Jun. 16 absentee ballot for overseas voters

Obama 304   McCain 221   Ties 13
Senate: Dem 58   GOP 42  
House: Dem 238   GOP 197  

Senate map and races
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strong Dem Strong Dem (168)
weak Dem Weak Dem (76)
barely Dem Barely Dem (60)
tied Exactly tied (13)
barely GOP Barely GOP (20)
weak GOP Weak GOP (81)
strong GOP Strong GOP (120)
270 Electoral votes needed to win
Map algorithm explained
Presidential polls today: AR FL NV NY RSS
Dem pickups (vs. 2004): CO IA MO NM OH GOP pickups (vs. 2004): (None) PDA

News from the Votemaster

Two new features today. First, in the mouseovers, the winner of the 1992-2004 elections is highlighted to make it easier to see who won. Just put your mouse cursor on a state to see. Second, there is now a simplified main page for viewing the site on PDAs, phones, and other mobile devices with small screens. The URL is www.electoral-vote.com/phone.html. To make it easier to get to, there is now a little "PDA" icon below the XML one. Instead of the full map, there is just the minimap used on the blogger icon, like the one on the right. If you have a Website or a blog, you can include this icon on your blog or site and visitors will see the current presidential, senate, and house scores when they visit you. It takes 5 minutes to install it and then you are set until the election. Click on the "Icons for bloggers" link above for instructions.

If you like this site and would like to make a donation (via PayPal), please click on the Donations link on the menu above. Donations will be used to buy blog ads in the Fall. See that page for where they ran during past elections. Thanks.

The NY Times has a nice story about Barack Obama's management style today. It is much more focused and efficient than Bill Clinton's and he delegates a lot to his senior aides.

An article in CQ Politics compares this election to 1980 where a fresh face with no experience in national or international affairs, Ronald Reagan, faced a well-known but tired and not terribly popular incumbent, Jimmy Carter. All Reagan had to do was convince people that he wasn't the mad bomber and he did that and won a landslide victory. The conclusion is, barring some "October surprise," that if Obama can convince people he is up to the job, he'll probably get it. The analogy is not 100% since McCain is not Bush, but the Obama campaign will do its best to emphasize how often McCain's policies are Bush's policies. McCain won't be able to vigorously refute these points for fear of alienating the 30% of the voters who still support Bush. It will be a tough balancing act.

Many Websites cover the presidential horse race and a few (including this one) are also covering the Senate and House, but the state legislatures are really under the radar. Swing state project has a really good report on the states where the control of a state house or senate could be flipped by the gain or loss of a couple of seats. As we approach 2010, the year of the Tiger in the Chinese calendar, the year of the Gerrymander in the American calendar, control of the state legislatures matter.

Back to Veeping. Everything on the subject is wild speculation since the election has only one voter, but it is useful to see who's swimming in the pool. On June 12 we looked at the female Democrats in the Senate. Now its time to look at the guys. Two senators would be an unusual ticket, but the Senate has many qualified candidates. and as we saw last week, more senators have been chosen as Veep candidate in the past 60 years than any other category. So here are all the male Democratic senators (in alphabetical order).

