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The Battle for America 2010: Round-Up at September’s End

Democrat plays the race card in CA, McMahon closes the gap in CT, Angle pulls even in NV, a cover-up in Maryland, a disgraceful Democrat ad in Florida — and more!

by
Bryan Preston

Bio

September 29, 2010 - 12:05 am

MARYLAND

Key Race: Governor

Michael Swartz reporting:

As the battle between Martin O’Malley and Bob Ehrlich proceeds over an extraordinarily small percentage of undecided voters — 97 percent expressed a preference between the two in the latest Rasmussen poll — gone missing in the discussion are issues like abortion or Second Amendment rights. A look at the candidates’ issue pages shows this lack of attention.

Of course, the economy and jobs are the key issues, as they should be. But a large portion of the conservative vote that went to defeated GOP aspirant Brian Murphy came from the pro-life, pro-Second Amendment community which finds little to recommend Bob Ehrlich. In a state where Democrats already hold a 2:1 registration advantage, Ehrlich needs all GOP hands on deck. So don’t be surprised to see some backchannel efforts from the O’Malley camp to persuade these conservative voters that they don’t have a good choice in the election.

Yet with the abysmal turnout in the primary election (even with the addition of early voting), every vote is going to count more in November.

And now, we have a cover-up in the O’Malley administration.

And as Mark Newgent reported on the Red Maryland website, O’Malley’s last effort at spin and damage control was too ham-handed to escape notice. “Whatever we can do to make (a negative July jobs report) disappear, we need to do it,” commented Department of Labor, Licensing, and Regulation Communications Director Bernie Kohn in an e-mail acquired by Newgent in a public information request.

While the Maryland GOP cried foul on the report’s pulling, Newgent dug in and came up with a timeline that reveals an attempt to cover up the damaging data. It flies in the face of the original story that the release was an “innocent mistake” and may lead voters to ask what other mistakes were made but not revealed.  Or “disappeared.”

NEVADA

Key Race: U.S. Senate

John Ransom reporting:

The race between Republican Sharron Angle and Senator Harry Reid of Nevada has sometimes been billed as a brawl. Nevada is a state notable for its mean streets, boxing, and hard rock mining. Politics too is a high contact sport here. But still, no one expected an actual fistfight to break out during a Reid-Angle debate held at a Christian school.

Just as the debate was winding down at Faith Lutheran Junior/Senior High School in Summerlin, Nevada, on Thursday night, Reid and Angle supporters capped a night of incivility with pushing, shoving, and a punch or two. During the debate, Angle supporters, who dominated the audience, often met Reid’s answers, recorded via video, with audible derision. For their part, Reid’s denizens interrupted Angle, who appeared in person, with jeers. In all, it’s a reminder of the strained relationships between the left and the right and the middle during this election cycle. As a result, the public will be banned from a future debate hosted by the Nevada Broadcasters Association.

The Retail Association of Nevada released a public opinion survey last week showing Reid opening up a 5-percentage point lead on Angle amongst likely voters. Conducted by Republican pollster Public Opinion Strategies (POS), the poll of 500 voters has a margin of error of +/- 4.38 percent. Still, Angle’s camp remains upbeat, looking upon the poll as nothing more than statistical noise. The Las Vegas Review Journal and Rasmussen conducted surveys recently which show the race a statistical dead heat.

The POS survey said that 76 percent of likely voters in Nevada believe that the state is on the wrong track. Fifty-two percent of likely voters disapprove of the performance of President Barack Obama, while 51 percent have an unfavorable opinion of Harry Reid. Angle has an unfavorable rating of 52 percent. Given this data in the crosstabs, it’s unlikely that a large movement of voters has flocked to Reid.

Meanwhile, Reid took one more opportunity to remind lobbyists that he controls what goes in and out of the Senate. In a fundraising invitation sent out recently, Reid invited lobbyists to a luncheon with donation prices ranging from $1000 to $2500. This is the fourth such fundraiser Reid has held since the start of the August session, according to CQPolitics.

NEW YORK

Key Races: U.S. Senate, Governor

Sam Foster reporting:

So is the gubernatorial race between Carl Paladino and Democrat Andrew Cuomo close or not?  Read the throng of polls released last week and you’d have thought that the NY electorate was suffering from statewide bi-polar disorder. All polls showed Andrew Cuomo in the lead, but the question was, by how much? Rasmussen had the race 54-38; Q-Poll had it 49-43; Survey USA had it 49-40; Marist Poll had it 52-33; and Siena Poll had it 57-24.  So what gives? Is it a 6-point race or a 33-point race?

Most of the differences from the polls spawn from two variables in polling methodology.  The first is whether to include Rick Lazio as a third party candidate. Lazio, who was beaten during the Republican primary by Carl Paladino, only recently declared that he would not mount a third party challenge. Thus, the largest deficit polls, Marist and Siena, included Lazio as a polling choice, skewing the polls for Cuomo. Second, pollsters varied in polling registered voters versus likely voters. Siena’s 33 point gap was based off of registered voters, a model that highly favors Democrats in a state as blue as NY. Marist ran both a likely voter and registered voter poll side by side showing a 7-point variance skewing to Dems for the registered voter model.

Meanwhile, the Cuomo camp remains clueless in how to handle “Crazy” Carl Paladino. Heralding a more challenging political landscape, one of Cuomo’s key constituencies is revolting. It started when Elinor Tatum, editor-in-chief for the Amsterdam News, wrote a scathing open letter threatening that if Cuomo doesn’t make an effort to visit black neighborhoods, voters would refuse to show up in November. Trying to quell the perception growing in Harlem, Cuomo headed out on a PR tour that went less then favorably.

With all the drama surrounding NY’s race for governor, it’s no surprise that few have noticed one of NY’s Senate seats may now be in play.  Last week’s polls showed that the race between Harry Reid’s favorite hottie, Democrat Kirsten Gillibrand, and Joe DioGuardi was tightening, if not a dead heat.

Siena showed Tom Reed 14 points ahead in NY-29, also known as Eric “fracking” Massa’s old seat. Matt Doheny proved victorious over conservative Doug Hoffman in NY-23’s primary. Hoffman has promised to mount a third party run, but Tea Party support is fleeing. Still, even without grassroots support, Doug carried two of the eleven NY-23 counties by such wide margins, it’s hard to see how either candidate will topple incumbent Bill Owens. But then, the seat may not exist by 2012.

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