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September 17, 2014


Average of the Forecasts Shows a 50-50 Senate

With so many new election forecasts this year, Vox just averages them and finds they predict an evenly divided U.S. Senate.




Gardner Grabs Lead in Colorado

A new USA Today/Suffolk University Poll in Colorado finds Cory Gardner (R) just ahead of Sen. Mark Udall (D) in the U.S. Senate race, 43% to 42%.

In the race for governor, Gov. John Hickenlooper is slightly ahead of challenger Bob Beauprez (R), 43% to 41%.





Walker Pulls Ahead in Wisconsin

A new Marquette University Law School poll in Wisconsin finds that Gov. Scott Walker (R) is slightly ahead of challenger Mary Burke (D among likely voters, 49% to 46%.




Burr Denies Retirement Rumors

Despite rumors that he would retire, Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) told National Journal that he plans to run for re-election in 2016.

"Democrats are angling for a top-tier recruit in 2016, hopeful that former Charlotte Mayor and current Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx might decide to run. With access to the president's political network, North Carolina Democrats think they could give Burr a robust challenge. But Burr says Foxx told him he's ruled out running."




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On Wonk Wire

Some great clicks over at Wonk Wire:




Begich Maintains Lead Over Sullivan

A new Hays Research poll in Alaska finds Sen. Mark Begich (D) leading Dan Sullivan by five points, 39% to 34%, with 22% still undecided.

Hays warns that the "race has been quite volatile with each candidate taking the lead at various times throughout the past few weeks."

In the race for governor, Bill Walker (I) leads Gov. Sean Parnell (R) by eight points, 33% to 25%, with 31% undecided.




Begich Attacked as Pretend Snowmobiler

Dan Sullivan (R) accused Sen. Mark Begich (D-AK) of "pretending to ride" a snowmobile in a new ad.

Wall Street Journal: "It's not the first time Republicans have launched accusations that Mr. Begich needed a stunt double for his TV ads. A super PAC backing Mr. Sullivan called Alaska's Energy, America's Values suggested it wasn't Begich in the snowmobile ad in an April radio message."

See more...




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Huntsman Discussed Independent Bid

Jon Huntsman "has engaged in discussions with supporters in recent months about pursuing another White House bid -- this time as an independent, according to three sources close to Huntsman," BuzzFeed reports.

Huntsman told the Deseret News earlier this month that he was a "strong no" on a 2016 presidential bid.




Not All Forecasting Models are Equal

Nate Silver: "I don't like to call out other forecasters by name unless I have something positive to say about them -- and we think most of the other models out there are pretty great. But one is in so much perceived disagreement with FiveThirtyEight's that it requires some attention. That's the model put together by Sam Wang, an associate professor of molecular biology at Princeton."

"That model is wrong -- not necessarily because it shows Democrats ahead (ours barely shows any Republican advantage), but because it substantially underestimates the uncertainty associated with polling averages and thereby overestimates the win probabilities for candidates with small leads in the polls."

Kevin Drum: "If Wang's prediction of this year's Senate race turns out to be more accurate than Silver's, I almost hate to think what might happen. Silver's head is going to explode or something. In any case, this is far more fun than you normally get from a couple of geeky poll aggregators."




Democrats Running More Ads in Key Senate Races

The Wesleyan Media Project finds that Democrats have run more ads than Republicans in Kentucky, North Carolina, Michigan, Iowa, Louisiana, Colorado, Arkansas, Georgia and Virginia over the last two weeks.

Republicans have only been on the air more than Democrats in Alaska.





Quote of the Day

"On any given day, 16 of my members decide they're going to go this way, and all the sudden I have nothing. You might notice I have a few knuckleheads in my conference."

-- Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), quoted by The Hill.




Wehby Plagiarized Health Care Plan

Oregon Senate candidate Monica Wehby's (R) health care plan appears to have been plagiarized from a survey done for Crossroads GPS, BuzzFeed reports.

Said a campaign spokesman: "The suggestion that a pediatric neurosurgeon needs to copy a health care plan from American Crossroads is absurd. Dr. Wehby is too busy performing brain surgery on sick children to respond, sorry."




Coakley Ahead in Massachusetts

A new WBUR-FM/MassINC Polling Group poll in Massachusetts finds Martha Coakley (D) leads Charlie Baker (R) in the race for governor by seven points, 41% to 34%.

Potential warning sign for Coakley: The Boston Globe reports Baker "enjoys a huge, nearly 11-to-1 cash advantage over the Democratic nominee."




Where are Democrats in Ohio?

Rick Klein: "An announcement out of Ohio that political junkies should take note of: There will be no debate in the Ohio governor's race this year. That's not a total surprise, given the fade of Democratic candidate Ed FitzGerald in his race against incumbent Gov. John Kasich. But it underlines the fact that we're seeing an uncommonly lame political year in a state that always seems to find a way to capture the nation's Election Night attention. Here's guessing voters aren't complaining about getting a break. But Democrats may come to mourn the fact that they didn't field a serious challenge against Kasich, a possible 2016er, when the time comes to start organizing anew in Ohio. The GOP's decision to convene in Cleveland in two years looks smarter by the week."




