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October 31, 2014

Republicans Have a Math Problem

Glen Bolger and Neil Newhouse: "Democrats like to accuse Republicans of being bad at science, but in fact we're really bad at math. Winning in a non-presidential-turnout year, when older and white voters make up a larger percentage of the electorate, should convince no one that we've fixed our basic shortfalls with key electoral groups, including minorities and younger voters."

"Assuming that the Democrats replicate their 2012 electoral success with minority voters two years from now, and assuming that Hispanics grow as a percentage of the overall electorate, which they will, we calculate that Democrats will already have almost half (24 percent) of the votes they need to win a majority of Americans in 2016. To win 50.1 percent of the popular vote, we estimate, Republicans will need nearly 64 percent of the white vote -- which would be a record for a non-incumbent Republican presidential candidate. Remember, Mitt Romney and John McCain won 59 percent and 55 percent of the white vote, respectively; and even in victory, George W. Bush took only 58 percent of the white vote in 2004."

Still Very Tight in Wisconsin

A new Public Policy Polling survey in Wisconsin finds Gov. Scott Walker (R) leading challenger Mary Burke (D)by just one point, 48% to 47%.

Extra Bonus Quote of the Day

"Let me tell you something: The Ohio Supreme Court is the backstop for all those other votes you are going to cast. Whatever the governor does, whatever your state representative, your state senator does, whatever they do, we are the ones that will decide whether it is constitutional; we decide whether it's lawful. We decide what it means, and we decide how to implement it in a given case. So, forget all those other votes if you don't keep the Ohio Supreme Court conservative."

-- Ohio Supreme Court Justice Judith French, quoted by the Columbus Dispatch.

Bonus Quote of the Day

"I'll be very, very honest with you: The South has not always been the friendliest place for African Americans. It's been a difficult time for the president to present himself in a very positive light as a leader."

-- Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA), in an interview with NBC News.

Murderer Makes His Endorsement

"Convicted killer Nikko Jenkins offered his take on the race in Nebraska's 2nd Congressional District at a hearing to determine his mental status Wednesday," KETV reports.

Shouted Jenkins: "Hey you guys, vote for Lee Terry! Best Republican ever!"

"Democrats had called for the removal of commercials by the National Republican Campaign Committee, one of which shows a photo of Jenkins and claims Terry's challenger, Brad Ashford, 'supported the good time law and still defends it, allowing criminals like Nikko Jenkins to be released early.' The Terry campaign stood behind the ad."

First Presidential Debate Already Scheduled

"The 2014 midterm elections are days away, but preparation are already underway for the first debate of the 2016 presidential primary contest," the AP reports.

"The Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation announced on Thursday that it will invite GOP presidential candidates to attend a televised debate at California's Reagan Library in September 2015."

Why a GOP Senate May Be Short-lived

Politico: "After two years of obsessive focus on the teetering reelection prospects of red-state Democrats, the attention is about to shift in a major way to blue-state Republicans. Six of them who rode anti-Obama sentiment to office in 2010 are up in two years, and they'll face the dual challenge of a more diverse electorate and potentially Hillary Clinton atop the Democratic ticket."

"The leftward-tilting map means a GOP-controlled Senate could be short-lived if the party prevails on Tuesday. Even in the best-case scenario for the party, a Republican majority is certain to be slim."

Team Hillary Plans Strategy Session

"The pro-Hillary Clinton super PAC Ready for Hillary is planning a National Finance Council meeting... The event, on Nov. 21, has been billed a strategy session at the Sheraton Times Square in New York City to discuss the next steps as the group and Clinton's extended network wait for her to say definitively whether she is running for president in 2016," Politico reports.

"But the speakers and attendees represent a cross-section of the party and of Clintonland, including people involved in other outside efforts to prepare for a potential candidacy. And the event itself comes after two years of Ready for Hillary, the low-dollar super PAC backing Clinton, signing up more than 2.5 million supporters and harnessing energy behind her potential candidacy -- helping to freeze the Democratic field in the process."

The State of Play

Our good friends at the Cook Political Report have made their latest House and Senate analysis freely available.

It's a must-read as we head into the final weekend before the midterm elections.

Quote of the Day

"American slaves were liberated in 1861, but did not get voting rights until 107 years later. So why can't Hong Kong wait for a while?"

-- Hong Kong Executive Council Member Laura Cha, quoted by The Standard.

Dead Even in Iowa

A new Reuters/Ipsos poll in Iowa finds Joni Ernst (R) and Bruce Braley (D) tied in their U.S. Senate race, 45% to 45%.

Early Voting Numbers Look Good for Democrats

"Democratic efforts to turn out the young and nonwhite voters who sat out the 2010 midterm elections appear to be paying off in several Senate battleground states. More than 20 percent of the nearly three million votes already tabulated in Georgia, North Carolina, Colorado and Iowa have come from people who did not vote in the last midterm election," according to an analysis of early-voting data by The Upshot.

Virginia Senate Race Tightens

A new Christopher Newport University poll in Virginia finds Sen. Mark Warner (D) leads challenger Ed Gillespie (R) by seven points, 51% to 44%.

