Dec. 04 absentee ballot for overseas voters

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strong Dem Strong Dem (253)
weak Dem Weak Dem (32)
barely Dem Barely Dem (73)
tied Exactly tied (0)
barely GOP Barely GOP (13)
weak GOP Weak GOP (42)
strong GOP Strong GOP (125)
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Dem pickups (vs. 2008): (None) GOP pickups (vs. 2008): (None) PDA

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Yet Another Poll Shows Gingrich Up in Iowa Quote of the Day

News from the Votemaster

Herman Cain Drops Out     Permalink

If media reports can be believed, Herman Cain's wife just discovered he has had a mistress for 13 years. This revelation caused him to reassess his campaign. It's also probably causing his wife to reassess their marriage (think: Jenny Sanford, the former wife of the former governor of South Carolina who formerly had a penchant for hiking the Appalachian Trail but strangely thought it went down as far as Argentina). Yesterday, Mr. Cain's reassessment came to its denouement: he suspended his campaign (English translation: he quit the race for the nomination but left the door technically open so that anyone who wants to pay off his campaign debts is legally allowed to do so).

The big question now is where do his supporters go? To start with, there aren't many left. He is currently polling at 8% nationally. Most of them have already jumped ship to Newt Gingrich, who has the support of 38% of Republicans nationally according to a new Rasmussen poll. Mitt Romney is second at 17% and the rest are in the single digits.

Perhaps a more interesting question is why Michele Bachmann is still in the race. Her 15 minutes of fame have come and gone and she is now polling at 4%. It is probably no consolation that this is as good as Rick Perry, who has a long track record of winning elections and has bundles of money. Might she follow Cain's example and drop out, too?

Why is she staying in? Here are some possible theories. First, she is delusional and thinks she might yet become President. If so, she is probably the only person who thinks so. Second, she is staying in to help the conservative cause. Actually, she is hurting the conservative cause because what conservatives badly need now is to coalesce behind one not-Romney candidate. If she were to end her campaign and support either Gingrich or Perry she would reduce the chances of Romney winning Iowa in a badly splintered conservative field. Third, she is staying in to help women candidates in the future. Except no Republican woman in high office has endorsed Bachmann. They see her more of an embarrassment than anything else. If Lloyd Bentsen were alive now and could speak to her he might say: "Congresswoman, I worked with Hillary Clinton, I know Hillary Clinton. Hillary Clinton is a friend of mine. Congresswoman, you're no Hillary Clinton." Fourth, maybe she just has a big ego. Happens to politicians in both parties all the time, although ego-itis is known to afflict men more than women. Most likely she'll be crushed in Iowa and then drop out.

Gingrich Pulls Away in Iowa     Permalink

A new poll from Ann Seltzer, the legendary Iowa pollster, shows that Iowa has become a three-way race, with Gingrich at 25%, Ron Paul at 18%, and Mitt Romney at 16%. The rest are down in the weeds somewhere. Seltzer is very special and her Iowa polls are taken very seriously because she has an excellent track record. The problem with polling the Iowa caucuses is that turnout is so low. Only 120,000 Republicans turned out in 2008 (but 680,000 Iowans voted for John McCain). So when only 18% of Iowa Republicans go to the caucuses, figuring out which interviews to count and which not to count involves a great deal of black magic, something that the computers at Rasmussen, PPP, and SurveyUSA don't have. Selzer has figured this out. But of course, the race is extremely volatile and by the January 3 caucuses, Rick Santorum could be leading the pack for all we know now.

Still, if things don't change too much and Romney puts a lot of money and effort into Iowa and comes in third behind Ron Paul, the news the next day is all going to be about how the Washington establishment likes Romney but the voters don't. A big win for Gingrich in Iowa might propel him to victory in New Hampshire a week later and then a big win in South Carolina. At that point we could be in for a long slog. But again, this year has been so freaky, there is a 10% chance Santa Claus could win the Iowa caucuses.

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-- The Votemaster