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News: Updated Apr. 27

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News from the Votemaster

From now on, we will track the projected Senate and House. Click on the "Senate map and races" link to the right of the map to get to the Senate map. Like the main map, you can mouse over a state or click it for additional information. So far, the only races recorded are the ones where the candidates are known. For example, in New Mexico, Tom Udall (D) is running against either Steve Pearce (R) or Heather Wilson (R), but we don't know which one yet. Udall is running ahead of both of them, but that race doesn't count yet and won't until after the Republican primary. This case is easy because the Democrat beats both Republicans, but in other states the general election polls are different depending who wins one or both primaries.

Democrats are now favored to win Senate seats in Colorado, New Hampshire, Virginia, and New Mexico. They also have excellent shots in Alaska, Minnesota, Oregon, and Maine. No Democratic senator appears to be in much danger, although DSCC chairman Chuck Schumer (D-NY) will have to pump some money into Louisiana to help Mary Landrieu there. The Republicans were unable to find a first-tier candidate to challenge Tim Johnson (D-SD), who had a stroke in Dec. 2006, so Johnson will probably be reelected and, with some luck, be able to serve next year. All in all, best guess now is that the Democrats pick up 4-8 seats in the Senate, depending who is on the top of the ticket.

Based on what we have seen so far this year, Hillary Clinton will have bigger coattails in the rust belt and Barack Obama will have bigger coattails out West. Only there aren't any contested Senate races in the rust belt and there are several in the West (Alaska, Oregon, Colorado, New Mexico, and Minnesota). This probably puts Schumer in a bind. He is supporting Clinton, but in terms of winning Senate seats, he's better off with Obama.

While Democrats have been crying in their beer (or do Democrats cry in their wine?) about the negative campaign, a little-noted feature of it has been the surge in voter registrations, virtually all of it for the Democrats. In the last seven primaries, over 1 million new Democrats have been registered. If they vote in the general election, it could easily affect the outcome in several states.

The next two primaries are North Carolina and Indiana, both May 6. Here is a rundown of North Carolina. Indiana in a few days.

North Carolina, like many other states, chooses its delegates to the Democratic National Convention by congressional district, of which it has 13. The total number of delegates chosen in the primary by congressional district is 77. Here is a map of North Carolina's congressional districts.

NC map

Here is a table showing the seven different kinds of delegates North Carolina will send to the convention.

Type of delegate Male/Female Total Pledged? Selection date Selected by
District-level 38/39 77 Yes May 17 CD-level caucuses
PLEO 6/6 12 Yes June 21 State convention
At-large 11/15 26 Yes June 21 State convention
Add-ons 1/1 2 No June 21 State convention
DNC members 3/6 9 No N/A Ex officio
Governor 1/0 1 No N/A Ex officio
Representatives 7/0 7 No N/A Ex officio

The Democrats take gender balance to the extreme and mandate a 50-50 split, except in districts with an odd number of delegates where they grudgingly accept inequality provide it balances out statewide. In North Carolina, Obama faces the same problem Clinton had in Ohio: it doesn't matter who wins, everybody gets about the same number of delegates. This effect is due to the large number of districts with an even number of delegates. Here is the breakdown by CD.

CD Males Females Total Cities PVI Party Representative
1 3 3 6 Roanoke Rapids D+9 D G.K. Butterfield
2 3 3 6 Raleigh R+3 D Bob Etheridge
3 2 2 4 Greenville R+15 R Walter Jones
4 4 5 9 Chapel Hill D+6 D David Price
5 3 2 5 Boone R+15 R Virginia Foxx
6 2 3 5 Asheboro R+17 R Howard Coble
7 3 3 6 Wilmington R+3 D Mike McIntyre
8 3 2 5 Albemarle R+3 R Robin Hayes
9 3 3 6 Mount Holly R+12 R Sue Wilkins-Myrick
10 2 3 5 Morganton R+15 R Patrick McHenry
11 3 3 6 Asheville R+7 D Heath Shuler
12 4 3 7 Charlotte D+11 D Mel Watt
13 3 4 7 Greensboro D+2 D Brad Miller
  38 39 77        

Now on to Congress. Swing State Project has a list of the top 75 congressional districts where the incumbent is running for reelection. The districts are rated by the ratio of challenger's money to inclumbent's money. The top district is ID-01, where challenger Walt Minnick (D) has outraised incumbent Bill Sali (R) by a factor of 2.6x. In the 27 districts where the incumbent is a Democrat, the incumbent has an average of $958,000 on hand and the challenger has an average of $375,000, a ratio of 2.6. In the 43 districts with a Republican incumbent, the incumbent has raised an average of $713,000 to the challenger's $367,000, a ratio of 1.9.

Thus the Democrats have done somewhat better at raising money. But there is another factor. The DCCC has $44 million in the bank to the NRCC's $7 million. Suppose each party picks 50 top races they really want to win, either as the incumbent or the challenger. Rep. Chris Van Hollen, DCCC chairman, can dump $880,000 into each race, which roughly doubles the cash on hand for incumbents and more than triples it for challengers. Rep. Tom Cole, NRCC chairman, can ante up only $140,000 per district, which hardly makes a dent. To match Van Hollen, Cole is going to have to make tough choices, basically abandoning many districts. It is most likely he will spend his limited bank account playing defense, trying to avoid losing more seats, whereas Van Hollen is surely going to play offense and try to pick up many new seats. If you want to play with the data, here they are in .csv format.

Finding out what actually happened in the second round of the Nevada caucuses has been quite difficult. Here is a story in the L.A. Times saying Obama won more delegates than Clinton, 13 to 12, but that could yet change. For the time being, Nevada gets colored tan on the Democratic primaries map to indicate a split decision.

Since the Democrats don't have a candidate yet, the DNC is starting to run ads against John McCain. Want to get a preview of how the Democrats will attack McCain in the Fall? Here's the ad. Executive summary: Having Americans die in Iraq for 100 years is fine with McCain. The RNC hasn't started advertising yet, but since it has a lot more money than the DNC, it is certainly going to when it is ready.

Another theme we can expect in future ads is McCain's position on abortion. A direct quote from his Website is: John McCain believes Roe v. Wade is a flawed decision that must be overturned ... . Almost nobody knows this. They will by November. If Obama wins the nomination, an ad publicizing McCain's position on abortion will surely be targeted at Clinton supporters who now say they will vote for McCain if Clinton loses the nomination. If Clinton wins the nomination, she will run such ads, too, as she has been strongly pro-choice her whole life and it draws a bright line between her and McCain.

No new polls today.

The polling results for all primaries and caucuses are available as a Web page and in .csv format.

Here are the delegate totals from various news sources rounded to integers (Democrats Abroad has 22 delegates, each with 1/2 vote). The sources differ because in most caucus states, no delegates to the national conventions have been chosen yet, just delegates to the district, county, or state convention so there is some guesswork involved. Furthermore, some of the unpledged delegates are elected at state conventions in May or June. Finally, the PLEOs (Party Leaders and Elected Officials) sometimes waver and may tell different reporters slightly different stories that they interpret differently.


Source Clinton Obama BHO-HRC
Washington Post 1593 1724 +131
NY Times 1579 1721 +142
AP 1593 1724 +131
CNN 1589 1724 +135
ABC 1587 1726 +139
CBS 1586 1718 +132
MSNBC 1596 1728 +132

Needed to win: 2024

Here is another source for delegate totals.

-- The Votemaster
WWW www.electoral-vote.com