4) The stretch run continues in the lead up to Saturday's gubernatorial primaries in West Virginia. The 25,000+ early votes cast through Monday are nearly 5,000 votes below early voting for the 2010 Senate primary. Meanwhile, acting-Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin (D), who polling shows to be the Democratic front-runner, released a new television ad Monday arguing that his Democratic opponents should be ashamed about their attacks against him. 3) In this month's pivotal upstate New York special election, Democrat Kathy Hochul is continuing to hammer home her message that Republicans want to dramatically change the entitlement system for seniors -- and is up with a new ad up that hits both her GOP opponent Jane Corwin and independent Jack Davis. It's a strategy that's worked so far and gained her campaign national attention as the race is being hailed as a national bellwether for the Ryan budget. Also notable: she refers to Davis as a "Tea Party" candidate in the ad -- hoping that conservative Republicans view him that way even though he only has tenuous ties to the movement. Each party needs to frame Davis the way they need him to help them, but he's still holding strong in polls and pulling from both candidates. Meanwhile, the DCCC is still showing a minimal interest in helping Hochul and the $100,000 they've transferred to her campaign over the past month will barely make a chink against self-funders Corwin and Davis. (Keep in mind, in 2008, they spent over $1.2 million for the open seat race in the district.) It's still a paltry sum, and we're still waiting for them to spend on television ads to show they're putting their money where their mouth is. 2) A new NBC News poll out late Monday shows President Obama's approval rating rising to 51 percent in the wake of the killing of Osama bin Laden, up from 49 percent last month. But on the economy, just 37 percent approve of the job Obama is doing, the lowest the bipartisan team of Peter Hart and Bill McInturff has ever measured. As Hart told NBC News: The poll "should both fortify the president and frighten [him] as he looks ahead to re-election." Fully 45 percent of registered voters tell NBC they will probably vote for Obama in 2012, which is roughly in line with his performance in April (43 percent) and February (45 percent). But there's one piece of good, if possibly fleeting news: In a sign that the bin Laden killing has, for the time being, improved Obama's standing among independents and Republicans, only 30 percent say they will probably vote for a generic Republican, down from 38 percent in April and 40 percent in February. 1) Obama will discuss immigration reform Tuesday in a speech in El Paso, Texas and top aides said Obama would contend that tightening border controls while providing a path to citizenship for some illegal immigrants will improve U.S. security as well as the economy, Reuters reports. Texas' booming Hispanic population provides Democrats an opportunity to to make inroads in the state, and Hispanic voters will be watching the administration's immigration and border security policies. As we've noted before, population growth is not the same voter participation, so turnout will also be a very important factor for Democrats hoping to compete in the state. -- Steven Shepard and Jessica Taylor contributed to this post
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