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House Dem 243   GOP 192  

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PW logo The Palin Distraction Diageo/Hotline Poll: Obama Leads By Nine Points
McCain Falls Out With Media McCain Raises $47 Million in August
McCain in Discussions with Ron Paul Quote of the Day

News from the Votemaster

Welcome Back

Many people have no doubt spent the holiday weekend with friends and family and left politics behind for a few days. Nevertheless, this site has been up and running all weekend, with a variety of news items (although not much polling). To see the previous day's page, just click on "Previous report" to the right of the map. If you do that repeatedly, you can see every page since May 24, 2004. You can also use the search engine box at the bottom of the page to search the site. Finally, from the mail it is clear that many people do not realize there is more than the front page. For example, there are detailed pages covering all 35 Senate races and about 60 of the top House races as well as a large number of graphs, charts, tables, cartograms, photos, historical data on previous elections and much more. There also a lot of (polling) data you can download in various formats. Click on each of the menu items below the map in turn to find everything.

Republican Convention News

A greatly truncated opening of the Republican National Convention took place Monday in deference to the people at risk from hurricane Gustav. First lady Laura Bush and potential first lady Cindy McCain appeared briefly and made nonpartisan appeals for aid to people displaced along the Gulf Coast. Not much else happened Monday except some official convention business.

What about Tuesday? Good question. As of 10 A.M. EDT Tuesday the RNC did not have a schedule posted. Check the GOP Convention Website to see if they have made a decision yet. Gustav was not a direct hit on New Orleans and kind of petered out when it hit land, so the convention might continue as scheduled, albeit a bit less festive than conventions normally are.

Palin's Unmarried 17-Year-Old Daughter is Pregnant

To quell persistent rumors on the Internet that Sarah Palin's new baby was really her daughter's, Palin has announced that her 17-year-old daughter, Bristol Palin, is now 5 months pregnant and plans to marry the baby's father, her 18-year-old boyfriend, Levi Johnston. The rumors got started when Palin behaved in a way that raised eyebrows in April. She was in Texas for a meeting of the National Governors' Association when she began leaking amniotic fluid and having contractions. Although she knew the baby had Down syndrome and was a month premature to boot, she didn't go to a local hospital. Instead she gave her planned speech later in the day as scheduled and then caught a flight from Dallas to Seattle where she took another flight to Anchorage. Then she and her husband drove 45 minutes to a hospital in her home town where the baby was born.

Premature babies, especially those with Down syndrome, need special care. Palin could have gone to a world-class hospital in Dallas, Seattle, or Anchorage, any of which would have been fully equipped to handle eventualities. Instead she chose to fly 8 hours (without telling the airlines she was in labor) and go to a village hospital probably not equipped as well as hospitals in any of the three big cities. The rumorbarons couldn't believe that any 44-year-old mother of four children would take such a risk, so the assumption was that she wasn't pregnant. Combined with the fact that Bristol had been out of school for five months, the rumor started that Sarah was covering up for Bristol.

But the story raises other questions, for example:

  • Is it responsible for a woman in labor to fly for 8 hours with the risk of giving birth on board?
  • What should be done to reduce unwanted teenage pregnancies and are these techniques effective?
  • Is sex-ed entirely the job of the parents or do the schools and government have a role? If so, what?
  • If schools should not have a role, what do you do about parents who don't do their job properly?

For a candidate who was chosen largely for her gender and her views on family values, it is perfectly legitimate to ask about how she puts her family values into practice herself. Sarah Palin knew her daughter's pregnancy would be worldwide news if she ran for Veep. When McCain called, she could have said: "I just had a Down syndrome baby and have other family matters to deal with and my family comes first, so I cannot be your running mate." That would have been be a real demonstration of family values. That's not the choice she made and criticism of it is legitimate. Family values is not just about opposing abortion. The last word on this has not been said, but the discussion has already started. Sally Quinn has a good column on the subject.

Conservative commentators have so far focused exclusively on Bristol's decision not to have an abortion. Nothing has been said about the subject of unwed teenage mothers, personal morality, and parents' responsibilities, although many of these people have clear opinions when talking about unwed teenage mothers living in urban ghettos.

Taegan Goddard at Political Insider has observed that the McCain campaign chose Labor Day, a day when few people are paying attention to the news, to announce three potentially damaging news items: (1) Bristol Palin is pregnant, (2) Sarah Palin hired an attorney to defend herself in the Troopergate affair, (3) Todd Palin, the governor's husband, was arrested for drunk driving in 1986. He wonders what else we still don't about Sarah Palin. By picking someone new and fresh, McCain brought a lot of attention and excitement to his campaign. The downside is that there might be unpleasant things in her past that will come dribbling out in the next few weeks. All in all, the Palin rollout has not been as smooth as McCain might have liked. The LA Times has a good piece on McCain's gamble.

McCain Raises $47 Million in August

John McCain raised $47 million in August, his biggest monthly haul ever. His previous best month was July, when he raised $27 million. This could be a sign that if nothing else, the choice of Sarah Palin as Veep is causing conservatives to get out their credit cards. Obama has not released his August fundraising yet.

Today's Polls

Polling has been a bit slow due to the holiday weekend. It should pick up this week.

A new CBS national poll taken entirely after the Democratic convention puts Barack Obama ahead of John McCain 48% to 40%. The Gallup tracking poll makes it Obama 50%, McCain 43%. Rasmussen puts it at 47% to 44%. It appears that Obama got a small bounce from his convention. It won't last. Now it is McCain's turn.

For completeness sake, Zogby also released an Internet poll showing Obama 44%, McCain 43%, Barr 5%, and Nader 2%. Internet polls do not use random sampling so they should be taken with a barrel of salt. There is no way in the world Barr will get 5% nationally. Internet users are much more libertarian than the population as a whole.

There are no Senate polls today, but there is a poll in MN-03, the seat Jim Ramstad (R) is vacating. State representative Erik Paulsen (R) has a slight lead over Iraq veteran Ashwin Madia (D) here, 44% to 41%.

Cong. Distr. Democrat D-pct Republican R-pct Start End Pollster
MN-03 Ashwin Madia 41% Erik Paulsen* 44% Aug 26 Aug 28 SurveyUSA

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