Oct. 08 absentee ballot for overseas voters

Obama 349   McCain 174   Ties 15
Senate Dem 56   GOP 43   Ties 1
House Dem 246   GOP 188   Ties 1

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tied Exactly tied (15)
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weak GOP Weak GOP (63)
strong GOP Strong GOP (100)
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Presidential polls today: AK CO FL IN MN NC NH NJ NV OH OK PA WI RSS
Dem pickups (vs. 2004): CO FL IA MO NV NM OH VA GOP pickups (vs. 2004): (None) PDA SMS

PW logo Instant Polls Find Obama Won Debate The Second Presidential Debate
The Dirtiest Campaign in History? SurveyUSA: Obama Up By Double Digits in Wisconsin
SurveyUSA: McCain Holds Lead in North Carolina Bonus Quote of the Day

News from the Votemaster

Second "Debate" Fizzles

Many people were expecting fireworks at the town-hall event last night between Barack Obama and John McCain but it didn't happen. Not once was William Ayers or Charles Keating mentioned. The candidates disagreed on a variety of issues, especially the economy and health care, but there wasn't any mud thrown. On the whole, it was civil and mostly about the issues. When it was pointed out that the secretary of the treasury is probably the most powerful cabinet officer now, the question of who they would appoint came up. Obama mentioned investor Warren Buffet as the kind of guy he liked; McCain sung the praises of former eBay CEO Meg Whitman.

In general, Obama attacked McCain on deregulation. He said that deregulators believed that by letting the market run wild "prosperity would rain down on all of us." Then he noted: "It hasn't worked out that way." McCain, in turn, said: "The situation today cries out for bipartisanship. Senator Obama has never taken on his leaders of his party on a single issue." For an analysis and the full transcript and video, see this page at the Washington Post.

Polls: Obama won the Town-Hall Event

A CBS poll poll of 516 uncommitted voters taken just after the event showed that 40% thought that Obama won and 26% said McCain won. On the all-important issue of the economy, Obama got a boost. Before the event 55% thought he would make the right decisions on the economy; afterwards it was 68%. McCain also gained strength, going from 41% to 48%. On the issue of who best understands the voters needs, Obama went from 59% to 80% and McCain went from 33% to 44%.

CNN also ran a poll of 675 adults and also concluded that Obama won. Here 54% said Obama performed better and 30% said McCain did. The people polled thought Obama was the more intelligent person by 57% to 25% and expressed his views more clearly 60% to 30%. In a way, these numbers are not surprising. Obama has degrees from two Ivy League schools and was president of the Harvard Law Review. McCain went to the Naval Academy and came in 894th out of 899 students in his class.

Bailout A Hot Topic in Congressional Races

Congress passed a Wall St. bailout bill, but the dust hasn't settled yet, either economically or politically. With the Dow down another 509 points yesterday, a number of congressional challengers are hitting incumbents on how they voted on the bill. National Journal has the story In a similar vein, everyone is incensed at that fact that A.I.G. executives threw a $440,000 party for themselves a week after the government bailed them out to the tune of $85 billion.

McCain Leading in the Mud War

Other than the town-hall event, John McCain has gone entirely negative and is talking about little else than 1960s radical William Ayers and his (tenuous) connection to Barack Obama. In response, the Obama campaign has begun talking about convicted felon Charles Keating, who contributed a large amount of money to McCain's campaign in the 1980s in an (unsuccessful) attempt to stay out of jail. According to Google trends, Ayers is being searched for more than Keating and is getting more play in the news. Here is the graph.

New Website tracks National Popular Vote Compact

Many people find the electoral college to be an anachronism. In the 18th century, most people didn't know anything about politics so the constitution specifies that the states will choose electors to pick the President (the electoral college). In the early days, electors were not always committed to any particular candidate. They were chosen for their knowledge of government and their wisdom. Changing the constitution is very difficult so some people have thought of a way around it: an interstate compact. The constitution allows state legislatures to determine how their presidential electors are chosen and the idea is to have each state's electors be chosen to support the winner of the national vote, not the state vote. For example, if Obama wins the popular vote but McCain wins Ohio, Ohio's electors would nevertheless vote for Obama. Four states (Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, and New Jersey) have already passed a law to this effect but it only kicks in when states with 270 electoral votes have signed up. It won't happen in 2008 but it could happen in 2012. A new Website www.nationalpopularvote.com, follows developments in this area.

