SSP Daily Digest: 10/13 (Afternoon Edition)

AK-Sen: In the avalanche of various other acts of hypocrisy and self-dealing that have come out about Joe Miller in the last few weeks, somehow I missed this one: not only did he avail himself of low-income hunting and fishing licenses, but his family has received assistance from Medicaid and similar state-level Denali Kidcare. Somewhere, his most ardent supporters are hurling their copies of Atlas Shrugged into the fireplace in disgust, learning that their mighty Producer is nothing more than a parasite, weakly availing himself of every program under the sun designed to enslave man. (And somewhere, either heaven or Rick Barber’s fevered imagination, James Madison is hurling his copy of the Federalist Papers into the fireplace, upset that this ostensible patriot is availing himself of such a plainly unconstitutional program.)

DE-Sen: I think this had been made pretty clear few weeks ago, but Mike Castle reiterated it in as official terms as possible on CNN yesterday: he’s not endorsing anybody in the Senate race.

FL-Sen: Very-tanned centrist GOPer governors gotta stick together, and Arnold Schwarzenegger just gave his probably-not-worth-much backing to Charlie Crist yesterday. The Marco Rubio camp may have gotten the last laugh here, though:

“When it comes to inflicting ‘Collateral Damage’ on the economy, Charlie Crist and Arnold Schwarzenegger are definitely ‘Twins.’  Charlie’s flip-flops have made him a master at telling ‘True Lies.’ We all know the only thing Charlie cares about is the next election. But this year, Florida will take an ‘Eraser’ to ‘The Running Man.'” – Rubio campaign spokesman Alex Burgos, responding to Schwarzenegger’s endorsement of Crist.

PA-Sen: I wouldn’t start popping the champagne cork (or even buy a bottle of champagne) yet, but the DSCC seems to be seeing some negative-ad-driven progress in Pennsylvania. They’ve released an internal poll, via Garin Hart Yang, that actually gives Joe Sestak the lead. He’s up 44-42 over Pat Toomey, in a poll taken Oct. 8-10. With leaners pushed, Sestak expands to a 47-44 lead. No public pollster has seen anything like that (at least yet).

WA-Sen: If you’re wondering what’s up with the huge disparities in Washington Senate numbers between the live-caller and auto-dialed polls, you’re not alone. Nate Silver doesn’t exactly have answers, pointing to unique Washington variables that confound pollsters, like its (almost entirely) vote-by-mail status and its large number of cellphone-only users. But he does have some interesting charts showing that Rasmussen and SurveyUSA have consistently overestimated GOP performance all decade long in Washington (while, at the same time, Elway has overestimated Dem performance).

WV-Sen: Hot on the heels of PPP’s poll showing Joe Manchin back in the lead, the DSCC is out with an internal poll showing similar numbers. The GQR poll from Oct. 7-12, the height of “hicky” mania, gives Manchin a 49-44 lead over John Raese, whose 40/38 faves lag Manchin’s 63/28.

CA-Gov: All previous political self-funding records are quickly receding in Meg Whitman’s rearview mirror, as she just plowed another $20 million into her gubernatorial bid, bringing her all-cycle total to over $141 million.

WV-Gov: I don’t know what West Virginians’ aversion to comprehensible succession laws is, but after emerging from the morass of how to replace Robert Byrd, now the legislature is grappling with what to do with the Governor position if Joe Manchin manages to win the Senate special election. Legislative lawyers say that unless the legislature takes some sort of action, Senate President Earl Ray Tomblin would take over as “acting governor” for the entire remainder of Manchin’s term, until the regularly scheduled Nov. 2012 election… but that there would be two elections that day, one for the full four years and one for the lame-duck period.

FL-25: I look forward to seeing David Rivera’s explanation:

Over the past seven years, Republican state Rep. David Rivera repeatedly said in sworn documents that his main source of income, outside of his salary from the Legislature, came from consulting work he did for the U.S. Agency for International Development. But USAID has no record of ever hiring Rivera — now a candidate for Congress — or his company.

KS-04: SurveyUSA has shown an unexpectedly close race (for an open seat in a dark-red district in this climate), with several polls in high single digits, so GOP nominee Mike Pompeo is offering some pushback with an internal from Cole Hargrave Snodgrass & Associates from Oct. 10-11. His poll gives him a 48-31 lead over Raj Goyle. (You may recall that this pollster works with the Club for Growth, and is responsible for highlights like this one. Senator Dick Zimmer vouches for their accuracy!)

NY-24: Richard Hanna’s out with an internal poll, courtesy of  McLaughlin (no dates given by Politico, and with a big fat MoE of 5.6%). Hanna leads, but only by 46-43. Considering that Hanna is trying to push back against not a Mike Arcuri internal but an honest-to-gosh public poll (from Siena) with an Arcuri lead of 8, that seems like kind of weak sauce.

MN-06: Today’s fundraising highlight is that Michele Bachmann pulled in $5.4 million in the third quarter. Interestingly, it looks like she’ll report “only” $3.4 million cash on hand, suggesting a similar phenomenon as Sharron Angle (for whom there weren’t any CoH numbers at all), where there’s a lot of churn going on not just for a TV blitz but also for widespread nationwide direct-mail marketing, which is expensive. (Just ask Joe Cao.) While these numbers certainly don’t bode well as far as unseating Bachmann this year, the bright side is that’s money that low-information voters might otherwise have given to GOP House challengers in tight races who could have actually leveraged that money a lot more effectively.

TX-27: Even if you’re a political junkie like us, yesterday’s internal poll was probably the first you’ve ever heard of Blake Farenthold. The DCCC fills in some blanks, suggesting that you’re probably not likely to hear too much about him in the future, either. He’s somehow sitting on a negative $5K in cash, and… I’m not quite sure how this happened, but he appears on the front of what appears to be some sort of local tea party-oriented publication, in pajamas, in the company of what appears to be some sort of sex-industry professional (and not as an example of what not to do, but apparently because said publication is endorsing him). Yeah, I’m just as confused as you; you’ll have to check out the link.

WA-08: Ordinarily, we don’t report on newspaper endorsements, since they don’t seem to move many votes and are usually pretty predictable based on each paper’s e-board leanings. We’ll make an exception in this case, since Dave Reichert largely owes his continued existence to the Seattle Times, who’ve clung to him as, in their eyes, the last remaining exemplar of the old-style moderate Republicanism they fetishize. So it’s a strange and wondrous thing to see them turning their back on him in favor of Suzan DelBene.

Blue Dogs: CQ has an interesting piece about the yawning leadership gap at the Blue Dogs, where two of its key members, John Tanner and Dennis Moore, are skedaddling. It cites a number of possible new heads (most notably Allen Boyd and Jim Matheson), but there’s a certain amount of cart-before-horse here, because the Blue Dogs are disproportionately in the crosshairs this cycle and it’s unclear how many of the key ones (Boyd, especially, as well as Stephanie Herseth Sandlin) will even be back.

DLCC: The DLCC is out with its third and probably final installment in its “Essential Races” series, pointing you (and your contribution dollars) toward 15 more legislators in key races that might determine chamber control in some of the most important state legislatures.

Money: More evidence that the advantage by the Democratic committees and individual members was pretty illusory, given the myriad ways (527s and 501(c)(4)s, oh my) that the wealthy have to plow nearly-unlimited money into political races: an alliance of groups (Karl Rove’s American Crossroads and Norm Coleman’s American Action Network, as well as a new one, Commission on Hope, Growth, and Opportunity) is planning a $50 million ad blitz focused on some relatively underserved House races. This includes IN-02, CO-07, and even Maurice Hinchey’s NY-22. (H/t Nathan Gonzales.)


IL-Sen: Mark Kirk revisits the Broadway Bank yet again with his newest ad

LA-Sen: A solid ad from Charlie Melancon, hitting David Vitter on outsourcing and cozying up to BP

MO-Sen: Robin Carnahan tries some anti-Washington (including congressional pay raises) shots at Roy Blunt

PA-Sen: VoteVets boosts Joe Sestak with a hit on Pat Toomey for voting against veterans’ benefits

CT-Gov: The RGA has a boilerplate attack ad on Dan Malloy as tax-raising career politician

HI-Gov: It’s not your imagination, this race is looking competitive, at least if the DGA is advertising here: they’re out with an anti-Duke Aiona ad

IL-Gov: Pat Quinn’s new ad actually comes close to saying that Bill Brady will kill your dog if you vote for him.

OH-Gov: Ted Strickland’s ad goes back to the basics: hitting John Kasich on his outsourcing Wall Street ways

SC-Gov: The RGA is having to advertise and staff up in SC-Gov, probably much to their chagrin, as this looks like it’s turning into a real race: their new spot calls Vincent Sheheen liberal, morphs him into Obama, and does all the usual

IL-17: The SEIU backs up one of labor’s biggest backers in the House, Phil Hare, with a 10-day buy for $317K in the Quad Cities, for an ad hitting Bobby Schilling on free trade and outsourcing

PA-06: Manan Trivedi’s new ad goes after Jim Gerlach and ‘special interests’

PA-08: VoteVets is also out with a spot in the 8th, hitting Mike Fitzpatrick on veterans’ benefits votes during his brief stay in Congress

WI-03: The National Federation of Independent Business is out with a slew of new ads that includes softening up not-quite-top-tier Dem districts, with 10-day ad buys including not just WI-03 but also CA-11, CO-03, MO-03, NY-19, NY-23, PA-10, OH-16, and SC-05.


