SSP Daily Digest: 9/1 (Afternoon Edition)

DE-Sen: Wow, the mounting establishment/teabagger war in the GOP Delaware primary is actually getting physically violent. A Christine O’Donnell supporter got into a scuffle with a tracker from the state GOP party who was videotaping O’Donnell at a candidate forum

IL-Sen: The Constitution Party is still trying to get back on the ballot in Illinois, maybe most notably in the close Senate race where Randy Stufflebeam would be their candidate. They’re going to court to get back on the ballot after the state Board of Elections kicked them off for not having enough valid signatures.

NV-Sen: School’s out for the summer/ school’s out… forever! The latest daily nugget of crazy from Sharron Angle is her recounting last week of her struggles back in the state legislature in 2003 against a supplemental budget bill that would have paid for emergency funding to make sure that the state’s public schools could actually open at the start of the school year. Meanwhile, Harry Reid is continuing his apparently successful advertising strategy of letting Angle say the usual things she says, and just turning them straight into his own ads against her, as with his newest ad launched this week.

NY-Sen-B, NY-Gov: Despite the utter lack of drama in the big races in the Empire State, Quinnipiac just keeps polling it. (I guess that’s OK; we’ll take good news where we can get it.) In the governor’s race, Andrew Cuomo beats Rick Lazio 57-25 and Carl Paladino 60-23. (Unfortunately, there aren’t GOP primary numbers, as it’d be interesting to see, as other pollsters have seen, whether Paladino might actually be able to overtake the insufficiently-crazy Lazio for the nomination.) In the Senate race, Kirsten Gillibrand beats Bruce Blakeman 44-26, David Malpass 45-24, and Joe DioGuardi 43-28.

CO-Gov: If either Dan Maes or Tom Tancredo is going to drop out and stop their tragic pas de deux, it’d better be soon. Friday, it turns out, is the last day before the November ballot printing is finalized. Meanwhile, here’s the kind of headline you don’t want to see when you’re already fighting public perception that you’re a bit of a paranoid wackjob who thinks that bicycles are a United Nations plot:

GOP gubernatorial candidate Maes backs off claims of undercover police work

KY-Gov: The establishment slate for Kentucky Republicans for the off-year gubernatorial race (only a year from now!) seems like it’s officially coalesced. David Williams, the state Senate president, will run for Governor, and Agriculture Commissioner Richie Farmer (who’d been a rumored governor candidate himself) will run for Lt. Governor. They’ll still have to get past businessman Phil Moffet, running under the teabagger banner, in the GOP primary before facing Steve Beshear, who’ll be seeking re-election. A recent poll had Farmer and Beshear neck-and-neck, but there hasn’t been any Beshear/Williams polling yet.

MA-09: Mac d’Allesandro’s against Stephen Lynch in the Dem primary in the 9th is raising some decent cash in the late innings. Since July 1st, the SEIU, MoveOn, and Act Blue have raised $178K for d’Allesandro.

PA-06: DNC DGA head Tim Kaine heads to Philly to fundraise on Manan Trivedi’s behalf, as part of a tour on behalf of Asian-American Dem candidates. Trivedi’s also had help on the stump this week from Bob Casey and Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

RGA: Good thing the RGA already has an unprecedented amount of money squirreled away… because they’re going to have to give a decent chunk of it to Chris Bell, the ex-Rep. who was the 2006 Dem gubernatorial candidate in Texas. A Travis County judge ordered the RGA to pay Chris Bell a cosmic $2 million because of campaign finance violations in the ’06 election (where the RGA gave an undisclosed $1 million to Texans for Rick Perry).

WATN?: This isn’t really FL-Sen anymore, but Jeff Greene is insisting on staying in the limelight even as his vomit-covered yacht sails into the sunset. In fact, the phrase “vomit-covered yacht” is really what’s at stake here; he says he’s following through with a libel suit against the St. Petersburg Times and Miami Herald over their reporting of his many foibles. Good luck proving actual malice!

