Oct. 16 absentee ballot for overseas voters

Obama 352   McCain 171   Ties 15
Senate Dem 59   GOP 41  
House Dem 247   GOP 186   Ties 2

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Presidential polls today: CO FL GA IL KS MA MO NC NM NV VA WV RSS
Dem pickups (vs. 2004): CO FL IA MO NV NM ND OH VA GOP pickups (vs. 2004): (None) PDA SMS

PW logo Joe Not Vetted Note to Readers
Obama Prepares Push Into Red States Quote of the Day
It's About You Reactions to Last Night's Debate

News from the Votemaster

Ads on College Newspaper Sites

We are starting to run ads for this site on the Websites of college newspapers, especially in swing states. The ads are nonpartisan and are intended to get students (who are notoriously uninterested in politics) involved, have them follow the election, and hopefully vote. Ads have run or are still running at the following universities:

The choice of universities has to do with (1) who takes online ads and who doesn't, (2) how much ads cost compared to the number of students they have, and (3) their responsiveness (some places don't answer their e-mail). Failed attempts include the University of Toledo, Youngstown State, Miami University, University of Nevada, University of Virginia. George Mason University, University of Colorado, Florida State University, University of Florida, and the University of South Florida. We're working on others, but right now money is the limiting factor. Donations are welcome so we can buy more ads on other college newspaper Websites. All the revenue from the ads in the right-hand column has gone to buy ads on right-wing, neutral, and left-wing blogs as listed on the Donations page.

Obama Wins Final Debate by a Large Margin

John McCain had to give it everything he had last night and he did, but it probably wasn't enough. He attacked Barack Obama on his character, on his relationship with William Ayers, on everything. His best sound bite was: "Senator Obama. I am not President Bush. If you wanted to run against President Bush, you should have run four years ago." But Obama parried this by saying: "on the core economic issues that matter to the American people--on tax policy, on energy policy, and spending priorities--you have been a vigorous supporter of President Bush."

The day before the debate, Obama practically dared McCain to bring up the subject of William Ayers. McCain hesitated to do it, but moderator Bob Schieffer called his bluff saying to him: "Your running mate said he palled around with terrorists." McCain was now on the spot and angrily said: "I don't care about an old, washed up terrorist. But as Sen. Clinton said in her debates with you we need to know the full extent of that relationship. Obama calmly replied: "Bill Ayers is a professor of education in Chicago. Forty years ago, when I was 8 years old, he engaged in despicable acts with a radical domestic group. I have roundly condemned those acts. Ten years ago, he served and I served on a board that was funded by one of Ronald Reagan's former ambassadors and close friends, Mr. Annenberg." From now on, when the Republicans bring up Ayers, the Democrats are going to point out that one of Reagan's close friends liked him enough to put him on the board of one of his foundations.

While McCain scored more formal debating points than he did in his earlier debates, he lost the body language war. He was tense, angry, smirking, and sarcastic, anything but presidential. Prof. Obama, the law professor, acted like Prof. Obama, the law professor: focused, unruffled, and in control on the facts and in his demeanor. Watch him at YouTube.

Immediately after the debate, Opinion Research Corp., CNN's pollster this year, ran a poll on who won. Once again, Obama won, 58% to 31%, an almost 2 to 1 margin. To shake up the race, McCain had to win decisively. All Obama needed was a draw. Instead he got a resounding victory. On the economy, which is topic A (as well as topic B and topic C) at the moment, 59% said Obama would manage it better and 24% said McCain would. Respondents also preferred Obama's stand on taxes by 56% to 41% and also his stand on health care by 62% to 31%. In addition, the people polled also said Obama expressed his views better, was the stronger leader, was more likeable, and was less of a typical politician. And on the heart of the McCain campaign--that he never met William Ayers and Obama did--51% said Ayers didn't matter to them at all. Maybe Lee Atwater is really dead, finally.

