Obama 332
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Romney 206
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Dem 47
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Ties 3
GOP 50
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  • Strongly Dem (182)
  • Likely Dem (77)
  • Barely Dem (73)
  • Exactly tied (0)
  • Barely GOP (0)
  • Likely GOP (75)
  • Strongly GOP (131)
270 Electoral votes needed to win Map algorithm explained
New polls: AZ FL
Dem pickups: (None)
GOP pickups: IN NC
PW logo Protests Spread to U.S. Embassy in Yemen On Restricting the Vote
Putin Thanks Romney Obama Expands Lead Over Romney
Romney Picks a Big Fight A Mountain of Tax Breaks

News from the Votemaster

Romney Losing Men

The gender gap has been a feature of American politics for decades, with men favoring Republicans and women favoring Democrats. The latest round of polls shows that Romney may be losing his grip on men. A CNN poll released Monday showed Obama leading Romney among men 48% to 47%. A week earlier Romney was ahead among men 55% to 43%. On Tuesday, an ABC/WaPo poll gave Obama a 3-point lead among men. There is no evidence that Romney is making up the loss among women. Unless Romney can rectify the situation quickly, he is in trouble.

Biden and Ryan Can't Wait for their Debate

The vice-presidential debate is scheduled for Oct. 11 in Danville, KY, but the participants are champing at the bit. The debate might actually have more action than any of the three presidential debates simply because President Obama is cautious by nature and Mitt Romney has gone to enormous lengths the whole campaign to avoid offending anyone. Both Vice President Biden and Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) are more outspoken. Besides, it is the traditional job of the running mate to be the attack dog.

Republicans expect that Ryan, with his detailed knowledge of the budget, will overpower Biden, who they think is prone to gaffes and is too liberal for the country. Democrats think that Biden is going to pin on Ryan a lot of now-embarrassing votes Ryan made in Congress. In the past, vice-presidential debates have had some fireworks, such as the one in 1988 when senator Lloyd Bentsen debated Dan Quayle, who compared himself to President Kennedy. Bentsen said: "Senator, I served with Jack Kennedy, I knew Jack Kennedy, Jack Kennedy was a friend of mine. Senator, you are no Jack Kennedy." While the Veep debates can be fun to watch, they don't usually change the dynamics of the race much.

Three Under-the-Radar Senate Races Get Attention

While most of the coverage of the Senate races has focused on the epic battles in Massachusetts and Virginia and a few other close races, such as North Dakota and Montana, there are a few states where almost nothing has been written and there is little polling. Politico has a story on three of them today. In Connecticut, Linda McMahon is the Republican nominee. In 2010, she also ran for an open seat there, spent $50 million of her own money and lost by 12 points in the best Republican year in decades. Now she is trying again and spending even more money but this time it is beginning to have an effect. The race is much closer this time, in part because the Democratic nominee, Rep. Chris Murphy (D-CT), is not as well known statewide as now-senator Richard Blumenthal was. Still, Connecticut is a very blue state and sooner or later Murphy will become better known.

The second sleeper race is in Indiana, where tea party favorite Richard Mourdock defeated six-term Sen. Richard Lugar (R-IN) accusing him of working with the Democrats. Mourdock defiantly said he would oppose the Democrats on everything and never compromise his principles. That went over big with the Indiana Republican primary electorate, but in the general election. Democrats and independents get to vote, too, and vowing to scuttle all attempts at bipartisanship may not be the winning ticket. The Democratic candidate is a Blue Dog, Rep. Joe Donnelly (D-IN). There has been almost no polling, in part because Indiana law restricts robopolling.

The third race that could possibly surprise is Maine, where the Republicans are supporting the Democrat, Cynthia Dill, in hopes of splitting the Democratic vote between her and independent Angus King in order to let the Republican in the race get a narrow plurality. Of the three races discussed here, this one is the longest shot for the Republicans.

Obama Won't Meet Netanyahu in New York

Relations between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Obama have always been frosty and certainly aren't going to improve now that Obama has said he won't meet Netanyahu when the Prime Minister is in New York later this month. Although Netanyahu will meet with Secretary of State Clinton, Romney is going to try to spin this perceived snub into gold in South Florida, with its large Jewish population. However, that may not necessarily work as many Jewish voters in Florida actually follow Israeli politics and don't like Netanyahu's right-wing positions at all. Still, for Obama this is an unforced error. Surely, no matter how busy he is, he could have met Netanyahu somewhere, even at an auto parts plant in Ohio if need be, although Florida would have been even better. It is not clear what he had to lose from meeting Netanyahu for a photo op, even if nothing substantive was discussed at the meeting.

In an attempt to undo some of the damage caused by this news report, Obama called Netanyahu yesterday to discuss Iran.

