Jul. 26 absentee ballot for overseas voters

Obama 292   McCain 195   Ties 51
Senate Dem 57   GOP 43  
House Dem 239   GOP 196  

Senate map and races
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strong Dem Strong Dem (197)
weak Dem Weak Dem (49)
barely Dem Barely Dem (46)
tied Exactly tied (51)
barely GOP Barely GOP (21)
weak GOP Weak GOP (83)
strong GOP Strong GOP (91)
270 Electoral votes needed to win
Map algorithm explained
Presidential polls today: ME NM SC RSS
Dem pickups (vs. 2004): CO IN IA MT NV NM GOP pickups (vs. 2004): (None) PDA

PW logo R2000: McCain Way Ahead in South Carolina Extra Bonus Quote of the Day
Obama Considers Republican for Veep Insiders See Big Gains for Democrats
Republican Senate Candidates Skipping Convention Bonus Quote of the Day

News from the Votemaster

Over half of all Americans (55%) rate Barack Obama's Berlin speech good or excellent according to a Rasmussen poll. In contrast, 41% said it was fair or poor. Rasmussen reported that Obama has gotten a small bounce from the speech and is now leading John McCain by 46% to 41% nationally.

Scratch Sarah. One of the more tantalizing possibilities floating around for the Republican Vice Presidential slot is Gov. Sarah Palin (R-AK). Adding a wildly popular, good-looking young woman to the Republican ticket would add more pop than than equally good looking but more conventional choice of Mitt Romney. But Sarah has a problem. Her sister, who is married to state trooper Mike Wooten, is in the middle of a bitter divorce and child custody battle. According to former state safety commissioner Walt Monegan, Palin pressured him to fire Wooten. When he refused, she fired him out of the blue claiming the department needed new direction. So far it is his word against hers, but until this incident, Palin had only good things to say about Monegan. Even the Republican-controlled state legislature smells a dead fish here and is planning to appoint an independent investigator. With Palin on the ticket, there was always the danger she would overshadow McCain; now it is a certainty. If McCain decides he needs a woman on the ticket, it will probably be Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX). Palin has her hands full surviving as governor at this point. A VP run is out of the question.

Scratch Jack, too. Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI), who accompanied Barack Obama on his world trip, has stated that he likes his job in the Senate and has no interest in being Vice President. (English translation: Dammit. It's my bad luck that Rhode Island has a Republican governor so if Obama picked me we'd lose a Senate seat. Otherwise, my background as a West Point graduate and Army Ranger would make me a fantastic choice. Oh, well. At least it wasn't my fault.)

In other Veep news, the Obama VP team floated the name of former Bush Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman. Don't bet on it. She tangled with the Democratic senators repeatedly when she was in the cabinet, is virtually unknown, and would antagonize his own base. If Obama wants a woman as running mate, Gov. Kathleen Sebelius (D-KS), Gov. Janet Napolitano (D-AZ), or even Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) make a lot more sense. Futhermore, mad cow disease really isn't the issue du jour today. Names get floated for many reasons, often to please some demographic group that candidates they like are being taken seriously. For example, by floating the names of many women, Obama can then safely pick, say, Gov. Bill Richardson (D-NM), and say to women: "I considered many women in this process" when in truth someone like Veneman is absurd as Democratic Veep. She might be a longshot for Republican Veep but in reality she can't hold a candle to Sen. Hutchison if McCain really wants a woman.

While Barack Obama, The DSCC, and the DCCC have all been outraising their Republican counterparts, the one bright spot for the Republicans is the RNC. It now has $69 million cash on hand to spend as it wishes compared to the DNC's $5 million. It isn't so much that the DNC has done a poor job of fundraising. Actually, Howard Dean has raised lots of money, but he is spending it all on his 50-state strategy, opening and staffing offices all over the country, including in all the red states where Democrats normally don't even show up. In contrast, the RNC is saving its pennies to help John McCain in the Fall.

Three new presidential polls today. The only significant one is in New Mexico where Barack Obama continues to lead in this key swing state. Rasmussen puts him ahead 46% to 41%. While New Mexico is not a "must win" state for either candidate, the Mountain West is definitely going to be a battleground, especially New Mexico, Colorado, and Nevada. If Obama can win all three states, he can still amass 270 electoral votes, even without Florida, Ohio, Missouri, and Virginia, all of which will be hotly contested as well. McCain can't afford to lose more than two or three of these at most.

State Obama McCain Start End Pollster
Maine 51% 31% Jun 01 Jun 27 Critical Insights
New Mexico 46% 41% Jul 24 Jul 24 Rasmussen
South Carolina 40% 53% Jul 22 Jul 23 Research 2000

Two new Senate polls today. Critical Insights has Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) ahead of Rep. Tom Allen (D) 51% to 37% in the Maine Senate race. This poll was taken in June so it doesn't mean a lot, but it will go into the data base anyway for the historical record. Note that since it is the polling dates that matter, not the release date, it can happen that a newly released poll has no influence on the map because the software sorts the polls on the midpoint of their collection interval before generating the map. It is the most recent poll and others done within a week of it that count. The other Senate poll shows Rep. Tom Udall (D-NM) with a huge lead over Rep. Steve Pearce (R-NM) in New Mexico.

State Democrat D-pct Republican R-pct Start End Pollster
Maine Tom Allen 37% Susan Collins* 51% Jun 01 Jun 27 Critical Insights
New Mexico Tom Udall 59% Steve Pearce 34% Jul 24 Jul 24 Rasmussen

-- The Votemaster

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