Oct. 26 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)
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Presidential polls today: AR CO IA IL OH SD TN RSS
Dem pickups (vs. 2004): CO FL IN IA MO NV NM NC OH VA GOP pickups (vs. 2004): (None) PDA SMS

PW logo Jackson Eyes Obama's Senate Seat Buckeye Poll: Obama Takes Lead in Ohio
Quote of the Day Globe Poll: Obama Crushing McCain in New Hampshire
McCain's Last Stand PPP Poll: Obama Leads By Nine in Virginia

News from the Votemaster

Obama Is Outspending McCain by a Wide Margin

In the first two weeks of October, Obama and the DNC spent $105 million compared to $25 million for McCain and the RNC. In some key television markets, there are seven Obama ads for every McCain ad. Ten days ago each side had about $100 million in the bank, but in the first two weeks of October, the Democrats have raised $37 million to the Republicans $15 million.

Not all the money is going to TV ads. Salaries of people on the ground are also a major expense. McCain was in the news yesterday on this score. His highest paid staffer is makeup artist Amy Strozzi who got $22,800 for 2 weeks' work although hair stylist Angela Lew didn't do badly at $10,000 for 2 weeks work, either. At that rate, John Edwards could have had two $400 haircuts a day. However, most of the salaries go to people in the campaign offices all over the country and who are running the get-out-the-vote operation.

Tensions Are Growing Inside Republican Camp

Politico is reporting that Sarah Palin has had enough with what her handlers are telling her to do. She blames them for her increasingly negative public image and wants to be herself. CNN has a similar story. Some people are interpreting this as the start of her 2012 presidential campaign.

House Republicans Were Right on the Bailout

House Republicans voted down the first bailout bill because they were afraid it would become just another government boondoggle. But after it was loaded up with more pork than all the pigs in Iowa, they changed their minds. Guess what? It has become just another government boondoggle. Sec. Henry Paulson's idea was to buy up all the toxic mortgages to get them off the banks' books. He long since shelved that plan. His next idea was to buy stock in the banks so they would have fresh capital and could start making loans again. However, instead of making loans, some banks are using the money to pay dividends, give executives bonuses, and buy other banks. For example, PNC Financial Services received $7.7 billion in government money and promptly spent $5.6 billion of it to buy National City Corp. Lawmakers are protesting but they should hardly be surprised since they gave Paulson unlimited authority to spend the money any way he wanted to, with hardly any supervision and no restrictions on what the recipients did with the money. In addition, Paulson hired the Bank of New York Mellon to run the program. On the same day Bank of New York Mellon received $3 billion itself, apparently deciding that it could use some cash. Hardly anyone noticed.

Rundown on all the States

CQ Politics has a rundown of all 50 states discussing the state of play there. Various factors are discussed, including, but not exclusively, the polling data. Here is the conclusion:

Safe Obama California, Delaware, D.C., Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont
Obama Favored Connecticut, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Washington, Wisconsin
Leans Obama Colorado, Maine, New Mexico, Nevada, New Hampshire, Ohio, Virginia
Tossup Florida, Indiana, Missouri, Montana, North Carolina, North Dakota
Leans McCain Arkansas, West Virginia
McCain Favored Arizona, Georgia, Louisiana, Tennessee
Safe McCain Alabama, Alaska, Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Wyoming

Rasmussen Poll on William Ayers

With the McCain campaign talking about 1960s radical William Ayers all the time, Rasmussen ran a poll to see what people think about him. Not surprisingly most people have an unfavorable view of Ayers that cuts across gender, age, ideology, income, race, education, and everything else. Ayers is not going to win the camper-of-the-week award. However, a more interesting question is whether all this talk of Ayers helps or hurts the McCain campaign. Republicans think it helps the campaign by 2 to 1 while Democrats think it hurts McCain's campaign by 8 to 1. Independents thinks it hurts by nearly 2 to 1. In a similar vein, 47% of self-identifying conservatives thinks it helps the campaign vs. 29% think it hurts. Among liberals the numbers are 7% and 79%. Among moderates 20% think it helps and 58% think it hurts. Thus among moderates, talk of Ayers hurts McCain by nearly 3 to 1. There is no correlation with income or education. So why does McCain keep harping on this point? Is he trying to solidify his base and doesn't give a hoot about the independents? The numbers show this is a terrible strategy as it plays to the people who are already going to vote for him but it works badly with the critical independents he desperately needs. Could it be that Steve Schmidt has drunk his own Kool-Aid and really and truly believes that talking about Ayers helps him? Surely he has the same numbers Rasmussen does. Sometimes ideology gets in the way of running an effective campaign.

Obama's National Lead Now Averages 8.1%

In the seven national polls today, Obama's lead is roughly stable. He is now ahead by 8.1%.

      - Diageo (Obama +7)
      - Gallup expanded (Obama +8)
      - IBD (Obama +4)
      - Rasmussen (Obama +8)
      - Research 2000 (Obama +12)
      - WaPo/ABC (Obama +9)
      - Zogby (Obama +9)

Today's Polls

We have seven presidential polls today. Obama now has a 12-point lead in Colorado. It looks like this critical state is lost for McCain. His internal polling probably showed this earlier, which is why he abandoned the state last week. Iowa is also a lost cause for McCain, with Obama now up 15 points here. Ohio is still close, although Obama is continuing to maintain a small lead here, now 49% to 46%.

State Obama McCain Start End Pollster
Arkansas 41% 52% Oct 21 Oct 22 Research 2000
Colorado 52% 40% Oct 21 Oct 23 Public Opinion Strat.
Iowa 54% 39% Oct 19 Oct 22 Research 2000
Illinois 59% 35% Oct 20 Oct 23 Research 2000
Ohio 49% 46% Oct 18 Oct 22 U. of Cincinnati
South Dakota 41% 50% Oct 22 Oct 24 Research 2000
Tennessee 38% 54% Oct 21 Oct 22 Research 2000

We also have three Senate polls, none of them unexpected. Jeanne Shaheen (D) is going to defeat Sen. John Sununu (R) in New Hampshire and Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) and Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) are cruising to easy victories in Iowa and Tennessee, respectively.

State Democrat D-pct Republican R-pct Start End Pollster
Iowa Tom Harkin* 54% Christopher Reed 40% Oct 23 Oct 23 Rasmussen
New Hampshire Jeanne Shaheen 52% John Sununu* 46% Oct 23 Oct 23 Rasmussen
Tennessee Robert Tuke 37% Lamar Alexander* 59% Oct 21 Oct 22 Research 2000

We also have five House polls. The good news for the Republicans is that their candidates are ahead in all of them. The bad news is that these are heavily Republican districts, so that is not surprising.

Cong. Distr. Democrat D-pct Republican R-pct Start End Pollster
IA-04 Becky Greenwald 42% Tom Latham* 47% Oct 20 Oct 22 Research 2000
NC-10 Daniel Johnson 37% Patrick McHenry* 52% Oct 20 Oct 22 Research 2000
SC-01 Linda Ketner 37% Henry Brown, Jr.* 48% Oct 20 Oct 22 Research 2000
SC-02 Rob Miller 35% Joe Wilson* 47% Oct 20 Oct 22 Research 2000
TX-10 Larry Doherty 42% Michael McCaul* 46% Oct 20 Oct 22 Research 2000

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