8:11 AM PT: MA-Sen: With a third poll in the course of two days giving Elizabeth Warren a lead in Massachusetts, it's probably safe to call it a trend. The third poll (following polls by PPP and WNEU) is from local pollster Suffolk, and it gives Warren a 48-44 lead among likely voters. That's an improvement from Suffolk's previous poll in May, where Scott Brown led 48-47. In fact, this is the first time Warren has ever led Brown in a Suffolk poll.
Similar to other polls' findings, Suffolk sees a big jump in Warren's favorables, up to 52/33 from 43/33 in May, and also sees a decline in the number of ticket-splitters, with only 19% of Obama voters voting for Brown, as opposed to 24% in May. Barack Obama leads Mitt Romney by a whopping 64-31 in the presidential portion, which may mean a generously-Democratic sample (the 2008 result was 62-36 for Obama). Suffolk also polled some measures that will be on the November ballot, and found 64% support for physician-assisted suicide and 59% support for medical marijuana.
8:37 AM PT: VA-Sen: PPP's Tom Jensen has pretty much given up on finding new things to say about Virginia's Senate race, and it's hard to fault him when it's always close to identical every time they poll it. This month, they find Democrat Tim Kaine leading GOPer George Allen 47-46 (up from a 46-46 tie a month ago). Senate race undecideds break 41-36 in Barack Obama's favor on the presidential question, so that would tend to bode well for Kaine getting the tiebreaker in November. (Kaine is also counting on Mark Warner to help him close the gap with undecideds; Warner, who's popular among the state's moderates, has been stumping this week on Kaine's behalf.)
They also look ahead to 2014, where Mark Warner is in no danger, leading Generic Republican 51-40. (That's if he runs for re-election, and hasn't returned to being Governor at that point.) It doesn't seem likely that Eric Cantor would wind up being Warner's Senate opponent, his favorables are only 25/40 statewide; he's better off sticking with his safe district and leadership role. More generally, Dems lead the generic congressional ballot 45-44.
10:37 AM PT: Voter suppression: We still don't have much in the way of details, but there's big news out of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. While they haven't struck down the state's voter ID law, they did just remand the case to the lower court, telling them to review the actual availability of voter IDs. We'll keep you posted as we learn more.
10:44 AM PT: NY-18: There's some good news and some bad news in Siena's newest poll of a New York House race, looking at the lower Hudson Valley's 18th, held by GOP frosh Nan Hayworth. Let's start with the bad news: Hayworth leads Dem Sean Patrick Maloney by 13 points. Now the good news: that topline breaks down 46-33-10, with 10 going to Larry Weissmann, the candidate on the Working Families Party line. That's good because the plan is for Weissmann to get out of the way, and for Maloney to receive the WFP line as well. (I'm not sure what they're promising Weissmann to do so, since New York has remarkably strict laws about getting off the ballot, but at any rate, that's the plan.) If Maloney can vacuum up all those WFP votes, it's a much closer race. While I'd certainly still rather be in Hayworth's shoes here, factor in that Maloney remains largely unknown (27/19 faves, with 54% don't knows), and he has most of the upside here.
10:53 AM PT: CT-Sen: We've already got our first Republican Senate candidate in a blue state publicly deploring Mitt Romney's candid-camera video about how he actually feels about the "47%." Linda McMahon boldly went first:
"I disagree with Governor Romney’s insinuation that 47% of Americans believe they are victims who must depend on the government for their care. I know that the vast majority of those who rely on government are not in that situation because they want to be."That's all fine and good because McMahon has never used that same attack on that same 47% of the population as greedy sponges, right? I mean, she wouldn't say that while actually launching her campaign in September 2011, would she...
"I'd like to see everyone pay their fair share," said McMahon. "Forty-seven percent of the people today don't pay any taxes, so let's have a fair tax code where everybody pays their taxes."If that catches on as a story, it'd derail the previous story dominating the race, which has been McMahon's attempts to scrub YouTube of the nastier highlights of WWE sex and violence. The highlight reel resurfaced yesterday briefly on YouTube courtesy of the Connecticut Democratic Party, which had archived the stuff before the McMahon camp's scrubbing, though that too quickly got taken down as a copyright violation. The takedown, though, was probably what the state Dems wanted, since the news about the takedown seems likely to draw more attention than the video itself would have.
