* Steven Greenhouse of the New York Times finds a bright spot for Democrats in tomorrow’s election:
In state after state, labor unions and community groups have pushed lawmakers to raise the minimum wage, but those efforts have faltered in many places where Republicans control the legislature.
Frustrated by this, workers’ advocates have bypassed the legislature and placed a minimum-wage increase on the ballot in several red states — and they are confident that voters will approve those measures on Tuesday.
In Alaska, Arkansas, Nebraska and South Dakota, binding referendums would raise the state minimum wage above the $7.25 an hour mandated by the federal government.
These measures are so overwhelmingly popular in some states, notably Alaska and Arkansas, that the opposition has hardly put up a fight.
It seems unlikely that a Republican Congress is ever going to allow an increase in the minimum wage. But eventually, every state may take matters into its own hands and raise it.
* The final batch of surveys from Public Policy Polling: Joni Ernst leads Bruce Braley by 48-45; Senators Kay Hagan and Jeanne Shaheen lead their GOP challengers by two apiece; in Georgia, David Perdue leads Michelle Nunn by 46-45 but it looks like we may get a runoff; and Greg Orman leads Senator Pat Roberts in Kansas by 47-46.
All these races still could go either way, giving Dems a slim chance of hanging on. But on balance, Republicans obviously remain heavily favored to take the Senate — and they could all go to Republicans, which would mean a larger-than-expected GOP majority. — gs
* Lamar Smith, chair of the House committee in charge of science, reacts to the frightening findings of the latest UN report on climate change by basically saying, “Whatever, dude.”
* Jonathan Cohn explains why Republicans hoping to pass some bills in the next Congress to rehabilitate the party’s image for 2016 are likely to be disappointed, because they will feel compelled to seek maximum confrontation on nominations. — gs
.* Some reporters actually got within talking distance of Joni Ernst today, and the results were pretty much what you’d expect:
“[Obama] is just standing back and letting things happen, he is reactive rather than proactive,” she said. “With Ebola, he’s been very hands off.”
“What should he have done about Ebola?” Esquire blogger Charlie Pierce asked her. “One person in America has Ebola.”
“OK, you’re the press, you’re giving me your opinion,” Ernst said.
“It’s not an opinion, only one person in America has it,” he said.
“But he is the leader, he is the leader of our nation,” she said. “So what he can do is make sure that all of these agencies are coordinating together, to make sure he is sharing with the American people he cares about them, he cares about their safety.”
It goes on. This is a strong entry in the Stephen Colbert Truthiness Sweepstakes. I mean sure, almost no one has gotten Ebola, but it feels like it has infected huge numbers of Americans. And isn’t that Obama’s fault?
* Brian Beutler finds another niggling flaw in Ernst’s remarks: She basically said Obama’s performance on Ebola shows he doesn’t care about Americans’ safety. Par for the course, nothing to see here… — gs
* Also see Norm Ornstein on how the political press is essentially giving Ernst and other far right Republican Senate candidates a complete pass, and what that says about this cycle’s preferred media narratives about the GOP. — gs
* Gallup regularly asks voters which party controlling Congress would be better for the country. In 2006 Dems led on that question by 8 points. In 2010 Republicans led by 12 points. And in the latest poll, Republicans lead by only 2 points. Looks like a wave!
* Shocker of the day: The Sunlight Foundation finds that in this election, Republicans have been the recipient of over three times as much “dark money,” from sources that aren’t required to identify their donors.
* Via Sabrina Siddiqui and Ariel Edwards-Levy, A new HuffingtonPost/YouGov poll captures the doubled edged nature of gun politics for Democrats: 79 percent of Americans favoring universal background checks for gun sales, but the issue doesn’t seem to be having much of an impact on the election.
* At the American Prospect, I said we should be careful not to predict policy changes with a Republican Senate that don’t account for institutional realities, and explained why Joni Ernst gets away with being so crazy on matters that are relevant to policy while her opponent has gotten hammered over chickens.
* Nancy Pelosi raised over $100 million for Democrats this election cycle. That’s a lot of money.
* And the Kentucky GOP and Mitch McConnell’s campaign are sending out official-looking notices to voters that say “ELECTION VIOLATION NOTICE” on them, but inside there’s just a letter criticizing Alison Lundergan Grimes.
I would be shocked, shocked to find out that these things are going to black neighborhoods and might be a way of just intimidating people into staying away from the polls tomorrow.