Obama 332
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Romney 206
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Dem 52
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Ties 4
GOP 44
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  • Strongly Dem (204)
  • Likely Dem (37)
  • Barely Dem (91)
  • Exactly tied (0)
  • Barely GOP (25)
  • Likely GOP (34)
  • Strongly GOP (147)
270 Electoral votes needed to win Map algorithm explained
New polls: CO IA MI ND
Dem pickups: (None)
GOP pickups: IN NC
PW logo Presidential Race Contested in Fewer States Pollster Says Obama Can't Win FL, NC and VA
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News from the Votemaster

National Pew Poll: Romney Leads 49% to 45%

In a stunning reversal from a month ago, in Pew Research's poll of likely voters, Mitt Romney now leads President Obama by 4 points. In September, Obama led by 9 points. Other polls have shown that Romney got a bump from the first debate, but most of them showed Obama still holding a narrow lead. The poll was conducted Oct. 4-7, entirely after the debate.

However, a close look at the internals of the poll turns up something odd. In the October sample, 31% of the respondents self identified as Democrats (vs. 39% in September). Similar, there were 36% Republicans in October (vs. 29% in September). While many people believe Romney "won" the debate, it is extremely unlikely that 21% of the nation's Democrats changed parties as a result of one debate. So there is a fair chance that the Pew poll is an outlier that undersampled Democrats and oversampled Republicans.

For comparison purposes, two other national polls hav also been done entirely since the first debate. Rasmussen has it as a tie at 48% to 48% and Gallup has it at 47% to 47%.

Next Congress Will Be More Divided than This One

No matter which party controls the Senate and House, the next Congress will be far more partisan and less inclined to make deals than the current one due to the exit of centrists from both parties. The Democratic Blue Dog caucus, which was home to the most conservative Democrats in the House, has been decimated, moving the party as a whole further to the left. The trend is expected to continue, with Blue Dogs Jim Matheson (D-UT), John Barrow (D-GA), Mike McIntyre (D-NC), and Larry Kissell (D-NC) in tough fights. Heath Shuler (D-NC) and Dan Boren (D-OK) have given up altogether and are retiring. With the Republicans, centrists have either retired, been defeated in primaries, or are likely to lose in the general election, moving the Republican caucus further to the right.

The same pattern holds in the Senate. With the retirements of Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME) and Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE), there are not a lot of senators left who can form a bridge to the other party. The consequence of these shifts is that deal making in the new Congress is going to be even harder than in the current one, and that was no picnic.

In a sense, Congress is going to be more like the British Parliament, with two diametrically opposed parties and nearly all votes going along straight party lines. Of course, the British Prime Minister is always the leader of the majority party and there is no filibuster there, so the majority can actually get things done. The U.S. is likely to end up with the worst features of both systems: intense partisanship combined with the ability of the minority party to block the majority at every turn.

Active Duty and Retired Military Personnel Support Romney

A poll of active-duty, National Guard, and reserve members who subscribe to the Military Times shows that 66% want Romney as Commander-in-Chief and 26% want President Obama to fulfill that role. However, it is not clear how the email poll was conducted and how random the sample was, especially when 80% report having a college degree.

Biden V2.0 May Be Very Different from Biden V1.0

In 2008, Joe Biden handled his debate-mate, Sarah Palin, with kid gloves to avoid angering women, which could easily have happened had he lit into her. On Thursday, we are almost certain to see a very different Biden, who is going to be landing as many punches on Paul Ryan as he can.

In particular, Biden is studying the transcript of the first presidential debate to see where Obama could have hit Romney and didn't. He is likely to hit Ryan on those points. Ryan has never been on the national stage before, so it is hard to tell what his debut will be like.

Reuters made a list of things to watch for in the vice-presidential debate:

  • Fireworks. The candidates are likely to attack each other incessantly
  • Lie detection. Romney wasn't called on his lies. Ryan will certainly be
  • Medicare. Ryan is the author of the plan to convert Medicare to a voucher system
  • Foreign policy. Could Ryan, who is inexperienced in this area, goof?
  • Foreshadowing of 2016. Ryan and Biden could conceivably be the 2016 nominees

Another factor to consider in the vice-presidential debate is the age gap between Biden (70) and Ryan (42). When Ryan was born in 1970, Biden had already finished college and law school, married, become a father, and been elected to public office (the New Castle County Council). When the subject of Medicare comes up--which it will repeatedly--Biden can talk to seniors about it with an air of authority. Ryan has to be careful not to come over as a callous pipsqueak who wants to throw granny under the bus.

