Oct. 02 absentee ballot for overseas voters

Obama 338   McCain 185   Ties 15
Senate Dem 58   GOP 42  
House Dem 241   GOP 193   Ties 1

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This day in 2004

strong Dem Strong Dem (192)
weak Dem Weak Dem (68)
barely Dem Barely Dem (78)
tied Exactly tied (15)
barely GOP Barely GOP (22)
weak GOP Weak GOP (60)
strong GOP Strong GOP (103)
270 Electoral votes needed to win
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Presidential polls today: FL GA IA IN MN MO MS NM NV OH PA TN TX VA RSS
Dem pickups (vs. 2004): CO FL IA NV NM OH VA GOP pickups (vs. 2004): (None) PDA SMS

PW logo McCain Gives Up on Michigan Democracy Corps: Obama Leads in Ohio
Advice for Tonight As Palin Sinks, Obama Surges
Florida Republicans Hold Secret Meeting PPP Poll: Obama Expands Lead in Michigan

News from the Votemaster

Senate Passes $700 billion Bailout Bill

As expected, the Senate passed the $600 billion bailout bill yesterday 74 to 25. Both Barack Obama and John McCain voted for it. It goes to the House for a vote tomorrow. The new bill, which is over 400 pages, is full of random tax cuts (e.g., property tax deductions for people who don't itemize), which is sure to please some conservative House Republicans and infuriate Democrats who think cutting taxes without cutting spending is irresponsible. It is also full of pork designed to please both Democrats (requiring insurance companies to cover mental health) and Republicans ($3 billion for rural schools). It is likely that the number of Republicans gained in the House vote will exceed the number of Democrats lost by more than 13 and the bill will probably pass the House tomorrow. Everybody was too busy adding pork to question the basic premise of whether giving former Goldman Sachs CEO Henry Paulson $250 billion immediately to help out his friends on Wall St. as he sees fit is a good idea.

Vice-Presidential Debate Tonight

Joe Biden and Sarah Palin face off tonight at Washington University in St. Louis. The moderator is PBS reporter Gwen Ifill. Conservative bloggers such as Michelle Malkin are already spinning a potential loss by Palin by saying that Ifill, a black woman, wants Biden to win because she wrote a book on Obama, which will no doubt sell more copies if he wins the election. The LA Times has a story on this controversy. When asked about Ifill, John McCain said: "Gwen Ifill is a professional, and I think she will do a totally objective job."

Although Palin really lit up the race when she was first chosen and the incendiary speech she gave at the Republican National Convention fired up the Republican base in a way McCain never did, the bloom is off the rose. A new poll shows that 60% of the voters see her as insufficiently experienced to be President. More independents are now repelled by Palin than attracted by her. Tonight is her make-or-break chance to get these voters back.

For many people who didn't watch the Republican National Convention, tonight will be the first time they hear Sarah Palin speaking at length. A question that is likely to arise in their minds is: "What kind of an accent does she have?" According to Slate it is your typical Wasillan accent as found all over the Matnuska and Susitna valleys.

Polling the Youth Vote

A lot has been made of whether the pollsters are undercounting young voters this year. There are two issues here: cell phones and turnout. The first point relates to the fact that pollsters generally don't call cell phones, and since many 18-29-year olds don't have a landline, they get missed. One way to compensate for that is to weight that age group more heavily, which brings us to the second point. How big a fraction of the electorate are the 18-29-year olds? We know how big a fraction of the electorate they were in 2004 and we know what fraction of the total population they represent, but we don't know how many will vote this year. Normally, voting is not their thing, but there are many signs that this year will be different and this group favors Barack Obama by a huge margin. Mark Blumenthal has an article on the subject in the National Journal.

