Oct. 24 absentee ballot for overseas voters

Obama 375   McCain 157   Ties 6
Senate Dem 59   GOP 41  
House Dem 251   GOP 183   Ties 1

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This day in 2004

strong Dem Strong Dem (260)
weak Dem Weak Dem (57)
barely Dem Barely Dem (58)
tied Exactly tied (6)
barely GOP Barely GOP (0)
weak GOP Weak GOP (23)
strong GOP Strong GOP (134)
270 Electoral votes needed to win
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Presidential polls today: AR CA FL GA IA IL IN KS KY LA ME MI MN MT OH OR PA TX WA WI WV RSS
Dem pickups (vs. 2004): CO FL IN IA MO NV NM NC OH VA GOP pickups (vs. 2004): (None) PDA SMS

PW logo Obama Running More Ads in Swing States Quote of the Day
Winthrop/ETV: Obama Just Ahead in North Carolina, Virginia Strategic Vision: McCain Leads in Ohio, Florida
NPR Poll: Obama Crushing McCain in Battleground Ayers Book to be Released After Election

News from the Votemaster

Obama's Lead Keeps Growing

With 33 new polls in today, including eight from key Midwestern states, Barack Obama's lead keeps increasing. It is largely due to people's concerns about the economy, but Colin Powell's endorsement Sunday no doubt helped alleviate fears about his ability to handle national security. Our total now shows Obama at 375 electoral votes, the highest total we have seen for any candidate in either 2004 or 2008. Unless John McCain can pull a rabbit out of the hat next week, it looks bad for him. New polls show Obama with a 10-point lead in Indiana and a 4-point lead in Montana, two very red states. If McCain is going have to fight for deep red states, the swing states are going to be very tough for him. The NY Times has a good analysis of where we are now.

As a footnote, during the Democratic primaries, Hillary Clinton was arguing that Obama's latching onto Howard Dean's 50-state strategy was a bad idea because no Democrat could possibly win states like North Carolina, Virginia, and Indiana. She was pleading for a full-bore attempt to win Florida and Ohio and claimed she was the person best suited for that. While we don't know if red states like these will go Democratic in the end, at the moment these three look good for Obama. If he wins them, the whole paradigm of red and blue states the way we have had them for 8 years will bite the dust.

At intrade.com this morning, 10 shares of Obama-to-win were going for $86 and 10 shares of McCain were going for $14. If you think McCain is going to win, an investment of $14,000 in McCain stock now will yield $100,000 in two weeks.

The only piece of good news for McCain is that Obama's fundraising in October has slowed down. He pulled in only $36 million in the first two weeks of October. Given his high burn rate (he spent $105 million in the first two weeks of October), he will soon have to make some tough decisions about where to reduce advertising.

RNC Abandons Three House Districts

The NRCC has abandoned three Republican-leaning House districts and left the incumbents there to fend for themselves. What this means is that the NRCC believes the seats are lost and there is no point on wasting scarce resources on them. The incumbent Republican representatives left high and dry are Marilyn Musgrave (CO-04, PVI R+9), Michele Bachmann (MN-06, PVI R+5), and Tom Feeney (FL-24, PVI R+3).

Under the motto: "You're damned if you do and you're damned if you don't" The NRCC has a problem on its hands. The social conservatives have lashed out at the NRCC for dropping Musgrave and Bachmann like hot potatoes. Leaders like Tony Perkins call it cutting and running. He and some others want to fight for extreme conservatives like these two women until the last dog dies. The NRCC sees this as a triage operation: abandon hopeless causes irrespective of ideology to try to save more moderate Republicans who have a chance. The attack from Perkins could be a foreboding of fratricide within the Republican party if the Democrats win all the marbles. The social conservatives will be blaming the Republicans for not campaigning on a theme of overturning Roe v. Wade. The economic conservatives will be saying that there wasn't enough emphasis on tax cuts to stimulate the economy. Everybody will blame everybody else. It won't be pretty. Of course, if McCain wins and the Republicans take back the Senate and House, the Democrats will be totally beside themselves moaning: "It was impossible to lose and yet we did the impossible."

