Oct. 30 absentee ballot for overseas voters

Obama 375   McCain 157   Ties 6
Senate Dem 58   GOP 41   Ties 1
House Dem 251   GOP 183   Ties 1

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strong Dem Strong Dem (254)
weak Dem Weak Dem (57)
barely Dem Barely Dem (64)
tied Exactly tied (6)
barely GOP Barely GOP (15)
weak GOP Weak GOP (24)
strong GOP Strong GOP (118)
270 Electoral votes needed to win
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Dem pickups (vs. 2004): CO FL IN IA MO NV NM NC OH VA GOP pickups (vs. 2004): (None) PDA SMS

PW logo AP/GfK Poll: Democrats Lead in Key Senate Races Gore to Campaign in Florida
New House Ratings Mason-Dixon: Tight Races in Pennsylvania, Arizona
Texans Confused About Obama's Religion Time/CNN: Obama Very Strong in Key States

News from the Votemaster

Obama Runs Informercial on Seven Networks Yesterday

Barack Obama's 30-minute "infomercial" ran last night simultaneously on seven broadcast and cable networks, including the nation's largest Spanish-language network, Univision. It was a montage of scenes shot all over America (especially in swing states), flawlessly edited with slow cross dissolves, cutaways and dips to black and with emotional music playing in the background the whole time. While Obama repeated a number of his oft-stated policy positions, such as a middle-class tax cut and affordable health care, the effect was more the look-and-feel than the content. Obama was shown talking to wildly cheering crowds and individuals, constantly emphasizing how he will help the middle class. There were scenes with Obama addressing the nation from a mockup of the oval office as well as several segments in which ordinary people tell about their problems. In one of them, a 72-year-old man tells how he had to go back to work to be able to pay for his wife's medicines. In another, a single mother tells how she gets up before sunrise every day to work two jobs in order to feed her kids. Washington Post columnist Tom Shales compared Obama to Tom Joad in The Grapes of Wrath, only potentially with a happier ending. All in all, it is hard to imagine anyone watching it and thinking "this guy is a newbie not ready for prime time." If you missed it, here is a link to the video.

What is noteworthy about this campaign is McCain's response. He just attacked Obama more, saying he is not ready to be commander in chief and his economic policies would undermine our national security. He is also making robocalls--in Arizona (!)--a state that wasn't thought to be competitive. What is so astounding about this strategy is that most Republicans worship Ronald Reagan, not so much due to his specific policies, but for the tone of his campaigns and administration. He was always talking about hope and "Morning in America," rarely attacking his opponents. McCain could easily have countered Obama's film with an upbeat message saying: "I also believe in a good future for America, but a future produced by hardworking Americans like Joe the Plumber, not by government bureaucrats." He didn't do it. Just attack, attack, attack. You can see Atwater-Rove-Schmidt writ large on McCain's whole campaign. Spend all your time tearing down your opponent, rather than saying what your plans are. The weird part of this is that before 2008, McCain was not an attack kind of guy. His most noteworthy bills in the Senate are the McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform bill (which passed) and the McCain-Kennedy immigration bill (which didn't). And Russ Feingold and Ted Kennedy aren't just any old Democrats. Feingold is tied for being the most liberal member of the Senate and Kennedy has been a champion of progressive causes for decades. So McCain has a long history of being practical senator working with the other guys to get things done. Nary a word about his many accomplishments. Just attack, attack, attack. Historically, when one candidate offers hope and one offers fear, hope wins.

Comparison of Intrade and Electoral Votes

Several people have pointed out that the price of Obama stock at intrade.com and the electoral vote of the solid+weak states are remarkably similar. Here are the graphs. Very likely, the bettors are prime consumers of polling data.


Ohio Voters Are Wary of the Integrity of the Election

First-time Ohio voters may be forgiven if they have forgotten the problems and controversies concerning the 2004 Ohio election, but older voters remember them well. Republicans are worried about ineligible voters casting a ballot and Democrats are worried about eligible voters being denied the right to vote. In truth there is hardly any evidence that many ineligible voters have ever voted. In fact, this issue was the heart of the U.S. attorneys scandal, when the Bush administration pushed many U.S. attorneys to prosecute voter fraud and the attorneys argued there really wasn't any fraud to prosecute, which prompted the administration to fire a number of them.

Watchdogs Warn of Trouble on Election Day

Many experts say that despite 30% of the electorate voting before election day, the crowds will be so large on Tuesday that there could be chaos everywhere. Florida, among other states, has a "no match, no vote" law, which prevents anyone from voting if information in the voter registration data base differs from that in other state data bases, all of which are riddled with errors from top to bottom. These people will no doubt argue with the poll workers, slowing down the voting process. In principle, disputed voters can cast provisional ballots, but many precincts are expected to run out of them. In Georgia, people with Latino names have been flagged because they might be illegal aliens. Lawsuits are flying all over the country and poll workers are memorizing the election administrator's prayer: "Lord, let it be a landslide."

Ron Paul Could Be a Spoiler in Montana

Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) is on the ballot in Montana on the Constitution Party line and could play the role of a spoiler. Although Paul has not campaigned in the state, he is popular in this libertarian state and could draw votes away from John McCain here. Recent polls have shown Montana to be close, so Paul might tip the state's three electoral votes to Barack Obama.

Electoral Vote Screen Saver Available

If you want to keep track of the electoral votes even when you are not using your computer, there is an electoral vote screen saver at https://w ww.cannonade.net/ElectoralCollege.html that cycles through the states showing the election data.

