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Photo credit: Shalom Jacobovitz

Sound the alarms! A poll conducted by WMUR revealed that the New Hampshire Senate race is now a tie. WMUR now calls the race a "tossup."

Real Clear Politics reported the exciting story:

Scott Brown is back in the ballgame. ... In the WMUR/UNH survey released Thursday night, Shaheen led Brown by 46 percent to 44 percent, which is within the poll’s margin of error of plus or minus 3.4 percentage points. This latest numbers show a dramatic swing in Brown’s direction from the previous WMUR/UNH poll, which was conducted a month-and-a-half earlier and showed Shaheen leading Brown by 12 points.
The poll has enormous ramifications, the New York Times' Jonathan Weisman tweeted:

Politico's Ben White had a similar reaction:

White wasn't the only one using the "w" word, though. Jeff Greenfield also suggested the poll could be a sign of a coming wave.

On Morning Joe, Mike Allen explained the psychological significance of the poll. "This is a huge psychological turning point for Republicans, not just in New Hampshire, but elsewhere who are wondering can we really take the Senate," he said. "I'm told that this poll is going to help bring other big donors off the sidelines because they are saying, wow, a senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell might be a real thing if Scott Brown wins they are very far on the way to that."

Yesterday morning, we released a memo that included an analysis of the New Hampshire race. We said, "In a head-to-head matchup, Scott Brown has the clear momentum in this race." While the DSCC mocked this observation, the WMUR poll confirmed what we've been seeing in New Hampshire.

Our memo also revealed that Shaheen's opposition to border security, and ties to the president, are hurting her:

... internal polls show that [Shaheen's] opposition to increased border security and her role in Obama’s push for “Executive Amnesty” are extremely potent in the Granite State.
Scott Brown's message and focus on border security are resonating with people. Many Washington pundits are failing to grasp just how powerful this issue is right now. As we're seeing in New Hampshire, Jeanne Shaheen might learn its importance the hard way — by losing in November.

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Tim Cameron | August 22, 2014 |
The liberal left and their supporters in the media are jubilant about Mark Pryor’s new ad about pre-existing conditions, oddly claiming that it is a sign of ObamaCare’s growing popularity. Let’s put aside the fact that it has been illegal under federal law for nearly two decades for an insurance company to cancel or not renew a policy because of sickness (and illegal under many state laws for far longer). Let’s put aside that ensuring that people with pre-existing conditions have access to coverage has long been a popular policy, and one where there is bipartisan agreement.

The fact is that most viewers of Mark Pryor’s latest ad wouldn’t even realize that the embattled Senator is talking about ObamaCare (or, as supporters might prefer to call it, the Affordable Care Act). Had Pryor openly embraced ObamaCare and reiterated his support for the law through a paid ad, it’d be cause for celebration on the left. It is hardly surprising that Pryor did not do that. Instead, this ad is little more than an attempt to inoculate a very vulnerable Senator from a law that is extremely unpopular in his state (63% unfavorable in Arkansas). How does one explain the fact that neither the “Affordable Care Act” nor “ObamaCare” is mentioned?

As for the law itself, it’s the entirety of ObamaCare that it remains EXTREMELY unpopular (in fact every single available poll shows that ObamaCare is just as unpopular today as it was in 2010, if not more so. The RCP polling average of ObamaCare this summer is 41/54%. In November 2010, it was 43/52%. In large part the public view of the law has remained stagnant and unpopular.

Obviously our press office has received a number of calls (entirely from outlets based in Washington, DC) about the ad. Several also pointed to claims that the number of ObamaCare ads is on the decline, a notion that while statistically accurate is highly misleading. We’ve said for well over year now that the election is about far more than just ObamaCare, but that the law remains VERY unpopular and is a vehicle that helps drive larger problems and themes, namely trust and competence: "We've said for some time that the politics of ObamaCare is about more than just the healthcare overhaul itself. It's about competence in government. It's about credibility of elected officials whom repeatedly made promises that they couldn't deliver.”

It’s also important to note that in the fall of 2013 and the first quarter of 2014 several issue advocacy groups dominated the airwaves with an ad campaign based entirely on ObamaCare. This all took place during a time when few if any campaigns (on either side) were on air with ads of their own because the election remained far off. It is only natural that as those issue ads wound down, the percentage of ads focused exclusively on ObamaCare dropped, especially in an environment where campaigns started going on air with the own introductory ads, which tend to be biographical spots. Considering that the public view of the unpopular law remains static, it is simply common sense that once voters are reminded and/or made aware that a vulnerable Democratic Senator or candidate (see Bruce Braley and Gary Peters) supported/supports/stands by their vote, running ads exclusively and solely on ObamaCare would be nonsensical.

Like many other Senators, Mark Pryor’s support for ObamaCare is a major impediment to his campaign, but not the lone one.

Brad Dayspring | August 21, 2014 |
Dan Sullivan won Alaska's Republican primary earlier this week. Sullivan, a Lieutenant Colonel in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserves, is ready to take his honor and integrity to the Senate.

In "Running," his new ad, he explains what's he learned from 20 years in the Marines: "The Marine Corps shaped who I am. Integrity. Honor. Results. And that's who we are as Alaskans. An independent spirit, optimism and a drive to get the job done."

