Oct. 25 absentee ballot for overseas voters

Obama 375   McCain 157   Ties 6
Senate Dem 59   GOP 41  
House Dem 252   GOP 182   Ties 1

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strong Dem Strong Dem (260)
weak Dem Weak Dem (57)
barely Dem Barely Dem (58)
tied Exactly tied (6)
barely GOP Barely GOP (15)
weak GOP Weak GOP (8)
strong GOP Strong GOP (134)
270 Electoral votes needed to win
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Presidential polls today: FL GA IA MA MN NC NH NJ NY OH SC VA RSS
Dem pickups (vs. 2004): CO FL IN IA MO NV NM NC OH VA GOP pickups (vs. 2004): (None) PDA SMS

PW logo Palin May Cut Off Handlers Early Voting Trends Favor Obama
Todd: Virginia, Colorado Lean to Obama Ohio Newspaper Poll: Obama Pulls Ahead
Rocky Mountain News Poll: Obama Surges in Colorado PPP Poll: Obama Maintains Lead in Ohio

News from the Votemaster

Stock Market Continues to Tumble

For a couple of days it looked liked the markets would recover, but the Dow dropped another 312 points yesterday. Here is the graph of the Dow Jones industrials index for the past 12 months.

Dow Oct 25

John McCain has just over a week to change the subject from the economy, but as millions of people worry about losing their job, their house, and their retirement fund, that is going to be a tough sell. Just about the only thing going up are yard sales. Many conservatives have urged McCain to try to make the campaign about William Ayers (or even Jeremiah Wright), but at this point that would make McCain seem desperate. More to the point, most polls on the matter so far show that while the Republican base just eats up this kind of stuff, it has little effect on the independents McCain so desperately needs--except making them think he is running a negative campaign. Albert Einstein's much quoted definition of insanity seems relevant here: "Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results."

Early Voting is Possible in 32 States

But even if McCain can change the subject, he has another problem--early voting. Millions of people are expected to cast their vote in person before election day as early voting is now allowed in 32 states. Historically, early voters leaned Republican, but this year early voters are going for Barack Obama. Once those votes have been banked, they are not subject to change, no matter what happens this week. In North Carolina, for example, over 900,000 people have already voted and 56% are Democrats, 27% are Republicans. Blacks constitute 21% of the North Carolina electorate but 28% of the early voters. Similarly, in Georgia, 35% of the 967,000 early voters are black (vs. 25% of the total voters in 2004). These numbers may not be representative of course. People vote early for a variety of reasons, including enthusiasm, lack of interest in standing in line on election day for 8 hours, etc. Still having millions of votes already cast for Obama does not provide an easy path for McCain.

Obama Has Strong Support Among Whites

While Obama's near 100% support among blacks was to be expected, he is doing much better among white voters (44%) than any Democratic presidential candidate since Jimmy Carter got 47% of the whites in 1976. No Democrat has broken the 50% barrier among whites since Lyndon Johnson. The fear that white working class Democrats would never vote for a black person seems to have dissipated as over 80% of them say they will vote for Obama. Much of Hillary Clinton's campaign was based on the idea that Obama would not be able to win over this group and she would. It now appears that she was wrong on this score.

Huge Battle on the Ground in Florida

While Obama can win the election without Florida, McCain can't, so he is putting everything he has into this crucial state. But Obama, knowing that he can deny McCain a victory here is registering voters and running a massive ground operation there. Each candidate has its strengths in the Sunshine State. For example, registered Democrats now outnumber registered Republicans by 660,000. On the other hand, as of Tuesday, 100,000 more Republicans had turned in absentee ballots than Democrats. In a sense, though, Obama has already won a kind of victory in Florida: he is forcing McCain to spend time, money, and energy in a state that George Bush won by 400,000 votes in 2004. Ronald Brownstein has a piece on what's going on in Florida now.

Good Historical Election Site Available

There are several Websites that summarize previous presidential elections, but this one is particularly nice, with photos of all the candidates and electoral college maps going back to 1864. It also has many links to Wikipedia articles. Definitely a good find for political history buffs. It gives one a better sense that things change. For example, the 1924 map shows the Democrats winning the entire south--and the Republicans winning everything else except Wisconsin. The difference between the 1928 and 1932 maps is astounding.

Carville on Joe-the-Plumber

No matter what else you think of James Carville, two things stand out: (1) he has an odd choice in wives and (2) he is very good at one liners. Yesterday he said: "The reason the Republicans found Joe the Plumber was to find someone hanging around a toilet other than Larry Craig."

Joe Lieberman Injects God into the Campaign

Sen. Joe Lieberman, an orthodox Jew, has injected God into the campaign. Yesterday, when asked about Sarah Palin's readiness to be President, he said: "Thank God She's not going to have to be President from day one." He didn't comment about her readiness on day 2 or any subsequent days.

