Tales from the Trail

Arizona sends a Quayle back to Washington

The famous Quayle name is back in politics. Ben Quayle, the son of former Vice President Dan Quayle, won a comfortable victory in Arizona’s strongly Republican Third Congressional District.

In his first run for office, the 33-year-old beat back a challenge from conservative Democrat John Hulburd to win the seat vacated by veteran Republican Rep. John Shadegg by a nearly 12-point margin.

His father served under senior President George Bush, and is perhaps best remembered for famously misspelling the word “potato” while campaigning in 1992.

USA-ELECTIONS/In a brief victory speech at a hotel in downtown Phoenix late Tuesday, Quayle tipped his hat to voter anger at soaring public deficits which helped the Republicans take control of the U.S. House of Representatives, and clinch victory for him.

“When I decided to run for office … I saw our country being taken down a dangerous path where opportunities for future generations would be minimized,” Quayle, flanked by his wife Tiffany, told supporters.
   
“But now tonight we actually have let our collective voice be heard, and tonight we are going to turn that path around and put us going in the right direction,” he added, promising to work hard to meet voters’ expectations.  

Is this the most negative campaign ever?

If you think political ads on TV this year are more negative than ever, here’s some data that back up your observation.

An academic consortium called the Wesleyan Media Project, which says it provides “real time” tracking of all political television advertising,  says in a report issued on Monday that in the last few weeks it has charted a “large uptick in negative ads.”

A couple of weeks ago, the same group said that the rate of negative advertising this year did not appear to be that much higher than in other recent general election campaigns. USA-ELECTIONS

Reuters/Ipsos poll: 52 pct don’t think Obama will be re-elected

President Barack Obama is not up for re-election this week, but the outcome of congressional elections will be seen as a referendum on his policies.

A Reuters/Ipsos  poll predicts that Republicans will take control of the House of Representatives by winning 231 seats, compared with 204 seats for Democrats, in the midterm elections Tuesday.

Among likely voters, 50 percent said they would vote for the Republican candidate, while 44 percent said they would vote for the Democrat, the poll showed. USA/

Washington Extra – Take Five

Washington Extra is going to let our correspondents do the talking today. So instead of listening to my meanderings, check out these five stories:  SWITZERLAND/

-          Mark Hosenball’s special report on Christine O’Donnell and her money problems. Her tense relationship with mainstream Republicans and her floundering campaign have led big-time donors to shun her, albeit quietly. Read here.

-          John Whitesides’ story on how big Republican gains in the governors’ races on November 2 could dramatically reshape the U.S. political landscape for a decade, giving the party an edge on next year’s redrawing of congressional district boundaries and in the 2012 presidential race. Here.

Midterm election enthusiasm being lost on the young

In the end, it’s all about turnout.

President Barack Obama has been trying to rev up young voters, who played a strong role in his own election, to encourage them show up at the polls on Election Day through appearances on MTV, next week’s “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart,” and an interview with “Rolling Stone” magazine. USA-POLITICS/

But a Harvard University poll of voters under age 30 finds midterm enthusiasm waning as the Nov. 2 election approaches.

“In most election cycles, it is expected that interest in voting will increase as the election draws near — in the 2010 midterm elections, interest in voting among Millennials (18-29 year olds) has been decreasing over the course of our last three surveys,” the report says.

Poll finds Obama losing favor among independents

President Barack Obama’s approval rating is showing the steepest decline among independents, slipping below 40 percent for the first time in a year, according to a new Gallup poll. OBAMA/

That’s not good news for Democrats four months before the November elections when all seats in the House of Representatives and one-third of the Senate are up for a vote.

Even though it isn’t a presidential election year, the state of  Obama’s popularity can rub off on his party with Democrats fighting to retain control of both houses of Congress. Independents could be key in determining the outcome of close races, and certainly worthy of wooing.

from Summit Notebook:

Democrat: believers of 2010 Republican majority in “la la land”

Congressman Chris Van Hollen, chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, says the November 2010 midterm elections will be difficult, but anyone who believes Republicans will wrest majority control of the House of Representatives is living in "la la land."

The midterm elections will be viewed by many as a referendum on the policies of Democratic President Barack Obama.

"It is going to be a very volatile, political environment," Van Hollen said at the Reuters Washington Summit.