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Morning Jay: Rossi v. Murray, Feingold v. Johnson, New House Polls, and ... John Dingell in Trouble?!

6:30 AM, Sep 3, 2010 • By JAY COST
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Welcome! Lots of stuff to cover, so let's get to it. 

Morning Jay: Rossi v. Murray, Feingold v. Johnson, New House Polls, and ... <i>John Dingell</i> in Trouble?!

Russ Feingold, Underdog?

1. Washington and Wisconsin Senate.  Control of the United States Senate is in play this year, and it will likely come down to a handful of races -- notably California, Washington, and Wisconsin.  While the Boxer-Fiorina debate in California grabbed headlines yesterday, and a new SurveyUSA poll shows Fiorina in the lead, there were developments in the other states.

Rasmussen has a new poll that shows Dino Rossi outpacing Patty Murray, 50-47 percent, when leaners are included.  This is roughly in line with his recent results, as well as SurveyUSA's recent showing of a 52-45 Rossi edge.

What's going on here?  Is this a fluke?  Republicans in Washington?  It can't be!  

Sure it can!  

Washington voted roughly in line with national trends in 1992 and 1996 -- giving Clinton 43 percent and 50 percent of the vote, respectively.  Gore did about two points better in Washington than he did nationwide.  Kerry and Obama did about five points better than their nationwide hauls.  So, it stands to reason that, in an R+5-10 year, which is what this is shaping up to be, Washington would be in play.  And remember, the Evergreen State was the site of the worst Democratic debacle of 1994, as the party lost 6 House seats from Washington alone that year.  The GOP has a great challenger with Dino Rossi, so this pickup could happen.

Ditto the Badger State.  Russ Feingold can trace an ideological line back to the state's progressive roots, but Wisconsin has been a swing state in recent cycles.  Gore and Kerry won it by the narrowest of margins.  Before that, the state showed some partiality to Ross Perot, who did better there than he did nationwide.  The GOP has found a self-funder (not to mention a great fundraiser) in candidate Ron Johnson.  He's already pouring in millions of his own dollars.

Johnson has spent $4 million on broadcast TV in the state compared to $1.4 million for Feingold, according to figures obtained from CMAG, a northern Virginia firm that tracks television advertising.

The numbers refer to ads aired this year in the state’s five TV markets: Milwaukee, Madison, Green Bay, La Crosse/Eau Claire and Wausau/Rhinelander. They do not include radio or cable television spots. 

This helps explain the dead heat in the polling, as well as why Feingold has taken to calling himself the underdog.  

2. House Polls. Here are the details on a slew of polls of Democratic-held districts in the West, conducted for the conservative American Action Forum.  Leaders in italics.  All Democrats are incumbents.

AZ-1: Gosar (R) 47, Kirkpatrick (D) 41

AZ-5: Schweikert (R) 50, Mitchell (D) 44

AZ-8: Kelly (R) 46, Giffords (D) 46

CA-11: Harmer (R) 45, McNerney (D) 44

CA-47: Tran (R) 43, Sanchez (D) 45

CO-3: Tipton (R) 51, Salazar (D) 43

CO-4: Gardner (R) 50, Markey (D) 39

NM-1: Barela (R) 42, Heinrich (D) 49

NV-3: Heck (R) 48, Titus (D) 45

OR-5: Brunn (R) 36, Schrader (D) 44

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