Romney's Wealth Could Be a Problem in the South

Data compiled from Reuters/Ipsos polling across the Bible Belt show that 38% of the voters would be disinclined to vote for a wealthy candidate but only 20% would be disinclined to vote for a black one. While white voters in the South have become Republicans over the past three or four decades, members of the working class also have a strong populist streak. Also, many Southerners regard Mormonism as a cult and don't see Romney as a Christian. On the other hand, many of them don't believe Obama is a Christian either.

Some of the views held by working-class white Southerners are contradictory. For example, the poll showed that 35% thought Romney would be better on taxes and only 25% thought Obama would be better. But by more than 4 to 1, they agreed that the wealthiest Americans should pay more taxes--a theme of Obama's campaign and something Romney strongly opposes. Unfortunately, the pollsters didn't ask: "Are you one of those low-information voters we keep hearing about?"

Ryan Buys Ads for His House Race

Paul Ryan is definitely concerned with unemployment--his. So as a backup against losing his bid to become Vice President, he is also running for his House seat as well and has started running ads in Milwaukee urging voters to elect him to Congress again. Wisconsin law allows candidates to run for multiple offices at the same time, but if they are elected to more than one, have to make a choice. Ryan's House opponent is Rob Zerban, a former Kenosha County official. When the Democrats chose Zerban, they did not know Ryan would be on the national ticket. Had they foreseen this, they would have surely chosen a higher-profile candidate. The downside of running for the House for Ryan is the accusation that he has little faith in his chances on the national ticket, so he wants a backup job, just in case.

Romney Wants to Replace Obamacare but Doesn't Know with What

Over the weekend Romney was asked about Obamacare and said he liked some aspects of it, which angered parts of his base. He backtracked a bit and ended up with multiple positions within a few hours. But the problem is sure to come back on Oct. 3 at the first debate. A question that he has to be prepared to answer is this: "Governor, you said you would repeal the ACA and then replace it. What would you replace it with?" His problem is that there is no good answer. Many, if not most, voters like the idea of banning insurance companies from rejecting people with pre-existing conditions, but without all the new customers a mandate brings in, the ban would bankrupt the insurance companies.

If Romney says the ban on rejecting sick people must be kept, he is going to have to explain how that will be financed. If he says it is OK for insurance companies to reject sick people, it is going to cost him votes. The trouble with a debate is that he has to address both his base and moderate voters at the same time and they want different things.

Some Questions for the Debates

Speaking of debates, Ruth Marcus proposed some questions for the debates. They are summarized below. First, the questions for Obama.

  • Why didn't you support the recommendations of your own fiscal commission?
  • In 2008, you said you would strengthen Social Security. Specifically, how?
  • How do you plan to reduce health-care costs overall?
  • Isn't Ryan's vouchercare just letting seniors buy insurance on well-regulated exchanges like Obamacare?

Now the questions for Romney.

  • Which tax breaks will you eliminate to pay for your tax cut?
  • Do you believe it is possible to reduce the debt without new revenue?
  • Would you have voted against Simpson-Bowles as your running mate did?
  • You said you want to get federal spending down to 20% of GDP. What programs would you cut?
  • Medicare costs are growing more slowly than private insurance costs, so won't vouchercare raise total costs?
  • Block grants instead of Medicaid will result in 14-27 million people losing coverage. What will you do for them?

Today's Presidential Polls

State Obama Romney   Start End Pollster
Arizona 44% 53%   Sep 07 Sep 09 PPP
Florida 48% 44%   Sep 07 Sep 09 SurveyUSA

Today's Senate Polls

Today's Senate polls bring only good news for the Democrats. Many people had thought Richard Caromona's fight against Jeff Flake in this red state to be hopeless, but it's essentially a tie. If Carmona can win this one and Claire McCaskill can win her race against Todd "legitimate rape" Akin, it is hard to see how the Republicans can take back the Senate. Also, the large lead Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) has in Ohio probably helps Obama in this crucial swing state.

State Democrat D % Republican R % I I % Start End Pollster
Arizona Richard Carmona 43% Jeff Flake 44%     Sep 07 Sep 09 PPP
Florida Bill Nelson* 47% Connie McGillicuddy 36%     Sep 07 Sep 09 SurveyUSA
Ohio Sherrod Brown* 48% Josh Mandel 40%     Sep 07 Sep 09 PPP

* Denotes incumbent

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---The Votemaster

Previous Headlines

Sep11 Obama Gets Substantial Bounce from the Convention
Sep11 What's Going on in the Nine Swing States
Sep11 Three Factors that will Determine Who Wins the Presidency
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Sep11 Obama Gets Substantial Bounce from the Convention
Sep11 What's Going on in the Nine Swing States
Sep11 Three Factors that will Determine Who Wins the Presidency
Sep11 Economy Is Doing Better in Swing States than Nationally
Sep11 Could Romney Be Swiftboated on National Security?
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