Evidence Is Presented at Stevens Trial

At the corruption trial of indicted senator Ted Stevens (R-AK) evidence is being presented. The photos of Stevens house before and after remodeling are key pieces of evidence. Bill Allen, the former head of the oil services company VECO, testified yesterday that he had the remodeling done and never billed Stevens for the work--which amounted to a gift. Stevens then failed to report the gift on the Senate form where he was required to list gifts. The prosecution is expected to continue its case for a few more days. If Stevens is convicted, it is virtually certain that Anchorage mayor Mark Begich (D) will win and flip the seat to the Democrats.

National Polls

There are ten national polls to report today! Obama leads them all. Here they are.

    - Battleground (Obama +2)
    - CBS (Obama +9)
    - Diageo (Obama +5)
    - Gallup (Obama +4)
    - GfK/Roper (Obama +7)
    - Ipsos (Obama +3)
    - Opinion Research (Obama +7)
    - Pew (Obama +6)
    - Rasmussen (Obama +6)
    - Research 2000 (Obama +10)

The mean is an Obama lead of 5.9%. With so many polls pointing in the same direction, there can be no doubt that Obama is ahead right now. Chances are the first debate and the financial meltdown caused people to get a more positive impression of him or a more negative impression of McCain. The state polls below give the same impression: Obama is starting to break away. McCain has to stop this movement very fast. Probably the only thing he can do is go very negative very fast, trying to tie Obama to Rev. Wright, Tony Rezko, and Bill Ayers. The danger is that either Obama or Democratic 527s will start running ads accusing McCain of taking bribes from convicted felon Charles Keating or start bringing up McCain's age and health (malignant melanoma four times). It won't be pretty. Brace yourself (or just turn off your TV set until election night--you can watch the debates on YouTube).

Today's Polls

We have 18 presidential polls today. Obama is now ahead in Florida, Nevada, Ohio, and Virginia. If he can hold those states plus all the Kerry states, he wins big.

State Obama McCain Start End Pollster
Florida 46% 42% Sep 27 Sep 30 Suffolk U.
Florida 49% 46% Sep 30 Sep 30 Insider Advantage
Florida 51% 43% Sep 27 Sep 29 Quinnipiac U.
Florida 51% 47% Sep 28 Sep 30 Opinion Research
Georgia 44% 50% Sep 30 Sep 30 Insider Advantage
Iowa 55% 39% Sep 29 Sep 30 Research 2000
Indiana 45% 46% Sep 28 Sep 30 Research 2000
Minnesota 54% 43% Sep 28 Sep 30 Opinion Research
Missouri 49% 48% Sep 28 Sep 30 Opinion Research
Mississippi 44% 52% Sep 30 Sep 30 Rasmussen
New Mexico 52% 44% Sep 29 Sep 30 SurveyUSA
Nevada 48% 47% Sep 30 Sep 30 Insider Advantage
Nevada 51% 47% Sep 28 Sep 30 Opinion Research
Ohio 50% 42% Sep 27 Sep 29 Quinnipiac U.
Pennsylvania 54% 39% Sep 27 Sep 29 Quinnipiac U.
Tennessee 39% 58% Sep 29 Sep 29 Rasmussen
Texas 43% 52% Sep 29 Sep 29 Rasmussen
Virginia 53% 44% Sep 28 Sep 30 Opinion Research

We also have three Senate polls. None of them is surprising.

State Democrat D-pct Republican R-pct Start End Pollster
Mississippi Ronnie Musgrove 47% Roger Wicker 49% Sep 30 Sep 30 Rasmussen
Tennessee Robert Tuke 32% Lamar Alexander* 56% Sep 29 Sep 29 Rasmussen
Texas Rick Noriega 43% John Cornyn* 50% Sep 29 Sep 29 Rasmussen

We also have one House poll. This is a district where Rep. Phil English is getting a real challenge for the first time. The DCCC is putting a lot of money into this race because the district is evenly split (R+2). At this point Kathleen Dahlkemper has an even chance of flipping the seat.

Cong. Distr. Democrat D-pct Republican R-pct Start End Pollster
PA-03 Kathleen Dahlkemper 49% Phil English* 45% Sep 26 Sep 28 SurveyUSA

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