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Category Archive for ‘ID-Sen’ at Campaign Diaries
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Archive for the 'ID-Sen' Category


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Poll watch: Dems still far from 60, and is NV in the same tier as CO and VA?

The presidential race remained remarkably stable. If the tracking polls showed McCain gaining slightly yesterday, they have Obama regaining some breathing room today; he is at 50% or above in 6 of the 9 national polls. McCain is once again stuck in the low 40s, with a margin ranging from 41% to 46%. Sure, the New York Times and Fox News national polls came out with differing results, but at least there is no mystery behind the discrepancy: the partisan breakdown has narrowed in the Fox poll.

McCain got one of his most promising polling results in days today as Mason Dixon found him trailing by only 4% in Pennsylvania - the tightest the state has been since a mid-September poll. We should not dismiss this poll, even though surveys taken over the same period show a larger advantage for Obama. Mason Dixon has been consistently releasing results that are better than average for McCain. The Republican nominee led in Virginia when other surveys found him trailing, and trailed only narrowly when other surveys found a large gap; the same was true in Florida and now Pennsylvania. The consistency of these narrower results suggests that it is due to Mason Dixon’s methodology and turnout models, which means that we should not throw these out as outliers: There is a turnout model out there employed by a respected pollster like Mason Dixon that yields results that are better for Republicans, and we won’t know until Tuesday whose assumptions were flawed.

All of this said, there is no discussion to be had that Obama retains an extremely strong position in the electoral college. For one, he remains ahead in the Big Three sates: 3 polls of Pennsylvania show him in the lead (though Mason Dixon has a 4% race), and he is also ahead in Colorado and Virginia. While two polls of Virginia show him with narrower leads than we have seen of late, both surveys were taken over the same period as the CNN and SUSA polls that had him leading by 9% - so these new polls are not picking any new tightening.

To make matters worse for McCain, we might now be getting a third competitive red state where an Obama pick-up appears increasingly likely: Nevada. After posting two double-digit leads earlier this week, Obama leads outside of the margin of error in two new surveys (Suffolk and CNN/Time). This is a very important development: Even if McCain were to save Virginia and Colorado, Obama would become president by winning Nevada alone; if McCain can somehow snatch Pennsylvania, an (not at all improbable) Obama sweep of Virginia, Colorado and Nevada would offset the loss of the Keystone State.

As if this was not enough, Ohio and North Carolina are slowly moving in Obama’s column as the Democrat is accumulating good results in both. Today, he leads in all five polls from these two states, and four of them have him ahead outside of the MoE. Given that a huge number of North Carolina voters have already voted, it is starting to get late for McCain to turn the tide. And while Obama is showing no sign of trembling in blue states (he has huge leads in Wisconsin and Minnesota), McCain is now locked in highly competitive races in a number of staunchly red states - including his home state of Arizona, South Dakota and Montana.

  • Obama leads 52% to 41% in a New York Times/CBS News poll, a very small tightening from Obama’s 13% lead last week. 51% say Obama is ready to be president, and McCain’s favorability has collapsed to 41% (!). So has voters’ estimate of whether Palin is able to deal the job (only 35% say so). Obama leads among men and women, and has a 17% advantage among independents.
  • Obama leads 47% to 44% in a Fox News national poll conducted over the past two days. Obama led by 9% last week, so the race has substantially tightened. The partisan ID has tightened from a 6% gap to a 2% gap (though this does not seem to be an arbitrary imposition like Zogby’s).
  • Tracking polls: Obama gains 2% in Zogby (50% to 43%) and in Rasmussen (51% to 46%). He gains 1% in IBD/TIPP (48% to 44%). The race is stable in Washington Post/ABC (52% to 44%), Gallup (51% to 44%, though Obama gains 2% in the LVT model, 50% to 45%). Obama loses 1% in Hotline (48% to 42%) and in Research 2000 (50% to 45%). Obama’s leads are thus: 4%, 5%, 5%, 6%, 7%, 7%, 8%.
  • Pennsylvania: Obama leads 47% to 43% in a Mason Dixon poll conducted Sunday and Monday. Obama leads 54% to 41% in Morning Call’s tracking, the highest percentage Obama has ever received in this poll. Obama leads 55% to 43% in a CNN/Time poll conducted Thursday through Tuesday (Obama leads by 15% among registered voters!).
  • Colorado: Obama leads 51% to 45% in a Marist poll (52% to 43% among registered voters) conducted Sunday and Monday; his lead comes entirely among the 44% of registered voters who say they have already voted. Obama leads by 23% among independents and has strongest party loyalty (leading me to question why he is only ahead by 6%). Obama leads 48% to 44% in a National Journal poll of registered voters with a small sample and a large MoE conducted Thursday through Monday; Obama leads by 22% among independents.
  • Virginia: Obama leads 51% to 47% in a Marist poll (by 6% among registered voters) conducted Sunday and Monday; McCain takes a 12% lead among independents. Obama leads 48% to 44% in a National Journal poll of registered voters with a small sample and a large MoE conducted Thursday through Monday. Both polls were taken over the same period as SUSA, Rasmussen and CNN poll showing larger Obama leads.
  • Nevada: Obama leads 50% to 45% in a RGJ/Research 2000 poll (he led by 7% earlier in October); McCain leads by 3% in crucial Washoe County, though the RGJ points out that (unreleased) private polls for both parties have Obama leading that county. Obama leads 52% to 45% in a CNN/Time poll conducted Thursday through Tuesday, an improvement over his 5% lead last week (he leads by 11% among registered voters!).
  • Ohio: Obama leads 48% to 41% in a National Journal poll of registered voters with a small sample and a large MoE conducted Thursday through Monday; Obama’s lead is outside of the MoE. Obama leads 51% to 47% in a CNN/Time poll conducted Thursday through Tuesday (Obama leads by 10% among registered voters!).
  • Florida: Obama leads 45% to 44% in a National Journal poll of registered voters with a small sample and a large MoE conducted Thursday through Monday.
  • North Carolina: Obama leads 50% to 48% in a Rasmussen poll taken yesterday (McCain led by 2% on Sunday). Obama leads 47% to 43% in a National Journal poll of registered voters with a small sample and a large MoE conducted Thursday through Monday. Obama leads 52% to 46% in a CNN/Time poll conducted Thursday through Tuesday (Obama led by 4% last week, he is ahead by 3% among registered voters).
  • Indiana: McCain leads 49% to 46% in a Rasmussen poll taken yesterday (he led by 7% three weeks ago). Obama leads 46% to 45% in a Selzer & Co poll conducted Sunday through Tuesday; he is ahead 2:1 among early voters and gets “only” 82% of African-Americans (remember Tuesday’s polling memo released by the McCain campaign?). The candidates are tied at 47% in a Research 2000 poll taken from Friday through Tuesday.
  • Wisconsin: Obama takes a giant 55% to 39% lead in a SUSA poll taken Tuesday and Wednesday, up from 8%. Obama leads by 28% among early voters.
  • Iowa: Obama leads 55% to 40% in a SUSA poll taken Tuesday and Wednesday.
  • South Dakota: McCain only leads 45% to 40% in an internal poll for Democratic Senator Johnson’s campaign.
  • Montana: McCain leads 50% to 46% in a Rasmussen poll. He led by four weeks ago.
  • Safe(r) states: McCain leads 61% to 36% in a SUSA poll of Alabama. McCain leads 58% to 37% in a SUSA poll of Kansas. Obama leads 56% to 39% in a SUSA poll of Massachusetts. Obama leads 55% to 33% in a Field poll of California. Obama leads 54% to 38% in a Research 2000 poll of New Jersey. McCain leads 53% to 42% in a NBC News poll and 52% to 44% in a SUSA poll of South Carolina (but only by 6% among registered voters). McCain leads 55% to 43% in a Rasmussen poll of Kentucky.