Obama Continues to Lead in the National Polls

Here is the next installment. The average is 7.8%

      - Battleground (Obama +3)
      - Diageo (Obama +7)
      - Gallup expanded (Obama +7)
      - IDB (Obama +4)
      - Newsweek (Obama +12)
      - Rasmussen (Obama +7)
      - Research 2000 (Obama +12)
      - WaPo/ABC (Obama +9)
      - Zogby (Obama +9)

Today's Polls

We have 13 presidential polls today. Florida, North Carolina, and Virginia continue to be close, although Barack Obama has a substantial lead in other polls in Virginia. We'll need more data to see if this is just an outlier or not. Also, while Georgia was getting closer, this is the first poll showing Obama actually ahead in Georgia. Again, there is a good chance this is just an outlier. Don't take it too seriously yet.

State Obama McCain Start End Pollster
Florida 48% 47% Oct 22 Oct 22 Insider Advantage
Georgia 48% 47% Oct 23 Oct 23 Insider Advantage
Iowa 52% 44% Oct 23 Oct 23 Rasmussen
Massachusetts 53% 34% Oct 20 Oct 22 Suffolk U.
Minnesota 42% 37% Oct 14 Oct 22 St. Cloud State U.
North Carolina 45% 44% Sep 28 Oct 19 Winthrop U.
North Carolina 48% 50% Oct 23 Oct 23 Rasmussen
New Hampshire 50% 46% Oct 23 Oct 23 Rasmussen
New Jersey 56% 39% Oct 20 Oct 21 Marist Coll.
New York 65% 29% Oct 21 Oct 22 Marist Coll.
Ohio 52% 42% Oct 22 Oct 22 Insider Advantage
South Carolina 35% 55% Sep 28 Oct 19 Winthrop U.
Virginia 45% 44% Sep 28 Oct 19 Winthrop U.

We also have three Senate polls. The Georgia Senate race between Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) and Jim Martin (D) continues to be a statistical tie. A poll in Oregon shows it to be close, but the data was collected quite a while ago and there are an improbable number of undecideds. Seems like a fluke or poor polling.

State Democrat D-pct Republican R-pct Start End Pollster
Georgia Jim Martin 42% Saxby Chambliss* 44% Oct 23 Oct 23 Insider Advantage
Michigan Carl Levin* 58% Jack Hoogendyk 30% Oct 19 Oct 22 EPIC-MRA
Oregon Jeff Merkley 36% Gordon Smith* 35% Oct 10 Oct 20 Riley Research

We also have eight House polls. In the open seat in AL-02 it is a statistical tie between Bobby Bright (D) and Jay Love (R) in this R+13 open seat. This is another sign of the calamity that is likely to hit the Republicans in 10 days as R+13 seats are not supposed to be close. In IL-10, a D+4 district currently occupied by Republican Mark Kirk, Dan Seals has taken the lead. This is likely to be a good year for charismatic young black politicians from Illinois and Seals (who is a charismatic young black politician from Illinois) is likely to benefit from it.

But probably the most interesting poll is in MN-06. As you probably know, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) appeared on Hardball Sunday and said the media should start investigating anti-American members of Congress. This outburst inspired the base--the Democratic base--to give $1.5 million to her opponent, Elwyn Tinklenberg within 3 days, also inspired the NRCC to pull out of the district, and finally inspired DCCC chairman Chris Van Hollen to dump $1 million into the district. A SurveyUSA poll we had yesterday showed the previously unknown Tinklenberg ahead by 3 points. Now a University of Minnesota of poll puts Tinklenberg ahead by 2 points. Thus one word has caused Bachmann to go from safe reelection to a tossup race. At least when George Allen introduced the word "macaca" to America in 2006 it had some educational value, teaching people a bit about a previously poorly known species of monkey.

Cong. Distr. Democrat D-pct Republican R-pct Start End Pollster
AL-02 Bobby Bright 45% Jay Love* 47% Oct 20 Oct 22 Research 2000
IL-10 Dan Seals 49% Mark Kirk* 43% Oct 20 Oct 22 Research 2000
IN-09 Baron Hill* 54% Mike Sodrel 39% Oct 22 Oct 23 SurveyUSA
MN-06 Elwyn Tinklenberg 45% Michele Bachmann* 43% Oct 21 Oct 23 U. of Minnesota
MO-09 Judy Baker 47% Blaine Luetkemeyer* 42% Oct 20 Oct 22 Research 2000
NJ-05 Dennis Shulman 40% Scott Garrett* 47% Oct 20 Oct 22 Research 2000
PA-04 Jason Altmire* 53% Melissa Hart 35% Oct 20 Oct 20 Susquehanna Polling
SD-AL Stephanie Herseth* 67% Chris Lien 22% Oct 13 Oct 15 Mason-Dixon

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