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October 19, 2014

Where Are the Polls?

Harry Enten: "Two weeks and two days before Election Day, and we received just two polls over the weekend. The polls, both taken in Colorado by left-leaning groups, had little impact on the FiveThirtyEight Senate forecast -- Republicans have a 62 percent chance of taking the Senate. Indeed, we were more interested in the small number of polls than what those two surveys said."

"The FiveThirtyEight model relies mostly on polls, and without polls, the forecast's accuracy could suffer. So we looked into it. Fortunately, this weekend was an aberration. We're getting fewer polls than we did in 2010, but we're not getting way fewer polls."

Obama Seeks Iran Deal That Would Avoid Congress

New York Times: "No one knows if the Obama administration will manage in the next five weeks to strike what many in the White House consider the most important foreign policy deal of his presidency: an accord with Iran that would forestall its ability to make a nuclear weapon. But the White House has made one significant decision: If agreement is reached, President Obama will do everything in his power to avoid letting Congress vote on it."

Likely Voters Favor GOP Led Congress

A new Wall Street Journal/NBC News/Annenberg survey finds likely voters favor a Republican-led Congress over a Democratic one, 49% to 44%.

"The survey is yet more evidence that Democratic voters are tuning out the midterms. Democrats carried a 10-point lead among low-interest voters, who the party is trying to reach and motivate with vigorous turnout operations across the country. Republicans carried a 10-point lead in the new survey among voters who said they were highly interested in the election."

Quote of the Day

"The game is rigged, and the Republicans rigged it."

-- Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), quoted by the Washington Post.

Black Voters Key to Democrats Holding Senate

"The confidential memo from a former pollster for President Obama contained a blunt warning for Democrats. Written this month with an eye toward Election Day, it predicted 'crushing Democratic losses across the country' if the party did not do more to get black voters to the polls," the New York Times reports.

Wrote pollster Cornell Belcher: "African-American surge voters came out in force in 2008 and 2012, but they are not well positioned to do so again in 2014. In fact, over half aren't even sure when the midterm elections are taking place."

Romney Leads GOP Field for President

A new ABC News/Washington Post poll finds that 21% of Republican voters back Mitt Romney for president.

"When Romney is excluded from the race, his supporters scatter, adding no clarity to the GOP free-for-all. In that scenario former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul have 12 or 13 percent support from leaned Republicans who are registered to vote. All others have support in the single digits."

On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton holds a commanding lead with 64% support.

October 18, 2014

Investigation Uncovers Candidate's Medals for Valor

"The American political graveyard has more than a few monuments to politicians and public officials who embellished details of their military service, in some cases laying claim to medals for heroism or other military honors they never received," the Boston Globe reports.

"And then, uniquely, there is Seth W. Moulton, the Democratic nominee for Congress in the Sixth Congressional District, a former Marine who saw fierce combat for months and months in Iraq. But Moulton chose not to publicly disclose that he was twice decorated for heroism until pressed by the Globe."

Bonus Quote of the Day

"This is as close as we've gotten to a presidential-style campaign in those states. We're assuming that the 2014 electorate is going to look more like 2012 than 2010."

-- GOP pollster Neil Newhouse, quoted by the New York Times, on the battleground states.

Quote of the Day

"I love her. That's easy to understand. She loves me. That's hard to understand."

-- Edwin Edwards, quoted by the Financial Times, on his wife who is 51 years younger than him.

Black Woman Standing Next to Corbett Was Photoshopped

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett's (R) re-election campaign "found an African-American woman to stand next to the governor on his website photos," the Philadelphia Daily News reports.

"Not an actual woman. According to Buzzfeed, the black woman who gazes at Corbett was Photoshopped from a stock picture."

Supreme Court Allows Texas to Use Voter ID Law

"The Supreme Court on Saturday allowed Texas to use its strict voter identification law in the November election. The court's order was unsigned and contained no reasoning," the New York Times reports.

"The law, enacted in 2011, requires voters seeking to cast their ballots at the polls to present photo identification like a Texas driver's or gun license, a military ID or a passport."

Midterm Polling Error is Much Larger

Sam Wang: "Yesterday, Nate Silver and I both examined Senate polling errors. He saw no overall bias; I pointed out that recent bias has been unusually large. Both statements are true. But neither of us pointed out that the biases follow a significant pattern: midterm-year polling is far less accurate than Presidential-year polling."

"From a practical standpoint, this is good news for those of you who don't like where things have headed lately: in midterms, Senate polling errors are five times larger than in Presidential years. There is bad news too: the error can go in either direction, and a GOP blowout is also possible."

Gillespie Gives Up in Virginia

"Ed Gillespie, one of the Republican establishment's most respected advisers and powerful fundraisers, badly trails in the race for campaign cash and has asked television stations to stop running his ads for Senate with just three weeks left before Election Day," CBS News reports.

