Aug. 25 absentee ballot for overseas voters

Obama 264   McCain 252   Ties 22
Senate Dem 56   GOP 43   Ties 1
House Dem 242   GOP 193  

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tied Exactly tied (22)
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Presidential polls today: AZ CO MI NM NV OH UT WY RSS
Dem pickups (vs. 2004): IA NM GOP pickups (vs. 2004): (None) PDA

PW logo CNN Poll: Presidential Race Dead Even Baseline Polls
CNN Forced Obama to Send Early Text Message Quote of the Day
Mason-Dixon: Western States Remain Battleground The Third Time

News from the Votemaster

The Animations Are Back

The animated maps are back. Again thanks to Colleen Shannon for producing them. Click on "Animated maps" on the menu. What is particular enlightening is to pick a swing state and just focus on that state while watching the entire video.

Democratic National Convention Starts Today

The Democrats are meeting in Denver today to nominate Barack Obama and Joe Biden. The last time the Democrats won with two senators was 1960, with Sen. John Kennedy (D-MA) and Sen. Lyndon Johnson (D-TX). The speaking schedule features many Democratic luminaries. Today the headliner is Michelle Obama. Other speakers today include Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO), Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr. (D-IL), and many others. There will also be a special tribute to Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA), who was recently diagnosed with a brain tumor.

Can the Democratic Parties Unite?

Ted Van Dyk, a former aide to Humbert Humphrey, wrote a piece in the Wall Street Journal asking if the Democrats can recover from 1968. In that year the party ceased being the party of FDR and became two mutually antagonistic parties. One party consisted of working class whites who were socially conservative and interested in bread-and-butter economic issues like stronger unions and a higher minimum wage. The other party consisted of well-off, better educated, voters interested in foreign policy and the environment and who were socially liberal. Their respective candidates were Hubert Humphrey and Gene McCarthy. Bobby Kennedy bridged the gap, but after he was assassinated, the party was torn asunder and has never really recovered. This year, Barack Obama was the new Gene McCarthy and Hillary Clinton was the new Hubert Humphrey and they fought to a near draw. The key question for the Democrats this week is can they put the party back together? One way to do this is to make the focus of the entire convention on economic issues, which both wings of the party regard as important.

John and Cindy McCain Have 10 Houses

With John McCain's houses a major news item now, it was inevitable that someone would make a Google map showing them all. Here is a list of the properties.

No. Location Type Price Bought Owner
1 Phoenix, AZ Condo $4,666,814 2006 Cindy McCain Trust
2 Coronado, CA Condo $2,705,040 ? Dreamcatcher Family
3 Coronado, CA Condo $2,100,000 2008 Dreamcatcher Family
4 Sedona, AZ House $405,707 ? Cindy McCain Trust
5 Sedona, AZ House $369,929 ? Cindy McCain Trust
6 Sedona, AZ House $327,929 ? Sedona Hidden Valley Ltd. Partnership
7 La Jolla, CA Condo >$1,000,000 ? Hensley Survivers Trust
8 Arlington, VA Condo $847,800 ? Cindy McCain Trust
9 Phoenix, AZ Loft $700,000 2007 Meghan McCain
10 Phoenix, AZ Loft $700,000 2007 Wild River LLC

The various trusts and companies that own the houses are all controlled by the McCains. There is some uncertainty about the Sedona property (houses 4-6). According to the Yavapai County records, there are three houses on the property, as listed above. However, McCain has stated that there are six houses on the property. The Arizona Republic has described it as one of the most beautiful creekfront properties in the state. Here is additional information about the houses from

Reactions about Biden Continue Pouring in

The news is full of stories about Obama's selection of Joe Biden as his running mate. Most of it is predictable: Democrats think he is wise and adds gravitas to the ticket; Republicans think this demonstrates Obama's need for wisdom and gravitas. The same old spin. However, some people broke with party discipline. For example, Sen. Dick Lugar (R-IN), ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and a heavyweight by any measure issued a statement congratulating Biden. Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA) said "No one on the Democratic side knows more about foreign policy than Sen. Biden." Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-NE) also had only praise for Biden. More comments on Biden here.

Biden's selection complicates John McCain's problem finding a Veep. While Biden makes the occasional gaffe and plagiarized part of a speech 20 years ago, he is clearly qualified to be President if the need arises. McCain's choice is going to be measured by the Biden yardstick. Possibilities like Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R-MN) and former governor Mitt Romney have no foreign policy experience at all. Former governor Tom Ridge was Secretary of the Dept. of Homeland Security, which gives him credibility in the area of national security, but he is pro choice, which will antagonize many conservatives who don't trust McCain to start with.

Biden's Finances

Now that Joe Biden has been selected as the Democratic Veep candidate, his finances are newsworthy. Here are his Senate financial disclosure forms for 2005 and 2006 (anybody know where later forms are?). In 2005 Biden earned $292,030 from his Senate salary, some teaching, and book royalties. In 2006 he earned $185,700 total. He is known as one of the poorest members of the Senate. Oddly enough, that is likely to be a plus this year as he will argue that he understands what life is like for ordinary Americans a lot better than McCain, who has 10 houses.

Democrats Help Republican and Vice Versa

The DCCC is paying good money to help a Republican congressman. The Congressman in question is Rep. Don Young (R-AK), who is up to his ears in corruption allegations although he hasn't been indicted yet as Sen. Ted Stevens (R-AK) has been. So why is DCCC chairman Chris Van Hollen trying to help Young? Because Young is now in a bitter primary with Lt. Gov. Sean Parnell (R-AK). If Young wins the primary, he will be easy prey for former state legislator Ethan Berkowitz (D) in the general election. If Parnell wins the primary, he can probably win the general election as well. So Van Hollen is doing his best to help Young by sending out mailings that nominally attack both of them, but go after Parnell much harder.

Is intervening in the other party's internal affairs cricket? Maybe, but both sides do it. McCain is running a new ad saying Obama make a mistake in picking Biden; he should have picked Hillary Clinton. The ad praises Clinton and shows her attacking Obama. The idea, of course, is to work the PUMA (Party Unity My Ass) voters up into a frenzy so they will detest Obama for not selecting Clinton and then either vote for McCain or stay home on election day.

Today's Polls

We have a lot of presidential polls today from Mason-Dixon. The Interior West continues to be a battleground. Mason-Dixon shows Colorado, New Mexico, and Nevada see-sawing back and forth, as they have done all year. Now Obama is ahead in Colorado but behind in New Mexico and Nevada, but all three are subject to change. Ohio is almost a dead heat, with McCain ahead 42% to 41%. Arizona is also surprisingly close, with McCain ahead by only 6 points in his home state.

State Obama McCain Start End Pollster
Arizona 41% 47% Aug 13 Aug 15 Mason-Dixon
Colorado 46% 43% Aug 13 Aug 15 Mason-Dixon
Colorado 46% 47% Aug 15 Aug 21 Quinnipiac U.
Michigan 43% 41% Aug 18 Aug 21 EPIC-MRA
New Mexico 41% 45% Aug 13 Aug 15 Mason-Dixon
Nevada 39% 46% Aug 13 Aug 15 Mason-Dixon
Ohio 41% 42% Aug 12 Aug 21 Columbus Dispatch
Utah 23% 62% Aug 13 Aug 15 Mason-Dixon
Wyoming 25% 62% Aug 13 Aug 15 Mason-Dixon

CQ Politics has a story about the Democrats efforts to win the West and how they are starting to bear fruit.

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-- The Votemaster