Oct. 15 absentee ballot for overseas voters

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House Dem 202   GOP 204   Ties 29

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Senate polls today: AK CA CT KS NV PA iPhone RSS
Dem pickups: (None) GOP pickups: AR CO IN NV ND PA WI PDA

PW logo Bonus Quote of the Day Another Poll Gives Murray the Lead
Murkowski Invokes Stevens How Romney Manufactured a Bestseller
Brown Maintains Lead in California The Reality of Internal Polls

News from the Votemaster            

Angle and Reid Fight It Out in Debate     Permalink

In the first and only debate between Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) and challenger Sharron Angle (R), Angle played offense and Reid played defense the whole time. Angle attacked Reid on his legislative record, his wealth, and his manhood. Reid expected attacks on his work as majority leader but was a bit taken aback when she wondered aloud how he could afford to live at the Ritz-Carlton on a government salary. He weakly replied that he had made a lot of money as a Las Vegas lawyer before being elected to Congress.

The two candidates agreed on virtually nothing. They fought over taxes, health care, energy, and the role of the federal government. At one point the moderator asked Angle if she thought insurance companies should be required to cover mammograms and colonoscopies and Angle said the market could best determine what insurance companies cover. Reid replied that they do not operate out of the goodness of their heart and had to be forced to do certain things. They also clashed on immigration (Reid wants comprehensive immigration reform, Angle emphasized deporting illegal aliens), taxes (Angle wants to make the Bush tax cuts permanent and denied they would expand the deficit, Reid supports extending only the middle-class tax cuts), and social security (Angle wants to phase it out in favor of personal accounts, Reid wants to keep it as is).

Issues aside, the two candidates also acted differently. Reid was calm and relaxed and looked into the camera the whole time. Angle was more excited and frequently looked at Reid while attacking him. Their goals were also quite different. Reid tried to paint Angle as an extremist lunatic. Angle tried to make the point to Nevadans that Reid was responsible for their economic woes. On the whole, Angle may have succeeded better as she came over as conservative but not crazy and Reid seemed to forget his most important constituencies: seniors, Latinos, and veterans.

The debate was crucial for Angle, who is far less well known in the state and who rarely gives interviews or talks to the local press. This was her one and only chance to address the voters unfiltered by the (highly partisan) media.

The Nevada race is very close. An endless series of polls have been within the margin of error. If the Republicans are to capture the Senate, this is a must-win race. On the other hand, winning this race will force the Senate Democrats to choose a new leader, and both of the candidates for the job, Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) are sure to be more aggressive with the Republicans than Reid, who prefers compromise to confrontation.

Internet Voting Experiment Leads to a Fiasco     Permalink

In a test run of an Internet voting system intended to allow overseas military and civilian voters to cast ballots easily, the system was quickly hacked and a candidate named "Colossus" was elected as D.C.'s nonvoting representative in the House. A group of researchers at the University of Michigan hacked into the system as a demonstration of how easy it is. The leader of the group, Prof. Alex Halderman said: "The question is not whether these systems can be broken into. It's whether anyone wants to." District officials didn't even notice the hack for almost 2 days. One of the world's leading security experts, M.I.T. professor Ron Rivest said: "We don't have the technology yet to do this in a secure way, and we may not for a decade or more." Despite the fact that nearly all security experts think online voting is a horrible idea, 33 states are starting to allow overseas voters to vote via the Internet. Few, if any, of the states, have ever tested their systems, and the few cases where there have been tests, as in D.C., the systems have failed.

Online voting is far more vulnerable than even in-precinct voting machines, which are being replaced by optical scanners because they are so insecure. To hack a voting machine, one either has to have physical access to the machine or be an insider, who can modify the software in the machines before they are shipped (e.g., to count every 30th vote for the insider's preferred party, irrespective of who the voter chose). Clearly, electronic voting is an idea whose time has not come yet. Maybe some day, but not now.

Many Tea Party Candidates Expected to Win     Permalink

Tea party backed candidates in eight states have good or at least fair chances at winning. In addition, they are running in 33 House districts where the district leans Republican or the race is at least a tossup (as well as in many districts where they have little chance). The bottom line is that there is likely to be a substantial group in the Senate that huddle with and take their direction from Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) rather from the Republicans' official leader, Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY). In the House, the tea-party winners are likely to set up their own caucus, analogous to the conservative Democrats' Blue Dog Coalition, but far to the right of it.

All in all, the tea party candidates are headed to a position of real power in both chambers. To the extent mainstream Republicans try to work with the Democrats to actually solve problems, the tea party senators and representatives are likely to balk and try to scuttle legislation, or at least move it to the right, in many cases causing Democrats to oppose it or President Obama to veto it. Nobody is expecting the 112th Congress to be a productive one. In reality, starting Nov. 3, everyone in Congress will be primarily focused on the 2012 elections rather than on doing their jobs.

Today's Polls: AK CA CT KS NV PA ME-01 ME-02 PA-07 PA-08 PA-10 PA-11 VA-09 WA-03     Permalink

New Senate Polls

State Democrat D % Republican R % I I % Start End Pollster
Alaska Scott McAdams 27% Joe Miller 35% Lisa Murkowski 34% Oct 13 Oct 13 Rasmussen
California Barbara Boxer* 49% Carly Fiorina 46%     Oct 13 Oct 13 Rasmussen
Connecticut Richard Blumenthal 54% Linda McMahon 43%     Oct 07 Oct 11 Quinnipiac U.
Kansas Lisa Johnston 27% Jerry Moran 67%     Oct 10 Oct 12 SurveyUSA
Nevada Harry Reid* 49% Sharron Angle 48%     Oct 07 Oct 09 PPP
Nevada Harry Reid* 45% Sharron Angle 43%     Oct 07 Oct 10 Suffolk U.
Nevada Harry Reid* 45% Sharron Angle 47%     Oct 11 Oct 12 Mason Dixon
Pennsylvania Joe Sestak 39% Pat Toomey 49%     Oct 12 Oct 12 Rasmussen

New House Polls

CD Democrat D % Republican R % I I % Start End Pollster
ME-01 Chellie Pingree* 48% Dean Scontras 33%     Oct 10 Oct 11 Critical Insights
ME-01 Chellie Pingree* 46% Dean Scontras 38%     Oct 04 Oct 07 Pine Tree Politics
ME-02 Mike Michaud* 43% Jason Levesque 30%     Oct 10 Oct 11 Critical Insights
PA-07 Bryan Lentz 31% Patrick Meehan 34%     Oct 05 Oct 11 Franklin+Marshall Coll.
PA-08 Patrick Murphy* 46% Mike Fitzpatrick 51%     Oct 11 Oct 13 Monmouth U.
PA-10 Chris Carney* 38% Thomas Marino 44%     Oct 10 Oct 11 Critical Insights
PA-11 Paul Kanjorski* 41% Lou Barletta 43%     Oct 10 Oct 11 Critical Insights
VA-09 Rick Boucher* 51% Morgan Griffith 41%     Oct 14 Oct 14 SurveyUSA
WA-03 Denny Heck 42% Jaime Herrera 53%     Oct 10 Oct 12 SurveyUSA

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