The Democratic nominee is unpopular, the Republican nominee is unpopular, and polls show voters taking a look at the Libertarian. Flash back or flash forward: Two marquee 2014 campaigns are looking a lot like the 2013 Virginia governor’s race right now, and that campaign provided some useful guidance for how to watch them. — Quinnipiac’s latest Florida poll confirmed its previous ones: More people view Gov. Rick Scott (R) and ex-Gov. Charlie Crist (D) unfavorably than favorably. The numbers have been even worse for Sen. Kay Hagan (D) and state House Speaker Thom Tillis (R) in North Carolina, where national Democrats and state Republicans also plumb the depths of popularity. And recent surveys in both states show Libertarian candidates pulling 9% or higher. — Polls usually overstate third-party support, and they’re likely to do so again in North Carolina and Florida this year. That’s the same story we saw in Virginia in 2013, when the two unloved major party contenders pushed Robert Sarvis (L) higher than usual in the polls — and his actual vote share underperformed 19 of the 20 final public polls of his race. — But in races where voters aren’t in love with either nominee, Libertarians can still catch on more than usual at the ballot box. (Sarvis still pulled in 6.5% of Virginians’ votes in 2013.) There’s plenty of campaign left, and Tillis especially may have an opportunity to change voters’ minds about him once the Legislature’s damaging special session is over. But on the other hand, most of the money flowing into these races is negative. It would be very unlikely for Libertarians to do as well in November as they’re doing at the polls now. But the same surveys also show why they could keep the eventual winners from getting a majority vote all the same.— Scott Bland
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The national polls, once again, tell very different stories: Clinton leads by just one point in the IBD, Rasmussen, and LA Times tracking polls, while she shows a commanding 12 point lead in the ABC news poll and a smaller but sizable five point lead in the CNN poll. The Republican Remington Research Group released a slew of polls showing Trump up in Ohio, Nevada, and North Carolina, a tie in Florida, and Clinton leads in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Virginia. However, an independent Siena poll shows Clinton up 7 in North Carolina, while a Monmouth poll shows Trump up one in Arizona
Since the release of the Access Hollywood tape, on which Donald Trump boasted of sexually assaulting women, "Senate Republicans have seen their fortunes dip, particularly in states like Florida, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Nevada and Pennsylvania," where Hillary Clinton now leads. Jennifer Duffy writes that she now expects Democrats to gain five to seven seats—enough to regain control of the chamber.
"Of the Senate seats in the Toss Up column, Trump only leads in Indiana and Missouri where both Republicans are running a few points behind him. ... History shows that races in the Toss Up column never split down the middle; one party tends to win the lion’s share of them."
"Some Republicans are running so far away from their party’s nominee that they are threatening to sue TV stations for running ads that suggest they support Donald Trump. Just two weeks before Election Day, five Republicans―Reps. Bob Dold (R-Ill.), Mike Coffman (R-Colo.), David Jolly (R-Fla.), John Katko (R-N.Y.) and Brian Fitzpatrick, a Pennsylvania Republican running for an open seat that’s currently occupied by his brother―contend that certain commercials paid for by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee provide false or misleading information by connecting them to the GOP nominee. Trump is so terrible, these Republicans are essentially arguing, that tying them to him amounts to defamation."
Former Illinois GOP Congressman Aaron Schock "recently agreed to pay a $10,000 fine for making an excessive solicitation for a super PAC that was active in his home state of Illinois four years ago." Schock resigned from Congress after a story about his Downton Abbey-themed congressional office raised questions about how he was using taxpayer dollars.