Friday’s campaign round-up

FRIDAY’S CAMPAIGN ROUND-UP…. Today’s installment of campaign-related news items that wouldn’t necessarily generate a post of their own, but may be of interest to political observers:

* Rep. Steve Israel (N.Y.), the new chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, said the caucus’ top goal is to make Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) the Speaker of the House again. The party will need a net gain of 25 seats in 2012 to make that happen.

* Scandal-plagued Sen. John Ensign (R-Nev.) may have managed to avoid criminal prosecution, but he may yet face the voters’ scorn. The latest survey from Public Policy Polling shows Ensign trailing Democrats in hypothetical 2012 match-ups. Republican chances of keeping the seat improve if Rep. Dean Heller (R) is the party’s nominee.

* The first ad campaign of the 2012 cycle is apparently already underway in North Dakota. An Iowa-based right-wing outfit called the American Future Fund has spent $60,000 in attack ads targeting Sen. Kent Conrad (D). This prompted Commonsense Ten, a group created by Democratic operatives, to spend $30,000 on radio ads defending the senator’s record.

* In Pennsylvania, a new survey from Public Policy Polling shows Sen. Bob Casey (D) looking pretty strong in advance of his re-election campaign next year. The senator’s approval rating isn’t bad, and he leads all of his potential GOP challengers by margins ranging from 7 to 23 points.

* On a related note, President Obama maintains relatively solid support in Pennsylvania. Public Policy Polling found the president leading the Republican field in margins ranging from three point (vs. Huckabee) or 15 points (vs. Palin). Former Sen. Rick Santorum (R) trails Obama in the state he used to serve, 48% to 40%.

* Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (R) appears to be the early frontrunner in the 2012 New Hampshire presidential primary. A new Magellan poll shows him out in front with 39% support, followed by 16% for Sarah Palin.

* The latest evidence that Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels (R) is, in fact, running for president, will be his attendance at CPAC on Feb. 11th.