Oct. 21 absentee ballot for overseas voters

Obama 364   McCain 171   Ties 3
Senate Dem 58   GOP 41   Ties 1
House Dem 250   GOP 184   Ties 1

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This day in 2004

strong Dem Strong Dem (260)
weak Dem Weak Dem (26)
barely Dem Barely Dem (78)
tied Exactly tied (3)
barely GOP Barely GOP (19)
weak GOP Weak GOP (15)
strong GOP Strong GOP (137)
270 Electoral votes needed to win
Map algorithm explained
Presidential polls today: CO FL MO NC NH OH OK PA VA WI RSS
Dem pickups (vs. 2004): CO FL IA MO NV NM NC OH VA GOP pickups (vs. 2004): (None) PDA SMS

PW logo The Marriage Gap Pew Research: McCain Collapses in Latest National Poll
McCain Giving Up On New Hampshire, Wisconsin? Civitas Poll: Obama Maintains Small Lead in North Carolina
Bonus Quote of the Day Tracking Poll Primer

News from the Votemaster

McCain Concedes Colorado, Iowa, and New Mexico

CNN is reporting that McCain is making those tough decisions that politicians love to talk about. According to CNN, McCain is abandoning Colorado (9 EVs), Iowa (7 EVs) and New Mexico (5 Evs). If Obama wins these three he gets 21 EVs. Add these to the 252 EVs Kerry won and he has 273 and becomes President. McCain's strategy at this point is to win Florida, North Carolina, Virginia, Ohio, Missouri, Nevada, and--get this--Pennsylvania. The first six are arguably swing states, but our three-poll average puts Obama 12 points ahead in Pennsylvania. McCain is effectively betting the farm on a state which looks like an Obama landslide. It is a strange choice. Colorado looks a lot easier than Pennsylvania. James Carville once famously said that Pennsylvania is Philadelphia and Pittsburgh with Alabama sandwiched in between. Maybe McCain is going to go all out to win the white working class men in the Alabama section of Pennsylvania. McCain can't possibly do it on the economy. What's left? Maybe run against the Wright/Ayers ticket? Any way you look at it, this has to be a desperation move.

Bernanke Endorses Democratic Stimulus Plan

After Colin Powell's endorsement of Barack Obama Sunday, it looked like things couldn't get any worse for John McCain on the endorsement score. Well, they just did. Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke has endorsed the economic stimulus plan supported by Obama and the Democrats. Having the Fed chairman say that Obama and the Democrats have the right ideas on the economy will surely be helpful to Obama even if he wasn't named explicitly. President Bush and the Republicans generally oppose the Democratic plan.

Armies of Lawyers Are Ready to Roll

With Florida 2000 never far from the surface, both sides are ready for one or more sequels. Obama, in particular, has assembled what is de facto the nation's largest law firm, with 5000 lawyers ready to sue at the drop of a ballot. The challenges have already started, with multiple voter-registration cases in the courts right now. It makes one pine for the old days when elections were decided by the voters rather than by judges, as in 2000 and very possibly in 2008.

Obama Cancels Rallies to Visit Sick Grandmother

Barack Obama has canceled all his rallies and is flying to Hawaii to visit his seriously ill grandmother, rumored to be close to death. From a political standpoint, missing a few rallies doesn't mean much when you have just raised $150 million. The TV ads will continue to run everywhere. Furthermore, even without saying a word, the message that Obama's family is more important to him than his campaign comes through loud and clear to many "family values" voters and the pundits will surely amplify it. Finally, while everyone talks about him as the "black candidate" he is actually half black. The grandmother he is visiting is completely white as was his mother. This will probably come as a surprise to many voters. Finally, Michelle and other surrogates will continue campaigning. The campaign isn't being suspended. This was a personal decision on Obama's part and shows his priorities.

Rundown of Hot House Races

The Hot House Races page currently lists 62 races that are or should be competitive. In some cases they are being fiercely contested, but in other cases, the nonincumbent party picked a real turkey as challenger so what should have been a fierce battle will end up being a rout. For example, Joe Courtney (D-CT) is a freshman who won by only 89 votes in 2006. In principle, this should be a very competitive race, but the PVI of the district and the quality of the challenger suggest that Courtney will win easily. Another factor is fundraising. Sometimes a candidate has raised far more or far less money than expected. Also, sometimes special circumstances pop up, like scandals, that affect the race. In more than a dozen races, the black turnout could help white Democrats unseat incumbent Republicans.

Here are the 62 races with the most recent poll (when there has been a poll) and subjective notes. The candidate of the incumbent party is marked with an asterisk. In races where the poll says the Democrat is ahead, the line is colored blue. When the Republican is ahead it is red. The other races are in beige. The order of the races is most Republican PVI (Partisan Voting Index) to most Democratic PVI. For the full list of all House polls, click here.