11:09 AM PT: NH-Gov: The polls of potential general election matchups in the New Hampshire gubernatorial race taken before the primary usually showed a very close contest, usually with a one- or two-point margin. And the first poll taken since the primary -- from American Research Group, who are a) local, but b) erratic -- shows exactly that same thing. They find Republican Ovide Lamontagne leading Dem Maggie Hassan 47-46 among RVs, and leading 47-45 among "definite" voters. (This is ARG's first poll of the race, believe it or not, so no trendlines.)
11:29 AM PT: MI-Sen: Marketing Research Group -- one of those mysterious Republican-leaning pollsters that clutter the landscape in Michigan and don't poll anywhere else -- is out with a batch of numbers that favor the Dems this time, though still a bit to the right of the overall polling consensus. Their same sample that had Barack Obama leading 48-42 also has Dem incumbent Debbie Stabenow leading the Senate race by a similar margin; she's ahead of Peter Hoekstra 46-40. They also looked at the state's controversial emergency manager law, which is up for referendum in November. 45 plan to vote "yes" (which would preserve the law), while 47 plan to vote "no" (which would repeal it).
In California, PPP's new poll of the Inland Empire-based 36th district finds what PPP found earlier in the summer--a potential dead heat between veteran incumbent Mary Bono Mack and ER physician Raul Ruiz. The poll showed Bono Mack up by three points (47-44). An August poll here for DFA had Bono Mack leading 45-43.
Meanwhile, in the Sunshine State, scandal-ridden freshman Rep. David Rivera continues to be among the most endangered incumbents in the House. PPP's new poll here gives Democrat Joe Garcia a 46-39 lead here over Rivera. That is not terribly dissimilar from a Benenson Strategies poll conducted here in August which had Garcia up 49-40.
11:39 AM PT: PA-Sen: The newest Muhlenberg/Morning Call poll of Pennsylvania may be most noteworthy because it shows Bob Casey overperforming Barack Obama by a narrower margin than usual. Casey defeats Republican Tom Smith 45-33 (a 12-point margin), while Obama leads 50-41 (a 9-point margin). That doesn't mean it's time to start worrying about this race; most polls have shown Casey winning by more in the range of 20 points.
11:51 AM PT: WA-01: Here's a poll I'm guessing SurveyUSA might wish they could take back: their newest poll of Washington's 1st district has Republican John Koster leading Democrat Suzan DelBene 46-42. There are two ways you can tell something's off with this poll: one, the new 1st is basically Washington's median district; it went 57% for Obama in 2008, which is exactly what he received statewide too. And yet, this poll also finds Obama and Mitt Romney tied 47-47 in the district and Rob McKenna leading Jay Inslee 50-44, dramatically inconsistent with any recent statewide poll.
And maybe more importantly, we have actual election results here, in the form of the highly-predictive Top 2 primary in August, where the combined Dem vote share was 53 and Koster's share was 45. (SurveyUSA's previous poll, taken right before the primary, found a 42-42 tie in a Koster/DelBene matchup.)
11:53 AM PT: Here's some confirmation that Larry Weissmann was always intended to be a placeholder candidate for the WFP in NY-18 until the Dems sorted out their nomination; apparently, the plan is to get Weissmann out of the way by nominating him for a state Supreme Court position. (Gotta love New York politics.)
11:56 AM PT: WA-Init.: The Elway poll in Washington that found Jay Inslee leading the gubernatorial race by 3 last week also looked at some of the initiatives that'll be on the November ballot. They find marijuana legalization leading 50-38, and same-sex marriage leading 52-40. Both sets of numbers are improved from the previous poll in July.
12:09 PM PT: CO-06: There's one more somewhat-encouraging Dem poll of a House race rattling around today; it's a poll taken by the DCCC's own robocalling shop, of Colorado's 6th district, where Joe Miklosi is taking on Republican incumbent Mike Coffman in a red-turned-swing district. It finds Miklosi not too far behind (42-39 on the trial heat, before any "informed ballot" stuff gets read), and also much less known, giving him the upside here (Miklosi has 11/6 faves, with 71% unknown, while Coffman is 83% known, with 36/26 favorables).
12:14 PM PT: MD-01: It looks like the Wayne Gilchrest comeback (as a Dem) isn't going to happen in Maryland's 1st, left lacking a Dem after Wendy Rosen's ignominious dropout. The state Democratic party has coalesced behind physician (and former chair of the Kent County Dems) John LaFerla, who narrowly lost the Dem primary to Rosen. LaFerla will still have to run as a write-in since there's no time to get Rosen's name off the ballot, though the difficulty of that feat is mostly academic, seeing as it's already a dark-red district.
12:23 PM PT: MO-Sen: I'm not sure which is more embarrassing for the Todd Akin campaign (in the latest of what seems like a daily parade of embarrassments): for starters, they've unveiled a new page on their campaign website intended for women, which featured a photo of Akin standing between actual women! Unfortunately, one of those women next to Akin is the Democratic tracker who has been following Akin to appearances for the last year. Or, perhaps the headline on the page is more embarrasing, which reads "I'm a Women and I support Todd!" Akin's campaign's response is that the page was just a draft version not intended for public use... in other words, it wasn't a legitimate site?
12:30 PM PT: CA-52: I don't know if how many actual votes a Nathan Fletcher endorsement would move, but polls show a super-close race in San Diego's CA-52 (between incumbent GOPer Brian Bilbray and Dem Scott Peters) and every vote counts. So, today's endorsement of Peters (by Fletcher, a moderate Assemblyman who noisily left the GOP and became an independent in the midst of the San Diego mayor's race) has to be seen as good news.
12:57 PM PT: UT-Sen: This is one of the more ill-advised fundraising pitches I've heard lately, not just because it's kind of, well, vulture-ish, but also because it doesn't even make much logical sense. Democratic Senate candidate Scott Howell argues in a fundraising letter sent this weekend that he should win, in part, because Orrin Hatch is "an old guy" and may "die before his term is through." (They do have this thing now called "special elections.") Considering that Howell had about a 0% chance of winning the race even before these comments, though, this isn't likely to put him in a position that's any worse.
1:04 PM PT: HI-Sen: A PAC we haven't heard from before -- Working Families for Hawaii -- is out with a substantial TV ad buy in Hawaii, opposing Linda Lingle. (The buy is for $64K, which goes a longer way in Hawaii than it would in most states.) The ad itself hasn't surfaced yet.
1:10 PM PT: KY-06: "I'm not a Democrat, but I play one on TV." That seems to be an increasing trend in advertising (see yesterday's Linda Lingle ad), and now Andy Barr, the GOP candidate in Kentucky's 6th, is the latest person to get busted for such chicanery. A Barr ad contains a miner in bib overalls and hard hat attacking Dem Ben Chandler for being anti-coal. And he would have gotten away with it if it weren't for those meddling kids at the United Mine Workers, who recognized that miner as actually being the vice-president of River View Coal, no doubt from having been on the opposite side of the negotiation table from him. Heath Lovell's defense: "I still consider myself a coal miner."
1:15 PM PT: NY-01: Crossroads is finally getting involved in some House races, planning to put at least $10 million into efforts to preserve the GOP majority there. As befits their megabucks status, they're starting out with the race in New York's 1st district, an advertising disaster area since it's part of the ultra-expensive New York City media market. No link to the ad yet, or word on the size of the buy or what other House races they plan to hit.
1:59 PM PT: Ads:
• AZ-Sen: Hmm, Jeff Flake's starting out his first general election ad with a negative hit on his opponent, Richard Carmona, rather than the usual soft-focus bio spot... not a sign of confidence? At any rate, the ad is a simple compare and contrast, linking Carmona to Barack Obama and linking Flake to John McCain and Jon Kyl.
• CT-Sen: Linda McMahon's campaign's newest ad keeps harping on Chris Murphy having gotten a loan at a good rate despite previous financial troubles... despite the bank having publicly said that everything was legal and normal.
• IN-Sen: The DSCC uses some of Richard Mourdock's words against him, returning several times to his proclamation that the point of politics is to "inflict my opinion" on someone else.
• MA-Sen: Elizabeth Warren's new ad seems to already be a departure from the recently-announced ad revamp, which promised to get away from the "preachy" stuff and use more narrator voiceovers to attack Scott Brown instead. Today's ad, in fact, is a one-minute ad that's just her speaking to the camera; interestingly, she still goes after Brown, but does it in a really pitch-perfect manner, praising him as a nice guy but still pointing out the consequences of him voting with Republican leadership (just as was often suggested to her last month, when the "what's wrong with her campaign" buzz was at its loudest).
• ME-Sen: The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is inexplicably getting involved in Maine too, after some previous NRSC forays (guess they've got spend that money they'd allocated for Missouri somewhere). They got straight for hitting Angus King over his terms as Governor, though, neglecting to do anything about boosting Cynthia Dill.
