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Senate polls today: AK CA CO DE FL KS KY MO NH NV NY OH OR PA WA WI iPhone RSS
Dem pickups: (None) GOP pickups: AR CO IL IN NV ND PA WI PDA

PW logo Very Tight for Connecticut Governor Scott Takes Lead in Florida
Down to the Wire in Ohio Quote of the Day
Crist Lobbied Meek to Exit Race Half of Democrats Think Obama Should Face Primary

News from the Votemaster            

Bush Tax Cuts May Still be an Issue in 2012     Permalink

Although the tax cuts pushed through Congress by former President George W. Bush are set to expire on Dec. 31, President Obama may have found a way to make them a campaign issue in 2012. His plan is to ask the lame-duck session of Congress that will convene after the election to make the middle-class tax cuts permanent but only temporarily extend the ones for people earning over $250,000 a year. By having those cuts come up for renewal in 2012, he could create a situation in which he is campaigining on reducing the deficit by allowing tax cuts for a tiny sliver of the population to revert to the levels they had during the Clinton administration and the Republicans are campaigning on something that would increase the deficit and help only the richest Americans.

Of course, the Republicans fully realize the consequences of his strategy, but if the Democrats in the lame-duck session of Congress (which is composed mostly of the current members, not the newly elected ones, except for a few states), propose this and they filibuster it in the Senate, all the tax cuts will expire and they will get the blame when everyone's taxes go up in January. On the other hand, the Democrats are likely to be so disheartened after taking a walloping on Tuesday, they may just cower under the table and give the Republicans whatever they want. But Obama, whose own interest is not necessarily the same as the congressional Democrats, might veto a bill making the upper-crust tax cuts permanent.

Meek Rejects Cross of Crist After Talking to Jews     Permalink

Sounds like a script written by a religious soap-opera screenwriter who isn't very good at spelling, no? But it actually happened. After Bill Clinton tried and failed to get Democratic senatorial candidate Kendrick Meek to drop out of the Senate race and support Gov. Charlie Crist, Crist himself tried it. He approached Meek and offered him his sister's cross and asked him to drop out so Republican Marco Rubio--once the longest of long shots, now the overwhelming favorite--would not be Florida's next senator. Meek humbly refused Crist's cross, saying his Christianty was in his heart. To make the irony complete, the encounter between Crist and Meek occurred while the latter was campaigning with a pro-Israel Jewish group in Hollywood, FL.

There are now reports that Crist would caucus with the Democrats if he wins on Tuesday. If Meek had taken up Clinton's offer or Crist's offer and dropped out, he would have become a hero to Democrats and undoubtedly have had a future in Democratic politics. By refusing, and possibly turning control of the Senate over to the Republicans, his political career is over. It is one thing to continue fighting a hopeless race when nothing you can do will change the outcome (say, a Democrat running for governor of Idaho), but it is something quite different to insist on staying in when by dropping out you could virtually guarantee your party stays in control of the Senate. If the Republicans take control Tuesday, there will be quite a bit of invective hurled at Meek.

Although it was not his original strategy, Clinton's intervention in the Florida race may still have diverted some votes from Meek to Crist, although probably not enough to matter. Interviews with some black Democrats lined up to vote indicate that many of them buy Clinton's argument that Meek is a lost cause and are voting for Crist because they want to prevent Rubio from winning at all costs.

160 Write-In Candidates Running in Alaska Senate Race     Permalink

In an attempt to foil the write-in campaign of Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) for senate, 160 supporters of Republican candidate Joe Miller have filed to run as write-in candidates themselves. The idea is to take advantage of the Alaska law saying that a vote counts if the "intent of the voter" can be determined. By creating confusion, Miller supporters hope to make the intent of some write-in votes the subject of court battles after the election. For example, the head of the Alaska Division of Elections has said that she would count a vote for "Lisa M." as a vote for Murkowski. But now someone has filed as "Lisa M. Lackey" so, if this is indeed the legal name of an Alaskan over 30, then a vote for "Lisa M." might be ruled as ambiguous and thus invalid. If the number of write-in votes exceeds the number of votes either Joe Miller (R) or Scott McAdams (D) gets, the election will surely end up in court.