No Democratic Lock on Electoral College Yet

Tom Holbrook: "In the current period, Democratic candidates have a distinct advantage in close national contests. If the average state-level vote is 50%, the expected Democratic Electoral Vote count is 319. If the average Democratic state vote drops to 48%, Republicans would be expected to pick up Colorado, Florida, Nevada, and Ohio, but Democrats would still have a fighting chance, with an expected Electoral Vote count of 257. And, of course, if Democrats carry 52% on average across the states, they win a comfortable Electoral Vote margin. What is most impressive here is not just the Democratic advantage, but how that advantage has shifted since the 1970s, where the Democratic Electoral Vote was much more proportional to the national popular vote."

"There is still no evidence of a Democratic 'lock' on the Electoral College, but the data presented here do make a clearer case that Republican presidential candidates face an uphill battle, and that their position has deteriorated over time. The political landscape has changed appreciably in the last forty years and that change is politically consequential."




Is Congress Abdicating its War Powers?

"There's one power Congress has that it doesn't want: The power to declare war," Bloomberg reports.

"And that's certainly so seven weeks before congressional elections."

"The House will vote today on an amendment that gives the administration the authority to train and equip Syrian rebels as part of President Barack Obama's strategy for destroying Islamic State. But it is silent on whether the president can deploy U.S. forces in the region. Some say Congress is setting a dangerous precedent by abdicating its war powers."




Obamacare Fades as a Campaign Issue

"Though Republicans continue to hammer away at the Affordable Care Act, the health-insurance law is losing some of its punch in the 2014 campaign," the Wall Street Journal reports.

"Polls show that voters don't see the law as a top concern, and both Democrats and Republicans say the election will turn on a range of issues."

Politico: "A year ago, it looked like Obamacare was going to have a huge role in this year's elections. And not in a good way -- as a symbol of government incompetence and the Republicans' main case against President Obama's record. Now, it's clear that the health care law not going to be the centerpiece of the November campaigns, in a good way or a bad way. It's going to be more like the wallpaper."




Shaheen Up Big in New Poll

A new New England College poll in New Hampshire finds Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D) leads Scott Brown (R) by double-digits, 51% to 40%.




Ernst Opens Up Lead in Iowa

A new Quinnipiac poll in Iowa finds Joni Ernst (R) leading Bruce Braley (D) in the U.S. Senate race, 50% to 44%.

Said pollster Peter Brown: "The tale of independent voters tells you all you need to know about the Iowa Senate race. These independents are perhaps the most important voter bloc in the electorate and Ernst is ahead 7 percentage points among them, just about her overall lead. The key to any comeback by Braley will be chipping away at her lead among independents."

The RCP polling average shows the race is a toss up.




Hickenlooper Trails in Colorado

A new Quinnipiac poll in Colorado shows Bob Beauprez (R) with a double-digit lead over Gov. John Hickenlooper (D) in the race for governor, 50% to 40%.




Opponents of Independent Scotland Hold Slight Lead

"Scottish supporters of staying in the United Kingdom are 4 percentage points ahead of secessionists with just a day to go before Scots vote in an independence referendum, three different opinion polls showed," Reuters reports.

"The United Kingdom's fate remains uncertain as the three surveys - from pollsters ICM, Opinium and Survation - showed support for Scottish independence at 48 percent compared to 52 percent backing union."




GOP Holds Big Lead in Generic Ballot

A new CBS News/New York Times poll finds Republicans hold a six-point edge in the generic congressional ballot among likely voters, 45% to 39%.




World Events Overwhelm Democratic Message

New York Times: "Events overseas have undermined Democrats' strategy to tie their midterm prospects to an economic theme that includes calls for a higher minimum wage, reducing income inequality, pay equity for women and help with college tuition. Instead, the public and Congress have been overwhelmed this summer by a border crisis, an Ebola outbreak in Africa and, most notably, the terrorist threat from the Islamic State, also known by the acronym ISIS."

"Democrats, pointing to President Obama's effectiveness in drawing an economic contrast with the Republican Mitt Romney in 2012 and to the 2006 midterm races in which they took over the House and the Senate, still believe the strategy is sound."




Biden Kicks Off Voter Drive in Iowa

Vice President Joe Biden "will help kick off a 10-state voter turnout tour for a liberal group called 'Nuns on the Bus' today with an outdoor event on the west terrace of the Iowa Capitol," the Des Moines Register reports.

"For the nation's first Catholic vice president, this is a chance to attach himself with religious leaders who embrace a message on economic equality that syncs with his soul... Still, this is Iowa. The political implications are ever-present."




September 16, 2014


Grimm Leads in Re-Election Bid

A new Sienna College poll in New York's 11th congressional district finds Rep. Michael Grimm (R), despite being under federal indictment, is locked in a tight battle against challenger Domenic Recchia (D), 44% to 40%.




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