OH: Brown 50, Mandel 41 (49-42); Obama +8 (+7)
VA: Kaine 49, Allen 44 (46-46); Obama +2 (+5)
On the Senate front, the big news is obviously out of Virginia, where Tim Kaine has legged out to a five-point lead over George Allen. While some polling has still found the race tight, a number of other surveys have shown similar movement for Kaine (and no public poll has seen any kind of advantage for Allen). On the presidential front, Obama's standing has tightened in both the Old Dominion and down in the Sunshine State, but it doesn't seem to have affected the Senate contests—indeed, in Virginia, Kaine and Obama are moving in different directions.
9:13 AM PT: Suffolk University also has new Florida numbers: Bill Nelson leads Connie Mack 40-34, which is just a deeply weird number of undecideds this close to the election. (Obama's edging Romney 46-43.)
9:33 AM PT: CO-03: The DCCC leaked four new internals to Politico on Wednesday, some of which cover races where we haven't seen much if any polling before. First up is Colorado's 3rd District (courtesy Grove Insight), where GOP freshman Scott Tipton barely edges Democrat Sal Pace, 42-39. Given how swingish this seat is (it went for McCain 50-48), it should be a real dogfight over those remaining undecided voters. Unfortunately, we don't have presidential toplines—indeed, the memo is awfully threadbare. The only additional information comes in the form of Tipton's job approvals, which stand at a negative 37-46.
9:38 AM PT: FL-10: A second under-polled race is Florida's 10th, where Democrat Val Demings is hoping to unseat another GOP freshman, Daniel Webster. The D-Trip's survey (from Global Strategy Group) paints an unexpectedly close picture for a race we have pegged at Likely R, with Webster up 46-41. Here we do have presidential numbers: Obama and Romney are tied at 47, which indicates a better environment for Democrats than in 2008, when McCain won 52-47. Of course, that 47% could be Obama's ceiling here, but in unambiguously positive news, Bill Nelson leads Connie Mack 48-40 in the Senate contest.
9:44 AM PT: MI-01: One House race that's been extensively surveyed is MI-01, and the polling has been just about uniformly optimistic for Democratic challenger Gary McDowell. The DCCC's latest (from Benenson) is, of course, no different: McDowell leads GOP freshman Dan Benishek 43-40, with Libertarian Emily Salvette taking 7 and Green Party candidate Ellis Boal at 2. The generic congressional ballot is actually 45-44 Republican here, which suggests that these third-party Some Dudes are hurting the GOP more than the Dems. On the presidential front, it's all tied at 48—very similar to Obama's two-point edge here four years ago.
9:51 AM PT: NV-03: The last of the DCCC's internals comes out of NV-03, where the only prior numbers came from a problematic SurveyUSA poll that put GOP freshman Joe Heck up 53-40 over Democrat John Oceguera. Global Strategy Group sees a very different picture, with Heck leading by just a 42-38 spread. I'm not exactly sure what to make of the trendlines, though: A previously unreleased August poll had Heck leading 46-37, which means that on the one hand, the incumbent's standing dropped but on the other, his challenger's barely budged. As for the rest of the memo, the generic congressional ballot is +3 Dem (obviously a good thing), but the presidential race is terribly pessimistic. Even though Obama won this district by nine points in 2008, he leads just 47-46 now. Obama's much weaker standing in Nevada this time around (due at least in part to the still-awful housing picture in the state) is going to make it a lot harder for Oceguera to pull off the upset.
10:06 AM PT: OH-Sen: What is it about trackers that, from time to time, makes candidates lose their self-control and just spazz? The latest incident involves Republican Josh Mandel—and because it's Mandel, he's also lying about it, too. As the Columbus Dispatch's headline puts it: "Mandel's account of confrontation differs from evidence." Here's reality:
Republican U.S. Senate candidate Josh Mandel said a political video tracker "made the initial physical contact with me" in an incident that occurred Friday in a public elevator, offering an explanation that is not supported by eyewitness accounts nor the video of the incident and is a twist from the original statement put out by the Mandel campaign. [...]I love that Mandel is such a lying liar that he lies even when he knows there's contradictory video. He'd make a wonderful apparatchik in the Ministry of Truth.
The video of the incident shows, as The Dispatch previously reported, the tracker following Mandel into the elevator. But it also shows Mandel approach the tracker, say his name loudly, step to the side of him, and then the camera shakes. The tracker, whose name is Tyler Hansen, said "please don't," and Mandel relented, asking the tracker "how you been" and quipping "good to see you." He also asked the tracker if he knew the Dispatch reporter who was in the elevator.
After Mandel and the Dispatch reporter got off the elevator, an unidentified woman who was also on the elevator can be heard on the video remarking to the tracker that she saw Mandel come "right over there to block" the camera. The woman can also be heard saying "(when) he walked in he scared me to death."
10:14 AM PT: FL-02: It looks like the D-Trip has succeeded in putting a very unlikely race on the map: Following the DCCC's smallish ($61K) television buy on behalf of Al Lawson, the NRCC is jumping in with $160K worth of advertising to help shore up freshman Rep. Steve Southerland. Democrats just threw on another $46K, but if Republicans ultimately out-spend Team Blue here, then that's a victory in its own right. (Though I'm sure Lawson wouldn't enjoy hearing that.)
10:16 AM PT: NC-Gov: Just another brick in the wall: SurveyUSA joins the sizable gang of pollsters who've found recent double-digit leads for Republican Pat McCrory, showing him up 51-39 over Democrat Walter Dalton.
11:01 AM PT: MO-Sen: PPP's out with another Missouri poll, and it's their first with genuinely positive news for Dem Sen. Claire McCaskill. She now leads Todd Akin 46-40, with 9 percent going to Libertarian Jonathan Dine. (Who's Dine? Why, he's the ex-con who once sported a giant "Legalize Marijuana" faux tattoo across his pecs.) Tom Jensen thinks McCaskill's improved standing is due to Democrats finally rallying around her, though respondents say they prefer a GOP-held Senate by a 50-42 margin, so that could snap back. Meanwhile, Rasmussen also has McCaskill up six, but since they didn't include Dine, the spread is 51-45.
11:39 AM PT: NC-08: Rep. Larry Kissell, the first (and so far only) incumbent Democrat left to fend for himself by the DCCC, is out with a new poll trying to show that he still has a shot... but the trendlines really are not good. Kissell's survey (from his usual pollster, Anzalone Liszt) has him edging GOPer Richard Hudson 40-39, but that's down from 43-39 in August and 46-36 back in March. Given how red this district is, it's pretty safe to say that these undecided voters lean right.
11:45 AM PT: WI-Sen: Marquette's last Senate poll, which had Democrat Tammy Baldwin up an eye-popping nine points, seemed like an outlier, so it's no surprise to see that their latest numbers have fallen in line with what we're seeing from other reputable pollsters. They now have Baldwin beating Tommy Thompson 48-44, though Barack Obama is still crushing in the presidential race, 53-42. Meanwhile, things hardly look set to get much better for Tommy: Majority PAC is out with a new ad blistering the crusty former governor with his instantly-infamous new quote. "Who better than me," asks Thompson rhetorically, "to do away with Medicaid and Medicare." Ouch-and-a-half.
"You find that along with the culture of death go all kinds of other law-breaking: Not following good sanitary procedure, giving abortions to women who are not actually pregnant, cheating on taxes, all these kinds of things," Akin said in the speech, as captured on C-SPAN.And of course, Akin's standing behind his remarks:
"There's ample evidence that abortion doctors on any number of occasions have deceived women into thinking that they're pregnant, and then collect money for a procedure that they don't perform," said Rick Tyler, a spokesperson for Akin's campaign. "And I say they don't perform it because obviously the women weren't pregnant."Amazingly, Tyler cited an article in the Chicago Sun-Times... from 1978! So awesome.
12:01 PM PT: NH-01: Pushing back against a long string of polls showing the race a tossup (as well as disputed claims that they're letting their incumbent twist), the NRCC leaked some toplines from a Public Opinion Strategies poll showing Rep. Frank Guinta up 51-43 over Democrat Carol Shea-Porter. Before you get worried, the presidential numbers should give you some pause: Romney leads Obama 47-46, even though the president won by seven points in 2008, and even though all recent public polling excluding Rasmussen has found Obama winning in New Hampshire. Yes, the state's 2nd Congressional District is actually a bit bluer, but it seems very unlikely that the POTUS's statewide lead comes entirely from NH-02.