Sep. 29 absentee ballot for overseas voters

Obama 286   McCain 252  
Senate Dem 58   GOP 42  
House Dem 240   GOP 194   Ties 1

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This day in 2004

strong Dem Strong Dem (175)
weak Dem Weak Dem (75)
barely Dem Barely Dem (36)
tied Exactly tied (0)
barely GOP Barely GOP (89)
weak GOP Weak GOP (5)
strong GOP Strong GOP (158)
270 Electoral votes needed to win
Map algorithm explained
Presidential polls today: CA KY TN RSS
Dem pickups (vs. 2004): CO IA NM VA GOP pickups (vs. 2004): (None) PDA SMS

PW logo SurveyUSA: McCain Clings to Lead in Florida MTSU Poll: McCain Makes Inroads With Clinton Voters
Morning Call Poll: Obama Pulls Away in Pennsylvania Bonus Quote of the Day
Bracing for More Palin Private Poll Confirms McConnell in Tough Race

News from the Votemaster

Another Poll Shows Obama Won Debate

In addition to all the polls reported yesterday yet another poll shows that Obama won the debate Friday. A Gallup poll showed that 46% of the people who watched it thought Obama won and 34% thought McCain won. When asked which candidate can best solve the country's problems, it is Obama 52% to 35%. Since this debate was largely about foreign policy, McCain's strongest suit, these results do not bode well for him in the next presidential debate (Oct. 15), which is about domestic policy, Obama's strong suit. But as the tracking polls start covering the post debate period, we will have a better idea of whether it changed how people will vote. After all, someone can say: "Obama is the better debater but I think McCain would be a better President." The next debate is between the Vice-Presidential nominees on Oct. 2 at Washington University in St. Louis, MO.

Bailout Bill Finalized

Negotiators from the House and Senate have concluded marathon discussions with secretary of the treasury Henry Paulson and come up with a bill that will be voted on this week. The bill has grown from 3 pages to 110 pages in a week. At this rate of growth it would be 4000 pages by next week and 7 billion pages by the election. Here is the full text. The key provisions are:

  • The treasury secretary will get $700 billion over time to buy troubled financial assets as he sees fit
  • The government gets stock warrants in companies getting money
  • He can hire firms to help manage the assets without competitive bidding
  • Two oversight bodies will be created to try to minimize cronyism and bad deals
  • Some kind of industry-funded insurance program will be set up to prevent repetitions of this drama
  • Corporate tax deductions for executive pay will be limited to $500,000/yr
  • Golden parachutes for fired executives will be prohibited under certain circumstances
  • Home owners may get assistance to prevent foreclosure provided it doesn't cost the government
  • If the government has not recouped its money in 5 years, it may institute a tax on securities transactions

Of course, there is much more in the 110 pages. Still, never in history has one person been empowered to spend so much money with so little oversight. He can buy any assets he wants to at whatever price he wants to. While there is some oversight, the oversight boards know even less than he does about how much complex derivatives are really worth. The whole deal comes down to trusting Paulson, a former Goldman Sachs CEO with an estimated net worth of $700 million (not billion) and a vast network of contacts all over the world.

Both John McCain and Barack Obama have tentatively said they plan to vote for the bill despite some misgivings. The bill will come up for a vote in both chambers of Congress this week but it is not expected to be approved unanimously. Many voters and members of Congress still see it as as the original Paulson bailout bill (now, new, improved with lipstick) transferring $700 billion from ordinary Americans to Wall St. In any event, the new President's nominee for secretary of the treasury will be intensely scrutinized by the Senate.

An article in Politico sums up the bailout well: "Barack Obama says a John McCain victory would amount to a third term of the Bush presidency. What he doesn't say: an Obama victory would, too." Whoever wins the White House will take office on January 20, 2009 and find the government broke and saddled with a massive budget hole that he will have to deal with. So far neither candidate has said: "On second thought, I don't want the job," but both of them are probably thinking about it.

Early Voting Begins in Ohio tomorrow

As of tomorrow, voters can begin casting absentee ballots in Ohio. In addition, a new law allows new voters to register to vote and cast a ballot at the same time--one-stop electoral shopping. The Ohio Republican Party is encouraging voters to register and vote while at the same time challenging the new law in court. The Obama campaign is actively trying to register Ohio's 470,000 college students and get them to vote during the 1-week period when registering and voting together is possible.

Supreme Court Vacancies Likely in Next Four Years

One issue that has been totally absent from the campaign is the Supreme Court. Five of the justices are 70 or more. Justice Stevens is 88 and unlikely to want to serve 4 more years. Justice Ginsberg had cancer and was operated on for it. Justice Souter is known to want to retire and return to New Hampshire. These are three of the most liberal justices on the court. If all three retire and are replaced by Obama, the court will retain its even split between liberals and conservatives for many years to come. If all three are replaced by McCain, the conservatives will have a clear majority and surely reverse Roe v. Wade and many other decisions that conservatives think are wrong. It is amazing that the court has gotten so little attention.











Justice Appointed by Sworn in Age
John Paul Stevens Ford 1975 88
Ruth Bader Ginsburg Clinton 1993 75
Antonin Scalia Reagan 1986 72
Anthony Kennedy Reagan 1988 72
Stephen Breyer Clinton 1994 70
David Souter Bush 41 1990 69
Clarence Thomas Bush 41 1991 60
Samuel Alito Bush 43 2006 58
John Roberts Bush 43 2005 53

Obama Remains Ahead Nationally

All the National tracking polls still have Obama ahead. The polls include both pre- and post-debate polling. Later in the week we will have polls done entirely after the debates. Currently the polls are Gallup (Obama +8), Rasmussen (Obama +6), Diageo (Obama +5), and Research 2000 (Obama +7).

Today's Polls

We have three presidential polls today.

State Obama McCain Start End Pollster
California 50% 40% Sep 09 Sep 16 Public Policy Inst. of CA
Kentucky 41% 53% Sep 22 Sep 25 Mason-Dixon
Tennessee 39% 55% Sep 22 Sep 24 Mason-Dixon

We also have one Senate poll. It is probably an outlier.

State Democrat D-pct Republican R-pct Start End Pollster
Kentucky Bruce Lunsford 41% Mitch McConnell* 41% Sep 22 Sep 25 Mason-Dixon

We also have four House polls.

Cong. Distr. Democrat D-pct Republican R-pct Start End Pollster
FL-13 Christine Jennings 31% Vern Buchanan* 43% Sep 23 Sep 25 Research 2000
FL-18 Annette Taddeo 36% Ileana Ros-Lehtinen* 53% Sep 23 Sep 25 Research 2000
NJ-02 David Kurkowski 26% Frank LoBiondo* 62% Sep 18 Sep 20 Zogby
NJ-03 John Adler 37% Chris Myers 39% Sep 18 Sep 20 Zogby

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