Judd trails the senator 47-43 percent, as does Lt. Gov. Jerry Abramson and Attorney General Jack Conway. Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer trails 46-41 percent, and McConnell posts a double-digit advantage over Rep. John YarmuthJohn Allen YarmuthRyan leaves legacy of tax cuts and deficits Kentucky candidate takes heat for tweeting he'd like to use congressman for target practice Republican health policy is destroying rural health care MORE (D-Ky.).

Other polls paint a rosier picture for McConnell. A Bluegrass poll released in September gave McConnell a 51-42 percent approval rating, with the senator showing strong support among self-identified conservatives. McConnell performed similarly well in a SurveyUSA poll conducted at the end of October.

"It speaks volumes that even a liberal Democrat pollster with an agenda to make Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellMcConnell sees Ohio in play as confidence about midterms grows   Giuliani: White House wants briefing on classified meeting over Russia probe GOP senators introduce Trump's plan to claw back billion in spending MORE look bad still can't find an opponent who can lead him in Kentucky," said McConnell campaign manager Jesse Benton. "This Democrat poll has a long-held reputation for skewed approval numbers and that's obviously the case here since there is no poll, public or private, that has shown Senator McConnell's approval ratings anywhere near where PPP suggests."

TOMORROW’S AGENDA TODAY: President Obama attends meetings at the White House.

TWEET OF THE DAY: “We're still kids in this place -- happy birthday to @MaxBaucus” — Sen. John KerryJohn Forbes KerryJohn Kerry to NYU Abu Dhabi: We can't address world problems by 'going it alone' Juan Williams: Trump's dangerous lies on Iran Pompeo: US tried, failed to achieve side deal with European allies MORE (D-Mass.), who turned 69 on Tuesday, the same day Sen. Max BaucusMax Sieben BaucusClients’ Cohen ties become PR liability Green Party puts Dem seat at risk in Montana Business groups worried about Trump's China tariffs plan MORE (D-Mont.) turned 71


QUOTE OF THE DAY: “My network contract prohibits me from taking on another full-time job. So, the Senate would be perfect.” — Stephen Colbert


AD WATCH:

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Two major Republican-affiliated outside groups are out with new ads criticizing President Obama's deficit-reduction plan. The ad from Cossroads GPS targets five red-state Democratic senators up for reelection with radio ads in their states asking their constituents to pressure them to support a bipartisan plan on the deficit. A separate ad from American Action Network features former Congressional Budget Office Director Douglas Holtz-Eakin accusing Obama of not having a plan to avoid the cliff.


BATTLE FOR THE HOUSE:

Since election night, the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) has been lying low, issuing releases outlining Republican leadership shifts and its weekly news roundup but putting out little commentary on the parties’ negotiations to deal with the nation’s debt crisis.

CALIFORNIA: Reps. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.) and Howard Berman (D-Calif.) set a California House race record by spending a combined $11.7 million on their races, according to a Los Angeles Times analysis of recently released campaign finance reports.


SENATE SHOWDOWN:

MISSOURI: Rep. Todd Akin (R-Mo.) still hasn't retired his campaign debt, more than a month after an election he lost to Sen. Claire McCaskillClaire Conner McCaskillMcConnell sees Ohio in play as confidence about midterms grows   Protect air ambulance services that fill the health care access gap in rural America Dems seek to chip away at Trump’s economic record MORE (D-Mo.) after undermining his own bid with controversial comments about rape and pregnancy.

NORTH CAROLINA: A new poll finds Rep. Virginia FoxxVirginia Ann FoxxCongress, pass the PROSPER Act for federal student aid reform Immigration fight threatens GOP farm bill Ryan, GOP scramble to win support for controversial farm bill MORE (R-N.C.) atop a field of potential Republican Senate candidates vying to challenge Sen. Kay HaganKay Ruthven Hagan2020 Dems compete for top campaign operatives Senate GOP rejects Trump’s call to go big on gun legislation Politics is purple in North Carolina MORE (D-N.C.) in her 2014 reelection bid. Foxx pulled 17 percent of Republican primary voters surveyed by Democratic firm Public Policy Polling, good for a narrow lead over Rep. Sue Myrick (R-N.C.), the choice of 14 percent of those surveyed.

PENNYSLVANIA: Sen. Bob CaseyRobert (Bob) Patrick CaseySenate Dems to Mnuchin: Don't index capital gains to inflation Senators offer tax bill aimed at helping first responders McConnell: Midterms will be 'very challenging' for GOP MORE (D-Pa.) will stay in the Senate and isn't considering a 2014 run against Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett (R), he told The Hill on Tuesday.

SOUTH CAROLINA: South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley (R) has finalized her shortlist of candidates to replace outgoing Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), according to a source close to the governor. The list includes five Republican South Carolina politicians who are close to Haley: Rep. Tim ScottTimothy (Tim) Eugene ScottSenate GOP urges Trump administration to work closely with Congress on NAFTA Fed nominees vow to rebuff pressure from Trump on interest rates The Hill's 12:30 Report MORE, Rep. Trey GowdyHarold (Trey) Watson GowdyWhite House lawyer’s presence at FBI meetings sets off alarm bells for Dems Dems after briefing: 'No evidence' spy placed in Trump campaign House GOP sets three FBI interviews in Clinton probe MORE, former state Attorney General Henry McMaster, former first lady Jenny Sanford and Catherine Templeton, a conservative attorney Haley has picked to head the state Department of Health and Environmental Control.

SOUTH CAROLINA PART II: Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamRetired English teacher corrects letter from Trump and sends it back to White House Graham: Trump 'probably' shouldn't call use of FBI informant 'spygate' Graham on canceled summit: Trump thought North Korea was ‘playing him’ MORE's (R-S.C.) standing with South Carolina's primary voters has improved dramatically in the last year, according to a new survey from the Democratic-affiliated Public Policy Polling. Graham's approval rating with primary voters is at 66 percent, with 26 percent disapproving. He leads a generic "more conservative" Republican in the race by 51 to 40 percent, a big jump from the 37 to 52 percent position he was in when the pollster last checked slightly less than a year ago.


IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has received his first Democratic challenger in Barbara Buono, the New Jersey state Senator who filed on Tuesday to run in 2013.

Charles and David Koch, the pair of billionaire brothers who helped bankroll a significant portion of outside conservative spending in the last election cycle, announced they were postponing their semi-annual meeting so they could further analyze the election results.


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-- Updated at 9:01 p.m.