Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Voters say jobs top issue by far; Libertarian's role may be decisive; a 99 percent re-election probability?

Roundups may run twice or more a day from here on out . . .
  • The Bluegrass Poll found that 54 percent of registered voters believe that jobs and the economy are the top issue in the race. "Ten percent said health care, 9 percent foreign policy and 9 percent immigration," writes Mike Wynn of The Courier-Journal. "Only 8 percent stressed taxes and spending, while 3 percent said social issues and 2 percent energy." Concerns of the economy were at the top of the list for voters of all ages.
  • Less than a month before the election, a new web-based application has been released to help undecided voters find their true match.
    VOTR, released Monday by digital news agency Vocativ, touts similar attributes to the popular matchmaking application Tinder by allowing users to enter information about themselves and see people with similar interests.
    This application is not for dating, though. VOTR uses questions about issues such as abortion, gun control and the decriminalization of marijuana to match you with candidates in all 37 Senate races this fall.
    You then see the candidates' profile with a 'fast fact' and their positions on the issue questions you just answered.
  • The Daily Independent of Ashland says in an editorial that in a tightening race, "The role of a third party candidate like Libertarian David Patterson becomes increasingly important." Noting the recent Bluegrass Poll showing Grimes with a 2-point lead over McConnell, with Patterson getting 3 percent and others 1 percent (there are three declared write-in candidates) the paper says, "In a race that is as close as this one is shaping up to be, that 4 percent can be the difference between victory and defeat for the two major-party candidates." The editorial compared the race to the 2000 presidential election between George W. Bush and Al Gore: "Long-time consumer advocate Ralph Nader was never considered a major candidate for president in that race, but in Florida, Nader, running as an independent, received just enough votes to tip the results in Florida to Bush." The editorial noted that Kentuckians have already showed sentiment for libertarian views, by electing Rand Paul to the other Senate seat in 2010. "We repeat: David Patterson has no chance of being elected to the U.S. Senate, but in a close race, he still could play a pivotal role in determining the winner of this coveted seat." --Tyler Spanyer
  • McConnell’s seat isn’t as safe as it once was, suggests a change the Battle for the Senate Race chart on RealClearPolitics.com. In what had previously been considered a state that leaned towards the Republican incumbent, Kentucky has now been reclassified as a state in which the Senate race is a tossup. The news comes just five days after the new Bluegrass Poll showed Grimes with a 2-point lead. The lead reflects a 6-point swing from the previous Bluegrass Poll in late August. Real Clear Politics includes in its analysis that until there is a confirming poll, the poll should be treated as an outlier, contrary to the recent trend to McConnell. The Chicago-based political news and polling data collective shows McConnell in front of Grimes by 4.2 percentage points based on an average of surveys collected from Aug. 28 to Oct. 2.
  • Dana Milbank, a columnist for The Washington Post, reports "Big Data" modelers are predicting Senate elections with mathematical precision, and cites a forecast by the Post’s Election Lab, run by George Washington University professor John Sides that McConnell has a 99 percent chance of winning.
  • With the race a short four weeks away, the direct mail pieces being sent to households are flying in. Some are from lobbying groups that can give only $10,000 to a candidate but can spend unlimited sums on independent campaigns for or against candidates. McConnell is touted in pieces from the National Association of Realtors as someone who knows "our nation's economic recovery depends on a strong housing market." The pieces say "a job is created for every two homes sold." Unlike the recent representation of McConnell by the Grimes campaign, the piece says he supports middle-class Americans and will "fight to maintain the home-mortgage-interest tax deduction that middle-class homeowners depend on." The pieces also say McConnell supports the Rural Housing Program, which Kentuckians statewide depend upon for affordable financing. --Paige Hobbs
  • The Republican Party of Kentucky has mailed an advertisement criticizing Alison Lundergan Grimes for hiding her "true agenda." Shotgun-style criticisms in the ad, illustrated with suitcases and stickers, include: "She is criss-crossing Kentucky, dodging questions about the issues." The claims that if elected, Grimes will cast her vote for Harry Reid as Senate majority leader, support "Kentucky coal killing liberals," and support the rest of President Obama's agenda.  The ad claims Grimes has held secret meetings with anti-coal liberals. Fund-raisers are typically private events. It also calls a "crooked bus deal" the arrangement between Grimes and her father, Jerry Lundergan, for campaign transportation. The mailer notes says that Grimes was part of the Kentucky delegation to the 2012 Democratic National Convention that nominated President Obama, and publicly supported the president's re-election bid. --Cheyene Miller

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