Four battleground Senate surveys conducted in mid-February from leading Democratic pollster Harrison Hickman illustrate just how difficult the political environment is shaping up to be for Democrats in 2014. The polls, conducted in mid-February, show Sens. Mary Landrieu (D-LA), Mark Pryor (D-AR), Kay Hagan (D-NC), and Mark Udall (D-CO) in varying degrees of trouble ““ from dire to vulnerable.
— The most alarming numbers were in Louisiana. Landrieu’s favorability is 10 points underwater (42/52), and she loses to a generic Republican by 11 points, 47-36%. Against her leading GOP challenger Rep. Bill Cassidy, she trails 46-42%. The ads attacking her on Obamacare have made an impact: 38% view her “very unfavorably,” not far from President Obama‘s 45% figure.
— If anything, Pryor’s numbers, while middling, looked better by comparison. His personal favorability is still solid at 47%/36%, even with Obama’s dismal 32%/65% numbers. And among likely voters, he’s tied with Rep. Tom Cotton (R) at 46%. But there are clear warning signs: Likely voters supported a generic Republican 47-39% over Pryor. And among definite voters, he trails Cotton, 51-42%. These numbers suggest the race is still winnable, but requires Democrats turning Cotton into a political pariah ““ a difficult task, given his biography.
— The news is also mixed for Hagan. On the positive side, Obama’s favorability is much better in NC, at 46/50. And there’s a greater intensity level of support for the president (33% strongly favorable), along with angry opposition (40% strongly unfavorable). And Hagan’s net favorability (41/42) is better than her leading, lesser-known GOP rival Thom Tillis (13/20). But Hagan only leads Tillis 45-41%among likely voters, and trails a generic Republican, 44-38%.
Like Pryor, Udall’s favorability is respectable but very soft. He’s viewed positively by 46% of voters, but barely led flawed, one-time GOP challenger Ken Buck, 46-42%. (The poll was conducted before Rep. Cory Gardner entered the race.) Against a generic Republican, he trails 41-36%. Obama’s approval is 44%, with intensity on the side of his opposition. These are the types of numbers that led Gardner to change his mind and challenge Udall. And all the polls paint a picture of a Democratic party whose Senate majority is hanging in the balance.
— Josh Kraushaar
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Ronald Reagan's children and political allies took to the media and Twitter this week to chide funnyman Will Ferrell for his plans to play a dementia-addled Reagan in his second term in a new comedy entitled Reagan. In an open letter, Reagan's daughter Patti Davis tells Ferrell, who's also a producer on the movie, “Perhaps for your comedy you would like to visit some dementia facilities. I have—I didn’t find anything comedic there, and my hope would be that if you’re a decent human being, you wouldn’t either.” Michael Reagan, the president's son, tweeted, "What an Outrag....Alzheimers is not joke...It kills..You should be ashamed all of you." And former Rep. Joe Walsh called it an example of "Hollywood taking a shot at conservatives again."
In a sign that she’s ready to put a longer-than-expected primary battle behind her, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (D) is no longer going on the air in upcoming primary states. “Team Clinton hasn’t spent a single cent in … California, Indiana, Kentucky, Oregon and West Virginia, while” Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-VT) “campaign has spent a little more than $1 million in those same states.” Meanwhile, Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Sanders’ "lone backer in the Senate, said the candidate should end his presidential campaign if he’s losing to Hillary Clinton after the primary season concludes in June, breaking sharply with the candidate who is vowing to take his insurgent bid to the party convention in Philadelphia.”
The team behind the bestselling "Clinton Cash"—author Peter Schweizer and Breitbart's Stephen Bannon—is turning the book into a movie that will have its U.S. premiere just before the Democratic National Convention this summer. The film will get its global debut "next month in Cannes, France, during the Cannes Film Festival. (The movie is not a part of the festival, but will be shown at a screening arranged for distributors)." Bloomberg has a trailer up, pointing out that it's "less Ken Burns than Jerry Bruckheimer, featuring blood-drenched money, radical madrassas, and ominous footage of the Clintons."