Nov. 02 absentee ballot for overseas voters

Obama 353   McCain 185  
Senate Dem 58   GOP 42  
House Dem 249   GOP 184   Ties 2

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strong Dem Strong Dem (238)
weak Dem Weak Dem (73)
barely Dem Barely Dem (42)
tied Exactly tied (0)
barely GOP Barely GOP (53)
weak GOP Weak GOP (14)
strong GOP Strong GOP (118)
270 Electoral votes needed to win
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Presidential polls today: CO FL IL IN KY ME MN MO NC NM NV OH PA VA RSS
Dem pickups (vs. 2004): CO FL IA NV NM NC OH VA GOP pickups (vs. 2004): (None) PDA SMS

PW logo The Best Political Ads Reuters/Zogby: Obama Leads in Most Battleground States
Ohio Poll: Obama Ahead by Six Points Quinnipiac: Obama Leads In Key Swing States
WSJ/NBC: Obama Maintains Large National Lead PPP Poll: Ohio Race Tightens

News from the Votemaster

It's Now or Never

All the candidates are giving it everything they have this weekend and the next two days. Barack Obama is in Ohio trying to hang onto a state where he has a slight lead. John McCain will be campaigning in Pennsylvania today, trying for a come-from-behind upset in this economically battered state. However, the McCain campaign has not abandoned Ohio as it sent Sarah Palin to campaign in Canton and Columbus today. Yesterday Obama was in Colorado, Missouri, and Nevada while McCain campaigned in Virginia, New Hampshire, and Pennsylvania.

Early Voting Soars

One problem with all this campaigning is that for many voters it is too late. According to the Early Voting Information Center early voting is going to break all records. For example, in North Carolina, 42% of all Democrats, 35% of all Republicans, and 30% of all independents have already voted. In Florida the numbers are 22%, 15%, and 20%, respectively. Here is a summary of early voting at Daily Kos. CNN also has a story on early voting.

Status Report

The latest national polls put Obama ahead by 7.8 points nationally. The Washington Post notes that in the most recent 159 national polls, Obama has led them all. He also leads in all the states John Kerry won in 2004, giving him a base of 252 electoral votes. He also has led all year in Iowa and New Mexico, bringing his total to 264. Thus he needs to find five or six electoral votes in states Bush won in 2004. Today's polls suggest Florida, Ohio, and Virginia as good hunting grounds, as he leads in all of them. In addition, he has led for weeks in Colorado and is effectively tied in North Carolina and Indiana. He even has a shot at North Dakota and Montana. McCain has to win all of them. If we assume that all eight of these states are 50-50, then McCain has to flip a coin and get heads eight times in a row. The chances of this are 1 in 256. But it is worse than that since a number of these states, especially Colorado, look a lot worse for McCain than 50-50.

Four Questions the Election WIll Answer

The LA Times has a story about four questions this election will answer:

  1. Is America prepared to elect a black President?
  2. Is the old red-blue culture war still going on?
  3. Do Americans want a bigger government or a smaller government?
  4. Has the demographic composition of the electorate fundamentally changed?

To this list, one might add:

  1. Have the Republicans been changed from a national party to a regional party?
  2. Has public financing of campaigns gone the way of the dodo?
  3. Has the political power of the evangelicals waned?

We'll know Wednesday. Or maybe we won't know. One complication caused by early voting is that the exit polls Tuesday will sample only 60-70% of the electorate and it may well be a biased sample given the fact that so many Democrats have voted early so Tuesday voters may be disproportionately Republicans.

Study Shows Virtually No Evidence of Voter Fraud

The Republicans have been talking a lot about voter fraud, but yet another study shows that it barely exists. Politico has a story in which a reporter pressed Ronald Michaelson, a veteran election administrator who is now working for the McCain campaign, to cite a single documented case of voter fraud that resulted from a phony registration and he could not come up with even one example. When asked, another McCain official, Ben Porritt, came up with 13 articles. However, 11 of these did not involve registration fraud at all and only one involved a noncitizen voting. While there is no doubt that low-paid workers for ACORN and other groups have turned in false registrations to ACORN (to earn a bit more), the organization itself selects out the clearly bogus ones and puts these in a separate envelope before turning them in (as required by law). This is how the bogus registrations get in the news. However, documented cases of bogus registrations actually leading to illegal voting are virtually nonexistent as the fraud being committed is the low-paid workers defrauding ACORN itself of a bit of money, not actual voting fraud.

Rasmussen Adjusts Partisan Targets

As he has been doing every week for several months, Rasmussen adjusted the partisan breakdown for the final week of polling. According to the most recent six weeks of his polling, Rasmussen believes that 39.9% of the voters are Democrats and 33.4% of the voters are Republicans, with 26.7% independent. These numbers are important not only for Rasmussen's polling, but for the election itself as about 80% of the people vote for their party's candidate. This partisan breakdown means that even if the independents split 50-50, Obama has an edge in the popular vote of roughly 3-4%. The last few days, both parties are fighting for the independents, who will decide the election.

