TPM News

Just how bad is it out there? Consider the TPM charts below showing the poll averages from each of the elections for Senate seats currently held by Democrats. Not a single Democrat in a contested race sits above 50 percent. Worse yet, many of them are outright losing to Republicans.

Election Day is still weeks off, and anything, and we mean anything, can happen to change these numbers on a dime. And it's important to remember that there are so many more factors to consider than just polls, which, as we've proven again and again, can be wrong. Many of these Democratic incumbents have mountains of cash in the bank and President Obama has continued to be a massive fundraising strength for Democratic senators despite his unpopularity nationally. Plus, some of these Dems are up against barely-ready-for-prime-time Republicans with extreme views, and those numbers seem like they could waver.

But if every TPM Poll Average culled from our PollTracker and seen below were to hold on through Nov. 2, Democrats would lose at least five seats, and possibly as many as eight.

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The chief of NATO agrees with the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan: A radical Florida church really shouldn't burn copies of the Koran.

"I strongly condemn that. I think it's a disrespectful action and in general I really urge people to respect other people's faith and behave respectfully. I think such actions are in strong contradiction with all the values we stand for and fight for," said NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, according to The Cable.

"Of course, there is a risk that it may also have a negative impact on the security for our troops," he added.

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An Arizona court has upheld a restraining order against former Minuteman (and Minuteman co-founder) Chris Simcox, granted in April to his wife Alena Simcox and their children, after she alleged that he made several threats against his family and the police.

The court determined last week that the restraining order should continue "in full force," according to The Washington Times.

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Civil liberties groups sued the Department of Homeland Security on Tuesday, alleging that the government should not be able to search, copy or keep the data on electronic devices carried by people crossing the border without a reasonable suspicion of wrongdoing.

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This should be fun. Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) has a very well-known opponent in next week's Democratic primary, who he's faced before under different circumstances: Rachel Brown, the LaRouche activist who confronted him in a famous town hall exchange in August 2009.

Brown was the one who got up and asked Frank why he was supporting Obama's "Nazi policy" on health care, while she and her compatriots were also name-dropping LaRouche and bearing a picture of Obama with a Hitler mustache. Frank -- who being both gay and a Jew, is a member of at least two groups that the Nazis sent to the death camps -- shot back: "On what planet do you spend most of your time?" He also added: "My answer to you is, as I said before, it is a tribute to the First Amendment that this kind of vile, contemptible nonsense is so freely propagated."

Next week, she'll be facing Frank on the Democratic primary ballot. "I didn't realize at the time that if you had a better idea, you should take their seat," Brown told the Associated Press.

Meanwhile, the 30-year incumbent Frank is taking a particularly dismissive view of his latest challenger. "I regard her as an example of the price you pay for free speech," Frank said. "I don't think she is very rational."

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A new poll out this morning shows Rep. Mike Castle (R-DE) would be able to win a Democratic Senate seat this fall -- if he can win next Tuesday's GOP primary election against the suddenly surging Christine O'Donnell.

But should O'Donnell ride her tea party wave and capture the nomination as the more conservative choice, she would lose, the Rasmussen Reports poll shows.

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New York Republican gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino was recently down to negative $567.50 in campaign funds, according to his latest filing through August 30. Since the filing, Paladino, who has pledged to donate up to $10 million of his own money to his campaign, has given a cash infusion of about $500,000.

Paladino's primary opponent Rick Lazio has reported about $500,000 cash on hand, leaving the two Republicans on roughly equal footing heading into the September 14 primary.

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The two non-Republican candidates in the Florida Senate race have some new ads in this wild and wacky election, with some amusing new spots from independent Gov. Charlie Crist and Democratic Rep. Kendrick Meek.

In the Crist ad, the ex-Republican walks alongside some large physical letters, a bit less than waist-high, that spell out "DEMOCRATS" in blue and "REPUBLICANS" in red. Crist talks about how as an independent he will be able to focus on common goals and take the best ideas of both sides -- as he rearranges the letters into alternating blue and red, to spell out "AMERICANS."

"Because at the end of the day, there's only one party I work for," says Crist.

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Terry Jones, the pastor of a small radical church who plans to burn Korans on Sept. 11, said this morning that, although he takes the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan's warning seriously, he will still go ahead with "Burn A Koran Day."

Yesterday, Gen. David Petraeus said that Jones' demonstration could endanger American troops in Afghanistan. Geoff Morell, the Pentagon spokesman, echoed those concerns today on MSNBC, saying burning Korans would put troops in more danger throughout the Muslim world.

But Jones, in an interview with CNN this morning, said he isn't swayed.

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