Oct. 22 absentee ballot for overseas voters

Obama 364   McCain 171   Ties 3
Senate Dem 58   GOP 41   Ties 1
House Dem 249   GOP 185   Ties 1

Senate map and races
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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 (14)
weak GOP Weak GOP (23)
strong GOP Strong GOP (134)
270 Electoral votes needed to win
Map algorithm explained
Presidential polls today: CO IL KY ME NC NJ NV PA SC SD WA WV WY RSS
Dem pickups (vs. 2004): CO FL IA MO NV NM NC OH VA GOP pickups (vs. 2004): (None) PDA SMS

PW logo McCain Makes Television Buy in Indiana Mason-Dixon: Florida, Virginia Still Up For Grabs
Rainmaker Poll: West Virginia is Close AP/Gfk Poll: Presidential Race Very Close
Fox News Poll: Obama Expands National Lead Bonus Quote of the Day

News from the Votemaster

All the Metrics Point to an Obama Win

Back in 2007, when practically every pundit saw Rudy Giuliani as the inevitable Republican nominee, political guru Charlie Cook said he (Cook) was more likely to win the Tour de France than the Republicans were to nominate a thrice-married, gay-friendly, Catholic New Yorker. Cook didn't win the Tour de France and Giuliani didn't win the nomination, so Cook gets a certain amount of credit. Now he says there are six factors pointing to an Obama win in two weeks:

  1. No candidate this far back two weeks out has ever won.
  2. Early voting is going strong and even if something big happens, those votes are already cast.
  3. The Democrats have a 10% advantage in party registration; in 2004 it was even.
  4. Obama is outspending McCain 4 to 1 in many states.
  5. There is no evidence for the so-called Bradley effect in the past 15 years.
  6. Obama is safe in all the Kerry states and ahead in half a dozen states Bush won.

Election Analysis by Pollster Steve Lombardo

Pollster Steve Lombardo also has a nice analysis of where the presidential election stands now. His major points: (1) Obama won the debates big time, (2) Obama is playing offense all over the map while McCain is playing defense, (3) Obama's massive fundraising is a huge advantage, and (4) more people identify as Democrats than as Republicans by an 8% margin. None of these factors look good for McCain.

McCain is Dragging Down Republican Candidates

Stu Rothenberg, another political analyst, wrote a column saying that not only does McCain appear to have no coattails, he appears to be badly hurting downticket Republicans and could end up causing a number of them to go down to defeat. While the effect is biggest in swing districts, it is also causing problems in relatively solid Republican districts.

Obama Had $134 Million at the Start of October

On the strength of his $150 million haul in September, despite heavy spending that month, Obama had $134 million in the bank at the start of October. McCain had $47 million. However, the DNC had only $27 million to the RNC's $77 million. Still, this gives Obama a huge edge. In addition, Obama is continuing to pull in $5 million a day during October, which will increase his financial edge even more during the final two weeks.

RNC Paid for $150,000 for Palin's Clothes

Politico went through the financial report the RNC just filed with the FEC and discovered that the Republican National Committee has spent $150,000 for clothes and accessories for Sarah Palin since she was tapped for the VP slot in late August. One shopping trip to Neiman Marcus cost them $75,062.63, for example. They also spent over $4700 on her hair and makeup. Remember how the Republicans howled at John Edwards' $400 haircut (which included a house call by the barber)? Google for: Edwards "$400 haircut" and you'll get 27,000 hits. That was major news for a week. That aside, a far more damaging effect of this revelation is that Palin keeps saying she is just an ordinary small-town hockey mom. It is likely that if Joe-the-plumber's wife were to rack up $150,000 in clothing expenses in a single month, Joe might ask how she was planning to pay the credit card bill since the median annual salary for plumbers is $37,514. Palin is already being ridiculed all over the place, and this provides more fodder for the comics.

State of the Senate Races

Below is a capsule summary of each of the 35 Senate races this year. Republicans are defending 23 seats and Democrats are defending only 12. Furthermore, five incumbent Republicans have chosen to retire while every incumbent Democrat is running and all of them are expected to be reelected, mostly by wide margins.

Democrats are almost certain to pick up seats in Virginia, New Hampshire, Colorado, and New Mexico and are favored to pick up Alaska as well unless indicted senator Ted Stevens is acquitted of all seven felony charges for which he is now on trial. Races in Kentucky, Minnesota, Oregon, Georgia, and North Carolina could go either way. The Republican Roger Wicker has a small lead in Mississippi-B, but in a big Democratic wave, he could lose. The Democrats will probably end up with 57-60 seats in the Senate. In the table below, the polling data is for the most recent poll and colored accordingly (unlike the Senate map which averages the past week of polls). There is no data for Mississippi-A and Wyoming-A, but the Republican incumbents are certain winners. Asterisks denote the incumbent party.

State Democrat Republican D-% R-% Pollster Notes
Alabama Vivian Figures Jeff Sessions* 33% 64% SurveyUSA Sessions by a mile
Alaska Mark Begich Ted Stevens* 46% 45% Ivan Moore Leans Begich
Arkansas Mark Pryor* -       No Republican running
Colorado Mark Udall Bob Schaffer* 51% 44% Rasmussen Udall landslide
Delaware Joe Biden* Christine O'Donnell 64% 32% SurveyUSA Biden landslide
Georgia Jim Martin Saxby Chambliss* 45% 47% Research 2000 Tossup
Idaho Larry LaRocco Jim Risch* 33% 56% Research 2000 Risch landslide
Illinois Dick Durbin* Steve Sauerberg 62% 31% Rasmussen Durbin landslide
Iowa Tom Harkin* Christopher Reed 58% 37% SurveyUSA Harkin landslide
Kansas Jim Slattery Pat Roberts* 36% 55% Rasmussen Roberts landslide
Kentucky Bruce Lunsford Mitch McConnell* 48% 48% SurveyUSA Tossup
Louisiana Mary Landrieu* John Kennedy 54% 40% Rasmussen Landrieu favored
Maine Tom Allen Susan Collins* 43% 54% SurveyUSA Collins favored
Massachusetts John Kerry* Jeff Beatty 63% 31% Rasmussen Kerry landslide
Michigan Carl Levin* Jack Hoogendyk 61% 36% Rasmussen Levin landslide
Minnesota Al Franken Norm Coleman* 39% 41% SurveyUSA Tossup
Mississippi-A Erik Fleming Thad Cochran*       Cochran landslide
Mississippi-B Ronnie Musgrove Roger Wicker* 46% 47% Research 2000 Tossup
Montana Max Baucus* Bob Kelleher 64% 31% Rasmussen Baucus landslide
Nebraska Scott Kleeb Mike Johanns* 38% 52% Rasmussen Johanns landslide
New Hampshire Jeanne Shaheen John Sununu* 51% 42% ARG Shaheen favored
New Jersey Frank Lautenberg* Richard Zimmer 55% 33% Quinnipiac U. Lautenberg landslide
New Mexico Tom Udall Steve Pearce* 57% 37% Rasmussen Udall landslide
North Carolina Kay Hagan Elizabeth Dole* 46% 45% SurveyUSA Tossup
Oklahoma Andrew Rice James Inhofe* 39% 51% SurveyUSA Inhofe favored
Oregon Jeff Merkley Gordon Smith* 47% 41% Research 2000 Tossup
Rhode Island Jack Reed* Bob Tingle 72% 20% Rasmussen Reed landslide
South Carolina Bob Conley Lindsey Graham* 40% 56% SurveyUSA Graham landslide
South Dakota Tim Johnson* Joel Dykstra 57% 34% Mason-Dixon Johnson landslide
Tennessee Robert Tuke Lamar Alexander* 34% 62% Rasmussen Alexander landslide
Texas Rick Noriega John Cornyn* 44% 50% Research 2000 Cornyn favored
Virginia Mark Warner Jim Gilmore* 60% 36% SurveyUSA Warner landslide
West Virginia Jay Rockefeller* Jay Wolfe 61% 33% Rasmussen Rockefeller landslide
Wyoming-A Chris Rothfuss Michael Enzi*       Enzi landslide
Wyoming-B Nick Carter John Barrasso* 36% 57% Research 2000 Barrasso landslide

Obama Continues to Lead Nationally

Obama leads in all 10 national polls today. His average lead is 7.6%.