Meanwhile, in down the ballot polls:

  • Louisiana: Two polls have differing results. An internal poll for the Kennedy campaign has Mary Landrieu up 45% to 44%, while a Loyola University poll has Landrieu ahead 49% to 34%; the latter poll does not seem very reliable, however, as it only shows McCain leading by 3% and implying an oversampling of Democrats.
  • Mitch McConnell leads 51% to 44% in a Rasmussen poll of Kentucky’s Senate race. (McConnell led by the same margin last month.) A Lunsford internal has McConnell leading 47% to 45%, however.
  • Norm Coleman leads 42% to 36% in a Mason Dixon poll of Minnesota. Barkley is now at 12%, and he is hurting Franken: He draws 17% of Democrats and only 4% of Republicans - a hugely consequential disparity.
  • Safer seats: Tom Udall leads 56% to 41% in a Rasmussen poll of New Mexico. GOP Senator Pat Roberts leads 60% to 33% in a new SUSA poll of Kansas. Democratic Senator Lautenberg leads 56% to 39% in a Research 2000 poll of New Jersey. Sen. Cornyn leads 45% to 36% in a University of Texas poll, with 5% going to Libertarian candidate Adams-Schick. GOP candidate Jim Risch leads 45% to 33% in a Harstad poll of Idaho.
  • In MO-06, perhaps the most disappointing House race for Democrats, GOP Rep. Graves leads 54% to 36% in a SUSA poll. He led by 11% last month.
  • In KY-02, GOP candidate Brett Guthrie leads 53% to 43% in a new SUSA poll. Guthrie led by 9% last month but trailed over the summer.
  • In OR-05, Democratic candidate Kurt Schrader leads 55% to 33% in a SUSA poll.
  • In NY-26, Republican candidate Chris Lee has a large 48% to 34% lead against Alice Kryzan in a SUSA poll. He led by 11% last month.
  • In ID-01, Democratic challenger leads 48% to 41% in a Harstad poll, though the poll has a large MoE of 6%.
  • In PA-12, Rep. Murtha only leads 46% to 44% in a GOP poll conducted by Dane & Associates.
  • In Massachusetts’s question 1 to repeal the state income tax, the “no” is far ahead, 64% to 29% in a SUSA poll.

Democrats have their share of very good news in these wave of surveys - especially the two North Carolina polls showing a Hagan lead and the NV-02 survey confirming that Rep. Heller is in real danger - Republicans got uncommly positive numbers over the past 24 hours. In the Senate, Republicans appear to be solidifying their hold on the four Senate seats that are not yet leaning Democratic - KY, MN, MS and also GA because a runoff should help Chambliss. McConnell has not slipped further after his race fell into a competitive race in early October, and Coleman has improved his situation over the past three weeks.

Minnesota should be particularly worrisome to Democrats because Franken’s slippage is due to the fact that Barkley is starting to draw disproportionately from Franken’s base. If that is confirmed by other polls, it is hard to see Franken pull this off. This is a reminder that, however much progress Democrats have made over the past few weeks, the path to 60 still requires picking-up two out of these 4 seats - and that remains a tall order.

The latest House polls should also be a reminder that Democrats will certainly not win everything on Tuesday, and that a fair number of Republicans appear to be making progress in this hostile environment. The latest poll of MO-06 has to be crushing to Democrats as former Kansas City Mayor Barnes was once one of their top recruits. And while the DCCC is still investing in NY-26, the polls have not been very promising ever since Kryzan won the Democratic nomination.


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Poll watch: Dead heats in Michigan, Florida as NC poll finds second tie ever; Hagan leads

There are now enough polls released every day that it becomes difficult to find a consistent trend out of all the noise. Or perhaps there is no trend to be observed other than the race’s continuing tightness. Of the four Florida and Michigan polls that were released over the past 36 hours, all are well within the margin of error.

That said, both candidates have good news in today’s poll delivery. For McCain, staying so close in Michigan in polls taken during the financial crisis is a testament to how big an opportunity this state continues to be for him. And McCain has leads outside of the MoE in Ohio and Missouri today, though the latter is not such an unqualified blessing: the GOP was hoping to be close to closing the deal by late September, but a 4% margin is not going to dissuade Obama from competing in the Show Me State. And yet another poll finds that McCain can breath easier in North Dakota.

For Obama, staying so close in Florida is a relief given that numerous polls have found McCain gaining since early August. We saw last week that McCain is now spending more than a million dollars a week in the Sunshine State, something the GOP once thought it could avoid. And Obama’s double-digit lead in Iowa confirms that the state’s 7 electoral votes are increasingly solid in his column: This is the third poll in the past two weeks to find Obama leading by double-digit (after SUSA and Selzer & Co). Finally, North Carolina’s PPP poll is only the second ever (after Rasmussen’s April poll) to find a tie. At the very least, this forces the GOP to continue pouring money in the state - something they have been doing this month.

On to the day’s full roundup:

  • The tracking polls are showing a stabilizing race: Obama took a 48% to 47% advantage in Rasmussen yesterday (his first lead in 10 days) and maintained it today; Research 2000 found Obama up 8% yesterday, and up 7% (49-42) today. Diego Hotline has Obama leading 45% to 44% for the third straight day, and Gallup showed Obama increasing his lead to 6% yesterday (hitting 50 for only the second time ever) but back down to a 49% to 45% advantage today.
  • Obama leads 43% to 42% in an EPIC-MRA poll of Michigan. Obama led by 2% in July and August. When respondents are presented with a full-ticket match-up, Obama leads 45% to 42%. The poll was conducted Sunday through Wednesday.
  • Obama leads 48% to 46% in an ARG poll of Michigan. He leads among independents but is relatively weak among Democrats.
  • McCain leads 47% to 45% in a Miami Herald poll of Florida. It was conducted Sunday through Wednesday. Obama has a 9% edge on the economy. McCain gets 17% of former Clinton supporters.
  • McCain leads 48% to 42% in a Ohio News Organization of Ohio. The poll is somewhat dated - it was taken the 12th to the 16th. 19% of independents are undecided.
  • The candidates are tied at 46% in PPPs poll from North Carolina. Bob Barr gets 5%. Only once before had there been a tie in North Carolina (Rasmussen’s April survey). 58% of respondents rate the economy as their biggest concern. The poll was conducted from the 17th to the 19th.
  • Obama leads 53% to 39% in a Research 2000 poll of Iowa. Obama leads by 18% among independents.
  • McCain leads 49% to 45% in a Research 2000 poll of Missouri. In the July poll, Obama led by 5% - but that was somewhat of an outlier.
  • McCain leads 53% to 40% in a Research 2000 poll of North Dakota. He led by only 3% in July.
  • Obama leads only 50% to 46% in a Rasmussen poll of Maine. There is no breakdown by district, but if Obama cannot win statewide by a larger margin he would be in danger of losing the first district’s EV.
  • McCain leads 51% to 45% in a Rasmussen poll of South Carolina, a surprisingly close result.
  • Obama leads 54% to 43% in an ARG poll of Connecticut.
  • Obama leads 54% to 39% in an ARG poll of Maryland.
  • McCain leads 59% to 36% in an ARG poll of Tennessee. Obama gets 27% of the white vote.

