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 YarmuthWhite House budget chief apologizes to CBO analyst Ex-CBO directors offer scathing criticism of Mulvaney Key Dem: Mulvaney should apologize for attack on CBO analyst 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 McConnellMitch McConnellOvernight Finance: CBO: 22M more uninsured with Senate ObamaCare bill | Trump gets green light for partial travel ban | GOP: ObamaCare taxes must go Senate Dems plan floor protest ahead of ObamaCare repeal vote Senate Dems set principles for potential budget negotiation 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 KerrySpeaker Ryan, the fate of our policy toward Russia rests in your hands Frustrated Dems say Obama botched Russia response Budowsky: Dems madder than hell MORE (D-Mass.), who turned 69 on Tuesday, the same day Sen. Max BaucusMax BaucusLawmakers: Leave advertising tax break alone GOP: FBI firing won't slow agenda White House tax-reform push is ‘game changer,’ says ex-chairman 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 McCaskillSenators question need for HHS cyber office Overnight Cybersecurity: Obama DHS chief defends Russian hack response | Trump huddles on grid security | Lawmakers warned about cyber threat to election systems We must protect our most vulnerable from financial fraudsters MORE (D-Mo.) after undermining his own bid with controversial comments about rape and pregnancy.

NORTH CAROLINA: A new poll finds Rep. Virginia FoxxVirginia FoxxThe Hill's 12:30 Report House urged to ‘go ugly early’ Top Education official resigned over dispute with DeVos: report MORE (R-N.C.) atop a field of potential Republican Senate candidates vying to challenge Sen. Kay HaganKay HaganLinking repatriation to job creation Former Sen. Kay Hagan in ICU after being rushed to hospital GOP senator floats retiring over gridlock 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 CaseyBob CaseyLive coverage: Senate Dems hold talkathon to protest GOP health plan Ryan Phillippe to visit Capitol Hill to advocate for military caregivers Dem senators seize on Senate press crackdown 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 ScottTim ScottIs Senate ObamaCare repeal bill too mean? The Hill's Whip List: Senate ObamaCare repeal bill Lawmakers celebrate National Selfie Day on Twitter MORE, Rep. Trey GowdyTrey GowdyIt's time for Republicans to play offense while Democrats are weak Gowdy won't use Oversight gavel to probe Russia GOP rep Gowdy on healthcare bill: ‘I try really hard not to give the Senate advice’ 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 GrahamSenate panel questions Lynch on alleged FBI interference The Hill's Whip List: Senate ObamaCare repeal bill Judiciary Committee to continue Russia probe after Mueller meeting 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.