Oct. 15 absentee ballot for overseas voters

Obama 357   McCain 181  
Senate Dem 59   GOP 41  
House Dem 247   GOP 186   Ties 2

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This day in 2004

strong Dem Strong Dem (245)
weak Dem Weak Dem (44)
barely Dem Barely Dem (68)
tied Exactly tied (0)
barely GOP Barely GOP (26)
weak GOP Weak GOP (24)
strong GOP Strong GOP (131)
270 Electoral votes needed to win
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Presidential polls today: CO DE MI MN NM OH OK PA SC WA WI RSS
Dem pickups (vs. 2004): CO FL IA MO NV NM ND OH VA WV GOP pickups (vs. 2004): (None) PDA SMS

PW logo Bonus Quote of the Day Two More Polls Show Obama Pulling Away
PPP Poll: Obama Grabs Lead in Missouri NYT/CBS Poll: Record Number See America Off Track
McCain Transition Chief Aided Saddam Lobbying Effort Quote of the Day

News from the Votemaster

The Final Presidential Debate is Tonight

The third and final presidential debate between Barack Obama and John McCain will be held at Hofstra University on Long Island tonight. This may be McCain's last chance to really do some damage to Obama. So far, all the polls have said Obama/Biden have beaten McCain/Palin 3 out of 3, so McCain is going to have to pull a rabbit out of the hat. The two men will be sitting together at a table with the moderator, Bob Schieffer of CBS News. If McCain really attacks Obama, camera shots will show him getting nasty to a guy sitting right next to him and the independents won't like it. If he is civil and just discusses the issues politely, it won't change the dynamic of the race. It is going to be tough for him.

The Gray Vote Goes Purple

George Bush won Florida twice, largely due to the support of its many senior citizens. However, the last nine polls there show Obama ahead. What happened? It's the stock market, stupid. Millions of seniors have seen their stock portfolios collapse this month and are worried sick about it. Some of them blame the folks in charge--the Republicans. To compensate for the hundreds of thousands of new younger voters Obama has registered in Florida, McCain will need a larger percentage of the seniors than Bush got and it appears he is going to get a smaller percentage. Some seniors are still loyal Republicans, but a huge youth vote for Obama plus an even split among the seniors spells disaster for McCain in Florida, the biggest of the swing states, with 27 electoral votes. The Washington Post has a story on Florida.

McCain's Transition Chief Lobbied for Saddam Hussein

The person charged with planning the McCain administration, William Timmons, lobbied for Saddam Hussein in an effort to get the international community off his back. Obama challenged McCain to talk about William Ayers to his face at the debate tonight and McCain accepted the challenge. What was Obama thinking? Maybe he will bring up Timmons and point that he (Obama) was 8 years old and living in Indonesia when Ayers was planting crude bombs but McCain knowingly chose Saddam Hussein's lobbyist for an important job in his campaign. There could be fireworks if Obama brings this up.

Record Number of Voters See the Country Going in the Wrong Direction

A new NY Times/CBS poll shows that 89% of Americans think the country is seriously on the wrong track. Just 7% think that things are fine. Never before have so many people been critical of how things are going. This new data point could be the final nail in McCain's coffin unless he is able to suddenly make it clear that he rejects the policies of George Bush and will follow new policies. Tonight's debate is probably his last, best chance.

Poll: Majority Think Palin Is Not Qualified To Be President

A New Rasmussen poll shows that 56% of the voters do not think Sarah Palin is qualified to be President. Only 34% think that Biden is unqualified for the job. Women's views of her are especially noteworthy: 36% have a very unfavorable view of her, vs. 16% for Biden. One of the reasons she was selected was her supposed appeal to disgruntled Hillary supporters. It doesn't seem to have happened.

Another Sex Scandal in FL-16

Maybe there is something in the salt air down there, but we have yet another sex scandal in FL-16. As you probably recall, former congressman Mark Foley (R-FL) was caught sending dirty e-mails to House pages in 2006, which resulted in his not running for reelection and a conservative Christian Democrat, Tim Mahoney, winning the seat. Now Mahoney himself has been caught in a sex scandal of his own. With Mahoney, the target of his affections was a consenting adult woman, one of his staffers, Patricia Allen. It was a freebie with no kids (like Foley), money (like Vitter) or mens rooms (like Craig) involved. A complication however, is the $121,000 he paid her after the fact to keep her quiet. In principle, this sort of stuff should be private, but when politicians who run on a "family values" platform have industrial-strength zipper-management problems, it reeks of hypocrisy. If a politician whose platform is about taxes, foreign policy, the environment or something else and who says family values aren't a valid campaign issue, gets caught, he should be cut some slack because he isn't a hypocrite. But Mahoney was definitely a family values type so he gets no pity. The DCCC has pulled its ads in FL-16. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has called for an ethics investigation to show the country that she is serious about ethics, even when the target is a Democrat. At this point, the Democrats would probably prefer losing the seat just to get rid of Mahoney.