House Rundown by PVI

Republican insiders are preparing for a bloodbath in Congress. A Democratic win of half a dozen seats in the Senate is almost a given at this point, and nine seats is possible if the Democratic wave is really strong. The situation in the House is equally alarming but somewhat under the radar because there have been so few public polls this year. To get an idea of what might happen, below is a list of the number of congressional districts with each PVI. The PVI (Partisan Voting Index) is guru Charlie Cook's metric that shows how a district deviates from the country as a whole. A PVI of D+3 means the district is 3% more Democratic than the country as a whole as measured by the two most recent presidential elections. The second column tells how many districts have the specified PVI. For example, there are four districts that are D+35.

PVI # Cumulative Exceptions
D+43 2 2  
D+41 1 3  
D+40 1 4  
D+39 1 5  
D+38 2 7  
D+36 3 10  
D+35 4 14  
D+34 2 16  
D+33 3 19  
D+32 1 20  
D+31 1 21  
D+30 3 24  
D+29 1 25  
D+28 3 28  
D+27 1 29  
D+26 3 32  
D+25 2 34  
D+23 4 38  
D+22 4 42  
D+21 5 47  
D+20 5 52  
D+19 1 53  
D+18 9 62  
D+17 4 66  
D+16 3 69  
D+15 3 72  
D+14 8 80  
D+13 10 90  
D+12 8 98  
D+11 6 104  
D+10 7 111  
D+9 11 122  
D+8 11 133  
D+7 8 141 DE-AL
D+6 10 151  
D+5 9 160 CT-04
D+4 7 167 IL-10 NJ-02
D+3 9 176 NJ-03 NY-25
D+2 11 187 NM-01 NY-03 PA-06 PA-15 WA-08
D+1 7 194 FL-10 NV-03 NY-13
D+0 7 201 IA-04
R+0 4 205 AR-02 NH-01
R+1 15 220 AZ-08 MN-01 NY-19 NY-24 TX-27 TX-28
R+2 11 231 FL-02 FL-16 MI-01
R+3 18 249 CA-11 NC-02 NC-07 NY-20 PA-04 TN-04
R+4 17 266 AZ-05 IN-02 KS-03 TN-06 TX-23 WI-08
R+5 17 283 IL-08 IL-14 LA-03 OK-02
R+6 16 299 AL-05 CO-03 MN-07 OH-18 SC-05 WV-01
R+7 13 312 IN-09 KS-02 KY-06 LA-06 NC-11 PA-17 VA-09
R+8 9 321 GA-08 PA-10
R+9 11 332 IN-08
R+10 13 345 MS-01 SD-AL
R+11 13 358 MO-04
R+12 12 370  
R+13 13 383 ND-AL
R+14 7 390  
R+15 10 400 TX-22
R+16 8 408 MS-04
R+17 6 414 UT-02
R+18 4 418 TX-17
R+19 5 423  
R+20 4 427  
R+22 1 428  
R+23 2 430  
R+24 1 431  
R+25 3 434  
R+26 1 435  

The third column gives the cumulative total from the top of the table. For example, there are 24 districts that are D+30 or more Democratic and 201 districts that are D+0 or more. This means that if the Democrats were to win all the Democratic-leaning districts and the Republicans were to win all the Republican-leaning districts, the Republicans would control the House 234 to 201.

However, Democrats have won three special elections this year, all in Republican-leaning districts, including MS-01, which is R+10. As mentioned above, the NRCC has pulled the plug on CO-04, which is R+9. So it seems likely that Democrats will win many "R" districts. Suppose they were to win everything from R+3 and up and lose everything below that. Then they would have 249 seats. If they won everything from R+4 on up, they would have 266 seats.