A new Vox Populi Polling survey shows Warner with a four point lead, 44% to 40%.

Shaheen Stretches Out Lead in New Hampshire

A new WMUR/University of New Hampshire poll in finds Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D) increasing her lead in the U.S. Senate race over Scott Brown (R) to eight points, 50% to 42%.

Why Republicans Keep Saying They're Not Scientists

New York Times: "''m not a scientist,' or a close variation, has become the go-to talking point for Republicans questioned about climate change in the 2014 campaigns. In the past, many Republican candidates questioned or denied the science of climate change, but polls show that a majority of Americans accept it -- and support government policies to mitigate it -- making the Republican position increasingly challenging ahead of the 2016 presidential elections."

"For now, 'I'm not a scientist' is what one party adviser calls 'a temporary Band-Aid' -- a way to avoid being called a climate change denier but also to sidestep a dilemma. The reality of campaigning is that a politician who acknowledges that burning coal and oil contributes to global warming must offer a solution, which most policy experts say should be taxing or regulating carbon pollution and increasing government spending on alternative energy. But those ideas are anathema to influential conservative donors like the billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch and the advocacy group they support, Americans for Prosperity."

Dead Even in Georgia

A new Landmark Communications poll in Georgia finds David Perdue (R) and Michelle Nunn (D) essentially tied in the U.S. Senate race, 47% to 47%.

Baker Leads for Massachusetts Governor

A new Boston Globe poll in Massachusetts finds Charlie Baker (R) with a solid lead over Martha Coakley (D) in the race for governor, 44% to 37%.

McConnell Holds Lead Heading Into Final Weekend

A new Survey USA poll in Kentucky finds Sen. Mitch McConnell (R) leading challenger Alison Lundergan Grimes (D) in the U.S. Senate, 48% to 43%.

Menino is Dead

"Thomas Michael Menino, who insisted a mayor doesn't need a grand vision to lead, then went on to shepherd Boston's economy and shape the skyline and the very identity of the city he loved through an unprecedented five consecutive terms in City Hall, died Thursday," the Boston Globe reports.

"He was 71 and was diagnosed with advanced cancer not long after leaving office at the beginning of this year."

October 30, 2014

Another Poll Shows a Tie in Florida

A new Tampa Bay Times/Bay News 9/UF Graham Center poll in Florida shows Gov. Rick Scott (R) and Charlie Crist (D) tied, 36% to 36%.

An unusually high 13% refused to say whom they support and 7% were undecided.

Two Polls Show Tight Race in North Carolina

A new Public Policy Polling survey in North Carolina finds Sen. Kay Hagan (D) leading challenger Thom Tillis (R) by one point in the U.S. Senate race, 47% to 46%.

A new Rasmussen survey has Hagan leading by the same result, 47% to 46%.

Most Americans See Country Off Track

A new USA Today poll finds that two-thirds of Americans say the nation "faces more challenging problems than usual; one in four call them the biggest problems of their lifetimes. And many lack confidence in the government to address them."

"By significant margins, those surveyed prefer congressional Republicans when it comes to dealing with the economy and ISIS militants in Iraq and Syria. By double-digits, they say congressional Democrats would do a better job in handling income inequality and social issues such as abortion and same-sex marriage... But the bottom line seems to be that the downbeat mood of the electorate is favoring the GOP, whose backers are more enthusiastic about voting and animated by their opposition to Obama."

Biden's Free Family Vacation

Vice President Joe Biden, his wife and 11 other family members spent four nights on vacation this August at a lakeside log cabin overlooking the snowcapped peaks of Mount Moran in Grand Teton National Park, Time reports.

"The four-bedroom Brinkerhoff Lodge, where they stayed, is owned and operated by the National Park Service... While visiting the park, Biden held no events, kept no public schedule, and his staff initially declined to answer a reporter's question about where he spent the night. Last week, after Time uncovered documents confirming his stay at the lodge, Biden's office said the Vice President planned to personally reimburse the park $1,200 for 'renting the Brinkerhoff' for his family's vacation."

All Tied Up in Colorado

A new Public Policy Polling survey in Colorado finds Sen. Mark Udall (D) and Cory Gardner (R) tied in their U.S. Senate race, 48% to 48%.

In the race for governor, Gov. John Hickenlooper (D) and challenger Bob Beauprez (R) are also tied, 47% to 47%.

Ryan Won't Decide on White House Bid Until Next Year

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) tells the Washington Post he's in no hurry to make a decision on running for president in 2016.

Said Ryan: "I've got all the time in the world. I don't have some calendar with a red circle. I don't feel the pressure to do it any other way. I have my own timeline and I don't let stuff that's happening around me get to my head. That's dangerous."

He added: "I'm not dying to be this or that. I'm more of a cause guy. So I come at this thing from that perspective. I don't have this insatiable political ambition. But I know how to flip the switch. If you flip the switch, you flip the switch. I know how to do it and what I need to do if I choose to flip it. Right now, the switch has tape over it until 2015."

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