Sunday, November 02, 2008

The Daily Blue America Report-- #9


Yesterday we looked at where our Blue America candidates are standing in the polls-- or at least at the races that have public polls. There are other ways to gage potential upsets. Last night the Wall Street Journal reported that Obama has probably already won in Nevada based on early voting and CBS News reported what is looking more and more like a massive landslide against McCain and, more important, against the Republican philosophy of governance he represents.
With just three days left until Election Day, a new CBS News poll finds that the Democratic presidential ticket of Barack Obama and Joe Biden leads its Republican counterpart by 13 points among likely voters, 54 percent to 41 percent. That margin reflects an increase of two points in the Obama-Biden ticket's lead from a CBS News/New York Times poll released Thursday.

About one in five voters say they have already cast their vote, either in person or through the mail, and these early voters prefer the Democratic ticket by an even greater margin. Obama leads among early voters 57 percent to 38 percent, a nineteen point advantage.

There is every reason to believe-- or even just 3 reasons to believe (in 3 special elections in 3 red districts of Illinois, Louisiana and Mississippi)-- that a landslide of that magnitude is bound to prove once again that the prognosticators and pundits are drastically underestimating Obama's coattails. What will Obama coattails do for Blue America candidates?

Let's take a look and go through them alphabetically. In Maine Susan Collins is substantially ahead of Tom Allen, even though McCain's average poll number there is only 36.5%. The race is not tightening there and, in fact, McCain has been losing a lot of ground for the last month, primarily because of the negative tenor of his campaign. More than 10% of Mainers are still undecided and even if every single one of them broke for McCranky, he'd still lose. And trend lines show that far more of them will break for Obama. It probably isn't enough to put Tom over the top. Mainers have bought into the patently false Susan The Moderate meme and the Allen campaign steadfastly refused to go negative against her, even when GOP front groups started shoveling the smears nonstop against him. Her margin is stable and a best case scenario will hold her to single digits.

Way on the other side of the country Mark Begich is having a much easier time helping Alaskans retire their convicted felon senior senator. Every poll this year -- with the exception of GOP polls-- has shown Begich ahead and after the unanimous guilty verdicts on 7 counts last week, his margin of victory shot high into the double digits. Obama is lucky to be breaking 40% in the one non-former slave holding state where Palin is a plus. Kerry only drew 36% four years ago. Although Alaska's other grotesquely corrupt member of Congress, Rep. Don Young has been closing the gap between himself and Democrat Ethan Berkowitz, the last 16 polls all show him losing, the most recent by 9 points. (Don't get too excited. Berkowitz has a penchant for corruption and is a Rahm Emanuel puppet who bragged to the L.A. Times that he "can't wait to go to Washington, D.C., and tell Nancy Pelosi that she's wrong about ANWR.")

There is no public polling data for PA-15, the Lehigh Valley so no one has a real handle on how Sam Bennett will fare against ineffectual rubber stamp Charlie Dent. Democratic registration numbers are way up-- nearly 60,000 over the Republicans now and enthusiasm for Obama and Biden is tremendous. Two days ago Biden campaigned for Sam in the district and yesterday it was Pennsylvania Senator Bob Casey's turn. “Sam’s got a good combination of business experience, she is a wife and mother, and she’s got good ideas. We could use more of that in Congress,” said Sen. Casey. “Sam’s a great candidate because she is so focused on the issues as well as solutions, the likes of which don’t you see on any campaign, especially for Congress. I’m looking forward to seeing Sam Bennett in the House of Representatives.”

The race for the seat John Doolittle has been forced to give up has been a tough seesaw battle between an outstanding Democrat from the district, Charlie Brown, and a sleazy extremist from southern California. The district was gerrymandered to be very Republican and it is amazing that the race is too close to call, although the two most recent Research 2000 polls show Charlie up 5 and 6 points. I know the DCCC managed to put aside $2,000,000 for some last-minute airtime so I'm hoping it will be part of the decisive blow Charlie needs, especially with McClintock cast aside by the a financially strapped GOP.

