In the past two weeks, Republican Christine O’Donnell has narrowed Democrat Chris Coons’ lead in Delaware’s U.S. Senate race from 19 points to 10 points. The latest Monmouth University Poll finds Coons has the support of 51 percent of likely voters to 41 percent for O’Donnell. Two weeks ago, this race stood at 57 percent to 38 percent.
O’Donnell has actually pulled into a 49 percent to 43 percent lead in the southern part of the state (i.e. Kent and Sussex counties). Two weeks ago, this region of the state was divided at 47 percent for O’Donnell and 46 percent for Coons. The Democrat continues to hold a sizable advantage in New Castle County, but the current 56 percent to 36 percent margin is down from the 63 percent to 33 percent edge he held earlier this month.
O’Donnell has also made gains among independent voters, now leading Coons 47 percent to 42 percent among this voting bloc. Two weeks ago, she trailed in the independent vote by 51 percent to 41 percent.
“While Coons still has the advantage, it has to be uncomfortable knowing that O’Donnell was able to shave nine points off his lead in just two weeks. The interesting thing is that while her vote total has risen, the majority of Delaware voters still say she is unqualified for the post,” said Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute.
The poll found that just 35 percent of likely voters in Delaware feel that Christine O’Donnell is qualified to be a U.S. senator, while 56 percent say she is unqualified. That contrasts with their opinion of Chris Coons, who 65 percent say is qualified for the U.S. Senate to 25 percent unqualified. These qualification results for O’Donnell and Coons are basically identical to the Monmouth University Poll results from two weeks ago.
However, O’Donnell has seen some improvement in voters’ opinion of her personally, while Coons’ rating has dropped. O’Donnell is now viewed favorably by 34 percent of the electorate and unfavorably by 51 percent. Two weeks ago, this stood at 31 percent favorable to 58 percent unfavorable. Coons has a 45 percent favorable to 39 percent unfavorable rating, compared to a 50 percent favorable to 33 percent unfavorable rating two weeks ago.
While the Senate election has experienced some movement, there has been little change in the race for Delaware’s at-large House seat. The poll finds Democrat John Carney holding a 51 percent to 44 percent lead over Republican Glen Urquhart in the race to fill the vacant House seat. That marks a slight narrowing of the gap from Carney’s 53 percent to 44 percent margin two weeks ago.
Delaware voters’ personal ratings for the two major party House candidates have remained fairly stable. Carney has a 46 percent favorable to 28 percent unfavorable rating, with 26 percent offering no opinion. Urquhart has a 38 percent favorable to 27 percent unfavorable rating, with 35 percent offering no opinion.
The Monmouth University Poll was conducted by telephone with 1171 likely voters from Oct. 25 to 27, 2010. This sample has a margin of error of + 2.9 percent.
Karl Rove sounded the warning bell for the Democratic Party in Tuesdays elections: It will be a crushing rebuke of first two years of the Obama administration.
He writes this morning in the Wall Street Jounral:
Midterm elections are almost always unpleasant experiences for the White House, especially when the economy is weak. But key races that should have been safe for the party in power demonstrate the extent to which President Obama and his policies have nationalized the election.
In Nevada, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has a huge war chest in a state Mr. Obama won in 2008 by 12 points. Mr. Reid trails Sharron Angle by four points in the latest Rasmussen poll.
In West Virginia, Joe Manchin, a popular Democratic governor, is running for the Senate, yet he lags behind John Raese by two points in the Oct. 23 Fox News Poll, largely because of Mr. Obama’s 30% approval rating in the state. Mr. Manchin is running away from the president, telling Fox News that Mr. Obama is “dead wrong on cap and trade,” and that he would not have supported ObamaCare had he known everything that was in the bill.
Or take the Illinois Senate seat held by Mr. Obama before he was elected president. It should be safely Democratic. Instead, Republican Congressman Mark Kirk has led Illinois Treasurer and Obama basketball buddy Alexi Giannoulias in eight of the 10 polls taken this month. It will be a terrible embarrassment if the president’s former Senate seat flips.
