11 Questions - And Answers - About Election Day 2014

By MICHAEL FALCONE ( @michaelpfalcone )


  • EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT ELECTION 2014: This has been called the election about nothing. But that misses the point entirely. The 2014 midterm election is in fact about everything. A hodgepodge of issues and interests are competing for the attention of an anxious, even angry electorate, with voters set to have their say at a time of volatility for the nation and the world. ABC's RICK KLEIN notes that this election is looking less like a wave than a series of strong currents. Voters are pushing and being pushed in competing, even opposing, directions. Whether you're a political junkie or just tuning in, this primer is worth a click. 11 QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS: http://abcn.ws/1DrWC1V
  • OBAMA ON EBOLA: President Obama offered a blunt rejection yesterday of mandatory quarantines for aid workers returning from the Ebola hot zone, sending a clear message to governors who have imposed these policies, ABC's MARY BRUCE reports. He will likely continue to push back against these strict isolation policies when he meets today with health care workers returning from West Africa or heading to the front lines. He speaks this afternoon at a White House event with these aid workers. He also meets with his public health and national security teams on the Ebola response.
  • BY THE NUMBERS: Ebola worries have eased slightly in the latest ABC News-Washington Post poll, despite a broad sense among Americans that their local hospitals are unprepared to deal with the virus - and continued preference for a more robust response by the federal government, according to ABC's GARY LANGER. After the difficulties at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas, where two nurses were infected, just 29 percent in this national survey think the staff at their local hospitals is adequately trained to deal with Ebola cases. Six in 10 think not. The new poll shows an 8-point increase in Barack Obama's approval rating for handling the issue, to 49 percent, now exceeding the 41 percent who disapprove. http://abcn.ws/1th4imp


ABC's JEFF ZELENY: Hillary Clinton famously said the glass ceiling in American politics had 18 million cracks by the end of her presidential race. But when she hits the campaign trail for Democrats today in Iowa, it's unlikely she'll be reprising that memorable line. She'll actually be asking voters to keep another glass ceiling intact as she implores them not to elect the candidate who would become Iowa's first woman in the U.S. Senate. The candidacy of Joni Ernst, one of the breakout Republican candidates of the election cycle, presents a new test for both parties in the long-running fight for the pivotal women's vote. Ernst isn't relying on women to win her race over Bruce Braley. In fact, she rarely mentions her gender, but it's still front-and-center in one of the top races that will determine control of the Senate. But women voters are the last line of defense for Democrats. Will Clinton be able to motivate enough of them to vote, which would keep this Iowa glass ceiling firmly in place?

ABC's RICK KLEIN: The "Big Mo"? That's so last decade, or at least last cycle. Scattered polling in key Senate races remain just that - scattered. You can detect a drift toward Republican candidates, though not much more than that. With the possible exception of Arkansas, Democratic candidates are still within plausible striking distance in the critical Senate races that will determine the majority. Two races seem certain to run into overtime, so momentum shifts could come well after next week. FiveThirtyEight's Harry Enten and Nate Silver call it a pattern that's actually a "lack of a pattern": "Whenever one party seems to be gaining an advantage, the other party has countered it with some good news of their own." Another way to think about it: Republican chances of a Senate takeover are gelling more than they're growing. http://53eig.ht/1tCkXAU


ILLINOIS GOVERNOR CANDIDATES TAKE PART IN FACEBOOK Q&As TODAY AND TOMORROW. In the hotly-contested Illinois governor's race, both Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn and GOP challenger Bruce Rauner have agreed to hold Facebook Q&As and answer questions directly from the voters. Quinn will hold his Facebook Q&A on tonight at 8 p.m. CT / 9 p.m. ET. Rauner will hold his Facebook Q&A tomorrow at 8 p.m. CT / 9 p.m. ET. People from across Illinois will have the opportunity to ask a question of Quinn and Rauner and watch the conversation play out in real time. Each Q&A will happen on WLS-TV/ABC7Chicago's Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/abc7chicago


