TPM News

Democracy For America is calling on its million-plus members to buy gasoline from "anyone but BP" until the Gulf Coast oil spill is cleaned up.

"Even as we await the results of the latest attempt to stop the flow of oil gushing from the well," DFA chair Jim Dean wrote in an email to members today, "BP continues to not allow anyone other than themselves the ability and access to fully investigate the extent of the problems."

"Enough is enough," Dean continues. "It's time to speak to BP in a language they will understand."

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Pro-Bill Halter labor groups who want to see Sen. Blanche Lincoln unseated are targeting senior citizens with a new mailer in advance of the Democratic primary runoff June 8.

"Sixteen years in Washington have changed Senator Blanche Lincoln. She's forgotten how tough times are for retirees," reads the mailer, obtained by TPMDC. It will be sent to 20,000 Arkansas homes and was paid for by the Alliance for Retired Americans, a seniors group affiliated with the AFL-CIO.

The mailer cites six Lincoln votes to increase Social Security taxes in 1993, 1994, 1998 and 2000, and for a budget that would have cut benefits. It boosts Halter, the lieutenant governor, by noting his tenure running the Social Security Administration under President Clinton. "Bill Halter will fight to protect Medicare and strengthen Social Security," the mailer claims, asking people to vote June 8.

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After everything that's come out about Sen. John Ensign (R-NV), it seems implausible that he could run for office again. But he may be thinking about doing just that.

The Nevada Republican has been planning fundraisers and making calls to donors, with a view to a possible re-election bid in 2012, reports the Los Angeles Times.

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A new survey of the California gubernatorial race by Public Policy Polling (D) gives Democratic state Attorney General Jerry Brown huge leads over the two Republican candidates in the race to succeed term-limited GOP Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Brown, who previously served as governor from 1975-1983 and ran for president three times, leads former eBay CEO Meg Whitman by 48%-36%, and leads state Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner by 48%-32%. The survey of registered voters has a ±3.2%. The TPM Poll Average gives Brown a lead over Whitman of 44.5%-40.3%, and lead over Poizner of 47.0%-34.0%.

Interestingly, Brown's favorable rating is only 37%, with a slightly higher unfavorable rating of 39%. However, Whitman is even worse at 24%-44%, and Poizner is even lower at 19%-43%. "Jerry Brown looks to be in good shape to return to the governorship 27 years after he left it," writes PPP president Dean Debnam.

Arkansas Lt. Gov. Bill Halter outraised Sen. Blanche Lincoln in the most recent fundraising period as they battle for the Democratic primary runoff, but started the second phase of the election with far less in the bank than the incumbent senator.

Halter raised more than $777,000 to Lincoln's just over $552,000. But while she has $2 million in the bank, he had $494,549 according to the Federal Election Commission paperwork the campaign filed today covering April 29 through May 19. The primary election, which had Lincoln at 45 percent, Halter at 43 percent and a conservative Democrat earning 13 percent, was held May 18. That means these most recent figures don't reveal much about whether Halter received a boost from forcing a runoff. Team Halter portrayed today's figures as Lincoln being in "dire trouble," touting a new poll showing him leading the senator by 3 points. They also noted that nearly half of her fundraising haul came from political action committees, while his money came from individuals with an average contribution of less than $40.

After today's poll, the TPM Poll Average for the first time has Halter leading Lincoln 47.3%-44.7%. As I reported earlier this week, it's gotten nastier between the two Democrats in the final two weeks.

When it comes to making environmental policy in the wake of the massive oil spill in the Gulf, Americans appear ready to embrace that old political adage, "let no crisis go to waste."

According to a new poll from Gallup out this afternoon, "preferences for prioritizing between environmental protection and energy production have shifted from a somewhat pro-energy stance to an even stronger pro-environment stance" during the period of the oil spill.

In the new poll, 55% of respondents say "protection of the environment" should be given priority over energy production. Thirty-nine percent say the opposite. Back in March, the split went the other way -- 50% prioritized energy production while 43% said environmental protection should come first.

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The new Daily Kos/Research 2000 poll of the Kentucky Senate race gives Republican nominee Rand Paul only a narrow lead over Democratic state Attorney General Jack Conway -- but it doesn't immediately appear that Paul's comments about the Civil Rights Act of 1964 are hurting him.

The numbers: Paul 44%, Conway 41%. The survey of likely voters has a ±4% margin of error. It might be tempting to think that Paul is having a fallout from his controversial statements opposing laws against racial discrimination by private businesses -- but on the other hand, this result is essentially unchanged from the pre-primary R2K poll that gave Paul a lead of 42%-39%. The TPM Poll Average gives Paul a lead of 47.5%-38.2%.

Kos writes: "This race's big battleground will be independent voters -- Paul is currently winning them 42-31, with 27 percent undecided, and Democrats, where Conway is only getting 75 percent to Paul's 7 Percent, with 18 percent undecided. Remember, this is Kentucky, where a significant number of voters who vote Dem in statewide elections vote GOP for federal races. Paul has already consolidated GOP support, winning them 86-6, with just 8 percent undecided."

Late Update: This post has been edited from the original, after a correction to the post at Daily Kos.

This afternoon conservative commentator Erick Erickson of RedState, a strong supporter of South Carolina gubernatorial candidate NIkki Haley, accused blogger Will Folks of receiving a payoff to push the story of an alleged affair between Folks and Haley -- a charge Folks is strenuously denying.

In a post titled "BREAKING: We Know Who Did It," which features a Drudge siren, Erickson writes: "Who paid Will Folks? He was alleged offered money. A LOT of money. In fact, RedState now confirms through a whole heap of sources that he's been trying to sell this story for a year."

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President Obama is doubling down on the rhetoric when it comes to the crisis in the Gulf this weekend, but it's not yet clear if that will be enough to stop the slide in public support for the way he's handled the worst oil spill in American history.

Yesterday, USA Today made a splash with its new poll, conducted in conjunction with Gallup (margin of error: 4%), showing 53% of Americans gave Obama a "poor" rating when it comes to handling the oil spill. But that poll is just one of many showing public trust in the White House's ability to handle the crisis has declined since the spill first began in late April.

Most of the polls show slight majorities disapprove of the way the President has run things since the oil spill began. When put in contrast with the epically terrible ratings given to BP by the public in the same polls, the Obama slide may seem slight. But for a White House trying to shake accusations -- however ridiculous -- that the spill has become a new Katrina the numbers show that the administration has work to do before it regains public confidence.

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