• MT-Sen: The Chamber of Commerce also goes after Jon Tester, hitting him on the usual ACA and cap & trade issues.
• ND-Sen: The DSCC's newest ad here is a Medicare-related hit on GOPer Rick Berg.
• NV-Sen: Crossroads goes after Shelley Berkley, softening her up with some ethics charges before delving into the Medicare obfuscations.
• OH-Sen: The Chamber of Commerce goes after Sherrod Brown to round out its trifecta of new ads, hitting him on energy policy issues.
• PA-Sen: Tom Smith's latest ad is a litany of rebuttals of the latest Bob Casey ad.
2:08 PM PT: Ads:
• MO-Gov: The Dave Spence campaign tries to link Jay Nixon to Barack Obama in its latest ad, digging deep into the video archives for some 2008 Democratic Convention footage.
• NC-Gov: A new spot from the RGA spends its entire 15 seconds tying Dem Walter Dalton to unpopular outgoing Gov. Bev Perdue.
• NH-Gov: NH Women (EMILY's List, by any other name) hits newly-minted GOP nominee Ovide Lamontagne for his anti-choice policies.
• WA-Gov: Apparently the RGA didn't learn from the awful fail of Rick Berg's "mean girls" ad, because they've reprised that, with a bunch of geezers sitting around a cafe having a badly-scripted conversation about how Jay Inslee hates small business.
2:29 PM PT: Ads:
• CA-24: The NRCC wades into the Lois Capps/Abel Maldonado race, hitting Capps for a late payment of taxes of rental income (deeply ironic, considering how much Maldonado's seven-digit tax problems dwarf Capps's).
• FL-18: The DCCC's first IE ad against Allen West is a straightforward attempt to link him to the Ryan plan on Medicare, despite the tons of ammunition that West has handed the Dems over the last two years.
• FL-22: Republican Adam Hasner's new pitch seems to revolve around how he won't accept a pay raise or a pension while serving in Congress.
• IL-08: I'm not sure what the connection here is, but a PAC formed to support Sarah Steelman in the Missouri Senate race seems to be spending its leftover money on Joe Walsh, of all people. The Now or Never PAC is putting $810K into a Chicago-market buy for an ad that's all positive, highlighting Walsh's record of actually showing up for town hall meetings and limiting himself to three terms.
• IL-17: Two different ads in the 17th, where the Dem-aligned House Majority PAC goes after Bobby Schilling on Medicare and assorted other highlights from his one-term voting record, while the NRCC goes after challenger Cheri Bustos over some minor-league-sounding city council votes that benefited her neighborhood.
• MI-01: Dem Gary McDowell's newest ad his him astride his tractor, decrying governmental waste (but using that as a pivot to hit incumbent Dan Benishek's pro-Ryan budget votes).
• NC-07: The NRCC keeps hitting Mike McIntyre over his pro-stimulus vote, adding an outsourcing angle in there.
2:41 PM PT: Ads:
• NY-19: The DCCC lumps moderate GOPer Chris Gibson in with the rest of those Republicans, courtesy of his votes on the Ryan budget.
• OH-07: Yet another ad hitting a Republican freshman (Bob Gibbs, in this case) with the $6,400 in new Medicare costs in the Ryan budget, this time from Dem Joyce Healy-Abrams' campaign.
• OH-16: I guess energy must be a big issue in Ohio focus groups (see the Chamber ad in OH-Sen above), because the House Majority PAC's ad in the 16th against GOPer Jim Renacci hits him for his ties to big oil, rather than over Medicare. (It's a $400K buy in the Cleveland market.)
• PA-06: Republican incumbent Jim Gerlach's first ad is one of those half-negative, half-positive affairs, hitting Manan Trivedi over the stimulus and then touting his own pro-jobs efforts.
• PA-12: The AFSCME is out with one of the hardest-hitting ads of the day, taking Republican Keith Rothfus (who's been trying out a humorous "regular guy" angle in his ads) and turning him into "millionaire phony" instead.
• WA-01: The House Majority PAC also weighs in with $380K in Seattle, hitting GOPer John Koster (who's running against Suzan DelBene) over women's health issues.
3:37 PM PT: PPP (who found Elizabeth Warren up 2 on Monday) also unloaded their Massachusetts miscellany today, and found similar numbers on the ballot measures: 58-25 in favor of assisted suicide and 60-27 in favor of medical marijuana. They also found 52/35 approvals for John Kerry, but only 30/48 approval for the idea of him becoming Secretary of State in a second Obama term.