• GA-Sen, Gov: Avid pollwatchers know that SurveyUSA is a pretty reliable pollster in the end, but that they tend to bounce around a lot before that. That's what's been happening in the Georgia Senate race, where the most recent SurveyUSA poll (on behalf of WXIA-TV) gives Republican David Perdue a 47-44 lead over Democrat Michelle Nunn. Perdue previously led 50-41 in August, and 43-38 in early June poll before the primary. Nunn rose from a 2-point edge among women in the previous poll, to a 12-point edge now.
The same applies to the gubernatorial race, where Democrat Jason Carter now trails GOP incumbent Nathan Deal only 45-44. That's after being down 48-39 in August and 44-38 in June. The poll also looked at the downballot statewide offices, where the Republicans lead in each race, though the Republican has only a 4-point lead in the open-seat state superintendent of schools race.
• KY-Sen: Democratic challenger Alison Lundergan Grimes needed to push back after a string of public polls finding her down by mid-to-high-single-digits to Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell, if only to avoid losing momentum on the fundraising front. So, she's rolled out an internal poll from the Mellman Group giving her a 43-42 lead, the first poll of any sort to give her a lead since June; it also gives McConnell a woeful 32-61 job approval. While you should always be suspicious of internal polls (and Poll Explorer certainly will, treating this as a McConnell+2 poll), bear in mind that Mark Mellman was the only pollster who truly knew what was going on with Harry Reid's victory in 2010.
Not willing to let that go unchallenged, American Crossroads just rolled out a poll from Public Opinion Strategies giving McConnell a 47-42 lead over Grimes. Amusingly, Poll Explorer will also treat this internal poll as a McConnell+2 poll ... so we've actually reached a weird sort of consensus about this race.
• NJ-Sen: If you've been worrying about the New Jersey Senate race... well, you should probably seek professional help if that's the case. But also, we have not one but two newly released polls from local universities giving Democratic incumbent Cory Booker a comfortable 13-point lead over Republican challenger Jeff Bell. Fairleigh Dickinson University says the spread is 42-29, while Stockton Polling Institute sees it as 49-36. This is the first poll of the cycle for both these pollsters.
• VA-Sen: The Virginia Senate race got a lot of fawning attention from the Beltway press when Republican Ed Gillespie jumped in, partly because a) that's where the Beltway press mostly lives, and b) on the principle of "hey, I know that guy!" The boomlet didn't really take into account a) Democratic Sen. Mark Warner's popularity and b) Gillespie's lack of electoral experience, though, and after a year of mostly unchanged polling number, it's starting to look kind of embarrassing in retrospect. This time our confirmation comes from Christopher Newport University, who give Warner a 53-31 lead; that's barely budged from their previous poll back in January, where Warner led 50-30.
• CT-Gov: Gov. Dan Malloy may have gotten himself into a Neil Abercrombie-type situation, where he simply pissed too many different groups of people off while cleaning up the state's messes and didn't have the interpersonal skills to smooth things over. Quinnipiac's first look since May at its home state finds the incumbent Democrat trailing Republican Tom Foley 46-40, down from a 43-43 tie last time. (It's also in line with a recent Rasmussen poll, which put Malloy down 7.) That comes despite the fact that left-leaning independent Jonathan Pelto wasn't tested (his quest officially ended two weeks ago) while right-leaning independent Joe Visconti was included.
Visconti pulls 7, but he seems to be pulling from both sides of the column; Quinnipiac asked voters for their second choices, and when Visconti voters are reallocated, Foley still leads by 6 (49-43). One other element that suggests that this is really an anti-Malloy election than anything is that they asked Foley voters whether their choice was mostly for Foley or against Malloy; "against Malloy" beat "for Foley" 62-33, so the plutocratic Foley is really more of an empty vessel for anti-Malloy feelings than anything.
Malloy may not be able to raise his own favorable ratings, but he's determined to pull Foley into the muck. Malloy's new spot links Foley to the right-wing Family Institute. The ad calls the organization "anti-women" and "anti-gay," and accuses Foley of seeking their endorsement. The Malloy campaign has already linked Foley to the gun lobby. Connecticut is a very blue state and if Malloy can portray Foley as a dangerous right-winger he may be able to pull off a win. If Quinnipiac is right though, it's not going to be easy.
