Nov. 22 absentee ballot for overseas voters

Obama 365   McCain 173  
Senate Dem 58   GOP 40   Ties 2
House Dem 255   GOP 175   Ties 5

Senate map and races
Downloadable polling data
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strong Dem Strong Dem (258)
weak Dem Weak Dem (33)
barely Dem Barely Dem (74)
tied Exactly tied (0)
barely GOP Barely GOP (14)
weak GOP Weak GOP (39)
strong GOP Strong GOP (120)
270 Electoral votes needed to win
Map algorithm explained
Presidential polls today: (None) RSS
Dem pickups (vs. 2004): CO FL IN IA NV NM NC OH VA GOP pickups (vs. 2004): (None) PDA SMS

PW logo Obama Will Maintain Chicago Residence Quote of the Day
Coleman's Lead Continues to Shrink in Recount Clinton Will Accept Obama Offer
Geithner Picked for Treasury Richardson to Commerce?

News from the Votemaster

Coleman Clings to a Shrinking Lead

With 64% of the vote recounted, Sen Norma Coleman (R-MN) still leads Democrat Al Franken, but his lead has dropped from 215 votes to 120 votes, a loss of 95 votes. If his loss continues at this rate, Coleman will ultimately lose 148 votes and thus win the election by 67 votes out of 2.9 million cast. However, past vote loss is no guarantee for future vote loss. Coleman might do better or worse with the remaining 36%, which will be recounted next week.

In addition, there are other factors to be considered. First, about 1000 ballots have been challenged. These are ballots that the election judges counted for one of the candidates and which the other candidate's lawyer objected to. A lawyer can object to a ballot that was marked for one candidate but then the voter added additional marks indicating that he or she really meant a different candidate. A lawyer can also object to a ballot that was unambiguously marked by which was invalidated for other (legal) reasons, such as the voter writing his or her name or social security number on the ballot. The challlenged ballots will be examined on Wednesday by a five-man board consisting of the secretary of state, Mark Richie, and four state judges.

In addition to the challenged ballots, there are thousands of absentee ballots that were rejected for various reasons. A court case is pending to have them counted. Often they were rejected for minor infractions of the law, such as no zipcode or the signature on the wrong line. The decision in this case may ultimately determine the election. If the loser doesn't like the decision, the case will probably be appealed at least to the state supreme court and maybe to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Net Gain/Loss in the House since 2002

The National Journal has compiled a list of how many House seats each party has gained or lost since 2002. The Democrats have picked up seats in all regions of the country. By region, the gains are Northeast (+20), South (+6), Midwest (+15), and West (+11). Here is the list sorted by amount of gain per state, using unofficial tallies in those states where the 2008 election is still undecided.

State Dem net
New York +7
Pennsylvania +5
Arizona +3
Colorado +3
Connecticut +3
Florida +3
Illinois +3
Ohio +3
Virginia +3
Iowa +2
Indiana +2
Michigan +2
North Carolina +2
New Hampshire +2
New Mexico +2
Alabama +1
California +1
Georgia +1
Idaho +1
Kentucky +1
Maryland +1
Minnesota +1
Mississippi +1
New Jersey +1
Nevada +1
South Dakota +1
Vermont +1
Wisconsin +1
Alaska 0
Arkansas 0
Delaware 0
Hawaii 0
Kansas 0
Massachusetts 0
Maine 0
Missouri 0
Montana 0
North Dakota 0
Nebraska 0
Oklahoma 0
Oregon 0
Rhode Island 0
South Carolina 0
Tennessee 0
Utah 0
Washington 0
West Virginia 0
Wyoming 0
Louisiana -1
Texas -5

Polling on 2012 Starting

Barack Obama won't even be inaugurated for 2 months and the race for 2012 is already on. Gallup ran a poll among Republicans and Republican leaners asking which candidates they wanted to see run in 2012. Here are the results.

Candidate Yes No No opinion
Sarah Palin 67% 30% 3%
Mitt Romney 62% 32% 5%
Mike Huckabee 61% 33% 6%
David Petraeus 49% 39% 12%
Rudy Giuliani 48% 47% 5%
Newt Gingrich 47% 48% 5%
Bobby Jindal 34% 36% 30%
Jeb Bush 31% 61% 9%
Charlie Crist 23% 46% 31%
Lindsey Graham 21% 53% 25%

The candidate Republicans most want to see run in 2012 is Gov. Sarah Palin (R-AK). However, it is important to keep in mind that as of the summer of 2007, polls and pundits agreed that the 2008 election was going to be a subway series between Hillary Clinton and Rudy Giuliani. Polls this early have some entertainment value and keep political junkies from experiencing withdrawal symptoms, but their predictive value is nil. Palin, in particular, was kept away from the press and did only a couple of interviews, one of which (with Katie Couric) was a disaster. As a presidential candidate, she won't be able to avoid the press and debates with other Republicans and flubs will get huge coverage. Just ask President Quayle.

Mike Huckabee, in contrast, occupies the same niche in the ideological spectrum as Palin, but ran a decent campaign on a shoestring and was the next-to-last man standing in the primaries. In fact, he was getting votes well after McCain had already clinched the nomination. If these end up slugging it out for the evangelical vote, Huckabee appears to be the stronger candidate. Huckabee's main problem is that although he is an evangelical (in fact, an ordained Southern Baptist minister), he is not a real firebrand like Palin and never talks about the "real America" vs. (the unreal America? the imaginary America?). As governor of Arkansas he was quite pragmatic and focused on improving health care in his state. A battle between Palin and Huckabee would be between a candidate the base really gets excited about, but who has virtually no chance of getting elected President and a less exciting one who checks all the right boxes but who would do better in the election because he doesn't alienate independents the way Palin does.

But still, a midterm election is primarily a referendum on the sitting President. If the President is popular, he gets reelected (see: Reagan, Clinton). Otherwise he gets dumped (see: Carter, Bush 41).

If Mitt Romney wants to spend another $40 million of his own money, he can run again and make a credible showing. David Petraeus hasn't exhibited any interest in politics so far, but that could change. If he studies presidential history, however, he will discover that the generals who have been elected President have been generals who decisively won the wars they fought in, like Eisenhower and Grant. In 2008, Giuliani contested only one primary and lost it badly. His time has come and gone. Newt Gingrich is the ghost of Christmas past. Bobby Jindal is a fresh face but not well known. And while Obama had some problems with elderly rural white voters, that didn't matter so much. Jindal, an Indian-American, might run into exactly the same resistance and for him it is critical--it is his base. If Crist--now on his fifth engagement--actually gets married and stays married, he has an outside chance. Lindsey Graham has never been married. Both have the problem that bachelor Presidents are not popular with the family values crowd. Most likely, someone not on the radar at all now will turn up in the next 3 years.

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-- The Votemaster