Maps: They’re rapidly scrolling their way down the front page, so if you haven’t had a chance to check out jeffmd’s maps of Alaskan elections past, do it now. Begich/Stevens, Murkowski/Miller, and Young/Parnell all played out in similar ways, geographically, so if you’re wondering what Scott McAdam’s path to a win might look like, check it out.


NH-Sen: We told you a few days ago that Ovide Lamontagne was finally going on the air; his first ad is a talk-to-the-camera introductory spot.

PA-Sen: The DSCC is out with another ad, attacking Pat Toomey on the derivatives trading issue.

WI-Sen: Russ Feingold’s new ad is testimonials from a variety of (as C. Montgomery Burns would say) Joe Lunchpails and Sally Housecoats.

IN-02: Jackie Walorski is out with an introductory bio spot.

NE-02: Tom White is also out with an introductory bio spot, carefully steering clear of anything Democratic-sounding.

NJ-03: John Adler may actually win the advertising day today, with a negative spot that slams Jon Runyan for his tax break for his “farm” (a.k.a. McMansion plus one donkey).

NV-03: Dina Titus hits Joe Heck for comments that “it’s not Congress’s role to create jobs.” (This comes on top of the AFSCME’s huge buy of anti-Heck ads.)


LA-Sen: Charlie Melancon (D) 33%, David Vitter (R-inc) 54%

OH-Gov: Ted Strickland (D-inc) 39%, John Kasich (R) 47%

PA-Gov: Dan Onorato (D) 37%, Tom Corbett (R) 50%  

Comparing the White Vote and the General Vote

By: Inoljt,

On November 4, 2008 Senator Barack Obama was elected president, winning a substantial margin over Republican candidate John McCain. In the popular vote, Mr. Obama won 52.9% of the electorate to Mr. McCain’s 45.7%; he thus took a 7.2% margin.

Mr. Obama, however, did not do so well with white, non-Hispanic voters. According to exit polls, the newly elected president lost whites by double-digits; taking 43% of the white vote to Mr. McCain’s 55% support.

This is not anything new; for decades now, the Democratic Party has been losing the white vote. Indeed, the last time a Democratic presidential candidate actually won whites was in 1964, when Texan Lyndon Johnson delivered a landslide pummeling to Senator Barry Goldwater.

Ever since then Democrats have been in a bad way with whites:

Comparing the White Vote and the General Vote

More below.

This graph compares the Democratic share of the white vote (as found by exit polls) to their share of the total vote. The top line indicates the former; the bottom indicates the latter. The three Democrats who did relatively well with whites were Democratic  candidates Hubert Humphrey, Jimmy Carter, and Bill Clinton.

As the graph shows, the white vote generally follows the popular vote (not a surprise, given that it composes the majority of the popular vote). Nevertheless the gap between the two has been steadily widening; in the past three elections, Democrats lost whites by double-digits yet still remained competitive in the general election.

This trend can be more accurately pictured by graphing the relative “swing” of the white vote compared to the overall election:

Comparing the White Vote and the General Vote

This measurement indicates how the white electorate would have voted if an election had been tied; it is more useful than looking at the absolute vote. A candidate who lost the white vote by 40%, for instance, would generally be said to have done poorly with whites. If, however, we found out that the candidate had done even worse with the general electorate – say, losing by 45% – one could very well say that he or she did relatively well with whites.

In the last presidential election, for instance, Mr. Obama lost whites by twelve points, according to exit polls. However, Mr. Obama also won the overall electorate by seven points. Whites were therefore nineteen points more Republican than the average voter – as the graph indicates. In a hypothetically tied election, they would have voted Republican by nineteen percentage points (or a Democratic margin of negative nineteen points, according to the graph.)

This graph paints a slightly different picture of Democratic performances amongst whites. The adjustment makes Mr. Clinton and Mr. Obama look less impressive (Mr. Obama, especially), while making Mr. Humphrey look really good. To be fair, the 2008 election probably constitutes more of an outlier than the start of a trend for Democrats, given Mr. Obama’s unique strength amongst minorities. Expect the white “swing” to return to a more Kerryesque point in 2016.

