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News from the Votemaster

Obama Raises $181 Million in September

The Obama campaign has announced that it raised the eye-popping sum of $181 million in September. This is the largest monthly haul of either campaign this year. A total of 1.8 million people donated, so the average donation was $100. Romney's campaign has not released its total for September yet, but observers expect it to be lower. All in all, the Republicans have more money because their superPACS have raised much more than the Democratic ones. However, not all dollars are equivalent. Actual campaigns get a lower advertising rate from television stations than others do, so a campaign dollar is worth more than a superPAC dollar. Also, the campaigns have more control when it is their own money. For example, a campaign might decide that spending money on the get-out-the-vote operation is more important than advertising, but it is against the law for the campaign to tell this to an outside group (although proving there was coordination is virtually impossible).

Romney Gains Momentum after Debate

A new Ipsos poll shows that Mitt Romney is moving up in the polls as a result of his strong debate performance. Obama was leading him by 6 points before the debate in the Ipsos poll and that lead has now been cut to 2 points, 47% to 45%, in poll released yesterday. Somewhat amazingly, 8% are still undecided, but these are likely to be low-information voters who aren't paying attention rather than high-information voters who like both candidates equally. On the question of whether the candidate is a good person, 47% said Obama is a good person to only 31% who said Romney is a good person This means there are a substantial number of voters who don't like Romney personally but are still going to vote for him, possibly because they like his policies or hate Obama.

Priebus Praises Biden in Advance of Vice-Presidential Debate

The ancient American ritual of praising your opponent to lower expectations is now on full display for the upcoming vice-presidential debate Thursday in Danville, Kentucky. Republican National Committee chairman is calling Vice President Joe Biden a "gifted orator" to make even a mediocre performance by Paul Ryan seem like a victory. Under most conditions, Priebus says Biden is a gaffted orator, but this week he is gifted. Why do politicians say things? Surely nobody believes a word of any of it.

Due to Obama's weak showing in Denver last week, there will be far more pressure on Biden than is normally the case. He will be expected to go after Ryan hammer and tongs on Medicare. Since Ryan wrote the Republican budget and knows it well, it will be hard for him to run from it, so we might get some real fireworks in the debate.

Democrats Not Expected to Retake House

Democratic House minority leader Nancy Pelosi's "Drive for 25" is expected to become more of a "dash for a dozen." The Democrats need to win a net of 25 seats in the House to take back control but the current polling data suggests they are probably going to fall short and pick up only about a dozen or so seats. In fact, at this point the most likely outcome of the elections is no change. Barack Obama will be reelected President, the Democrats will hold a razor-thin majority in the Senate (possibly smaller than the 6-seat margin they hold now), and the Republicans will control the House, probably with fewer seats than they hold now. If that happens, we will have spent a year screaming, wasted billions of dollars, and be in the same position as when the whole circus started.

Coloradoans Like Pot

Starting next year, Colorado may be even more of a swing state than it is now. There is an initiative on the ballot that would legalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana. A new poll by fabled Iowa pollster J. Ann Selzer shows that 47% of the respondents are in favor of it while 21% said marijuana should never be legal. About 28% were in favor of legalizing it for medicinal purposes. A similar initiative was defeated in 2006.

One of the arguments for legalization is that then it could be taxed, like alcohol, and raise millions of dollars of revenue for the state. Another is that legalization would dry up the money supply to criminal gangs that traffic in it now.

The initiative has political implications as well. It is thought that many young people who are otherwise not so interested in politics are going to be drawn to the polls to vote for the initiative. In a sense, this initiative is the mirror image of the antigay marriage initiatives that Karl Rove brilliantly used in 2000 and 2004 to get conservative voters to the polls.

Today's Presidential Polls

State Obama Romney   Start End Pollster
Colorado 47% 43%   Oct 04 Oct 05 Selzer
Wisconsin 49% 47%   Oct 04 Oct 6 PPP

Today's Senate Polls

State Democrat D % Republican R % I I % Start End Pollster
Massachusetts Elizabeth Warren 50% Scott Brown* 45%     Sep 28 Oct 04 Western New England U.
Ohio Sherrod Brown* 46% Josh Mandel 46%     Oct 04 Oct 04 Rasmussen

* Denotes incumbent