Josh Marshall

Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.

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Another bullet point list of late updates.

First: All the big pollsters come out with final national soundings on Sunday or Monday before an election. We now have most of them. As I noted yesterday we had two premium polls yesterday morning and they were okay for Democrats but in my mind much too close for comfort: ABC/WAPO (8 point margin) NBC/WSJ (7 point margin). We now have a bunch more. CNN’s poll shows a 13 point margin. A number of others show results ranging from 11 to 9 to 3 to 15. The upshot of all of these – if not a pure average since they’re pollsters of varying qualities – is about where we’ve been, a high single point advantage for the Dems.

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An update from a TPM Reader in Tennessee. It’s an interesting update on a lot of fronts, much as the one I posted over the weekend from Maine. But one key point is the importance of political organizing, building organizational capacity at the state and local level, even if a lot of the results may only show up in future elections.

I wanted to send you a quick update from the deep red state of Tennessee. I don’t know if Democrats will win any new seats here, though Bredesen has a shot at it and we should pick up some state legislative seats. But I wanted to let you know that Democrats are energized and more importantly ORGANIZED here like never before.

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It turns out the backstory to Brian Kemp’s accusation against the Georgia Democratic party is about as stupid as you could imagine. According to this report, a voter found the vulnerability, alerted an attorney for the plaintiff’s in one of the on-going lawsuits against Kemp’s office. That lawyer alerted the attorneys for Kemp’s office. There were apparently a couple lines of communication. See the details here. But the gist is this. There was a security vulnerability in the system Kemp’s is responsible for securing. His office was alerted the vulnerability. Then instead of focusing on fixing it he put out a press release accusing the state Democratic party of trying to “hack” the state system. Shocking and awful and about as bad as you can imagine.

From a longtime TPM Reader in Maine …

Nate Silver pegs ME-2 as the tipping point district for Democrats to take the House. The GOP incumbent is in his second term and he and Trump won by 10 points in 2016.

BUT this is also a district that Obama won twice. It’s supported referenda on minimum wage increases and Medicaid expansion.

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One thing that strikes me again and again about this critical election. Republicans to a great degree and urban concentration to a lesser degree have tilted the system dramatically in the GOP’s favor. We see it clearly at the presidential level and even more dramatically in the House, which is supposed to be the part of federal government most sensitive to public opinion. The Democrats will need to want it more, a lot more, to start the process of gaining power to re-democratize the federal government. Wanting it more means doing more: turning out occasional voters, out-canvassing, getting friends to the polls. A good bit of that is now baked in with early voting either coming to a close or already finished in numerous states. It’s all down to election day and people making the difference on the ground.

More bullet points on the midterms.

We have two premium national polls out overnight or this morning, ABC/WaPo and NBC/WSJ. Both have congressional generic ballot numbers which are, to my reading, too close for comfort. 8 points in the former, 7 points in the later. By normal standards, by democratic standards, those numbers would be enough for a blow-out win for the Democrats. But they probably need at least a five point advantage to have a shot at taking the majority.

On the other hand, we’ve seen some of the strongest numbers for Dems in the last couple days in individual swing districts. I’m thinking here particularly of the latest NYT/Siena polls. But not just those.

To be clear, those national polls do point to Democrats taking the House. But so much is at stake. It’s much too close for comfort. Too much is on the line.

This midterm election has rightly focused an immense amount of attention on voting rights and voter suppression. We are most of the way through our big project for 2018, our special editorial series on Voting Rights and Democracy. You can see all eight pieces we’ve published so far on topics ranging from voter purges, gerrymandering, felon disenfranchisement, the history of voting rights, voter fraud hysteria and more. It’s a great body of knowledge and some great journalism.

We have two more pieces to come. The series was made possible by The American Federation of Teachers, which sponsored the series.

I gave some broader read yesterday of where I think we are 5 days out before the midterms. But check this out. The first big electoral fight of the Trump era was the election to replace Rep. Tom Price (R-GA). Democrat Jon Ossoff galvanized Democrats nationwide but came up just short against Karen Handel, a standard issue establishment Republican who in normal times is a good fit for the district. It was widely assumed – with good reason – that if Democrats couldn’t take the seat then they likely wouldn’t have much of a chance in the general elections in 2018. But check this out. The New York Times and Siena are doing live polls using voter list. That’s generally how campaigns do polls as opposed to media organizations. They’re about half way through their poll (267 respondents). But Lucy McBath, the Democratic challenger, is up two points: 46%-44%. Again, this poll is still on-going. They end up going to 500 or 600. Normally I wouldn’t put much into this early number. But we already have good evidence this race is close. This is one of the races that national Republicans have started pouring money into just in the last week or so of the campaign. We’ll get more of this poll tonight.

President Trump laments that mail bomb campaign and synagogue massacre broke alleged Republican election momentum.

We’re now five days out from the midterm election. I wanted to share some thoughts as some of the outlines of Tuesday night start to come into view.

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