Bush Has Highest Disapproval Rating of Any President in History

The Gallup Poll has been asking Americans whether they approve or disapprove of the President for 71 years. George Bush has now become the President with the highest disapproval ratings in history, with 70% disapproving of him. His approval rating, at 25%, is slightly higher than Truman and Nixon at their respective bottoms, but not by much. Here is the table from Chris Bowers

President Lowest Approval Highest Disapproval Approve - disapprove
Kennedy 56% 30% 26%
Eisenhower 48% 36% 12%
FDR 48% 43% 5%
Ford 39% 45% -6%
Clinton 36% 50% -14%
Johnson 35% 52% -16%
Reagan 35% 56% -21%
Bush 41 29% 60% -31%
Carter 28% 59% -31%
Nixon 24% 66% -42%
Truman 22% 65% -43%
Bush 43 25% 70% -45%

Today's Polls

We have 20 presidential polls today. A few are noteworthy. First, in New Hampshire, Obama leads McCain by 53% to 45%. New Hampshire is the only Kerry state McCain might conceivably win and the chances of even that happening are very small now so McCain is entirely playing defense, trying to hold all the Bush states. A couple of those look shaky, especially Colorado, Insider Advantage puts Obama ahead by 6 points. Obama is also leading in two other swing states, Nevada and Ohio. North Carolina and Florida are too close to call. As an aside, some people have asked about the blue color of the state names in the tables. It has no political significance. It just means you can click on them. All the hyperlinks on the site are blue because it is very visible on the yellow background. With some browsers, a link changes color after it is visited.

State Obama McCain Start End Pollster
Alaska 40% 55% Oct 06 Oct 06 Rasmussen
Colorado 51% 45% Oct 06 Oct 06 Insider Advantage
Florida 48% 46% Oct 04 Oct 06 Mason-Dixon
Indiana 46% 46% Sep 29 Oct 03 Research 2000
Indiana 46% 51% Oct 03 Oct 06 Opinion Research
Minnesota 54% 40% Oct 03 Oct 05 U. of Minnesota
North Carolina 46% 49% Oct 05 Oct 06 SurveyUSA
North Carolina 49% 49% Oct 03 Oct 06 Opinion Research
New Hampshire 53% 45% Oct 03 Oct 06 Opinion Research
New Jersey 50% 37% Sep 29 Oct 05 Fairleigh Dickinson U.
Nevada 49% 47% Oct 06 Oct 06 Insider Advantage
Nevada 50% 43% Oct 03 Oct 06 Research 2000
Ohio 50% 47% Oct 03 Oct 06 Opinion Research
Ohio 51% 45% Oct 03 Oct 05 ABC News
Oklahoma 29% 66% Oct 04 Oct 05 TV Poll
Pennsylvania 52% 42% Oct 03 Oct 06 West Chester U.
Pennsylvania 54% 41% Oct 06 Oct 06 Rasmussen
Pennsylvania 55% 40% Oct 05 Oct 06 SurveyUSA
Wisconsin 51% 46% Oct 03 Oct 06 Opinion Research
Wisconsin 52% 42% Oct 05 Oct 06 SurveyUSA

We also have three Senate polls. Alaska has gotten very close again, with Ted Stevens pulling ahead of Mark Begich by 1 point. But everything there hinges on the outcome of Stevens' trial. North Carolina is also a virtual tie, with Elizabeth Dole 1 point ahead at the moment.

State Democrat D-pct Republican R-pct Start End Pollster
Alaska Mark Begich 48% Ted Stevens* 49% Oct 06 Oct 06 Rasmussen
North Carolina Kay Hagan 43% Elizabeth Dole* 44% Oct 05 Oct 06 SurveyUSA
Oklahoma Andrew Rice 40% James Inhofe* 53% Oct 04 Oct 05 TV Poll

We also have a dozen House polls today. The Democrat is leading in a number of hotly contested races including NC-08, which was a real surprise last time. An unknown high school teacher, Larry Kissell, with no money and no support from the national party came within 329 votes of unseating a four-term multimillionaire Republican congressman. They are having a rematch and now Kissell is leading. Another race being closely watched is IL-10, where a dynamic young black guy from Illinois is running against an estabishment Republican figure (sound familiar) and is leading.

Cong. Distr. Democrat D-pct Republican R-pct Start End Pollster
FL-21 Raul Martinez 43% Lincoln Diaz-Balart* 48% Sep 27 Oct 01 Telemundo
FL-25 Joe Garcia 41% Mario Diaz-Balart* 43% Sep 27 Oct 01 Telemundo
IL-10 Dan Seals 52% Mark Kirk* 44% Oct 04 Oct 05 SurveyUSA
IN-09 Baron Hill* 53% Mike Sodrel 38% Oct 04 Oct 05 SurveyUSA
NC-08 Larry Kissel 49% Robin Hayes* 41% Oct 04 Oct 05 SurveyUSA
NH-01 Carol Shea-Porter* 50% Jeb Bradley 41% Oct 04 Oct 05 SurveyUSA
NM-01 Martin Heinrich 43% Darren White* 41% Sep 29 Oct 02 Research and Polling
NY-29 Eric Massa 51% Randy Kuhl* 44% Oct 04 Oct 05 SurveyUSA
OH-01 Steve Driehaus 46% Steve Chabot* 44% Sep 30 Oct 01 Research 2000
OH-16 John Boccieri 48% Kirk Schuring* 38% Sep 30 Oct 01 Research 2000
PA-04 Jason Altmire* 54% Melissa Hart 42% Oct 04 Oct 05 SurveyUSA
WI-08 Steve Kagen* 54% John Gard 43% Oct 04 Oct 05 SurveyUSA

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