  • Daniel Akaka (D-HI) is older than McCain and is from one of the smallest and bluest states in the country. Impossible.
  • Max Baucus (D-MT) is in theory a possibility, but he probably couldn't bring in Montana and is too conservative for many party activists. He has gravitas and looks presidential though.
  • Evan Bayh (D-IN) is a young guy (52) and has been elected governor and senator by huge margins. He might be able to bring in the state for Obama and could be helpful in other midwestern states like Missouri and Iowa. He also supported Clinton, which would help mollify her supporters. His father was a long-time influential senator. A name to remember.
  • Joseph Biden (D-DE) has been in the Senate for 35 years so he has more experience than John McCain. He is a Catholic, which may help in some states, but at 65, his presence on the ticket blunts attacks on McCain's age. He is also an gigantic windbag. That's what happens to you when you have been in the Senate 35 years. He might be better at a job that requires endless talking, such as Secretary of State. With Biden on the ticket, Delaware is in the bag. Also without Biden.
  • Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) is 64 so he is almost as old as Biden, but he is immensely popular in a key swing state, and would guarantee New Mexico's five electoral votes. He would also be very helpful in Nevada and Colorado and might force McCain to campaign and spend money in Arizona.
  • Sherrod Brown (D-OH) is a sleeper. Gov. Ted Strickland (D-OH) has said he does not want to be on the ticket. If Obama wants to make a big play for Ohio, Brown could help. He is 55 and served in state office and the House for 7 terms before defeating incumbent Sen. Mike DeWine (R-OH) in 2006. He is a strong opponent of NAFTA and free trade agreements in general, which will definitely appeal to blue-collar workers worried about their jobs being outsourced.
  • Robert Byrd (D-WV) is 90 years old and in ill health.
  • Ben Cardin (D-MD) is 64 and from a very blue state. He's only been in the Senate for 2 years. Not a likely pick.
  • Tom Carper (D-DE) is younger than Biden and doesn't talk as much, but Delware is a given anyway.
  • Bob Casey (D-PA) would be an interesting pick. It would take Pennsylvania off the table, but Obama can probably win Pennsylvania on his own. Casey is fairly conservative as Democrats go and would definitely have appeal in the Appalachians. He's only been in the Senate 2 years however, although he served longer in state politics. At 48 and a Catholic he is a good fit with Obama. He is pro-life, which will annoy some party activists but probably bring in more Republicans and independents than he will repel.
  • Kent Conrad (D-ND) is from a red state and is currently involved in a financial scandal. Better keep away from him.
  • Christopher Dodd (D-CT) is in the same scandal as Conrad.
  • Byron Dorgan (D-ND) is not in any scandals, but Obama will never win North Dakota no matter what.
  • Dick Durbin (D-IL) is from the same state as Obama so the Illinois electors could not vote for Obama. Besides, as #2 in a Senate where the Democrats will have 55-60 seats, he would have more influence as a senator.
  • Russ Feingold (D-WI) is probably too liberal for the country as a whole.
  • Tom Harkin (D-IA) is running for reelection and will win easily, so why rock the boat? If Obama wants to focus on the Midwest, Evan Bayh and Claire McCaskill are better choices.
  • Daniel Inouye (D-HI) Like Daniel Akaka, he is 83. No way Obama is going to pick an 83-year-old from a small blue state.
  • Tim Johnson (D-SD) had a stroke in Dec. 2006. He is running for reelection and will probably win, even without campaigning because people in South Dakota understand that having a senator in the majority with 12 years seniority is more useful than a freshman in the minority.
  • Edward Kennedy (D-MA) is too old, too liberal, and too sick. Besides, all the Clinton haters would immediately transfer their hatred to Kennedy.
  • John Kerry (D-MA) ran a poor campaign for President. Forget it.
  • Herbert Kohl (D-WI) owns a basketball team (the Milwaukee Bucks) but he is older than McCain (73). Wisconsin is a swing state but Kohl isn't the right guy for Veep.
  • Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) Another one of the oldies but goodies crowd. But at 84, the Democrats will be happy if he can get reelected again this year.
  • Patrick Leahy (D-VT) Leahy is a mere 68 and from a small blue state famous for its yuppie ice cream. He's a popular and effective senator, widely respected by his colleagues, but he'll stay in the Senate where he will have a lot of clout.
  • Carl Levin (D-MI) was the driving force behind moving Michigan's primary up before the allowed starting date. Michigan is an important state so Obama might forgive him for that, but chances are Obama can win Michigan under his own steam. Alternatively, he can go for the other Michigan senator, Debbie Stabenow and get a twofer (key state and women).
