Sunday, August 17, 2008

Sunday with the Senators – Olympics II Edition

WE'VE MOVED! Democratic Convention Watch is now at

Next Sunday will be the night before the convention begins. While I enjoyed watching Michael Phelps win his 8th gold medal, it will be nice to return to politics.

In Minnesota, the latest Rasmussen poll, and the only public August poll I can find, shows Franken and Coleman with 45 each. With leaners, Coleman is up 49 – 46.

Here’s the question, though: Rasmussen has a summary of their polls with no leaners on their site. It shows that from when they started doing monthly polls in February, Coleman has been ahead 5 times, Franken once, and now a tie. But somehow, they say:

"The United States Senate race in Minnesota remains a toss-up, but things are beginning to lean in favor of Republican incumbent Norm Coleman."
The latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey shows Coleman and challenger Al Franken each earning 45% of the vote. This is the fourth straight survey where the candidates have been within three points of each other. Coleman’s largest lead was in April, with 7 points. That’s gone away and NOW the professionals are saying the race is tightening in his favour? Must be me.

On an interesting note, YouTube is running a “You Choose” forum where there is video of each candidate answering the same user-contributed questions. Franken and Coleman are the first pair of Senators to participate. Multiple video clips here.

Recently released were some answers to Norm Coleman’s rental in DC. He’s been living on Capitol Hill for about 600/month, except for the months he didn’t pay. His landlord is Jeff Larson, whose company has done $1.5 million in polling for Coleman since 2001. Oh, and he doesn’t have a lease.

North to Alaska, and it’s not good for Ted. The lead from the Anchorage Daily News:
"New information filed late Thursday by federal prosecutors says Sen. Ted Stevens made more than $100,000 in profit off a Florida real estate deal after a friend secretly loaned him $31,000 interest-free to buy a condominium."
Plus, there apparently IS a bribery issue, which wasn’t part of the original indictment.
"But in new court filings last night, the feds laid out evidence from wiretaps and seized emails to show in detail some favors Stevens allegedly did for the company. Prosecutors made the disclosure in a motion seeking to introduce the information at Stevens' trial set for September. One of those alleged favors concerns a proposed pipeline that VECO hoped the state and federal governments would approve. In a phone conversation tapped by federal agents in 2006, Stevens told Bill Allen, the head of VECO, that the senator would try to smooth out the politics -- specifically resistance on the state level -- involved in the permit approval process."
Might add to that 13 point lead Mark Begich has the next time the race is polled.

In Oregon, there are two early August polls out. Rasmussen shows Gordon Smith with a 6 point lead over Jeff Merkley, including leaners. However, SUSA shows a 12 point lead for Smith, seemingly with support pulled from Merkely by David Brownlow, the Constitution Party candidate. Seems odd to me as the Constitution Party is a far right organization. Troubling that they would seemingly pull the Democrat’s support.

There are some nice ads up. From North Carolina:

From Mississippi:

From Maine: