Oct. 27 absentee ballot for overseas voters

Obama 375   McCain 157   Ties 6
Senate Dem 59   GOP 41  
House Dem 252   GOP 182   Ties 1

Senate map and races
Downloadable polling data
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This day in 2004

strong Dem Strong Dem (260)
weak Dem Weak Dem (46)
barely Dem Barely Dem (69)
tied Exactly tied (6)
barely GOP Barely GOP (25)
weak GOP Weak GOP (8)
strong GOP Strong GOP (124)
270 Electoral votes needed to win
Map algorithm explained
Presidential polls today: AZ CT FL GA IA IN MO MS NC NH NV OH VA WI WV RSS
Dem pickups (vs. 2004): CO FL IN IA MO NV NM NC OH VA GOP pickups (vs. 2004): (None) PDA SMS

PW logo Stevens Found Guilty Suffolk Poll: Obama Ahead in Florida
Obama Closes In On McCain in Arizona PPP Poll: Race Tightens in North Carolina
Palin Goes Off Script Again SurveyUSA: Obama Stays Ahead in Virginia

News from the Votemaster

The Last Week of Campaigning Begins--On Republican Turf

A year ago all the pundits were expecting the last week of the campaign to feature Republican Nominee Rudy Giuliani talking to New York snowbirds in Florida and Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton to be talking to blue-collar workers in Ohio. Hasn't quite turned out like that. In fact, both of the actual nominees were campaigning in states George Bush won in 2004. Barack Obama was in Colorado and spoke to a crowd of over 100,000 in Denver and another one of 50,000 in Fort Collins while John McCain was speaking to an audience of about 2000 in Cedar Falls, Iowa. This unexpected turn of events--with most of the action in Republican territory--is due to Obama's not only flipping many of the swing states, but also making solid inroads in red states like Colorado, Virginia, and North Carolina, forcing McCain to play defense everywhere. There is not a single Kerry state where McCain leads in the polls or has a realistic chance of winning. His only hope is to win (nearly) all the Bush states. Although he spent time in Iowa yesterday, that state appears to be a lost cause for him, as all recent polls show Obama with a lead of about 10 points there. In the eyes of Iowans, McCain committeed two mortal sins: (1) he skipped the hallowed Iowa caucuses, and (2) he is not much of a fan of corn-based ethanol as a motor fuel.

Obama Maintains a Strong Lead in the Electoral College

While the map above is full of pretty colors, probably the most important graphic on this Website is the second graph on the "Electoral coll. graph" page listed on the menu just below the map. Here is a copy of it.

Electoral votes from solid states

This graph shows the electoral college score over time counting only those states where one candidate has a lead of at least 5%. The states where it is very close don't count here. With one exceptional period, it is possible to draw a pretty clear straight line through the middle of the blue line from mid-April until now. The exceptional period occurred in the last two weeks of September, when McCain got a small bounce from Palin's incendiary convention speech, which really fired up the base. However, when the bounce faded, as all convention bounces do, Obama continued on his upwards trajectory. If you compare 2008 to 2004 (on the Electoral coll. page) you see that this year looks completely different from that one. Other than a two-day blip on June 24-25, 2004, when Kerry briefly touched 300 EVs, neither candidate ever was even close to 270 EVs in the solid states although Kerry was above 270 counting the "barely states" until his Swift Boat was torpedoed.

So what's with the nearly straight line upwards for Obama? Charlie Cook and many other nonpartisan experts have said that with 80% of the population saying the country is on the wrong track, this was going to be an election about Barack Obama. People clearly want change, but they were not yet sure if Obama was up to the job. After 18 months of campaigning and countless primary and general election debates, people are getting to know Obama and are beginning to feel he is a good man in a storm. His calm behavior during the bailout bill period--and McCain's erratic behavior--helped Obama a lot (see graph). Slowly but surely people are coming to believe he can do the job, and that's all he needed.

Ralph Who?

Due to the enormous importance of this year's election and the relative satisfaction of the electorate with the choice offered, 2008 is going to be a dismal year for third parties. In 2004, Ralph Nader polled 3-5% much of the year, but ended up getting 0.38% of the vote. Presumably people who liked Nader were willing to tell the pollsters they would vote for him, but when push came to shove, didn't do it. Nader will probably do even worse this year. Also, the Libertarian candidate, Bob Barr, is barely known. If Ron Paul had run, the Libertarians would have been much more visible, but he chose to run for his safe House seat in Texas instead. The Green Party candidate, former representative Cynthia McKinney, has raised $177,000 so far this year, a sum Barack Obama raises every hour. All in all, this year will not be a repeat of 1992, when third-party candidate Ross Perot got 19% of the vote.