Finally, one must note the degree to which the white vote is influenced by patterns in the South. Mr. Obama took less than 30% of the white vote in seven states: Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Texas. This low degree of white support is not unusual for Democrats. One-sided, racialized voting patterns in this region undoubtedly skew the overall white vote to be more Republican than would otherwise be the case.

P.S. For those interested, here is a table of the white vote over time, according to exit polls.

OH-Gov: Teddy Ballgame Down 10

Public Policy Polling (8/27-29, likely voters, 6/26-27 in parens):

Ted Strickland (D-inc): 40 (41)

John Kasich (R): 50 (43)

Undecided: 10 (16)

(MoE: ±4.5%)

This does not bode well:

The race has pretty much shaped up as a referendum on Strickland and that is not to the incumbent’s advantage. Only 34% of voters in the state approve of the job he’s doing while 52% disapprove. Republicans are now almost universal in their disapproval of him at 83% while Democrats are a little more divided in their support of his work at 67%. Independents go against him by a 59/26 margin as well.

The biggest change since PPP’s last poll of this race, before they had shifted over to a likely voter model, is that Kasich went from a 73-12 lead among Republicans in June to an 89-5 advantage now. All this while Strickland claims the support of 78% of Democrats and the sample went from voting for Obama by 50-44 to having pulled the lever for McCain by 48-45.

Ted Strickland has run a good campaign, but he can’t make the weather.

PA-Sen, PA-Gov: Enthusiasm Gap Drags Down Sestak and Onorato

Ipsos for Reuters (8/27-28, likely voters, no trendlines):

Joe Sestak (D): 37

Pat Toomey (R): 47

Undecided: 15

(MoE: ±4.9%)

Ipsos strikes in another state with another of their interesting both-LV-and-RV polls. The enthusiasm gap seems as big here in Pennsylvania as it does anywhere: the LV model spells certain doom for Dems, with Joe Sestak falling into a double-digit deficit against Pat Toomey, while the RV model (MoE 4%) says this is still a perfectly salvageable race, with Toomey leading Sestak 40-37. (Unfortunately, the LV model is the one that counts in the end.) Any remaining Arlen Specter fans won’t feel vindicated by this poll: if Specter were running against Toomey, he’d be losing just as widely, 52-40.

Maybe realizing that the strategy he used so effectively and efficiently against Specter in the primary (wait, wait, wait some more, and then unleash a massive, expertly targeted salvo in the closing weeks) won’t work if he gets himself in too deep of a hole beforehand, Joe Sestak is breaking open the piggybank and going on TV. His first ad is anti-Toomey spot, working the Wall Street angle (already thoroughly explored by the DSCC). It’s a buy through Sept. 6th, for a total of $111K, with ads running in the Pittsburgh, Johnstown, Harrisburg, and Wilkes-Barre markets (not Philly, where presumably he’s better known).

Dan Onorato (D): 34

Tom Corbett (R): 49

Undecided: 16

(MoE: ±4.9%)

Same deal with the gubernatorial race: the LV model yields a 15-point lead for GOP AG Tom Corbett over Dem Dan Onorato. Switch over to a registered voter model, and it’s only a not-bad 43-37 advantage for Corbett. Again, plans of getting all those RVs to magically show up aren’t really hopes you should hang your hat on, at this point in the game, though.

NV-Sen, NV-Gov: Reid Barely Leads

Mason-Dixon for Las Vegas Review-Journal (8/23-25, likely voters, 8/9-11 in parentheses):

Harry Reid (D-inc): 45 (46)

Sharron Angle (R): 44 (44)

Other: 2 (2)

None of these: 4 (3)

Undecided: 5 (5)

(MoE: ±4%)

Sounds like Nevadans really, really would like another option. Maybe most interestingly, two-thirds of Sharron Angle’s supporters in this weekend’s Mason-Dixon LVRJ poll of NV-Sen say they wish someone else had won the Republican nomination. Now there’s a vote of confidence! By contrast, only 18% of Harry Reid voters wish the same regarding the Dem nomination. (Among undecided voters, that number for Angle goes up to nearly 80%, and 58% wish the same about Reid.) At any rate, Harry Reid’s favorables are 39/52 and Angle’s are 32/43. Strangely, though, Nevada’s vaunted unique NOTA option is only polling at 4%, not much higher than where it usually winds up with high-profile statewide races.