• MD-Gov: Well, this is not encouraging. The DGA has committed $750,000 to help Democratic nominee Anthony Brown, in a race most people assumed was all but over. Republican Larry Hogan isn't the most impressive candidate in the world and maybe Democrats think they can nuke him early and move on. Still, if Republicans can force the DGA and its allies to spend money holding onto this dark blue state, they'll be happy even if Hogan doesn't end up winning.
• OH-Gov: Rasmussen Reports has some confirmation for that surprisingly-bad University of Akron poll from several days ago, suggesting that Democratic candidate Ed FitzGerald's campaign is, in fact, mortally wounded after a string of bad news and staff departures. Rasmussen gives Republican Gov. John Kasich a 50-30 lead, up from a 45-38 lead in May.
• CA-21: While most of the House polling released Wednesday looks pretty decent for the Democrats (see below), there is one fairly fugly survey in the pile. SurveyUSA polled on behalf of KFSN-TV, and found incumbent Republican Rep. David Valadao with a solid 56-37 lead over Democrat Amanda Renteria. Some numbers here seem a bit hard to fathom: Valadao pulls 30 percent of Democrats, and ties Renteria among Latinos. This is a district where Democratic turnout tends to plummet in non-presidential years and Valadao is a tough candidate, but this is still a pretty eye-popping result for a seat that Obama won by 11 points. We'll see if Team Blue or another independent pollster releases contradictory information.
• IA-01, IA-02, IA-03, IA-04: Loras College does us a huge favor by including House races in their recent statewide sample (where we already saw the Senate and gubernatorial numbers, including a 4-point lead for Democratic Rep. Bruce Braley), giving us the first public polls of all four races. In fact, I'm not sure why more pollsters don't do this, since all four of Iowa's House races are at least somewhat competitive, and the district boundaries neatly follow county lines; the main problem is getting a large enough sample in each of the four districts. Loras barely hit that threshold, in fact; the margin of error in each of these races is a fat 5.6 percent.
The results in the two open seats are a bit surprising, one good, one bad. In the 1st, the most Dem-friendly district at the presidential level, Democratic nominee Pat Murphy has only a 35-33 lead over Republican Rod Blum (which is actually better than a recent Blum internal, which gave Murphy a 5-point lead). The lack of ad activity here by either the DCCC or NRCC, however, suggests, that nobody else is seeing those kinds of numbers.
The 3rd, however, offers great news: Dem Staci Appel has a 40-34 lead over Republican David Young in a more evenly-split district, in a race that's universally regarded as a tossup. Young was chosen at an unusual convention, so it's possible that some of the supporters of his Republican opponents haven't gotten behind him.
There are many fewer undecideds in the other races. In the 2nd, as expected, Dem incumbent David Loebsack is easily defeating Marianette Miller-Meeks, 49-32. And in the 4th, the most solidly-red district in the state, GOP incumbent Steve King has a 47-36 lead over Dem challenger Jim Mowrer.
• IL-10: After a bit of a hiatus, someone went down into the basement at the DCCC and fired up their IVR polling outfit. And the results, in an underpolled and competitive contest, look pretty good for the Blue team. Incumbent Democratic Rep. Brad Schneider leads 47-42 over former GOP Rep. Bob Dold (!). The poll claims Schneider has considerably higher favorables than his challenger, which could be given that Dold! preceded him in the office and is not some generic little-defined challenger.
• MA-06: One of the major stories from Tuesday's primary was the fall of Democratic Rep. John Tierney, who lost to veteran Seth Moulton by a brutal 49-41. Roll Call's Emily Cahn has a behind-the-scenes look at what happened, and there are a number of fascinating details. Tierney did not take Moulton seriously until it was too late: The incumbent's polls showed him easily winning, and Tierney's camp decided to stockpile its resources for the general election with Republican Richard Tisei.
This wasn't a case of bad polling leading the campaign astray though. Moulton wisely saved his considerable pile of cash for the final week-and-a-half of the race, calculating that voters would start paying attention in the final days. Moulton was right: Operatives on the ground report that the race shifted considerably in Moulton's direction, and Tierney could not fight back in time.
