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9:16 AM PT: IN-Sen, IN-Gov: Howey feelin' today, Joe Donnelly? We feelin' good? I should think so, considering that Howey Politics' new poll (conducted by GOP firm Bellwether Research and Democratic outfit Garin-Hart-Yang) has the Dem congressman up an eye-popping 47-36 over Republican Richard Mourdock, with Libertarian Andrew Horning at 6. That's up from a narrow 40-38 Donnelly edge in mid-September, and while the 11-point margin is by far the biggest we've seen, the trendlines mirror the same disastrous slide for Mourdock we've seen in Donnelly's own internals.

Mourdock claims to have yet another internal poll (again from McLaughlin), showing him ahead 46-44. But the cheese stands alone on this one: In Howey's new survey, Romney leads 51-41, hardly changed from his 52-40 edge in their prior poll, proving that Mourdock's slide is unique to him.

Also interesting are the numbers for the governor's race, where GOP Rep. Mike Pence remains stuck at 47, while Democrat John Gregg improved to 40 percent, up from 34. It's still very much a longshot for Gregg, but Pence hasn't been able to clear 50% even in his own internals despite having every advantage, which makes you wonder if Mourdock is screwing things up for the rest of the GOP ticket. For that reason, we're slotting the race back in at Likely R, since the Mourdock factor's unpredictably now makes us loathe to rule out a gubernatorial upset as well.

9:58 AM PT: GA-12: A poll from Democratic pollster 20/20 Insight, on behalf of a group called Better Georgia, finds Dem Rep. John Barrow with a 50-44 lead over Republican Lee Anderson, including leaners. That's a remarkable position for Barrow to find himself in, given how badly his seat was jacked in redistricting, but it buttresses other evidence we've seen lately (and evidence we haven't seen, like any fresh Anderson internals) that he's got a legitimate shot at surviving into the 113th Congress. (By the way, Better Georgia is officially non-partisan, but it's an affiliate of the leftyish group ProgressNow, whose other state-level partners include organizations like the Courage Campaign in California and One Wisconsin Now.)

10:48 AM PT (David Jarman): State legislatures: I was a little too hasty in saying that Louis Jacobsen was the only handicapper in town when it comes to the oft-neglected realm of state legislatures; the always-comprehensive Ballotpedia also has ratings charts (and they, like Jacobsen, see the likely results as something of a wash for the two parties). There's also a good piece about the battle for legislatures from state-level wonk Josh Goodman, writing for Pew's Stateline these days. It focuses on some of the neglected states where control of the chamber isn't at stake, but whether or not the in-power party can get over the hump to a supermajority. The biggest example of that, of course, is California, where getting over the 2/3rds mark in both chambers would help the Democrats break through decades of being flummoxed.

10:58 AM PT (David Jarman): MT-Gov: Two polls suggest that Montana's gubernatorial race -- much like its Senate race -- is still anyone's game. Mason-Dixon, on behalf of Lee Newspapers, finds Republican ex-Rep. Rick Hill leading Democratic AG Steve Bullock, 49-46 (with the Libertarian at 2); that's reversed from a 44-43 Bullock lead in their previous poll in September. Given the state's GOP lean, Bullock needs to win among indies, but they find Hill leading among independents, 46-41.

Mason-Dixon has been generating fairly strong GOP house effects this cycle, so you might mentally adjust that poll a smidge... but on the other side of the coin, there's also a new Dem internal (probably intended to push back against the M-D poll) that seems a bit on the optimistic side. A poll for the DGA from the Mellman Group puts Bullock ahead 47-40, with the Libertarian at 3. They find Bullock winning indies by 10, and maybe more importantly, up 20 among early voters. If you throw them on the pile to get averaged out, well, you've still got a pure Tossup, which is basically how the race has been all cycle.

11:10 AM PT (David Jarman): I couldn't possibly be so cynical as to say that this is the day when narrative-setting Rasmussen goes to sleep, its work for the cycle done, and sort-of-accurate Rasmussen wakes up and goes to work for its requisite half-a-week out of every two years, could I?

MT-Sen: Jon Tester (D) 49 (48), Denny Rehberg (R) 48 (48), "Other" 2

WI-Sen: Tammy Baldwin (D) 48 (47), Tommy Thompson (R) 48 (48)

11:30 AM PT (David Jarman): NH-01, NH-02: Does every small northeastern college need its own polling operation? Now New England College (not to be confused with Massachusetts's Western New England University) is getting into the game with a poll of its home state. They deliver a split verdict on the state's two Tossup House races: they find GOP incumbent Frank Guinta leading Carol Shea-Porter in their rematch, 48-41. However, they find Dem challenger Annie Kuster leading GOP incumbent Charlie Bass in the 2nd district, 47-41. Top of the ticket, they have Barack Obama leading statewide 50-44. (Strangely, there's no mention of NH-Gov, at least not in this release.)

11:41 AM PT (David Jarman): NV-Sen: Let me start with a wheelbarrow full of caveats: any amount of ticket-splitting could be going on, and more generally, past performance is no indication of future performance (in terms of how the actual Election Day votes go). But the Dems are killing it in Nevada in the early vote this year, perhaps to the extent that Dem coattails might pull Shelley Berkley (and Steven Horsford) over the line. Friday's early-vote tally has Dems leading the GOP in early votes, 45-36 (with 19% "other"), with a margin of 45K votes separating them.  In addition to a dominant total in Clark Co. (a 60K Dem advantage there), the Dems have nosed ahead (by 600 votes) in the critical swing county of Washoe Co.

11:47 AM PT (David Jarman): UT-04: Too much pizza seems to have done in Jim Matheson's chances. (I'm referring to the state GOP's decision to roll the dice on a "pizza" map that tried to dislodge Matheson, the state's lone House Dem, rather than the "donut" map that would concede him a seat.) Mason-Dixon, on behalf of the Salt Lake Tribune, finds Republican challenger Mia Love leading Matheson 52-40 in their first poll of this race. Matheson has traditionally relied on a lot of Republican crossover to keep him in place, but the poll finds he's only getting 9% of the Republicans in the sample. The article mentions some vague pushback from Matheson's camp in the form of an internal claiming a 2-point lead for Matheson; there's no link to the poll in the article, though, and at any rate, the disparity between a 2-point lead in an internal and a 12-point deficit in a public poll shouldn't be much comfort to Matheson fans.

12:20 PM PT: The Live Digest continues here.


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