TPM News

Republican Roy Blunt still leads Democrat Robin Carnahan in the Missouri Senate race, according to the latest Rasmussen survey, which puts his lead at six points. Rep. Blunt -- the frontrunner in next Tuesday's GOP primary and the preferred Republican candidate of Michele Bachmann and Joe the Plumber -- leads Carnahan 49%-43% in the general election.

Those numbers are more favorable to Blunt than Rasmussen's last poll, which showed the Republican up only two points, but they're comparable to a Mason-Dixon poll from July 21, which showed Blunt ahead 48%-42%.

The TPM Poll Average for the race shows Blunt leading Carnahan 48.1%-43.2%. The margin of error for the latest Rasmussen survey is ±4.0 percentage points.

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A new poll from Zata3 shows a tight race in the Colorado Democratic Senate primary, with appointed incumbent Sen. Michael Bennet having only a narrow lead over former state House Speaker Andrew Romanoff.

The numbers: Bennet 44%, Romanoff 40%. The survey of likely voters has a ±3.6% margin of error, and there is no prior Zata3 poll for direct comparison. The TPM Poll Average gives Bennet a lead of 45.7%-35.3%. The primary will be held on August 10.

There is a caveat here. As the Colorado Pols blog points out, Zata3 has not normally been a polling firm: "You hire Zata3 to do persuasion phone calls or text messaging -- not polling -- just like you wouldn't normally hire a polling firm to do your direct mail. This is no knock on Zata3, it's just that it seems odd that you wouldn't use a professional polling firm if you wanted real polling results."

That said, they sure do seem to be branching out, with surveys such as this one and a recent poll of the Arkansas Senate race.

In a wide-ranging profile due out in next month's issue of Details, Kentucky's Republican nominee for Senate, Rand Paul, stands up for all the good things the controversial practice of mountain top-removal mining can do for the environment. Despite warnings from conservationists that blowing the tops off of mountains to get the precious, precious coal underneath can have a seriously negative impact on the surrounding land, Paul says that when you really stop to think about it, losing those mountain tops is actually a net positive.

From the lengthy article, which was reported before Paul shunned the national press:

Paul believes mountaintop removal just needs a little rebranding. "I think they should name it something better," he says. "The top ends up flatter, but we're not talking about Mount Everest. We're talking about these little knobby hills that are everywhere out here. And I've seen the reclaimed lands. One of them is 800 acres, with a sports complex on it, elk roaming, covered in grass." Most people, he continues, "would say the land is of enhanced value, because now you can build on it."

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Life insurers -- including Prudential, which provides life insurance for the Department of Veterans Affairs -- keep payouts to families in their own corporate accounts, earning more interest on the money than they give to the beneficiaries.

Bloomberg reports that many life insurance companies send beneficiaries a "checkbook" when they opt to get their money in a lump sum. The companies assure families that the money is safe with them until they need it.

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Quinnipiac's out with new numbers from the Florida Democratic Senate primary, and they show businessman Jeff Greene taking the lead. Although "undecided" beat out all three candidates vying for the nomination -- something that isn't new for this race -- Greene leads the pack with 33%. Rep. Kendrick Meek is at 23%, and former Miami Mayor Maurice Ferre trails with 4%.

These Quinnipiac numbers are the first to show a clear leader in the race. A PPP poll from July 18 put Meek just ahead of Greene 28%-25%, and a Quinnipiac survey from June similarly showed Meek edging Green 29%-27%.

Both Greene and Meek are polling well behind the race's other two big-name candidates: Gov. Charlie Crist (I) and tea party favorite Marco Rubio (R).

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House Republicans are attempting to nationalize the fall elections in hopes of winning back control of the chamber, with a new effort to raise money called Boehner for Speaker. House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) has a lot at stake in November, and he's going all-in.

Donors giving big bucks or helping to raise at least $100,000 for the National Republican Congressional Committee will get "meetings with Boehner, calls from senior aides with updates on the campaign and 'VIP access to all events, including roundtables, briefings, breakout discussions and interactive panel discussions," according to Politico, which obtained some materials Boehner's office was shopping around for the new campaign.

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Obama: 'I Draw Inspiration' From People Dealing With Tough Economy In a taped appearance on The View, set to air today, President Obama discussed the continuing problems in the economy: "As much as you've been saying it's tough for me, the truth is, it's not tough for me. You know I've got pundits on the news who might say things, but what the American people have gone through -- losing jobs, seeing their home values go down, their 401ks declining -- those are the people that I draw inspiration from because I get letters every night from them and I read them."

Obama's Day Ahead President Obama will deliver a major education reform speech at 10:05 a.m. ET, at the National Urban League 100th Anniversary Convention. He will meet at 11:10 a.m. ET with his national security team for his monthly meeting on Afghanistan and Pakistan. He will have lunch with Vice President Biden at 12:35 p.m. ET. He will receive the presidential daily briefing at 1:45 p.m. ET. He will sign the Tribal Law and Order Act at 4:50 p.m. ET. He will attend a Democratic National Committee fundraiser at 7:05 p.m. ET.

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A new Quinnipiac poll of Florida's Republican gubernatorial primary shows wealthy businessman Rick Scott 11 points ahead of state Attorney General and establishment favorite Bill McCollum. The poll shows Scott, who's been ahead of McCollum in most polls since June, leading 43%-32%.

On Tuesday, McCollum's campaign released an internal polling memo showing McCollum down just six points against Scott. Scott's 11-point lead in the latest Quinnipiac poll is slightly less than his lead in a June 8 Quinnipiac survey, which put Scott at 44% and McCollum at 31%.

The TPM Poll Average for the August 24 primary shows Scott ahead 40.4%-31.2%. The margin of error for the latest Quinnipiac poll is ±3.6 percentage points.

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The BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico has definitely had far-reaching political consequences -- and by far-reaching, we mean it's become an issue at the other end of the country, all the way up north in Wisconsin, where Democratic Sen. Russ Feingold is running for a fourth term, and where Dems are hammering Republican businessman Ron Johnson over his ties to BP.

The TPM Poll Average for the race shows Feingold with only a narrow lead of 42.0%-40.4%, setting up a close race in a state that usually leans Democratic but where the races can also be hard-fought to the very end.

Indeed, Feingold has taken the unusual step for a progressive Democrat of touting the support he has received from conservative groups, due to his opposition to pork-barrel spending. And Feingold has also seized on the oil spill as a major issue against Johnson.

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In week four of our ongoing Beck University lecture series, Professor David Barton returned for "Faith 102" -- the second of his lectures -- and set about trying to prove that church and state are totally meant to be together by debunking the "myth" that many of our founding fathers were "agnostics, atheists, deists."

When we last saw Barton, he explained that he knows church and state have been apart for a while now, but if they could just give it one more chance he knows they can make it work this time...

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