Washington (CNN) - While the nation's economy is struggling, business is booming in at least one sector – campaign commercial spending. And a new analysis indicates that the majority of those commercials are attack ads.
As of this week, candidates running for state and federal offices have spent $395 million on commercials for the midterm elections, according to a new analysis from the Campaign Media Analysis Group. That compares to $286 million shelled out at this point during the 2006 midterms.
"2010 is on track to be a record year for ad spending, there is mix of political factors such as turnover in many of the Governors offices across the nation and elections mechanics with competitive primaries and the Supreme Court Citizens United ruling which is supercharging the rise in ad spending," says Evan Tracey, CMAG President and CNN's consultant on political TV ad spending.
(CNN) - President Barack Obama gets his highest approval rating among religious groups from Muslims and his lowest from Mormons, according to a newly released national poll.
A Gallup survey indicates that in the first half of this year, 78 percent of Muslims approved of the job the president's doing in the White House, while just 24 percent of Mormons give Obama a thumbs up. According to the poll, the president's approval rating among Protestants and other Christians was 43 percent, it stood at 50 percent for Catholics, 61 percent among Jews, 63 percent for Atheists, Agnostics and those with no religion, and 64 percent for those from other non-Christian religions. The president's approval among all Americans stood at 48 percent.
The survey indicates that Obama has lost 15 points on his overall approval rating from the first half of 2009 to the first half of this year, and that he has lost slightly more ground than average among Mormons and has receded the least among Muslims.
Washington (CNN) - Weighed down by a president with a sub-500 approval rating, Democratic Congressional Campaign Chairman Chris Van Hollen will lay out the party's plan of attack for November elections at a Friday news conference.
The Maryland congressman, facing a resurgent Republican Party, "will discuss why he believes Democrats deserve to win the off-year elections and how they plan to do it, the legislative agenda as passed so far including health care, financial rescue, Wall Street reform, student loans, Afghanistan action, and Iraq withdrawal," according to a statement released by the campaign.
As part of a grassroots effort, House Democrats are shooting for their supporters to knock on more than 200,000 doors nationwide.
The initiative comes as President Barack Obama's approval rating stands at 47 percent, with 51 percent saying they disapprove of how he is handling his job, which ties the record he set in March, when 51 percent also gave him a thumbs-down.
New York (CNNMoney.com) - The U.S. economy sputtered to a near stop in the second quarter, according to new estimates from the government released Friday, although the slowdown wasn't as bad as many had feared.
The nation's gross domestic product, the broadest measure on the amount of spending by consumers, businesses and government, was revised sharply lower to an annual growth rate of 1.6% in the three months ending in June. The initial reading had been for a 2.4% growth rate in the period.
The report fed into growing fears that the nation could be at risk of a new economic downturn known as a double-dip recession. While the economy is still growing, growth of less than 2% is considered too weak to prompt businesses to start hiring again.
New York (CNNMoney.com) - President Obama's tax reform task force will deliver its long-overdue report on Friday offering a list of ways to improve the federal tax code.
Obama had asked the group to examine ways to simplify the code, reduce tax evasion, and close corporate loopholes - and to do so with an eye to raising more revenue.
The president, however, also tied the group's hands by not allowing it to consider any options that would raise taxes on the vast majority of Americans.
That directive, of course, was in keeping with Obama's campaign promise not to increase taxes on any married couple making less than $250,000 or any single individual making less than $200,000.
In other words, the panel wasn't allowed to consider anything that would tap 98% of the country.
Editor's Note: In the final 100 days before Election Day, CNN has been profiling one race at random each day from among the nation's top 100 House races, which we've dubbed "The CNN 100." Read the full list here. Today's featured district is:
Idaho 1st – Democratic Rep. Walt Minnick seeks a 2nd term
Primary: May 25
Location: Western Idaho
Days until Election Day: 67
(CNN) - At first glance, the race for Idaho's 1st district looks like it should be virtually unwinnable for a Democratic candidate in 2010. Idaho, some of the most Tea Party movement-friendly terrain in the nation, is solidly Republican at the presidential level; no Democrat has won here since Lyndon Johnson's 1964 bid.
The panhandle area of the state, which has traditionally been its most Democratic territory, has trended more Republican in recent years. And Rep. Walt Minnick - the first Democrat to win a congressional race here since 1992 - won that seat in a squeaker two years ago, edging past incumbent Republican Rep. Bill Sali 51-49 percent.
But Minnick - who defied the odds in 2008, winning a string of counties that backed John McCain over Barack Obama - seems poised to confound expectations yet again.
(CNN) – Sarah Palin is responding to a union leader’s blistering attack Thursday on her home turf, characterizing AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka as a “career union boss” out of touch with mainstream American workers.
“Trumka’s attempts to put himself on the side of the working man and woman would be more convincing if he weren’t a career union boss who’s spent most of his life in DC,” Palin wrote on her Facebook page. “No surprise then that his priorities aren’t the priorities of the average working man or woman, but of the Beltway power player.”
“My fellow union brothers and sisters have had their union dues squandered for far too long by a few of the union bosses who work for partisan politics and not the good blue collar Americans who have to fund their cushy salaries,” the former Alaska governor added.
The comments came hours after Trumka delivered a speech in Anchorage, Alaska in which he called Palin a "crazy magnet that's pulling people to the right."
The CNN Washington Bureau’s morning speed read of the top stories making news from around the country and the world.
For the latest political news: www.CNNPolitics.com
CNN: Already boasting, Republicans predict huge gains in November
A top House Republican boasted Thursday that Republicans are already positioned to take control of the House, and argued the Democrats' political position will only worsen as Election Day approaches. California Republican Congressman Kevin McCarthy, the top recruiter of GOP candidates and chief Republican Whip in the House, told reporters on a conference there are "more than enough seats" to win, and added, "I think the map is getting bigger by the day."
(CNN) - House Republican leader John Boehner on Friday will start to lay out a "prebuttal" to President Barack Obama's upcoming speech on Iraq.
Obama is expected to deliver a major address on Iraq from the Oval Office on Tuesday night.
A senior aide to Boehner said that they are releasing a Web video and an op-ed Friday that argue that the surge of troops in Iraq succeeded despite opposition to Obama and other leading Democrats.