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House Dem 201   GOP 200   Ties 34

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strong Dem Strong Dem (48)
weak Dem Weak Dem (1)
barely Dem Barely Dem (2)
tied Exactly tied (0)
barely GOP Barely GOP (4)
weak GOP Weak GOP (5)
strong GOP Strong GOP (40)
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Senate polls today: AK AZ CT DE FL IL NV OH WA WI WV RSS
Dem pickups: (None) GOP pickups: AR CO IN NV ND PA WV WI PDA

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Feingold Trails in Yet Another Poll Murray Leads By Eight in Washington
West Virginia Race Tightens Is Cell Phone Bias Skewing Polls?

News from the Votemaster            

Joe Manchin as the Canary in the Coal Mine     Permalink

West Virginia is full of coal mines and two-term Gov. Joe Manchin (D-WV) is the canary in them. He is immensely popular, with a 68% approval and only 22% disapproval, figures most politicians can only dream of. He is running in the special election to replace the late Sen. Robert Byrd, who served in the Senate for 50 years. His opponent is John Raese (R), a rich Maryland-born businessman who lives in Florida but who has nevertheless run for office in West Virginia three times before and been decisively defeated all three times. Raese makes no bones about his money, saying that he got it the old-fashioned way: he inherited it. He wants to eliminate the estate tax permanently so everyone can inherit more money. While Americans often admire people who earned a fortune themselves (like Bill Gates or Warren Buffet), normally they don't like people who just inherited it. In addition, Raese wants to eliminate the minimum wage in this dirt-poor state. To top it off, the NRSC recently issued a casting call for hicky-looking actors.

So in a nutshell a popular governor is facing a rich businessman who lives out of state and has contempt for the residents of West Virginia and what do the polls show? They are running about even. Manchin got 70% and 64% of the vote on his two gubernatorial runs, respectively, and should be leading by 30% now instead of being roughly tied. If Democrats this popular and Republicans who fit their states as badly as Raese are about even, what's going to happen in contests with less-popular Democrats and better-quality Republicans? In Wisconsin, we may be seeing an example of that. There Russ Feingold (D-WI), who won his three Senate elections with 53%, 51%, and 55% of the vote, respectively, is trailing another rich plastics manufacturer, Ron Johnson (R), by about 10%. Normally rich businessmen running for governor or senator win about 10% of the time--it's tough to buy a top office, but this year it may happen more often, except where the candidate has messed up badly, as is the case with Meg Whitman, who had an illegal maid while denouncing people who hire illegal maids.

Angle Raises $14 Million in the Third Quarter     Permalink

Tea party senatorial candidate Sharron Angle (R) raised an unbelieveable $14 million from July to September. Only Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA), raised more ($14.2 million) in a comparable period in a Senate race. Most (96%) of the money came in donations of under $200, indicating a lot of grass roots support, presumably mostly from out of state. Her opponent, majority leader Harry Reid (D-NV), raised only $18 million during the entire cycle. Angle has not said how much she spent to raise the money or how much she has left, however. Still, television ads in Nevada are cheap and the state has only a handful of stations, so it is not clear how she could spend so much money in the remaining 3 weeks.

An Angle win could be a Pyrrhic victory for the Republicans, however. In the Nevada state Assembly there were many 41 to 1 votes, with Angle being the 1, so she could be very difficult to manage in the Senate, especially since she beat the establishment favorite, Sue Lowden, in the primary and owes Mitch McConnell and John Cornyn nothing. In addition, if the Democrats hold the Senate, however narrowly, the new majority leader will be either Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) or Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), both of whom are far more aggressive and uncompromising than the mild Reid.

DCCC Abandoning Many House Candidates     Permalink

Unlike Angle, who has more money than she can ever hope to spend, the DCCC has far less money than it needs to defend perhaps 50 House seats. As a consequence, it is effectively giving up on many House races in order to salvage others where it has a better chance. Among the candidates being abandoned are Suzanne Kosmas (FL-24), Betsy Markey (CO'04*), Kathy Dahlkemper (PA-03), Steve Driehaus (OH-01), and Chet Edwards (TX-17). It is also giving up on the open seats in TN-08 and IN-08. In two districts, DE-AL and LA-02, the DCCC has cancelled ads from a position of strength as they think they can win without any more ads.

