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Midterm Roundup: Hagan Hanging On In North Carolina

Here are some interesting stories on the midterm campaigns that you may have missed on Monday, October 20:

• Senator Kay Hagan (D-NC) continues to lead Republican Thom Tillis by 3 percent, according to a Public Policy Polling survey released Monday. The poll marks the third consecutive month in which PPP has found Hagan ahead by 3 or 4 percent. The incumbent Democrat is up just 1.2 percent in the Real Clear Politics poll average, but she has led in nearly every public poll since the summer.

• Despite Senator Hagan’s consistent lead, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee is not relenting on its expensive campaign to discredit Tillis. The group’s latest effort is a TV attack ad blasting the Republican’s “horrifying” record on women’s health.

• The National Republican Senatorial Committee may have given up on Michigan Republican Terri Lynn Land’s Senate campaign, but the Michigan GOP is still airing ads on her behalf. It’s not going well. Their latest effort, titled “Gary Peters Loan Sharknado,” is about as awful as the name suggests — and seems extremely unlikely to turn the tide of the race, which Land trails by 9 percent in the poll average.

• A new KHOU-TV/Houston Public Media poll of Texas’ gubernatorial race finds Republican Greg Abbott pulling away from Democrat Wendy Davis. Abbott is up 47 to 32 percent in the poll, and has opened up a 12.3 percent lead in the poll average. Despite Democrats’ lofty hopes, it appears that Texas isn’t ready to turn blue quite yet.

• And this seems extremely unlikely to help Senator Pat Roberts’ (R-KS) efforts to convince voters that he hasn’t lost touch with Kansas: The senator’s website features images of a field that is supposed to represent the Sunflower State — but is actually located in Ukraine.

Photo: Third Way via Flickr

Midterm Roundup: The Worst Attack Ad Of The Year?

Here are some interesting stories on the midterm campaigns that you may have missed on Thursday, October 9:

• If Democrat Wendy Davis is going to lose Texas’ gubernatorial election, she’s going to lose ugly. On Friday, her campaign released a vicious ad invoking Republican nominee Greg Abbott’s partial paralysis to attack him as a hypocrite, causing Abbott’s campaign to angrily accuse Davis of reaching a “historic low.” Abbott leads by 11.3 percent in the Real Clear Politics poll average.

• A new set of New York Times/CBS News/YouGov polls finds that Democrats are making gains in gubernatorial races across the country. Democratic candidates now lead the races in Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Maine — all of which currently have Republican governors — and are within striking distance in several other states, including Wisconsin.

• Iowa’s Senate race remains one of the closest in the nation. A new Lukens Company poll finds Democrat Bruce Braley barely leading Republican Joni Ernst, 39 to 38 percent; 21 percent remain undecided, suggesting that the race could still tip either way. Ernst leads by 1.5 percent in the poll average.

• For the past week, New Hampshire’s Senate race has been dominated by debate over Democratic senator Jeanne Shaheen’s claim that her Republican opponent, Scott Brown, “co-sponsored legislation to let employers deny women coverage for birth control.” Brown has vociferously denied the charge, leading PolitiFact to weigh in on the claim. Their verdict: True.

• And how can you tell that Independent candidate Larry Pressler is a legitimate force in South Dakota’s unpredictable Senate race? Both Democrats and Republicans are suddenly lashing out at his longshot campaign.

Screenshot: YouTube

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Poll Roundup: Does Wehby Have A Chance In Oregon?

As the 2014 midterm elections draw closer, pollsters across the country will begin releasing masses of data and their predictions of who will control the House of Representatives, the Senate, and statehouses across the country. We’ll put those predictions in focus and provide a brief summary of key polls. Here’s our roundup from the week of June 8:

Oregon
Republicans hoped that that Dr. Monica Wehby, their nominee for U.S. Senate in Oregon, could provide a serious challenge to incumbent Democrat Jeff Merkley. About five months before Election Day, however, that is beginning to seem unlikely.

On Tuesday, SurveyUSA released a poll finding Merkley crushing Wehby, 50 to 32 percent. Merkley leads Wehby among every key demographic group, and — perhaps most troubling for Republicans — the Affordable Care Act does not seem to be hurting his numbers. Wehby has largely centered her campaign around the health care law, blasting Merkley as “the deciding vote” on the law she calls “an unmitigated disaster.” According to SurveyUSA, however, these attacks are barely landing.

