The Midterm Snapshot: October 8

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Obama discusses job numbers in Maryland today. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

Only 25 days remain until Election Day, and after a week in which some people wondered whether things were getting better for the Democrats ... things aren't getting any better for the Democrats. Nate Silver's updated Senate predictions boost the GOP's chances of taking over the Senate from 22 percent to 24 percent (and it was 15 percent three weeks ago), and the Cook Political report slightly shifted its ratings of 24 House races in the GOP's favor. As Democrats and Republicans wage a message war over today's new, worse job numbers, we take a look at what's happening with paranoid Republicans in Florida, dirty tricks in New Jersey, and a Post article haunting a candidate in Nebraska.


National Polls and Projections

Five Thirty Eight: Senate — 51.5-48.4 Dems; House — 224.3-210.7 GOP
Cook Political Report: Senate — 47-42 Dems (11 toss-ups); House — 198-197 Dems (40 toss-ups)
CQ Politics: Senate — 48-44 Dems (8 toss-ups); House — 211-190 (34 toss-ups)
Real Clear Politics: Senate — 48-46 Dems (6 toss-ups); House — 210-186 GOP (39 toss-ups)
The Daily Beast's Election Oracle: Senate — 52-48 Dems; House — 218-217 GOP

Talking Points

Democrats:

The Democratic response to the jobs report: At least the private sector is slowly growing. Speaking at a small business in Maryland today, Obama pointed out that 64,000 private-sector jobs had been added in the private sector for the ninth straight month of private-sector growth. The net losses stemmed from census and public-sector layoffs, which "would have been even worse without the federal help that we provided the states over the last 20 months, help that the Republicans in Congress consistently opposed." Speaker Pelosi had a nice little stat: "America's business owners and entrepreneurs have added more jobs this year than the Bush Administration and its Republican allies did in eight years." New York Democratic congressman Carolyn Maloney was on message in a chat with Politico, telling them she's "so encouraged to see private sector up again for the ninth straight month in a row."

Republicans:

The Republicans had a much easier and more straightforward case to make: We are losing jobs. Meanwhile, House Minority Whip Eric Cantor said the jobs report demonstrated that "the policies pursued by the President and Democrat leaders in Congress have created a cloud of uncertainty and fear that has inhibited productivity, innovation and job creation.” Minority Leader John Boehner said the report shows "the pressing need to immediately enact the Pledge to America and help end the uncertainty caused by Washington Democrats’ out-of-control spending spree and job-killing policies."

Eye On...

Florida Senate:

If things continue the way they're going, with Independent Charlie Crist and Democrat Kendrick Meek each eating into each other's support, Republican Marco Rubio will probably cruise to victory in Florida. But Republicans are starting to get paranoid that "a deal may be in the works for Meek to drop out," according to The Wall Street Journal. This would be a smart political move for Democrats, as Meek probably couldn't win even if Crist was out of the race, but Crist could win in a one-on-one with Rubio and then caucus with the Democrats in the Senate. Meek, however, isn't interested in dropping out, so that's kind of a major flaw in the plan, if such a plan even exists.

New Jersey-3:

In order to help freshman Democratic congressman John Adler win reelection this year in this conservative-leaning district, which had been occupied by a Republican for 25 years prior to 2008, the Democratic Party conspired to plant a fake tea-party candidate on the ballot to siphon votes away from Republican nominee Jon Runyan. According to the Courier-Post, some party activists were uncomfortable with the plan, but they collected the requisite number of signatures, and now a picture framer named Peter DeStefano is on the ballot on the NJ Tea Party line. It's shady, but legal.

Nebraska-2:

Remember that report in the Post a while ago about House Minority Leader John Boehner scolding various Republican congressmen for flirting with sexy lobbyists? The article quoted Omaha congressman Lee Terry asking a giggling "comely lobbyist," "Why did you get me so drunk?" Well, it has finally made its way into a campaign ad. The Terry campaign claims it'll backfire on Democrat Tom White. "It is a despicable, sleazy ad that is going to boomerang badly on the White campaign," a spokesman says. "We’ve already been getting calls from people outraged by this tactic, by this slur."