Aug. 11 absentee ballot for overseas voters

Obama 289   McCain 236   Ties 13
Senate Dem 56   GOP 44  
House Dem 241   GOP 194  

Senate map and races
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This day in 2004

strong Dem Strong Dem (172)
weak Dem Weak Dem (81)
barely Dem Barely Dem (36)
tied Exactly tied (13)
barely GOP Barely GOP (44)
weak GOP Weak GOP (95)
strong GOP Strong GOP (97)
270 Electoral votes needed to win
Map algorithm explained
Presidential polls today: (None) RSS
Dem pickups (vs. 2004): CO IN IA NV NM GOP pickups (vs. 2004): (None) PDA

PW logo Did McCain Plagiarize His Speech Today? Economist Poll: Obama Holds Small Lead
SurveyUSA: Virginia Still Deadlocked Veep Buzz
Obama Book Coming Soon Obama Hits Back on McCain's Celebrity

News from the Votemaster

We have an exciting new feature today: time travel. Click on the link "This day in 2004" in the list of links above (under the House score) to go back to Aug. 11, 2004. From that page you can go forward to Aug. 12, 2004 or back to Aug. 10, 2004 using the links on the Aug. 11, 2004 page. The format has gotten quite a bit more complex and data rich since 2004, but you can get a good idea of how things stood four years ago from the old page. There will be a "This day in 2004" link every day from now on replacing the "News" link, so you will have to hit PgDn or scroll down to get the news but presumably most people know that already.

All of the menu links on the 2004 pages are supposed to work, but if errors crop up, please report them. Of course links off site may not work if the page pointed to no longer exists. It is also important to realize that there are two kinds of pages: pages that are unique for every day and cumulative pages. The main page for Aug. 11, Aug. 12, Aug. 13, etc are all separate files and are all still there for 2004. However, there was only one file for the electoral college graph, which was updated every day. So when you go to the Aug. 11, 2004 page and click on the electoral college graph, you get one filled in for all of 2004. Mentally erase the data after Aug. 11, 2004 to imagine what it looked like then. To get back from 2004 to 2008, use your browser's back button or select the main page from your favorite's list. The 2004 pages inconveniently did not have a link to the 2008 pages (but the 2008 pages don't link to the 2012 pages either).

John McCain is trying to reestablish himself as a "maverick." In 2000, it was impossible to find a news story that didn't refer to him as "Maverick John McCain," as if "Maverick" were his first name and "John" his middle name. There is much less of that now. This new strategy consists of pointing out all the issues where he has opposed his party. However, Barack Obama, sensing weakness here, has been attacking McCain on the issues where he indeed voted against the party line (such as the Bush tax cuts, which he called "irresponsible" and voted against) but then reversed himself once he became a candidate for President.

The NY Times has a fascinating story about how the McCain campaign operation works. There are multiple competing groups inside it, sometimes working at cross purposes and arguing with each other. This is partly because McCain spends a lot of time on his cell phone getting advice from different people. He has a hard time dismissing ideas from people he respects, even if they conflict with advice from other people he respects. As a countermeasure, his staff is actively trying to reduce his cell phone time. McCain also believes candidates live in a bubble and some tension within the campaign is a healthy thing since it exposes him to competing viewpoints. If the staff works things out and tells him the answer he becomes a puppet of the staff and he doesn't like that at all. Unlike George Bush, who is married to librarian and proud of the fact that he never reads anything, McCain is an voracious reader and tries to absorb as many newspapers, books, and memos as he possibly can. In that respect he is a lot like Bill Clinton. His loose managerial style without a strict hierarchy is also reminiscent of Clinton's.

To win the election, even if Obama can hold all the states John Kerry won, he needs another 18 electoral votes. One place he is looking for them is Virginia, which has 13 of them. If he can win Virginia all he needs is one of Iowa, New Mexico, Colorado, or Nevada, all of which are close. CQ Politics has a detailed rundown on the Virginia race. In a nutshell, Virginia is changing. The northern part of the state has become part of the D.C. metropolitan area and has become home to many upscale professionals who work in D.C. and are strongly Democratic. As a result, there is a rough balance between the liberal north and the conservative south. This demographic change has resulted in Democratic victories in the past two statewide races: Gov. Tim Kaine (D-VA) in 2005 and Sen. Jim Webb (D-VA) in 2006 both eked out narrow wins. Furthermore, former governor Mark Warner (D) is expected to win a landslide victory for an open Senate seat this year and his coattails may help Obama. Virginia is definitely up there with Ohio and Missouri as one of the big prizes that will be hotly contested this year.

Some of the speakers at the Democratic National Convention are now known:

      - Monday, Aug. 25: Michelle Obama
      - Tuesday, Aug. 26: Hillary Clinton
      - Wednesday, Aug. 27: Bill Clinton and the VP candidate
      - Thursday, Aug. 28: Barack Obama

Monday through Wednesday will be at the Pepsi center; Thursday will at at the Denver Broncos' stadium. The Pepsi center seats 20,000; the stadium seats 75,000, slightly smaller than the 80,000-seat Los Angeles Colliseum, which John Kennedy used for his acceptance speech in 1960.

Only one poll today. In the Michigan Senate race, Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI) is going to cruise to a huge victory over his unknown opponent, Jack Hoogendyk.

State Democrat D-pct Republican R-pct Start End Pollster
Michigan Carl Levin* 56% Jack Hoogendyk 36% Aug 07 Aug 07 Rasmussen

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-- The Votemaster