AP: George Allen in Ethics Heat

Things were already bad enough for George Allen. The junior Republican Senator from Virginia has faced an unrelenting steam of negative press over the past two months as real questions about his racial insensitivity and possible racist proclivities have emerged, and the latest polling from his reelection campaign show him in a dead-heat against Democrat Jim Webb, with Gallup showing a statistical tie among likely voters. But now, Allen is bound to face even more questions following a report by the AP's Sharon Theimer and Bob Lewis that he failed to disclose stock options in one company, as is required by Senate ethics law, and interceded on behalf of another company from which he had received similar benefits.

For the past five years, Sen. George Allen, has failed to tell Congress about stock options he got for his work as a director of a high-tech company. The Virginia Republican also asked the Army to help another business that gave him similar options.

[...]

An Associated Press review of Allen's financial dealings from that era found that the senator:

_Did not have to look far to find corporate suitors, joining three Virginia high-tech companies he assisted as governor. Allen served on boards of directors for Xybernaut and Commonwealth Biotechnologies and advised a third company called Com-Net Ericsson, all government contractors.

_Twice failed to promptly alert the Securities and Exchange Commission of insider stock transactions as a Xybernaut and Commonwealth director. The SEC requires timely notification and can fine those who file late.

_Kept stock options provided to him for serving as a director of Xybernaut and Commonwealth, but steered other compensation from his board service to his law firm.

Today's article by Theimer and Lewis is quite in-depth, so I would highly recommend you check it out in full rather than simply reading what I've quoted above. Taken as a whole, the article is fairly damning and provides yet another piece of negative press for Allen -- news that could represent the final straw for the Virginians who still had faith in Allen even after reports about his race issues.

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Even John Cornyn Turns Negative on Republican Chances

The political environment in the country has apparently turned so poisonous for the GOP that Sen. John Cornyn, a Republican from Texas who rarely if ever deviates from the party line and who is a complete hack for the Bush administration, is publicly discussing what it will mean for his party to lose in November. The Associated Press has the story.

Democrats are increasingly optimistic that they will retake the House and possibly even the Senate. Even a prominent Senate Republican, John Cornyn of Texas, seemed pessimistic about his party keeping its hold on the House.

''It's happened in the past that we've had divided government in terms of the House and Senate,'' Cornyn said. ''I'm sure we'll do our best to work together to try to address the nation's problems.''

Cornyn is not the only person inside the Beltway who can forsee a Democratic House and Senate in the next Congress. Non-partisan political handicapper Stuart Rothenberg had this to say at the beginning of his latest column:

After looking at the news for the past 10 days or so, I have to wonder how Democrats can possibly fail in their efforts to take both the House and the Senate.

The national atmospherics don't merely favor Democrats; they set the stage for a blowout of cosmic proportions next month.

In and of itself, I don't believe it is particularly terrible for more Americans, and more people in Washington, DC specifically, to warm to the possibility that the Democrats will retake control of Congress in four weeks. When the ball starts rolling on these things and it becomes widely assumed that a blowout is in the works, voters on the side that is predicted to be defeated can become discouraged and stay away from the polls on election day, thus exacerbating the situation for the party.

Nonetheless, I do agree with Markos' efforts to play down expectations because nothing is assured in politics, and another marginal, but disastrous election for us in the face of high expectations could unfortunately lead to a number of good people on our side to abandoning the cause.

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The Republicans' Evangelical Problem

Almost immediately after Mark Foley's resignation, Newsweek's Howard Fineman publicly speculated about the potential ramifications of the scandal, noting that it could have seriously negative effects not only on Republican turnout but also on the Republican turnout machine, which relies heavily on religious conservative activists as its foot soldiers. Judging by data from the latest Pew poll, Fineman appears to be correct in his assessment, as Alan Cooperman reports for The Washington Post.

Even a small shift in the loyalty of conservative Christian voters such as Sunde could spell trouble for the GOP this fall. In 2004, white evangelical or born-again Christians made up a quarter of the electorate, and 78 percent of them voted Republican, according to exit polls. But some pollsters believe that evangelical support for the GOP peaked two years ago and that what has been called the "God gap" in politics is shrinking.

A nationwide poll of 1,500 registered voters released yesterday by the nonpartisan Pew Research Center found that 57 percent of white evangelicals are inclined to vote for Republican congressional candidates in the midterm elections, a 21-point drop in support among this critical part of the GOP base.

Even before the Foley scandal, the portion of white evangelicals with a "favorable" impression of the Republican Party had fallen sharply this year, from 63 percent to 54 percent, according to Pew polls.

In the latest survey, taken in the last 10 days of September and the first four days of October, the percentage of evangelicals who think that Republicans govern "in a more honest and ethical way" than Democrats has plunged to 42 percent, from 55 percent at the start of the year.

As if this trend were not already bad enough for Republicans, the Mark Foley story does not appear to be going away any time soon. What's more, if we are to believe the statement of Foley's lawyer that his client will speak publicly following the culmination of his stay at an alcohol rehabilitation clinic, Foley's first public appearance since the scandal broke will occur during the last week of the campaign -- further reminding the GOP's religious base why it is unhappy with the party.