CD PVI Democrat Republican D % R % Pollster Notes
TX-22 R+15 Nick Lampson* Peter Olson           Who knows?
AK-AL R+14 Ethan Berkowitz Don Young* 50% 44% Research 2000 Berkowitz is the favorite
OH-02 R+13 Victoria Wulsin Jean Schmidt* 39% 46% Research 2000 Could go either way
AL-02 R+13 Bobby Bright Jay Love* 39% 56% SurveyUSA Bright is in trouble
CA-04 R+11 Charlie Brown Tom McClintock* 46% 41% Research 2000 Leans towards Brown
MS-01 R+10 Travis Childers* Greg Davis           Probably Travis will win
CO-04 R+9 Betsey Markey Marilyn Musgrave* 50% 43% SurveyUSA DCCC pouring money in for Markey
IN-08 R+9 Brad Ellsworth* Gregory Goode           Ellsworth favored
PA-10 R+8 Chris Carney* Chris Hackett 48% 33% Franklin+Marshall Carney is safe
GA-08 R+8 Jim Marshall* Rick Goddard           Leans toward Marshall
KS-02 R+7 Nancy Boyda* Lynn Jenkins 50% 43% SurveyUSA Boyda has the edge
IN-09 R+7 Baron Hill* Mike Sodrel 53% 38% SurveyUSA Hill appears safe
LA-06 R+7 Don Cazayoux* Bill Cassidy           Leans Cazayoux
FL-21 R+6 Raul Martinez Lincoln Diaz-Balart* 43% 48% Telemundo Tossup
AL-05 R+6 Parker Griffith* Wayne Parker 45% 40% Capital Survey Tossup
OH-18 R+6 Zack Space* Fred Dailey           Space is safe
NY-29 R+5 Eric Massa Randy Kuhl* 49% 42% Research 2000 Kuhl is in trouble
MO-06 R+5 Kay Barnes Sam Graves* 40% 51% SurveyUSA Graves favored
MN-06 R+5 Elwyn Tinklenberg Michele Bachmann*           Tossup
IL-08 R+5 Melissa Bean* Steve Greenberg           Bean is safe
WI-08 R+4 Steve Kagen* John Gard 54% 43% SurveyUSA Kagen favored
OH-16 R+4 John Boccieri Kirk Schuring* 48% 38% Research 2000 Boccieri favored
IN-02 R+4 Joe Donnelly* Luke Puckett 53% 35% Research 2000 Donnelly is safe
FL-13 R+4 Christine Jennings Vern Buchanan* 33% 49% SurveyUSA Buchanan favored
TX-23 R+4 Ciro Rodriguez* Lyle Larson           Rodriguez favored
FL-15 R+4 Stephen Bythe Bill Posey*           Tossup?
AZ-05 R+4 Harry Mitchell* David Schweikert           Mitchell favored
PA-04 R+3 Jason Altmire* Melissa Hart 54% 42% SurveyUSA Altmire is safe
NY-26 R+3 Alice Kryzan Chris Lee* 37% 48% SurveyUSA Probably Lee
NC-08 R+3 Larry Kissel Robin Hayes* 49% 41% SurveyUSA Kissell favored
CA-11 R+3 Jerry McNerney* Dean Andal 52% 41% SurveyUSA McNerney is safe
NY-20 R+3 Kirsten Gillibrand* Sandy Treadwell           Leans Gillibrand
FL-24 R+3 Suzanne Kosmas Tom Feeney*           Tossup
PA-03 R+2 Kathleen Dahlkemper Phil English* 48% 41% Research 2000 Tossup
MI-07 R+2 Mark Schauer Tim Walberg* 40% 43% EPIC-MRA Tossup
FL-16 R+2 Tim Mahoney* Tom Rooney           Probably Rooney
AZ-01 R+2 Ann Kirkpatrick Sydney Hay*           Tossup
OH-15 R+1 Mary Jo Kilroy Steve Stivers* 47% 44% SurveyUSA Tossup
OH-01 R+1 Steve Driehaus Steve Chabot* 46% 44% Research 2000 Tossup
NJ-07 R+1 Linda Stender Leonard Lance* 39% 43% Monmouth U. Tossup
MN-03 R+1 Ashwin Madia Erik Paulsen* 46% 43% SurveyUSA Leans toward Madia
VA-11 R+1 Gerald Connolly Keith Fimian*           Leans toward Connolly
NY-24 R+1 Mike Arcuri* Richard Hanna           Arcuri is safe
NY-19 R+1 John Hall* Kieran Lalor           Hall is safe
MN-01 R+1 Tim Walz* Brian Davis           Unknown
IL-11 R+1 Debbie Halvorson Martin Ozinga*           Leans toward Halvorson
NH-01 R+0 Carol Shea-Porter* Jeb Bradley 50% 41% SurveyUSA Shea-Porter is safe
MI-09 R+0 Gary Peters Joe Knollenberg* 43% 43% Mitchell Research Tossup
NY-13 D+1 Mike McMahon Robert Straniere*           McMahon will win
NV-03 D+1 Dina Titus Jon Porter* 37% 46% Mason-Dixon Leans toward Porter
OR-05 D+1 Kurt Schrader* Mike Erickson 51% 38% SurveyUSA Schrader favored
GA-12 D+2 John Barrow* John Stone           Leans toward Barrow
PA-06 D+2 Robert Roggio Jim Gerlach*           Unknown
NM-01 D+2 Martin Heinrich Darren White* 43% 41% Research and Polling Tossup
WA-08 D+2 Darcy Burner Dave Reichert* 41% 49% Research 2000 Tossup
NY-25 D+3 Dan Maffei Dale Sweetland*           Maffei?
NJ-03 D+3 John Adler Chris Myers* 41% 44% Monmouth U. Tossup
IL-10 D+4 Dan Seals Mark Kirk* 52% 44% SurveyUSA Leans toward Seals
CT-04 D+5 Jim Himes Chris Shays* 48% 45% SurveyUSA Tossup
PA-11 D+5 Paul Kanjorski* Louis Barletta 35% 40% Franklin+Marshall Tossup
CT-02 D+8 Joe Courtney* Sean Sullivan 55% 27% U. of Connecticut Courtney is safe