Blue Dogs Will Need New Leadership     Permalink

The House Blue Dog Coalition of conservative Democrats is going to need new leadership in 2011 since its founder, John Tanner (D-TN) is retiring and many of its 54 members are in tough reelection battles. To a large extent, the size and power of the Blue Dogs is a result of Rahm Emanuel's strategy in 2006 of looking for conservatives who could win in rural, Republican-leaning districts. It worked and many won their races. Now it appears that the Blue Dogs will take the brunt of the 2010 Republican tsunami as their districts return to their normal Republican bent. A much smaller and leaderless Blue Dog Coalition is likely to have far less power in 2011 than it had in 2009. So ironically, although the Democrats are virtually certain to lose many seats in the House, the party's center of gravity will move to the left as the Blue Dogs are decimated.

Today's Polls: AK AZ CT DE FL IL NV OH WA WI WV CA-11 DE-AL NY-19 VA-05 WA-08     Permalink

New Senate Polls

State Democrat D-pct Republican R-pct I I-pct Start End Pollster
Alaska Scott McAdams 26% Joe Miller 35% Lisa Murkowski 33% Oct 09 Oct 10 PPP
Arizona Rodney Glassman 22% John McCain* 56%     Oct 01 Oct 10 Rocky Mtn Poll
Connecticut Richard Blumenthal 49% Linda McMahon 43%     Oct 09 Oct 09 Pulse Opinion Research
Delaware Chris Coons 54% Christine O'Donnell 38%     Oct 09 Oct 09 Pulse Opinion Research
Delaware Chris Coons 57% Christine O'Donnell 38%     Oct 08 Oct 11 Monmouth U.
Florida Kendrick Meek 21% Marco Rubio 44% Charlie Crist 33% Oct 09 Oct 10 PPP
Illinois Alexi Giannoulias 37% Mark Kirk 37%     Sep 30 Oct 10 Southern Illinois University
Illinois Alexi Giannoulias 44% Mark Kirk 43%     Oct 11 Oct 11 Rasmussen
Nevada Harry Reid* 47% Sharron Angle 45%     Oct 07 Oct 09 PPP
Nevada Harry Reid* 47% Sharron Angle 49%     Oct 09 Oct 09 Pulse Opinion Research
Ohio Lee Fisher 34% Rob Portman 57%     Oct 11 Oct 11 Rasmussen
Ohio Lee Fisher 35% Rob Portman 52%     Oct 09 Oct 09 Pulse Opinion Research
Washington Patty Murray* 46% Dino Rossi 47%     Oct 09 Oct 09 Pulse Opinion Research
Washington Patty Murray* 55% Dino Rossi 40%     Oct 07 Oct 11 Elway Poll
Wisconsin Russ Feingold* 43% Ron Johnson 45%     Oct 07 Oct 11 Fairbank Maslin
Wisconsin Russ Feingold* 44% Ron Johnson 51%     Oct 08 Oct 11 IPSOS
Wisconsin Russ Feingold* 45% Ron Johnson 52%     Oct 11 Oct 11 Rasmussen
West Virginia Joe Manchin 48% John Raese 45%     Oct 09 Oct 10 PPP

New House Polls

Cong. Distr. Democrat D-pct Republican R-pct I I-pct Start End Pollster
CA-11 Jerry McNerney* 42% David Harmer 48%     Oct 08 Oct 11 SurveyUSA
DE-AL John Carney 53% Glen Urquhart 44%     Oct 08 Oct 11 Monmouth U.
NY-19 John Hall* 42% Nan Hayworth 42%     Oct 06 Oct 06 Iona College
VA-05 Tom Perriello* 41% Robert Hurt 52%     Oct 08 Oct 11 SurveyUSA
WA-08 Suzan DelBene 46% Dave Reichert* 49%     Oct 09 Oct 10 PPP

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