Sullivan laments, however, that D.C. dysfunction is hurting Alaska. And that's why he's running: "Too often, we find Washington, D.C., standing in our way. Taking our jobs, our rights, our energy. It's time for Alaska to fight back. That's why I'm running."

You can learn more about Sullivan's story and his campaign here.

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Tim Cameron | August 21, 2014 |

In a new memo, first reported by Mike Allen in Politico Playbook, we look at five Democratic senators in trouble. While the DSCC trumpets these senators' poll numbers as a sign of strength, the devil is in the details. When compared to their previous election results, it becomes clears these five are polling poorly.

We suggest reading the full memo, but check out some key nuggets from it:

1. Mary Landrieu:

At this point in 2008 Landrieu led her Republican opponent by 17 points and in every public poll from December 2007 through Election Day. In 2008, a wave Democratic election cycle, Landrieu underperformed her own public polling and won by just six points. In 2014, polls already show that Landrieu trails Dr. Bill Cassidy. In fact, Dr. Cassidy has been ahead (7) or tied (2) in nine of ten public polls in 2014 in a head-to-head matchup. The polls show that Mary Landrieu's ceiling is approximately 45%.

In 2008, Landrieu had a significant financial advantage over her opponent. This August, Dr. Cassidy has a cash on hand advantage over Landrieu. In fact, Landrieu has spent millions this spring and summer and is still in a terrible position politically. Landrieu is currently embroiled in a scandal after being caught spending taxpayer dollars on private jet travel (more and more trips keep being exposed) to campaign events. It isn’t going away, and even more explosive could be Landrieu’s husband’s real estate business and deals with lobbyists with business before her committee – raising even more ethical questions.
2. Kay Hagan:

We’ve said for the past six months that there are many parallels between the 2014 Senate race and the 2008 Senate race, with 2014 Kay Hagan playing the role of 2008 Elizabeth Dole. In August 2008, the generic ballot polling average favored Democrats by an average of 9 points, 47%/38%. In August 2014, the generic ballot polling average was a statistical tie, 41%/40%. Despite the generic ballot, at this point in 2008 16 of 17 public polls showed Elizabeth Dole (a vulnerable incumbent) ahead of Kay Hagan by an average of 8 points. The mood shifted over Labor Day and on 9/18/08 the first non-partisan poll showed Hagan pulling ahead by five points. Thom Tillis is already well ahead of Kay Hagan’s 2008 pace. In 2014, 10 public polls have put Thom Tillis ahead or tied (despite a primary), a huge difference from 2008.
3. Mark Begich:

Of the 18 public polls in the 2008 calendar year, 15 of them showed Mark Begich ahead by an average of 10 points. On Election Day - a wave year for Democrats - Begich completely underperformed, despite news of Ted Stevens' indictment on the front pages winning by a mere point. Sensing an enormous vulnerability, Democrats have spent more than $4.5 million attacking GOP nominee Dan Sullivan. Harry Reid’s Majority PAC have laundered over $5.2 million through “Put Alaska First” Super PAC, designed entirely to mislead voters as to the origin of the attack. Their efforts failed, miserably. Not only did Sullivan win the primary, but 2014 polling averages show Begich in a statistical tie with him. Now that the Republican primary has concluded and Republican/Independent voters coalesce behind Sullivan, it is reasonable to expect that he will jump ahead Begich with the party now united behind him.
4. Jeanne Shaheen:

If you think this race isn't extremely close, you need to leave Washington and get up to the Granite State. This election cycle is already far more competitive for Jeanne Shaheen than 2008 proved. At this point in 2008, Jeanne Shaheen was ahead of John Sununu in all fifteen public polls by an average of 11 points. Since Scott Brown entered the race, public polls show Jeanne Shaheen in the lead by an average of just eight points - despite the ongoing Republican primary. In a head to head matchup, Scott Brown has clear momentum in this race which polls will soon reflect.

Should Granite state voters behave similarly to 2008 post Republican Primary (a reasonable assumption given the far more favorable atmosphere for Republicans today compared to six years ago), Shaheen's lead will all but disappear setting up a straight sprint to the finish line.
5. Mark Udall:

It is very difficult to compare the 2008 Colorado Senate race to 2014 simply because of the strength of the Republican nominee, Cory Gardner. It is noteworthy, however, that in 2008 Mark Udall led in every single public poll (27 in total) by an average of 14 points. Today the race is a dead heat – a statistical tie - despite Democrats spending millions to viscously and falsely attack Gardner, whose energetic and positive campaign is rallying voters to his side. Democrats from the DSCC and Senate Majority PAC are on pace to be the two biggest spenders in Colorado by election day, having already spent or committed nearly $13 million dollars of TV advertising between them, on top of Udall’s $3.1 million commitment. On the Republican side of the equation, Cory Gardner's campaign is on pace to be the top Republican spender, not an outside group, having spent or reserved $4.2 million through Election Day. Mark Udall’s campaign is old and rusty – a relic of yesterday – which reinforces to voters that Cory Gardner is a new kind of Republican.
Any fair analysis of the polling data reveals that Republicans are in good shape to win in November. Democratic candidates are trailing in seven states and tied in four others.

Four more states will continue to tighten. Come mid-to-late September, Democrats will be on defense in fourteen or fifteen races!

Republicans have better candidates who are running better campaigns.

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Tim Cameron | August 21, 2014 |
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