Oct. 09 absentee ballot for overseas voters

Obama 349   McCain 174   Ties 15
Senate Dem 57   GOP 42   Ties 1
House Dem 247   GOP 187   Ties 1

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This day in 2004

strong Dem Strong Dem (218)
weak Dem Weak Dem (59)
barely Dem Barely Dem (72)
tied Exactly tied (15)
barely GOP Barely GOP (11)
weak GOP Weak GOP (63)
strong GOP Strong GOP (100)
270 Electoral votes needed to win
Map algorithm explained
Presidential polls today: AL GA MN WI RSS
Dem pickups (vs. 2004): CO FL IA MO NV NM OH VA GOP pickups (vs. 2004): (None) PDA SMS

PW logo Obama Buys 30 Minutes of TV Time Quote of the Day
Undecided Voters Breaking to Obama ARG Poll: Obama Leading in West Virginia?
Polls Confirm Obama Won Debate PPP Poll: Obama Pulls Ahead in Virginia

News from the Votemaster

Dow-Jones Average Is Down 1500 Points This Month

The Dow Jones average dropped another 189 points yesterday. It is off over 1500 points during October alone. Here is a chart of the Dow for the past 12 months.


The goverment is now toying with the idea of giving the banks even more money in return for (preferred) stock. In most countries this would be called nationalizing the banks. Who would have thought that the Bush/Cheney administration would go down in history as bigger socialists than FDR? The plan would be voluntary, but it still undercuts a basic tenet the Republican Party has held sacred for a century: the government should leave the private sector to manage itself. It will be interesting to see how the candidates respond to this new wrinkle.

The Fed gave A.I.G. another $38 billion yesterday, on top of the $85 billion they already gave it. People are hopping mad (and the $440,000 party the A.I.G. executives threw for themselves didn't help much). John McCain's strategy of talking about William Ayers 24/7 has apparently backfired and he is pulling the ads. While the base was eating it up, they were already in the bag. Independents didn't like it one bit. They want to hear how McCain is going to fix the economy, not who Obama knew 20 years ago. McCain doesn't want to talk about the economy, of course, since what he really and truly has believed his whole life is the free markets work best and the government should stay out of them. But as people watch their 401(k) plans and their pensions and their future go up in smoke, this is a real tough sell. He'd better think of something different to say in the next 50 nanoseconds or he is going to be--in the immortal words of George H.W. Bush--in deep doodoo.

Is the White House Worth Having?

Given all the problems the new President will face--two wars, the economy in the toilet, and 80% of the population thinking the country is going in the wrong direction--it is surprising anybody wants to be President. The new President will face an unprecendent number of challenges all at once. Some people have compared this election to 1980, when a fresh new face, Ronald Reagan, took over a country suffering from serious malaise and raised people's spirits. But more and more, people are starting to compare this election to 1932, when there were really industrial-strength problems. CQ Politics has a nice story about the mess the new President will have to deal with.

Obama Plans Transition; McCain Doesn't

It may or may not reflect the internal state of the campaigns' thinking, but Obama has a large, well-staffed operation going on to prepare for the presidency. Groups are working to select potential cabinet officers and plan policy agendas. McCain has no such operation. All his manpower is going into a final push to win the election. If McCain wins, Obama will look arrogant for planning his administration before winning the election. If he does win, however, he will look mature, wise, and knowledgeable about the process of actually governing.

Democrats Expected to Sweep Close Races in Congress

The economic storm has sent the doodoo flying not only in the direction of McCain, but also in the direction of NRSC chairman Sen. John Ensign (R-NV). The chairman of the DSCC, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), is now openly talking about getting close to 60 seats in the Senate, which would allow the Democrats to invoke cloture and pass legislation with the Republicans powerless to block it. While Schumer is quite good at counting (not to mention raising money), this is the first time he has dared talk so freely about getting 60 seats. In 2006, Schumer managed to pick up six seats (and control of the Senate) when nobody in his right mind thought that was possible. Among Republican insiders, holding their loss to five seats (New Hampshire, Virginia, Colorado, New Mexico, and Alaska) would be considered a huge victory. Now they are worried about losing Oregon, Minnesota, North Carolina, Mississippi-B, Georgia, and Kentucky as well. They see the handwriting on the wall and it appears to say: "Armageddon." CNN also has a story on the Senate.

