TPM News

The man who bought a Republican gubernatorial nomination in Florida, Rick Scott, is having a tough time selling himself to general election voters. A new poll from CNN/Time shows Democratic nominee Alex Sink leading Scott 49-42, the latest in a series of polls showing Scott well behind the Democrat.

Republicans feared Scott -- he of ultra-conservative views and skeletons in the closet galore -- would have a hard time appealing to Florida's swingy and moderate general electorate. Early polls of the general election fight (most taken before the independent-but-Democratic-leaning Bud Chiles dropped out of the race, a move generally seen to benefit Sink) have shown the fears about Scott to be well-founded.

The CNN/Time survey of 899 registered voters in Florida was conducted Sept. 2-7. The margin of error is 3.5%.

Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, one of the ostensibly mainstream politicians who has come out vocally against building an Islamic community center in downtown Manhattan, today spoke out against a Florida church's plan to burn Korans on Sept. 11.

"People have a constitutional right to burn a Koran if they want to, but doing so is insensitive and an unnecessary provocation -- much like building a mosque at Ground Zero," Palin wrote in a press release. "Book burning is antithetical to American ideals."

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Mike Spears, a real dark horse independent candidate for Louisiana Senate has come up with a great stunt for getting votbloggers' attention: Challenge David Vitter to a Ultimate Fighting Championship-style steel cage free for all.

The Daily Advertiser reports:

Spears issued the challenge at a press conference to announce USA-MMAS "Return of the Champions" on Oct. 16 at the Cajundome.

Citing the 2007 scandal in which Vitter was linked to a Washington D.C. prostitution ring, Spears billed the bout as a modern day duel.

"Sen. Vitter's behavior - his admission to breaking the law in 2007 - has insulted the honor of Louisiana and the Louisiana Senate seat," Spears said.

"I'm in this race, and this fight, to restore the honor of Louisiana and of the nation as well."

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A new poll from CNN/Time out this evening confirms what past polls in California have been showing for a while now: the gubernatorial race is essentially a dead heat. Meg Whitman has a slight lead in the poll, just as she has in some other recent polling pitting her against CA Attorney General Jerry Brown (D). It's not much of a lead, mind you -- Whitman leads by just 48-46 in the new poll -- but it's enough to suggest her summertime ad blitz aimed at building up her moderate bona fides with California voters has been fairly successful.

Brown is now on the air taking Whitman on, and promising to expose her as too conservative and too inexperienced for California voters weary of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's (R) reign. The TPM Poll Average shows Brown begins to make that case running basically neck-and-neck with Whitman. She leads the average 46.0-44.2.

The CNN/Time poll of 866 registered voters was conducted Sept. 2-7. The margin of error is 3.5%.

President Obama called out House Minority Leader John Boehner by name no less than eight times during his speech in Cleveland this afternoon.

That's not how Obama usually operates. During last Monday's Labor Day address, Obama only went so far as to lash out at nameless Republicans in Congress -- a pattern that has frustrated his friendly critics for years. In the 2008 campaign, then-candidate Obama was always reluctant to criticize his opponents by name. This was true during both the Democratic primary, and the general election against Sen. John McCain (R-AZ).

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A top economic adviser to Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) quit his position after he was caught attempting to bring marijuana into his Senate office building.

The aide, Marcus Stanley, was stopped by Capitol Hill Police at an entrance to the Hart Senate building on Tuesday when officers found him with "a green, leafy substance which tested positive for marijuana,'' a spokeswoman told The Wall Street Journal.

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Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) is leading in her reelection bid against former HP CEO Carly Fiorina (R) -- but not by much. That's according to a new CNN/Time poll of 866 registered voters in California showing Boxer ahead 48-44.

The numbers are in line with past polling showing Boxer locked in a tough race with the wealthy Fiorina, who dominated the primary field in large part thanks to her comfort level with spending her own wealth on campaigning. More recent polls have shown Fiorina with the narrow lead among likely voters, suggesting that Boxer needs to motivate her base to overcome Fiorina's enthusiastic supporters.

The TPM Poll Average shows the race to be essentially tied, with Boxer leading 46.7-45.0.

A new poll of registered voters in Kentucky throws more uncertainty into a Senate race that in just the last several days has featured polls showing Republican nominee Rand Paul way ahead or just a little ahead of Democratic nominee Jack Conway. The CNN/Time survey of 869 registered voters potentially changes that narrative entirely, showing Paul and Conway locked in a 46-46 tie.

Polling is always an inexact science, and nowhere is that more obvious than in Kentucky this week. It's important to note that the new CNN/Time poll surveys registered voters, while the other public polls touted by Republicans this week (and showing Paul with a big lead) were taken among likely voters. In keeping with the story of the season, likely voters have tended to lean Republicanism heavily, which could explain the disparity between today's CNN/Time poll showing the race to be a dead even and today's Rasmussen poll showing Paul ahead by 15.

Regardless, the CNN/Time poll suggests the race in Kentucky is still potentially up in the air which should give a boost to Democrats hoping to score the upset win in the Bluegrass State. The TPM Poll Average shows Paul leading the race 47.1-41.4.

As Pastor Terry Jones of the Dove World Outreach Center gets ready to burn copies of the Koran at his Gainesville, Florida church this Saturday (September 11), many national voices are calling for him to change his plans. House Minority Leader John Boehner, Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT), and RGA Chairman Haley Barbour have all criticized the planned Koran burning. And Gen. David Petraeus, the top U.S. commander of the Afghanistan War, has gone as far as to say that the plan could put American troops in danger.

But as Jones forges full-speed ahead with his incendiary event, some of the nation's most prominent Islamophobic voices have expressed their opposition (though usually with caveats), to Jones' idea....

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Sen. Lisa Murkowski would like to retain her job, and she's meeting with the Libertarian candidate to see if they can strike a deal to get her on the fall ballot. Murkowski (R-AK), unseated in a shocking primary last month, met yesterday with Libertarian candidate David Haase.

Haase told Politico that he is "considering it and I wanted her to come up with some reasons why, and she's considering that."

Polls show Murkowski might be able to defeat Joe Miller (R) and Scott McAdams (D) should she run as a libertarian, but as we reported last week, the party's official members voted unanimously they don't want her as their candidate. Haase would have to withdraw by next Wednesday for Murkowski to take his place. She could file as a write-in candidate up to five days before the general election.

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