Elsewhere, some powerful Senate Democrats were either forced out by popular Republican challengers (North Dakota and Indiana) or they trail badly because their races became nationalized over the Obama agenda (Arkansas, Missouri and Wisconsin).
One of the more interesting Senate races is in Ohio, where Rob Portman, a former trade negotiator and budget director for George W. Bush, leads Democratic Lt. Governor Lee Fisher by an average of 19 points in a state Mr. Obama carried by four points.
Ohio is no longer friendly Obama territory. An August survey by Public Policy Polling reported that Ohioans would prefer George W. Bush in the White House today rather than Mr. Obama by 50% to 42%. Mr. Portman campaigns relentlessly on jobs, presenting a principled, optimistic case that conservative policies mean economic growth. It’s a winning strategy.
The Washington Post announced that it will join with Intersect.com in an effort to get on-the-ground answers from participants in Comedy Central’s Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert’s “Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear” on the National Mall this weekend.
Rally patrticipants will “help us cover the rally and answer reporters’ questions about the event.”
Comedy Central estimated in its permit application for the rally that as many as 25,000 people would attend the event, which is scheduled for Saturday from noon to 3 p.m. More than 220,000 people had RSVP’d for the event on Facebook as of late Monday, but it’s difficult to gauge how many will actually turn out.
The Story Lab team will be filing stories throughout Saturday’s events on the Mall via Intersect, a new site designed to collect and present stories live and from the scene. Here on washingtonpost.com and on Intersect’s site, we’ll be documenting the scene and asking those in attendance and those watching at home to weigh in on the politics vs. entertainment question. Please join us.
SIGN UP: If you’d like to share your own rally stories on Intersect, visit Intersect.com and use the invite code “washingtonpost” to create an account.
Maybe the first question could be: Have you found a port-a-potty yet?
EDITOR’S NOTE: The Post’s link to Intersect.com is broken on the Post’s site. A ticket has been ordered to fix it. Here is a working link to the web site.
MSNBC host Chris Matthews yesterday compared Tea Party activists to the Nazi SS thugs of the 1930s and wondered when they will start wearing uniforms.
His comments were made during a “Hardball” segment concerning on the MoveOn.org activist who was stomped on by a Rand Paul supporter earlier this week.
This is the “kind of stuff we saw from hoodlums in the ’30s in another country I will not mention,” he said. “What is this behavior by American political activists where they now arrest people, stomp them? These are supposed to be people who are just good old American tea partiers.”
Matthews also talked about what happened in Alaska when security for GOP Senate nominee Joe Miller briefly detained a blogger.
“I gotta wonder when people are gonna start wearing uniforms. I mean they’ve got an army out there in Alaska of militia people. You’ve got these guys going around acting like street thugs. I mean it isn’t far from what we saw in the thirties, where all of a sudden, political parties started showing up in uniform.”
Here is the AP video:
Conservatives have said that eyewitness reported Valle was lunging at Rand Paul, trying to shove a sign in his face and start trouble. They have pointed to this video for their evidence.
Putting aside the legal issues, which I know nothing about as I am not a lawyer, there is an issue surrounding today’s answers by President Barack Obama at his first press conference in 10 months.
That is the president’s campaign pledge to change in the way Washington operates.
First up is President Obama’s response to Rep. Joe Sestak’s claim that he was offered a job by the administration to drop out of his primary battle with Sen. Arlen Specter. If the White House never made such an offer, Obama would have told reporters today that “no offer was every made Rep. Sestak, and unless the congressman can verify his claim somehow, I am confident that no crime was committed.”
Instead, we got what what was basically, “Let me get back to you on that one.” That signifies that the administration and Sestak campaign lawyers are busy crafting some kind of unified response to this mess. In addition, it signifies that something was indeed communicated to the congressman early on about a job in the administration.
That’s politics as usual in Washington. It’s dirty, and it’s winner-takes-all. It’s exactly that type of behavior that has led most Americans to despise Congress and the Washington elite. This is the type of activity the majority of Americans voted to reject in 2008. Obama brought in voters who normally do not cast ballots for Democrats, or even vote at all, on the premise of changing Washington’s business-as-usual atmosphere. This makes it look like the administration has failed miserably.