Analyst Stu Rothenberg, who is not generally given to great enthusiasm for the Democrats, is now also talking about the possibility of close to 60 Senate seats for the Democrats. Furthermore, he is now predicting the Democrats will pick up at least 20-30 seats in the House, maybe even eclipsing their 31-seat pickup in 2006. He concludes with: "Republicans appear to be heading into a disastrous election that will usher in a very bleak period for the party." Our tally (on top of the page) is now a 247 to 187 breakdown (with 1 tie), but the reality is much worse for the Republicans because many close races that are probably going to go Democratic have not been polled. Our algorithm assumes that in the absence of any polling data, the incumbent party wins. While normally that is true 90% of the time, this year it may not be, especially due to the open seat issue. There are 47 seats in which the 2006 winner is not running. Ten of these were occupied by Democrats and nearly all of them are in overwhelmingly Democratic districts. The other 37 are occupied by Republicans and many of these are in swing districts. Here is the full list.

Obama Is Outspending McCain on TV ads

The Wisconsin advertising project keeps track of the candidates TV expenditures to provide a historical record. Politico has a summary of what the campaigns have spent in the past week. Obama is outspending McCain by huge margins almost everywhere, for example, 8x in North Carolina, 4x in Virginia, and 3x in Florida. McCain is outspending Obama in only two states, Minnesota and Iowa, neither of which he has a prayer of winning any more. The September fundraising numbers haven't come in yet, but clearly Obama must have raised a lot to be spending at this pace. While McCain can't raise any money (because he accepted public financing), the RNC raised a record-breaking $66 million in September.

Prosecutors Conclude Presenting Evidence in the Stevens Trial

Prosecutors in the trial of indicted senator Ted Stevens presented dozens of e-mails yesterday showing that Stevens was intimately involved in the renovations to his house paid for by an oil services company, VECO, to prevent Stevens from claiming that the renovations were made pretty much behind his back and without his knowledge of what they were doing. Stevens has been charged with filing false reports to the Senate to conceal these gifts. Stevens' defense begins today.

National Poll Roundup

The national polls still favor Obama. Here they are.

      - ARG (Obama +4)
      - Battleground (Obama +4)
      - Diageo (Obama +1)
      - Gallup (Obama +11)
      - Ipsos (Obama +7)
      - Rasmussen (Obama +6)
      - Research 2000 (Obama +10)
      - Zogby (Obama +2)

The average is an Obama lead of 5.6%.

Today's Polls

We have six presidential polls today, but nothing unusual. Obama is maintaining his lead in the Kerry states of Minnesota and Wisconsin and McCain is maintaining his lead in the Bush states of Alabama and Georgia.

State Obama McCain Start End Pollster
Alabama 35% 55% Oct 06 Oct 07 Capital Survey
Georgia 45% 54% Oct 07 Oct 07 Rasmussen
Minnesota 49% 47% Oct 06 Oct 07 SurveyUSA
Minnesota 52% 45% Oct 07 Oct 07 Rasmussen
Wisconsin 51% 41% Oct 05 Oct 06 Research 2000
Wisconsin 54% 44% Oct 06 Oct 06 Rasmussen

We also have two Senate polls today. A new Rasmussen poll shows that maybe Georgia is not as close as previous polls had shown. This one has Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) ahead of challenger Jim Martin (D) 50% to 44%. Earlier polls had it tied. In Minnesota, Al Franken (D) has now taken the lead over Sen. Norm Coleman (R-MN). The data show that Coleman has gone from +9 to -4 in a week. The shift is entirely due to the economic crisis. People simply trust the Democrats more on the economy. It isn't so much that Franken knows more than Coleman but that they trust Harry Reid more than Mitch Mcconnell. This was a race that had been leaning Republican. An independent, Dean Barkley, is polling 14% here.

State Democrat D-pct Republican R-pct Start End Pollster
Georgia Jim Martin 44% Saxby Chambliss* 50% Oct 07 Oct 07 Rasmussen
Minnesota Al Franken 41% Norm Coleman* 37% Oct 03 Oct 06 U. of Minnesota

Finally, we have four House polls. There have been relatively few House polls this year compared to 2004, unfortunately. In CT-04, Rep. Chris Shays (R-CT) seems to be hanging on and may remain the only Republican in the House from New England. This is good news for the Republicans in what is otherwise shaping up to be a bleak year. On the other hand, in MN-03, Iraq veteran Ashwin Madia (D), who won a primary upset earlier this year, appears to have the upper hand for the open seat being vacated by 9-term congressman Jim Ramstad. The district is R+1 so a huge fight was inevitable here.

Cong. Distr. Democrat D-pct Republican R-pct Start End Pollster
CT-04 Jim Himes 31% Chris Shays* 41% Sep 22 Sep 25 Sacred Heart U.
MN-03 Ashwin Madia 46% Erik Paulsen* 43% Oct 06 Oct 07 SurveyUSA
NV-02 Jill Derby 41% Dean Heller* 48% Oct 03 Oct 06 Research 2000
VA-05 Tom Perriello 42% Virgil Goode* 55% Oct 06 Oct 07 SurveyUSA

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