TPM News

Two new polls are out today on the Ohio gubernatorial race, and Republican former Rep. John Kasich finds himself atop both. In a Quinnipiac poll, the Republican leads Democratic Gov. Ted Strickland by 10 points, 51%-41%. The margin is slightly narrower in the new Fox News Poll (conducted by Rasmussen offshoot Pulse Opinion Research), which has the incumbent Democrat trailing by six points, 49%-43%.

Both new sets of numbers show very little movement from these pollsters' last looks at the race: Fox News' October 9 poll had Kasich ahead 47%-42% and Quinnipiac's October 3 survey had him up 50%-41%.

The TPM Poll Average finds Kasich at 48.8% and Strickland at 43.0%.

The margin of error for the latest Quinnipiac and Fox News surveys are ±2.8 and ±3.0 percentage points, respectively.

For more on the race, check out TPMDC's full coverage here.

The Department of Defense announced today that it is instructing military recruiters to accept enlistees who identify themselves as gay in order to comply with a court order to stop enforcing Don't Ask, Don't Tell.

According to a spokeswoman, recruiters have been told to begin processing gay recruits, even if they acknowledge their sexual identity.

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If Meg Whitman creates one job during her campaign, it could very well go to a pink lingerie-clad Japanese bassist.

The Whitman campaign inadvertently promoted an amateur YouTube performer while trying to advertise an endorsement from the San Diego County Sheriff's Association. On Twitter. Fail.

The Tweet was spot-on until the very end: "SD Cnty Sheriff Assoc says @Whitman2010 4 gov! RT: @Murphy4MegNews: CA Cops get it: Jerry Brown is too soft on crime. http://bit.ly/bNCAV"

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Put a fork in this one: Vice President Biden isn't going anywhere. In a new interview with National Journal set to appear in the print edition next week, President Obama calls any speculation that Biden might be losing his gig as right hand man "completely unfounded."

The idea of a Biden swap with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton led to a level of Washington bloviation and rumor mongering not seen since the Obamas were choosing a breed of puppy. The plan was first presented by Bob Woodward while on tour for his latest book release and quickly became the thing everyone on TV wanted to claim they heard about first.

Sadly, Obama threw cold water over the whole thing just as the tail-chasing was starting to get good.

Obama "bluntly dismissed," the notion in the interview, National Journal's Ron Brownstein and Ron Fournier write.

"They are both doing outstanding jobs where they are," Obama told the magazine.

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President Obama will go where he's needed on the last weekend of campaigning in 2010. Former TPM reporter and now CQ/Roll Call's Christina Bellantoni reports that Obama "is keeping his calendar for the final weekend of the election wide open so he can fly to a battleground state or two with little notice if a Democrat is in need."

Halloween weekend will be the culmination of years of preparation by the Republicans, who set out to run against Obama and his agenda right from the start. Throughout the campaign, Republicans have used Obama along with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority leader Harry Reid as bogeymen -- the fearsome creatures of spending that lurk under every good conservative's bed. At the same time, the public has grown weary of the weak economy and has looked to its leaders to take the blame.

Both factors have forced many Democrats to keep Obama at arm's length this election season. Despite the closeness of the race in Senate race Kentucky for example, you're not likely to see Obama there on Oct. 31 (especially with Democratic nominee Jack Conway running ads like this.) But, as the White House told Christina, Obama has lifted the spirits of Democrats in other tough races this year and could help an embattled Democrat surge to a final victory.

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Sharron Angle's has a second TV ad out today, pushing the same theme as her previous spot did: The Republican Angle is going after the Democrat Harry Reid on the grounds that he's rich.

"Not everyone in Nevada is suffering from Harry Reid's failed economic policies," a woman says. "While you may be in the unemployment line, someone's more likely to be in a conga line. And while your family is just hanging on, someone's been hanging out with supermodels. And while you worry about making your next mortgage payment, guess who lives in this spectacular Washington Ritz Carlton. Yeah, thanks to Harry Reid, there's someone doing just fine."

This does seem to be a major piece of news -- that a high-ranking United States Senator from Nevada ends up meeting famous people.

This ad seems to be part of a trend of right-wing populism among Tea Party candidates -- for example, in the Delaware Senate race, Christine O'Donnell has also attacked her Dem opponent Chris Coons for being wealthy. Of course, the odd thing about right-wing populism is that the candidates promoting also tend to be advocates for upper-income tax cuts and the dismantling of the welfare state and consumer-protection laws.

The TPM Poll Average gives Angle a lead of 48.5%-47.4%.

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For the first time in nearly two months of polling, incumbent Republican Sen. Richard Burr's lead in the North Carolina Senate race is in the single-digits. Democratic Secretary of State Elaine Marshall finds herself trailing by eight points in a newly released PPP poll, 48%-40%, with Libertarian Michael Beitler earning 3%.

Burr's lead over the last month has ranged from 13 points (in PPP's September 26 look at the race) to 20 points. The TPM Poll Average still finds Marshall with some major ground to make up -- she's at 35.0%, compared to Burr's 50.8%.

The margin of error for the latest survey is ±4.0 percentage points.

For more on the race, check out TPMDC's full coverage here.

Democrat Jerry Brown has a new ad in the California gubernatorial race, tying his Republican opponent Meg Whitman to the unpopular GOP Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger -- by showing them separately repeating the same slogans.

Although he was previously elected to two terms (counting that 2003 recall) Schwarzenegger's approval rating now stands at only 30%-66.6% in the TPM Poll Average.

The ad shows clips of Schwarzenegger and Whitman alternatively repeating the same clichés, such as: "Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting different results," "I have built businesses," "met a payroll," "I don't owe anyone anything," and, "we do not have a revenue problem, we have a spending problem." And the kicker: "What's the worst thing that can happen?"

Unfortunately the Brown campaign couldn't find any matching video of Whitman saying the following line: "To crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentation of their women."

The TPM Poll Average gives Brown a lead of 47.6%-43.7%.

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The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee has a new ad in the Nevada Senate race, aiming to persuade the state's voters that while times certainly are tough, they would be worse with Sharron Angle -- and it employs an interesting metaphor for the angry voter.

The ad shows a woman training with boxing gloves, punching and kicking against a large punching bag. "You're angry, you're frustrated at Washington," the announcer says. "Think how much angrier you'll be if Sharron Angle has her way and Social Security and Medicare are phased out, and she keeps her promise to not fight for Nevada jobs.

"So work that anger out in the ring, because voting for Sharron Angle is only going to hurt yourself."

The woman then concludes, "I can't vote for Sharron Angle."

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Illinois GOP Chairman Pat Brady told TPMMuckraker on Tuesday that the state Republican Party does not have a prominent birther on the payroll, but confirmed that his organization is working with the Republican National Lawyers Association to train volunteers on election day as part of a "voter integrity" initiative.

Brady -- who previously posted a notice on the GOP website about the "voter integrity" program that was later scrubbed -- said that the program is not unusual.

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