As it did before, CBS commissioned Knowledge Networks to run a poll among uncommitted voters. The 638 respondents said Obama won, 53% to 22%. Before the debate 54% thought Obama shared their values (a key Republican selling point). Afterwards it was 64%. For McCain the figures were 52% and 55%, respectively. Before the debate, 54% thought Obama would make the right decisions about the economy; after it was 65%. For McCain the numbers were 38% and 48%, respectively. Before the debate, 66% thought Obama understood their needs; afterwards it was 76%. For McCain it was 36% to 46%.

In short, in the World Series of Debate, the Democrats won 4-0. There will be no game 5. Obama was already ahead when he started and he increased his lead in every area that matters to the voters. Many observers have said all along this is Obama's race to win or lose and there is nothing John McCain can do about it. The voters are sick and tired of George Bush and his enablers and angry about the direction the country is going. They desperately want change. The only issue is whether Obama is up to the job. The Republicans have thrown everything including the kitchen sink at him, but he has come off as cool (in at least two ways), knowledgeable, and completely unflappable. There will be more complete polls in the next few days, but Obama probably closed the deal last night.

Dow Jones Plunges 733 Points Yesterday

For those people who thought the economic crisis was over and we could get back to other topics, well, not quite. The Dow dropped 733 points yesterday, the second biggest drop in history. This kind of roller-coaster ride does not make for happy investors, especially not seniors who need their money now--not in 5 or 10 years. Here is a graph of the Dow Jones index for the past 12 months.


SurveyUSA Publishes Some Early Voting Results

SurveyUSA is polling in states where voting has already started. One of the questions it is now asking is: "Have you already voted?" If the answer is yes, it then asks: "For whom?" For five states, the results are given below. In Ohio, for example, 12% of the people polled have already voted and they broke for Obama 57% to 39%. Please remember, the early voters may not be representative of the state as a whole and the normal sampling noise applies here in spades because the number of early voters polled in Ohio was only about 60. So take these numbers with a barrel of salt.

State Early Voters Current Avg. 2004
Georgia Obama +6 McCain +6 Bush +17
Iowa Obama +34 Obama +13 Bush +1
New Mexico Obama +23 Obama +7 Bush +1
North Carolina Obama +34 McCain +1 Bush +12
Ohio Obama +18 Obama +3 Bush +2

Obama Outspending McCain on TV by a Large Margin

The Washington Post has obtained the amounts spent by the presidential campaigns in the competitive states and Obama is outspending McCain everywhere except Maine. Here are the figures for media buys for the week of Oct. 7-13.

State Obama McCain
Colorado $1,500,000 $990,000
Florida $4,700,000 $1,800,000
Indiana $1,900,000 $790,000
Iowa $590,000 $560,000
Maine $75,000 $297,000
Michigan $2,300,000 $0
New Hampshire $1,100,000 $289,000
North Carolina $2,100,000 $370,000
New Mexico $700,000 $370,000
Nevada $1,000,000 $460,000
Ohio $4,100,000 $2,900,000
Pennsylvania $3,800,000 $2,600,000
Virginia $3,900,000 $1,100,000
Wisconsin $1,500,000 $1,100,000

Obama hasn't released his fundraising totals for September yet, but they are likely to be big given the way he is spending money. McCain isn't going to be able to match him and he's going to have to triage states. Given that McCain isn't competitive in any of the Kerry states or Iowa, he really can't afford to abandon many of the above states. In contrast, Obama could drop a number of them to pour money into the others since he needs only to win two or three of the remaining Bush states and McCain needs almost all.

House Expenditures Released

The presidential race isn't the only place money is being spent by the wheelbarrow load. Both the DCCC and NRCC are spending wildly on nearly 50 House races, with most of the spending coming from the DCCC, which has much more money. Swing State Project published the latest numbers yesterday. Here they are sorted by the DCCC column. You can learn a lot about the DCCC's priorities from these numbers. The races that they consider the most important are near the top of the list. Number one priority is knocking off Marilyn Musgrave, the most conservative member of the House. She will have enough trouble with two popular Democrats on top of the ticket (Barack Obama and Mark Udall), but the large DCCC expenditure will make it worse. The NRCC has left her to sink or swim on her own. The blue lines are incumbent Democrats the DCCC is trying to save. The red ones are incumbent Republicans they are trying to defeat. The other ones are open seats. Asterisks denote the incumbent party.

