Jul. 18 absentee ballot for overseas voters

Obama 325   McCain 199   Ties 14
Senate Dem 56   GOP 44  
House Dem 239   GOP 196  

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strong Dem Strong Dem (211)
weak Dem Weak Dem (35)
barely Dem Barely Dem (79)
tied Exactly tied (14)
barely GOP Barely GOP (21)
weak GOP Weak GOP (95)
strong GOP Strong GOP (83)
270 Electoral votes needed to win
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Presidential polls today: AR NC NV RSS
Dem pickups (vs. 2004): CO IN IA MT NV NM OH VA GOP pickups (vs. 2004): (None) PDA

PW logo Having Technical Problems... Will Resume Posting Soon PPP Poll: McCain Holds Small Lead in South Carolina
Clinton Asks to Keep Campaign Donations Quote of the Day
More Americans Positive About Iraq Rangel in Trouble?

News from the Votemaster

Barack Obama raised $52 million in June. It was his second best month ever, just slightly behind the $55 million he raised in February. But to fulfill his ambitious plans to compete in all 50 states, he has to raise at least this amount every month from now on. In contrast, John McCain doesn't have to raise any money for the general election. Because he chose public financing, he will get $84 million as soon as he is officially nominated. Thus Obama will have to spend a lot of time fundraising and McCain will not. On the other hand, if Obama can raise more than $84 million, he is free to spend it all. The average contribution to Obama in June was $68 and all of these small donors can be hit up again and again.

The Democrats are going to win big in the House this year. There are 35 districts in which the Republican who won a seat in 2006 is not running in 2008 vs. only 11 where the 2006 Democratic winner is not running. Combine this with the DCCC's 7-to-1 fundraising advantage and you begin to see the magnitude of the GOP's problem. In 2006, not a single Democratic incumbent was defeated in the general election. However, victory often sows the seeds of the winner's destruction. The Democrats now hold a number of seats in what is basically hostile territory and the Republicans will try mightily to reclaim them. CQ politics has a story on the Republicans' top five chances. All five of these are on the Hot House races page (along with 52 other competitive races). Here is the low-down on these five.

AL-05      PVI: R+6

Challenger Challenger Notes
Parker Griffith

Wayne Parker

Bud Cramer (D) is retiring. In theory, an open seat in an R+6 district ought to go to the Republican, but an open seat in nearby MS-01, which is even more Republican, just went to the Democrat by 8 points. Two Republicans slugged it out in the primary, and wealthy insurance executive Wayne Parker won. Lawn signs that say "Parker for Congress" better have a party logo on them (but see below).

FL-16      PVI: R+2

Incumbent Challenger Notes
Tim Mahoney

no R

FL-16 is Mark "Pedophile" Foley's district. It leans Republican but Mahoney won it because Foley's name was still on the ballot. It isn't in 2008. On the other hand, Mahoney is a conservative Christian and may be able to hold it under his own steam. Several Republicans are competing in the Aug. 26 primary, none of them top drawer.

KS-02      PVI: R+7

Incumbent Challenger Notes
Nancy Boyda

no R

This upset by Democrat Nancy Boyda (D) was completely under the radar. Nobody saw it coming in this R+7 district. But the Democratic wave was just too strong for incumbent Jim Ryun. But the Republicans are fighting hard to get it back. Former incumbent Jim Ryun wants a rematch. However, he will first have to defeat state treasurer Lynn Jenkins in what is already a bitter primary fight. The primary is Aug. 5.

LA-06      PVI: R+7

Incumbent Challenger Notes
Don Cazayoux

Bill Cassidy

Earlier this year Don Cazayoux won this open seat in a special election. In November he has to defend it. In the special election, the Republicans threw the book at him, trying to tie him to Barack Obama and calling him "Don Tax-a-you." It didn't work. Now he is an incumbent. However, the Republican turnout will be stonger in the general election than it was in the special election. Also, Cazayoux' special election opponent has dropped out of the race and been replaced by a far stronger one, state senator Bill Cassidy. Also, the Republicans got a really lucky break here when Democratic state representative, Michael Jackson, filed to run as an independent. He is black and although he has no chance to win, he might well pull enough black voters to defeat Cazayoux.

TX-22      PVI: R+15

Incumbent Challenger Notes
Nick Lampson

Pete Olson

This is Tom DeLay's district. Nick Lampson won, in part, because in 2006 his opponent had to run a write-in campaign as a result of a court decision that did not allow DeLay to change his residence to Virginia and get off the ballot. This time Lampson will face a serious challenge in this heavily Republican district from Pete Olson, chief-of-staff for Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX). This is one of the most heavily Republican districts in the country with a Democratic congressman and is probably the GOP's best pickup opportunity for 2008.

The race in AL-05 is going to be a battle of the signs. Here are the candidates' signs. Can you tell which is for the Democrat and which is for the Republican? (Hint: the Democrats' color is blue).

A very hot issue among pollsters is what to do about people who have only a cell phone? By law, automatic dialing systems (like those used by Rasmussen and SurveyUSA) cannot call them. The Pew Research Center has now issued a study on this subject. Among people who do not have a landline Obama is leading 61% to 32%. Among people with a landline and a cell phone but who don't use the landline for voice (typically it is used for Internet) Obama's lead is 49% to 43%. Among landline users, the lead is 46% to 41%. As we stated before, don't confused correlation with causality. Very likely the cell-only people are largely under 30, a group that is strongly for Obama. Pollsters can easily counter the lack of calls to cell-only voters by weighting their samples to be sure to include enough 18-29 year olds. But clearly as the number of cell-only users increases, the problem is only going to get worse.

Three new polls today. Nevada, which is always a swing state, is now a statistical tie, with Obama up by 2 points. Perhaps more interesting, though, is North Carolina, which is definitely not a swing state. McCain's lead here is only 5 points. Obama's campaign is going to put a huge amount of effort into voter registration here, so this one might be closer than expected. Even if Obama does nothing but force McCain to spend money in what should be a freebie, it will serve his purposes.

State Obama McCain Start End Pollster
Arkansas 37% 47% Jul 14 Jul 14 Rasmussen
North Carolina 42% 45% Jul 15 Jul 15 Rasmussen
Nevada 42% 40% Jul 16 Jul 16 Rasmussen

Sen. Liddy Dole (R-NC) has a solid lead over Kay Hagan (D) in the North Carolina Senate race. However, there are reports that DSCC chairman Chuck Schumer has reserved $6 million worth of television time for Hagan. Seems like bluster though. While Schumer has a lot of money, he doesn't have infinite money. Still, the DSCC will surely help Hagan here.

State Democrat D-pct Republican R-pct Start End Pollster
North Carolina Kay Hagan 41% Elizabeth Dole* 53% Jul 15 Jul 15 Rasmussen

-- The Votemaster

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