Polls on California Propositions

In addition to races for President, Senate, House, and many state offices, in some states voters also have a number of propositions they can vote on. In fact, in California, with Obama the certain winner, politics has focused largely on the ballot propositions. According to a new poll proposition 8, which would amend the state constitution to define marriage as a union of one man and one woman, is behind 50% to 47%. The poll also shows that for the most part, McCain voters are for 8 and Obama voters are against it.

Another hot-button item in California is proposition 4, which would amend the state constitution to prohibit a physician from performing an abortion on a minor until 48 hours after the physician informed the minor's parents. The backers hope this will reduce abortions performed on teenage girls, who represent a large fraction of all abortions. Opponents say it will lead to more back-alley abortions and deaths among pregnant teenagers. A SurveyUSA poll puts proposition 4 behind 46% to 40%.

Obama Continues to Lead Nationally

In the national polls, Obama's average lead is now 7.8%, a bit more than yesterday, but not significantly more. Here are the numbers.

      - CBS News (Obama +13)
      - Diageo (Obama +7)
      - Gallup expanded (Obama +10)
      - IBD (Obama +5)
      - Rasmussen (Obama +5)
      - Research 2000 (Obama +7)
      - Washington Post/ABC News (Obama +9)
      - Zogby (Obama +6)

Today's Polls

We have another 20 presidential polls today. In Florida, Obama is still a tad ahead, but a bit less than he was. McCain appears to be catching up a bit there. However, Indiana is still a tie. This state was not supposed to be in play, but it is closer than expected although McCain is likely to win it in the end. A new poll in Ohio puts Obama ahead there 57% to 41%, but this is certainly an outlier. Nevertheless, Obama is probably still substantially ahead in Ohio, a state McCain cannot afford to lose. Obama also continues to have a small lead in Virginia, another must-win state for McCain. Finally, while Obama continues to lead in Pennsylvania, McCain is getting closer there. A McCain win in Pennsylvania would give him more breathing room in the other swing states.

State Obama McCain Start End Pollster
Arkansas 44% 51% Oct 28 Oct 31 ARG
California 60% 36% Oct 29 Oct 31 SurveyUSA
Florida 47% 45% Oct 29 Oct 30 Mason-Dixon
Florida 47% 47% Oct 29 Oct 30 Datamar
Florida 50% 46% Oct 29 Oct 31 ARG
Iowa 54% 37% Oct 28 Oct 31 Selzer
Indiana 48% 48% Oct 28 Oct 31 ARG
Michigan 53% 37% Oct 28 Oct 28 Selzer
New Jersey 55% 34% Oct 24 Oct 30 Monmouth U.
New Mexico 52% 45% Oct 29 Oct 31 SurveyUSA
Ohio 57% 41% Oct 12 Oct 23 Ohio U.
Oregon 54% 42% Oct 30 Oct 30 Rasmussen
Pennsylvania 51% 45% Oct 29 Oct 31 ARG
Pennsylvania 51% 47% Oct 30 Oct 30 Rasmussen
Pennsylvania 52% 45% Oct 28 Nov 01 Muhlenberg Coll.
South Dakota 44% 53% Oct 30 Oct 30 Rasmussen
Utah 32% 57% Oct 24 Oct 30 Dan Jones
Virginia 47% 44% Oct 29 Oct 30 Mason-Dixon
Washington 51% 39% Oct 27 Oct 31 U. of Washington
Wisconsin 52% 42% Oct 21 Oct 28 U. of Wisconsin

We also have four Senate polls. All of them show Democratic landslides in Iowa, New Jersey, New Mexico, and Virginia, as expected.

State Democrat D-pct Republican R-pct Start End Pollster
Iowa Tom Harkin* 57% Christopher Reed 41% Oct 23 Oct 23 Rasmussen
New Jersey Frank Lautenberg* 50% Richard Zimmer 31% Oct 29 Oct 31 Monmouth U.
New Mexico Tom Udall 56% Steve Pearce* 42% Oct 29 Oct 31 SurveyUSA
Virginia Mark Warner 61% Jim Gilmore* 32% Oct 29 Oct 30 Mason-Dixon

We also have two House polls in Nevada. In NV-03 it is a tie at 44% each, opening the possibility of a Democratic upset. In NV-02, the Republican incumbent, Dean Heller, is safe.

Cong. Distr. Democrat D-pct Republican R-pct Start End Pollster
NV-02 Jill Derby 37% Dean Heller* 50% Oct 28 Oct 29 Mason-Dixon
NV-03 Dina Titus 44% Jon Porter* 44% Oct 28 Oct 29 Mason-Dixon

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