Jul. 14 absentee ballot for overseas voters

Obama 320   McCain 204   Ties 14
Senate Dem 55   GOP 45  
House Dem 239   GOP 196  

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strong Dem Strong Dem (183)
weak Dem Weak Dem (56)
barely Dem Barely Dem (81)
tied Exactly tied (14)
barely GOP Barely GOP (23)
weak GOP Weak GOP (101)
strong GOP Strong GOP (80)
270 Electoral votes needed to win
Map algorithm explained
Presidential polls today: WI RSS
Dem pickups (vs. 2004): CO IN IA MT NM OH VA GOP pickups (vs. 2004): (None) PDA

News from the Votemaster

One of the things that may set 2008 apart from 2004 is the immense efforts the parties are doing to register new voters. So far, the Democrats are doing a better job. For example, in Florida, the Democrats have registered 107,000 new voters compared to 17,000 for the Republicans. If each of the new voters votes for his or her own party, that's a net gain of 90,000 votes for the Democrats. Remember that George Bush won Florida by 537 votes in 2000, so 90,000 is a serious number. Of course party registration is not everything, but it does matter.

The Green Party has nominated former congresswoman Cynthia McKinney and community organizer Rosa Clemente as its 2008 ticket. McKinney is a former Democratic representative from Georgia. She was elected to the House in 1994 from a 64%-black district and was reelected three times until she was defeated in the Democratic primary by a totally unknown DeKalb County Commissioner in 2002. She came back and was elected again in 2004 when the incumbent, Denise Majette, ran for the Senate. She ran for reelection in 2006 and lost in the primary. She is most famous for trying to enter the House without her pin identifying her as a representative and when a capitol police officer questioned her, she punched him in the chest. Cynthia McKinney
Rosa Clemente
It is hard to understand what the Green Party is thinking. In 2000, Ralph Nader got 2.7% of the national vote on the Green ticket. In 2004, the Green candidate, David Cobb dropped to 0.1% of the vote (120,000 votes nationally). While some day a party might be able to win by running two unknown black women, 2008 is not that time. People who don't like Obama or McCain have two high-profile alternatives this year, Ralph Nader and Bob Barr, the Libertarian Party candidate. It appears that the Green Party is trying to commit political suicide. If it had picked a candidate known for something more than punching a police officer, it might have had a chance to at least get 0.1% like in 2004. Better luck in 2012. The Green Party's only hope is that rich Republicans shower money on it in hopes of hurting Obama. But it is a slim hope as McCain will be pleading for that cash himself. Ralph Nader
David Cobb

Interestingly enough, green parties in other countries have a real influence. In 1998, the German Green Party got 6.7% of the vote, 47 seats in parliament and entered into a governing coalition with the Social Democrats. Three of its leaders became cabinet ministers, including the foreign minister. But it achieved this by running top-tier candidates and focusing on getting as many votes as it could.

The economy is already the central issue of the election but it is about to get even more attention. While proclaiming that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are perfectly healthy, federal officials are busy preparing a massive taxpayer bailout of these private, publicly traded companies, where shady accounting practices have reigned for years. Most people don't understand this, but in the old days, if you wanted to buy a house, you'd go to a bank and if your credit was good the bank would give you a mortgage and you would pay the bank every month. Nowadays, the bank doesn't care if your credit is good because it immediately resells your mortgage to another company, which packages it with many other mortgages and gives the package to Wall Street to divide up into shares to be sold to investors. As a result of the mortgage meltdown, pretty much all private capital has vanished from the mortgage market, leaving only Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (which were created by Congress) to buy mortgages. Consequently, their bankruptcies would have dire and instantaneous consequences for the financial markets. They are in trouble because they made bad business decisions packaging thousands of loans that had no hope of ever being repaid into large bundles which then miraculously would be good investments. It will be interesting to watch how the candidates react to the government bailout. Will Barack Obama let greedy private companies off the hook to make sure Americans can still get mortgages? Will John McCain stay true to his philosophy that the market knows best and oppose a government handout? Stay tuned. The NY Times has more.

Many of the potential Veeps are politicians currently in office. If any one of them is elected Vice President, succession becomes an issue. In some cases, the successor will be from the other party, which is a factor to be considered. Swing State Project compiled a list of potential Veeps and the consequences of their winning. Here is an expanded version of the list.