-KANSAS: NO HARD FEELINGS. Sen. Pat Roberts achieved a key, albeit late endorsement from the Tea Party Patriots Tuesday, a group he had previously had to fend off in his surprisingly brutal primary back in August. With the prospect of Independent Greg Orman being the first non-Republican to win Roberts' seat since 1932, big-name GOPers of all stripes have flooded the state to appeal to voters that the very balance of the Senate could rest in their hands. In attack ads ran against Roberts during his primary, the Tea Party Patriots led the charge in attacking the three-term incumbent for his coziness with the Washington establishment. But the group appears to have joined the ranks of Republicans like Sen. Rand Paul, who said in a Tuesday rally, "we've been counting on you, Kansas!" Orman has made a point of celebrating endorsements from more moderate members of the Republican party in recent ads, despite Roberts attempts to paint him as a liberal Democrat in disguise. -Alexander Mallin

-IOWA: FORMER SECRETARIES OF STATE HIT SENATE RACE: This morning, the Iowa Senate race isn't just a contest between Joni Ernst and Bruce Braley; it's also turning into an endorsement battle between former Secretaries of State. As Bruce Braley prepares to campaign with Hillary Clinton at an early voting rally taking place later today, Joni Ernst released news of an endorsement from Condoleeza Rice. In a statement, Rice, who served under President George W. Bush, touted Ernst's military service and urged Iowan voters to seize the opportunity to elect the "first female combat veteran to ever serve in the U.S. Senate." - Alisa Wiersema

-IOWA: ERNST INCHES FORWARD. A new Quinnipiac poll out this morning shows Republican Joni Ernst ahead of Democratic Rep. Bruce Braley 49 to 45 percent, with five percent still undecided. A poll released last week showed Ernst at 48 to Braley's percent. Independent voters are backing Ernst by a nine point margin 50 to 41 percent. The "reverse gender gap" still exists in this race with women backing Braley 50 to 42 percent and man backing Ernst 56 to 39 percent. With less than a week to go, 91 percent of Iowa likely voters say their mind is up, while 9 percent (the voters still being targeted by ads) say they may change their mind. As for favorability, Ernst gets a 45 to 43 percent rating while Braley gets a slightly negative 40 to 43 percent likability score. - Shushannah Walshe http://tinyurl.com/osm7osl

-CONNECTICUT: GENDER GAP HITS RACE. Democratic Gov. Dan Malloy and his opponent Tom Foley are still tied, both at 43 percent, according to a new Quinnipiac poll, with independent candidate Joe Visconti receiving 7 percent of the vote and six percent still undecided. Last week's survey had Malloy at 43 to Foley's 42 percent, still a statistical tie. The gender gap is wide in this race with Malloy leading with women voters 52 to 35 percent and Foley leading 51 to 34 percent among men. And so close to Election Day, 86 percent of Connecticut likely voters say they've made up their mind while 13 percent could still be persuaded. Six days out this is truly anyone's race and a familiar re-match to four years ago when Malloy beat Foley by only about 6,000 votes. http://tinyurl.com/lyah4hk - Shushannah Walshe

-COLORADO: GOP CHALLENGER PULLS AHEAD. Rep. Bob Beauprez, the Republican challenger in the Colorado governor's race has pulled ahead thanks to male voters, according to a new Quinnipiac poll out today. Beauprez is leading Democratic incumbent Gov. John Hickenlooper 45 to 40 percent, with a libertarian candidate receiving four percent, a green candidate getting two percent, and another 9 percent still undecided. A poll just last week showed Hickenlooper up by just one point 45 to 44 percent. Men are backing Beauprez 54 to 33 percent, up five points from last week. Women are backing Hickenlooper 47 to 37 percent, while independent voters are split between the two at 38 percent. 12 percent of Colorado voters say their mind is not made up, just six days out, while 88 percent say they are certain about who they are voting for. As for favorability, Colorado voters have a mixed opinion of their governor giving him a split 46 to 46 percent rating, compared to a positive 51 to 42 percent last week. Beauprez gets a positive 47 to 34 percent favorability rating, up two points from last week. This one, too, is going down to the wire. http://tinyurl.com/kutgqfz - Shushannah Walshe


