the midterm snapshot

The Midterm Snapshot: October 26

Another day closer to the election brings with it more dire predictions for the Democrats. Respected political forecaster Charlie Cook now has the GOP winning 48 to 60 House seats, “with higher losses possible.” (They only need 39 to take the majority.) Interestingly enough, though, a Pew poll shows that registered voters are split on which party they’d prefer to control Congress, although the GOP has a four-point edge among likely voters. Meanwhile, Gallup finds that only three issues really matter to voters in this election: the economy, health care, and the size and scope of the federal government. Not making the list, despite a Democratic obsession for the past two weeks: anonymous campaign donations.

And in races around the country, Sharron Angle warns of Harry Reid stealing the election with free food, Meg Whitman won’t say whether she’ll keep spending her hard-earned millions on her race, and Jack Conway’s “Aqua Buddha” attack ad backfires.

• In the Nevada Senate race, Republican Sharron Angle accused Harry Reid of trying to “steal” the election with “tricks” such as giving away free food at voter turnout events, which her campaign claims is a bribe and breaks the law. Meanwhile, Angle was up to some tricks of her own last night, using a decoy to avoid the press. Apparently she was tired of shushing them. Angle, who is still soaking up donations at a ridiculous pace, leads Reid by four points in the latest poll.

• In the Arkansas Senate race, if you can call it that, Democratic incumbent Blanche Lincoln is blaming her tough primary with Bill Halter for the absolutely horrific trouncing she is soon to receive by Republican congressman John Boozman. As Steve Benen points out, though, she trailed Boozman in the polls by 23 points even before Halter started running against her for the Democratic nomination.

• In the California gubernatorial race, Republican Meg Whitman refuses to say whether she’ll spend any more of her own money in the last week of campaigning. She’s spent $141.6 million so far. Whitman trails Democrat Jerry Brown by eleven points in the latest poll.

• In the Rhode Island gubernatorial race, Democrat Frank Caprio may want President Obama to shove his nonexistent endorsement somewhere, but Independent candidate Lincoln Chafee — who was formerly a Republican senator — is shouting his Obama endorsement from the rooftops. Not that’s he’s received one recently, but Chafee is running an ad with footage of Obama praising him in 2008 (as well as more recent praise from Mayor Bloomberg). Chafee and Caprio are neck and neck in the polls.

• In the Pennsylvania Senate race, the polls have been frustratingly erratic. On the same day that a daily tracking poll showed Republican Pat Toomey up by eight points, a different poll has him tied with Democrat Joe Sestak. The RealClearPolitics polling average has Toomey up by 2.6 percent.

• In the Alaska Senate race, Joe Miller now says he had a “naïve expectation of privacy” when he told the press he would no longer answer any questions about his past. He remains tied with write-in Republican incumbent Lisa Murkowski.

• In the Kentucky Senate race, the fallout from yesterday’s stomping incident remains to be seen, but one thing’s for sure: Democrat Jack Conway’s “Aqua Buddha” ad backfired, with most voters calling it “inappropriate.” The latest poll has Rand Paul up by thirteen points.

The Midterm Snapshot: October 26