Jun. 26 absentee ballot for overseas voters

Obama 317   McCain 194   Ties 27
Senate Dem 56   GOP 44  
House Dem 238   GOP 197  

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strong Dem Strong Dem (172)
weak Dem Weak Dem (40)
barely Dem Barely Dem (105)
tied Exactly tied (27)
barely GOP Barely GOP (38)
weak GOP Weak GOP (51)
strong GOP Strong GOP (105)
270 Electoral votes needed to win
Map algorithm explained
Presidential polls today: CA MO NE RSS
Dem pickups (vs. 2004): CO IN IA NM OH VA GOP pickups (vs. 2004): (None) PDA

PW logo Debate Formats Proposed In Texas, Cornyn in Tight Race for Re-Election
Quote of the Day Guns No Longer an Issue
Lautenberg Looks Likely to Hold Senate Seat Oregon Senate Race Very Competitive

News from the Votemaster

Taegan Goddard at Political Insider notes that the Republicans have squandered their opportunity to "define" Barack Obama during the primary season and the past few weeks. They have called him too many contradictory things. Is he:

      - an elite country clubber or a guy with a strange name raised b y a hippie?
      - a Christian with a controversial pastor or a secret Muslim?
      - a black activist who hates whitey or an Ivy League lawyer who doesn't understand Joe Sixpack?
      - someone who is naive or someone who is a Washington insider?

He can't be all of them at once. Now it is too late to define him as Obama, backed by tons of money, will be defining himself very soon.

Another Republican congressman has been unseated, this time by a fellow Republican. Six-term congressman Chris Cannon of UT-03 lost a primary to businessman Jason Chaffetz. Although Chaffetz' father's first wife was Kitty Dukakis, Chaffetz attacked Cannon from the right. Since the district is R+22, Chaffetz is as good as elected at this point.

In the past few days we have gone over all the Republican governors and senators. Of course, John McCain does not have to chose a governor or senator as his running mate. But the set of other potential candidates is a bit too large to enumerate all of them. Still here are some names which have been bandied about.

  • Mike Bloomberg might fit the bill if McCain wants to move to the center and attract independents and to hell with the Base. He's not a Republican anymore, but he used to be. His pro-choice, pro-gay-rights, and anti-gun stands might even attract Democrats. One can argue that being mayor of New York City is the second toughest job in the country, and Bloomberg gets kudos from all sides for doing it well. But Bloomberg didn't run for President and if he didn't want to be #1, it isn't likely that he'd want to be #2.
  • Jeb Bush used to be governor of Florida, a key swing state and is a lot more competent than his older brother. But the Democrats would be screaming: "Bush III" which would not be helpful.
  • Eric Cantor is the deputy Republican whip in the House, is from Virginia, which must hold, and is the only Jewish Republican in the House (which might help in Florida). He is also 44, which gives the ticket some youth to counter Obama.
  • Rudy Giuliani would be a reasonable choice if McCain wants to focus the campaign on terrorism. Giuliani can discuss the subject, 16, 17, 18 hours a day if need be. He might also appeal to independents although the Base would growl at his stands on the social issues and his numerous marriages.
  • Mike Huckabee would be the obvious choice if McCain feels the evangelicals don't trust him and are going to stay home. He's relatively young, folksky, and did well during the campaign. His charm is that although he holds extremely conservative views, unlike some conservatives, be does not come over as mean.
  • Joe Lieberman would enrage the Democrats, making him the least popular resident of Connecticut since Benedict Arnold. He would also enrage the base since although he is 100% with McCain on Iraq, he is also pro-choice and generally a moderate on social issues. However, his selection would make the point that McCain is willing to do what he thinks is right and is beholden to no one.
  • Rob Portman served in the House for 12 years (from Ohio) as well as in two cabinet positions, director of the Office of Management and the Budget and U.S. Trade Representative. At 51 he brings youth to the ticket. On the down side, he is closely associated with George Bush.
  • Colin Powell brings unquestioned military and diplomatic experience to the ticket and would emphasize Obama's lack of it. He might also peel off some black voters since both sides would have one.
  • Tom Ridge is the former governor of Pennsylvania and Secretary of the Dept. of Homeland Security. He might not bring in Pennsylvania, but would make Obama fight hard for it. However, he is pro choice, which will only confirm the Base's suspicions that McCain can't be trusted.
  • Mitt Romney was a very successful businessman and plausible presidential candidate. Since McCain has admitted that he doesn't know much about the economy, having someone on the ticket who does would be a huge plus. Romney is also a walking Rorschach test. Conservatives (especially economic ones) see him as a conservative and moderates see him as a moderate. He is (still) a Mormon, which many Southern Baptists are not wild about, but since he would only be #2, they might swallow that.

All in all, it is impossible to say what will happen since this is an election with only one voter and he's not talking. Strange things have happened in the past (think: Dan Quayle). Still, McCain is an experienced politician and knows how to balance the various factors. The key thing is he has to decide if he wants to move to the right to pacify the Base or move to the center to after independents and take his chances with too many conservatives staying home on election day. His best option might be someone sufficiently unknown that he claim all things to all people. People like Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R-MN) and Gov, Mark Sanford (R-SC) or Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) might do the job, but again, probably even McCain doesns't know yet.

We have three presidential polls today. The one in Missouri is important as Missouri is a key swing state and McCain now has a significant lead there.

State Obama McCain Start End Pollster
California 58% 30% Jun 23 Jun 23 Rasmussen
Missouri 43% 50% Jun 20 Jun 22 SurveyUSA
Nebraska 36% 52% Jun 23 Jun 23 Rasmussen

-- The Votemaster

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