Jul. 19 absentee ballot for overseas voters

Obama 312   McCain 199   Ties 27
Senate Dem 57   GOP 43  
House Dem 239   GOP 196  

Senate map and races
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strong Dem Strong Dem (211)
weak Dem Weak Dem (35)
barely Dem Barely Dem (66)
tied Exactly tied (27)
barely GOP Barely GOP (18)
weak GOP Weak GOP (95)
strong GOP Strong GOP (86)
270 Electoral votes needed to win
Map algorithm explained
Presidential polls today: AK ME VA RSS
Dem pickups (vs. 2004): CO IN IA MT NV NM OH GOP pickups (vs. 2004): (None) PDA

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Trail Mix Note to Readers
Signs Point to an Electoral Map Shift Obama Will Not Speak at Brandenburg Gate

News from the Votemaster

Former senator Phil Gramm stepped down as co-chairmain of John McCain's campaign after saying that Americans are whining too much about the economy. Barack Obama instantly responded that maybe they are whining because Republican mismanagement of the economy has resulted in $4 gas, record housing foreclosures, job losses, and other economic misery for millions of people. McCain apparently realized that Gramm was going to be a lightning rod for criticism that Republicans don't care about average people and presto, Gramm vanished.

Swing State Project has a summary of second quarter Senate fundraising. Here are the data for the races already reporting. The second quarter and cash-on-hand numbers are in thousands of dollars.

State Democrat 2nd Qtr Cash Republican 2nd Qtr Cash
Alaska Mark Begich $1035 $804 Ted Stevens* $745 $1681
Colorado Mark Udall $2039 $3958 Bob Schaffer $1431 $2817
Idaho Larry LaRocco $233 $242 Jim Risch $637 $1022
Kentucky Bruce Lunsford $3098 $1341 Mitch McConnell* $3021 $9136
Louisiana Mary Landrieu* $1541 $5515 John Kennedy $1458 $2706
Maine Tom Allen $1001 $3129 Susan Collins* $1056 $5133
Minnesota Al Franken $2337 $4216 Norm Coleman* $2390 $7209
Mississippi-B Ronnie Musgrove $821 $716 Roger Wicker* $1050 $2953
Nebraska Scott Kleeb $700 $454 Mike Johanns $683 $1247
New Hampshire Jeanne Shaheen $1630 $2158 John Sununu* $1135 $5105
New Jersey Frank Lautenberg* $1849 $1291 Dick Zimmer $752 $411
New Mexico Tom Udall $2168 $2889 Steven Pearce $1209 $533
North Carolina Kay Hagan $1538 $1214 Elizabeth Dole* $1690 $2706
Oklahoma Andrew Rice $452 $748 Jim Inhofe* $890 $2459
Oregon Jeff Merkley $1913 $569 Gordon Smith* $1332 $4452
Texas Rick Noriega $966 $916 John Cornyn* $1697 $9368
Virginia Mark Warner $2929 $5103 Jim Gilmore $480 $117

Three presidential polls today. In Virginia, Obama and McCain are tied at 44% each. This is going to be a squeaker. In Maine, Obama has a solid 46% to 36% lead. Maine, like Nebraska, splits its electoral votes by congressional district, but there is little chance that Maine will split and only slightly more chance that Nebraska will. Alaska is safe for McCain.

State Obama McCain Start End Pollster
Alaska 41% 51% Jul 14 Jul 16 Research 2000
Maine 46% 36% Jul 17 Jul 17 Rasmussen
Virginia 44% 44% Jul 16 Jul 16 Rasmussen

We have three states that are exact ties now (Missouri, North Dakota, and Virgina), but also seven more that are "barely" one way or the other. Anything with a white center on the map is a statistical tie. What is noticeable, however, is that Obama's lead in the strong+weak category is 246 electoral votes to 181, quite a substantial base for Obama to build on. He needs only 24 of the 111 up for grabs.

In the Senate we have polls for three competitive races. The closest one is Alaska, where Anchorage mayor Mark Begich (D) is trying to to unseat Sen. Ted Stevens (R-AK), who has been in the Senate since Methuselah was in short pants. It's very close. This year normally cold Alaska is very hot. In Maine, Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) is holding her own against Rep. Tom Allen (D), who already represents half the state in the House. He now has to somehow convince the other half.

State Democrat D-pct Republican R-pct Start End Pollster
Alaska Mark Begich 47% Ted Stevens* 45% Jul 14 Jul 16 Research 2000
Maine Tom Allen 42% Susan Collins* 49% Jul 17 Jul 17 Rasmussen
Virginia Mark Warner 57% Jim Gilmore 34% Jul 16 Jul 16 Rasmussen

A poll in the open seat in VA-11 taken by Lake Research puts Gerry Connolly (D) ahead of Keith Fimian (R) by 52% to 21%. Lake Research is a Democratic firm so this number won't go in our data base because the partisan companies like Lake and Strategic Vision (R) can't be trusted but even these guys wouldn't make up a 30-point gap. Probably the Democrats are going to pick up this seat from which Tom Davis (R) is retiring. The demographics of the district, hard by D.C. and covering Prince William and Fairfax counties, has changed over the years and become much more Democratic basically changing Virginia from a Southern state to a Middle Atlantic state.

Another partisan poll by Public Opinion Strategies (R) in WI-08 puts incumbent Rep. Steve Kagen (D) ahead of challenger John Gard (R) 46% to 42%. When a partisan firm says its candidate is behind, it is usually true. It's when the firm reports its candidate winning that the alarms should go off. Like the Lake report, this one also does not go in the data base.

A poll by Research 2000 (which is nonpartisan) puts Ethan Berkowitz ahead of Rep. Don Young (R-AK) 50% to 40%, but Young first has to get past a tough primary challenge from Lt. Gov. Sean Parnell before he can face Berkowitz.

-- The Votemaster

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