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More Midterm Mania

A new Pew poll shows Democrats with a 50%-39% advantage in the 40 most competitive House races across the country, per McClatchy.  "Potentially more troubling for Republicans: They lead only 44 percent to 42 percent in all other Republican-held districts, which went heavily for President Bush in 2004." 

The San Francisco Chronicle says that same-sex marriage bans likely will be approved overwhelmingly in five states -- Idaho, Virginia, South Carolina, South Dakota, and Tennessee -- after the New Jersey court ruling this week.  Polls show many of these constitutional bans passing, and historically, polls have grossly underestimated the yes-vote of similar bans in other states. 

The Boston Globe says that per some analysts, the ruling could "prompt a Republican backlash and push conservative voter turnout...  While opinion polls have indicated that loyal Republican voters are disillusioned this year, most oppose same-sex marriage, and the issue might help motivate them."  Still, "other analysts doubted that the heated gay marriage debate can trump other issues -- like the Iraq war, the economy, and political scandals -- that have turned public opinion against the GOP." 

In the increasingly competitive MARYLAND Senate race, Democratic nominee Ben Cardin "last night skipped an NAACP-sponsored debate in Charles County, Md., a day after [he] stammered and stumbled during a faceoff with the Republican nominee, Lt. Gov. Michael S. Steele," who is African-American.  His campaign cited a scheduling conflict. 

A new Boston Globe poll shows that MASSACHUSETTS Lt. Gov. Kerry Healey (R) trailing her opponent Deval Patrick (D) by 25 points in the governor's race.  Though the margin is similar to polls taken earlier this month, "the perception voters have of [Healey] has turned increasingly negative, despite the millions of dollars -- almost all of it her own money -- that she has put into television advertising promoting herself and attacking him."  More: "Healey's strategy to make crime a central issue in the campaign has succeeded, with 63 percent of the respondents saying crime is a very important issue.  But, in an unexpected twist, Patrick was viewed as a more effective crime fighter than Healey."

Presidential candidate and retiring Gov. Mitt Romney (R) made a "rare" appearance for Healey yesterday, at which he warned voters that Patrick is a "'Mike Dukakis liberal'" and that "critical decisions will be made behind closed doors."

In NEW JERSEY, a New York Times/CBS poll has Sen. Bob Menendez (D) and Tom Kean Jr. (R) virtually tied among likely voters -- with Menendez at 40% and Kean at 39%. 

The AP reports that the RNC will not pay for TV ads in OHIO during the last week of the campaign.  And Bloomberg reports on the killing field (as some in Washington are starting to call it) that Ohio is expected to become for Republicans between the governorship, Senate race, and (at least) three House districts.

Sen. Hillary Clinton rallies in RHODE ISLAND with Senate candidate Sheldon Whitehouse (D).

Profiling VIRGINIA Senate nominee Jim Webb (D) (having profiled Allen yesterday), the Washington Post looks at some of his writings based on his military experience, including his criticism of the concept of women in combat, and how they reflect Webb's complicated attitudes toward the military in which he served. 

Allen consultant Chris LaCivita issued a statement this morning that Webb "has extolled his experience as a writer and novelist" during the campaign...  But has anyone really read some of things he's written?  Some of the references are simply disturbing and continue to show a pattern of disrespectful treatment toward women.  Webb's novels portray women as servile, subordinate and promiscuous - and assign his female characters base, negative characteristics."  LaCivita also argued, "It seems Senator Allen, regardless of the validity of an allegation, is held to a different standard -- a standard that with just a little scrutiny, Jim Webb can't pass."

USA Today looks at the importance of women and minority voters in the state.