Democrats Set to Make Big Gains in Congress

No matter what happens in the presidential race, just about everyone expects the Democrats to make huge gains in Congress. At intrade.com you can get contracts on the Republicans taking control of the House for $1 that pay $100 if the Republicans end up with 218 seats or more. For the Senate, to win $100 you have to invest $2, so we are talking about odds of 100 to 1 and 50 to 1, respectively. Many neutral observers expect the Democrats to end up with 57-59 seats in the Senate (including Sanders and Lieberman), with 60 being a serious possibility. In the House, a gain of 30-35 seats seems plausible, maybe more. The voters are angry at the current administration for a variety of reasons and the Democratic Senate and House committees have far more money than the Republican committees. Add a large number of Republican retirements to the mix and you have a truly toxic environment for the GOP congressional delegation. CQ Politics has an overview of the big picture here. Our counters (top of the page) currently show Democrats with a projected 59 seats in the Senate and 252 seats in the House. The Senate total might go up by 1 or 2, but the House total will probably go up by a lot since many competitive races have not been polled at all. For the stories on many of them, see the Hot House races page.

Polling on California Initiatives

Californians will get to vote on a number of hotly contested initiatives next week. The Public Policy Institute of California has done some polling on them. Here are the results.

      - Prop.  4: 46% Yes, 44% No (Would ban abortions for minors until 48 hours after parental notification)
      - Prop.  8: 44% Yes, 52% No (Would ban same-sex marriage)
      - Prop. 11: 41% Yes, 34% No (Creates a commission to draw state legislative districts)

Whither Palin?

The 2008 election hasn't even happened but the 2012 campaign has (conditionally) started already. Newsweek has an article--and there will soon be more--about what will happen to the Republican Party if Obama wins. The evangelical faction will no doubt scream that they lost because McCain was a moderate (although his voting record suggests otherwise) and what they need next time is a attractive 100% dyed-in-the-wool conservative who opposes everything from abortion to polar bears. They figure that between now and the start of the 2012 primaries, Palin can read some books and articles so she can get through the primary debates. What they want is to have 2012 be a full-blown culture war. The big-business wing of the party is appalled by this narrow stance (wide stances are OK with them) and wants to have a candidate who will run on tax cuts, such as Mitt Romney.

Judge Replaces One Juror in Ted Stevens Trial

Jury deliberations in the trial of Sen. Ted Stevens (R-AK) were halted when the judge gave one of the jurors permission to visit her dying father in California. The judge has lost contact with her and plans to seat one of the alternates and have the deliberations start again from the beginning. All in all, this development is a setback for Stevens, who desperately needs a verdict of not guilty before the election in order to hang onto his seat in the Senate.

Could You Be President?

Do you think it is hard to be President? Maybe you could do it. Simcountry is a multiplayer Internet game in which you are the president, commander in chief, and industrial leader. You have to make the tough decisions about cutting or raising taxes, how to allocate the federal budget, what kind of infrastructure you want, etc. You also have to decide when to go to war and how to defend your country against attacks. It is very detailed and realistic. If you can beat the other presidents, you can win cash awards. Be warned, playing the game is addictive.

National Polls Still Favor Obama

Obama's average lead in the national polls is 6.1%.

      - Battleground (Obama +3)
      - Diageo (Obama +8)
      - Gallup Expanded (Obama +9)
      - IBD (Obama +4)
      - Rasmussen (Obama +5)
      - Research 2000 (Obama +8)
      - WaPo/ABC (Obama +7)
      - Zogby (Obama +5)

Today's Polls

The final week of the campaign there are always lots of polls. We have 19 presidential polls today, including a batch of 8 from Zogby in battleground states. Summarizing them, Florida is still a tie, Missouri is still a tie, Obama has small leads in Nevada and Ohio and a large lead in Virginia. McCain has pulled ahead in Indiana, Georgia, and West Virginia. None of the states Kerry won are even competitive. Obama will sweep them all.

State Obama McCain Start End Pollster
Arizona 42% 44% Oct 16 Oct 19 Zimmerman
Connecticut 56% 31% Oct 18 Oct 22 U. of Connecticut
Florida 47% 47% Oct 23 Oct 26 Zogby
Georgia 43% 49% Oct 22 Oct 23 Mason-Dixon
Iowa 51% 40% Oct 22 Oct 23 Mason-Dixon
Indiana 44% 50% Oct 23 Oct 26 Zogby
Missouri 45% 46% Oct 22 Oct 23 Mason-Dixon
Missouri 48% 46% Oct 23 Oct 26 Zogby
Missouri 48% 47% Oct 20 Oct 23 Research 2000
Mississippi 33% 46% Oct 13 Oct 23 U. of South Alabama
North Carolina 50% 46% Oct 23 Oct 26 Zogby
New Hampshire 54% 39% Oct 18 Oct 22 U. of New Hampshire
Nevada 48% 44% Oct 23 Oct 26 Zogby
Ohio 45% 41% Sep 24 Oct 15 U. of Akron
Ohio 50% 45% Oct 23 Oct 26 Zogby
Virginia 52% 45% Oct 23 Oct 26 Zogby
Wisconsin 51% 44% Oct 23 Oct 23 Rasmussen
West Virginia 40% 50% Oct 23 Oct 26 Zogby
West Virginia 43% 49% Oct 22 Oct 24 Research 2000