He also said he did not know if Elizabeth Birnbaum resigned or was fired as director of Minerals Management Services, the agency that has a major role in managing the federal government’s response to the Gulf oil tragedy. Yet he repeatedly said he was on top of the situation and that he was in charge.
How the heck can that happen? How can the guy in charge look so blind-sided?
Birnbaum was on the short rope for a week. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar as recently as last week indicated that he was going to shake up the agency. Stephen Power of The Wall Street Journal wrote today after the press conference:
… he was breaking up the agency and dividing its duties across three new offices within the Interior Department. Ms. Birnbaum didn’t attend the announcement, and Mr. Salazar was noncommittal when asked what role she would have at the department going forward.
“Part of the reason I hired her is because she had no connection to industry,” Mr. Salazar said at the time. He added that she had brought “a fresh perspective” to the agency, but when asked what role she would have the department, he said only that “we’ll see.”
Ms. Birnbaum’s departure from the MMS comes as the agency is under intense scrutiny from lawmakers, some of whom have complained that her agency was too lax in setting and enforcing safety regulations on offshore oil and gas companies. A Wall Street Journal article earlier this month detailed how the agency had often deferred to the industry on decisions about what sorts of technologies or practices should be implemented to improve safety.
If the president is in charge and he’s on top of the situation, why didn’t anyone at Interior think about informing him of such a major move, and whether she was fired or resign? They had plenty of time, the press conference was after noon and the termination was in the morning.
The only two things on the president’s public schedule this morning were photo ops with the Duke basketball team, and with Bill Clinton and the U.S. World Cup Soccer team. Is basketball and soccer so important that he could not be interrupted for such a major change in the leadership of the federal response to the oil leak? Could no aide pull him aside for 15 minutes and tell him, “Mr. President, before you meet the press on national TV today on the oil spill, you might want to know that …”
Either the president is lying when he said the oil spill is the No. 1 focus of his administration, or his aides are really struggling with priorities. Either way, it certainly didn’t look like he was the guy in charge today.
And finally, after chastising the press for involving his family in politics during the campaign, he sure didn’t mind using his daughter today to try to convey how important this issue is to him. It seems OK to involve his daughters when he thinks it would benefit him politically.
Yes, today’s press conference was CYA all the way … Washington as usual.
Yes, today’s press conference was CYA all the way … Washington as usual.
The sale of The Honolulu Advertiser to Honolulu Star-Bulletin owner David Black was completed by Gannett this morning, leaving at least 300 people out of work and a community less served.
Rick Daysog of the Advertiser writes:
“It’s hard to close this chapter and begin a new one,” Robert Dickey, president of Gannett U.S. Community Publishing, wrote in an e-mail to Advertiser employees Friday. “But in doing so, I want to sincerely thank you for your dedication to The Honolulu Advertiser and wish you all the best.”
Gannett’s exodus and the eventual merger of The Advertiser and the Star-Bulletin will leave Honolulu as a one-newspaper town and result in the loss of at least 300 jobs.
For the next estimated 30 to 60 days, The Advertiser will publish as a stand-alone newspaper run by third-party HA Management Inc.
The two dailies will be merged into a single broadsheet newspaper known as The Honolulu Star-Advertiser, which will have a combined daily circulation of 135,000 to 140,000, Dennis Francis, the Star-Bulletin’s publisher told Daysog. The Star-Advertiser will employ between 300 and 600 people. The two newspapers currently have 900 employees between them.
“I know there’s a lot of angst in the community about losing a newspaper but the community decided long ago that it could not support two newspapers,” Francis told Daysog. “That decision was made by readers and advertisers.”
Daysog also writes:
Former media executives say the loss of an editorial voice will have a long-lasting impact on the local community.
The layoff of scores of journalists will mean that hundreds of stories will go unwritten each year, they said.
“It’s a real tragedy,” said Gerry Keir, who worked at The Advertiser for 27 years, rising to editor before leaving in 1995. “I don’t think there’s any question that the community is the loser.”