Judd trails the senator 47-43 percent, as does Lt. Gov. Jerry Abramson and Attorney General Jack Conway. Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer trails 46-41 percent, and McConnell posts a double-digit advantage over Rep. John YarmuthJohn YarmuthPelosi lays out several Dem leadership nominations Dem lawmakers: Clinton should have disclosed illness sooner House Dems to GOP on gun reprimands: 'Bring it on' MORE (D-Ky.).

Other polls paint a rosier picture for McConnell. A Bluegrass poll released in September gave McConnell a 51-42 percent approval rating, with the senator showing strong support among self-identified conservatives. McConnell performed similarly well in a SurveyUSA poll conducted at the end of October.

"It speaks volumes that even a liberal Democrat pollster with an agenda to make Mitch McConnellMitch McConnellLawmakers eye early exit from Washington Confirm Scott Palk for the Western District of Oklahoma Overnight Healthcare: GOP in talks about helping insurers after ObamaCare repeal MORE look bad still can't find an opponent who can lead him in Kentucky," said McConnell campaign manager Jesse Benton. "This Democrat poll has a long-held reputation for skewed approval numbers and that's obviously the case here since there is no poll, public or private, that has shown Senator McConnell's approval ratings anywhere near where PPP suggests."

TOMORROW’S AGENDA TODAY: President Obama attends meetings at the White House.

TWEET OF THE DAY: “We're still kids in this place -- happy birthday to @MaxBaucus” — Sen. John KerryJohn KerryIran’s nuclear deal just the tip of the iceberg for Trump Trump needs to stand firm on immigration, 'religious-test' insticts Budowsky: Ellison, Kerry to DNC? MORE (D-Mass.), who turned 69 on Tuesday, the same day Sen. Max BaucusMax BaucusThe mysterious sealed opioid report fuels speculation Lobbying World Even Steven: How would a 50-50 Senate operate? MORE (D-Mont.) turned 71


QUOTE OF THE DAY: “My network contract prohibits me from taking on another full-time job. So, the Senate would be perfect.” — Stephen Colbert


AD WATCH:

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Two major Republican-affiliated outside groups are out with new ads criticizing President Obama's deficit-reduction plan. The ad from Cossroads GPS targets five red-state Democratic senators up for reelection with radio ads in their states asking their constituents to pressure them to support a bipartisan plan on the deficit. A separate ad from American Action Network features former Congressional Budget Office Director Douglas Holtz-Eakin accusing Obama of not having a plan to avoid the cliff.


BATTLE FOR THE HOUSE:

Since election night, the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) has been lying low, issuing releases outlining Republican leadership shifts and its weekly news roundup but putting out little commentary on the parties’ negotiations to deal with the nation’s debt crisis.

CALIFORNIA: Reps. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.) and Howard Berman (D-Calif.) set a California House race record by spending a combined $11.7 million on their races, according to a Los Angeles Times analysis of recently released campaign finance reports.


SENATE SHOWDOWN:

MISSOURI: Rep. Todd Akin (R-Mo.) still hasn't retired his campaign debt, more than a month after an election he lost to Sen. Claire McCaskillClaire McCaskillDefense bill tackles retaliation against military sex assault victims Red-state Dems face tough votes on Trump picks Vulnerable Dems ready to work with Trump MORE (D-Mo.) after undermining his own bid with controversial comments about rape and pregnancy.

NORTH CAROLINA: A new poll finds Rep. Virginia FoxxVirginia FoxxHouse GOP picks two women to lead committees Speculation and starting points: accreditation, a new administration and a new Congress President-elect Trump: Please drain the student loan swamp MORE (R-N.C.) atop a field of potential Republican Senate candidates vying to challenge Sen. Kay HaganKay HaganGOP senator floats retiring over gridlock 2016’s battle for the Senate: A shifting map The untold stories of the 2016 battle for the Senate MORE (D-N.C.) in her 2014 reelection bid. Foxx pulled 17 percent of Republican primary voters surveyed by Democratic firm Public Policy Polling, good for a narrow lead over Rep. Sue Myrick (R-N.C.), the choice of 14 percent of those surveyed.

PENNYSLVANIA: Sen. Bob CaseyBob CaseySenate passes college anti-Semitism bill Dem senator to Trump: Reject Syria deal with Putin, Assad Vulnerable Dems ready to work with Trump MORE (D-Pa.) will stay in the Senate and isn't considering a 2014 run against Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett (R), he told The Hill on Tuesday.

SOUTH CAROLINA: South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley (R) has finalized her shortlist of candidates to replace outgoing Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), according to a source close to the governor. The list includes five Republican South Carolina politicians who are close to Haley: Rep. Tim ScottTim ScottSenate passes college anti-Semitism bill The Hill's 12:30 Report 115th Congress will be most racially diverse in history MORE, Rep. Trey GowdyTrey GowdyChatter grows that Ryan could step down Lawmakers press Lynch for briefing on Yahoo secret email scanning reports Clinton IT aide pleads Fifth, skips hearing MORE, former state Attorney General Henry McMaster, former first lady Jenny Sanford and Catherine Templeton, a conservative attorney Haley has picked to head the state Department of Health and Environmental Control.

SOUTH CAROLINA PART II: Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey GrahamPentagon should have a civilian chief to give peace a chance Lawmakers eye early exit from Washington Senate passes college anti-Semitism bill MORE's (R-S.C.) standing with South Carolina's primary voters has improved dramatically in the last year, according to a new survey from the Democratic-affiliated Public Policy Polling. Graham's approval rating with primary voters is at 66 percent, with 26 percent disapproving. He leads a generic "more conservative" Republican in the race by 51 to 40 percent, a big jump from the 37 to 52 percent position he was in when the pollster last checked slightly less than a year ago.


IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has received his first Democratic challenger in Barbara Buono, the New Jersey state Senator who filed on Tuesday to run in 2013.

Charles and David Koch, the pair of billionaire brothers who helped bankroll a significant portion of outside conservative spending in the last election cycle, announced they were postponing their semi-annual meeting so they could further analyze the election results.


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-- Updated at 9:01 p.m.