Aug. 15 absentee ballot for overseas voters

Obama 275   McCain 250   Ties 13
Senate Dem 56   GOP 43   1 tie
House Dem 242   GOP 193  

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This day in 2004

strong Dem Strong Dem (165)
weak Dem Weak Dem (85)
barely Dem Barely Dem (25)
tied Exactly tied (13)
barely GOP Barely GOP (85)
weak GOP Weak GOP (34)
strong GOP Strong GOP (131)
270 Electoral votes needed to win
Map algorithm explained
Presidential polls today: CO MN TX RSS
Dem pickups (vs. 2004): IN IA NM GOP pickups (vs. 2004): (None) PDA

PW logo Obama, McCain Will Appear at Faith Forum McCain Has Big Fundraising Month
Edwards Cover Up Continues Why the Tabloids Got the Edwards Story First
Obama Planning Event in Virginia Udall Leads in Colorado

News from the Votemaster

Leaners and Likely Voters

Several people have asked why the numbers on EVP do not agree with Real Clear Politics for Rasmussen. The difference is that Rasmussen publishes two sets of numbers: with and without leaners. RCP uses the data with leaners and EVP uses the data without them. Rasmussen himself posts the data without leaners very prominently in nice box score format on his own Website. The data with leaners is buried in the text. This suggests that he doesn't have much faith in the with-leaner data this early in the year. If someone really hasn't made up his or her mind and you push hard enough to get a choice, that data may not be worth much. Anyway, that's why there is a difference. It's normally not more than 1-2% difference anyway.

Another issue is that some pollsters use all registered voters and some try to figure out who will actually vote by asking questions like: "Are you going to vote?" Or better yet: "Do you have [a lot/some/a little/no] interest in the election?" Or "Did you vote in 2006? In 2004? Every pollster has a different (secret) screen for likely voters. Given a choice, we use the "likely voter" data, but often there is no choice.

Young Evangelicals Up for Grabs

While older white evangelicals vote Republican automatically, younger ones are openly questioning the idea that all Jesus cares about is abortion and homosexuality. Many of them, inspired by Rick Warren (author of the best-selling The Purpose Driven Life), are beginning to see global poverty, AIDS, and climate change as moral issues. This could spell enormous trouble for John McCain in this election and Republicans generally in the years to come since about a third of the Republican base consists of evangelicals. While Barack Obama hasn't sealed the deal with the young evangelicals, he is working very hard to convince them that the Bible instructs people to love and serve others and be good stewards of the earth. Both Obama and McCain will visit Warren's Saddleback church tomorrow. If Obama can convince large numbers of young evangelicals that his message is closer to Scripture than the Republicans', the GOP has a big problem.

Bush: Fundraiser-in-Chief

While President Bush's job approval has tanked, he has been a smash hit on the rubber chicken circuit. He has raised $968 million for the Republican Party in total and $70 million this year alone. John McCain doesn't especially like Bush much personally after what happened in 2000 and has voted against some of his key bills (like the Bush tax cuts) but likes his money very much. The current model is that Bush raises the money from well-heeled Republican donors and passes it on the the party quietly, so he doesn't have to be seen together with McCain. When was the last time an incumbent President slunk off quietly?

The Problem with Partisan Pollsters

Cole, Hargrave, Snodgrass, a Republican pollster, just released a poll showing challenger Dick Zimmer (R) to be slightly ahead of Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) in the Senate race there, 36% to 35%. The only problem is that the average of the five most recent nonpartisan polls (from Quinnipiac U., Rasmussen, Monmouth U., Rasmussen, and Fairleigh Dickinson U, respectively), show Lautenberg ahead by an average of 13%. Can Rasmussen (who has a decent track record) and three universities be wrong and CHS be right? Don't count on it. Did Lautenberg have a "macaca moment"? No. Was he caught fooling around, like Edwards, Vitter, and Craig? No (but at 84 that might be seen as a plus). So what's up? Maybe CHS made up the numbers to please its client? This is why we don't count the partisan pollsters and don't put their esteemed work in the data base. This is not to say everything all of them they do is garbage. PPP (D) seems like an honest outfit on the whole, but since they work only for Democrats and progressive groups, we don't include their polls and just stick to the independent companies like SurveyUSA, Gallup, Mason-Dixon, etc., and the universities.

Today's Polls

The Colorado presidential race is apparently tightening up. For the first time this year, Rasmussen has John McCain ahead in Colorado, albeit by an insignificant 47% to 45%. Colorado may be one of the new key battleground states (along with Virginia) this year. Bears watching. Also, in Minnesota McCain is catching up, although Obama still maintains a thin lead there, 46% to 42%. If McCain picks Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R-MN) as Veep and with the GOP convention in St. Paul, the Republicans have a small chance to win Minnesota, but the odds are against it.

State Obama McCain Start End Pollster
Colorado 45% 47% Aug 13 Aug 13 Rasmussen
Minnesota 46% 42% Aug 13 Aug 13 Rasmussen
Texas 33% 43% Jul 18 Jul 30 U. of Texas

While Colorado may be a statistical tie for President, in the Senate race there, Rep. Mark Udall (D) has maintained a consistent lead all year over former representative Bob Schaffer (R). Two new polls confirm his lead. In Minnesota, Rasmussen says Sen. Norm Coleman (R) and his challenger Al Franken (D) are tied at 45%. Coleman has been leading most of the year there. Finally, Virginia is a complete blowout, with Mark Warner going to win in a landslide. Warner was selected as the Democratic Convention's keynote speaker not to help him in his own race but to put the spotlight on Virginia and help Obama win the state.

State Democrat D-pct Republican R-pct Start End Pollster
Colorado Mark Udall 44% Bob Schaffer 38% Aug 11 Aug 13 Rocky Mtn Poll
Colorado Mark Udall 47% Bob Schaffer 41% Aug 13 Aug 13 Rasmussen
Minnesota Al Franken 45% Norm Coleman* 45% Aug 13 Aug 13 Rasmussen
Virginia Mark Warner 59% Jim Gilmore 33% Aug 12 Aug 12 Rasmussen

One House poll today. In VA-06 Bob Goodlatte (R) is heading towards an easy reelection victory.

State Democrat D-pct Republican R-pct Start End Pollster
VA-06 Sam Rasoul 30% Bob Goodlatte* 59% Aug 11 Aug 13 SurveyUSA

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-- The Votemaster