Oct. 20 absentee ballot for overseas voters

Obama 364   McCain 171   Ties 3
Senate Dem 58   GOP 41   Ties 1
House Dem 249   GOP 185   Ties 1

Senate map and races
Downloadable polling data
Previous report
Next report
This day in 2004

strong Dem Strong Dem (264)
weak Dem Weak Dem (22)
barely Dem Barely Dem (78)
tied Exactly tied (3)
barely GOP Barely GOP (19)
weak GOP Weak GOP (15)
strong GOP Strong GOP (137)
270 Electoral votes needed to win
Map algorithm explained
Presidential polls today: FL KY MN MT OH WI WV RSS
Dem pickups (vs. 2004): CO FL IA MO NV NM NC OH VA GOP pickups (vs. 2004): (None) PDA SMS

PW logo Off Message McCain Campaign Reconsiders Use of Wright
Google CEO Will Back Obama PPP Poll: Obama Increases Lead in North Carolina
CNN Poll: Obama's Lead Shrinks to Five Points Rasmussen: Obama Way Ahead in Virginia

News from the Votemaster

Obama Raised $150 Million in September

Barack Obama raised $150 million in September, the largest monthly total any candidate has ever raised for any office in the history of the United States. The previous record was Obama's haul of $66 million in August. The money came from small donors averaging less than $100 each. This approach--many small donors--represents a revolution in fundraising, where previously the goal was to tap a small number of rich donors with many rich friends who could be hit up for money. This result not only vindicates Obama's decision to break his promise to take public funding, but also means he is going to be running a vigorous TV campaign in states he has only a small chance of winning, like Georgia, Indiana, and West Virginia. It also means his get-out-the-vote operation will be funded like no other in history.

Colin Powell Endorses Obama

Colin Powell, a soldier-statesman who served three Republican Presidents, endorsed Barack Obama yesterday. Powell, national security adviser to President Reagan, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff under Bush 41, and secretary of state under Bush 43, said Obama would be a transformational figure who would electrify the country and the world. Powell also commented on Sarah Palin saying: "I don't believe she's ready to be President of the United States." As a widely respected four-star general, Powell gives Obama credibility as a future commander-in-chief, the one area where he needs help. Some political analysts have called Powell's remarks devastating to McCain. Politico has collected a number of reactions to the Powell announcement. The consensus is that it will help Obama with swing voters who are worried about his qualifications to be commander-in-chief. Here is the video of Powell's endorsement.

Obama Leads in Newspaper Endorsements 105 to 33

Generals aren't the only ones who make endorsements. There was a time when the voters were fairly ignorant about politics and needed newspapers to tell them how to vote. Those times are gone (well, the second part, anyway). Nevertheless, the newspapers keep trying. It is not clear how much effect these endorsements have, except possibly when a strongly Republican newspaper endorses a Democrat or vice versa. One surprising endorsement came yesterday when the Houston Chronicle, the leading newspaper one of the reddest states in the country, endorsed Obama. Another surprise was the Obama endorsement from the Salt Lake Tribune the leading newspaper in the reddest state of them all, Utah. Other papers endorsing Obama are the LA Times, the Chicago Tribune, and the NY Daily News. McCain's major endorsements have largely come from papers such as the San Francisco Examiner, the New York Post, the Columbus Dispatch, and the San Diego Union-Tribune, but all these are Republican oriented and all endorsed Bush in 2004. Editor and Publisher keeps score on endorsements. The current tally is Obama 105 to McCain 33. Here is the complete list. For comparison purposes, the final endorsement score in 2004 was John Kerry 213 over George Bush 205.

Voting Machine Problems Surface in West Virginia

At least three voters have reported that voting machines used in West Virginia refuse to accept a vote for Obama and switched it to McCain. The poll worker said to touch the screen more lightly. He or she might as well have said: "Stand on your left foot and insert your right index finger into your nose while touching the screen with your left pinky." If the software doesn't work, touching the screen differently is not likely to make any difference. Problems like this (the wrong box being checked after someone touches the screen) are easy to detect. What is impossible to detect is a machine that displays the vote as the voter intended but counts it for a different candidate internally.

Fortunately, paper ballots are making a comeback. About 59% of the nation's voters will use paper ballots that will be optically scanned, comparable to college entrance tests. An additional 33% will use electronic voting machines. In principle, there is nothing wrong with electronic voting machines provided that they use open-source code that anyone can inspect, there is a way for the voter to determine that the correct software is running on the machine, and there is a paper ballot printed out that can be deposited in the ballot box to be used for recounts if need be. Voting machines that do not have a voter verified paper audit trail need to be taken out of service immediately. For a rundown of what equipment is used in which states see VerifiedVoting.org.

