Two new polls out on Tuesday, taken together, paint a troubling picture for Democrats as they march toward the midterms.
An ABC News/Washington Post poll showed President Obama’s approval rating at an all-time low, Democrats and Republicans essentially tied on the generic ballot and more than half of respondents saying they want Republicans in control of Congress to act as a check on Obama’s policies.
The surveys underscore why Democrats’ midterm woes are so difficult to tackle: they’re multi-pronged, caused by opposition to the president and his policies as well as a lack of engagement from Democratic base constituencies. And no silver bullet can offer a single solution for the party.
CHAMBER GOES TO BAT FOR ESTABLISHMENT CANDIDATES: The Chamber of Commerce is launching advertising in five Senate races and two House races aimed at boosting establishment picks in Republican primaries and expected GOP nominees in competitive blue states.
AR-SEN (PRYOR): The Hill’s Cameron Joseph reports from Arkansas on why Sen. Mark Pryor (D) is facing the toughest reelection fight of his life, and why he just might manage to pull through.
OR-SEN (MERKLEY): Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D) is headed to Oregon next month to appear at a fundraiser for Sen. Jeff Merkley (D). While Democrats say they’re not worried about the senator, Republicans are high on potential GOP nominee Monica Wehby, a pediatric neurosurgeon who’s drawn both establishment and conservative support.
NC-SEN (HAGAN): Two new polls out Tuesday show North Carolina House Speaker Thom Tillis holding a steady and substantial lead over the rest of his Republican Senate primary opponents, just a week out from Election Day. One survey, from the conservative Civitas Institute, gives Tillis 38 percent support, just under the 40 percent he’ll need to avoid a runoff, but another, from Democratic-leaning Public Policy Polling, gives him 46 percent support.
GA-SEN (OPEN): A new SurveyUSA poll of the Georgia Republican Senate primary conducted for WXIA-TV in Atlanta finds businessman David Perdue leading the pack with 26 percent support and Rep. Jack Kingston (R-Ga.) coming in second with 20 percent, indicating the two establishment favorites are likeliest to make a potential runoff. Former Secretary of State Karen Handel takes 15 percent support, Rep. Paul Broun (R) takes 13 percent, and Rep. Phil Gingrey takes just 6 percent support.
NE-SEN (OPEN): Midland University President Ben Sasse’s young daughters tout their father’s opposition to ObamaCare in the candidate’s newest ad in the Nebraska Republican Senate primary. Meanwhile, a new poll from the Sasse campaign shows the candidate surging ahead of the pack, taking 31 percent, compared to that of his next-closest opponent, former state Treasurer Shane Osborn, who has 25 percent support.
MN-SEN (FRANKEN): A new survey of the Minnesota Senate race from Suffolk University shows Sen. Al Franken (D) well-poised for reelection, leading all four potential Republican opponents by 15-16 percentage points.
SC-SEN (GRAHAM): Sen. Lindsey Graham (R) is looking increasingly well-poised to fend off multiple primary challengers. He released new radio and television ads touting his work in opposition to the National Labor Relations Board on Boeing’s North Charleston plant, which the ad says saved thousands of jobs.
BATTLE FOR THE HOUSE
WIS. JUDGE STRIKES DOWN STATE’S VOTER ID LAW: A federal judge struck down Wisconsin’s voter identification law on Tuesday, arguing that it unfairly burdens poor and minority voters. The Wisconsin ruling comes just days after a judge in Arkansas last week struck down that state's strict photo ID law.
NY-21 (OPEN): Elise Stefanik, the former George W. Bush official running for retiring Rep. Bill Owens’s (D-N.Y.) seat, has a history of late tax payments on a Capitol Hill property she owns with a number of others. According to a review of public tax documents by The Hill, Stefanik and the other owners of the property owed more than $4,000 in interest and penalties on the home after paying taxes late in 2011, 2012 and the first half of 2013.
CA-17 (HONDA): Rep. Mike Honda (D-Calif.), facing a primary challenge from former Obama administration official Ro Khanna, said he won’t move to the district he represents because he can’t afford it. Honda’s home ended up outside of the 17th District’s boundaries after they were redrawn.
NY-11 (GRIMM): Following his Monday indictment for criminal charges surrounding his former business, Rep. Michael Grimm (R-N.Y.) faced more bad news Tuesday as the national GOP signaled it won’t back him in his reelection fight. Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) also stopped short of endorsing Grimm when asked. The move frees up money for the party to spend elsewhere, but it leaves Grimm facing an even steeper battle, as his own fundraising is likely to dry up as well.
If Republicans somehow are able to get rid of Grimm, Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis is making it known to the state and national GOP she’s interested in running.
ID-02 (SIMPSON): Rep. Mike Simpson’s (R) primary challenger, businessman Bryan Smith, released a new ad slamming the congressman’s “liberal record,” charging, among other things, he voted to fund ACORN and a park in House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s (D-Calif.) district.
PA-13 (OPEN): Two Democrats in the race to replace Democratic Rep. Allyson Schwartz launched new ads this week. Physician Val Arkoosh features her young daughter in hers, who coaches her on how to deliver a campaign pitch. “I’m Val Arkoosh, I’m a problem-solver not a politician, that’s how you do it,” Olivia Arkoosh tells her mom in the ad.
Meanwhile, Marjorie Margolies released an ad in which she promises, “I’ll never back down from a challenge because it’s too hard, and I’ll always stand up for what’s right,” and touts the endorsements of Bill Clinton and former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell.
WI-7 (DUFFY): Rep. Sean Duffy (R) is facing a primary challenge from real-estate broker Don Raihala, who ran for the seat as a Democrat in 2010 but switched parties to primary Duffy this cycle because, he said, the congressman’s “not voting as fiscally conservative as people want him to.”
WARREN TO HEADLINE PROGRESSIVE CONFAB: Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D) will keynote this year’s Netroots Nation, an annual gathering of liberal bloggers and activists. Though Warren’s repeatedly ruled out a 2016 presidential bid, the appearance is sure to spark speculation over her prospects — especially because former secretary of State Hillary Clinton reportedly turned down the invite.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
“Today 50 Cents is a singing group. Am I right about that? Okay.”
—Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA), referencing rapper 50 Cent during a Senate floor speech on raising the minimum wage