Sep. 22 absentee ballot for overseas voters

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

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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: AL CA FL IA MN VA RSS
Dem pickups (vs. 2004): CO IA NM GOP pickups (vs. 2004): (None) PDA SMS

PW logo History Shows Little Bump from Debates Bonus Quote of the Day
SurveyUSA: Obama Opens Lead in Virginia Will Sarah Palin Meet the Press?
Obama, McCain Prepare for Debate Obama Closes Offices in North Dakota

News from the Votemaster

Tips for Using This Website

A few questions come up regularly so it is worthwhile mentioning them. People have asked for the sum of the strong and weak EVs to save the trouble of doing two mental additions. The page is approaching (or perhaps exceeding) maximum acceptable clutter already so there really is no room for two more sums on the main page. However, if you click on "Electoral coll. graph" on the menu, the second graph there is precisely these sums over time.

A second question that comes up a lot is this: "The electoral vote score changed since yesterday. How do I see which states flipped?" Below the map there are lists of Dem pickups and GOP pickups. Just look at these today, then click on "Previous report" to go to yesterday's page and compare the two lists. If the EV scores are different, these two lists will show which states flipped. But also check for ties.

Obama Addresses the Wall St. Meltdown

Barack Obama made a speech on the Wall St. crisis laying out four specific points that a solution must have. First, it must address the crisis on Main St. as well as Wall St. People are losing their homes and it is essential that the bill prevent foreclosures. Saving Wall St. firms is not enough. Second, the CEOs who caused the problems must not be rewarded for their greed and ineptitude. Third, the solution must be temporary, there must be oversight, and there must be an upside for the taxpayers when things get stabilized. Fourth, the solution must be globally coordinated. The U.S. can't do it alone.

At the end he added that the problem didn't just happen by itself. It was caused by decades of the philosophy that the markets can manage themselves and government oversight and regulation is a bad thing. It is time to retire that that philosophy as we now see the consequences. Here is a video of Obama's speech.

John McCain hasn't made any specific speech on the subject of Wall St. but he has reversed his long-standing opposition to government regulation of the financial markets and now calls for more regulation. Initially, he was against the A.I.G. bailout, but switched positions within a day. He also said the cause of the meltdown was greed. He didn't come with a plan to eliminate greed, however.

The Politics of Resentment

The entire focus of the bailout so far has been how to save the banks from capitalism (if you make bad business decisions, the market punishes you). Now ordinary people are beginning to understand the consequences of all this--that their tax dollars will be used to bail out greedy banks and possibly individuals who bought houses they couldn't afford--and they resent it. The Washington Post has a story on this. This resentment could become a huge political issue as people ask: "Why should the taxpayers give $1 trillion to greedy banks and get nothing in return? After all, there are alternative bailouts possible, such as the banks issuing new stock (or options) and the government buying them. Then the banks would have more assets to balance their liabilities and the taxpayers would own stock in healthy banks that could be sold in the future (like the A.I.G. deal). Or the government could set up a $1 trillion fund to buy a half-interest in houses in danger of foreclosure. This would reduces the owners' monthly bills by half and the government might get some money back when the houses were eventually sold after the panic is over. The Paulson-Bernanke solution is the largest transfer of taxpayer money to private individuals in history and once people wake up to it, could become a very hot potato. If multiple competing bills were to be introduced into Congress (such as the one proposed by Sen. Bernie Sanders), how senators Obama and McCain voted on them could be illuminating.

Zogby just released an online poll on the financial crisis with data collected Friday and Saturday. The public is split on the bailout: 46% approve it and 46% oppose it. An amazing 84% expect more bank failures in the coming weeks. As to whose fault the crisis is, 27% blame President Bush, 20% blame Congress, 12% blame investment banks, and 17% blame mortgage brokers. A whopping 83% want the people responsible for unsound lending practices to be held criminally responsible. Finally, 71% want more regulation. All in all, this poll corroborates the WaPo story and could provide grist for the Democrats' mill if they decide to oppose just handing the banks $1 trillion as a freebie and demand something for the taxpayers in return.

Ron Brownstein on the Great Risk Shift

Also on the subject of risk, Ron Brownstein has a very good article on the way risk has shifted in the economy over the past few decades. For example, it used to be that workers got a pension equal to a certain percentage of their income, depending on the number of years worked. The risk to manage the pension money well was on the employer. Now, the norm is the 401(k), where the employee gets some money each year and has to manage it himself. If there is a severe downturn just before he or she retires and the market tanks, tough luck. Dog food comes in many delicious flavors. The risk here has shifted from the company to the individual. Similarly, there is a shift afoot to move health insurance costs from the company to the individual. John McCain has proposed giving workers a tax credit to buy health insurance and also proposed taxing employer-provided health plans to speed people into dropping them. If you are sick and can't get insurance, again, tough luck, the individual bears the risk, not the company. The attempt at privatizing social security would have been another step in this direction. This larger question of does America want to shift the risk from companies and the government onto individuals has hardly been discussed but it is really more fundamental than the details of specific health plans.

The McCains Have 13 cars; the Obama's Have 1

Newsweek did some detective work and found out how many cars John and Cindy McCain have: 13. Some are foreign cars and some are American made. Barack and Michelle Obama have one car, a Ford Escape hybrid.

Early Voting Starts Today

It's election day already. Pretty soon four-year campaigns will be joined by four-year voting. Residents of Georgia, Kentucky, and Virginia can already vote in person. In all, 34 states allow people to vote before election day. In addition, 28 states allow no-excuse absentee voting. While early voting no doubt increases turnout, it also has a downside. Suppose something dramatic happens at the first debate this coming Friday and you already voted and now you want to change your mind. There is no "Undo" button available.

Today's Polls

We have eight presidential polls today. They confirm what is rapidly becoming the conventional wisdom: Florida and Virginia are very close and Iowa is going to be a blowout for Obama. Minnesota, normally a blue state, is surprisingly close today, but most polls this year have shown Obama way ahead there.

State Obama McCain Start End Pollster
Alabama 25% 52% Sep 08 Sep 15 U. of South Alabama
California 53% 39% Sep 18 Sep 20 ARG
Florida 45% 46% Sep 09 Sep 15 Research 2000
Florida 45% 47% Sep 14 Sep 17 Schroth/Polling Co.
Iowa 51% 44% Sep 17 Sep 20 ARG
Iowa 53% 39% Sep 15 Sep 17 Research 2000
Minnesota 48% 47% Sep 18 Sep 20 ARG
Virginia 46% 48% Sep 17 Sep 20 ARG

Four national polls all show that the Republicans' postconvention bounce has faded, as it always does. All four polls show Obama in the lead again, as he was before the two conventions. The polls are Gallup (Obama +4), Hotline (Obama +1), Rasmussen (Obama +1) and Research 2000 (Obama +7).

We also have two Senate polls, in Illinois and South Carolina. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) is cruising to reelection and so is Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC).

State Democrat D-pct Republican R-pct Start End Pollster
Illinois Dick Durbin* 59% Steve Sauerberg 35% Sep 17 Sep 17 Rasmussen
South Carolina Bob Conley 41% Lindsey Graham* 50% Sep 18 Sep 18 Rasmussen

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