This race is also a good reminder of how little early primary polls can end up mattering. Three spring primary polls all found Tierney flirting with 60 percent of the vote, suggesting that this contest was over. However, as we've seen many times (and will doubtlessly see again next cycle) primary voters can very quickly shift their preferences. This is all the more true when you have a candidate like Moulton who starts out unknown but has the resources to introduce himself to voters when it counts.
• President-by-LD: Today we journey down south to Georgia and South Carolina as part of our ongoing project to provide election results by legislative and congressional district for every state in the nation. As always, you can find our master list of data here.
We have the results of Georgia's 2012 statewide races calculated by state House, state Senate, and congressional district. While Georgia may be getting bluer, the Republican drawn legislative maps will make it very difficult for Democrats to take back either chamber anytime soon. Mitt Romney won the Peach State 53-46, and took 116 of the 180 House seats, 38 of the 56 Senate seats, and nine of the 13 congressional districts. We also took a look at the statewide race for Public Service Commission District 3, but it's a similar story. Republican Chuck Eaton won 52-43, taking one more state House district than Romney.
Republicans took their first post-Reconstruction Senate majority after the 2002 elections, and won the House two years later. Since then they've solidified control of both chambers. While many Southern states still have Democratic legislators holding conservative but ancestrally blue seats, all of Georgia's old conservative Democratic legislators have either lost, retired, or switched parties (though Rep. John Barrow continues to hold GA-12 despite Team Red's best efforts). Republicans hold every Romney seat and even have two Obama House districts.
We also have South Carolina's 2012 presidential results calculated by state House, Senate, and Congressional district (There were no other statewide partisan races that year). Romney won the Palmetto State 55-44 and took 85 of the 124 House seats, 33 of the 46 Senate districts, and six of the seven Congressional districts.
Democrats lost the House in 1994 and the Senate in 2000. However, a number of Democrats continue to hold red seats in both houses. Seven House seats and five Senate districts voted for Romney but sent a Democrat to Columbia. Democratic gubernatorial nominee Vincent Sheheen is one of these legislators, holding a 55-44 Romney seat. Still, the Democrats have a very long way to go if they want to overcome the 78-46 Republican House majority or the GOP's 28-18 Senate edge.
• Primaries: Tuesday capped off a very long 2014 primary season that began with Texas all the way back on March 4. Here's our recap of the final electoral action before the general election on Nov. 4:
• MA-Gov (D)
: The polls wound up being terribly, terribly wrong in Massachusetts, but state Attorney General Martha Coakley nevertheless narrowly prevailed over state Treasurer Steve Grossman 42-36, while former Medicare chief Don Berwick took 21 percent. The results was a shocker, though, because not only had no poll ever shown the race in single digits, all but one had given Coakley leads of 20 points or more
There was a little bit of evidence to suggest that the race might be narrowing, and it appears that all the undecideds went to Grossman and Berwick. But the last three surveys had Coakley ahead 32, 20, and 21 points, so this counts as a huge miss that a lot of pollsters will have to answer for. Coakley will still start off the general election as the strong favorite over Republican Charlie Baker, but hopefully her smaller-than-expected win doesn't hint at some sort of weakness. (Likely D)
• MA-06 (D): Democratic Rep. John Tierney became the fourth and final member of the House to lose in a primary this year, falling 49-41 to Iraq vet Seth Moulton. Tierney had long been dogged by a tax evasion scandal that sent his wife to jail; while Tierney was never directly implicated, Moulton succeeded in tarring him as ethically shaky. Moulton has, in the past, described himself as a "fairly centrist," so progressives have reason to lament Tierney's loss. But a recent poll showed that with Moulton as the nominee instead of Tierney, it will likely make it harder for Republican Richard Tisei to prevail in the fall. (Lean D)
• NH-Sen (R): Carpetbagging former Sen. Scott Brown—definitely not a phony from Massachusetts—unimpressively won the Republican primary with 50 percent of the vote, defeating former state Sen. Jim Rubens and ex-Sen. Bob Smith, who each got 23. Rubens had the backing of Larry Lessig's Mayday PAC, which set a lot of money on fire in what was always going to be a sure loss. But Brown certainly doesn't look so hot coming off Tuesday—not that he ever did. Brown will face a tough race with Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen. (Likely D)
• NH-Gov (R): The GOP establishment got their man in businessman Walt Havenstein, who defeated conservative activist Andrew Hemingway 55-37. But Havenstein, who also has some residency issues, will be a major underdog against Gov. Maggie Hassan (Likely D).