Obama Still Leading Nationally

Obama's national lead obtained by averaging the polls is 6.0%/

      - Diegeo (Obama +7)
      - Gallup expanded (Obama +7)
      - IBD (Obama +3)
      - Rasmussen (Obama +5)
      - Research 2000 (Obama +5)
      - Washington Post/ABC (Obama +8)
      - Zogby (Obama +7)

Today's Polls

We have 29 presidential polls today. In today's polls, Barack Obama is maintaining his small but significant leads in Florida, North Carolina, Nevada. and Ohio, as well as larger leads in Colorado, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, and Virginia. Indiana and Missouri are too close to call. All in all, the picture looks bleak for John McCain as Obama is leading in far too many swing states for him to feel comfortable.

State Obama McCain Start End Pollster
Alaska 41% 57% Oct 28 Oct 28 Rasmussen
Alabama 36% 61% Oct 27 Oct 28 SurveyUSA
Arizona 46% 53% Oct 23 Oct 28 Opinion Research
Colorado 53% 45% Oct 23 Oct 28 Opinion Research
Delaware 63% 33% Oct 27 Oct 28 SurveyUSA
Florida 51% 47% Oct 23 Oct 28 Opinion Research
Georgia 47% 52% Oct 23 Oct 28 Opinion Research
Indiana 46% 45% Oct 26 Oct 28 Selzer
Kansas 37% 58% Oct 27 Oct 28 SurveyUSA
Massachusetts 56% 39% Oct 27 Oct 28 SurveyUSA
Michigan 53% 43% Oct 28 Oct 28 Rasmussen
Minnesota 55% 43% Oct 28 Oct 28 Rasmussen
Minnesota 56% 37% Oct 24 Oct 27 U. of Minnesota
Missouri 48% 50% Oct 23 Oct 28 Opinion Research
North Carolina 52% 46% Oct 23 Oct 28 Opinion Research
New Hampshire 55% 37% Oct 22 Oct 26 GfK Roper
New Jersey 54% 38% Oct 26 Oct 28 Research 2000
New Mexico 54% 44% Oct 28 Oct 28 Rasmussen
Nevada 50% 45% Oct 25 Oct 28 Research 2000
Nevada 52% 45% Oct 23 Oct 28 Opinion Research
New York 62% 33% Oct 27 Oct 28 SurveyUSA
Ohio 48% 45% Oct 24 Oct 26 Marist Coll.
Ohio 51% 47% Oct 23 Oct 28 Opinion Research
Pennsylvania 55% 41% Oct 26 Oct 27 Marist Coll.
Utah 32% 55% Oct 23 Oct 25 Mason-Dixon
Virginia 48% 39% Oct 19 Oct 26 Roanoke Coll.
Virginia 49% 42% Oct 22 Oct 26 GfK Roper
Virginia 53% 44% Oct 23 Oct 28 Opinion Research
Wisconsin 53% 42% Oct 27 Oct 28 Research 2000

We also have 12 Senate polls. The first poll taken after the conviction of Sen. Ted Stevens (R-AK) puts Anchorage mayor Mark Begich (D) ahead now by 8 points. Assuming he can stay out of jail, Stevens can now go back to Alaska to enjoy his nice VECO-provided house. Nevertheless, there is some good news for Republicans today. in Minnesota, Sen. Norm Coleman (R-MN) leads Al Franken (D) again, 43% to 39%, although Dean Barkley at 14% is still a factor. Also, in North Carolina, Mason-Dixon has Sen. Elizabeth Dole (R-NC) ahead of Kay Hagan (D) by 4 points in another closely contested race.

State Democrat D-pct Republican R-pct Start End Pollster
Alaska Mark Begich 52% Ted Stevens* 44% Oct 28 Oct 28 Rasmussen
Alabama Vivian Figures 32% Jeff Sessions* 65% Oct 27 Oct 28 SurveyUSA
Colorado Mark Udall 48% Bob Schaffer* 36% Oct 22 Oct 26 GfK Roper
Delaware Joe Biden* 66% Christine O'Donnell 32% Oct 27 Oct 28 SurveyUSA
Kansas Jim Slattery 33% Pat Roberts* 60% Oct 27 Oct 28 SurveyUSA
Massachusetts John Kerry* 54% Jeff Beatty 38% Oct 27 Oct 28 SurveyUSA
Minnesota Al Franken 39% Norm Coleman* 43% Oct 28 Oct 28 Rasmussen
North Carolina Kay Hagan 42% Elizabeth Dole* 46% Oct 22 Oct 24 Mason-Dixon
North Carolina Kay Hagan 47% Elizabeth Dole* 43% Oct 22 Oct 26 GfK Roper
New Hampshire Jeanne Shaheen 47% John Sununu* 41% Oct 22 Oct 26 GfK Roper
Virginia Mark Warner 57% Jim Gilmore* 22% Oct 19 Oct 26 Roanoke Coll.
Virginia Mark Warner 58% Jim Gilmore* 32% Oct 22 Oct 26 GfK Roper

We also have five House polls. The most interesting one is PA-12, where Rep. John Murtha was expected to cruise to an easy reelection until he had his own personal macaca moment, calling his constituents racists. The race is essentially tied now. Murtha may yet pull it out of the fire, but it will be close instead of being a landslide.

Cong. Distr. Democrat D-pct Republican R-pct Start End Pollster
IN-03 Michael Montagano 40% Mark Souder* 45% Oct 16 Oct 18 Research 2000
KY-02 David Boswell 43% Brett Gurthrie* 53% Oct 27 Oct 28 SurveyUSA
MO-06 Kay Barnes 36% Sam Graves* 54% Oct 27 Oct 28 SurveyUSA
OR-05 Kurt Schrader* 55% Mike Erickson 31% Oct 27 Oct 28 SurveyUSA
PA-12 John Murtha* 46% William Russell 44% Oct 28 Oct 28 Dane

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