But there are some Democrats in "R" districts and vice versa. The exceptions are noted in the last column above. All are clickable leading either to a description of the race (if it is thought to be competitive) or to a map (if it is not). Republicans hold seats in districts as Democratic as D+7 (Rep. Mike Castle of Delaware). Democrats hold seats in districts as Republican as R+18. Ironically, the R+18 congressman is Rep. Chet Edwards (D-TX), President Bush's own congressman.

It is clear that to get and hold a majority, the Democrats have to win in quite a few slightly to moderately Republican districts, as they did in 2006. As an example, suppose the Democrats win everything from R+2 on up and half of the R+3 through R+7 districts. Then they would have about 270 seats in the House. Using the table above you can make your own model. The data are available in .csv format for use in Excel or other spreadsheets.

Stevens Trial Hits a Snag

One of the jurors in the trial of Sen. Ted Stevens (R-AK) needs to leave Washington to go to Texas to attend to a seriously ill family member. The judge is now considering what to do. If the verdict is delayed, Stevens' fate will hang in the balance.

Barry Goldwater's Granddaughter Endorses Obama

The granddaughter of the person who started the conservative revolution, the late Sen. Barry Goldwater (R-AZ), is appalled at what has happened to her grandfather's Republican party. She said that Goldwater stood for honesty, integrity, and personal freedom, qualities she finds lacking in the current Republican party in general and the McCain campaign in particular. For example, she could not imagine her grandfather opposing a woman's right to choose to have an abortion if she wanted one. That restriction of personal freedom is something he would have abhored. This endorsement of Obama is but the latest one in a string of endorsements by people with long-standing ties to the Republican party. The only high-profile (former) Democrat to endorse McCain is Sen. Joe Lieberman (D-CT).

Video the Vote

As has been widely reported, chaos is expected in many states on election day due to an unusually large turnout, use of equipment that has never been tested, untrained poll workers, registration issues, insufficient provisional ballots, and more. A new nonpartisan group, Video the Vote, is encouraging ordinary citizens to get involved and make videos to document and publicize problems. It is absurd that the richest country in the history of the world (even after the Wall St. mess) can't implement a voting system that actually works. The more pressure there is to fix the system, the better.

Obama Continues to Lead Nationally

Here are today's national polls. Obama is ahead by 6.7%.

      - Battleground (Obama +4)
      - Diageo (Obama +5)
      - Gallup expanded (Obama +6)
      - IBD (Obama +1)
      - NYT/CBS (Obama +13)
      - Rasmussen (Obama +7)
      - WaPo/ABC (Obama +11)

Today's Polls

Polling is starting to get very intensive as we move down the homestretch. The University of Wisconsin released a batch of polls in eight key Midwestern states yesterday. Barack Obama is leading in all of them by 10 points or more. His worst state is Indiana, where he is leading 51% to 41%. If Obama can win red states like Indiana by 10 points, this is going to be the biggest Democratic landslide since Johnson crushed Goldwater in 1964. Virtually none of today's polls have good news for John McCain. He is behind in all the states Kerry won plus Florida, Indiana, and Ohio, the latter by 12 points in one poll and 14 in another. There is every indication that the economy is taking McCain down.

