Sep. 21 absentee ballot for overseas voters

Obama 273   McCain 265  
Senate Dem 56   GOP 43   Ties 1
House Dem 242   GOP 193  

Senate map and races
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This day in 2004

strong Dem Strong Dem (153)
weak Dem Weak Dem (45)
barely Dem Barely Dem (75)
tied Exactly tied (0)
barely GOP Barely GOP (81)
weak GOP Weak GOP (38)
strong GOP Strong GOP (146)
270 Electoral votes needed to win
Map algorithm explained
Presidential polls today: CT FL IL MD MI MO OH OK SC TN RSS
Dem pickups (vs. 2004): CO IA NM GOP pickups (vs. 2004): (None) PDA SMS

PW logo Miami Herald Poll: McCain Holds Small Edge in Florida How Many Cars Do You Own?
Research 2000: Obama Catches McCain in Florida Research 2000: Obama Cruising in Iowa
Quote of the Day Ohio Poll: McCain Holds Six Point Lead in Buckeye State

News from the Votemaster

DCCC Outraises NRCC in August

The DCCC raised $5.1 million in August compared to $3.4 million for the NRCC according to an article in CQ Politics. August is always a slow month for fundraising, though. The DCCC has $54 million on hand at the end of August compared to $14 million for the NRCC. In contrast to earlier months, though, the NRCC is only down by a factor of four; it has been worse this year. The DCCC has an extensive red-to-blue program intended to flip Republican seats, especially open ones. The NRCC has no comparable blue-to-red program and is mostly playing defense, trying to hang onto its open seats. In many districts, the strategy has been to run a rich businessman who can fund his own race. Historically, seats in Congress are not for sale (although Congressmen often are). Odd.

Obama's and McCain's Tax Plans Compared

Each of the candidates has a tax plan, but they differ quite a bit. Here is a chart showing the plans. McCain's plan focuses tax cuts on upper-income taxpayers. Obama's focuses them on lower-income taxpayers. However, with the government about to spend something like $1 trillion to buy nonperforming mortgages, it is unlikely the new President will have a lot of budget room left for tax cuts of any magnitude unless they are offset by tax increases of the same magnitude. In that respect, Obama's plan might be doable since it is budgetarily neutral, raising taxes on the rich by as much as it cuts taxes for the middle class. McCain's plan cuts taxes for everyone and thus reduces federal revenue and increases the budget deficit.

Wall St. Jitters Affect Retirement Plans

There has been much ink and many pixels spilled on the macroeconomic effects of the crisis on Wall St., but less on the human side of this (and how it might affect the election). The Washington Post has a story today on how people with a modest nest egg who are near retirement are taking all this. In two words: not well. Some are being forced to abandon plans to retire, some already retired are taking low-paying jobs they don't want. One said: "Is this what my mother felt in the fall of 1929?" A factor not yet crystalized out is how this effects the election. So far, people over 50 have largely supported John McCain. Will the events of last week confirm their view that we need a steady hand on the tiller? Or will they think that the deregulation of the past three decades has gotten completely out of hand and the government has to regulate the markets to protect people. What they decide could be crucial.

The two main players trying to solve the Wall St. crisis are an odd couple, a fist-pounding, hyperactive, driven, teetotalling Christian Scientist, treasury secretary Henry Paulson, and an intellectual, consensus-seeking, cautious, Jewish Ivy League professor, Fed chairman Ben Bernanke. The NY Times has a nice biographical piece on their personalities and how they work together.

New Poll on Race

A new AP-Yahoo poll deals with the sensitive subject of race, the real third-rail of American politics. Polling on the subject is difficult. Asking "Are you a bigot?" doesn't usually turn up a lot of bigots. The polls were conducted online because experience has shown people are less willing to admit to prejudice to a human interviewer than to a computer. Psychological techniques were also used, such as displaying images of people of various races before coming to a neutral screen. The bottom line is that Obama's race may cost him about 6% of the vote.

State-by-State Discussion of the Presidential Race

CQ Politics has a long and detailed rundown of the presidential race state by state. In its view, the tossup states are Colorado, Florida, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, and Ohio. I am inclined to remove New Hampshire from the list (leans Democratic) and add Virginia.

New Rasmussen Partisan Weighting

For the coming week, Rasmussen polls will weight the Democrats at 39%, Republicans at 33.5%, and independents at 27.5%. Some pollsters force their samples to a model like this, some don't. Rasmussen's argument for doing it is that partisan identification changes slowly so it is best to use a model based on 6 weeks of polling. Other pollsters just go with the measured data, whatever the breakdown might be.

Today's Polls

We have 11 presidential polls today, quite a few for a Sunday. The key ones are in Florida, where McCain is ahead by 1 point, Michigan, where Obama leads by 2 points, Missouri, where it is McCain by 4 points, and Ohio, where McCain is ahead 48% to 42%. All these are close and all could flip by November.

State Obama McCain Start End Pollster
Connecticut 54% 39% Sep 17 Sep 19 ARG
Florida 45% 46% Sep 15 Sep 18 Research 2000
Illinois 56% 36% Sep 15 Sep 18 Research 2000
Illinois 56% 40% Sep 17 Sep 17 Rasmussen
Maryland 54% 39% Sep 17 Sep 19 ARG
Michigan 48% 46% Sep 16 Sep 19 ARG
Missouri 45% 49% Sep 15 Sep 18 Research 2000
Ohio 42% 48% Sep 12 Sep 16 U. of Cincinnati
Oklahoma 36% 59% Sep 16 Sep 17 Research 2000
South Carolina 45% 51% Sep 18 Sep 18 Rasmussen
Tennessee 36% 59% Sep 16 Sep 19 ARG

We also have four Senate polls, but nothing surprising.

State Democrat D-pct Republican R-pct Start End Pollster
Kentucky Bruce Lunsford 37% Mitch McConnell* 57% Sep 10 Sep 10 ARG
Michigan Carl Levin* 56% Jack Hoogendyk 28% Sep 14 Sep 17 EPIC-MRA
New Jersey Frank Lautenberg* 46% Richard Zimmer 36% Sep 11 Sep 14 Monmouth U.
Oklahoma Andrew Rice 34% James Inhofe* 56% Sep 16 Sep 18 Research 2000

We also have three House polls.

Cong. Distr. Democrat D-pct Republican R-pct Start End Pollster
MO-06 Kay Barnes 42% Sam Graves* 51% Sep 17 Sep 18 SurveyUSA
MO-09 Judy Baker 40% Blaine Luetkemeyer* 49% Sep 16 Sep 18 Research 2000
NJ-05 Dennis Shulman 34% Scott Garrett* 49% Sep 17 Sep 18 Research 2000

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