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The midterms: GOP on course for big gains

Here’s our take on the new NBC/WSJ poll: “Republicans remain on course to make substantial midterm gains across the country and to win control of at least one chamber of Congress… Nearly 50 percent of likely voters prefer a GOP-controlled Congress, which is virtually unchanged from the poll taken two weeks ago; a plurality of all registered voters say it would be a “good thing” if Republicans were in charge of both the U.S. House and U.S. Senate; and almost two-thirds — including about half of Democrats — want to see a significant amount of change in the way President Barack Obama has been leading the country.”

The Wall Street Journal’s take: “Republicans are positioned for large gains Tuesday, likely retaking the House and picking up seats in the Senate, amid strong voter frustration with President Barack Obama and the Democratic-run Congress.”

A new USA Today/Gallup poll: "By 55%-40%, those surveyed say they plan to vote for the Republican candidate, the widest margin since Democrats' advantage in the 1974 elections held in the wake of Watergate." Also in the write-up: "The non-partisan Pew Research Center puts the GOP ahead 48%-42% on the generic ballot, which doesn't mention candidates' names."

NRSC Chairman John Cornyn said it could take two cycles for the GOP to take back the Senate: "I think it probably is going to take two cycles, but there is certainly a potential there, depending on just how high and how broad this wave election is,” he said on ABC. There are more Democratic seats up in 2012 than Republican ones.

A Democratic source emails First Read that Organizing for America volunteers made 3.1 million voter contacts on Saturday.

ALASKA: The New York Times reminds us that it could take WEEKS before we know the winner of Alaska’s three-way Senate race. “Write-in votes will be checked only to find out the name that was written if the general write-in category comes in either ahead of or within half a percent of the lead after all ballots are counted... If write-in ballots are counted, it will not happen until about two weeks after Election Day… People who cast absentee ballots, including ones sent from overseas, can have their ballots postmarked as late as Election Day.”

More: “Once all ballots are received, even if the write-in category appears ahead, there is no certainty that enough of those ballots will have been cast for Ms. Murkowski to make her the winner or that a substantial number will not be disqualified for any number of reasons.”

You have to blame somebody for Joe Miller’s poll troubles… “Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin accused Alaska television reporters of being ‘corrupt bastards’ and conspiring against her endorsed Senate GOP candidate in Alaska during her appearance on ‘Fox News Sunday,’” Roll Call reports. For context: “The recording picked up laughter and snippets of conversation, which included talk of finding registered sex offenders among the crowd at a Miller rally Thursday night. There was also discussion about the potential for violence at the event. The Miller campaign said the KTVA staff members ‘openly discuss creating, if not fabricating, two stories about’ the candidate in the recording by planning to try to identify a registered child molester among Miller’s supporters and by ‘hoping for violence.’ …

“KTVA General Manager Jerry Bever confirmed the recording’s authenticity in a statement Sunday, but he said the Miller campaign’s ‘analysis of the recording is incorrect.’ the staff was ‘reviewing potential ‘what-if’ scenarios, discussing the likelihood of events at the rally and how KTVA might logistically disseminate any breaking news,’ the statement said. ‘The perception that this garbled, out of context recording may leave is unfortunate, but to allege that our staff was discussing or planning to create or fabricate stories regarding candidate Miller is absurd,” Bever said. ‘The complete conversation was about what others might be able to do to cause disruption within the Miller campaign, not what KTVA could do.’”

DELAWARE: “Christine O’Donnell’s GOP Senate campaign is buying three 30-minute television ads for the final stretch, she announced Sunday at a Tea Party Express rally, where she insisted that the race is closer than it seems,” Roll Call reports. “She has purchased the three ads, to air Sunday night and at 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. Monday, with the financial help of the tea party movement to showcase stories she hears on the campaign trail.”

GEORGIA: Mason-Dixon has Nathan Deal (R) leading Roy Barnes (D) 47%-40%.

MASSACHUSETTS: “Barraged for months with attack ads, competing messages from the candidates, dizzying poll numbers, and head-turning news of drama, mutiny, scandal, and sheer silliness on the campaign trail, Massachusetts voters will finally deliver an answer to the question of the political year on Tuesday. Will the state’s Republicans finally rise from the dead?” the Boston Globe reports.

The Boston Globe endorses Deval Patrick (D) for governor.