early voters is rapidly melting. As recently as Monday, registered Democrats enjoyed a 6-percentage points lead among absentee ballot requests and an 8-percentage points lead among ballots that had actually been returned. Fast-forward to the Thursday morning report, and the Democrats' lead has been halved in both categories, to 3-percentage points and 4-percentage points respectively.
While the same pattern of an early Democratic advantage followed by Republican gains existed in past cycles, Democrats still held a 7-percentage points lead among ballot requests at the equivalent point of the cycle and the balance actually stabilized after that.
Democrats can look toward Omaha—the site of a hotly disputed House race—for better early voting news: As of Wednesday, 22,000 voters had requested a ballot in Douglas County, and a staggering 65 percent of those have come from Democrats, compared to just 21 percent for Republicans. Registered Republicans actually cast more early votes during the last midterm, so this is a big turnaround. This chart tells a very impressive tale of just how atypical it is for Democrats to bank this many early votes in Nebraska's 2nd District. It remains to be seen whether Democrats are getting new voters to the polls, or whether they have just convinced usual voters to cast their ballots earlier.
• Election Outlook: Thursday's installment of the Election Outlook zooms in on the question of whether we can truly rely on any data coming out of Colorado, given the disparity between polls of the broader electorate and polls of Colorado Hispanics only, and even the disparity between the two recent SurveyUSA polls that used different methods. As Democratic odds in the Senate continue to get worse, though, they're still getting better in the gubernatorial races.
• Polltopia: It's not just you – there actually are more undecideds in polls this year, at least for the most prolific pollsters in the month of September (Senate polls only):
The symbols show the median percent undecided; for each pollster, the median is higher in 2014 than it was in 2010. Lines show the range of data from the 20th percentile to the 80th percentile. For a given pollster, 2010 is on the left, 2012 in the middle, and 2014 on the right. SurveyUSA only had four Senate polls in September in 2012, so all four data points are shown.
It's possible that much of this increase is due to changes in method. Both Rasmussen and SurveyUSA changed methods for the 2012 cycle to include cell-phone-only respondents, and PPP followed suit for the 2014 cycle. The largest changes in undecideds appear to correspond to these method changes.
Ads & Independent Expenditures:
• AK-Sen: Republican Dan Sullivan features his old boss former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. Rice praises Sullivan's record on security, portraying him as someone America needs in the Senate as threats grow overseas.
• AR-Sen: The conservative group Crossroads GPS spends $441,000, while Freedom Partners shells out $644,000 for the GOP.
• CO-Sen: On the Democratic side, NextGen Climate spends $216,0000 while AFSCME spends $1,009,000. For the GOP, Freedom Partners throws in $714,000 while Ending Spending is out with $1,519,000.
• GA-Sen: Democrat Michelle Nunn features a local businessman going after Republican David Perdue on outsourcing. For the GOP, the NRA spends $157,000.
• IA-Sen: On the GOP side, Freedom Partners continues to hammer Democrat Bruce Braley on his "farmer from Iowa" gaffe. The spot features a husband and wife arguing that Braley hates all farmers. The NRSC also goes after Braley, resurrecting a story from a few months ago where Braley allegedly threatened to sue a neighbor after her chickens took a dump on his property. American Crossroads also throws down $1,082,000. But weirdest of all, a group called "Protect the Harvest" is spending $104,000. The group exists to fight "the radical animal rights movement" and it's no surprise they'd make common cause with Republican Joni Ernst, who's famously talked about castrating pigs.
On the other side, The DSCC has two new spots (here and here). The first features a woman on a sexual assault response team hitting Ernst for wanting to ban abortion, even for victims of rape and incest. The second ad briefly hits Ernst on education before praising Braley on his humble background and plans to make college more affordable. The national party committees haven't run very many positive ads this cycle, and this may be a sign the DSCC thinks Braley's image needs to improve for him to win.
Also for Team Blue, NARAL links Ernst to the Susan B. Anthony List, which it portrays as anti-women. Until the very end, it's the same ad they ran in North Carolina. The American Hospitals Association spends $264,000, the SEIU throws in $285,000, while AFSCME chips in $314,000.
• KS-Sen: Republican Sen. Pat Roberts does some more Obamacare demonetization, linking independent Greg Orman to the program and arguing he'd just be another vote for Obama. Freedom Partners also spends $582,000 against Orman, while the National Association of Realtors shells out $350,000 for the GOP.
• KY-Sen: Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell emphasizes his work expediting DNA testing in crimes.