      - Battleground (Obama +1)
      - Diageo (Obama +6)
      - Gallup expanded (Obama +8)
      - IBD (Obama +6)
      - Ipsos (Obama +8)
      - Pew (Obama +14)
      - Rasmussen (Obama +4)
      - WSJ/NBC (Obama +10)
      - WaPo/ABC (Obama +9)
      - Zogby (Obama +8)

Today's Polls

We have 16 presidential polls today. Obama continues to lead in Colorado (Obama +5) and Pennsylvania (Obama +10). North Carolina and Nevada are still tied. North Carolina is quite the cliffhanger, with the presidential, senatorial, and gubernatorial races all essentially tied. McCain is hanging onto West Virginia (McCain +9), which seemed to be slipping for a while.

The scale of the state polling graphs has now been expanded to start Oct. 1. If you click on a state on the map (or a state name below), you will get two 2008 graphs: one for the whole year and one for only October, so you can better see the latest polls.

State Obama McCain Start End Pollster
Colorado 51% 46% Oct 20 Oct 20 Insider Advantage
Illinois 56% 32% Oct 16 Oct 18 Market Shares
Kentucky 41% 54% Oct 18 Oct 20 SurveyUSA
Maine 54% 39% Oct 19 Oct 20 SurveyUSA
North Carolina 47% 47% Oct 18 Oct 20 SurveyUSA
North Carolina 49% 48% Oct 19 Oct 19 Insider Advantage
New Jersey 55% 38% Oct 15 Oct 18 Monmouth U.
New Jersey 59% 36% Oct 16 Oct 19 Quinnipiac U.
Nevada 47% 47% Oct 19 Oct 19 Insider Advantage
Pennsylvania 52% 42% Oct 16 Oct 20 Muhlenberg Coll.
South Carolina 43% 54% Oct 20 Oct 20 Rasmussen
South Dakota 41% 48% Oct 13 Oct 15 Mason-Dixon
Washington 55% 36% Oct 16 Oct 19 Elway Poll
West Virginia 43% 52% Oct 20 Oct 20 Rasmussen
Wyoming 32% 58% Oct 13 Oct 14 Mason-Dixon
Wyoming 37% 58% Oct 18 Oct 19 SurveyUSA

In the Senate, Alaska is tied as Stevens has apparently made a comeback. Of course, the verdict of his trial, possibly as early as this week, could make a huge difference. If he is convicted, it is hard to see the people of Alaska electing a convicted criminal. If he is acquitted of all charges, he might pull off an upset. Kentucky is an exact tie, with Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and challenger Bruce Lunsford (D) both at 48%. This race wasn't supposed to be close. Neither was North Carolina, which is also essentially a tie, with Kay Hagan (D) just one point ahead of Sen. Elizabeth Dole (R-NC).

State Democrat D-pct Republican R-pct Start End Pollster
Alaska Mark Begich 46% Ted Stevens* 45% Oct 17 Oct 19 Ivan Moore Research
Kentucky Bruce Lunsford 48% Mitch McConnell* 48% Oct 18 Oct 20 SurveyUSA
Maine Tom Allen 43% Susan Collins* 54% Oct 19 Oct 20 SurveyUSA
North Carolina Kay Hagan 46% Elizabeth Dole* 45% Oct 18 Oct 20 SurveyUSA
New Jersey Frank Lautenberg* 55% Richard Zimmer 33% Oct 16 Oct 19 Quinnipiac U.
Tennessee Robert Tuke 34% Lamar Alexander* 62% Oct 16 Oct 16 Rasmussen

We also have polls for the at-large House races in Alaska and Wyoming. Ethan Berkowitz (D) has a solid lead in Alaska and Cynthia Lummis has an almost equally solid lead in Wyoming.

Cong. Distr. Democrat D-pct Republican R-pct Start End Pollster
AK-AL Ethan Berkowitz 51% Don Young* 43% Oct 17 Oct 19 Ivan Moore Research
WY-AL Gary Trauner 44% Cynthia Lummis 50% Oct 18 Oct 19 SurveyUSA

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