Meanwhile, in down-the-ballot polls:

  • Kay Hagan leads Elizabeth Dole 46% to 41% in PPPs poll of North Carolina’s Senate race. She led by 1% last week.
  • Chris Shays and Jim Himes are tied at 45% in an internal poll for the Himes campaign in CT-04.
  • Sam Graves leads Kay Barnes 51% to 42% in a SUSA poll of MO-06.
  • Jim Risch leads Larry LaRocco 56% to 33% in a Research 2000 poll of Idaho’s Senate race, a clear improvement over his 10% lead in July.
  • Lindsay Graham leads 50% to 41% in a Rasmussen poll of South Carolina’s Senate race. This was accompanied by an improbably tight presidential survey, so take the tightness here with a grain of salt as well.

This is the second time Hagan is posting a 5% lead, testifying to how unpredictable that Senate race has become given that other surveys are still showing Dole ahead. This is a race in which the presidential coattails will play a crucial factor. It’s unlikely Hagan can win if McCain wins in a blowout, but she would look very strong if Obama is within 2-3% of McCain.

Today’s polls also find more worrisome news for down-the-ballot Democrats, starting with Graves’ expanding his lead in MO-06, in what is one of the Democrats’ most coveted seats. We have seen this trend for a few weeks now: Democrats are not improving their position in the second-and-third tier races, the ones that would transform a strong congressional night into an amazing one.


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Poll roundup: 4th tracking poll, 15 state surveys show highly competitive electoral college

A few months ago, both candidates were talking about radically transforming the electoral map. Georgia, Mississippi, New Jersey and Connecticut were going to be put in play, rendering any comparisons to the 2004 numbers meaningless. But two months from Election Day, polling results are fairly in line with the red/blue state divide. Of the 11 states polled yesterday, Obama leads in every one won by Kerry and McCain leads in every one won by Bush ‘04.

The situation is not as dramatic today - Obama led by 5% in Ohio this morning’s Quinnipiac poll - but the GOP’s convention bounce looks to have helped McCain a great deal in red states that Democrats were eying, perhaps too optimistically. After Montana and North Dakota over the past two days, it is Georgia that now looks completely out of reach. But one exception is North Carolina: SUSA found McCain gaining two days ago, but since then four polls have found contrasting results. Today alone, one has found Obama gaining and one has found McCain opening a big lead.

In states that are more obvious battlegrounds, there hasn’t been much movement - suggesting most of McCain’s bounce is coming from red states. But polls from the most crucial swing states are starting to look all over the place - and that’s the surest sign that the race is a toss-up that either candidate could win. Democrats should not panic, nor should they dismiss this tightening. McCain has not taken a lead in the electoral college, but he now looks to be definitely in the race, to an extent few would have predicted a few months ago:

  • First, the trackings: In Rasmussen, the race is back to a tie (Obama led by 1% yesterday); in Gallup, McCain loses one point but stays ahead 48% to 44%; in Diego Hotline, McCain seizes a lead, 46% to 44%.
  • And there is now a fourth tracking poll. Conducted by Research 2000, it finds Obama ahead 47% to 45% with 2% each for Nader and Barr. The poll is sponsored by Daily Kos, but that does not mean it is biased: R2000 is an independent pollster. Just scroll down to the results it found in Kos-sponsored polls of ME-Sen and NC-Pres today: they are very favorable to the GOP.
  • McCain leads 48% to 46% in another national poll, conducted by Democracy Corps. That’s a 7% bounce for the Arizona Senator.
  • McCain leads 50% to 42% in an Insider Advantage poll from Florida (polling history). Obama is weak among registered Democrats. One relief for him: He can expect higher support among blacks than this poll finds.
  • McCain leads 48% to 47% in an Insider Advantage poll of Ohio, but Obama only has 48% of the black vote. I am not one to throw a poll out because of a problem with one internal, but given that African-Americans make up about 10% of the electorate and that Obama should get at the very least 80% of that vote, this survey has an obvious problem. McCain leads by 17% among independents.
  • McCain leads 45% to 44% in an Insider Advantage poll of Michigan. McCain leads by 18% among independents.
  • McCain leads 47% to 44% in a Civitas poll from North Carolina (polling history). Without leaners, McCain is only ahead by 1%. McCain was ahead by 6% in the August survey. 19% of the sample is black, about where it was in 2004 - that’s the number that could put Obama over the top if he can boost it to 22-23%.
  • McCain leads 55% to 38% in a Research 2000 poll of North Carolina. He led by 4% in late July.
  • Obama leads 47% to 46% in a PPP poll from Colorado (polling history). He led by 4% in August and his lead survives thanks to a large advantage among Hispanics.
  • Obama leads 49% to 46% in an Insider Advantage poll from Colorado.
  • McCain leads 56% to 38% in an Insider Advantage poll from Georgia. That’s his largest lead ever from this state.
  • McCain leads 52% to 39% in another poll from Georgia, released by Strategic Vision.
  • McCain leads 55% to 35% in a Capital Survey Research Center poll from Alabama.
  • McCain leads 52% to 39% in a Research 2000 poll from Mississippi. Obama gets 14% of the black vote.
  • Obama leads 52% to 38% in a Research 2000 poll from Maine. There is no breakdown by district.
  • McCain leads 58% to 39% in a Rasmussen poll from Wyoming. Bush won by 20% more, and what coattails McCain has could be important in the House race.

To recap the most important findings: Q-pac’s Ohio survey finding Obama gaining is contradicted by two afternoon polls (though one of which finds Obama at a ridiculously low 48% of the black vote, and he would have been in the lead otherwise). Insider Advantage released the first poll from Michigan that shows McCain leading by any margin for months now, but Rasmussen shows Obama gaining and leading outside of the margin of error - just like CNN found yesterday. And Obama leads in two Colorado surveys, though the margins are tight.

As a group, this round of poll looks slightly better for McCain, who is putting Georgia away, surviving in Florida, essentially tying in Colorado and even taking the lead in one Michigan survey. But this also underscores that Obama has many more combinations to reach 269. If he saves Michigan and Pennsylvania (and he looks better in those than McCain does in a number of red states), McCain will be forced to play defense and save a large number of vulnerable red states.

Meanwhile, in down-the-ballot races:

  • In Mississippi’s Senate race, Research 2000 finds Senator Wicker leading Ronnie Musgrove 48% to 43%. That’s a 4% improvement for Wicker since July. 18% of blacks are undecided, versus only 4% of whites, so there is more of a reserve for Musgrove - but if that is because these respondents are not sure who the Democrat is, they will not be helped by the ballot since it will not list any partisan identification.
  • In the North Carolina Senate race, Research 2000 finds the race tightening since late July but Dole remaining on top, 48% to 42%.
  • In the gubernatorial race, Research 2000 finds Pat McCrory leading Beverly Perdue 47% to 42%. That’s a similar result as SUSA’s poll.
  • In Maine’s Senate race, Tom Allen is making no inroads whatsoever according to Research 2000. He trails 57% to 36% against Senator Collins.
  • In the Idaho Senate race, Jim Risch has a large lead in Rasmussen’s first poll of the race, 58% to 30%. The poll does not include conservative independent candidate Rammell about whom the GOP is reportedly worried.
  • A poll of MN-02 conducted for the Alliance for a Better Minnesota finds GOP Rep. Kline leading challenger Steve Starvi 37% to 33%. But take the poll with a grain of salt, as it also finds Obama leading McCain by 11% in a district McCain carried by 9%. (The poll was taken at the end of August.)

No surprises in Maine’s and Idaho’s Senate race, though it would be more interesting to see whether Rammell is gaining any traction in the latter. The MS race is of course the most interesting, and Democrats definitely still look to be in striking range. But it is undeniable that Wicker is in a better position than he was a few months ago. More analysis about this race in this post I wrote yesterday and in my upcoming Senate rankings.