CD Democrat Republican DCCC NRCC
CO-04 Betsey Markey Marilyn Musgrave* $370,391  
AZ-03 Bob Lord John Shadegg* $369,041  
AZ-01 Ann Kirkpatrick Sydney Hay $353,973  
MI-07 Mark Schauer Tim Walberg* $329,233  
NC-08 Larry Kissel Robin Hayes* $320,162  
NY-26 Alice Kryzan Christopher Lee $291,142  
WA-08 Darcy Burner Dave Reichert* $288,802 $35,607
IN-09 Baron Hill* Mike Sodrel $275,260  
MN-03 Ashwin Madia Erik Paulsen $267,891  
NM-02 Harry Teague Edward Tinsley $267,351  
NM-01 Martin Heinrich Darren White $252,125 $240,000
OH-01 Steve Driehaus Steve Chabot* $247,464  
NV-03 Dina Titus Jon Porter* $242,200  
AZ-05 Harry Mitchell* David Schweikert $242,150  
MD-01 Frank Kratovil Andy Harris $238,392  
OH-16 John Boccieri Kirk Schuring $237,567  
OH-15 Mary Jo Kilroy Steve Stivers $201,404  
KY-02 David Boswell Brett Gurthrie $192,776  
MI-09 Gary Peters Joe Knollenberg* $182,124  
MO-06 Kay Barnes Sam Graves* $176,515  
PA-10 Chris Carney* Christopher Hackett $176,039  
PA-03 Kathleen Dahlkemper Phil English* $171,443  
VA-02 Glenn Nye Thelma Drake* $169,316  
FL-24 Suzanne Kosmas Tom Feeney* $168,394  
PA-11 Paul Kanjorski* Louis Barletta $166,344  
LA-06 Don Cazayoux* Bill Cassidy $162,437  
NY-29 Eric Massa Randy Kuhl* $159,569  
NH-01 Carol Shea-Porter* Jeb Bradley $151,184  
IN-03 Michael Montagano Mark Souder* $150,970  
CT-04 Jim Himes Chris Shays* $146,369  
NE-02 Jim Esch Lee Terry* $138,737  
NJ-07 Linda Stender Leonard Lance $133,435  
AL-02 Bobby Bright Jay Love $128,581  
MO-09 Judy Baker Blaine Luetkemeyer $121,093  
NJ-03 John Adler Chris Myers $110,307  
TX-23 Ciro Rodriguez* Lyle Larson $99,879  
WI-08 Steve Kagen* John Gard $93,378  
AL-05 Parker Griffith Wayne Parker $82,358  
AK-AL Ethan Berkowitz Don Young* $81,890  
VA-11 Gerald Connolly Keith Fimian $80,318  
MS-01 Travis Childers* Greg Davis $61,590  
IL-10 Dan Seals Mark Kirk* $57,304  
CA-11 Jerry McNerney* Dean Andal $47,736  
IL-11 Debbie Halvorson Martin Ozinga $46,856  
ID-01 Walt Minnick Bill Sali* $17,659  
FL-21 Raul Martinez Lincoln Diaz-Balart*    

Does Obama Need 60 Seats in the Senate?

If the Democrats can get 60 seats in the Senate, something now conceivable, although probably less than 50-50 at the moment, a President Obama will be able to get anything he wants through Congress. But even with 58 or 59 he can do a lot. First of all, as discussed at CQ Politics, budget reconciliation bills cannot be filibustered and they are often loaded up like Christmas trees. Second, on any particular bill, majority leader Harry Reid will probably be able to pick off a couple of Republicans at least on the cloture vote. With 41 or 42 seats and no power, minority leader Mitch McConnell will have a lot of trouble keeping his troops in line. Third, Obama could appoint Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME) or Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA) to the cabinet, thus demonstrating his bipartisanship and also flipping a seat (the governors of both states are Democrats).