Bill Clinton Campaigning Everywhere

Bill Clinton is on the campaign trail more than the candidates, and not just in the swing states. Among other appearances this week, he will be out there with California representatives John Garamendi (CA-03) and Jerry McNerney (CA-09) as well as California challengers Ami Bera and Jose Hernandez. In Arizona, he will be pitching Democratic Senate candidate Richard Carmona. Then it is on to Indiana where he will be at a rally for Senate candidate Joe Donnelly. In nearby Iowa, he will try to help congressional candidate Christie Vilsack.

Today's Presidential Polls

State Obama Romney   Start End Pollster
Colorado 49% 48%   Oct 07 Oct 07 Rasmussen
Iowa 49% 47%   Oct 07 Oct 07 Rasmussen
Michigan 48% 45%   Oct 04 Oct 06 EPIC MRA
North Dakota 40% 54%   Oct 03 Oct 05 Mason Dixon

Today's Senate Polls

State Democrat D % Republican R % I I % Start End Pollster
Florida Bill Nelson* 52% Connie McGillicuddy 41%     Oct 04 Oct 04 Rasmussen
North Dakota Heidi Heitkamp 47% Rick Berg 47%     Oct 03 Oct 05 Mason Dixon
Virginia Tim Kaine 51% George Allen 44%     Oct 04 Oct 07 PPP
Wisconsin Tammy Baldwin 49% Tommy Thompson 46%     Oct 04 Oct 06 PPP

* Denotes incumbent

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Previous Headlines

Oct08 Internet Voting Seen As a Huge Risk
Oct08 Absentee Ballots Present Challenges to Election Officials
Oct08 Budget Experts Say the Books Were Not Cooked
Oct08 Heitkamp Running for Mayor of North Dakota
Oct08 Disenchanted Lugar Supporters May Determine Indiana Senate Race
Oct08 Moderator Martha Raddatz Needs to Show Biden and Ryan Who's the Boss
Oct07 Obama Raises $181 Million in September
Oct07 Romney Gains Momentum after Debate
Oct07 Priebus Praises Biden in Advance of Vice-Presidential Debate
Oct07 Democrats Not Expected to Retake House
Oct07 Coloradoans Like Pot
Oct06 Early Voting Reinstated in Ohio
Oct06 Democrats Fight Voter Suppression Laws with Voter Encouragement Laws
Oct06 How Bipartisan Was Romney as Governor?
Oct06 Democrats Counting on Biden to Attack the Ryan Plan for Replacing Medicare
Oct06 Why Isn't Romney Really Rich?
Oct06 Romney Drops Talking Point
Oct06 Will Black Voters Turn Out in Virginia and North Carolina?
Oct05 Obama Approval Reaches 3-Year High
Oct05 Obama Has Record Fundraising in September
Oct05 Obama To Be More Aggressive in Next Debate
Oct05 Etch-A-Sketch Shaken on Wednesday
Oct05 Unemployment Rate Drops Below 8%
Oct05 Obama Crushing Romney Among Latinos
Oct05 Exit Poll Data Will Not Be Reported in 19 States
Oct04 Romney Wins First Debate
Oct03 First Debate Is Tonight
Oct03 Pennsylvania Judge Blocks Voter ID Law
Oct03 Romney Hints at Limiting Deductions to $17,000
Oct03 Obama Getting 70% of Latino Voters
Oct03 Early Voting Has Started in Ohio
Oct02 Romney To Broaden Focus
Oct02 Voters Think Obama Will Win
Oct02 Romney Leads in Parallel Universe
Oct02 A Penny for Your Thoughts, a Dollar for your Vote
Oct02 Unsung Heroes: Media Buyers
Oct02 Suppose Todd Akin Were to Win
Oct02 Early Voting Calendar
Oct01 The Shadow of the Debates Looms Large
Oct01 Supreme Court Starts a New Term Today
Oct01 CNN: Polling Criticism is Nonsense
Oct01 Romney Continues to Fall on Intrade
Oct01 Candidates Pay Lots of Attention to One Small Rural County in Ohio
Oct01 Obama Approaches 10 Million Donors
Sep30 Republican Strategists Tell Romney to Stop Playing It Safe
Sep30 Romney Trapped by His Money
Sep30 Lawsuits about Voting Laws Continuing
Sep30 Are the Debates Really Debates
Sep30 Scott Brown's Party Status Is Causing Him Problems
Sep30 Democrats Starting to Compile Wish Lists