Potential Veep Consequence of the candidate being elected Vice President
Evan Bayh Appointment by newly elected governor, probably Mitch Daniels (R)
Joe Biden Appointment by new governor (safe D)
Hillary Clinton Appointment by Gov. David Paterson (D)
Chuck Hagel No vacancy created
Tim Kaine Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling (R) becomes governor of Virginia
Claire McCaskill Appointment by new governor (leans D)
Jack Reed Appointment by Gov. Don Carcieri (R)
Ed Rendell Lt. Gov. Catherine Baker Knoll (D) becomes governor of Pennsylvania
Bill Richardson Lt. Gov. Diane Denish (D) becomes governor of New Mexico
Kathleen Sebelius Lt. Gov. Mark Parkinson (D) becomes governor of Kansas

Potential Veep Consequence of the candidate being elected Vice President
Eric Cantor Special election is held in VA-07 (R+11)
Charlie Crist Lt. Gov. Jeff Kottkamp (R) becomes governor of Florida
Carly Fiorina No vacancy created
Bobby Jindal Lt. Gov. Mitch Landrieu (D) becomes governor of Louisiana
Mike Huckabee No vacancy created
Sarah Palin Lt. Gov. Sean Parnell (R) might become governor of Alaska
Tim Pawlenty Lt. Gov. Carol Molnau (R) becomes governor of Minnesota
Rob Portman No vacancy created
Tom Ridge No vacancy created
Mitt Romney No vacancy created
Mark Sanford Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer (R) becomes governor of South Carolina
John Thune Appointment by Gov. Mike Rounds (R)

If either Evan Bayh or Jack Reed is elected Vice President, a Senate seat will (likely) flip. DSCC chairman Chuck Schumer will probably wring Obama's neck if picks either of these. But Obama surely understands that the Democrats are going to come tantalizingly close to 60 seats in the Senate and that even 58 is a lot better than 57 since the former requires peeling off only two Republicans instead of three on any given cloture vote. A choice of Tim Kaine would hand the Virginia governor's mansion over to the Republicans, but Kaine is term limited and there will be an election before the 2010 redistricting no matter what. With the others, no damage is done.

For McCain, only two choices are problematical. If he picks Gov. Sarah Palin (R), a biker chick who would add immense pizazz to the ticket (and probably overshadow not only McCain but also Obama), in principle Lt. Gov. Sen Parnell (R) becomes governor. Only Parnell is running for the House and might well win if he can beat the corrupt incumbent, Don Young (R-AK), in the primary. At that point Parnell could either resign the governorship or his seat in Congress. If he chooses to be a congressman, the President of the state senate appears to be next in line. Despite its being the smallest legislative body in the United States (only 20 state senators), Alaska state senate politics is truly bizarre. Republicans currently control 11 seats and Democrats 9, but the Republicans are badly divided and there is a coalition of the 9 Democrats and 6 Republicans who run the place under the leadership of Texas-born nominal Republican Lyda Green. Does McCain understand all this? Does he care? Palin would add incredible zip to the ticket.

Another widely mentioned potential Veep is Gov. Piyush "Bobby" Jindal (R-LA). As a young Indian-American, he would attract young voters and people of color. However, in Louisiana's eccentric politics, the lieutant governor is Democrat Mitch Landrieu, brother of Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA), so the state house would flip. That's not so awful, but in 2010 Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) is up for reelection. Unlike Eliot Spitzer, Vitter has managed to escape his prostitution scandal so far, but that will surely come up in 2010 and being governor would position Mitch Landrieu to have a good shot at setting up the first brother-sister act in the Senate. As things look now, we are likely to have first cousins in the next Senate (Mark Udall in CO and Tom Udall in NM) but no Senate sibs although Sen. Carl Levin's brother, Sandy, is a representative. Sen. Ken Salazar (D-CO) and Rep. John Salazar (CO-03) are also brothers.

One poll today. Obama is well ahead in Wisconsin.

State Obama McCain Start End Pollster
Wisconsin 50% 39% Jul 08 Jul 08 Rasmussen

-- The Votemaster

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