Seven Days, Six States, Countdown To Election Day

By MICHAEL FALCONE ( @michaelpfalcone )


  • A DOUBLE PUNCH OF ECONOMIC AND POLITICAL DISSATISFACTION marks public attitudes in the closing week of the 2014 midterm campaign - a dynamic that reflects poorly on the president's performance, bolstering his Republican opponents. The discontent in the latest ABC News-Washington Post poll is palpable. Despite its fitful gains, seven in 10 Americans rate the nation's economy negatively and just 28 percent say it's getting better, according to ABC's GARY LANGER. In a now-customary result, 68 percent say the country's seriously off on the wrong track.
  • IMPLICATIONS FOR ELECTION DAY: These elements above appear poised to depress voting by dispirited Democrats, tipping the scale to customarily higher-turnout Republicans, LANGER notes. Disapproval of Obama reaches 56 percent among likely voters, and three in 10 say they'll show up at the polls to express opposition to him - twice as many as say they'll vote to show him support. The result is a 50-44 percent Republican advantage among likely voters in preference for U.S. House seats in this poll. That compares with a +3-point Democratic tally among all registered voters. And Americans by 13 points, 46-33 percent, expect the Republicans to win control of the U.S. Senate. By nine points, 32-24 percent, more also call a good rather than a bad thing.
  • DISAFFECTION MAY IMPACT PARTICIPATION: Just 68 percent of registered voters say they're closely following the midterms, well down from 76 percent at about this time in 2010 and 80 percent in 2006. The share saying they're certain to vote (or already voted), 65 percent, likewise is down, from 71 percent in 2010 and 76 percent in 2006. There's another turn-off for prospective voters: the tone of the midterm campaigns. Americans by 2-1, 50 vs. 26 percent say the candidates in their congressional district have been mainly attacking each other rather than discussing the issues. The remaining quarter has no opinion, suggesting they've just tuned it all out.


ABC's JEFF ZELENY: One week before Election Day, Republicans enter the final stretch with a cautious air of confidence. They believe they have six seats needed to win the Senate. But they still aren't sure, exactly, just which six. Even at this late stage, only three races are in the GOP bag: Montana, South Dakota and West Virginia. A half-dozen others remain stubbornly too-close-to-call. Yet not all margin-of-error races are the same. Pay close attention to the A's and the N's. Arkansas and Alaska are the closest to falling into GOP control, but can a muscular ground game help Democrats beat the odds in at least one? New Hampshire and North Carolina are the closest to being safe for Democrats, but will strong winds of discontent help Republicans win at least one? With those two questions looming, these races hold all the cards: Colorado, Iowa, Kansas and Georgia. Democrats are now relying on red-state magic to maintain their Senate majority, which could be a tall order.


-KANSAS: AN ALL-STAR LINEUP. With just a week left until Sen. Pat Roberts learns his fate in his toughest reelection bid yet, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney stumped alongside a fellow failed presidential candidate Bob Dole in Kansas Monday. With three-term incumbent Roberts facing a dead heat according to recent polls with his Independent challenger Greg Orman, Romney, sporting a Kansas City Royals jacket, told supporters in Overland Park that a vote for Orman would count as a "third vote" for President Barack Obama. Romney and Dole are just two of the more than half a dozen big-name GOP members to come to Roberts' aid, and Sen. Rand Paul is now set to enter the fight with a six-figure ad buy in the state. Kansas has arguably emerged as the GOP's most unexpected investment in 2014, and one that prospective 2016 candidates may not soon forget. -Alexander Mallin

-LOUISIANA: 5TH DISTRICT VOTERS GET 'DUCK-CALLED'. Voters in Louisiana's 5th district have received a "duck call" (well, sort of) urging them to vote for "Duck Dynasty" candidate Zach Dasher. The tea party group Madison Project sent a robocall to 80,000 Louisianan phones featuring Dasher's Uncle Si, a reality TV star. "We need to elect a man that totes the Bible and believes in God. That's what this country was founded on - God and the Bible," Si said in the call. "There's a war goin' on. If you doubt that, look what's goin' on in Houston, Texas, alright?" Dasher is running against the "Kissing Congressman" Vance McAllister in a contest that remains wide open, without a clear frontrunner. - Jordyn Phelps

-NEW HAMPSHIRE: BROWN'S FINAL AD. Scott Brown is out with his final message to Granite State voters. In his last ad he looks directly at the camera and says, "Our nation is at a crossroads…to change direction, we need to change senators." As he has this entire campaign he again compares his opponent Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen to the president saying she votes with President Obama "on issue after issue." Sitting in front of a burning fireplace, he reminds voters of the president's words saying, "the president is not on the ballot, but he said his policies are." He adds at the end that he will he be an "independent senator that stands with New Hampshire." WATCH: But, voters will also see Shaheen's ad she released just yesterday reminding voters of this important fact: "I didn't just move here, I've been here fighting for you." WATCH: - Shushannah Walshe