Darcy Burner's race to oust Bush buddy Dave Reichert has left nothing to chance or whimsy. The woman is brilliant and she's executing her plan perfectly. The Burner ground plan, which features 400 volunteers and an incredible GOTV effort, is one of the best in the nation, a model of grassroots campaigning. Since their debate, polling has shifted dramatically in Darcy's favor and she now leads Reichert by an average of 4 points. Blue America sent her the maximum legal donation last week. Obama is up in Washington state by 13 points and gaining. WA-08 gave Kerry 51% of it's vote in 2004. And did I mention that when Reichert and his sleazy allies started flinging the mud, Darcy answered him with poise, dignity and great effect.

There is no public polling on Debbie Cook's race to oust extremist loon Dana Rohrabacher in Orange County (CA-46) but private polls show a deadheat that will pit Debbie's powerful GOTV game plan with Rohrabacher's ... well, not much. In fact, yesterday he whined to a Republican audience that he fears getting swamped in a Democratic landslide and that his own polling confirms that he is vulnerable.
Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Huntington Beach/Long Beach said Friday he's concerned that Republicans will be discouraged by a possible Democratic landslide at the polls, affecting his re-election bid.

"If (Republican nominee John) McCain does not do well, and Republicans stay home, my lead could evaporate," the nine-term incumbent of the 46th Congressional District said.

There are no figures available for how Obama is doing in CA-46-- Bush won it with 57% in 2006-- but Obama is on the road to a massive California win that should help Debbie. He currently leads McCain by 20 points and the gap is widening drastically, the latest SurveyUSA poll showing a 24 point lead for Obama.

We have one House seat in Texas we think has a decent shot to go from red to blue. It's one of the gerrymandered districts Tom DeLay engineered to guarantee himself a Republican majority. That didn't work out the way he planned and now the GOP is in jeopardy of losing TX-10. The incumbent, Michael McCaul is extremely weak and the challenger is extremely strong, a bad mix for the bad guys. The race has tightened considerably in the last few weeks and there's less than a 4 point gap between the two candidates. McCaul's pathetic fear of debating has hurt him badly with Texans who are embarrassed for and by him. In 2006 McCaul's Democratic opponent, Ted Ankrum, took 41%. This year Larry Joe Doherty is on the path to a very close finish. Yesterday's Dallas Morning News probably is more bad news for a recently hysterical McCaul.
If the Democrats' dream of an Obama landslide comes true, U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Austin, could among those swept away.

That's why, a few days before the election, Mr. McCaul is pushing hard to get out the vote here, in one of the least populated but most conservative areas of this vast and diverse district.

Even though Texas is almost certain to stay red in the presidential column Tuesday, down-ticket Republicans are scrambling, feeling threatened in races from county judge to the U.S. House, from the state Senate to the Texas Supreme Court.

No one knows how far Democratic gains might go, but across the state, many Lone Star Republicans are nervous, Democrats confident.

...The national Democrats have targeted his seat as one of the most vulnerable in Congress and hope that changing demographics bolstered by a wave of new Democratic voters will push him out.

"There's never going to be a better opportunity," said Mr. Doherty, former star of the courtroom TV show Texas Justice. "This is not a building exercise. This is a get-the-job-done-now response to the cosmic convergence of time, opportunity and desire."

The Austin Statesman endorsed some pretty bad incumbents-- including John Cornyn, one of the trio of most reactionary Republican senators up for re-election this year-- but they urged their readers yesterday to dump just one: McCaul.
Republican Mike McCaul is seeking a third term in the House, and he has a lot of money to spend doing it. But McCaul, 46, has a well-funded Democratic challenger this year in attorney Larry Joe Doherty, 62, and Democrats believe that McCaul is vulnerable because of his ties to Bush.

McCaul has given voters little reason to send him back to Washington, and Doherty represents a change that could benefit residents of the district. Doherty is our choice for representative from District 10.

Blue America has two candidates running in Virginia. There are also two non-progressive Democrats in close races. Judy Feder is an outstanding candidate who would make a great congresswoman and she's facing a brittle old fool in Frank Wolf. There is no polling data but observers say Judy has run a far more competitive race this year than she did in 2006, when Wolf beat her by 16 points. This year looks like it will be much closer, especially with Obama likely to win VA-10. In 2004 Kerry took 45% statewide and 44% in this district. This year the Democratic ticket looks powerful with Mark Warner running ahead of GOP roadkill James Gilmore by 60-31% and with Obama running nearly 7 points ahead of McCain. They are both expected to do extremely well in VA-10, well enough to give Judy some coattail effect.

The first of our 3 candidates in Florida is Joe Garcia (FL-25) in western Miami-Dade plus Monroe and Collier counties, by far the biggest district in south Florida. His race against the clownish rubber stamp, Mario Diaz-Balart, is too close to call, although Joe has continued to close the gap. The most recent poll shows a statistical deadheat. Obama is likely to help significantly.

Our next Florida race, in an Orlando-centered district, looks like a winner-- Alan Grayson vs Ric Keller. Grayson is on a Darcy Burner level of progressive leadership and he is leading Keller by over 7 points. Like Darcy, Alan has left nothing to chance and his ground game is also impeccable. Keller has nothing going for him at all except a hoard of corporate cash he's spending ineffectively. Alan won the primary against a far better known Establishment opponent in early voting. He's probably doing the same thing again now, in a district that has seen a large increase of Democratic registrants.

Martin Heinrich has run a far better campaign than Bush crony, right-wing Republican Darren White, and the polls show that it's had the desired effect. His margin has steadily increased and he leads White by about 5 points in a district that has been trending Democratic and that is expected to give large majorities to both Tom Udall for the Senate seat and to Barack Obama. NM-01 is an open seat because incumbent Heather Wilson decided to run for the Senate, though she lost in the primary to a lunatic fringe candidate far to the right of her. Last week the Wall Street Journal admitted that Martin would probably win the seat.
This district has already seen heavy turnout thanks to early voting, so game-changers are unlikely now. Once again, the margin could be razor thin. But Heinrich seems to have a couple of advantages. He has captured the Hispanic vote in the heavily Hispanic district, perhaps because White wants English proficiency to be an immigration requirement. And White has been hurt by a decision of the House Republican’s campaign arm to pull the plug on much of its advertising on his behalf.

Jim Himes is in the closest race of any of our candidates with polls. He is leading longtime fake moderate Chris Shays in CT-04 by just seven-tenths of a point! The trend however, is very one-sided-- all for Jim. Obama will be a huge help there and even Shays, McCain's state campaign chair, has been trying to distance himself from a candidate mired in the low 30s. Shays has been using Obama in his campaign ads but Obama cut a powerful radio ad for Himes making it clear which candidate is on his wildly popular team.

This year Blue America invested heavily in our candidate in North Carolina's 8th CD, Larry Kissell. We like Larry's independent spirit and unflinching devotion to progressive values and the interests of working families. Obama is up in North Carolina and so is Larry. His rubber stamp opponent, a rather pathetic Robin Hayes, had a psychotic episode 2 weeks ago, claiming Democrats hate people who worship God, a tactic that backfired in his face-- especially after he denied it only to be proven a liar when tapes of his outburst started showing up. Blue America has ads running all over cable TV between now and Tuesday and today we're one of the sponsors of the big NASCAR race on ABC-TV. The DCCC is running $1.6 million worth of ads and the NRCC abandoned the race after polling showed Hayes can't recover from his latest blunder.

We have two races in New York state and both look like winners. NY-25 is thought of as the Syracuse district but it goes almost all the way to Rochester. The Republican representative saw the handwriting on the wall and retired, leaving a strong Democrat, Dan Maffei, facing off against a week Republican, Dale Sweetland. The NRCC has given up on the race and polls show Dan with a double digit lead-- and in a district likely to give Obama a convincing win.

Eric Massa is facing off against Bush rubber stamp Randy Kuhl again and this time it looks like he will prevail. Polling shows him with a 7 point lead, even more convincing than Obama's. Again, the NRCC has abandoned Kuhl to his own devices while the DCCC is running over a million dollars in ads for Eric.

Tomorrow: Part 2



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