• NH-01 (R): Rep. Carol Shea-Porter will face her third match in a row with ex-Rep. Frank Guinta, who beat former business school dean Dan Innis 49-40 for the Republican nomination. Innis, a relative moderate in today's GOP, had been supported by a group that backs Republicans who support same-sex marriage, but it wasn't enough to overcome Guinta's name recognition. Guinta still has lingering campaign finance issues on his rap sheet, but this race will be a difficult hold for Democrats. (Tossup)
• NH-02 (R): For the first time in what seems like a long time, the Club for Growth succeeded in nominating their preferred candidate in a potentially competitive race. Riding the Club's heavy spending, state Rep. Marilinda Garcia defeated ex-state Sen. Gary Lambert 49-27 and will go on to face Rep. Annie Kuster. Kuster remains the favorite. (Likely D)
• NY-Gov/LG (D): Gov. Andrew Cuomo, battered by corruption allegations and harried by an energetic primary foe in law professor Zephyr Teachout, survived with a very underwhelming 62-34 margin of victory on Tuesday night. The financial chasm was startling: Cuomo's spent almost $20 million in campaign funds (if not more) since 2011, while Teachout had only spent $283,000 as of 11 days before the election. Serious liberal hostility to Cuomo powered this result, and it makes you wonder how a stronger progressive candidate, such as state Sen. Liz Krueger, might have fared.
Cuomo's hand-picked choice for lieutenant governor, ex-Rep. Kathy Hochul, also prevailed, but by a similarly unimpressive 60-40 score over Teachout's running mate, law professor Tim Wu. Given Hochul's lack of name recognition, her conservative record, and the New York Times's decision to endorse Wu, it had looked like Wu was the better bet to pull off an upset than Teachout. But there ultimately was little daylight between Hochul and Cuomo, who spent heavily on mailers to boost his preferred number two choice.
Cuomo remains the overwhelming favorite to defeat Republican Rob Astorino in November, but if these results demonstrate anything, it's that there's no way Cuomo could ever win a Democratic presidential primary. This has long been evident to independent observers, but Beltway pundits have remained perversely impressed by Cuomo's desire to stick it to unions. But if a no-name, no-money candidate can hold someone as powerful as Cuomo to just 62 percent of the vote, then how will he survive against real competition?
• NY State Senate: Democrats hoping to strike a blow against renegade members of their party who handed control of the state Senate to Republicans fell short on Tuesday. In New York City, state Sen. Jeff Klein, head of the so-called IDC, turned back former Councilman Oliver Koppell 67-33, while state Sen. Tony Avella narrowly beat former city Comptroller John Liu, 52-48 (though Liu is refusing to concede). However, Democrats did improve their caucus by turning out indicted state Sen. Malcolm Smith, who got destroyed by former Councilman Leroy Comrie 69-19. (Another corruptocrat, John Sampson, survived 54-30 against labor leader Dell Smitherman.)
But the biggest news actually came from a Republican primary upstate, where state Sen. Mark Grisanti, a former Democrat who'd voted in favor of same-sex marriage and Cuomo's gun safety laws, got smashed 57-43 by conservative challenger Kevin Stocker. Stocker had primaried Grisanti once before in 2012 and lost badly, but this time, teachers' unions smartly ratfucked the race, sending out mailers calling Grisanti too liberal for the GOP. It worked, and now Democrat Marc Panepinto, an attorney, has a great shot at defeating Stocker in the 60th District, which went 56-42 for Obama.
• RI-Gov (D & R): In a major bummer for progressives, state Treasurer Gina Raimondo, a favorite of the Mike Bloomberg/punish-the-unions set, won the Democratic nomination with 42 percent of the vote, while Providence Mayor Angel Taveras took 29 and self-funding attorney Clay Pell 27. It's likely that Taveras and Pell split the liberal vote, allowing Raimondo, who had the support of EMILY's List, to prevail with a plurality. She's still very likely to defeat Cranston Mayor Allan Fung, who won the GOP nomination, but there hasn't been a poll of that matchup in almost a year. (Likely D)
• Radio: Daily Kos Elections' Jeff Singer appeared on WNHN's The Attitude with Arnie Arnesen Wednesday to discuss the results of Tuesday's primaries. You can download the recording here: Jeff's portion begins at the 9:35 mark.
