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Senate polls today: CA CT FL KY NC NV OH PA VT RSS
Dem pickups: (None) GOP pickups: AR CO IL IN ND PA WI PDA

PW logo Obama Will Appoint Warren to Interim Post Portman Leads in Ohio Senate Race
Murray Maintains Lead in Washington Another Poll Shows Close Nevada Race
Whitman Breaks Spending Record Ayotte Holds Small Lead in New Hampshire

News from the Votemaster            

O'Donnell Defeats Castle in Delaware GOP Senatorial Primary     Permalink

In what is probably the biggest upset since David beat Goliath in the general election for King of Israel, unemployed gadfly and perpetual candidate Christine O'Donnell (R) defeated Rep. Michael Castle (R-DE) for the Republican Senate nomination yesterday by a margin of 53% to 47%. With this result, the Republicans' chances of taking the Senate have dropped very sharply as this "must win" seat is now virtually certainly a Democratic hold. O'Donnell got about 30,000 votes yesterday. By way of comparison, the last midterm Senate election in Delaware was in 2002 when 230,000 people showed up to vote, 135,000 of them voting for Democrat Joe Biden. The primary yesterday was closed, with only Republicans allowed to vote for O'Donnell or Castle. In the general election, those 135,000 Democrats also get to vote, so O'Donnell's chances against New Castle County Executive Chris Coons (D), are slim to nonexistent. Miles of videotape with every Republican leader in the country calling her a flake can be expected to resurface quickly in Coons' ads.

New Hampshire Too Close to Call     Permalink

The other top Senate primary yesterday was in New Hampshire, with Attorney General (and establishment favorite) Kelly Ayotte (R) who is facing lawyer and (tea party favorite) Ovide Montagne and also wealthy (but moderate) businessman Bill Binnie. With 85% of the precincts reporting, Ayotte was ahead by 979 votes with Binnie a distant third, despite heavy TV advertising and a budget easily double the other two candidates had together. The absentee ballots have not been counted here yet and could determine the winner. New Hampshire law allows for recounts and with the race this close, a recount is likely.

Paladino Beats Lazio, for GOP Gubernatorial Nomination in New York     Permalink

In a stunning--but otherwise unimportant--event, Buffalo multimillionaire and tea party favorite Carl Paladino upset the establishment favorite, former representative Rick Lazio and was nominated to run for governor of New York against state Attorney General Andrew Cuomo (D), son of former New York goveror Mario Cuomo. Paladino has been caught sending racist jokes and pornography in emails and has espoused housing welfare recipients in prisons where they could be taught hygiene. This goes far beyond what most tea party candidates have been saying. Paladino has also made antisemitic remarks about assembly speaker Sheldon Silver (who is Jewish). All polls show that Cuomo could crush any Republican so Paladino's win doesn't actually matter in any real sense, other than to add some spice to what would otherwise be a dull race. Also both of the Democratic Senate candidates, Kirsten Gillibrand and Chuck Schumer are completely safe. With such power at the top of the ticket, Democrats now have a lot of help hanging onto marginal House districts such as NY-13, NY-19, NY-20, and NY-23.

Rangel Beats Powell in in New York     Permalink

Adam Clayton Powell IV (D), son of ethically challenged congressman Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. wasn't able to wrangle enough votes to beat ethically challenged Harlem congressman Charlie Rangel (D-NY) yesterday. Rangel won 51% to 24%, despite his recently having been formally charged by the House ethics committee of ethics violations. Democrats were hoping to get rid of this embarrassment at the polls, but now they will have to deal with him some more. Rangel defeated Powell's father in a primary in 1970 and has been in Congress ever since.

Many Contested House Primaries in New York State     Permalink

Democrats currently control 27 of New York's House sets and Republicans are chomping at the bit to take back a number of them. However, there were hotly contested primaries in many districts. In one particularly nasty contest, wealthy businessman Randy Altschuler (R) in NY-01 won the right to take on Rep. Tim Bishop (D-NY) in this Long Island district.

In NY-23, where the Republicans shot themselves in the foot by not supporting their own candidate, Dede Scozzafava, in the special election last year, leading to the election of a Democrat (Bill Owens) for the first time since the Civil War in this upstate district, wealthy businessman Matt Doheny (R) won the Republican primary. However, Doug Hoffman, who drove Scozzafava out of the race last time, is still on the ballot on the Conservative Party line, so we have another three-way race. Only this time, the Republican is self funding and will not drop out no matter what.

In other upstate races, Rep. Scott Murphy (D-NY), who won Kirsten Gillibrand's seat in NY-20 when she was appointed to the Senate, will face Army veteran Christopher Gibson in what is expected to be a tough race. In NY-29, Corning mayor Tom Reed (R) is the heavy favorite to beat veteran Matt Zeller for the seat opened up by the when Eric Massa resigned from the House after a sex scandal. Rep. Mike Arcuri (D-NY) will face Richard Hanna (R) in NY-24. In NY-13, which was a regular three-ring circus in 2008, former FBI agent and businessman Michael Grimm (R) won the right to take on Rep. Mike McMahon (D-NY) in the only New York City district where Republicans have any chance at all.