THE WEEKEND WATERGATE UNRAVELED: BOB WOODWARD AND JOHN DEAN ON BEN BRADLEE AND THE STILL-MISSING TAPE. While Bob Woodward was bringing the details of the Watergate scandal to light for the Washington Post 41 years ago, then-White House Counsel John Dean was the self-declared "linchpin" of President Richard Nixon's cover-up of the break-in at the Democratic National Committee headquarters. But in a rare interview, the two men - who essentially played opposite roles in the scandal - sat down with "Politics Confidential's" JONATHAN KARL to offer new details about the Watergate cover-up and remember the late Ben Bradlee. Bradlee, the legendary former Washington Post executive editor whose funeral is today, presided over the paper during its historic coverage of the Watergate scandal. WATCH: http://yhoo.it/1vfmqK1



HACKERS BREACH WHITE HOUSE'S UNCLASSIFIED COMPUTER NETWORK. Hackers recently breached the White House's unclassified computer network, resulting in temporary outages as cybersecurity experts work to contain the situation, a senior administration official confirmed. Some elements of the unclassified Executive Office of the President network have been affected, according to a statement from the administration official. "Our actions are ongoing, and some have resulted in some temporary outages and loss of connectivity for our users," the official said in the statement. "Our computers and systems have not been damaged, though some elements of the unclassified network have been affected. The temporary outages and loss of connectivity for our users is solely the result of measures we have taken to defend our networks." The FBI, Secret Service and National Security Agency are investigating the intrusion. http://abcn.ws/100zLgI

THE ADVENTURES OF BILL AND HILL: WHERE THE CLINTONS HIT THE TRAIL IN 2014. In life, everyone needs a wingman. And for Democrats courting voters this year, that person is Bill or Hillary Clinton. In some lucky cases both. Each with their own packed itinerary, the Clintons have crisscrossed the nation this midterm cycle, headlining events on behalf of Democratic candidates at a pace that has only become more feverish in the homerun stretch leading up to the election. Since September, they'll have logged more than 50,000 miles, equivalent to roughly two trips around the globe. ABC's LIZ KREUTZ and KIRSTEN APPLETON map out where they've been and where they'll going in the next week. http://abcn.ws/1zezh64

'DUCK DYNASTY' TRIES TO LURE VOTERS FOR KIN. In Louisiana's 5th District Congressional race, one of the most coveted political endorsements comes in the form of a "duck call."That's because the 5th District is home to the "Duck Dynasty" clan made famous through the A&E reality show. And this year, the clan has swooped in to support Republican candidate Zach Dasher, a family member, in his bid to replace the "Kissing Congressman" Rep. Vance McAllister, also a Republican. ABC's JORDYN PHELPS reports that a week before Election Day, the patriarch of the family clan and Dasher's uncle, Phil Robertson, is starring in two new TV ads on Dasher's behalf. http://abcn.ws/1sAXSJy


@HotlineJosh: My latest: Bruce Rauner is courting black voters in IL GOV. If he succeeds, his outreach will be model for the GOP. http://www.nationaljournal.com/politics/is-the-gop-wasting-its-time-courting-black-voters-in-illinois-20141028 …

@danmericaCNN: Clinton Wasn't Bruce Braley's 1st or 2nd Choice http://www.bloomberg.com/politics/articles/2014-10-29/in-2007-hillary-clinton-wasnt-bruce-braleys-first-or-second-choice … … Same could be said for her current top IA backers. Not surprising.

@TheFix: Remember when Democrats were going to make SD Senate competitive? Yeah, not so much. http://ow.ly/DvDGF

@kenvogel: Hillary & her backers will raise $1.7B+ for 2016 - crushing Obama's record $1.2B in 2012 - predicts @michaeletoner. http://www.politico.com/story/2014/10/2016-its-on-112294.html?hp=f2 …

@StevenTDennis: Yes, there is a path for Republicans to net a blowout 10 Senate seats http://blogs.rollcall.com/rothenblog/elections-2014-senate-house-races-stu-rothenberg/?SD …