"Reports filed with the Federal Communications Commission show Gillespie's campaign cancelling or drastically reducing the amount of money it plans to spend on television ads in coming days. At the same time, political operatives who track television advertising said Thursday that Gillespie does not have ads reserved in the final push toward the Nov. 4 elections."

Clinton Tests Campaign Themes

Hillary Clinton "is back on the campaign trail after a six-year hiatus, aiming to rouse Democratic voters who don't typically show up for midterm elections. In the course of trying to help her party's candidates, she is also testing themes that would likely surface in her own potential run for office and giving clues to the political profile she might adopt in a presidential campaign," the Wall Street Journal reports.

"Lately, Mrs. Clinton has spiced her campaign-trail speeches with targeted criticism of business--notable given that some liberals are suspicious of the Clinton family for accepting hundreds of millions of dollars in corporate donations and speaking fees. Those concerns could prompt a primary challenge from the political left."

October 17, 2014

Clinton Aides Halted Investigation Into Sexual Misconduct

"A State Department investigation has found that aides to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton contributed to the 'appearance of undue influence and favoritism' in three departmental investigations related to alleged sexual conduct by officials in the field," Time reports.

"In the highest-level case, the department's inspector general found that senior State Department officials declared an allegation that the U.S. Ambassador to Belgium had solicited a prostitute in a public park as a 'management issue.' The move effectively halted an investigation by the department's Bureau of Diplomatic Security."

Christie's Wife Earned $500K at Part Time Job

According to new tax filings, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's (R) wife, Mary Pat, who works part-time on Wall Street, earned $475,854 for her job as a director at Angelo, Gordon & Co. and $34,698 from Cantor Fitzgerald, the AP reports.

Extra Bonus Quote of the Day

"It certainly is a liability. It is not a killing liability. My opponents all have liabilities, too."

-- Edwin Edwards (D), quoted by the Wall Street Journal, on serving eight years in prison for racketeering.

A Great Election for Political Junkies

Nate Cohn: "I have a confession: I think this is a great election. It's way better than 2012. All around, it might be the best general election in a decade."

"There are a dozen competitive and close Senate contests and, for good measure, there are another dozen competitive governors' contests. Better still, these close Senate races add up to something meaningful and important: control of the Senate. These contests might lack the drama of a presidential election -- and there are plenty of signs of voter apathy in this cycle -- but they make up for it with their diversity, collectively addressing some of the most important and analytically compelling questions in electoral politics."

GOP Lawmaker Says Hamas Could Use Ebola as a Weapon

Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC) said that terrorists from Hamas could purposely infect themselves with the Ebola virus and then travel to America, BuzzFeed reports.

Said Wilson: "I'm very concerned. We had people who, I'll repeat it, the creed of Hamas: We value death more than you value life. What? That's their creed. Okay, well, part of their creed would be to bring persons who have Ebola into our country. It would promote their creed. And all this could be avoided by sealing the border, thoroughly. C'mon, this is the 21st century."

Braley Inches Ahead in Iowa

A new Public Policy Polling survey finds Bruce Braley (D) leading Joni Ernst (R) by one point in the race for U.S. Senate, 48% to 47%.

Bonus Quote of the Day

"I went to a restaurant up in New York when I was - during the U.N. General Assembly, and my credit card was rejected. It turned out I guess I don't use it enough. They were - they thought there was some fraud going on. Fortunately, Michelle had hers."

-- President Obama, quoted by the Washington Post.

The Willie Horton Ad of 2014

"The National Republican Congressional Committee went up with an ad Friday tying the Democratic nominee in a competitive Nebraska House race to Nikko Jenkins, a former inmate convicted of murdering four people after his early release from jail," Roll Call reports.

"It's an ad reminiscent of the Willie Horton spot former President George H.W. Bush ran in 1988, tying his Democratic opponent to a convicted murderer who raped a woman while on a weekend pass from prison."

See more...

Obama Names 'Ebola Czar'

President Obama will appoint Ron Klain as his "Ebola czar," sources tell CNN.

Wonk Wire: Fox News gets it right about Ebola

Republicans Recover in Kansas

"Just weeks ago, Democrats in Kansas were salivating over the possibility that Paul Davis would be the next governor in the state and independent Greg Orman would be a new U.S. senator. Not any longer," the Kansas City Star reports.

"In fact, rather suddenly, Republicans are thinking they are going to have an enjoyable Nov. 4 night of watching election returns. That's because they now have growing reasons to think Gov. Sam Brownback is going to defeat Davis and win re-election. That would be unfortunate, given just how badly Brownback's economic policies have hurt the state. And they are giddy over the reversal in the Senate race, where incumbent Pat Roberts could slip by Orman."

Quote of the Day

"I'm really quite comfortable being here to campaign for women and taking orders. It's like being at home."

-- Bill Clinton, quoted by the Washington Post, while campaigning in New Hampshire.

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