The ACA will be a major factor, 48 percent of voters say, while 26 percent say it will be a minor factor and 24 percent say it won’t be a factor at all. Merkley leads among those latter groups 57 to 23 percent and 71 to 12 percent, respectively. Wehby’s lead among those for whom the law is a major factor is just 48 to 35 percent — hardly enough to swing the race.

Wehby insists that she is closer than the poll suggests; on Wednesday, she shared an internal poll showing her trailing Merkley by just 2 points.

Public polling paints a different picture, however. According to The Huffington Post’s poll average, Merkley has a 13 percent lead in the race.

Mississippi
Mississippi’s Republican primary for U.S. Senate is coming down to the wire, according to a poll released Saturday. The survey, which was conducted by Democratic pollster Chism Strategies, finds state senator Chris McDaniel leading six-term incumbent Thad Cochran by a 51 to 48 percent margin. McDaniel’s lead is just within the poll’s +/- 3.3 percent margin of error.

The pollster notes that McDaniel’s numbers have recovered since they dropped in the wake of his bizarre break-in scandal. Just 1.8 percent remain undecided, so whichever candidate is able to turn out its supporters is likely to win the June 23rd runoff.

Kentucky
Kentucky’s Senate race remains a dead heat, according to the latest survey. A newly released poll from Magellan Strategies, a Republican firm, finds Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes leading Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell by a 49 to 46 percent margin, with 5 percent undecided. Grimes’ 3-point lead is barely within the survey’s +/- 3.45 percent margin of error.

The poll is the latest in a long series of surveys suggesting that the two candidates are essentially deadlocked; McConnell leads Grimes by just over 1 percent in The Huffington Post’s poll average.

Texas
While Grimes is hanging tough in Kentucky, another rising Democratic star appears to be falling short in Texas.

A University of Texas/Texas Tribune poll released Monday finds that Texas attorney general Greg Abbott (R) leads Democratic state senator Wendy Davis 44 to 32 percent in the Lone Star State’s gubernatorial race — 17 percent are undecided.

The poll is the latest in a string of surveys to show Abbott comfortably ahead; he leads Davis by 14 percent in The Huffington Post’s poll average, and only one poll this year has shown the Democrat within single digits.

Davis’ campaign may be starting to feel the heat; on Wednesday, it replaced its campaign manager.

Screenshot: Monica For Congress/YouTube

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Texas GOP Leader: Women Should Close Gender Pay Gap By Negotiating Like Men

As the Republican Party celebrates the one-year anniversary of its 2012 “autopsy” report, one of its leaders in Texas has provided a timely reminder of just how far the party’s outreach efforts still have to go.

On Monday, Texas Republican Party executive director Beth Cubriel was asked about her party’s opposition to equal pay legislation, such as the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act and the proposed Paycheck Fairness Act. Cubriel offered the following response:

“Men are better negotiators,” Cubriel told Texas political show Capital Tonight. “I would encourage women, instead of pursuing the courts for action, to become better negotiators.”

Cubriel is the second Texas Republican in as many days to offer a supremely unhelpful answer on an equal pay question. On Sunday, Cari Christman — executive director of the RedState Women PAC —suggested in an interview that women are too “busy” to push for equal pay laws.

“If you look at it, women are extremely busy,” Cristman said in response to a question about how she would close the gender pay gap. “We lead busy lives, whether working professionally, whether working from home, and times are extremely busy. It’s a busy cycle for women, and we’ve got a lot to juggle. So when we look at this issue we think, what’s practical? And we want more access to jobs. We want to be able to get a higher education degree at the same time we’re working or raising a family.”

According to a new report from the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, the ratio of women’s to men’s median weekly full-time earnings was 82.1 percent in 2013, and has barely changed over the past decade.

Equal pay laws have become a flashpoint in Texas’ gubernatorial race between Democratic state senator Wendy Davis and Republican attorney general Greg Abbott. Davis has repeatedly attacked Abbott for fighting against legislation to close the pay gap, and her campaign wasted little time in denouncing Cubriel for her comments on the issue.

“Greg Abbott’s allies’ defense of his opposition to equal pay for women is out of touch and offensive,” the statement from campaign spokeswoman Rebecca Acuna reads. “Texans deserve a governor like Wendy Davis, who will fight for economic fairness for all hardworking families instead of Gregg Abbott’s business-as-usual hostility to fair pay legislation.”

Abbott’s campaign has declined to comment on Cubriel’s theory.

H/T: The Huffington Post

Screenshot: YouTube