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Morning Jay: Obama's Job Approval, Generic Ballot, Senate Battles, and More!

6:30 AM, Oct 6, 2010 • By JAY COST
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3. Latest Signs of the Dem-Pocalypse.  Rhode Island’s first congressional district gave Barack Obama 65 percent of the vote in 2008, and handed John Kerry 62 percent in 2004.  Incumbent Democrat Patrick Kennedy is retiring, and the open seat battle is between Democrat David Cicilline and Republican John Loughlin.  A Brown University poll completed late last month finds Cicilline in the lead, which is not surprising, but the poll finds him at just 39 percent.  Other polls show him with a higher share of the vote, but still under 50 percent.  In Rhode Island.

Meanwhile, in Louisiana’s second congressional district, a DailyKos/PPP poll finds Republican Joseph Cao hanging in there, down 11 points to Democratic challenger Cedric Richmond, with the latter under 50 percent.  This New Orleans district gave Barack Obama 75 percent of the vote in 2008, and Cao only holds the seat because he narrowly defeated William Jefferson, who was under indictment at the time of the election. 

I expect the GOP to lose both of these seats, but the fact the Republicans are reasonably close in both contests indicates how sharply the macro forces are cutting against the Democrats this cycle.

4. The Senate is Still in Play.  The Republicans face a huge problem in the battle to control the Senate this cycle.  As I have noted many times before, most of the seats the Democrats are defending are not in the South, Midwest, or Mountain West, where they are the weakest, but on the Pacific Coast and in the Northeast.

Even so, the Senate remains in play.  A Fox News/POR-Rasmussen poll confirms what other pollsters have found in West Virginia: the GOP stands a very good chance.  The poll finds Republican John Raese ahead of Democratic Governor Joe Manchin, 48-43.  Raese has a strong lead among independents – and he is even doing well with Democrats, where he pulls in 25 percent.  This is similar to the results in the 2008 presidential election, when 28 percent of self-identified Mountain State Democrats went for McCain.  In fact, Raese looks like he is replicating the McCain coalition.  PPP found basically the same thing last month

On the left coast, another poll confirms what we have been seeing for a while, Barbara Boxer seems unable to get to 50 percent of the vote.  Both Rasmussen and Reuters/Ipsos find her stuck at 49 percent of the vote, and the RealClearPolitics average puts her a shade under 48 percent. 

The GOP still has an uphill climb, of course.  If we put West Virginia in to the GOP column and assume that Harry Reid loses in Nevada, the Republicans will still need to win four seats from states that haven’t voted for a Republican presidential candidate in at least 20 years.  Pennsylvania and Wisconsin look pretty well in hand for the GOP, but that still leaves two seats to win among California, Connecticut, Illinois, New York, or Washington.  Doable, but tough.

5. Quotes for the Day.  

“The industrial field is littered with more corpses of organizations destroyed by the damning influences of partisan politics than from all other causes combined.”

-Samuel Gompers, founder of the American Federation of Labor

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