Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Three Weeks To Go

Idea for a new TV series – CSI:GOP. Each week our crack team of Federal investigators, with at least one hot woman and one moody actor included, raids a Republican Congressman’s office or home in search of clues for corruption. It doesn’t contain murders (yet), but basic bribery, luxury yachts, and illicit sex abound. This week’s episode features Rep. Curt Weldon (D-PA), 10-term congressman and member of Republican leadership. Federal agents raided his daughter Karen’s home in search of evidence because she received nearly a million dollars in lobbying and consulting contracts from two Russian companies and two Serbian brothers linked to Slobodan Milosevic. It seems daddy helped these guys between 2002 and 2004 while Karen was getting rich. Weldon is in a close race in PA and this could well tip it.
The GOP internal polling seems to reflect what I talked about last week, that several key Senate races are slipping away from them. They have reportedly decided to move their national dollars away from DeWine in Ohio and focus on MO and TN. They are going to try a $500,000 ad buy in NJ, to see if they can turn things around there – that isn’t as big as it sounds, since NJ requires ads in the NY and Philadelphia media markets. If it doesn’t work, they’ll pull the plug there too. And then there’s VA, where they are looking nervously at Allen’s slippage and planning to toss more money into that race. Their whole strategy now is to hold onto a majority somewhere, even if it means cutting bait on some incumbents.

House: Things are looking worse for the Republicans as Bush’s approval ratings continue to slide, the Baker Iraq Study Group’s report is leaked, and corruption scandals abound. You can localize races just so much and people are truly souring on these guys. More and more races are coming back into play – add J.D. Hayworth’s seat in AZ and Brian Bilbray in CA to the list, with any number of others possible. The GOP is going to circle the wagons and try to hold on to a slim majority. The Dems will try and reach the magic number of 15, and once they think they have that, attack everywhere. The GOP get out the vote strength shouldn’t be underestimated, but considering how dispirited many of their voters are, they may need to get them to the polls at gunpoint. Fortunately for them, they have lots of gun owners in their midst.


RI- No new polls here, but this is one of the states the GOP is bailing on. Chaffee could still come back, but is bucking a bad atmosphere.

NJ- It still is close enough for Kean to come back, but he’s bucking the trend, which has been steadily toward Menendez and the GOP is less than enthusiastic about his chances. They’ll make one small effort to turn this around, then give Kean a hearty handshake and a copy of Karl Rove’s book.

VA- Last week I said I wanted to see some post-scandal numbers here and now they’re out. Rasmussen dropped Allen’s margin from 49-43 to 49-46, and the Washington Post poll has it at 49-47. The GOP is planning on spending money here, but considering the huge advertising advantage Allen has had so far, it’s hard to imagine extra ad buys helping. In fact, Webb’s advertising is just starting and the lesser money the Dems toss in here could be more effective than the GOP’s. That said, there are remarkably few undecideds left and with the exception of the 9/27 Mason-Dixon poll (the only one where Allen wasn’t leading), Allen has been between 48 and 50%, leaving Webb little margin for error. Again, the GOP organization should be key to getting out the vote and while this race is alive, I am not as optimistic as I’d like to be.

TN- Two polls this week: Rasmussen has Ford up 48-46, SUSA has Corker up 48-46. That’s about as much a toss-up as you would want to see. If I had to bet on this one, I’d bet on Corker. Corker has the GOP money pouring in, the GOP organization pulling the vote, and history tells us that black candidates tend to outpoll their actual vote. Still, three weeks is an eternity in elections and anything could happen here.

MO- There are three polls that have shown up this week which are a little tricky to analyze. There’s an SUSA poll with McCaskill up by 9 – that sounds great but there’s a statistical anomaly in there. There was an extreme imbalance in voters who said they were Democrats and SUSA doesn’t correct for that. I would take that poll with a grain of salt until I see it validated by at least a repeat SUSA set of numbers. There was a Bennett, Petts, and Blumenthal poll that had McCaskill up by 5, but they’re a Democratic polling organization and we are dubious of positive polls of that type. The latest Rasmussen poll has Tallent up by 1 – which I think takes us back to where we’ve always been here, toss-up land.

OH- This one appears to be over. DeWine has a problem other GOP incumbents don’t have. The Republican party is in complete disrepute in Ohio and it is taking them down across the state. Strickland has a 14 point lead for Governor and several incumbent Congressman are also in danger of going down. This, of course, is two years too late, but better late than never.

MT- Latest Rasmussen poll has Tester up by 6 and the GOP is bailing here. Burns just hasn’t gotten any traction and it would be a big surprise if he pulled this out.

This week the ad wars heat up and the ground war begins, with phone banks, mailers, and absentee ballots. Hang tight, election night will be big.


Blogger samG said...

The writer of Tempting Faith was all over the airwaves yesterday with the message that the Bushies don't care very much for the ultra-right whose votes they covet. Maybe this will keep a few more evangelicals home.

11:08 AM  
Blogger samG said...

Rasmussen has Dewine down 46-41 in their latest poll.

11:28 AM  
Blogger Barry Rubinowitz said...

Rasmussen's on the down side of the margin of error -- that race is over.

1:08 PM  

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