On the (Campaign) Road Again

BY David Chalian  September 16, 2010 at 8:21 AM EST

President Obama

President Obama heads back out on the campaign trail Thursday. Photo by Tim Sloan/AFP/Getty Images.

The Morning Lne

In a sign that no seat is truly safe this election year, President Obama heads back out on the campaign trail Thursday to raise money in Connecticut for Democratic Senate candidate Richard Blumenthal.

Blumenthal, the state’s attorney general, has seen his once dominant lead in the polls dwindle as his Republican opponent, former World Wrestling Entertainment chief executive Linda McMahon has thrown millions into the race.

A Quinnipiac University poll released Tuesday shows Blumenthal leading McMahon by six points, 51-45. Among McMahon supporters, 42 percent say their vote is mainly against Blumenthal. The survey also found that 52 percent of respondents disapprove of President Obama’s job performance, another potential drag on Blumenthal’s campaign.

Despite that showing, Blumenthal campaign manager Mindy Myers welcomed the president’s visit, reports the Stamford Times. “It’s an honor to have the president’s support, and his visit will help make a difference for our campaign by energizing our supporters and helping raise the resources we will need against our opponent, who is spending an unprecedented $50 million on her campaign,” said Myers.

McMahon, who is self-financing her candidacy, has poured in more than $21 million so far, according to the Federal Election Commission, and has pledged to spend upwards of $50 million. By comparison, Blumenthal has raised less than $3.5 million and spent just $1.3 million.

McMahon’s money advantage has fueled a torrent of television ads, including “Cup of Tea,” which looks to turn her experience in the wrestling business into a positive, and the jobs-themed “Lunch Box.”

THE NUMBERS

Three new data points for you from three different polls out Thursday:

1.
The New York Times’ Jeff Zeleny and Megan Thee-Brenan write that their latest poll numbers reflect a mood of the country similar to what it was in 1994 when Republicans won control of both the House and the Senate.

They also point out a record high level of dissatisfaction voters are expressing about their own members of Congress:

“In many election cycles, voters readily acknowledge that they are dissatisfied with government or Congress in general, but they tend to have a stronger connection toward their own representative. That is not the case this year, with 55 percent of voters saying it is time for new leadership and only 34 percent saying their lawmaker deserves re-election. It is a historic high for a question asked in each midterm election year since 1990.”

2.
In her write-up of the new Associated Press poll, Liz Sidoti looks at how the political environment has worsened for Democrats over the course of the seven-month-long primary season.

In February, “Democrats had a 49 percent to 37 percent advantage over Republicans on the party that voters want to see control Congress; the GOP now enjoys a 55-39 lead among likely voters,” writes Sidoti.

3.
Some glimmer of good news for Democrats comes from the new POLITICO/George Washington University/Battleground Poll.

The generic congressional ballot is a dead heat with each party receiving 43 percent support. That is closer than the 5-8 point advantage Republicans have been sporting in other recent polls.

MEG-A MILLIONS

Former eBay chief executive Meg Whitman has demolished the record for personal spending by a candidate in a U.S. political election.

The Republican gubernatorial candidate wrote her campaign a check for $15 million this week, bringing her total contributions so far to $119 million.

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg held the previous record, spending nearly $110 million on his re-election bid last year.

The Los Angeles Times reports Whitman defended the amount she has spent during a campaign stop in San Francisco Wednesday, telling reporters, “It takes a lot of money to be competitive in California.”

Whitman’s Democratic opponent, state attorney general Jerry Brown, said he hoped Californians would “look behind the money to decide for themselves who can better lead the state in the coming years,” reported the Times.

Most recent polling on the race gives Whitman a slight advantage over Brown a little less than seven weeks from Election Day.

For more midterm election coverage, visit our politics page.