Sep. 17 absentee ballot for overseas voters

Obama 247   McCain 257   Ties 34
Senate Dem 56   GOP 44  
House Dem 243   GOP 192  

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This day in 2004

strong Dem Strong Dem (133)
weak Dem Weak Dem (67)
barely Dem Barely Dem (47)
tied Exactly tied (34)
barely GOP Barely GOP (41)
weak GOP Weak GOP (87)
strong GOP Strong GOP (129)
270 Electoral votes needed to win
Map algorithm explained
Presidential polls today: NJ NY VT RSS
Dem pickups (vs. 2004): CO IA GOP pickups (vs. 2004): (None) PDA SMS

PW logo Battleground Not Much Bigger Than 2004 PPP Poll: Obama Stays Ahead in Virginia
ARG Poll: State Polls Show Surprises Reuters/Zogby: Obama Takes Back Lead
DNC Member Now Backs McCain McCain by Day, McCain by Night

News from the Votemaster

Government Bails out A.I.G.

After several days of saying it would not bail out the nation's largest insurance company, A.I.G., the government bailed out A.I.G. risking $85 billion of the taxpayers' money. In return, the government got 80% of the now near-worthless stock. In other countries, when the government effectively buys (nearly) all of a company's stock, it is called nationalization. Who would have thought that the Bush-Cheney administration would go Marxist-Leninist in its waning hours? Treasury secretary Henry Paulson was clearly afraid A.I.G.'s demise would take out too many other big players and wreak massive damage on the economy. The move will be very controversial since it risks public money to protect bad investments made by A.I.G. management. The political fallout will be immense.

This nationalization poses an especially large challenge for John McCain, who is now railing against corporate greed and lack of government regulation of the financial industry. What he doesn't talk much about is how deregulation happened. It was the 1999 Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act that repealed the 1933 Glass-Steagall Act and thus eliminated the depression-era walls between between banking, investment, and insurance that made this crisis possible. Glass-Stegall erected walls between banking, investment management, and insurance, so problems in one sector could not spill over into the others, which is precisely what is happening now. The primary author of the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act was none other than McCain's economic advisor, former senator Phil Gramm (who thinks the country is in a "mental recession"). McCain fully supported the bill and has a decades-long track record of opposing government regulation of the financial industry. His new-found conversion to being a fan of regulation is going to be a tough sell as Obama is already pointing out that McCain got what he wanted (deregulation) and this is the consequence.

The Politics of Lying

Politicians have never been known for telling the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, but generally when caught exaggerating the truth they usually stop. This year things seem to be different. For example, Sarah Palin has said over and over that she never requested any earmarks as governor. That is patently false. She requested $450 million in earmarks and got most of it. Although Congress wouldn't finance the bridge to nowhere, Palin got to keep the money anyway and spend it on other projects. When called on this, a McCain spokesman, Brian Rogers said "We're running a campaign to win." In other words, we don't care what the media think. Michael Cohen has a column in the NY Times about lying anno 2008. Ruth Marcus has one on what an economist called "the symmetry of sin." The idea is that if a reporter criticizes McCain or Palin for lying, they have an obligation to criticize Obama or Biden for lying, too. But she argues that it is not symmetric this year. Obama has been stretching the truth a little bit like quoting McCain on staying in Iraq for 100 years (which he did say) but leaving out the part where he compared it to the U.S. military presence in Germany for 60 years. In contrast, McCain and Palin have told out-and-out lies (e.g., about how Obama would raise everyone's taxes, something he never said) and repeated them even after they were pointed out numerous times.

Absentee Voting

If you are unable to vote in person on election day (Nov. 4), you can vote by absentee ballot. A new site will help you navigate the maze. In most states in the West, anybody who wants to can request an absentee ballot without giving a reason. In the East you need a reason in some states, but "I won't be at home on election day" is a valid reason. Absentee ballots can also be used for students who choose to vote at their parents address, elderly people, or people who need a car to get to their precinct and don't have one. If you think you might not be able to vote in person, check out this site. It also helps you register. This may be the most important election in years, so be sure you vote.

Palin Beats Biden

In a hypothetical matchup for President, Sarah Palin defeats Joe Biden 47% to 44%. Palin has considerably less experience than Obama and Biden has much more experience than McCain so the gulf between neophyte and graybeard couldn't be greater than here. Palin has 6 years experience as mayor of a small village and 1 1/2 years as governor of a state with a quarter the population of Brooklyn. Biden has 35 years in the U.S. Senate. Yet the voters don't care. The implications for the real race are clear: campaigning on your experience is probably not a winning strategy.

Today's Polls

We have four presidential polls today.

State Obama McCain Start End Pollster
New Jersey 48% 45% Sep 10 Sep 14 Quinnipiac U.
New Jersey 49% 41% Sep 11 Sep 14 Monmouth U.
New York 55% 42% Sep 15 Sep 15 Rasmussen
Vermont 55% 36% Sep 11 Sep 14 Research 2000

We also have one Senate poll.

State Democrat D-pct Republican R-pct Start End Pollster
New Jersey Frank Lautenberg* 49% Richard Zimmer 41% Sep 09 Sep 11 Research 2000

We also have three House polls in Utah.

Cong. Distr. Democrat D-pct Republican R-pct Start End Pollster
UT-01 Morgan Boweb 21% Rob Bishop* 62% Sep 08 Sep 11 Dan Jones
UT-02 Jim Matheson* 62% Bill Dew 27% Sep 08 Sep 11 Dan Jones
UT-03 Bennion Spencer 18% Jason Chaffetz* 60% Sep 08 Sep 11 Dan Jones

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-- The Votemaster