Gubernatorial numbers (7/26-28 in parentheses):

Rory Reid (D): 31 (31)

Brian Sandoval (R): 53 (50)

Other: 2 (2)

None of these: 3 (3)

Undecided: 11 (14)

(MoE: ±4%)

The son also does not rise.

SSP Daily Digest: 9/1 (Morning Edition)

  • AK-Sen: Lulz. Ex-state Rep. Andrew Halcro is still carrying the torch for a Murkowski Libertarian bid, despite the fact that the Alaska Libertarian Party voted to reject having Murkowski on their ticket over the weekend. Halcro is telling The Hill (and anyone else willing to listen, apparently), that he thinks the Libertarians would be willing to reconsider, as long as Murkowski is the one who reaches out directly. And maybe he’s actually got something there, as the state Libertarian chair, Scott Kohlhass, said yesterday that “as a sitting senator, we’d always be open to sitting down and talking to Lisa Murkowski.” This is the same guy who, we remind you, previously announced that Murkowski was unwelcome on their ticket due to “fundamental differences”. Make up your minds already!

    It’s also worth noting that Murkowski didn’t sound all that interested in carrying this fight on to the general election in her concession speech last night. While she didn’t endorse Miller, she spoke of her plans for the future, saying that she was looking forward to “coming home” at the end of her term. I don’t think a Libertarian bid, or a write-in campaign, is in the cards.

    Meanwhile, the NRSC has been busy trying to convince the world that Joe Miller has this shit locked. On Monday, they released a Basswood Research poll (8/28-29, likely voters) showing Miller leading Sitka Mayor Scott McAdams by 52-36. PPP tested the race around the same time and found Miller ahead by only 47-39.

  • FL-Gov: The St. Pete Times is hearing “considerable buzz” that Bud Chiles, the son of legendary former Democratic Gov. Lawton Chiles, will pull the plug on his independent gubernatorial candidacy. Chiles, who seemed to be having a net-neutral impact on the race due to his support from Dixiecrat-flavored voters, reportedly was spotted having lunch with Democrat Alex Sink in Miami yesterday. Is an endorsement on tap?
  • WI-Gov: Jesus. Are these the kind of headlines that you really want to be generating?

    Wis. cand. runs fighting ad aimed at attack victim

    Scott Walker is up with a new ad in which he dons boxing gloves and vows to “go the distance” against Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett. Barrett, as you may recall, was brutally attacked while intervening in a domestic violence incident at the Wisconsin State Fairgrounds last summer, sustaining injuries from which he may never fully recover. Talk about not thinking through all the angles…

  • CT-05: GOP state Sen. Sam Caligiuri won the endorsement of the Independent Party of Connecticut yesterday, meaning that he’ll appear on the ballot against SSP hero Chris Murphy on both the Republican and Independent lines.
  • IA-03: Dem Rep. Leonard Boswell rolled out an endorsement Monday from architect Mark Rees… who was most recently seen losing the Republican primary for the nomination to challenge Boswell back in June. Rees, who drew 4% in the GOP primary, says that he’s backing Boswell because the Republican nominee, state Sen. Brad Zaun, is too far to the right “on all the issues”.
  • NV-03: AFSCME shelled out $750K for attack ads on GOPer Joe Heck, and they’re out with their second ad in the series, a thirty-second spot on the topic of Social Security privatization.
  • NY-24: Here’s a double-dose of bad news for Mike Arcuri. First, the New York Board of Elections recommended that Libertarian Ernest Logan Bell be removed from the ballot after coming up short on valid ballot signatures. (Never fear, fans of liberty, Bell’s encouraging his supporters to write-in his name in November.) Next, it seems that Arcuri’s “NY Moderates” Party line is in jeopardy. Republicans in the district pointed out the existence of a state statute that says that ballot lines aren’t allowed to include the words “New York.” Election officials say that may cause Arcuri’s indie line to go up in smoke, but are putting off a final decision on the matter until September 16th. Arcuri’s attorney, for what it’s worth, says that the party name will merely change to “Moderates”. Good luck with that.
  • VA-09: Benenson Strategy Group (8/18-22, likely voters) for Rick Boucher:

