• ME-Sen: PPP looked at Olympia Snowe’s approval ratings in the wake of her bipartisan-curious explorations of the last few weeks. Her overall approvals are 56/31 (not red-hot, but still in the top 5 among Senators PPP has polled recently), but interestingly, she’s now doing much better among Dems (70% approval) than GOPers (45% approval), with indies split (51% approval). Still, only 32% of voters think she should switch parties (with no particular difference between Dems and Republicans on that question).
• NH-Sen: A $1,000 check is usually just a drop in the bucket in a Senate warchest. But when you’re Kelly Ayotte, and you’re trying to offer up as uncontroversial and substance-free an image as possible, the fact that that $1,000 check is from Rick “Man on Dog” Santorum speaks a little more loudly than you might want it to.
• NV-Sen: Research 2000 has new poll data out for Nevada, although it’s on behalf of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, not Daily Kos. At any rate, they find numbers pretty consistent with other pollsters, with Harry Reid sporting 35/54 favorables and trailing Sue Lowden 47-42 and
Jerry Danny Tarkanian 46-41 (both of whom might as well be “generic Republican” at this point). The poll also finds 54% support for a public option (including 84% of Dems and 55% of indies), and finds that 31% of all voters, including 46% of Democrats, less likely to vote for him if he fails to include a public option in health care reform.
• MN-Gov: One fascinating piece of trivia about Minnesota DFL nominating conventions is that, like the national convention, there are delegates, and then there are superdelegates. Minnesota Progressive is compiling a whip count among the superdelegates in the Governor’s race. So far, the leaders are tied at 14 each: state House speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher and state Sen. Tom Bakk.
• NJ-Gov: Rasmussen takes another look at the New Jersey governor’s race; their purported topline result is 41 for Chris Christie, 39 for Jon Corzine, and 11 for Chris Daggett, which is an improvement over last week’s 4-point spread for Christie. However, you may recall that last week they released two sets of results, an initial read (which found a tie) and then a re-allocated version that asked Daggett voters (and only Daggett voters) if they were really sure, which gave Christie a 4-point lead and which they flagged as their topline. This week, Rasmussen just toplined the version with Daggett voters re-allocated, without saying a peep about voters’ initial preferences. TPM’s Eric Kleefeld contacted Rasmussen and got the initial preferences version, which, lo and behold, gives Corzine a 37-36-16 lead. Would it kill Rasmussen to just admit that, sometimes, Democratic candidates actually lead in some races?
Meanwhile, as things further deteriorate for Chris Christie, New Jersey’s senior senator, Frank Lautenberg, has called for a federal investigation into Christie’s politicization of his U.S. Attorney office (starting with his election-year investigations into Bob Menendez). It’s not clear whether that’ll go anywhere (especially in the next two weeks), but it certainly helps keep doubts about Christie front and center. And if you’re wondering why Christie‘s campaign is faltering, it may have something to do with his own admission that he doesn’t really have that much to do with his own campaign strategy:
“That’s what I hire other people to do for me, is to help to make those decisions for me,” Christie replied. He added, “I’m out there working 14, 15, 16 hours a day. So the strategy decision is not something I’m generally engaged in.”
• NY-Gov: You could knock me over with a feather, but there’s actually a poll out today showing that David Paterson is in trouble (with an approval of 30/57). Quinnipiac finds that Paterson loses the general to Rudy Giuliani 54-32, and ties woeful Rick Lazio 38-38. Andrew Cuomo, on the other hand, beats Giuliani 50-40 and Lazio 61-22. The primaries are foregone conclusions, with Cuomo beating Paterson 61-19 and Giuliani beating Lazio 74-9.
• OR-Gov: A lot of Oregonians are scratching their heads wondering where Jason Atkinson, the purported Republican frontrunner in the governor’s race, is. Atkinson has raised only $2,000 and hasn’t been updating his campaign blog or social media sites. Atkinson’s legislative aide also tells the Oregonian’s Jeff Mapes that she doesn’t know what’s happening with his candidacy.
• SC-Gov: Contrary to reports earlier in the week, it looks like impeachment of Mark Sanford can’t come up during the one-day special session in the South Carolina legislature (which was called to patch the state’s unemployment compensation system — using those stimulus funds that Sanford fought against). Looks like he’ll survive at least until the full legislative session next year.
• VA-Gov: Three items, none of which are any good for Creigh Deeds. The first is the new poll from SurveyUSA, which has usually been the most Bob McDonnell-friendly pollster but has never shown Deeds so far down: 59-40. Even if this is an outlier (and it probably is, as it shows McDonnell pulling in 55% in NoVa and 31% of all black voters), it can’t be so much of an outlier that Deeds is anywhere near close. This is bolstered by today’s PPP poll, which finds McDonnell leading Deeds 52-40 (up from a 5-pt lead post-thesis-gate). And during last night’s debate, Deeds may have shut the door on any last-minute progressive interest in his campaign, when he said he’d consider having Virginia opt out of an opt-out public option. Of course, his camp is backpedaling today, saying that he “wasn’t ruling anything out” — but as any student of politics will tell you, every day you spend explaining what you really had meant to say is another day lost.
• CA-11: Not one but two more penny-ante Republicans got into the race against Democratic sophomore Rep. Jerry McNerney: construction company owner Robert Beadles and the former VP of Autism Speaks, Elizabeth Emken. That brings to a total of 8 the number of GOPers, with former US Marshal Tony Amador the only one with a competitive profile.
• CA-47: Audio has been released of Assemblyman and Congressional candidate Van Tran’s brush with the law when he got involved in a friend’s DUI traffic stop. Tran has denied that he was interfering with the police, but the audio doesn’t exactly leave him sounding cooperative.
• FL-08: Yet another Republican backed off from the prospect of facing off against the suddenly mighty Alan Grayson — although this is a guy I didn’t even know was running: Marvin Hutson. Hutson instead endorsed Todd Long, the radio talk show host who nearly defeated incumbent Ric Keller in the 2008 GOP primary — who, to my knowledge, doesn’t actually seem to be running, at least not yet (and that could change, given the GOP’s glaring hole here).
• IL-16: Here’s a Democratic recruitment score (well, of the second-tier variety) in a district where Barack Obama won last year but the very conservative Republican incumbent, Don Manzullo, has skated with minor opposition for nearly two decades. George Gaulrapp, the mayor of Freeport (a town of 25,000 at the Rockford-based district’s western end), will challenge Manzullo.
• NYC Mayor: Incumbent Michael Bloomberg continues to hold a sizable but not overwhelming lead over Democratic comptroller William Thompson in the New York mayoral race; he leads 53-41. Thompson doesn’t seem likely to make up much ground without full-throated backing from Barack Obama, though, and he certainly isn’t getting that; Obama gave Thompson no more than a “shout out” at a New York fundraiser last night.
• Mayors: The New York Times has a good profile of the Atlanta mayor’s race, where the long string of black mayors may be broken. White city councilor Mary Norwood, from the affluent white Buckhead portion of the city, seems to be the frontrunner to succeed outgoing mayor Shirley Franklin, with the African-American vote split among city councilor Lisa Borders and former state legislator Kasim Reed (although polling indicates Norwood pulling in a fair amount of black support). This seems consistent with changing demographics, where GA-05 (which largely overlaps Atlanta city limits) has seen declining black and increasing white populations while the suburbs become much blacker.
• Census: Democratic Rep. Joe Baca has introduced legislation of his own to counter David Vitter’s amendment to require the census to ask citizenship status. Baca’s bill would require all residents to be counted in the census, regardless of legal status.