  • Joseph Lieberman (I-CT) is not technically a Democrat, having lost the Democratic primary in 2006 and run as an independent. He caucuses with the Democrats, but he is supporting John McCain. He might be McCain's Veep but certainly not Obama's. He would drive the Democratic activists into paroxysyms of rage.
  • Bob Menendez (D-NJ) is a Latino from a very blue state. If Obama wants a Latino on the ticket, Gov. Bill Richardson (D-NM) or Sen. Ken Salazar (D-CO) would at least bring in new states. But Latinos are likely to come back into the Democratic fold on their own and a black guy and a Latino might be too much change for some people.
  • Bill Nelson (D-FL) would certainly put Florida in play. That alone might be reason to choose him. There is no conceivable way McCain could get 270 electoral votes without Florida. McCain could cancel Nelson by putting Florida governor Charlie Crist on his ticket though.
  • Ben Nelson (D-NE) couldn't even bring in Nebraska and he is far too conservative for the rest of the party.
  • Mark Pryor (D-AR) is a long shot, but he could bring in a red state and possibly help in the south.
  • Jack Reed (D-RI) is not well known nationally and any Democrat who can't carry Rhode Island wasn't trying very hard.
  • Harry Reid (D-NV) probably wouldn't take the job. As majority leader in a Senate with 55-60 Democrats and an inexperienced President, he will wield immense power. Think: the reincarnation of Lyndon Johnson, but without the swearing and with more social graces.
  • Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) is 70 and from a small state in Appalachia. Obama has had a lot of trouble in Appalachia, so having someone from the region would be a good thing, but the Rockefeller name will be a target for the Republicans to attack as someone not understanding the problems of the common man (despite his being elected governor twice and senator four times, usually in enormous landslides).
  • Ken Salazar (D-CO) is a Latino from a key swing state. With Salazar on the ticket, Obama would surely get Colorado's nine electoral votes, but there is a good chance he'll get them without Salazar as well. Also, Latinos tend to vote Democratic anyway, so it is better to use the Veep slot for somebody else.
  • Bernard Sanders (I-VT) isn't actually a Democrat. He's a socialist although he caucuses with the Democrats. He'd probably cause Rush Limbaugh to have a stroke, but other than that, Bernie is going to continue to represent the people of Vermont in the Senate.
  • Chuck Schumer (D-NY) is not a possibility. The other Democrats would go bonkers losing him as DSCC chairman. He picked up six Senate seats in 2006, which nobody thought possible, and is on track to pick up 5-8 this time. Guys like that don't grow on trees. He's worth more than a pitcher of gold, let alone a pitcher of warm piss.
  • Jon Tester (D-MT) is a rookie (2 years in the Senate) and might not be able to bring in Montana. Tester probably has a bright future with the party, but not this year.
  • Jim Webb (D-VA) is the most likely senator to get the nod. At 62 he is experienced but still young enough to call McCain an old man. He is extremely outspoken and would be the world's fiercest attack dog. As a decorated Marine in Vietnam he matches McCain on the military service score, but unlike McCain, he has held an executive position in the military: he was Ronald Reagan's Secretary of the Navy. As a former Republican and military hero, he will attract many of the independents and moderate Republicans McCain desperately needs. he also might be able to bring in Virgina, with its 13 electoral votes. He is actively campaigning for the job already, by traveling around the country praising Obama and attacking McCain, to demonstrate his stuff. He has written a number of bestselling war novels that have been widely praised as giving a real feeling of what war is like from the soldiers' point of view. A minus for Webb is that he has as many marriages under his belt as Rudy Giuliani, the reigning indoor marriage champion. If he became Veep, Gov. Tim Kaine (D-VA) would appoint a Democrat to succeed him, possibly Kaine himself. Webb is clearly someone to keep an eye on.
  • Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) is a freshman from a small very blue state. No way.
  • Ron Wyden (D-OR) is not well known nationally and from a blue state anyway. Very unlikely.

Here are today's new presidential polls. No new Senate or House polls.

State Obama McCain Start End Pollster
Arkansas 39% 48% Jun 12 Jun 12 Rasmussen
Florida 41% 45% May 13 May 20 Quinnipiac U.
Nevada 42% 44% Jun 09 Jun 11 Mason-Dixon
New York 51% 32% Jun 06 Jun 11 NY Times

-- The Votemaster

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