As for North Carolina, there is a very interesting divide between pollsters at the moment. On the one side, there is Research 2000 and SUSA, on the other PPP and Bev. Perdue’s pollster (both Democratic firms) and Civitas (a Republican firm). They are finding diverging results in all three statewide races.


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NRSC pulls plug in NM, Stevens storms back: How many Senate seats can Democrats take for granted?

Two months from Election Day, 5 GOP-held Senate seats are considered to be leaning Democratic (VA, NM, CO, NH and AK), and many more are highly competitive. How many seats Democrats pick up will depend on how many long-shot seats they can invest serious resources in, and where the GOP ends up building a firewall. So how many seats can Democrats take for granted?

As of last week, only Virginia was a done deal for Senate Democrats. But a new development has now added New Mexico to the list. Polls have long shown Tom Udall crushing Steve Pearce, but the NRSC had not given up hope and had reserved $2.7 million of air time in the state to help Pearce. But the NRSC canceled that reservation earlier this week, signaling that they were no longer planning to contest New Mexico and admitting that the odds of Pearce coming back are too low for the GOP to spent its meager resources on this race.

(Committee funding is always a good measure of a party’s chances. Two years ago, the NRSC pulled the plug on DeWine’s campaign at a time polls did not look that overwhelmingly against him and thus sealed Brown’s large victory; later, the committee sensed an opportunity in Montana and increased its spending, a move that almost paid off.)

The NRSC is facing big budgetary decisions because of its fundraising weakness. Asked whether he expected any help from the NRSC, Virginia’s Jim Gilmore replied “No. But that’s because they don’t have any money. They just don’t.” Not that anyone was wondering whether the committee would play in Virginia. Sen. Ensign has publicly said that his fall budgets were based on projections of bigger contributions from his Senate colleagues and that they had not pulled through.

The NRSC’s second problem is the seemingly endless list of GOP-held seats that Democrats are trying to contest. At least nine are highly vulnerable - even if it gives up on Virginia and New Mexico, can the NRSC stay in all the other seven? And what about Democratic ambitions (and spending!) in places like Maine, Texas, Kansas or Idaho? Is it worth making any move there to put out any potential fires? (Given how huge Mitch McConnell’s war-chest is, at least the NRSC would not need to invest in Kentucky.) The NRSC’s decisions will truly be fascinating to watch over the next few weeks.

For now, the NRSC has gone on air in two states: North Carolina, where it is airing a spot hitting Kay Hagan for her “fiscal irresponsibility,” and in New Hampshire:

[youtube="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LKH6ZVl8i5M&feature=PlayList&p=6BD4897006329101&index=0"]

This is a standard ad hitting Shaheen for increasing government spending while Governor. The GOP is trying to make this a rerun of the 2002 race, when Shaheen’s gubernatorial years became an issue. In the past six years, however, voters have soured on Bush’s and Sununu’s incumbency and the attacks on Shaheen’s record in an office she left six years ago will probably be less effective. And in case voters forget, Shaheen is airing a (here again rather standard) new ad to remind them of Bush and Sununu’s association.

The NRSC’s decision to invest in New Hampshire is fascinating. It signals that the GOP has not yet given up on re-electing Sununu despite the fact that he has trailed widely in most polling conducted over the past year. Sununu also has significant resources left, and NH will be in play at the presidential level. For now, Democrats cannot take New Hampshire for granted.

One state in which the NRSC will not be considering airing any ads is Alaska, as indicted Senator Ted Stevens is too radioactive for the national GOP to approach him. But that doesn’t mean that Democrats should triumph, as the latest poll released last night suggests that the electorate’s post-indictement indignation has faded and Stevens has stormed back:

  • An Ivan Moore poll finds Begich leading 49% to 46%, in a poll that also finds McCain surging ahead against Obama post-Palin. Three weeks ago, Begich led by 17%.

Note that this is the third post-indictment Ivan Moore survey. The first was taken in the immediate aftershock and found Begich ahead by 21%, so the huge lead he opened has been fading. This could also be due to the Palin effect that is boosting the GOP, though the reasons people would be attracted to Palin and Stevens are so different that I am not convinced.

What this Alaska poll means is that Stevens still has a fighting chance, despite all the political obituaries, and that it is useless to predict the election until the verdict in Stevens’ trial is handed down sometime in October. If Stevens is found guilty, he will surely collapse back to his early August depths; if he is found innocent, all bets are off and the bounce he gets could very well carry him to victory.

In other Senate news, some developments in Idaho. LG Risch is favored to keep the seat for Republicans but the GOP has been nervous about the candidacy of conservative candidate Rex Rammell who they fear might siphon votes away from Risch. Their attempt to kick him off the ballot failed yesterday, as the state Supreme Court upheld his petition. The GOP remains clearly favored in the state, and Democrats need everything to break in their favor for LaRocco to have a shot - and for Rammell’s candidacy to take off is one of them.

To conclude: They might be favored in more, but as of today Democrats have two seats they can take for granted.


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Thursday polls: Flurry of down-the-ballot polls find Prop 8 failing, tight race in FL-21

The day’s most noticeable polling news is no doubt Gallup’s tracking poll that shows a 5% bounce in Obama’s favor - 8% over two days. He is ahead 48% to 42% in what is the first Gallup tracking taken entirely this week (though the Monday night interviews were mostly conducted prior to the primetime speeches). This bounce might be due to Hillary’s speech, which received an overwhelmingly positive reception according to Gallup.

That said, the Gallup tracking is for now more important for the way it will influence the convention’s coverage than for what it says about the direction of the race. A one day evolution of a tracking poll is not worth getting excited about, especially because this bounce is due as much to Saturday/Sunday interviews getting out of the 3-day total (McCain had good nights over the week-end, after Hillary supporters realized she would not be the VP) as to anything that has happened in Denver. A bounce will have to be measured by its stability over a few days and Rasmussen’s tracking is not showing much movement. Meanwhile, in state polls:

  • In California, a PPIC poll taken in mid-August (the 12th to the 19th) finds Obama losing ground, up 47% to 38%. One interesting number is that Obama gets 71% of the Hispanic vote - enough to put to rest talk of any problem he might have with the Latino vote.
  • In Colorado (polling history), a poll conducted by a Republican firm (Hill Research Consultants) for the Senate campaign of Bob Schaffer finds Obama narrowly ahead of McCain, 43% to 40%.
  • In Idaho, a poll taken by Greg Smith and Associates finds McCain crushing Obama, 52% to 29%.
  • A SUSA poll tested the Obama-McCain race in a South Florida district (FL-21) as part of a House poll (see below for the congressional numbers). Bush won here by 14% in 2004, but the race is now tied at 48%- quite a swing towards Democrats. The Cuban vote, however, remains solidly anchored in the GOP column (72% for the Arizona Senator).

There was some discussion this year about Democrats making inroads in the Cuban vote and McCain progressing among Latinos. Neither development is taking place according to these California and FL-21 polls, which should bring relief to the GOP for its Florida prospects and to Democrats for their chances in the Southwest.

Needless to say that Obama cannot afford seeing his margin shrink further than a high single-digit lead in California. Given the state’s importance, Obama cannot afford to give McCain any opening - but having to advertise in the Golden State would be very expensive. For now, Obama doesn’t have much to worry about. This is the 7th summer poll from California, and the first to have him in single-digits.

