Aug. 14 absentee ballot for overseas voters

Obama 284   McCain 241   Ties 13
Senate Dem 56   GOP 44  
House Dem 242   GOP 193  

Senate map and races
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This day in 2004

strong Dem Strong Dem (165)
weak Dem Weak Dem (95)
barely Dem Barely Dem (24)
tied Exactly tied (13)
barely GOP Barely GOP (76)
weak GOP Weak GOP (68)
strong GOP Strong GOP (97)
270 Electoral votes needed to win
Map algorithm explained
Presidential polls today: KS NJ NV PA VA WA RSS
Dem pickups (vs. 2004): CO IN IA NM GOP pickups (vs. 2004): (None) PDA

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News from the Votemaster

Ohio Changes Voting Regulations

In principle, election results should not depend on whether the state officials are Democrats or Republicans. But as Yogi Berra so aptly put it: "In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice there is." In 2004, George Bush won Ohio by 118,000 vote in an election supervised by Republican Secretary of State Ken Blackwell and Republican Gov. Bob Taft. There were many (unproven) allegations of people being denied the right to vote, insufficient voting machines in Democratic areas, fraudulent voting machine software, and other issues. This year is likely to be different because Gov. Ted Strickland and Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner are both Democrats and both are determined to make sure every eligible Ohio voter can cast a ballot and that the election is completely transparent. A new Ohio law allows any eligible voter to vote by mail with no questions asked. In addition, there is a window of a week in early October when a voter can register and then vote immediately. These changes make it much easier to vote. The Obama campaign has a massive effort going to try to get Ohio's 470,000 college students to vote, knowing that students favor Obama by more than 2 to 1. Ohio State University alone has 52,000 students, nearly all of whom can vote if they are Ohio residents over 18. The Republicans are likely to challenge the new law in court, claiming it enables voter fraud.

Nevada House Races Tightening

CQ Politics has changed its ratings on two House races in Nevada. In NV-03, which pits three-term incumbent Jon Porter (R) against state senator Dina Titus (D), the race is now seen as a tossup (was: leans Republican). Titus entered the race late but in the time she has been in has raised more money than Porter and has now been placed in the DCCC's red-to-blue program, which means a big infusion of cash from the DCCC. The D+1 district is located in the Las Vegas suburbs. It went narrowly for Gore in 2000 and narrowly for Bush in 2004. In NV-02, which covers the whole state except the Las Vegas area, the rating has changed from Republican favored to leans Republican, meaning that freshman congressman Dean Heller (R) has the edge over former Nevada Board of Regents member Jill Derby (D), but it is expected to be a close race even though the district is R+8.

Ted Stevens Trying to Move Trial to Alaska

Attorneys for indicted Sen. Ted Stevens (R-AK) are trying to move his trial to Alaska, where he allegedly received received free home remodeling (read: bribes) from an oil services company. However, he is not charged with taking bribes; he is charged with filing false financial statements with the Senate lying about the free services he received and the statements were filed in Washington, D.C. Stevens is in a bit of a bind. By trying to get the trial moved to Alaska, he may get a jury full of people who think kindly of "Uncle Ted" as he is known in Alaska. This may increase the chances of his winning and staying out of jail. On the other hand, long legal maneuvering may delay the trial for weeks. If Stevens is still under indictment on election day, he will be crushed by Anchorage Mayor Mark Begich (D). Ideally he wants a quick trial in Alaska with a verdict of acquittal, but the choices may be a quick trial in D.C. or a delayed trial in Alaska. The judge has scheduled a hearing on Aug. 20.

Historical Election Data as an Animated Map

If you are not much into looking at the historical election data in Excel format, why not watch it as a movie? Thanks to Bob Aman for making it.

Today's Polls

We have seven new presidential polls today. Virginia continues to be very close, with Insider Advantage saying it is tied at 43% to 43% and Rasmussen putting Obama ahead 46% to 45%, which is effectively also a tie. It is no coincidence that former Virginia governor (and current Senate candidate) Mark Warner has been selected as the keynote speaker at the Democratic National Convention--it turns the spotlight on Virginia. A lot of time, energy, and money is going to be pouring into Virginia this Fall as the Democrats have a real chance to win a state that has been wholly Republican owned since 1964.

State Obama McCain Start End Pollster
Kansas 37% 52% Aug 11 Aug 11 Rasmussen
New Jersey 51% 41% Aug 04 Aug 10 Quinnipiac U.
Nevada 42% 45% Aug 11 Aug 11 Rasmussen
Pennsylvania 46% 41% Aug 04 Aug 10 Franklin+Marshall Coll.
Virginia 43% 43% Aug 12 Aug 12 Insider Advantage
Virginia 46% 45% Aug 12 Aug 12 Rasmussen
Washington 51% 44% Aug 11 Aug 12 SurveyUSA

Also of note today is McCain has taken a small lead in Nevada, another key swing state. His 3-point lead here is well within the margin of error though. Pennsylvania continues to favor Obama, as it has all year. A McCain win here would be considered a big upset.

The map today is possibly close to a best-case scenario for John McCain. Here he is shown to be winning Florida, Ohio, Missouri and Nevada with Virginia tied. Suppose McCain also wins Virginia, meaning he wins the five most swinging states. Obama still gets 284 electoral votes and wins the election. Indiana is now shown with an Obama edge, but that will probably turn red eventually, leaving Obama with 273 electoral votes--still enough. Iowa and New Mexico look good for Obama. To win, McCain is either going to have to win one of the Kerry states (hard) or hang onto Colorado, which Obama has been leading all year. Thus Colorado could become the real battleground in 2008, like Ohio in 2004 and Florida in 2000.

The only Senate poll is in Kansas, where incumbent Sen. at Roberts (R-KS) is going to win a landslide victory over challenger Jim Slattery (D).

State Democrat D-pct Republican R-pct Start End Pollster
Kansas Jim Slattery 36% Pat Roberts* 55% Aug 11 Aug 11 Rasmussen

Over in the House we also have some polls. AL-02 is becoming quite a battleground. A Capital Survey poll puts Montgomery Mayor Bobby Bright (D) 10 points ahead of Jay Love, minority whip in the state house. This is a hugely surprising result giving the district's PVI of R+13. Love is the sort of Republican who normally does well in Alabama: very conservative, deeply religious, strongly against abortion, etc. Bright is a typical Blue Dog Democrat--almost as conservative as Love on the hot-button social issues but populist on economic issues. Could this be a repeat of MS-01, in which conservative Democrat Travis Childers solidly defeated Republican Greg Davis in a special election this past Spring?

State Democrat D-pct Republican R-pct Start End Pollster
AL-02 Bobby Bright 47% Jay Love* 37% Aug 06 Aug 11 Capital Survey
VA-05 Tom Perriello 30% Virgil Goode* 64% Aug 10 Aug 12 SurveyUSA

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