But this is not the only worrisome event pertaining to Evangelicals coming up for Republicans during the lead up to the election. The Wall Street Journal's Washington Wire, via Hotline On Call, notes that another former administration insider is set to publish a book calling into question the Bush administration's commitment to issues central to the agenda of many conservative Christians.

Late October Surprise?

Caught on the Wall Street Journal's Washington Wire:

MORE FLAK: Former White House official David Kuo will publish a book this month slamming administration's commitment to "faith-based" programs. A person familiar with book's content says it will characterize centerpiece of Bush's compassionate conservatism as "big talk, little action."

How will The World, Christianity Today, Charisma, CBN, et. al. cover it?

While I have long believed that religious voters' role in reelecting George W. Bush in 2004 has been overstated -- according to exit polling, Bush's share of the vote of those who attend church at least weekly increased by only 1 point from 2000 to 2004 while his support among those attending church less than once a week increased by 3 to 4 points -- it would nevertheless be a major problem for Republican candidates if their base simply failed to show up on election day or if their core supporters opt not to volunteer for GOTV efforts. Without that manpower, can the GOP's much vaunted 72-hour program really work?

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New Senate Polls

After their new House polls yesterday, some of which were very strange but most of which were good, Reuters and Zogby have produced a series of Senate polls. Here are the polls, along with the new five poll averages that will result from these polls and other new polls today. The new averages are in parenthesis:
  • Pennsylvania: Casey (D) 48%--36% Santorum (R) (Casey 49.4%--39.2% Santorum)
  • Maryland: Cardin (D) 45%--37% (R) Steele (Cardin 48.4%--41.0% Steele)
  • Montana: Tester (D) 46%--42% Burns (R) (Tester 48.6%--Burns 42.6%)
  • Rhode Island: Whitehouse (D) 45%--41% Chafee (R) (Whitehouse 44.6%--Chafee 40.6%)
  • Ohio: Brown (D) 41%--41% DeWine (R) (Brown 45.4%--41.6% DeWine)
  • New Jersey: Menendez (D) 45%--35% Kean (R). (Menendez 42.2%--40.6% Kean)
  • Tennessee: Ford (D) 40%--40% Corker (R) (Corker 43.2%--43.0% Ford)
  • Missouri: Talent (R) 43%--39% McCaskill (D) (Talent 45.2%--44.4% McCaskill)
  • Virginia: Allen (R) 48%--37% Webb (D) (Allen 47.8%--42.2% Webb)
  • Arizona: Kyl (R) 45%--36% Pederson (D) (Kyl 48.4%--40.0% Pederson). Note: the Arizona poll was conducted by Behavior Research Center, not Zogby)
  • Connecticut: Lieberman (R) 53%--33% Lamont (D) (Lieberman 49.0%--Lamont 40.2%)
It is certainly depressing to see the Connecticut Senate race fall behind Arizona in the five-poll average, but I have little doubt that the Zogby poll is way out of whack (it happens sometimes--at least one in every twenty polls is screwed up badly anyways). Still, it takes all of the fun out of Tester moving into a very solid position, and both Chafee Whitehouse and Menendez noticeably improving their positions. Brown's lead over DeWine dropped because the Survey USA poll showing a ten-point gap in that race fell out of the moving average. Ford's brief lead over Corker disappeared because his internal poll dropped out of the average. Certainly a mixed bag, as Cardin improved while Webb dropped, and Casey improved while Pederson dropped. More thoughts on these polls:
  • There are far more undecideds found in these surveys than in almost all other surveys right now. I simply do not believe there are that many undecideds in our current political environment.
  • Zogby isn't exactly the most reliable pollster either, even if he is from Update New York.
  • If these polls show a pattern that might be reflected by current committee strategy, they show that the Republican "firewall" strategy of all but abandoning Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Montana in favor of defending Ohio, Tennessee and Missouri might be having its desired effect for Republicans. Democrats are pulling away in the former three states, while Republicans are improving in the previous three states.
  • Republican incumbents are in a lot of trouble. Check this out:Sen. George Allen in Virginia was the only Republican incumbent with more than 40 percent of voters saying he deserved re-election. That is pretty heinous for Republicans, and very good for us. According to these polls, 60% or more of voters in Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Montana, Ohio and Missouri don't want to see Republican incumbents re-elected.
You might notice that I have labeled Lieberman an incumbent Republican (happy typo police?). As long as polling firms as the news media refuse to call him the "Connecticut for Lieberman" candidate instead of the "independent" candidate, I will engage in some inaccurate labeling myself.

There Is No Hidden Democratic Vote

Noting that IVR polls (polls conducted via an automatic computer voice over the telephone) in Tennessee have been consistently more favorable to Harold Ford than have polls conducted with an actual human asking the questions over the phone, Mickey Kaus wonders if there is a new, hidden type of Democratic voter in this election:

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