DCCC Adds Eight More Races to the Red-to-Blue Program

Flush with more money than he can reasonably spend, DCCC chairman Chris Van Hollen has added another eight more races to the Democratic Party's list of Republican seats they are going to go after (read: will spend money on). The new districts being targeted are: AL-03, CA-50, IA-04, LA-01, MN-06, NJ-05, SC-01, and TX-10. The NRCC is close to broke and has no comparable blue-to-red program to try to unseat sitting Democrats. For the most part, NRCC chairman Tom Cole has recruited rich businessmen as candidates with the understanding they would fund their own races. This difference alone gives the Democrats a big edge because Van Hollen could (and did) approach viable state representatives and state senators who had already won elections in the congressional districts being targeted and cajole them into running for Congress with promises of lots of financial help.

Dick Morris is Predicting an Obama Landslide

Dick Morris, the sometime Clinton lover, sometime Clinton hater, political analyst has produced a map of the country predicting Obama with 396 electoral votes, McCain with 110 and 32 tossups. Morris claims Obama will win Arizona and Tennessee, which is totally nutty and also Arkansas, which is unlikely. The value of this map is not its accuracy, which is likely to be way off. What it does show is a paradigm shift among high-profile pundits who probably know less than you do (anyone who reads Websites like this is clearly knowledgeable about and interested in politics). The old paradigm was: "People won't vote for a black guy, especially one so inexperienced as Obama." The new paradigm is: "Obama ran a brilliant campaign and will win in a landslide." While signs are increasingly pointing in that direction, remember in politics three weeks is a VERY, VERY long time.

Obama Continues to Lead in the National Polls

We have 10 national polls today. Obama leads them all, with the average lead of 7.7%. If he wins nationally by even 5-6%, he will probably take all the swing states and it will be a landslide in the electoral college.

      - ARG (Obama +5)
      - Battleground (Obama +13)
      - Diageo (Obama +6)
      - Gallup (Obama +6)
      - IBD (Obama +3)
      - LA Times (Obama +9)
      - NY Times (Obama +14)
      - Rasmussen (Obama +5)
      - Research 2000 (Obama +11)
      - Zogby (Obama +6)

Today's Polls

We have a dozen presidential polls today. Two polls shown Obama continues to lead in Colorado. Suffolk University puts him 4 points ahead and Quinnipiac makes that nine. He has been leading in so many polls there this year, albeit by small margins, that he'll probably take the state. He also continues to lead in two other key swing states, Ohio (by 5) and New Mexico (by 7). All the Kerry states look safe for Obama now.

State Obama McCain Start End Pollster
Colorado 47% 43% Oct 10 Oct 13 Suffolk U.
Colorado 52% 43% Oct 08 Oct 12 Quinnipiac U.
Delaware 56% 41% Oct 10 Oct 10 Rasmussen
Michigan 54% 38% Oct 08 Oct 12 Quinnipiac U.
Minnesota 51% 40% Oct 08 Oct 12 Quinnipiac U.
New Mexico 52% 45% Oct 12 Oct 13 SurveyUSA
Ohio 50% 45% Oct 12 Oct 13 SurveyUSA
Oklahoma 32% 63% Oct 10 Oct 12 TV Poll
Pennsylvania 55% 40% Oct 11 Oct 13 SurveyUSA
South Carolina 41% 55% Oct 12 Oct 13 SurveyUSA
Washington 56% 40% Oct 12 Oct 13 SurveyUSA
Wisconsin 54% 37% Oct 08 Oct 12 Quinnipiac U.

We also have three Senate polls. Colorado is definitely swinging Democratic and Mark Udall is going to win the open Senate seat there. In the close Senate race in Minnesota, Al Franken continues to have a small lead, although it is within the margin of error. Originally, nobody took Franken seriously (how do you take a comedian seriously?), but after a rough start, he has run a credible campaign and Norm Coleman is being dragged down by the Republican brand.

State Democrat D-pct Republican R-pct Start End Pollster
Colorado Mark Udall 45% Bob Schaffer 34% Oct 10 Oct 13 Suffolk U.
Colorado Mark Udall 54% Bob Schaffer 40% Oct 08 Oct 12 Quinnipiac U.
Minnesota Al Franken 38% Norm Coleman* 36% Oct 08 Oct 12 Quinnipiac U.

We also have one House poll, in PA-11. Lou Barletta (R) has a small lead here over Rep. Paul Kanjorski (D), 43% to 39%. Kanjorski is probably the most endangered House Democrat.

Cong. Distr. Democrat D-pct Republican R-pct Start End Pollster
PA-11 Paul Kanjorski* 39% Louis Barletta 43% Oct 06 Oct 08 Research 2000

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