We also have six Senate polls. Two polls in Minnesota are contradictory. One has Al Franken (D) ahead and one has Sen. Norm Coleman (R-MN) ahead. A complicating factor here is the candidacy of independent Dean Barkeley who is getting around 18% and probably pulling from both sides.

State Democrat D-pct Republican R-pct Start End Pollster
Massachusetts John Kerry* 56% Jeff Beatty 19% Oct 20 Oct 22 Suffolk U.
Minnesota Al Franken 27% Norm Coleman* 36% Oct 14 Oct 22 St. Cloud State U.
Minnesota Al Franken 40% Norm Coleman* 34% Oct 19 Oct 22 U. of Wisconsin
New Hampshire Jeanne Shaheen 49% John Sununu* 36% Oct 18 Oct 22 U. of New Hampshire
New Hampshire Jeanne Shaheen 50% John Sununu* 43% Oct 17 Oct 19 Research 2000
New Jersey Frank Lautenberg* 52% Richard Zimmer 36% Oct 15 Oct 18 Monmouth U.

Actually, the House polls are probably the most interesting today. In CA-04, an R+11 district, Charlie Brown (D) is pulling away from Tom McClintock (R) for this open seat. When Democrats have substantial leads in R+11 districts, that is never a good omen for the GOP. In two closely watched races in South Florida, FL-21 and FL-25, Cuban-American challengers are going after Cuban-American incumbents and the races are statistical ties. Another race to watch is MD-01, which is R+10. The Republican, Andy Harris, leads the Democratic challenger, Frank Kratovil, by only 4 points. This is an open seat. Another key race is NV-03, where state senator Dina Titus (D) is tied with Rep. Jon Porter (R) in this D+1 district. Finally, in WA-08, challenger Darcy Burner (D) has pulled even with Rep. Dave Reichert (R) in this swing district in the eastern Seattle suburbs.

Cong. Distr. Democrat D-pct Republican R-pct Start End Pollster
AZ-03 Bob Lord 40% John Shadegg* 50% Oct 20 Oct 22 Research 2000
CA-04 Charlie Brown 48% Tom McClintock* 42% Oct 20 Oct 22 Research 2000
FL-13 Christine Jennings 34% Vern Buchanan* 45% Oct 20 Oct 22 Research 2000
FL-21 Raul Martinez 44% Lincoln Diaz-Balart* 45% Oct 20 Oct 23 Research 2000
FL-25 Joe Garcia 43% Mario Diaz-Balart* 46% Oct 20 Oct 22 Research 2000
MD-01 Frank Kratovil 40% Andy Harris* 44% Oct 20 Oct 22 Research 2000
NH-01 Carol Shea-Porter* 44% Jeb Bradley 39% Oct 18 Oct 22 U. of New Hampshire
NV-03 Dina Titus 47% Jon Porter* 45% Oct 20 Oct 22 Research 2000
TX-22 Nick Lampson* 36% Peter Olson 53% Oct 20 Oct 22 Zogby
WA-08 Darcy Burner 46% Dave Reichert* 46% Oct 21 Oct 23 Research 2000

Please Take This Quick Survey

Given that this is a Website about polls, it seems appropriate to have one here, even if it is not a random sample. Actually, it is a bit more of a readership survey than a real poll, but still. Results will be posted in a few days. If there is a professional statistician who would like to take a crack at analyzing the data, let me know. One quick note: The first question is for U.S. citizens only. The second is for noncitizens only. The rest are for everyone. For each question click on the appropriate circle. The whole thing shouldn't take more than a minute. Thanks.

U.S. Citizens only: Who will you vote for (or who have you already voted for)?

Barack Obama
John McCain
Ralph Nader
Bob Barr
Cynthia McKinney

Noncitizens only: Which candidate would you like to see win?

Barack Obama
John McCain
Ralph Nader
Bob Barr
Cynthia McKinney

Which issue is most important to you?

National Security
Health care
the Environment

Do you think Joe Biden is qualified to be President?




Do you think Sarah Palin is qualified to be President?




Would you like to see the Democrats get 60 seats in the Senate?




How well is President Bush doing his job?






This election aside, which party do you normally identify with?

None (independent)

Which ideology best describes you?




None of these

Where do you live?


What is your gender?



What is your age?

< 18

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