• Special Elections: Here's Johnny Longtorso's recap:
Texas SD-28: This one actually won't be going to a runoff, because Republican Charles Perry won outright, taking 54 percent of the vote. In second place was fellow Republican Jodey Arrington with 30 percent, while the lone Democrat on the ballot, Greg Wortham, came in third with 13 percent. The remaining three candidates pulled in an insignificant amount of support.
Ads & Independent Expenditures
• AK-Sen: The National Education Association features a middle school music teacher accusing Republican Dan Sullivan for selling out state educators.
On the GOP side, Crossroads GPS focuses entirely on Democratic Sen. Mark Begich's record as mayor of Anchorage. They accuse him of leaving the city in dire financial condition when he left for Washington.
• AR-Sen: Crossroads GPS spends another $256,000 against Democratic Sen. Mark Pryor.
• CO-Sen: Democratic Sen. Mark Udall hits Republican Rep. Cory Gardner for allowing the government to shutdown while Colorado was experiencing flooding.
• IA-Sen: The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has done a great job recruiting celebrities for its political spots. In Georgia they got UGA legend Herschel Walker; in Mississippi they had Brett Favre; and now in Iowa they have... state Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey.
The Chamber's ad features Northey praising Republican Joni Ernst on agricultural issues. Shockingly, they go the whole ad without throwing a single jab at Democrat Bruce Braley over his "farmer from Iowa" gaffe. I'm as surprised as you are.
The DSCC also goes up, hitting Ernst for wanting to privatize Social Security. The ad also continues to tie Ernst to the Koch brothers, who the narrator accuses of also wanting to privatize Social Security.
• NC-Sen: Planned Parenthood spends $528,000 against Republican Thom Tillis.
• NH-Sen: Newly minted Republican nominee Scott Brown talks to the camera about why he's running. Hint: It's because he thinks Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen and Barack Obama suck.
• WV-Sen: Republican Rep. Shelley Moore Capito rails against the government.
• CO-Gov: Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper goes positive in his first spot, explaining what he learned about governing from running a restaurant. Hickenlooper also commits to not running negative ads: Of course, he doesn't mention that national party groups will only be too happy to do the dirty work for him.
• IL-Gov: Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn once again attacks Republican Bruce Rauner on an out-of-touch rich guy. For the first (but certainly not the last) time, Quinn's ads bring up Rauner's membership to a $100,000 wine-club.
• MA-Gov: Republican Charlie Baker stresses his moderate credentials.
• ME-Gov: Eliot Cutler features fellow independent and Sen. Angus King saying how great he is.
• MI-Gov: Republican Gov. Rick Snyder continues argue that the state is turning around under his leadership.
• PA-Gov: Democrat Tom Wolf hits Republican Gov. Tom Corbett on education.
• WI-Gov: Greater Wisconsin also hits Republican Gov. Scott Walker on schools.
• CA-36: Democratic Rep. Raul Ruiz another positive spot highlighting his work helping veterans.
• GA-12: Republican Rick Allen continues to tie Democratic Rep. John Barrow to Obama, going after the incumbent for voting against repealing Obamacare.
• ME-02: Democrat Emily Cain calls for giving the middle class a voice.
• MI-01: The DCCC goes after Republican Rep. Dan Benishek on taxes. Proving that technology has changed campaign ads forever, the spot has the narrator walking up to people with a tablet and having them type their income in to see how much they'd pay under Benishek's plan.
• MN-08: Republican Stewart Mills accuses Democratic Rep. Rick Nolan of being out of touch with the Iron Range.
• WV-03: Republican Evan Jenkins once again attacks Obama on coal, this time without mentioning Democratic Rep. Nick Rahall.
The Daily Kos Elections Morning Digest is compiled by David Nir, with additional contributions from Jeff Singer, David Jarman, and Steve Singiser.