An Angry Ralph Nader Is Still at It

Remember Ralph Nader? He is still out there campaigning. This is his fifth run, so he needs only five more to break Harold Stassen's record for the most abortive runs for the presidency. When people blame him for Florida 2000 and all the things George Bush has done, he says the people who are really responsible for creating the problem are George H.W. Bush and Barbara Bush.

Obama Leads in 10 National Polls

We have 10 national polls today and Obama leads in all of them with leads ranging from 4 points to 9 points. His average lead is 6.2%.

      - Battleground (Obama +4)
      - Diageo (Obama +5)
      - Gallup expanded (Obama +9)
      - IBD (Obama +6)
      - Opinion Rsearch (Obama +5)
      - Rasmussen (Obama +4)
      - Research 2000 (Obama +8)
      - Washington Post/ABC (Obama +9)
      - YouGov (Obama +6)
      - Zogby (Obama +6)

Today's Polls

We have 13 presidential polls today. Obama continues to lead in Colorado, which is why McCain may be abandoning the state. Similarly, Obama continues to maintain a solid lead in Virginia, a must-win state for McCain. In contrast, Florida, Ohio, and Missouri are tightening and could go either way.

State Obama McCain Start End Pollster
Colorado 51% 46% Oct 19 Oct 19 Rasmussen
Florida 48% 49% Oct 19 Oct 19 Rasmussen
Missouri 44% 45% Oct 17 Oct 19 Suffolk U.
Missouri 49% 44% Oct 19 Oct 19 Rasmussen
North Carolina 51% 48% Oct 19 Oct 19 Rasmussen
New Hampshire 50% 43% Oct 17 Oct 19 Research 2000
Ohio 47% 49% Oct 19 Oct 19 Rasmussen
Ohio 51% 42% Oct 16 Oct 19 Suffolk U.
Oklahoma 35% 59% Oct 18 Oct 19 SurveyUSA
Pennsylvania 48% 40% Oct 16 Oct 19 Susquehanna Polling
Virginia 51% 45% Oct 18 Oct 19 SurveyUSA
Virginia 54% 44% Oct 16 Oct 16 Rasmussen
Wisconsin 51% 43% Oct 18 Oct 19 SurveyUSA

We also have five Senate polls. Nothing unexpected here.

State Democrat D-pct Republican R-pct Start End Pollster
Idaho Larry LaRocco 37% Jim Risch 57% Oct 18 Oct 19 SurveyUSA
Oklahoma Andrew Rice 39% James Inhofe* 51% Oct 18 Oct 19 SurveyUSA
South Dakota Tim Johnson* 57% Joel Dykstra 34% Oct 13 Oct 15 Mason-Dixon
Virginia Mark Warner 60% Jim Gilmore 36% Oct 18 Oct 19 SurveyUSA
Virginia Mark Warner 61% Jim Gilmore 36% Oct 16 Oct 16 Rasmussen

We also have three House polls. One of them is a real shocker, if true. In ID-01, Walt Minnick is leading incumbent Bill Sali (R). Nobody expected this. It seems very improbable. In CT-04 it is a dead heat as Democrat Jim Himes tries to knock off the last New England Republican in the House, Chris Shays.

Cong. Distr. Democrat D-pct Republican R-pct Start End Pollster
CT-04 Jim Himes 44% Chris Shays* 44% Oct 08 Oct 15 U. of Connecticut
ID-01 Walt Minnick 51% Bill Sali* 45% Oct 18 Oct 19 SurveyUSA
KY-02 David Boswell 42% Brett Gurthrie* 51% Oct 15 Oct 16 SurveyUSA

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