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Wisconsin and the Ryan Bounce

The race appears to be tightening for the Presidential election in Wisconsin. Or does it?

In the latest Marquette poll done in the state, Obama was only leading Romney 49%-46%, down from the 5-point lead he held in the same poll before the announcement of Paul Ryan as Romney’s running mate. At first glance, it would appear that the Badger State holds quite a bit of love for their hometown boy. Ryan starts off his honeymoon phase with a 41% favorability rating.

However, what’s more interesting to note is the extremely high percentage of those who hold an unfavorable view of the Congressman: 34%. This is the highest unfavorable rating for a running mate since the selection of Dan Quayle. And as all political analysts know this number always climbs higher as we get closer to Election Day.

How long will the brief Ryan bounce help Romney in the end? Our guess is not very.

Polling Data

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Poll: 60% of Michigan voters rate Snyder's performance poor or 'just fair'

A quick note about a poll just out today in Michigan: a poll released this morning by EPIC-MRA of Lansing, ranked Snyder's job performance as poor or "just fair" by 60% of voters, with 35% saying "poor." Seven in 10 voters rate Snyder's tax changes affecting individuals as "poor" or "only fair."

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AV Partners Sprinting to the Finish

We're only two weeks away from Election Day, and campaigns across the country are in their final sprint to the finish.

We've talked about how the path to victory for Democrats is through a strong ground game
this year, and unions are coming through.  Kevin Bogardus at The Hill
is reporting that labor unions are making their final campaign pushes to get out the vote on November 2nd, if not before then. The SEIU has spent $200,000 in the last week on billboards, direct mail, and radio ads, upping their spending total to $1.3 million since mid-September.  The spending was in support of several house candidates including Reps. John Boccieri, Mark Schauer, Betty Sutton, and Dina Titus.

"This election is a clear choice," said Teddy Davis, a SEIU spokesman. "One side wants to strengthen the middle class and put people back to work. The other side wants to turn Social Security over to Wall Street, end Medicare as we know it and abolish the minimum wage."

Bogardus also reports that AFSCME has spent $5.2 million in support of Democrats thus far.  They've supported not only Boccieri, Schauer, and Titus, by Reps. Kathy Dahlkemper and Steve Kagen as well. The American Federation of Teachers has spent over $430,000 on canvassing for Democrats in New Hampshire, Florida, and Pennsylvania.  Meanwhile the AFL-CIO and Working America have spent over half a million dollars on canvassing and report that over 5,000 canvassers have knocked on over 100,000 doors, distributed 17.5 million fliers and sent 14.5 millions pieces of direct mail.

What are the results of this late push? We won't know for sure until Election Day, but early polling seems promising.  AFL-CIO Political Director Karen Ackerman told the Wall Street Journal that in Pennsylvania, Joe Sestak has increased his lead among union members from 45-39% on Labor Day to a current 55-29% edge.  This comes on the heels of a PPP poll released this week that shows Sestak leading Pat Toomey 46-45%.

Finally, Darren Goode reports for The Hill that the League of Conservation purchased $250,000 in ad buys supporting House members who voted for the contentious "cap-and-trade" climate bill last year.  Goode reports that the LCV's recent ad buys push its independent expenditures up to $3 million for the cycle, nearly eclipsing the $3.3 million it spent during the 2008 election.  This cycle, the LCV has been especially supportive of several candidates including, Schauer, Boccieri, Titus, and Sen. Michael Bennet.  Furthermore, the LCV partnered with Vote Vets to make a $250,000 ad buy in support of Sestak's Senate bid.

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Progressive Candidates Gaining in Generic Ballot

Flashback about 6 weeks and think about the stories making news. At the end of August and the beginning of September, everyone was reporting about how conservative candidates could do no wrong and progressives could do no right. It was only a matter of time it seemed until control of Congress

The bad news for Democrats is that the ABC/Post poll still shows Republicans leading Democrats by a 49-43 margin in the generic ballot.  But as Andy Barr points out in Politico, the GOP lead was 13 points (53-40) a month ago when ABC/Post conducted the same generic ballot poll.

A closer look at the ABC/Post poll shows several more positive signs for Democrats including:

  • 36 % of respondents approve of Democrats compared to a 30% approval of Republicans
  • Respondents trust Democrats over Republicans by a 42-38 margin
  • Respondents also trust Democrats over Republicans in key issues areas; they lead by a 44-37 margin on the economy, 46-38 on health care, 39-34 on Afghanistan, and a whopping 50-34 on helping the middle class
  • 29% of respondants are less likely to vote for a Republican based on the GOP's Pledge to America, while only 23% of respondents are more likely to vote for a Republican based on the Pledge.

The ABC/Post poll is just one of several that have been released over the past week that show progressive candidates closing in on their conservative opponents.  Zogby shows Republicans leading by 5, Rasmussen shows Republicans leading by 3, Gallup shows Republicans and Democrats tied 46% apiece, and Newsweek even shows Democrats leading 48-43.


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Strickland Gaining Momentum in Ohio

Good news for Gov. Ted Strickland (D) in Ohio, as he may be peaking at the right time.

The latest poll numbers come via the Campaign for a Moderate Majority, which show Strickland leading Kasich 41%-40% in a poll of 600 likely voters conducted from September 25-27.

The poll is the fourth in a row to show Strickland closing the gap on Kasich, and the first showing Strickland ahead of the GOP candidate since the end of June. The CMM poll comes one day after a CBS/New York Times poll showed Strickland trailing just 43%-42%, and a Fox News poll showed him trailing 45%-43%.  On Sunday, a University of Cincinnati poll showed Kasich leading 49%-45%, and a CNN/Time poll showed Kasich ahead by a 51%-45% margin.

The CMM poll also shows better favorability numbers for Strickland.  Respondants had a 47%-43% favorability rating while a whopping 28% of respondants either had no opinion or didn't know enough about the incumbent governor as early voting began and just five weeks before Election Day.

Ohio is traditionally seen as one of the most important governors races this year because it is viewed by many as a barometer for the next Presidential election as a key swing state.  In addition, the governor of Ohio will be in the driver's seat controlling the redistricting process that will take place next year.  The Buckeye State is expected to lose multiple seats in the next round of redistricting.

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Primary Day in New Hampshire & Wisconsin

New Hampshire and Wisconsin mark the last two America Votes states to hold their primaries, and each have exciting races to watch.

The main storyline in New Hampshire has focused on the GOP Senate Race.  In recent weeks, Tea Party candidate Ovide Lamontagne has surged to challenge establishment and Sarah Palin-backed Kelly Ayotte, long considered the front runner and presumptive nominee.  Polls conducted in the last week by PPP and Magellan have seen Lamontagne close the gap to seven points and four points, respectively.  The winner of the primary will face outgoing Rep. Paul Hodes in what promises to be one of the most competitive Senate contests this November.  But as John Distaso writes for the New Hampshire Union-Leader, while the Senate race may be the big story in the Granite State, it's just one out of four competitive GOP primaries taking place today.

While it's mostly Republican races that are drawing headlines, Democrats remain keenly interested in their outcomes.  Along with the New Hampshire Senate contest, the GOP Senate contest in Delaware presents Republicans with a choice between an establishment candidate and a Tea Party candidate.  Like Lamontagne, Christy O'Donnell has surged late in a challenge to Rep. Mike Castle in the First State.  O'Donnell has drawn support in recent weeks from the Tea Party Express as well as Palin and Sen. Jim DeMint, who view Castle as too moderate.   In both New Hampshire and Delaware, many Democrats are rooting for an upset of Ayotte and Castle, who they view as less radical and more electable.  With Lamontagne and O'Donnell on the ballot, Democrats believe they have a better chance to win two crucial Senate seats. As DSCC chair Sen. Robert Menendez explains to the New York Times, "In a year where Republicans want these races to be all about Democrats, Republican nominees who have extreme positions help us make the contrasts we need to make."

While the Democratic side of the ballot may be quieter, the race to succeed Rep. Hodes in New Hampshire's 2nd Congressional District also promises to be very close.  The Democratic primary pits Katrina Swett, the daughter of wife of former Reps. Tom Lantos and Dick Swett, against attorney Ann McLane Kuster.  The race drew the attention of Politico reporter Alex Isenstadt as one of three races where progressive candidates have the opportunity to make hay.  Isenstadt writes that Kuster has received support from a broad range of progressive groups including AV partners EMILY's List and the League of Conservation Voters.

Finally in Wisconsin, Jason Stein for the Milwaukee Sentinel-Journal reports that state officials are expecting a record-high turnout for today's primary.  Leading the way is the GOP gubernatorial primary between Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker and former Rep. Mark Neumann, with the winner advancing to face Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett.  Also of note is the GOP Senate primary in which three Republicans, led by plastic manufacturer Ron Johnson, are vying to take on Sen. Russ Feingold in the general election.


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