TPM News

The new Fox News poll of the West Virginia Senate race is giving Republican businessman John Raese a solid lead against Democratic Gov. Joe Manchin, in the race to succeed the late Dem Sen. Robert Byrd.

The numbers: Raese 48%, Manchin 43%. The survey of likely voters has a ±3% margin of error. There is no previous Fox News poll of this race. However, this poll was conducted through a Rasmussen offshoot, Pulse Opinion Research, which performs made-to-order robopolls. In the previous Rasmussen poll from last week, Raese led by 48%-46%.

One key number is that Manchin is actually very popular, with a 66% approval rating and only 24% disapproval of his job as governor, while Raese's personal favorable rating is at only 42%-37%. But on the other hand, President Obama's rating here is a ghastly 29%-65% -- and that is likely what's dragging Manchin down and bringing Raese up.

The TPM Poll Average gives Raese a lead of 48.1%-43.6%.

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Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) is sending out a warning to his fellow Republicans: Stand tall against government spending this fall, and be prepared for a showdown.

"[B]efore they're replaced in January, all of the Democrats who are put out of a job in November will be able to come back and rob the nation blind," DeMint writes in the conservative National Review.

At a glance it appears DeMint is lashing out at Democrats. But his real concern is that members of his own party -- who he described last week as "retiring Republican appropriators" -- will join Democrats during the lame-duck session of Congress and pass large spending legislation to keep the government running (what's known on the Hill as an omnibus spending bill).

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Stephen Colbert disagreed last night with a cable news commentator who said that people referring to members of Islam, a religion with more than a billion people, as "they" is "the definition of bigotry."

"Wrong," Colbert said. "The definition of bigotry is picking on Rick Sanchez."

Colbert was referring to former CNN host Rick Sanchez's comments that Jon Stewart is "a bigot," which Stewart addressed on his show last night as well.

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When he appeared on Fox News last night, House Minority Leader John Boehner presumably wanted to convey to host Sean Hannity that his relationship with President Obama is friendly, but superficial. What came out instead was slightly different.

Apparently, Boehner and Obama bond over having dark skin and an affinity for golf, but, according to Boehner, Obama goes blank when Boehner brings up the "real world."

"I come in and he'll say 'Boehner you are almost as dark as me,'" Boehner said. "Listen, we talk about golf. We'll talk about our skin color. We have a nice relationship. The problem we have is that when we talk to each other, there's no connection. I've got 11 brothers and sisters, my dad owned a bar. I was a small business guy long before I got into this business. When I talk about the real world, it doesn't seem to register."

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SurveyUSA is out with new numbers on the California Senate and gubernatorial races and both Democratic nominees are maintaining their recent polling leads. In the Senate race, Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer is leading Republican former Hewlett Packard CEO Carly Fiorina 46%-43%, while Democratic state Attorney General Jerry Brown is up on Republican former eBay CEO Meg Whitman in the state's gubernatorial race, 47%-43%.

When SurveyUSA last looked at these contests on September 21, both Democrats were up in their respective contests: Boxer led by six points, 49%-43%, and Brown had a three-point advantage, 46%-43%. These two closely-watched races have been heavily polled over the last few weeks. Most recently in the Senate race, a CNN/Time poll gave Boxer a 52%-43% lead over Fiorina. The Democrat hasn't been found trailing in a poll in nearly a month. In the gubernatorial fight, an October 3 Rasmussen poll had Brown up five points, 49%-44%. He has led in five of the last six poll conducted on the race.

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This is Senior U.S. District Judge Jack T. Camp Jr., former chief judge of the U.S. District Court in Atlanta. He just got arrested for buying coke, weed, and prescription painkillers. From a stripper.

Judges! When they fall, they fall hard. Camp, a Reagan appointee, had apparently been involved with his exotic dancer friend since the spring, when he purchased a private dance from her. It must have been a pretty good dance, because he came back the next night and bought another dance, and then sex.

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These days, in the wake of the Supreme Court decision in Citizens United, most so-called "527" groups -- able to accept unlimited contributions and hide the sources of their donations -- have taken to helping their favorite candidates and attacking their opponents in political advertisements.

Not Newt Gingrich's 527 group. The vast majority of expenses by American Solutions for Winning the Future from April-June 2010 went towards promoting both the organization itself and one man: Newt Gingrich.

American Solutions spent at least $2.3 million on fundraising activities, travel expenses and direct marketing in the months of April, May and June -- including over $1.4 million on direct marketing alone -- according to an analysis by TPMMuckraker. That's the majority of the $3.2 million the group spent altogether. The group took in $3.4 million in donations during that period.

The AP found in an earlier review that American Solutions spent nearly all of the $20 million it has raised in the past two years on administrative and travel expenses.

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The new Quinnipiac University poll of the Ohio gubernatorial race shows incumbent Gov. Ted Strickland (D) closing the gap with his opponent, Republican nominee John Kasich, but still trailing badly among the all-important independent vote.

The Q poll of likely voters shows Kasich ahead 50-41. The last poll of the race taken by the firm, released in mid-September, showed Kasich ahead 54-37. Strickland's momentum here echoes other recent polls of the contest that have shown Strickland picking up steam. The TPM Poll Average shows Kasich leading 49.6-41.5.

Despite the apparent good news here for Dems, the new Q poll suggests that Strickland still has quite an uphill climb in the final four weeks of campaigning.

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