Aug. 07 absentee ballot for overseas voters

Obama 289   McCain 236   Ties 13
Senate Dem 56   GOP 44  
House Dem 241   GOP 194  

Senate map and races
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strong Dem Strong Dem (170)
weak Dem Weak Dem (66)
barely Dem Barely Dem (53)
tied Exactly tied (13)
barely GOP Barely GOP (44)
weak GOP Weak GOP (95)
strong GOP Strong GOP (97)
270 Electoral votes needed to win
Map algorithm explained
Presidential polls today: AL NJ NY OR RSS
Dem pickups (vs. 2004): CO IN IA NV NM GOP pickups (vs. 2004): (None) PDA

PW logo Symbols of a Campaign? Detroit Mayor Heads to Jail
McCain Offers Prizes for Spam Comments Something to Agree On
The Perils of Polling SurveyUSA: Oregon Remains Very Tight

News from the Votemaster

A lot of Democrats are moaning about the fact that Barack Obama has not been answering John McCain's attack ads with negative ads of his own, for example, focusing on McCain's relationship with convicted felon Charles Keating. But there may be a strategic reason for this silence. McCain has opted in for public financing, which means he must spend all his primary money during the primary season (which ends the day he is formally nominated). Otherwise he loses the money. Obama opted out and has no such restrictions. So Obama is spending a lot of money now on voter registration and is saving money for running ads in the Fall, when many more people are tuned in.

Hillary Clinton said that she wants her delegates to be heard at the convention. Whether she wants her name placed in nomination and a roll call vote taken is not clear yet, but unlikely. She will get a prime time speaking slot at the convention, however. It is interesting to note that Mike Huckabee, Mitt Romney, and the other Republicans who lost their party's nomination are not asking for their delegates to be heard. Clinton is different because (1) she came much closer to winning than the others, and (2) a lot of women really identified with her extremely strongly, in a way that few evangelicals identified with Huckabee or anyone except Mormons identified with Romney. What Clinton says at the convention and what she does in the Fall may determine the election and the future of the party. If she goes all out to elect Obama, then win or lose she will get a lot of credit from Democrats for trying. If she makes a decent speech but then goes back to her Senate work for the next two months, there will be a lot of resentment against her in 2012 and beyond.

CQ Politics has a good story on the polling process and its pitfalls, ranging from mobile voters to a potentially unpredictable turnout. Other problems include the 30-40% of the voters who don't follow the news, hesitation on the part of some voters to admit they would never vote for a black candidate, and undersampling of low-education voters. To top this off, 14% of adults no longer have a landline, and this group is heavily populated by younger people, men, and minorities. Many traditional pollsters turn up their noses at the robopollsters such as Rasmussen and SurveyUSA, but 64% of the polls in our presidential polls data base are from Rasmussen and SurveyUSA. Apparently the news organizations that order polls have enough faith in them to put their money on the line. Both of these have track records at least as good as the others, but robopolling is a contentious topic in the industry.

Four new presidential polls today. The most interesting one is Oregon, where Barack Obama has a slim lead over John McCain, 48% to 45%. While this difference is within the margin of error, this is the 12th consecutive poll showing Obama ahead in Oregon. One of the problems with just looking at the margin of error is that a state like this could be written off as a tossup but when 12 polls in a row all year long give the same result, the odds of this happening by chance are much less than 1 in 1000.

State Obama McCain Start End Pollster
Alabama 34% 47% Jul 29 Aug 04 Capital Survey
New Jersey 48% 40% Aug 04 Aug 04 Rasmussen
New York 52% 32% Aug 04 Aug 04 Rasmussen
Oregon 48% 45% Aug 02 Aug 04 SurveyUSA

In New York and New Jersey, Obama is well ahead and in Alabama, McCain is well ahead.

We also have one Senate race today. Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), who is a decade older than John McCain is miles ahead of his challenger, Dick Zimmer. Age isn't a fatal flaw if the voters like you and think you can do the job.

State Democrat D-pct Republican R-pct Start End Pollster
New Jersey Frank Lautenberg* 51% Richard Zimmer 33% Aug 04 Aug 04 Rasmussen

-- The Votemaster

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