ME-Gov: Libby Mitchell (D) 32%, Paul LePage (R) 35%, Eliot Cutler (I) 21%

NH-Gov: John Lynch (D-inc) 53%, John Stephen (R) 43%

NV-Sen: Harry Reid (D-inc) 48%, Sharron Angle (R) 49%

OH-Gov: Ted Strickland (D-inc) 45%, John Kasich (R) 48%

OR-Sen: Ron Wyden (D) 52%, Jim Huffman (R) 36%

WV-Sen: Joe Manchin (D) 46%, John Raese (R) 49%

WA-Sen: Murray Leads Rossi By 9

Elway Poll (9/9-12, likely voters, 6/9-13 in parens):

Patty Murray (D-inc): 50 (47)

Dino Rossi (R): 41 (40)

Undecided: 9 (13)

(MoE: ±4.5%)

I’d actually spent some time wondering this weekend when Elway was ever going to get around to polling the Washington Senate race again. (Hmmm. Maybe I need to have more exciting weekends.) Lo and behold, they have done so, and the results have to be pretty heartening to Democrats, who’ve probably been worried about this race in view of seeing Dino Rossi with small leads according to the latest SurveyUSA and Rasmussen offerings.

So who are these Elway clowns who dare challenge the conventional wisdom, the non-Washingtonians among you may be asking? They have probably the longest and most solid reputation among local pollsters, and more importantly, a track record of being right before it’s fashionable to do so. For instance, at this point two years ago in mid-September of 2008, when Rasmussen was giving Dino Rossi a 52-46 lead over Chris Gregoire and SurveyUSA a 48-47 Rossi lead, Elway was seeing a 48-44 advantage for Gregoire. (Gregoire went on to win by 6.)

Elway finds that Murray leads 61-30 in the Democratic stronghold of King County, pretty consistent with her 59% performance in the Top 2 primary… and pretty inconsistent with SurveyUSA’s odd finding that Murray and Rossi were tied in the Seattle metro area (although they may have meant that descriptor to include Pierce and Snohomish Counties as well).

WA-Sen: Murray Leads, Didier Goes to DC

Elway Poll (6/9-13, registered voters, 4/29-5/2 in parens):

Patty Murray (D-inc): 47 (51)

Dino Rossi (R): 40 (34)

Undecided: 13 (15)

Patty Murray (D-inc): 47 (50)

Paul Akers (R): 33 (26)

Undecided: 20 (24)

Patty Murray (D-inc): 46 (50)

Clint Didier (R): 32 (24)

Undecided: 22 (26)

(MoE: ±5%)

Elway’s last poll of the Washington Senate race, taken before Dino Rossi made his entry official, had seemed a little optimistic; a 17-point lead is pretty showy in a state where a Republican is guaranteed at least 40% in a statewide race just for showing up (but where 50% is nearly impossible). A 7-point lead is very plausible.

I’d be curious to see Elway (or anyone else… maybe PPP will finally poll Washington?) take a look at the Republican primary, which in the wake of the robust showing for support for Clint Didier at the state convention last weekend and the ‘meh’ that greeted Dino Rossi, looks like it could turn very interesting. (OK, the “top two” primary, which would require polling Murray, Rossi, Didier, and Paul Akers all in one big pile.) In fact, with a Sarah Palin endorsement boosting him, Beltway Republicans are actually starting to have to take notice of Didier: he’s going to be meeting in DC this week with staff from the RNC and the NRSC (which just finished laboriously recruiting Rossi into the race).

UPDATE: Apparently Elway has polled the “top two” primary as well, but those numbers didn’t start making the rounds until later today. The results (bearing in mind that all candidates are thrown together in one pool) are: Murray 43, Rossi 31, Didier 5, and Akers 2. For those who don’t like to do their own math, that combined GOP vote is 38. Didier is also out with a breathless tweet today announcing that he just met Ron Paul today while in DC! It was teh awesome! It makes him “want to fight harder for Liberty!” (Well, except for Liberty from all those farm subsidies…)

WA-Sen: Murray Leads in Two Polls over Rossi

Elway Poll (4/29-5/2, registered voters):

Patty Murray (D-inc): 51

Dino Rossi (R): 34

Undecided: 15

Patty Murray (D-inc): 51

Don Benton (R): 27

Undecided: 22

Patty Murray (D-inc): 50

Paul Akers (R): 26

Undecided: 24

Patty Murray (D-inc): 50

Clint Didier(R): 24

Undecided: 26

(MoE: ±5%)

Looks like that SurveyUSA poll that gave a 10-point lead to Dino Rossi (and was subsequently dismissed by both campaigns) has “outlier” written all over it. Elway, probably the best-regarded local pollster in Washington, takes a first look at the Senate race and finds Patty Murray in very solid shape, leading by double-digits and hitting 50% against not only the minor opposition but against Rossi as well. Elway also, in the fine print, does some extrapolating to project “likely voter” and “perfect voter” models, and finds that Murray still wins those scenarios, including a 49-40 win among “perfect voters.”

Add to that a new Rasmussen poll today that, like the previous Rasmussen effort, finds Murray with a 2-point lead over Rossi and breaking 50 against the minor announced candidates. Obviously not as good a result as Elway, but taking the source into consideration, it’s a double-whammy that should give Rossi serious pause about whether this is the race where he wants to put his credibility on the line one last time.

Polling memo over the jump: