• Polls: Five different Democratic internal polls came out on Thursday, in five different races: CA-03, FL-18, FL-26, MI-03, and NY-01. And while the results individually look good for Team Blue (Dems lead in four of the five surveys, and full details are provided on each below), it's also worth noting more globally that we haven't been seeing as many internals from Republicans. As my colleague Steve Singiser noted earlier this month, Democrats have released a wide majority of the private polls so far this cycle—and that trend only continued yesterday. It's hard to view that as bad news for Dems.
• CT-Sen: Republican Linda McMahon goes for compare-and-contrast in her new ad, with the narrator praising her as a job creator, then switching to attack mode on Chris Murphy. The spot repeats the claim that Murphy missed a lot of committee votes, plus the lie that he voted to cut 700 infinity zillion dollars from Medicare.
• MT-, ND-Sen: It looks like the DSCC is re-upping the buys on some existing ads in Montana (anti-Denny Rehberg, for $166K) and North Dakota (pro-Heidi Heitkamp, for $45K).
• MO-Sen: PPP went back into the field with another Missouri poll on Tuesday and Wednesday of this week and found much the same thing they did with their one-night flash poll last week when the Toss Akin story first exploded. Dem Sen. Claire McCaskill is up 45-44, little changed from Akin's prior 44-43 edge. Notably, the sample was much less red this time: 35% R to 33% D, versus a 39-30 spread last time, so clearly composition didn't have a lot to do with the earlier result. And Obama also trails 53-41, barely different from Romney's 52-42 lead a week ago.
Also worth noting: By a 52-37 margin, Republicans do not want Akin to drop out, and an overwhelming majority are ready to accept his apology (such as it is). As Tom Jensen says, "There's clearly a disconnect on Akin's candidacy between GOP leaders in Washington DC and actual GOP voters back in Missouri." And Akin's favorability appears to be bouncing back from its nadir: He's now at 33-56—still abysmal, but better than the 24-58 he scored last time. Tom also points out that undecideds on the Senate race are supporting Romney 61-25, which leads him to conclude that these voters "will ultimately hold their noses and support their party's candidate." I'm inclined to agree.
• WI-, ND-Sen, FL-Sen: Majority PAC's latest buys targeting Republicans include $599K against Tommy Thompson (for their new "influence peddler" ad) in Wisconsin and $106K against Rick Berg in North Dakota (I'm told they have a new ad in rotation that's not on their YouTube page yet). They're also spending $50K to air that Tiger Blood ad against Connie Mack in Florida.
• PA-Sen: Republican Tom Smith steps in it again:
A video released Thursday by the Pennsylvania Democrats shows Smith, who introduced Ryan at an event last week, greeting two women in the crowd and asking them what they're talking about.Gubernatorial:
"We're talking about the power of petite women," one of the women says.
"Oh," Smith responds. "My guess would have been you were talking about shoes."
• CT-Gov: The Connecticut Post takes an early look at Republicans who might challenge Dem Gov. Dan Malloy in 2014. It's mostly just Great Mentioner stuff at this point, though 2010 nominee Tom Foley (who lost by less than 1%) says he "plans to" seek a rematch. The other three potential names are all hedging: state House Minority Leader Lawrence Cafero, Danbury mayor Mark Boughton, and ex-Rep. Chris Shays, who is just coming off a huge loss to Linda McMahon in this year's GOP Senate primary. Cafero had considered a run last time but said no, while Boughton ran an abortive campaign last cycle.
• WA-Gov: Despite Jay Inslee's "victory" in the state's top-two primary (where, with all the ballots finally counted, he finished ahead of Rob McKenna 47-43, or a cumulative D/R tally of 50-47), he and his allies aren't taking their feet off the gas. The DGA just pumped another $800K into this race, into the Inslee-supporting labor PAC Our Washington. That brings Inslee and McKenna into relative financial parity overall: Our Washington has raised $4.2 mil over the cycle while an RGA-backed PAC has raised $4 mil, while the McKenna campaign itself has raised $8.2 mil to Inslee's $7.8 mil. (David Jarman)
• CA-03: The House Majority PAC has a new poll from GBA Strategies of the race in California's 3rd which backs up a one-day robopoll released by the DCCC's in-house shop last month. The HMP survey puts Dem Rep. John Garamendi up 54-39 over Republican Kim Vann, very similar to the D-Trip's 52-37 spread. Vann didn't respond to the prior set of numbers; let's see if she reacts differently this time.
• CT-05: As expected, Chris Donovan has removed himself from the Working Families Party's ballot line (in Connecticut, all you have to do is send a letter to the Secretary of State). That paved the way for the WFP to formally endorse Elizabeth Esty, the Democratic nominee. Since the WFP could have potentially not given her their line after Donovan withdrew, presumably this means Esty satisfied party officials with her views on the issues—and hopefully we'll see a more progressive Esty candidacy as a result.
• FL-18: This is very welcome news: A new DCCC poll from Grove Insight shows Democrat Patrick Murphy edging Republican freshman Allen West by a single point, 47-46. That's very similar to the numbers Murphy himself put out in early May, which put the race at 45 apiece and which West never responded to. Since then, both candidates have gone on the air, but given the increasingly polarized nature of the electorate in general and this contest in particular, I'm not surprised to see a similar picture—and few undecideds. Also of note, West's favorables stand at a mediocre 43-38 and his job approval rating is a negative 41-52.
And West certainly isn't helping himself. He's determined to either win this thing as the most obnoxious Congressman in America—or lose, as the most obnoxious Congressman in America. Check this out:
Congressman Allen West told a group of black Republicans gathered for the party's national convention Wednesday that Democrats are racist and the media doesn't call them on it.• FL-26: Everything's coming up Milhouse for Democrat Joe Garcia: On Thursday morning, he was added to the DCCC's Red to Blue list; on Thursday afternoon, he released an internal poll from Benenson Strategy Group showing him up 49-40 over GOP freshman David Rivera. Ordinarily, numbers that bad for an incumbent would have me raising an eyebrow—if not both of `em. But Benenson is a reputable firm and Rivera's well-publicized ethical troubles have plagued him since long before he even took office two years ago, so I find these results plausible at first blush.
West said Democrats have gotten away with attacking black conservatives. He then turned to the two reporters covering the event and said he had a challenge for them.
"Tell the story. You guys allow the other side to attack black conservatives, and you don't call them out," West said. "That's the most racist party I've ever seen in my life and you don't call them out."
However, the sample does seem pretty optimistic for Democrats: Barack Obama is beating Mitt Romney 50-40, in a district that was essentially tied 50-50 four years ago. But even if Obama were to only match his 2008 performance, Garcia would still be faring pretty well, given his gaudy nine-point lead as things stand presently. And given the demographic trends of this district, with non-Cuban Hispanic population growth edging out older, more conservative Cubans, there's reason to believe Obama could do better than before (though probably not 10 points better).
• IL-13: Republican Rodney Davis, who on Wednesday became a target in one of the DCCC's second wave of ads, released his own introductory spot the same day. He talks about how he's coached pee-wee football and doesn't want to leave so much debt for his young players.
• MI-03: Democrat Steve Pestka is touting a new internal poll from GQR that has GOP freshman Rep. Justin Amash leading 50-42, which Pestka says represents a gain of three points for the challenger since an unreleased February survey. What I'd say gives Pestka the most hope is that Amash, an utter outcast in his own party, is still pretty unknown and has very soft favorability ratings of just 32 positive and 28 negative. Also, about a quarter of the district is new to Amash, and the new parts of the CD are also slightly bluer than the old seat was as a whole. This will still be a very tough race for Pestka.
• NY-01: Understandably, Dem Rep. Tim Bishop's trying to show that that overheated Politico story alleging he engaged in some sort of pay-to-play with a constituent (regarding a fireworks display!) hasn't damaged his standing with voters. To that end, he's out with new polling from Global Strategy Group showing him with a healthy 53-39 lead over Republican Randy Altschuler. That's little changed from his last internal (all the way back in March), which had him on top 53-36.
Since then, both candidates have gone on the air, with Bishop hammering Altschuler for running a company that's explicitly in the business of outsourcing jobs, and Altschuler airing a new spot over that whole fireworks business. We don't know how much either side has spent yet, but evidently the race hasn't shifted much as a result. Bishop's new internal might also serve as pushback against a bunk poll Altschuler released from Rasmussen's for-hire arm a month ago; those numbers implausibly had Romney beating Obama by 14 points here. Bishop's survey, meanwhile, has Obama up 50-45, which makes a hell of a lot more sense. (He won by three points in 2008.)
• Colorado: Organizers trying to put a so-called "personhood" amendment before voters in Colorado have failed to submit enough signatures, meaning that personhood proposals won't appear on the ballot anywhere in the nation this fall. It's a mystery as to why supporters keep pushing this most extreme of ideas—personhood amendments attempt to re-define life as beginning at the very moment of conception, and one failed very badly in ultra-conservative Mississippi last year. And if you can't win in Mississippi....
• PA-St. Sen: It's unusual enough to have an internal poll from a state legislative race see the light of day, but given the "holy crap!" nature of the results, I can see why this got some touting. An internal poll for Dem candidate Matt Smith (who's running to fill an open seat in SD-37 in Pittsburgh's western and southern suburbs) gives him a 54-38 lead over Republican D. Raja (whom you might remember as the GOP's nominee in the Allegheny Co. Executive race last year). That's a surprise since it's a GOP-held seat and a pretty red one at that (45 Obama, 54 McCain). The sample seems a little too Dem-friendly (it has Mitt Romney leading by only 1 in the district), but even factoring in the skew, Smith might actually be able to pull this out. However, even if the Dems win this one and the much-bluer GOP-held open seat in Erie's SD-49, that would still leave them a couple seats short of being able to take control of the state Senate. (David Jarman)
• DCCC: The D-Trip has just added a few more candidates to its Red to Blue lists:
Red to Blue• House Majority: The pro-Democratic House Majority PAC just filed an IE for four recent buys attacking Republicans: IA-04 (Steve King, $40K); NC-07 (David Rouzer, $23K); PA-12 (Keith Rothfus, $98K); and UT-04 (Mia Love, $93K).
Kyrsten Sinema (AZ-09)
Elizabeth Esty (CT-05)
Joe Garcia (FL-26)
Rick Nolan (MN-08)
Jessica Ehrlich (FL-13)
Syed Taj (MI-11)
Upendra Chivukula (NJ-07)
• Iowa: PPP's Iowa miscellany is very politically focused, with approval numbers Gov. Terry Branstad and Sens. Tom Harkin and Chuck Grassley, as well as matchups against generic opponents for Branstad (49-37) and Harkin (45-43), who are both up for re-election in 2014. More immediately, the generic legislative ballot is very tight, with the GOP up 41-40 over Democrats.
• Voter Suppression: Big news out of Texas, or at least D.C., where a three-judge federal panel has struck down the Lone Star State's new voter ID laws for violating Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act. Rick Hasen has a link to the just-issued opinion as well as his analysis of the case. As with Texas's huge redistricting loss just two days earlier, the state AG plans to appeal. However, the Supreme Court is currently out of session, so it's hard to see how this ruling can change in time for November's elections, unless they take up the case on an emergency basis.