There was also one Democratic primary of note, in NY-14. Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) crushed hedge fund attorney Resma Saujani (D), who ran on a pro-Wall St., pro-bank, pro-hedge-fund platform in this wealthy district full of Wall Streeters, bankers, and hedge funders. Maloney will be reelected easily.

O'Donnell's Win Could Start a Civil War within the GOP on Nov. 3     Permalink

If the Democrats hold the Senate with around 51 or 52 seats, in part because they won in Delaware, Nevada, and Colorado, all states the Republicans could easily have won, a civil war is going to break out on the first day of the 2012 campaign (Nov. 3, 2010). The GOP leadership is going to be saying to the tea partiers something like: You idiots, we want your votes, just not your dumbass candidates who lose." The tea partiers will respond with: "If you ran real conservatives, we could win, but you run fake Democrats everywhere. It's your own fault." It will get extremely nasty. Count on it.

The Republicans now have a Nader problem in spades. Remember how in 2000, 93,000 people in Florida voted for Ralph Nader, figuring that if Bush won that would force the Democrats to realize that unless they moved far to the left they were toast? Now the Republicans have the same problem, but worse. The tea party is far better established within the Republican Party than Nader was within the Democratic Party--in fact, he wasn't even part of the party, whereas tea partiers are the official Republican candidates in more than half a dozen states. The intramural battle that will play out will divert a lot of attention from the 2012 campaign. If Sarah Palin or Mike Huckabee decides to run against the establishment favorite, Mitt Romney, we are likely to see a rematch of the bitter primaries of 2010, in which the newly empowered tea party wing of the party is at odds with the big business wing. The battle will dwarf the Obama-Clinton contests of 2008 because Obama and Clinton didn't actually disagree on anything whereas, say, Palin and Romney disagree on a whole lot of things,starting with whether it is better to have a smaller, but purer, party or a larger, but less pure, one.

Today's Polls: CA CT FL KY NC NV OH PA VT CA-19 CA-20 NV-03     Permalink

We have many Senate and House polls today. One note, however, is this. Pollster Scott Rasmussen, who pioneered robopolling, has now set up a company, Pulse Opinion Research, through which anybody with $2500 can now run his or her own poll using his technology. Fox News has availed itself of this low-budget alternative. The polls listed below (order by Fox) are credited to Pulse Opinion Research, but use the same demographic and likely voter models as Rasmussen's own polls. It's basically a way to let candidates and interested parties run polls in a highly automated and cheap way. Of course, Rasmussen biases, for better or worse, will be present in these polls as well, so they should be regarded like the "branded" Rasmussen polls.

New Senate Polls

State Democrat D-pct Republican R-pct Ind. I-pct Start End Pollster
California Barbara Boxer* 46% Carly Fiorina 44%     Sep 11 Sep 11 Pulse Opinion Research
California Barbara Boxer* 48% Carly Fiorina 46%     Sep 10 Sep 12 SurveyUSA
Connecticut Richard Blumenthal 51% Linda McMahon 45%     Sep 08 Sep 12 Quinnipiac U.
Florida Kendrick Meek 21% Marco Rubio 43% Charlie Crist 27% Sep 11 Sep 11 Pulse Opinion Research
Kentucky Jack Conway 42% Rand Paul 49%     Sep 11 Sep 12 PPP
North Carolina Elaine Marshall 34% Richard Burr* 58%     Sep 10 Sep 13 SurveyUSA
Nevada Harry Reid* 44% Sharron Angle 45%     Sep 11 Sep 11 Pulse Opinion Research
Nevada Harry Reid* 46% Sharron Angle 44%     Sep 08 Sep 08 Mason Dixon
Nevada Harry Reid* 46% Sharron Angle 44%     Sep 10 Sep 12 IPSOS
Nevada Harry Reid* 48% Sharron Angle 48%     Sep 13 Sep 13 Rasmussen
Ohio Lee Fisher 40% Rob Portman 49%     Sep 10 Sep 13 SurveyUSA
Ohio Lee Fisher 41% Rob Portman 48%     Sep 11 Sep 11 Pulse Opinion Research
Ohio Lee Fisher 41% Rob Portman 49%     Sep 13 Sep 13 Rasmussen
Pennsylvania Joe Sestak 41% Pat Toomey 47%     Sep 11 Sep 11 Pulse Opinion Research
Vermont Pat Leahy* 62% Len Britton 32%     Sep 13 Sep 13 Rasmussen

New House Polls

Cong. Distr. Democrat D-pct Republican R-pct I-pct Start End Pollster
CA-19 Lorraine Goodwin 30% Jeff Denham 63%     Sep 10 Sep 13 SurveyUSA
CA-20 Jim Costa* 48% Andy Vidak 46%     Sep 10 Sep 12 SurveyUSA
NV-03 Dina Titus* 47% Joe Heck 43%     Sep 08 Sep 08 Mason Dixon

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Sep14 Today's Polls: GA WA IL-17 NV-03
Sep14 Delaware Republican Senatorial Primary Today
Sep14 New Hampshire Republican Senatorial Primary Today
Sep14 Other Primaries Today
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Sep13 New House Table Available
Sep13 O'Donnell Leads Castle in Delaware
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