TPM News

The new Fox News poll of the California Senate race gives Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer a narrow lead over Republican former Hewlett Packard CEO Carly Fiorina.

The numbers: Boxer 46%, Fiorina 44%. The survey of likely voters has a ±3% margin of error. There is no prior Fox News poll of this race, but this poll was conducted through an offshoot of Rasmussen, Pulse Opinion Research. The previous Rasmussen poll from last week gave Fiorina a one-point edge of 48%-47%.

The TPM Poll Average gives Boxer a narrow lead of just 46.7%-45.1%.

David H. Brooks, a former contractor who supplied the military with body armor, was found guilty today on 17 counts, including fraud and insider trading, after allegedly stealing millions of dollars from his company and bilking his shareholders.

Prosecutors say Brooks used corporate funds from his company, DHB Industries, to fund a conspicuously lavish lifestyle, complete with luxury cars, thoroughbred racehorses, plastic surgery for his wife, prostitutes for his employees, a $10 million bat mitzvah for his daughter and a $100,000 diamond, sapphire and ruby-encrusted belt buckle in the shape of the American flag.

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Sen. Patty Murray (D) is comfortably ahead of her Republican opponent, Dino Rossi, in the Washington state Senate race, according to a poll released last night. The Elway Poll, a respected Washington-based survey company, reports Murray is leading 50-41.

Other polling from the contest suggests the race is a good deal closer than that. The TPM Poll Average shows Murray leading 48.9-47.3. The last Elway poll, taken way back in June, showed Murray ahead of Rossi 47-40.

In his analysis of the new numbers pollster Stuart Elway says things are closer than his numbers may make them appear on first glance.

"Although Murray is at 50% in this survey, there are enough "soft" supporters for each candidate, plus undecided voters and supporters of other candidates -- not to mention time on the calendar -- to determine the eventual outcome," Elway said, according to the Seattle Times.

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Check out this amazing Web video by John Dennis, the Republican nominee in the ultra-safe Democratic district held by none other than Speaker Nancy Pelosi. The video shows Pelosi as the Wicked Witch of the West taunting Dorothy, the Scarecrow, the Tin Man and Cowardly Lion -- with higher taxes!

Not to worry, though. Along comes Dennis with a bucket of water labeled "FREEDOM," throwing it on Pelosi and causing the Pelosi actress to melt away. "I'm John Dennis," he says, introducing himself to Dorothy and her friends. "I'm running for Congress. I believe in following the Constitution, and I believe in reducing debt -- and I believe it's time to throw a little water on politicians who say one thing and do another, like Nancy Pelosi."

Dave Weigel points out that this ad is the work of none other than Ladd Ehlinger Jr., the man behind the Dale Peterson and Rick "Gather Your Armies" Barber ads in Alabama. It should be noted, though, that Dennis isn't your standard right-wing Republican like those guys in Alabama. He's actually a Ron Paul-style Republican, supports gay marriage, and appeared at an anti-war rally alongside Paul and former San Francisco Supervisor and Green Party politician Matt Gonzalez.

So yes, in San Francisco even the outlandish right-wingers are liberals.

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Two polls from the Rasmussen polling empire out today show the Republican nominee for Senate in Ohio, Rob Portman, with a big lead over his Democratic opponent, Lee Fisher.

The first poll was commissioned by Fox News through Rasmussen's Pulse Opinion Research subsidiary. Conducted Saturday among 1000 likely voters, it shows Portman ahead 48-41. The second poll, conducted by Rasmussen on Sept. 13, shows Portman ahead 49-41.

Past numbers on the race, from non-Rasmussen pollsters, have also shown the Republican with a sizable lead. A much discussed Columbus Dispatch poll from Sept. 3 shows Portman ahead 50-37.

The TPM Poll Average shows Portman ahead 46.6-40.2.

Democratic leaders tonight will appeal to the split factions among House Democrats to try and come up with a game plan for whether to hold a pre-election vote on extending the Bush-era tax cuts for just the middle class, top aides tell TPM.

The party is far from unified on the issue, with conservative members wanting to either extend all the tax cuts permanently, while many in the middle hoping to extend them just temporarily, given the recession. But top members of the House Democratic leadership think it's a political victory to extend them on the first $250,000 of income and to paint any Republican opponents of that plan as wanting only to help the super-rich.

House Democrats will hold a leadership meeting this evening, followed by a 6:30 p.m. caucus meeting with every member. A senior leadership aide described the issue as the most prominent on the agenda, which also will include a check-in about how the party's campaigning went over the weekend.

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Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid today promised pop star Lady Gaga, via the Twitter machine, that he will hold a vote on Don't Ask, Don't Tell next week.

Reid announced yesterday that the Senate will vote sometime next week on the 2011 defense authorization bill, which includes a provision to repeal DADT.

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The new Fox News poll of the Florida Senate race has very good news for Republican Marco Rubio, with him holding a commanding lead over independent Gov. Charlie Crist and Democratic Congressman Kendrick Meek.

The numbers: Rubio 43%, Crist 27%, and Meek 21%. The survey of likely voters has a ±3% margin of error. There is no prior Fox News poll of this race -- but this one was conducted through a Rasmussen offshoot, Pulse Opinion Research, and the previous Rasmussen poll from late August had Rubio ahead by 40%-30%-21%.

The poll's internals show the worst-case scenario for Dems of Meek and the ex-Republican Crist splitting the Dem vote, with Meek ahead of Crist 46%-39% with that demographic, plus 11% for Rubio. Among Republicans, Rubio is ahead of Crist and Meek by 74%-13%-4% -- meaning that Crist is not holding on to much of his old Republican base, if these numbers are accurate -- and among independents Rubio leads Crist and Meek by 39%-33%-9%.

The TPM Poll Average puts Rubio ahead of Crist and Meek by 38.1%-32.1%-20.3%.

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If you need a friend in Washington, get a dog, the saying goes. Well, the Office of Congressional Ethics could be headed for the pound.

Both Republicans and Democrats are unhappy with the OCE, and no matter what side of the aisle wins in November, the office will likely be neutered or forced the close its doors, the National Journal reports.

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