6) Former Hawaii Gov. Linda Lingle
is expected to announce she's running for the Senate on Tuesday, according to the Honolulu Star-Advertiser
. It's a major recruiting coup for the National Republican Senatorial Committee, which now has a shot at competing in the deeply-Democratic confines of President Obama
's birth state.
Rep. Mazie Hirono
and former Rep. Ed Case
are facing off in a Democratic primary for the nomination. Lingle narrowly defeated Hirono in her first gubernatorial campaign, back in 2002.
5) Virginia is shaping up to be a major Senate battleground. A new Quinnipiac poll shows former Democratic National Committee Chairman Tim Kaine
in a statistical dead heat with former GOP Sen. George Allen
, with Kaine up 45 to 44 percent. Both candidates are viewed favorably by the state's electorate.
4) Meanwhile, a little bit of good news for Obama - or at least what passes for it these days. The president's job approval has ticked up slightly to 45 percent in the Quinnipiac poll, up five points from last month. Most importantly, he's gained ground among independents (up nine points to 38 percent) and voters in Northern Virginia (up nine points to 49 percent) from the last Quinnipiac poll. In Virginia, he is in a statistical dead heat against former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney
, trailing 45 to 44 percent.
3) Up until now, the assumption has been that Romney wouldn't spend time competing in Iowa because it's influential evangelical voters are skeptical both of his religion and his stands on issues such as abortion and civil unions. But with so many candidates -- Texas Gov. Rick Perry, businessman Herman Cain
, Rep. Michele Bachmann
, R-Minn., and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum
-- dividing their vote, Iowa may not be such unpromising territory
for Romney after all, writes National Journal
's Alex Roarty
. NJ/CBS traveling reporter Sarah Huisenga
finds some evidence on the ground that he might have cause for hope. A just-released NBC/Marist poll
shows Romney with a tenuous hold on first place, leading Cain just 23 to 20 percent.
2) New Hampshire is shaping up to be a very favorable state for Romney - in both the Republican primary and a potential matchup against Obama. A new NBC/Marist poll
out shows Romney dominating the GOP field there, holding a 44 to 13 percent lead over his two closest rivals, Cain and Rep. Ron Paul
, R-Texas. Against Obama, Romney leads comfortably, 49 to 40 percent.
1) The poll sets the stage for tonight's debate in the Granite State focusing on economic issues, co-sponsored by the Washington Post
and Bloomberg News. (It's airing at 8 p.m. on Bloomberg TV.) For the first time, Perry and Romney won't be standing next to each other. Cain, who has been surging in polls, will be positioned between the two of them.