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House Dem 257   GOP 178  

Map of the 2010 Senate Races
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News from the Votemaster

Next Big Elections are Primaries     Permalink

While the midterm general elections are nearly a year away, there is plenty of election activity on tap before them. In particular, many states will hold primaries before next November. Below is a quick rundown of some of the most contentious ones. See here for the full list. As candidates announce for Congress and other offices in next few months, other contentious primaries may develop (e.g., David Paterson vs. Andrew Cuomo for governor of New York).

Date State Race Party Candidates
March 2 Texas Governor GOP Rick Perry, Kay Bailey Hutchison
May 4 Ohio Senate Dem Lee Fisher, Jennifer Brunner
May 18 Pennsylvania Senate Dem Arlen Specter, Joe Sestak
May 18 Kentucky Senate Dem Jack Conway, Dan Mongiardo
May 18 Kentucky Senate GOP Trey Grayson, Rand Paul
May 18 Utah Senate GOP Bob Bennett vs. ???
June 8 Nevada Senate GOP Danny Tarkanian, Sue Lowden
June 8 California Senate GOP Carly Fiorina, Chuck DeVore
June 8 California Governor GOP Meg Whitman, Steve Poizner
Aug. 10 Connecticut Senate GOP Rob Simmons, Linda McMahon, Tom Foley
Aug. 10 Colorado Senate Dem Michael Bennet, Andrew Romanoff
Aug. 24 Florida Senate GOP Charlie Crist, Marco Rubio

The 50 Richest Members of Congress     Permalink

Ever wonder why members of Congress have so little interest in the concerns of ordinary Americans? Well, they are not ordinary Americans. On the whole, they are extremely wealthy. Having a net worth of $5 million won't even get you in the top 50. If you want to see who are top 50 richest members, here is a link. Below is a table with the 15 richest members of the Senate and the House based on their published financial statements. These statements show ranges and the numbers used are the minimums (assets minus liabilities) so the members are probably worth more than these numbers. All are in millions of dollars. Contrary to popular opinion, the list is not completely dominated by Republicans. In fact, the five richest senators are Democrats.

Senator Party State Min net $
John Kerry Dem MA $168
Jay Rockefeller Dem WV $112
Mark Warner Dem VA $76
Frank Lautenberg Dem NJ $49
Dianne Feinstein Dem CA $43
Jim Risch GOP ID $19
Bob Corker GOP TN $17
Claire McCaskill Dem MO $16
John McCain GOP AZ $14
Lamar Alexander GOP TN $12
Olympia Snowe GOP ME $12
Tom Harkin Dem IA $8
Ted Kaufman Dem DE $8
Ben Nelson Dem NE $7
Kay Hagan Dem NC $7
Representative Party State Min. net $
Darrell Issa GOP CA $165
Jane Harman Dem CA $112
Jared Polis Dem CO $76
Vern Buchanan GOP FL $85
Harry Teague Dem NM $41
Mike McCaul GOP TX $38
Alan Grayson Dem FL $31
Rodney Frelinghuysen GOP NJ $18
Cynthia Lummis GOP WY $17
Nita Lowey Dem NY $14
Kenny Marchant GOP TN $12
Denny Rehberg GOP MT $11
John Campbell GOP CA $10
Jim Sensenbrenner GOP WI $9
Fred Upton GOP MI $8

Democrats Attack Pollster Rasmussen     Permalink

Pollster Scott Rasmussen has come under fire from Democrats for systematically releasing polls that are more favorable to Republicans than are those of his competitors. Rasmussen originally started out as a freelancer pollster, but now frequently works for Fox News. Although specific polls are often attacked, it is relatively rare for a party to attack a pollster in general claiming that he is biased. Rasmussen's polls are all conducted by computer, so interviewer bias is very unlikely. The problem comes from the fact that all pollsters normalize their samples. For example, if a pollster believes that 53% of the voters in some election are likely to be women, but in today's poll only 49% of the respondents were women, he will weight the women's votes by 53/49 to correct for the undersampling.

Weighting is also done for education, income, race, and partisan identification to get the correct number of Democrats, Republicans, and independents, and this is where the rub is. Democrats are essentially accusing him of having a model that favors Republicans and Republican constituencies too heavily.

Another hot issue is likely voter models. Many pollsters ask a few questions to determine is someone is likely to vote, such as "Did you vote in the last election?, "Do you think it is every citizen's duty to vote?," "Do you think your vote will count?" Based on the answers, the pollster only counts the answers of people he believes likely to vote. Each pollster has his own formula and keeps the questions used a carefully guarded secret. Both the model and the screen are fairly arcane material and few people understand it, but by tweaking a few parameters, one can change the results quite a bit. For example, Rasmussen's take on Obama's approval typically is 5 points below that of other polling outfits.

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