Many Veteran Republicans Favored To Win Seats in Congress     Permalink

The media love fresh faces, so people like senatorial candiates Rand Paul (R), Sharron Angle (R), and Christine O'Donnell (R) get tons of publicity, but quite a few grizzled Republican politicians with long track records are running for office and expected to win. Gov. John Hoeven (R-ND) has been serving for 10 years and is a shoo-in to replace the retiring Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-ND). Rob Portman (R) spent 12 years in the House before becoming George Bush's budget director is also expected to win easily in Ohio. In Missouri, Roy Blunt (R), now in his seventh term in the House, is ahead in his quest for a promotion to the Senate. Arkansas Republican John Boozman, who is likely to defeat Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-AR) is no newcomer: he has served five terms in the House. In Illinois, Mark Kirk (R), now also in his fifth term in the House, is in a close battle with Illinois Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias (D). Although Pat Toomey (R) is not currently in the House, he served there six years, and is now in a neck-and-neck fight with Rep. Joe Sestak (D-PA) for the Senate in Pennsylvania. So despite all the attention to a few newbies, for the most part, many of the people likely to be hailed as "fresh faces" Wednesday morning aren't new at all.

Comedians To Hold Rally in D.C. Today     Permalink

Comedians Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert are holding rallies in D.C. today with the themes "Rally to Restore Sanity/March to Keep Fear Alive." While they deny their rallies are intended to counter conservative TV host Glenn Beck's "Rally to Restore Honor," they have copied the look and feel of Beck's event and are clearly trying to pep up Democrats in the face of much bad news of late. In a sense, this event can be seen as their personal "get-out-the-vote" operation. Since the Democrats' fate lies largely on how many of them show up to vote Tuesday, the event is clearly political, despite the organizers' protests to the contrary. Also, if the rally outdraws the Beck rally, it certainly has some public relations value.

It's the Hypocrisy, Stupid     Permalink

The American people are, by and large, fairly forgiving of politicians' sins if they come out and admit what they did was wrong and say they are sorry. For example, when former New York governor Eliot Spitzer (D) was confronted was news stories that he had hired expensive prostitutes, he admitted it and resigned from office. Now he is making a comeback as a TV host. When it came out that former governor of New Jersey Jim McGreevey (D) was gay and had an affair with an aide, he also resigned and the story died quickly.

But when politicians stonewall and deny everything and the story drips out bit by bit, there is little sympathy, especially when the politician's private behavior is the exact opposite of what the politician is campaigning on. One recent example is Meg Whitman (R), one of whose main promises if she is elected governor of California, is to crack down on employers who hire illegal aliens. Then it came out that she had employed an illegal alien in her own home for 9 years. Before this story broke, she was running even with Jerry Brown (D). Now she is down 7-10% and is almost certain to lose. It is very likely that her arrogance and hypocrisy did her in, rather than the behavior itself.

A second, and even more controversial example, is the case of Delaware senatorial candidate Christine O'Donnell (R). Her whole pitch in her run for the Senate has been her superior sexual morality. Then Gawker broke a story from a man who said she spent a night naked and drunk in his bed several years ago, despite the fact she barely knew him. He backed up the story with photos he took of her (fully dressed as a ladybug for Halloween). There was a great hue and cry from many quarters about how her privacy had been violated (although few of these people raised their voices when it was Monica Lewinsky's privacy that was being violated). Now Gawker has published a strong reply, basically saying that when a candidate for public office preaches a morality for everyone else but lives a life that repudiates this morality, than the candidate is a liar and the public deserves to know.

The issue of hypocrisy is intricately intertwined with partisanship and gender, which is what makes it so touchy. Democrats rarely run for office on a platform of "family values." They run saying they will tax the rich, create jobs, protect the environment, etc. In contrast, many Republicans make personal morality their touchstone, so when they violate their own definition of good behavior, it becomes newsworthy. A rich Democrat who supported taxing the rich would get a lot more flak for tax evasion than for cheating on his wife since he defined taxes as the big issue, not morality. The fact that O'Donnell is a woman accused of scandalous sexual behavior has gotten her defenders even from people like Meghan McCain, who recently said she was a nutjob. The implication is that if a man engages in improper sexual behavior, the media will leave him alone, despite much evidence to the contrary (see: Spitzer, McGreevey, Larry Craig, John Ensign, Eric Massa, Mark Sanford, Mark Foley, John Edwards, et al.) but when a woman does it, everyone unfairly gangs up on her.