    Rick Boucher (D-inc): 55

    Morgan Griffith (R): 32

    Is that too optimistic for Boucher? Perhaps, but it’s not entirely far-fetched, either. A July poll by SurveyUSA — not the most Dem-friendly pollster this cycle — had Boucher up by 52-39. Despite the bottom falling out for so many Democratic incumbents in tough districts, Boucher appears to have more staying power than some of his colleagues.

  • WI-07: At SSP, we always try to give you the Size Of The Buy where possible. We reported yesterday that the DCCC was hitting the airwaves with their first independent expenditure ad of the cycle against ex-Real World star Sean Duffy. Turns out the buy is for $36,500 — not breaking the bank by any means, but House party committees rarely saturate the airwaves in August.
  • AK-Sen: Just Look at the Eye Candy

    I don’t believe the title needs further explanation.

    Can you guess what this map is of?

    The map up top is the 2008 race between Mark Begich and Ted Stevens, in which Begich prevailed by 1.25%.

    If you guessed that correctly (without cheating), 10 points for Gryffindor. If you did cheat and look at the file name, boo on you too, but you can look at the Anchorage inset anyways:

    Here’s a redux of the Murkowski-Miller race (blue for Murk, Red for Miller; Absentees not included):

    And you can judge for yourself similarities between that at the 2008 GOP primary, Young-Parnell (Young in blue, Parnell in red):

    I’m not that optimistic about Scott McAdams’ chances in November, but there does seem to be a path for him:

    Areas of strong Begich performance are decently correlated with areas of strong Murkowski performance – or put differently – weaker Miller performance. Given that, this seems to bode somewhat better for McAdams, in that he could piece together the Begich coalition of Anchorage + Outlying Areas + Juneau for a win, pulling in disaffected Murkowski GOPers. Those areas (notably, GOP voters in those areas) weren’t exactly hopping for Miller.

    Ryan_in_DelCo’s 2010 Gubernatorial Predictions – August 31, 2010

    The third part of my analysis of this election cycle will focus on the large number of gubernatorial races occurring this November.

    Here are some basic observations before breaking down the races:

    1)  There seems to be a natural cycle in terms of gubernatorial races where the parties alternate control in many states.  This natural cycle favored the Democrats during the 2000s, but hammered them during the 1990s.  Right now, it appears even without the electoral adversity they are facing nationally, Democrats would likely be suffering from the natural shift that seems to occur from party to party every 8 to 12 years in many states.  This natural cycle does benefit the Democrats in a few places like Florida and Georgia.

    2)  Very few sitting governors are popular at the moment.  Many of them are term-limited, but there seems to be a strong effect they are having on some races forcing the candidates carrying their party’s banner to suffer too.

    3)  The breakdown after the election will be as follows:  31 Republican, 18 Democratic, 1 Independent.  

    4)  Of the tossups, the Democrats will win Georgia and Maine.  The Republicans will find a way to win in the rest including California by spending $300 million if necessary.  Most of the tossups with the exception of California and Ohio have been horribly underpolled to say the least.

    No Race Democratic (7)





    North Carolina


    West Virginia

    Safe Democratic (3)


    New Hampshire

    New York

    Likely Democratic (2)



    Lean Democratic (4)





    Tossup (7)





    New Mexico


    Lean Republican (5)







    Likely Republican (6)






    South Carolina

    Safe Republican (9)






    South Dakota




    No Race Republican (6)




    New Jersey

    North Dakota


    Lean Independent (1)

    Rhode Island

    Edit:  I have moved Ohio from Tossup to Lean Republican in light of recent polling.