State Obama McCain Start End Pollster
Arkansas 36% 51% Oct 01 Oct 21 U. of Arkansas
California 56% 33% Oct 12 Oct 19 Public Policy Inst. of Calif.
Florida 49% 42% Oct 20 Oct 22 Polling Company
Florida 49% 44% Oct 16 Oct 21 Quinnipiac U.
Georgia 46% 51% Oct 22 Oct 22 Rasmussen
Iowa 52% 39% Oct 19 Oct 22 U. of Wisconsin
Illinois 61% 32% Oct 19 Oct 22 U. of Wisconsin
Indiana 49% 45% Oct 21 Oct 22 SurveyUSA
Indiana 51% 41% Oct 19 Oct 22 U. of Wisconsin
Kansas 41% 53% Oct 21 Oct 22 SurveyUSA
Kentucky 39% 55% Oct 19 Oct 21 Research 2000
Louisiana 41% 57% Oct 21 Oct 21 Rasmussen
Maine 56% 35% Oct 16 Oct 19 Critical Insights
Michigan 51% 37% Oct 19 Oct 22 EPIC-MRA
Michigan 58% 36% Oct 19 Oct 22 U. of Wisconsin
Minnesota 50% 40% Oct 16 Oct 20 Financial Dynamics
Minnesota 56% 41% Oct 22 Oct 22 Rasmussen
Minnesota 57% 38% Oct 19 Oct 22 U. of Wisconsin
Montana 44% 40% Oct 16 Oct 20 Montana State U.
Ohio 52% 38% Oct 16 Oct 21 Quinnipiac U.
Ohio 53% 41% Oct 19 Oct 22 U. of Wisconsin
Oregon 48% 34% Oct 10 Oct 20 Riley Research
Pennsylvania 51% 41% Oct 16 Oct 20 Financial Dynamics
Pennsylvania 52% 41% Oct 19 Oct 22 U. of Wisconsin
Pennsylvania 52% 42% Oct 18 Oct 22 Muhlenberg Coll.
Pennsylvania 53% 40% Oct 16 Oct 21 Quinnipiac U.
Pennsylvania 53% 41% Oct 21 Oct 22 SurveyUSA
Texas 44% 54% Oct 21 Oct 21 Rasmussen
Washington 54% 43% Oct 22 Oct 22 Rasmussen
Wisconsin 53% 40% Oct 16 Oct 20 Financial Dynamics
Wisconsin 53% 40% Oct 19 Oct 22 U. of Wisconsin
West Virginia 44% 49% Oct 20 Oct 21 WV Wesleyan Coll.

We also have five Senate polls. Georgia is close, with Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) having a 2-point lead over Jim Martin (D). Minnesota is also close, with Al Franken (D) slightly ahead of Sen. Norm Coleman (R-MN) by 4 points.

State Democrat D-pct Republican R-pct Start End Pollster
Georgia Jim Martin 45% Saxby Chambliss* 47% Oct 22 Oct 22 Rasmussen
Kansas Jim Slattery 35% Pat Roberts* 57% Oct 21 Oct 22 SurveyUSA
Louisiana Mary Landrieu* 53% John Kennedy 43% Oct 21 Oct 21 Rasmussen
Maine Tom Allen 42% Susan Collins* 54% Oct 16 Oct 19 Critical Insights
Minnesota Al Franken 41% Norm Coleman* 37% Oct 22 Oct 22 Rasmussen

We also have two House polls, one of them noteworthy. In MN-06, Rep. Michele Bachmann has not fully mastered the art of dog-whistle politics. She appeared on Hardball on Sunday and lashed out at Democrats for being un-American. She didn't quite say "Where is Joe McCarthy when we need him?" but to many people it sounded that way. This was supposed to be a secret message to the base to energize it. Well, it reached the base, all right, but the Democratic base. Within 3 days the Democratic base, led by Daily Kos, contributed $1.45 million to her previously unknown opponent. The NRCC pulled out of her district and the DCCC moved in to the tune of $1 million. Now a SurveyUSA poll puts her opponent, Elwyn Tinklenberg ahead by 3 points. If she had not appeared on Hardball she would have been reelected easily. Now that is suddenly in doubt. The Republican strategy of calling the Democrats un-American and un-patriotic has worked for years, but it may be on its last legs this year.

Cong. Distr. Democrat D-pct Republican R-pct Start End Pollster
KY-03 John Yarmuth* 57% Anne Northup 41% Oct 21 Oct 22 SurveyUSA
MN-06 Elwyn Tinklenberg 47% Michele Bachmann* 44% Oct 21 Oct 22 SurveyUSA

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