Politics & Policy

Tuesday Morning Tidbits

• Republicans continue to lead Democrats in a generic ballot matchup, according to the latest Gallup poll. Among registered voters, the GOP leads 48 percent to 43 percent. That margin is even greater among likely voters, depending on turnout estimates:

If the elections were held today and roughly 40% of voters turned out — a rate typical in recent years — Gallup’s Oct. 7-17 polling suggests Republicans would win 56% of the vote — 8 points greater than their support from registered voters, and 17 points ahead of Democrats, at 39%. If turnout is significantly higher, Republicans would receive 53% of the vote (a 5-point improvement over their registered-voter figure), and the Democrats, 42%.

• A closer look at the “Googlebomb” campaign initiated by Daily Kos.

• You won’t hear any Democrats whine about it, but Big Labor is spending heavily on the midterms, and being pretty sneaky about it:

It’s unclear exactly how much money labor leaders are investing in the 2010 midterms because some won’t say how much they’ve budgeted for the political season and none have to disclose the costs of their core and most expensive political mission: getting their own members to the polls.

Still, anecdotal data suggest it will be a very significant sum. For instance, SEIU’s political budget is $44 million, Youngdahl said, and an American Federation of State, County and Municipal Workers spokesman said its campaign budget is $55 million. So that’s two unions and nearly $100 million.

SEIU has spent $14 million on ads and has become a major contributor to some of the newly created Democratic groups, including $650,000 it gave to two groups that was disclosed in Federal Election Commission reports Monday.

• A CBS News poll found that of the Americans who voted for Obama in 2008, only two-thirds said they will vote for the Democrats in 2010, while 8 percent of those voters said that would back Republicans this year; 21 percent said “it depends.”

Politico examines the ever-expanding political landscape. The GOP has now put 99 Dem-held seats in play, more than double the amount needed to gain a majority in the House.

Senate:

Politico checks in on the 10 most competitive Senate races.

KY — Rand Paul says has not “fully decided” whether he will attend the final Senate debate next week. Paul was outraged at his opponent Jack Conway’s latest attack ad that appears to question his Christian faith. A number of Democrats have criticized as showing poor judgment, and worry it has backfired. “We haven’t fully decided, but I’m not sure I’ll appear in public with someone who is going to question my religion,” Paul told reporters after an event Monday.

WA — Dino Rossi edged Sen. Patty Murray in third quarter fundraising, pulling in more than $4 million between July 29 and Sept. 30, leaving his campaign with $3.5 million cash on hand heading into November. Murray reported raising $3 million and $1.2 in the bank.

The Yakima-Herald Republic endorsed Dino Rossi, writing that his “pragmatic conservatism offers [the] right path.” This is the first time in Murray career that she has not received the paper endorsement. It is as much a repudiation of Democratic leadership as it is of Murray personally:

We note the Democrats, with control of the presidency and both house of Congress, have had two years to institute “pay as you go” but haven’t. We also note the 1990s saw a split government, with a Democratic president and a Republican Congress. That forced them to listen to each other and work together. That could happen again with a Democratic administration and pragmatic Republicans like Rossi if the GOP gains control of either house of Congress.

Voters may not think along the strategic lines of a split government, opting more for the candidate who reflects their views. Rossi, his past vote totals show, reflects the views of a clear majority in largely conservative Central Washington. This state is fortunate in having two strong candidates who articulate contrasting visions for this country; of those two, Dino Rossi’s has the edge.

• Commonsense Ten, a Democratic super PAC, will spend more than $1 million to run a new ad attacking Dino Rossi for his ties to lobbyists. “There’s an old saying, Dino, you lie down with dogs, you get up with fleas,” says the ad’s narrator. An interesting move, given recent allegations surrounding Sen. Patty Murray’s cozy, mutually beneficial relationship with the lobbying industry (more here):

Andrew Stiles — Andrew Stiles is a political reporter for National Review Online. He previously worked at the Washington Free Beacon, and was an intern at The Hill newspaper. Stiles is a 2009 ...

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