Meanwhile, in down-the-ballot polls:

  • In FL-21, SUSA finds a tight race, with Democratic challenger Raul Martinez narrowly lead GOP incumbent Lincoln Diaz-Balart, 48% to 46%. Here is the interesting part: 20% of respondents opted to conduct the survey in Spanish, and among them the incumbent was leading 2:1. Indeed, a third of respondents were Cuban and the Republican got 70% of their vote. SUSA warns that surveys might be under-representing non-English speakers, thus understating GOP support.
  • In FL-13, an internal poll taken for Republican incumbent Vern Buchanan finds him crushing his 2006 competitor, Christine Jennings - 48% to 30%.
  • In PA-10, an internal poll released by the Carney campaign finds the incumbent Democrat leading Chris Hackett 54% to 27%. This comes two days after an independent SUSA poll found a tight race, with the Democrat ahead 49% to 45%.
  • In the Colorado Senate race (polling history) the internal Republican poll mentioned above finds Mark Udall narrowly ahead of Bob Schaffer, 41% to 38%. Both candidates’ unfavorability ratings has shot up since the April poll - 33% and 34% compared to 15% and 18% four months ago.
  • In the Idaho Senate race, a poll taken by Greg Smith and Associates finds Lieutenant Governor Jim Risch leading Larry LaRocco 41% to 30%.
  • PPIC’s poll of California finds that Proposition 8 to ban gay marriage is failing, with 54% of respondents planning to vote “no” and 40% “yes.” A parental notification proposition is much narrower, with 47% planning to vote yes versus 44%.

A lot of interesting numbers today, starting with the internal polls from PA-10 and FL-13. This is why internal polls have to be taken with a grain of salt - there is a 23% difference between Carney’s survey and SUSA’s numbers. But notice that there is only a 5% difference between Carney’s percentage in both of these polls, which is what we should take away here: Carney is slightly ahead, but he is also hovering around 50%. The same is true of FL-13, where the race leans towards Buchanan (despite the fact that Jennings might very well have won in 2006) but an independent poll might find different results.

As for FL-21, it features a furious party for the control of South Florida, along with FL-18 and FL-25. Demographic changes in the region are putting all these seats in play and Democrats have already reserved plenty of time in the South Miami media market. This is now the second poll to find Lincoln Diaz-Balart in a difficult position. A Bendixen poll released in early July had him leading 41% to 37%. It is interesting that Democrats have managed to put this in play despite the fact that the GOP retains strong support among the Cuban community.


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Congressional ad watch: Smith and Landrieu attack opponents, candidates introduce themselves

To an unusual degree, posts today have focused on new TV spots - from Obama, Franken and McCain - so let’s continue in that vein with this must-see response to McCain by Paris Hilton (yes, it’s real). “He’s the oldest celebrity in the world… but is he ready to lead?” asks the spot in an obvious parody of McCain’s “celeb” ad. Hilton goes on to call McCain the “very old” “wrinkly white-haired dude” and she proposes her unexpectedly articulate energy policy!

Meanwhile, and more seriously: In Oregon, the past few ads released by Gordon Smith have touted the Senator’s bipartisan credentials to appeal to independents, though Smith also released attack ads in July accusing Merkley of wanting to raise taxes. The DSCC replied with an ad hitting Smith over energy issues after an earlier ad tied the incumbent to President Bush. Now, Smith is out with a negative ad that accuses Merkley of wasting taxpayer money redecorating the offices in the legislature, even attaching price tags to different furniture items:

Merkley has little money to go on air (this is one race in which cash-on-hand disparity matters) and Smith is taking the opportunity to define the still-unknown Democrat as a tax-and-spend liberal. In July, he released ads arguing that Merkley likes taxes… and here is the complementary charge that he likes to spend. This ad looks like a caricature, and that’s because the “tax-and-spend liberal” figure has become such a staple of GOP ads. They seem (and are) silly, but viewers are used enough to the tax-and-spend attack that the overarching narrative becomes part of the political conversation. How well they succeed will depend on whether Merkley has the resources to respond before Smith succeeds in defining him. The DSCC is committed to the race, but can only do so much work.

In Louisiana, meanwhile, both candidates released ads this week. On the one side, Republican John Kennedy, trying to run as a reformer. His new and somewhat humorous ad (you can watch it here) says he will get Congress to spend less because… he is personally cheap. The ad shows him saving pennies and bringing his brown bag lunch to the office: “One leader is so tight, he squeaks,” says the ad, which also reviews Kennedy’s record. Senator Mary Landrieu has another idea on how to introduce Kennedy to voters: attack him for his flip-flops, party switch and for being a… liberal! Landrieu notes that Kennedy ran for AG as a Democrat, endorsed Kerry in 2004 and that Republicans called him a liberal during his Senate campaign:

Landrieu’s goal to (1) undermine any honest reformer approach Kennedy might try to portray and (2) take away any enthusiasm conservatives might have for Kennedy. Landrieu is the only truly endangered incumbent Democrat this year, and her main obstacle is the red-lean of the state she represents. If she convinces voters that her opponent isn’t a Republican, however, it might offset the unfavorable terrain she must fight on.

In other Senate advertising, two incumbents are airing positive ads. In Maine, Susan Collins ad on energy (you can watch it here) confirms that all ads on this topic could be aired by just about everyone, from either party, and that most candidates endorse the same lofty goals. This is what makes the energy issue appealing to so many candidates: it allows them to look centrist and pragmatist - two adjectives Collins needs as a Republican incumbent in a Democratic state.

Then, there is South Dakota: A year ago, we weren’t even sure if Tim Johnson would run for re-election. Now, he is facing minor opposition in what is looking like an easy re-election race. But Johnson’s ads are still interesting because they feature a candidate still struggling with health issues. In fact, Johnson’s opening ad - released last week (you can watch it here) - was entirely devoted to his health, with the Senator admitting that he was still working on his speech. Yesterday, he unveiled the second part of his advertising campaign (you can watch it here) by highlighting his accomplishments since he “came back to the Senate.” The ad claims Johnson has not missed a single vote.

Moving on, we have two ads with a very similar message by two Democrats running in red areas. In Idaho, Larry LaRocco’s ad (you can watch it here) reviews the problems the country is facing - jobs, inflation - and calls for “change.” In NC-08, repeat candidate Larry Kissell airs his first ad (view it here) against Rep. Hayes. “We cannot afford two more years of this,” argues the Democrat, speaking directly to the camera and citing rising oil prices and lost jobs. He calls for “a new voice.” The distrust in the GOP is the main reason Democrats have a chance in states and districts like these, making these calls for generic “change” the logical type of ad they should run.

In WA-08, finally, Darcy Burner is one of the best-funded House challengers: she raised more in the second quarter and she has more cash-on-hand than her opponent, GOP incumbent Rep. Reichert. That allowed her to release a 60-second biographical ad (watch it here) highlighting, among other things, her life story, her brother serving in Iraq, her preparing a plan to get the US out of Iraq and her work on the Chinese toy issue. The 2006 race took some nasty terms, and Burner was attacked by her opponent for her inexperience. That she can afford a 60-second ad (with a much larger scope) is a good way for her to reintroduce herself to voters and start inoculating herself against those same attacks by highlighting substantive policy work she has done.


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Thursday polls: Toss-up in Montana, Begich and McConnell move ahead

The number of polls released today was so outstanding that a second roundup is required - so I apologize for making this a day particularly heavy with polling posts. As compensation, I offer you this link to an amusing interview of top McCain strategist Rick Davis (the one who signed the memo alleging that “only celebrities like Barack Obama go to the gym three times a day, demand “MET-RX chocolate roasted-peanut protein bars”) by high-profile NBC journalist Andrea Mitchell. A visibly exasperated and incredulous Mitchell challenges Davis to justify why Obama is a celebrity and why the campaign is stooping to such a low level - “no one would deny that,” answers Davis.

In fact, the entire interview is a good pointer on the type of arguments the McCain campaign is looking to use in the coming weeks. In particular, Davis choosing to repeatedly diss the support Obama received in Germany as something that ought to make voters dislike him was a clear echo of the 2004 race and the efforts to portray Kerry as too snobbish, too European. Davis went as far as to hold up expats as the type of elites “working class aspiring voters” should rebel against, and explicitly gave up on the entire expat vote (they’re expats, so they vote for Obama, he charged) - something that might not be so wise considering that expats are not necessarily a monolithically Democratic electorate and that they might impact a close election. Davis’s one-leaner against John Weaver is also particularly noteworthy.

Back to polls. This morning, Quinnipiac showed tight races in Ohio and Florida while Obama led in Pennsylvania and CNN’s national poll. In yet more presidential polling released today, we got some more narrow results:

  • For the fourth consecutive day, Obama lost ground in Gallup’s tracking poll. Up 9% on Sunday, he now gets 45% to McCain’s 44% - the narrowest the race has been for more than 10 days, or before Obama embarked on his trip.
  • Another national poll, by Pew, has Obama leading by 5%, 50% to 45%. In June, Obama led by 8%. 48% said they learned something about Obama’s foreign policy as a result of the trip, versus 52%.
  • In Rasmussen’s poll from Montana, McCain gets 45% to Obama’s 44% - and the two are tied at 47% when leaners are included. Three weeks ago, Obama was ahead by 5% - but that was seen as a truly shocking result. McCain’s favorability rating is slightly better.
  • In Insider Advantage poll from Georgia, the race remains surprisingly close, with McCain ahead 45% to 41% with 3% for Bob Barr.
  • In two Kentucky polls, McCain remains ahead - albeit by varying margins. For Rasmussen, he is up 49% to 39% (down from a 15% lead) but Obama’s unfavorability rating is 50%, compared to 35% for McCain’s. In Research 2000’s poll, McCain leads 56% to 35%.
  • A Texas poll released by Rasmussen, meanwhile, finds McCain holding on to a 9% lead, 50% to 41%. With leaners, the race narrows to a 52% to 44% margin.
  • In California, Obama is ahead 50% to 35% in a PPIC survey.
  • Finally, an Idaho poll released by Research 2000 has McCain leading 53% to 37%. Four years ago, Bush won here by 39%.

Among these state surveys, the Montana poll is certainly the most interesting, but it is a shame that Rasmussen is the only institute that is releasing polls from this state, making it hard to confirm the state’s tightness. McCain might have gained 6% in the past 3 weeks here, but we are not used enough to seeing Montana be this competitive that a tie can in any way be regarded as a disappointing showing for Obama. The Illinois Senator has been running ads in this state and visited it already, and it seems like he succeeded in putting it in play. In fact, the Idaho poll confirms how much of a shift we are observing in the Mountain West.

The other polls come from states that we have long known are less competitive, with Texas and Georgia two states in which McCain’s leads are often much smaller than they ought to be but in which it would take much too great an investment by Obama to truly move the numbers. The Illinois Senator has been spending in Georgia, but other polls have shown larger leads for McCain.

Meanwhile, a number of down-the-ballot polls were released during the day:

  • The most entertaining came from Alaska, where Rasmussen polled three possible match-ups in the day after Ted Stevens’s indictment. If the Senator wins his primary and stays in the race, he is trailing Mark Begich 50% to 37%. Stevens’s favorability rating remains positive, at 50% to 46%. Begich would beat real estate developer David Cuddy 50% to 35% and he leads against unknown but wealthy businessman Vic Vickers 55% to 22%.
  • In Idaho’s Senate race, Research 2000’s poll finds a surprisingly narrow race, with Lieutenant Governor Risch leading former Rep. LaRocco 42% to 32%, with 5% to independent candidate Rex Rammell.
  • In Kentucky’s Senate race, two similar results: Rasmussen found McConnell leading 50% to 38% (up from 48% to 41% lead last month) and Research 2000 showed McConnell leading 49% to 38%, compared to 12% lead last month.
  • Finally, two interesting independent House polls from SUSA. In IN-09, Rep. Hill is leading 49% to 42% in the third fourth match-up between the Democrat and Mike Sodrel.
  • In WA-08, SUSA finds Republican Rep. Reichert with a 50% to 44% lead against his opponent Darcy Burner, in another rematch from 2006. (No surprises in WA-02, where Democratic Rep. Larsen has a huge lead in a race no one is following.)

The reason the Alaska Senate race is in such a chaotic race is that we don’t know who will be running against Mark Begich. If it is any of the three people polled by Rasmussen here, it would mean that (1) Stevens lost the primary to Cuddy or Vickens or that (2) he won the primary and then insisted to stay on the ballot. Under either of these scenarios, it is nearly certain that Alaska would join New Mexico and Virginia as three Senates Democrats are likely to pick-up. The GOP’s hope in this seat is for Stevens to win the primary and then withdraw from the race - allowing for a stronger Republican to try his luck. Until we get a better idea of whether this is a possible scenario, Rasmussen’s poll is not enough to conclude Begich is the clear favorite.

The Kentucky and Idaho Senate races are to second-to-third tier races that the DSCC might be hoping to put in play if it hits the jackpot. The former contest has been heated, with McConnell going on air early with negative ads related to energy issues. As a result, it is hardly surprising to see him take his first consistent double-digit lead. Given how large McConnell’s war chest is (more than $9 million), Lunsford will be vulnerable to such attacks throughout the campaign. The Idaho race is less engaged but a number of Republicans are grumbling that Risch is not running a strong enough campaign; it will take much more than that for LaRocco to get close to scoring a huge upset.

Finally, both IN-09 and WA-08 will featured tight races if only because of the intensity of the previous elections. This is the third fourth consecutive match-up between Hill and Sodrel, with the Democrat having already won 2 out of 3. Reichert survived 2006 by only two percentage points. Both incumbents are flirting with the 50% line and are thus clearly endangered, but such leads are more impressive in polls of rematches in which the challenger is already somewhat known.


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Down-the-ballot: Idaho field set, GOP loses candidate in MA

Yesterday was primary day in Idaho, and the field is set for the open Senate race: Larry LaRocco easily won the Democratic nomination and Jim Risch crushed a large slate of opponents to capture the GOP nomination with 66% of the vote. Both results were expected, but given how many shocking turns the race took since the Larry Craig scandal exploded last summer, it is still noteworthy that Craig did not attempt a last minute coup to get himself on the ballot.

This sets up a rematch of the 2006 race for lieutenant governor, which Risch won 58% to 39%. LaRocco has an outside chance of scoring the upset, but Risch is heavily favored to become Idaho’s new junior Senator, even with the strong winds pushing Senate Democrats nationally. The race is ranked 15th in my latest Senate rankings.

A more interesting last night came from Idaho’s first congressional district. Bill Sali, first elected in 2006 in a very close general election contest after winning a crowded primary with 26% of the voted, was held under 60% of the vote in this primary, testifying to the hard feelings that still linger in the state about Sali’s 2006 victory. The state GOP is notoriously hostile to Sali, who is one of the most conservative House members, so much so that even Idaho Republicans are uncomfortable with him. In fact, Democrats even ran an ad in 2006 about “what Republicans are saying about Bill Sali,” quoting numerous high-profile figures like the Idaho House speaker. Sali barely prevailed at the end of the day, saved by the fact that ID-01 is one of the most conservative districts in the country.

