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October 31, 2014

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%.

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%.

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."

What If No One Challenges Hillary?

Peter Hamby: "Democrats of all stripes, including Clinton allies, have predicted for months that the former Secretary of State -- who was campaigning for midterm candidates in Iowa on Wednesday -- will face some kind challenge in the race for the Democratic nomination if she decides to run. The prospect of a Clinton campaign seems more likely with each passing day."

"But with the presidential race set to lurch into gear after next week's midterm elections and no clear alternative to Clinton emerging, there are questions about whether she will be the sole candidate on the ballot."

Dead Heat in New Hampshire

A new American Research Group poll in New Hampshire finds Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D) and Scott Brown (R) are tied at 49% each in the U.S. Senate race.

Bonus Quote of the Day

"The Republican Party brand sucks and so people don't want to be a Republican."

-- Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), quoted by CNN.

Arizona Democrats Promote Libertarian Candidate

Arizona Republic: "Democrats are mailing campaign fliers featuring a Libertarian candidate to conservative voters in a competitive Phoenix congressional race. The effort could help U.S. Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) stay in office."

Political Reporters Not a Factor Anymore

Joe Klein: "It may be too much to ask that we journalists stop trying to do what we do worst -- predicting the outcomes of races -- and start doing what we should do best: hounding the candidates into specific answers on difficult questions. My sense this year has been that most politicians now assume that the vexing need to deal with journalists is pretty much over, unless they commit a mouth misdemeanor or something unseemly emerges about their past."

Ad Spending Tops $1 Billion

Wesleyan Media Project: "Spending on television ads in federal and gubernatorial races in the 2013-14 election cycle has now topped $1 billion, with an estimated $1.19 billion spent from January 1, 2013 to October 23, 2014. That spending paid for over 2.2 million ad airings."

Cotton Opens Up Huge Lead in Arkansas

A new University of Arkansas poll finds Tom Cotton (R) leading Sen. Mark Pryor (D) in the U.S. Senate race by a wide margin, 49% to 36%.

Newspaper Endorses Indicted Congressman

Staten Island Advance: "On one side is the sometimes hot-headed Republican incumbent who is facing a 20-count federal indictment. On the other is a career Brooklyn Democratic pol, who, term-limited out of his high-ranking post in the City Council, thought about other city offices before he settled on the idea of the job representing in Congress a borough he knows little about, his claims of deep ties here notwithstanding."

"That's the choice voters have. And that's the choice we have in making an endorsement in a race that could not be much uglier."

"That choice for us is Michael Grimm. Surprisingly, if a choice is to be made, Mr. Grimm should be that choice, even under these circumstances."

Will Joe Biden Run in 2016?

Politico: "Most of the time, it's not so hard to tell what Biden's thinking -- he's just said it. But even his inner circle doesn't seem to know where his head is on 2016 -- whether he is actually going to get in the game or stay on the sidelines, dreaming of his glory days."

"Throughout the midterms, he has been helping out candidates all over the country. It's not clear to anyone, though, that there's been the kind of strategy to help himself he'd need if he were serious about a White House run."

Bad Sign for Democrats

Wonk Wire: Narrow edge in partisanship Is bad election sign for Democrats

Udall Trailing in Colorado

A new Quinnipiac poll in Colorado finds Cory Gardner (R) leading Sen. Mark Udall (D) by seven points in the U.S. Senate race, 46% to 39%.

Lots of Suspense Heading Into Election Day

New York Times: "Washington's bad habit these days is nail-biting as the two parties nervously execute their midterm endgames and try to navigate the path to power. But political players and election watchers might want to take a moment to savor the uncertainty."

"Five days before the 2014 election and after $4 billion in spending, we still don't know for certain what's going to happen next Tuesday - or beyond... At least six states in the struggle for control of the Senate - Alaska, Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, North Carolina and New Hampshire - remain truly up for grabs with runoffs likely in Georgia and Louisiana. Nearly a dozen governor's races are within the polling margin of error."

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