Senate report: Humoring Harris and teetering Missouri

A poll puts Webb up over Allen, and Rick Santorum goes dark, at least for a day.

By Tim Grieve

Published October 25, 2006 1:34PM (EDT)

Katherine Harris said the other day that polls showing her trailing Bill Nelson are "silly." If that's right, then this one is a veritable laugh riot: A new Quinnipiac University poll out today has Nelson leading Harris 64-29 among likely voters. Quinnipiac's Peter Brown says: "Sen. Nelson can sleep very well at night."

As for the races that are keeping us up?

Virginia: For the first time we've seen, a published poll has Democratic challenger Jim Webb leading Republican Sen. George Allen. In the new Los Angeles Times/Bloomberg poll out today, Webb is up over Allen 47 percent to 44 percent. Is this real? We're skeptical. The poll has a five-point margin of error, and other recent polls have shown Allen with about a five-point lead.

Missouri: As we noted Tuesday, a new McClatchy/MSNBC poll has Democratic challenger Claire McCaskill up three points over Republican Sen. Jim Talent. A Los Angeles Times/Bloomberg poll out today has the race the other way around, with Talent holding a three-point lead over McCaskill. Both results are within the polls' margins of error.

Tennessee: Republican Bob Corker was up by two over Democrat Harold Ford Jr. in the McClatchy/MSNBC poll; the L.A. Times/Bloomberg poll has Corker up by five.

New Jersey: The L.A. Times/Bloomberg poll confirms what we've been seeing elsewhere: Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez seems to be holding his lead over Republican Tom Kean Jr.

Ohio: Republican Sen. Mike DeWine was down eight to Democratic challenger Sherrod Brown in the McClatchy/MSNBC poll, and he's down eight in the L.A. Times/Bloomberg poll, too. Barring any unforeseen developments -- and assuming that people are allowed to vote and that their votes are actually counted -- Ohio is looking more and more like a safe bet to go blue.

Montana: There's no new public polling out yet today in the Jon Tester-Conrad Burns race, but CQ Politics has just moved it from "No Clear Favorite" to "Leans Democratic" anyway. As CQ Politics notes, Burns has built his campaign around the notion that he "delivers" for Montana. Harry Reid has tried to neutralize the argument by vowing to put Tester first in line for a seat on the Appropriations Committee and to hand him the chairmanship of an Interior subcommittee if the Democrats take control of the Senate.

Pennsylvania: Democrats took note Tuesday when the Santorum campaign went dark, with no television ads running in any part of the state. Is it time to say good night, Rick? Santorum's people say no -- that Tuesday's ad lull was part of a "strategic marketing decision," and that the senator will be back on the airwaves soon. Santorum continues to trail Democrat Bob Casey Jr. by around 10 points.

Arizona: It's not on our shortlist of states to watch, but maybe it could be soon. A new poll out of Arizona State University has Democrat Jim Pederson pulling within six points of Republican Sen. Jon Kyl.

Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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