• MT-Sen: This contest has gotten very little attention since Democratic Sen. John Walsh dropped out of the race over plagiarism. The new Democratic nominee Amanda Curtis is hoping to change that, and is airing her first spot. Curtis narrates the ad, arguing she's a regular person who can help change Washington.
• NC-Sen: Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan has two spots (here and here). Both of them go after Republican Thom Tillis on women's healthcare, while EMILY's List also hits Tillis on this. The Environmental Defense Fund accuses Tillis of being in the pocket of polluters, while AFSCME spends $1,526,000. On the other side, the NRSC continues to hit Hagan for missing hearings on ISIS.
• NH-Sen: Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen has two spots (here and here). The first portrays Shaheen as a champion for the middle class. The second has Shaheen contrasting his record with Republican Scott Brown on equal pay and women's health.
• SD-Sen: Democrat Rick Weiland narrates a positive spot, where he talks about how he'll stand up for the middle class. He doesn't name Republican opponent Mike Rounds directly but features his picture when he argues other people want to help the rich get richer while letting "the rest of us" suffer.
Also on the Democratic side, MAYDAY PAC features a family friend of Weiland praising him, before the narrator talks about his middle class agenda. EveryVoice Action also spends $160,000 against independent Larry Pressler.
• VA-Sen: Republican Ed Gillespie continues to tie Democratic Sen. Mark Warner to the White House, hitting the "Obama-Warner policies."
• NRSC: Expenditures.
• FL-Gov: Republican Gov. Rick Scott argues that as governor, Democrat Charlie Crist did nothing as joblessness increased.
• GA-Gov: Former Democratic Gov. and Sen. Zell Miller appears in a spot for Republican incumbent Nathan Deal. Miller talks about how Deal helped save the HOPE scholarship, a program he started. While Miller still calls himself a Democrat he almost always backs Republicans nowadays, though he did recently cut an ad for Democratic Senate nominee Michelle Nunn.
• HI-Gov: The RGA continues to hit Democrat David Ige for voting for a problematic health exchange. The Republicans have been working hard to link Ige to unpopular departing Gov. Neil Abercrombie, whom Ige beat in the August primary.
• ME-Gov: Democrat Mike Michaud features a retired general and life-long Republican praising him as someone who will bring people together while casting Republican Gov. Paul LePage as divisive. The DGA-backed Maine Forward also hits LePage on education, with the narrator quoting LePage saying, "If you want a good education, go to private schools. If you can't afford it, tough luck." LePage himself goes positive, featuring a lifelong Democrat praising LePage's record and determination.
• MI-Gov: The DGA continues to hammer Republican Gov. Rick Snyder on his taxes and education cuts. This time they mention the raises he gave his staff while he was making harmful cuts, accusing him of having the wrong priorities.
• CA-10: Democrat Michael Eggman.
• CA-52: AFSCME spends $299,000 for the Democrats.
• CO-06: Democrat Andrew Romanoff continues to hit Republican Rep. Mike Coffman on equal pay for women.
• FL-02: Freedom Partners spends $146,000 for Republican Rep. Steve Southerland.
• IL-17: Democratic Rep. Cherri Bustos.
• MA-06: The National Association of Realtors spends $228,000 for Republican Richard Tisei.
• MN-08: The DCCC continues to paint Republican Stewart Mills as a heartless rich guy. On the other side of the aisle, the NRA spends $160,000.
• NH-01: Democratic Rep. Carol Shea-Porter hits Republican Frank Guinta on women's rights: As stereotypical 1950s music plays, Shea-Porter argues Guinta wants to take the country back to the Fifties.
• NV-03: Democrat Erin Bilbray.
• NY-21: Democrat Aaron Woolf pushes back on GOP attempts to portray him as a carpetbagger, while going after Republican Elise Stefanik on Social Security.
• NY-24: The DCCC goes after Republican John Katko on abortion.
• TX-23: The American Action Network calls Democratic Rep. Pete Gallego "Obama's top Texas sidekick." Gallego himself goes positive, talking about the sacrifices his father made.
• VA-02: The American Hospital Association spends $201,000 for Republican Rep. Scott Rigell.
• WV-03: Republican Evan Jenkins has two negative spots (here and here). The first argues Democratic Rep. Nick Rahall got rich killing coal, while taking bribes doing it. The second claims Rahall did favors for Obama and made money, while hurting seniors.
• DCCC: Expenditures.
• NRCC: Expenditures.
The Daily Kos Elections Morning Digest is compiled by David Nir, with additional contributions from Jeff Singer, David Jarman, Steve Singiser, Taniel, and Dreaminonempty.