Nominees Medical Records Are Still Largely Secret

The NY Times has a story today about the four nominees' lack of disclosure of their medical records. Two of them have had life-threatening illnesses in the past. John McCain, who at 72 would be the oldest first-term President ever, has had four bouts with an especially dangerous form of cancer, malignant melanoma. Joe Biden is 65 and had a brain aneurysm that could have killed him. Barack Obama at 47 and Sarah Palin at 44 are thought to be quite healthy. Nevertheless, many people feel that when you run for President, your health becomes a national security issue.

As increasingly few voters remember, on Saturday, Sept. 24, 1955, President Eisenhower had a heart attack. On Monday, Sept. 26, 1955, the stock market lost $14 billion, the largest one-day loss ever to that date on a volume of 7.7 million shares, the highest volume since July 1933. And there were no other newsworthy events at the time and nothing else of much importance was going on in the world. Imagine what would happen now if it were to be announced that President McCain had a recurrence of his cancer and would undergo chemotherapy and be sidelined for a few months. If McCain were to invoke the 25th amendment to the constitution and turn power over to Vice President Palin, there wouldn't be a constitutional crisis, but if he insisted he could still govern while wiped out from chemotherapy, it could get dicey. With Biden the issue is not so acute since the Vice President is only stand-by equipment anyway. However, if Biden were to have another aneurysm and something were to happen to Obama requiring Biden to take over in a flash, it would be hello President Pelosi. All four candidates have an obligation to disclose their full medical histories so the voters can factor in those data.

Obama Still Leads in the National Polls

Barack Obama continues to lead in all the national (tracking) polls. The average of all the national polls today puts his lead at 6.3%. Here are the data.

      - Diageo (Obama +7)
      - Gallup expanded (Obama +7)
      - IBD (Obama +5)
      - Rasmussen (Obama +6)
      - Research 2000 (Obama +7)
      - Zogby (Obama +6)

Today's Polls

We have nine presidential polls today. Florida and Ohio, the two biggest swing states, are still swinging. Today's polls put McCain ahead in Florida 49% to 47% and also ahead in Ohio 46% to 45%, both statistical ties. Somewhat surprising is a new poll in Montana in which McCain is leading by only 4 points in a state Bush won by 20 points in 2004 and by 25 points in 2000. Together with the statistical tie in North Dakota, it looks like a number of solid Republican states may not be solid at all. Of course, a 4-point win in Montana is as good as a 20-point win, but given the amount of money Obama has and how cheap television time is in Montana, he could afford a real blitz there.

State Obama McCain Start End Pollster
Florida 47% 49% Oct 16 Oct 17 SurveyUSA
Kentucky 39% 53% Oct 14 Oct 16 Research 2000
Minnesota 50% 44% Oct 16 Oct 18 SurveyUSA
Minnesota 52% 39% Oct 15 Oct 16 Research 2000
Minnesota 52% 41% Oct 16 Oct 17 Star Tribune
Montana 45% 49% Oct 15 Oct 16 Research 2000
Ohio 45% 46% Oct 16 Oct 17 Mason-Dixon
Wisconsin 51% 39% Oct 16 Oct 17 Mason-Dixon
West Virginia 41% 47% Oct 16 Oct 17 Mason-Dixon

We also have three Senate polls. In Kentucky, Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is hanging on against a surprisingly strong challenge from businessman Bruce Lunsford (D). McConnell leads 46% to 42% according to a new Research 2000 poll. In Minnesota we have two polls which average out to an exact tie between Sen. Norm Coleman (R-MN) and Democrat Al Franken at 40% apiece.

State Democrat D-pct Republican R-pct Start End Pollster
Kentucky Bruce Lunsford 42% Mitch McConnell* 46% Oct 14 Oct 16 Research 2000
Minnesota Al Franken 39% Norm Coleman* 41% Oct 16 Oct 18 SurveyUSA
Minnesota Al Franken 41% Norm Coleman* 39% Oct 15 Oct 16 Research 2000

We also have one House poll. In Montana, incumbent Dennis Rehberg (R) is cruising to an easy reelection.

Cong. Distr. Democrat D-pct Republican R-pct Start End Pollster
MT-AL John Driscoll 38% Denny Rehberg* 52% Oct 15 Oct 16 Research 2000

If you like this Website, tell your friends. You can also share by clicking this button  

-- The Votemaster

WWW www.electoral-vote.com