-KENTUCKY: ONE WEEK LEFT, MORE ADS. The pro-McConnell superPAC Kentuckians for Strong Leadership is still on the air with a $1.4 million buy on their closing argument against Alison Lundergan Grimes, adding another $332,000 to it, but they also released a new ad titled "Reviews," spending $320,000 on it through November 3rd. The new harsh ad uses the video of Grimes refusing to say she voted for the president, but instead of hearing her we see press reviews including words like "desperate" and "Grimes should be ashamed of herself." The ad ends with a narrator saying, "Obama needs Grimes. And she'll say anything to hide it. How could Alison Grimes change Washington? She's already everything that's wrong with it." WATCH: - Shushannah Walshe


CRAZIEST CAMPAIGN ADS: ABC News Deputy Political Director Shushannah Walshe reports on campaign ad videos that have gone viral, for better or for worse. WATCH:



WHERE THINGS STAND WITH THE SENATE: ABC NEWS ELECTION 2014 RACE RATINGS. Republicans enter the home stretch of the 2014 campaign favored to retake the Senate, based simply on the number of paths they have to 51 votes. Fighting on heavily Republican terrain, GOP candidates have built on expected advantages in a handful of deeply red states to threaten incumbents across the South and beyond. They're also moving into what was Obama territory, particularly Iowa and Colorado, while solidifying their chances in states including Arkansas and Alaska. But according to ABC's RICK KLEIN and NOAH WEILAND, just enough wild cards remain in the deck to keep Republicans from early celebrations. Surprising developments in Kansas and Georgia - and even continued uncertainty in Mitch McConnell's race in Kentucky - are keeping the majority in play for Democrats in the final push. Take a look at the latest race ratings from the ABC News Political Unit.

HAPPENING TODAY: President Obama is making a rare appearance on the campaign trail today. He'll be in Milwaukee this afternoon, stumping for Mary Burke for governor at what is his third campaign rally of the cycle, according to ABC's MARY BRUCE. Meanwhile, Secretary of State John Kerry is in Ottawa today, where he'll be meeting with the Canadian foreign ministers and others to express condolences and solidarity in the wake of last week's shooting, ABC's ALI WEINBERG notes.

WHAT'S BEHIND THE 2014 MIDTERM ELECTION CYCLE'S TRENDIEST ATTACK LINE. This midterm election cycle's trendiest attack line has put incumbent members of Congress in a no-win situation, reports ABC's NOAH WEILAND. The more time these lawmakers spend away from the committee rooms of Capitol Hill, the more vulnerable they are to attacks for not meeting the most basic requirements of public office. And yet the things that often take them away from committee duties, particularly raising money, are integral to their ability to win re-election. In the closest Senate races of 2014, incumbents have been attacked in debates and television ads for truancy, allowing outsider candidates to posture against what they see as a corrosive habit in Congress. In Kentucky, Democratic candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes accused Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of skipping Senate Agriculture Committee meetings. Iowa Republican candidate for Senate Joni Ernst has gone after her Democratic opponent Rep. Bruce Braley for his attendance on two House committees. Republican challengers in Colorado and New Hampshire have attacked Senators Mark Udall and Jeanne Shaheen for ignoring national security briefings. And in North Carolina, Republican Thom Tillis has pursued Sen. Kay Hagan for skipping a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing for a fundraiser - something Hagan acknowledged.

CHRIS CHRISTIE HASN'T TWEETED ABOUT ANYTHING BESIDES EBOLA SINCE THURSDAY. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has been tweeting up a storm and, since Thursday, he's tweeted about nothing but Ebola. According to ABC's CHRIS GOOD, he's used his account to promote the state's mandatory quarantines for health workers returning from West Africa - and made his case for New Jersey's controversial quarantine of nurse Kaci Hickox after she returned from the Ebola zone in Sierra Leone. He's discussed New Jersey's coordination with New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo in rolling out those quarantines, even in the face of criticism from the White House. He's also reassured the public that there are no Ebola cases in New Jersey.


SEE 4-YEAR-OLD GIRL BREAK DOWN WHEN SHE CAN'T MEET GEORGE WASHINGTON. We've seen the viral videos of the 3-year-old girl who cried because she loved Justin Bieber and the little girl who was tired of "Bronco Bamma and Mitt Romney" in 2012. Now there's a similar meltdown, this time over George Washington. ABC's ARLETTE SAENZ reports four-year-old Ava Lane of Virginia developed a love for the nation's first president when she was being home-schooled by her mother. But when her mom revealed to her that Washington had been dead for over two centuries, things went sour, prompting Ava to break into tears. "I want to see George Washington," Ava wailed. "I want to see him a lot."


@mattklewis: If Jeb Bush 2016 doesn't want to end up like Jon Huntsman 2012, he better follow 4 rules:

@jonathanweisman: Big Senate divide next yr: Repubs running rt ahe's of presidential primary vs blue state Rs running left for 2016 re-elect. Cruz v Toomey

@BuzzFeedBen: Lovely @rubycramer piece on yesterday's '90s nostalgia themed Clinton event …

@cbellantoni: McConnell has said $1 spent on a positive ad is $1 wasted, but he's going playful in final stretch: …

@ktumulty: Great read from @bterris on how @MicheleBachmann wants to be the next @newtgingrich