Any incumbent who finishes with an unexpectedly low total in his primary has to be considered at least somewhat endangered in the fall, so Democrats will take a closer look at ID-01 now to determine whether they can make a play for the district. The Democratic nominee will be businessman Walt Minnick, who is mounting as strong a campaign as any Democrat can hope for in Idaho. As of May, Minnick had more cash-on-hand than Sali, testifying to the fact that his challenge should be taken seriously, though the incumbent starts heavily favored. He survived in 2006 when the seat was open and he had much of the state’s Republican establishment against him, and conditions are much better for him this year.

In Massachusetts, meanwhile, the NRSC suffered a dramatic blow. It is one thing for Senate Republicans to have trouble fundraising and recruiting given how dismal the national environment is for the GOP, but what happened to Jim Ogonowski is plain incompetence. Ogonowski was recruited by national Republicans to run against Senator John Kerry, whose approval ratings have not been that high since his failed presidential run in 2004. Ogonowski, you might remember, lost a surprisingly tight special election in the fall for a Democratic-leaning district, and Republicans believed he had the right profile to at least force Kerry on the defensive.

This race was of course always a long shot for the GOP but given how few Democratic-held states they are contesting (well, only Louisiana really) they were at least content to be at least fielding a credible candidate in MA. But the deadline to submit petitions passed yesterday and Ogonowski fell short 82 signatures short of the number needed to qualify for the primary ballot! Even if he had that many more, he would probably not have qualified as a petition needs a cushion of signatures as a number of them are usually tossed out.

The Ogonowski campaign insists that they have filed more signatures that haven’t been processed yet, but it is unlikely that they will pass the numbers they need, particularly as fellow Republican candidate Jeff Beatty, who will now probably the party’s nominee against John Kerry, is taking advantage of Ogonowski’s predicament to file complaints about his rival forging signatures. This will at least guarantee that Ognowski’s petition will be carefully checked.

This is not a tragic blow to Republicans given that they were unlikely to truly put Kerry’s seat in play (the only poll of the race had Kerry leading by 25%). But it is the accumulation of small failures — whether in recruitment, fundraising or simply errors in the running of campaigns — that are putting Senate Republicans in so much trouble.


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Senate diary: The Craig saga is finally over

Craiggate is finally over. Idaho Senator Larry Craig did not file for reelection by his state’s deadline last week, putting an end to speculation that he might attempt to complete one more unlikely comeback. Craig had announced months ago that he would retire next year, but it was hard to fully believe him after the stunning turn-around he pulled in September. We all remember the stunning scandal that erupted at the end of August, when news emerged that Craig had plead guilty to lewd behavior in a men’s bathroom.

Despite the disregard for due-process and the difference in the treatment Craig received from his caucus compared to that reserved to Sen. Vitter just months before, the situation did not look good for Craig who announced on September 1st he would resign effective September 30th. It took people a few days (until September 4th) to realize that Craig had said he “intended to resign” rather than he would resign, leaving himself room to not honor his word. But that clever trick allowed Craig to survive, as the media was satisfied with having claimed the Senator’s head and Craig survived the storm. Three weeks later, he confirmed people’s suspicions and announced he would be staying in the race… an unthinkable development a few weeks earlier. In that context, it would have been entirely in character for Craig to attempt to pull one more surprise and jump in the race for his party’s nomination…

With Craig’s now certain departure, the November race will oppose former Representative LaRocco, a Democrat, to a Republican nominee (most probably Lieutenant Governor Risch), who will start off favored given the state’s very strong GOP bent. LaRocco’s only path to victory was that Craig’s shadow keeps haunting Idaho Republicans and drags whoever his party’s nominee is down with him, and the ideal scenario would have naturally been that Craig attempts a comeback in the polls.

Note that Craig is still not done making news, since he is still trying to withdraw his guilty plea, having appealed the decision of a lower court to the Minnesota Court of Appeals. Depending on how big a legal push Craig keeps making, Idaho Democrats can hope to keep Risch in difficulty, but the best scenario the DSCC can probably hope from this race is to force the GOP to play defense and spend resources.

Meanwhile, in New Jersey, Republicans are still working to find a challenger to Senator Frank Lautenberg who they believe is very vulnerable, due (ironically) to his age. They lost their candidate in early March when real estate developer Anne Estabrook withdrew due to health reasons. Despite the fact that a state Senator is already running, Republicans want to recruit someone who can self-fund a campaign: For the past few cycles, the GOP has been wasting a lot of money in this state (both in senatorial and presidential elections) and getting nowhere once votes are counted in November, however promising polls looked earlier in the fall. It is thus understandable that the NRSC does not want to empty its coffers here but would like still to put the DSCC on the defensive thanks to a self-funder.

The result: a new wealthy candidate, Andrew Uranu, is now ready to jump in the race and contest the nomination to be decided in June. Republicans seem excited, and Democrats don’t appear particularly worried. For now, therefore, a typical New Jersey election and, thus like most contests in the state, one to watch closely.


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Congressional news: Speculating about Tom Davis, and polls of Senate races

Now that OH-05 has been resolved and that the GOP is celebrating, the political world can turn its attention back to other congressional races.

Starting with Virginia’s 11th district. The last we heard from Tom Davis, his wife was crushed in her re-election campaign to the Virginia House of Delegates, losing by a large margin in a blue-trending area. But is Davis himself running for re-election?

He had been preparing for years to run for Senate, and his time appeared to have come when John Warner retired. But Davis ended up withdrawing from the race when former Governor Jim Gilmore made clear he would challenge Davis and the state committee decided to choose its nominee via a convention not a primary. Since then, there has been a ton of speculation as to whether Davis will be running for re-election in the House after all — but nothing definte.

And now comes news that Tom Davis held a major political fundraiser tonight, which would indicate that he is running again. He already has $1 million in the bank as of the end of the third quarter — and why would he be raising more money if he did not intend to run next year? That would actually be quite surprising at this point, as most rumors have had Davis leaning towards retirement, especially after his wife’s loss.

On the other hand, Davis is still refusing to say whether he will run again, and mid-December is not a time representatives still hesitate if they are sure they are running. VA-11 is blue-trending territory in Northern Virginia, and it will be pretty much impossible for Republicans to keep if Davis bows out. Even if he runs again, it will probably be a tight race. You can be sure the NRCC is trying to convince Davis to stay in.

We also got two Senate polls this evening, though I’m not sure how much stock to put in either:

  • A poll from Colorado was reported tonight on Colorado Confidential, and it says Mark Udall is up 2% on Bob Shaffer. The poll was conducted by Research for Change, Inc.

What is strange to me about the poll is not the result — it is very much what we have seen in every Colorado poll, and the race is definitely a toss-up, contrary to most people’s expectations — but the way the group that conducted it is spinning the results, as the internals reported insist on Udall’s strength among his base and his appeal to moderates and Republicans, as well as on Shaffer’s weakness among his base. Reading the description, one could believe that Udall was found to lead by 10%! In any case, the bottom line is that Colorado is tight.

The second poll comes to us from Idaho, and was conducted in mid-November for state Rep. Nicole LeFavour, a Democrat who was considering entering the race and decided not to shortly after. Some of the results were just leaked, and they are slightly encouraging for Democrats:

  • In a generic ballot test, a “Democratic candidate” beats a “Republican candidate” 42% to 36%.
  • In the name ballot, Lt. Gov. Jim Risch defeats Democrat LaRocco 48% to 34%.