More Experts Worry about Chaos on Election Day

Problems with voting machines, purged voters, insufficient paper ballots, and more are expected to mar elections in many states this year. Nine million people will vote with equipment that has never been used before. There aren't enough poll workers in some areas. It could be a multistate mess. Imagine Florida 2000 in half a dozen states. Election administrators are preparing for the worst but are all reciting the election administrator's prayer every night: "Lord, let it be a landslide."

Today's Polls

We have 15 presidential polls today. Obama continues to have a huge lead in Virginia, 53% to 43%. If he can win Iowa (very likely because they haven't forgotten that he was there for them in the snows of December) and Virginia, that adds 20 electoral votes to the Kerry total of 252 and nothing else matters. But as backup, Obama also continues to have small, but consistent leads in Colorado, Florida, New Mexico, and Nevada, but they are just insurance at this point.

State Obama McCain Start End Pollster
Colorado 51% 47% Oct 11 Oct 14 Opinion Research
Florida 47% 42% Oct 12 Oct 13 Datamar
Florida 48% 44% Oct 13 Oct 13 Insider Advantage
Florida 51% 46% Oct 11 Oct 14 Opinion Research
Georgia 45% 53% Oct 11 Oct 14 Opinion Research
Illinois 56% 39% Oct 13 Oct 13 Rasmussen
Kansas 41% 54% Oct 13 Oct 13 Rasmussen
Massachusetts 59% 35% Oct 13 Oct 14 SurveyUSA
Massachusetts 62% 34% Oct 13 Oct 13 Rasmussen
Missouri 48% 49% Oct 11 Oct 14 Opinion Research
North Carolina 48% 46% Oct 13 Oct 13 Insider Advantage
New Mexico 55% 42% Oct 13 Oct 13 Rasmussen
Nevada 49% 46% Oct 13 Oct 13 Insider Advantage
Virginia 53% 43% Oct 11 Oct 14 Opinion Research
West Virginia 47% 49% Oct 13 Oct 13 Insider Advantage

We also have six Senate polls. Nothing unexpected here. The Democrats are still on track to get 58-60 seats in the Senate.

State Democrat D-pct Republican R-pct Start End Pollster
Illinois Dick Durbin* 62% Steve Sauerberg 31% Oct 13 Oct 13 Rasmussen
Kansas Jim Slattery 36% Pat Roberts* 55% Oct 13 Oct 13 Rasmussen
Massachusetts John Kerry* 63% Jeff Beatty 31% Oct 13 Oct 13 Rasmussen
New Mexico Tom Udall 57% Steve Pearce 37% Oct 13 Oct 13 Rasmussen
New Mexico Tom Udall 58% Steve Pearce 40% Oct 12 Oct 13 SurveyUSA
South Carolina Bob Conley 40% Lindsey Graham* 56% Oct 12 Oct 13 SurveyUSA

We also have four House polls. The Democrats are on track to hold OR-05 because the family values Republican candidate got his girlfriend pregnant and paid for her abortion. The only race where an incumbent Democrat is in serious trouble is PA-11, where Lou Barletta (R) is leading Paul Kanjorski (D), 40% to 35%, but 25% are still up for grabs there. Well, now that Tim Mahoney in FL-16 got snared in a sex scandal, he might be in trouble too but there is no polling on that yet. A race with a footnote is ND-AL, where Rep. Earl Pomeroy (D-ND) is running away with it. If the presidential race comes down to a 269-269 tie, Pomeroy will get one vote in the House, just like all of California. If his state goes for McCain, he will be in a bit of a bind as to how he votes.

Cong. Distr. Democrat D-pct Republican R-pct Start End Pollster
MO-06 Kay Barnes 40% Sam Graves* 51% Oct 13 Oct 14 SurveyUSA
ND-AL Earl Pomeroy* 60% Duane Sand 27% Oct 06 Oct 08 Minnesota State U.
OR-05 Kurt Schrader* 51% Mike Erickson 38% Oct 13 Oct 14 SurveyUSA
PA-11 Paul Kanjorski* 35% Louis Barletta 40% Oct 08 Oct 12 Franklin+Marshall Coll.

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