TPM News

A new crop of polls in the Pennsylvania Senate race shows Republican Pat Toomey pulling away somewhat against Democrat Joe Sestak, after Sestak had previously been closing the gap.

• Quinnipiac: Toomey 50%, Sestak 45%. The survey of likely voters has a ±2.8% margin of error. In the previous Quinnipiac poll from two weeks ago, Toomey's lead was a slightly narrower 48%-46%.

• Public Policy Polling (D): Toomey 51%, Sestak 46%. The survey of likely voters has a ±3.5% margin of error. In the previous poll from two weeks ago, Sestak had taken a narrow edge of 46%-45%.

• The Muhlenberg daily tracking poll: Toomey 48%, Sestak 44%. The survey of likely voters has a ±4.5% margin of error. Yesterday's tracking poll -- which overlaps this one by three days out of the four-day sample -- had Toomey ahead by a narrower 45%-43%.

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In case you missed it (as we sorta did) Friday night's Real Time with Bill Maher featured a moment one rarely sees on live television: the very convincing sparking of a joint by guest Zach Galifianakis. The host seemed somewhat taken aback, as did the guest panelists, particularly Fox News contributor Margaret Hoover, whose reaction to the scent of the hand-rolled smokey treat seemed to confirm that it was marijuana. Watch below.

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Dan Fagan, a conservative talk-radio host in Alaska, had his show pulled off the air on Friday after he encouraged listeners to file as write-in candidates in the Senate race, as a way to bury Sen. Lisa Murkowski's name and give tea party favorite Republican nominee Joe Miller a boost.

Sarah Palin leapt to Fagan's defense on her Facebook page, accusing Murkowski's "hired guns" of threatening Fagan, and putting the pressure on the radio station to take him off the air.

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The Republican National Committee has launched a website called "No More Frankens" that raises money for their Get Out the Vote Program and appears to raise fears over voter fraud.

"The only way to prevent more Al Frankens is to win and win big," the website reads. "Your contribution will go toward the RNC's proven 72-hour Get Out the Vote program and help us get the margins of victory we need to make sure the real winners are recognized on November 3rd. There is no margin for error. Will you help us?"

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The new survey of the Nevada Senate race from Public Policy Polling (D) shows Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Republican nominee Sharron Angle running neck-and-neck.

The initial numbers, including all candidates on the ballot: Angle 47% Reid 46%, Tea Party candidate Scott Ashjian 3%, five other candidates at 0%-1%, and the peculiar Nevada option of "None of the Above" 1%.

When the question was asked against a strict two-way option of Reid and Angle, Reid has an edge of 49%-48%. Keep in mind that support for third-party candidates often collapses in the voting booth, with people breaking to the major candidates, though this effect is very hard to predict.

The survey of likely voters has a ±3.8% margin of error. The previous PPP poll from early October put Reid ahead by 47%-45% in the multi-candidate race, and ahead 49%-48% in the two-way race.

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A new Quinnipiac poll suggests Ohio Governor Ted Strickland has almost erased a once-significant gap over his GOP rival John Kasich.

The survey of 848 likely voters gives Kasich a narrow 47-46 lead over the incumbent Democrat. Compare that to the last Quinnipiac poll, conducted just over a week ago, which gave Kasich a significant 49-43 lead over Strickland, and it suggests rapid tightening in the days before the election.

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On the Today Show this morning, NRSC Chairman John Cornyn said conclusively that the Senate is out of reach for Republicans this cycle.

"I think we don't get the majority back but we come awfully close, and we finish the job in 2012," Cornyn said.

This has actually been Cornyn's view for months. But this weekend, in what was probably an attempt at expectation-setting, unnamed Democrats started telling reporters they feared they might lose control of the Senate. Cornyn has his own incentives not to inflate expectations, but he's consistently said he thinks 2012 is the year Republicans will return to power in the upper chamber.

Most prognosticators say Republicans are poised to pick up between six and eight seats on Tuesday -- not enough to retake control. Video of Cornyn's appearance below the fold.

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Two new polls of the West Virginia Senate special election both give Democratic Gov. Joe Manchin a narrow lead against Republican businessman John Raese, in the race to succeed the late Dem Sen. Robert Byrd.

From Rasmussen: Manchin 50%, Raese 46%. The survey of likely voters has a ±4% margin of error. In the previous Rasmussen poll from last week, Manchin led by 49%-46%.

From Public Policy Polling (D): Manchin 51%, Raese 46%. The survey of likely voters has a ±2.4% margin of error. In PPP's numbers from last week, Manchin led by 50%-44%.

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A new Public Policy poll of 2,055 likely voters in Washington state has got to be causing Senate Democrat Patty Murray heartburn. Murray has been leading her Republican rival Dino Rossi in most polls for weeks, but this one has her down two points, 50-48.

Now, Murray was ahead or at least tied in all but one survey last week. That was a Rasmussen poll which gave Rossi a one point lead, 48-47.

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