No one expects Idaho at the top of Democratic opportunities, and at this point I think Republicans are pretty safe — the seat is ranked pretty far down in my latest Senate Rankings. But with numbers like this LaRocco can certainly hope to keep things competitive: Risch, who is much better known, is under 50% — and the very red state is clearly not very happy with the GOP right now. Remember that Governor Otter barely won the open governshorship last year, showing that Republicans can’t take things for granted.

While Risch is heavily favored, Democrats can at least hope to force the RSCC to defend the state and spend valuable resources here. Expanding the map has always been the name of the game for the DSCC.


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Doolittle closer to the door, Craig slipping back in

  • Rep. Doolittle and his aides subpoenaed

Doolittle is shaping up to be the Ted Stevens of the House, and not just because his house was also searched by FBI agents. Doolittle is under investigation for his connections to lobbyist Jack Abramoff, and news keeps strolling in about allegations against him. This week, Doolittle and six of his aides were subpoenaed, in part for 11 years of records that could establish what kind of relationship he and his wife entertained with Abramoff. This clearly indicates that the Justice Department is showing no sign of slowing down the investigation, and that news like this will constantly come in over the next few months.

Doolittle has decided to not obey the subpoena, and fight it in court, arguing that this is a breach of the separation of powers. Whether or not he succeeds at this, the court fight will likely take months and be a very costly distraction for Doolittle who intends to run for re-election.

Such developments are actually great news for the Republican Party. The GOP’s worst nightmare is to end up with Doolittle as its nominee. CA-04 leans heavily Republican and an open seat would almost certainly favor the Republican candidate. But with Doolittle weighted down by corruption charges, Democrats are confident they will pick-up the seat. Doolittle said a few weeks ago that he fully intends to run for re-election, but he has to survive a very contested primary first. The Republican Party sure is hoping that Doolittle either resigns or loses the primary, and news like this subpoena make such an outcome much more likely.

  • Expanding the map to AL-02

When Republican Rep. Terry Everett announced he was retiring last week, I did not even bother mentioning it here. AL-02 is a very Republican district, and it seemed unthinkable the Democrats would want to compete for the seat when they have so many other opportunities more ripe for pick-up. But TPM reports that the DCCC is very seriously looking at this seat, and trying to recruit some top-notch candidates: Montgomery Mayor Bobby Bright (Bright seems to have been approached by both the GOP and Democrats; and though he appears to have more ties with the Democratic Party, what does that say about his politics?) and the state’s Agriculture Commissioner Ron Sparks, who had considered jumping in the (non-open) Senate race earlier this year. If Democrats manage to make districts like this one competitive, it would wear out even more the already very thin Republican resources.

  • Larry Craig keeps us guessing

Has Senator Craig now entirely given up on his intention to resign at the end of the month? A few days ago, it appeared that Craig would not resign on September 30th as he had said he would, and that he would wait for the MN judge to render a decision (probably some time next week) on whether Craig can withdraw his guilty plea. But Craig’s lawyer has just implied that the Senator’s ultimate decision has nothing to do with the judge’s decision. Here is the relevant exchange between MSNBC’s Chris Matthews and Stanley Brand:

MATTHEWS: Stan Brand, is your sense that the senator may well be able to hang on until the end of his term?

BRAND: I — think that’s conceivable, especially if he gets some type of relief in Minnesota. But I don’t think it depends on that.

Is it even worth asking what it would depend on anymore, given how many stunning turns this story has taken so far?


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Shocking Development in Idaho

We thought the Larry Craig scandal was over, and that the senator’s resignation last Saturday had buried the story and pretty much ensured that the GOP would keep the seat in next year’s elections. Well, think again. Tonight comes news that Craig is reconsidering his resignation.

It all started on the Sunday morning political shows, where Arlen Specter pointed out that Craig had said he was intending to resign, and not that he was resigning. He then actually defended Craig, breaking with most Republican leaders:

I´d still like to see Sen. Craig fight this case. He left himself some daylight when he said he ´intends´ to resign in 30 days. I´d like to see Larry Craig go back to court, seek to withdraw his guilty plea and fight the case. I’ve had some experience in these kinds of matters since my days as Philadelphia district attorney, and with the evidence, Sen. Craig wouldn’t be convicted of anything.

Most people took Specter’s comments as semantics, but news today that Specter had called Craig last week to tell him he was willing to help changes everything. The always quotable Idaho Statesman got its hands on a voicemail Craig left on the wrong machine (could this story get any weirder?):

Arlen Specter is now willing to come out in my defense, arguing that it appears by all that he knows that I have been railroaded and all that. Having all of that, we have reshaped my statement a little bit to say it is my intent to resign on Sept. 30.

And so the story goes on. Craig’s new lawyer now intends to take back the guilty plea, and go to trial. This was Craig’s best option to start with, and he gave it up in the vain hope his arrest would not go public. As I wrote last week, the charges against Craig were very weak, and the police report was full of holes. So Craig’s new plan is to try to make this all go away in court, and if he succeeds, he will not resign from the Senate… and presumably run for re-election next year!

This would put Republicans in a bind. Their defense for why they piled on Craig and not on Vitter is that Craig has actually plead guilty. But if Craig succeeds to be deemed non guilty, what would the Republican leadership do? If they still press for his resignation, or help a primary challenge, won’t they have to do the same against Vitter, or will they abandon all pretense and engage in open homophobia?

And for Democrats, this is obviously great news. As reported in my Senate Rankings, the only way for Democrats to make this race competitive is for Craig for run again, as an open seat would favor Republicans dramatically. But if the GOP gets buried in a divisive and very very ugly primary contest, look for Democratic former Rep. LaRocco to actually become a serious contender.

Update

Withdrawing a guilty plea might not be so simple after all. From CNN’s Jeffrey Toobin:

He can make a motion to withdraw his guilty plea. … Under Minnesota law, there — as I understand it, there are only two grounds on which you can have a guilty plea withdrawn. One is coercion, that you were forced somehow to plead guilty. The other is incompetence, that you didn’t understand what you were doing, you didn’t understand English, you were under mental illness. I certainly don’t believe that Craig’s situation falls within either of those.



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  • All good things must come to an end

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  • What remains on the table

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    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 52

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 54

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 55

    Strict Standards: mktime(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 41

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 50

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 52

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 54

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 55
  • Confusion in Connecticut (Updated)

  • Strict Standards: mktime(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 41

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 50

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 52

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 54

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 55

    Strict Standards: mktime(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 41

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 50

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 52

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 54

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 55
  • Results thread, part 2: Dems suffer staggering losses in House and legislatives races, limit damage in statewide races

  • Strict Standards: mktime(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 41

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 50

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 52

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 54

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 55

    Strict Standards: mktime(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 41

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 50

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 52

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 54

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 55
  • Election Night results thread: Rep. Boucher’s fall first surprise of the night

  • Strict Standards: mktime(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 41

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 50

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 52

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 54

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 55

    Strict Standards: mktime(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 41

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 50

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 52

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 54

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 55
  • Election night cheat sheet

  • Strict Standards: mktime(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 41

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 50

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 52

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 54

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 55

    Strict Standards: mktime(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 41

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 50

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 52

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 54

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 55
  • Final ratings: Democrats brace for historic losses

  • Strict Standards: mktime(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 41

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 50

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 52

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 54

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 55

    Strict Standards: mktime(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 41

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 50

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 52

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 54

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 55
  • What to watch for down-ballot

Strict Standards: mktime(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 41

Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 50

Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 52

Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 54

Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 55

Strict Standards: mktime(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 41

Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 50

Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 52

Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 54

Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 55

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

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