Today's Polls: AK CA CO DE FL KS KY MO NH NV NY OH OR PA WA WI + 13 House polls     Permalink

New Senate Polls

State Democrat D % Republican R % I I % Start End Pollster
Alaska Scott McAdams 23% Joe Miller 27% Lisa Murkowski 37% Oct 23 Oct 28 Dittman Research
California Barbara Boxer* 49% Carly Fiorina 41%     Oct 14 Oct 26 Field Poll
California Barbara Boxer* 49% Carly Fiorina 45%     Oct 25 Oct 28 YouGov
Colorado Michael Bennet* 45% Ken Buck 49%     Oct 26 Oct 28 Marist Coll.
Delaware Chris Coons 51% Christine O-Donnell 41%     Oct 25 Oct 27 Monmouth U.
Florida Kendrick Meek 16% Marco Rubio 50% Charlie Crist 30% Oct 27 Oct 27 Rasmussen
Florida Kendrick Meek 18% Marco Rubio 42% Charlie Crist 31% Oct 25 Oct 28 YouGov
Florida Kendrick Meek 21% Marco Rubio 45% Charlie Crist 28% Oct 25 Oct 27 Mason Dixon
Florida Kendrick Meek 23% Marco Rubio 47% Charlie Crist 27% Oct 26 Oct 27 Sunshine State News
Kansas Lisa Johnston 26% Jerry Moran 66%     Oct 22 Oct 26 SurveyUSA
Kentucky Jack Conway 39% Rand Paul 47%     Oct 25 Oct 27 Braun Research
Kentucky Jack Conway 41% Rand Paul 53%     Oct 27 Oct 27 Rasmussen
Missouri Robin Carnahan 41% Roy Blunt 54%     Oct 20 Oct 27 Missouri State U.
New Hampshire Paul Hodes 41% Kelly Ayotte 56%     Oct 27 Oct 29 PPP
Nevada Harry Reid* 45% Sharron Angle 49%     Oct 25 Oct 27 Mason Dixon
New York Kirsten Gillibrand* 57% Joseph DioGuardi 33%     Oct 25 Oct 28 YouGov
Ohio Lee Fisher 40% Rob Portman 53%     Oct 25 Oct 28 YouGov
Oregon Ron Wyden* 57% Jim Huffman 32%     Oct 23 Oct 28 SurveyUSA
Pennsylvania Joe Sestak 44% Pat Toomey 50%     Oct 25 Oct 28 YouGov
Pennsylvania Joe Sestak 45% Pat Toomey 52%     Oct 26 Oct 28 Marist Coll.
Pennsylvania Joe Sestak 46% Pat Toomey 50%     Oct 28 Oct 28 Rasmussen
Washington Patty Murray* 47% Dino Rossi 47%     Oct 24 Oct 27 SurveyUSA
Washington Patty Murray* 49% Dino Rossi 45%     Oct 18 Oct 28 U. of Washington
Washington Patty Murray* 49% Dino Rossi 48%     Oct 26 Oct 28 Marist Coll.
Wisconsin Russ Feingold* 45% Ron Johnson 52%     Oct 26 Oct 28 Marist Coll.

New House Polls

CD Democrat D % Republican R % I I % Start End Pollster
CT-02 Joe Courtney* 57% Janet Peckinpaugh 38%     Oct 24 Oct 26 Merriman River Group
CT-03 Rosa DeLauro* 56% Larry Labriola 37%     Oct 24 Oct 26 Merriman River Group
CT-04 Jim Himes* 46% Dan Debicella 48%     Oct 24 Oct 26 Merriman River Group
CT-05 Chris Murphy* 46% Sam Caligiuri 47%     Oct 24 Oct 26 Merriman River Group
DE-AL John Carney 51% Glen Urquhart 44%     Oct 25 Oct 27 Monmouth U.
IN-02 Joe Donnelly* 48% Jackie Walorski 43%     Oct 20 Oct 22 EPIC MRA
KS-04 Raj Goyle 38% Mike Pompeo 54%     Oct 25 Oct 28 SurveyUSA
ME-01 Chellie Pingree* 41% Dean Scontras 45%     Oct 27 Oct 28 Critical Insights
ME-02 Mike Michaud* 44% Jason Levesque 40%     Oct 27 Oct 28 Critical Insights
MN-08 Jim Oberstar* 47% Chip Cravaack 46%     Oct 25 Oct 28 SurveyUSA
MO-04 Ike Skelton* 46% Vicky Hartzler 39%     Oct 20 Oct 27 Missouri State U.
RI-01 David Cicilline 42% John Loughlin 40%     Oct 23 Oct 27 Quest Research
RI-02 Jim Langevin* 54% Mark Zaccaria 19%     Oct 23 Oct 26 Quest Research
RI-02 Jim Langevin* 55% Mark Zaccaria 32%     Oct 29 Oct 29 Fleming and Assocs.

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Recent Headlines (clickable)

Oct29 Schumer and Durbin Ready To Do Battle if Reid Falls
Oct29 Enthusiasm Gap Narrows to 14%
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