Senate roundup

Today, Atrios finally got the poll he's been waiting for, and it's a triple-whammy. Keystone polling shows Specter under 50, the Constitition candidate gaining traction, and Hoeffel within single-digits. Numbers both for the early October and September (in parenthesis) polling numbers:
Specter 44 (51)
Hoeffel 35 (25)
Clymer	 6 (5) 
I'm going to update the Senate 2004 Outlook page today, looks like this one will move a bit, any others?

Update (Chris): Political junkie minds think alike, as I was less than two minutes from posting this poll before Jerome did. The presence of the Clymer in the question likely accounts for most of the difference between this poll and the two-way trial heat released a couple days ago by WHYY / West Chester University, which showed Specter leading Hoeffel 49-30.

I think Hoeffel sums up this poll the best:

"Half the state still doesn't know me and I am only 9 points behind," Hoeffel said. "For a senator to be at 45 percent after 24 years in office, that's pathetic." I also have to say that I love Specter’s new round of attack ads that mention Hoeffel’s name seven or eight times in thirty seconds. Considering that name recognition is really the only factor keeping Hoeffel from taking the lead in this race, Specter’s own ads are actually helping Hoeffel. Joe can really win this thing.

The CIA and Iraqi Elections

The Bush administration blathers on about democracy supposedly coming to Iraq, and complains about a few hundred non-Iraqis who have joined the insurgency. While doing this, the administration simultaneously developed a plan to use the CIA to help fix the Iraqi elections: President Bush and interim Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi insisted last week that Iraq would go ahead with elections scheduled for January, despite continuing violence. But U.S. officials tell TIME that the Bush team ran into trouble with another plan involving those elections -- a secret "finding" written several months ago proposing a covert CIA operation to aid candidates favored by Washington. A source says the idea was to help such candidates -- whose opponents might be receiving covert backing from other countries, like Iran -- but not necessarily to go so far as to rig the elections. But lawmakers from both parties raised questions about the idea when it was sent to Capitol Hill. In particular, House minority leader Nancy Pelosi "came unglued" when she learned about what a source described as a plan for "the CIA to put an operation in place to affect the outcome of the elections." Pelosi had strong words with National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice in a phone call about the issue. This is an important article, but describing Pelosi as coming "unglued" is both unnecessary and offensive. Had it not been for Pelosi, this plan to fix the Iraqi elections would probably never have become public and would still be in effect. Juan Cole has more: This plan was apparently derailed in part by the intervention of Democratic Minority Leader in the House, Nancy Pelosi, who remonstrated with National Security Adviser Condaleeza Rice about it.

I'd like to make three comments on this story. The first is to point out that this sort of behavior by the Bush administration fatally undermines the ideal of democracy in the Middle East. If Muslims think that "democracy" is a stalking horse for CIA control of their country, then they will flee the system and prefer independent-minded strongmen that denounce the US. The constitutional monarchies established in the Middle East by the British were similarly undermined in the popular imagination by the impression they gave of being mere British puppets. This was true of the Wafd Party in Egypt in the 1940s and early 1950s, which the Free Officers overthrew in 1952 in the name of national indepencence. It was also true in Iraq, where in 1958 popular mobs dragged the corpse of the pro-British Prime Minister Nuri al-Said through the streets and finished off the British-installed monarchy.

They lied about WMD's. They lied about connections to terrorists. They lied about not having any intent to invade Iraq before September 11th. They lied about the length of the war. They lied about the nationality of the people who are in the Iraqi insurgency. Apparently, they are also lying about their desire to see democratic elections in Iraq.

Senate Polling Summary

Although the state of many campaigns can still change and become more competitive, right now control of the Senate comes down to six seats. Democrats hold three of these seats, Florida, Louisiana and South Dakota. Republicans currently hold the other three seats, Alaska, Colorado and Oklahoma. In order for Democrats to take outright control of the Senate, they need to win five of these six races. In order for Republicans to maintain outright control of the Senate, they need to win three of these six races. If Democrats were to win four of these seats, control of the Senate would be determined by who controls the Presidency. Considering all polls from the past four weeks, right now, all six are extremely close. If there is any trend, most show a slight Democratic edge:


  • Knowles by one according to partisan Ivan Moore (8/27-8/30).
  • Salazar by one according to a poorly weighted Ciruli poll (9/14-9/18); thirteen points better than Kerry.
  • Salazar by eleven according a Public Opinion Strategies (9/12-13), twelve points better than Kerry.
  • Castor by six according to Gallup (9/18-22); eight points better than Kerry.
  • Castor by one according to Quinnipiac (9/18-21); six points better than Kerry.
  • Three Democrats combine to be down four according to Market Research Insight, (8/30-9/2).
  • Carson by four according to Global Strategy Group for the DSCC (9/19-22).
  • Carson by one according to partisan-R Wilson Strategies (9/17-9/19).
  • Carson by seven according to partisan-R Sooner Poll (9/16).
  • Carson by two according to internal-D Westhill (9/1-2).
South Dakota
  • Daschle by eight according to an internal poll (8/25-8/30).
  • Daschle down by two according to an NRSC poll (8/24-8/26).
(All polls without links are from the subsriber section of polling report)

With a runoff looming in Louisiana, there remains a strong possibility that control of the Senate will not be determined on November 2nd. If Kerry wins the Presidency, that possibility only grows stronger. A December runoff in Louisiana and a February special election in Massachusetts could contain extremely high drama, with nearly two years of legislation at stake.

New Florida Senate Poll (CNN Gallop)

Castor 51% - Martinez 45%

I got this over email - I'm still looking for the link.  

Carson #2 Senate Pickup Opportunity for Dems

In Jerome's latest Senate projections, he lists Oklahoma fourth among Democratic pickup opportunities. That is about to change, because Republican Tim Coburn is about to plummet. From BigdaddyTX at Dailykos:Tom Coburn, the psychotic winger running against our man Brad Carson for the US Senate seat in Oklahoma currently held by the retiring GOoPer Don Nickles, is apparently on the ropes!

According to Salon magazine, which did an expose on Coburn earlier in the week, Coburn has cancelled all public appearances for today, following a very public appearance by the woman whose tubes he tied without her permission back when he was a doctor. That's on top of allegations that he fraudulently charged Medicare for the procedure.

Excellent, excellent, excellent. I never really liked Carson's chances in this one, but this changes that big time. Considering that IL is in the bag, and AK and CO both look slightly lean-Dem, Democratic chances to retake the Senate suddenly look rather decent. If we win all four, we could still lose two of our own and retake the Senate. If Kerry wins and we win all four, we could lose all three and still retake the Senate, presuming that Kerry's seat stays Democratic in the special election.

Bassjhs has more on Coburn's impending implosion in a new diary.


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