Obama 284
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Ties 13
Romney 241
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Dem 49
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Ties 2
GOP 49
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  • Strongly Dem (172)
  • Likely Dem (85)
  • Barely Dem (27)
  • Exactly tied (13)
  • Barely GOP (60)
  • Likely GOP (42)
  • Strongly GOP (139)
270 Electoral votes needed to win Map algorithm explained
New polls: CO FL ME NH OH VA
Dem pickups: (None)
GOP pickups: FL IN IA NC
PW logo Indiana Senate Race Looks Close Quote of the Day
White House Considers Tapping Oil Reserves Bonus Quote of the Day
Illinois Governor Confuses Obama and Osama Wisconsin Closer with Ryan

News from the Votemaster

Thousands of People Apply to Defer Deportation

On the first day that people brought into the U.S. illegally as children could apply to have their deportation delayed, thousands did it. The flood of applicants was not started by passage of the DREAM act, which Republicans have consistently blocked, but by President Obama's executive order not to give a high priority to deporting young people who are illegal but have graduated from high school or served in the Armed Forces and honorably discharged. The order does not provide a path to citizenship but it is immensely popular among legal Latinos, many of whom have friends and relatives whose deportation can now be delayed. It is a fair guess that nearly all of these people will vote a straight Democratic ticket in the hope that the Democrats will try to pass the DREAM act again after the election.

Romney Gets Bump from Picking Ryan

As is normal after a vice-presidential pick, convention, or anything that spotlights a candidate for a week, Paul Ryan gave Mitt Romney a bump in a new poll from Purple Strategies. Today, Romney/Ryan leads Obama/Biden 47% to 46% nationally. This is the first time Romney has been ahead in quite a while. The poll also focused on some of the swing states. Romney has taken the lead in Virginia (48% to 45%), in Ohio (46% to 44%), and in Florida (48% to 47%). Obama leads in Colorado (49% to 46%). Bumps from events like these tend to be short lived and in this case, everyone sees his positives--a young, good-looking guy who is very enthusiastic. The negatives will come out later as people begin to learn what he stands for.

What is noteworthy about these polls is the sums in the state polls: 93%, 90%, 95%, and 95%, respectively. That doesn't leave a lot of undecideds left to convince. We are probably going to see a billion dollars spent in the next 2 months to get at 6% of the voters in a dozen state. Also, with so few undecideds left, both campaigns are likely to emphasize getting their bases to turn out, which probably means both sides will throw out lots of juicy red meat for them (and some fresh vegetables, to satisfy their vegetarians). This is why the voter ID fight is so important.

Why Did Pennsylvania Judge Uphold Voter ID Law

When a Pennsylvania judge upheld the state's new voter ID law yesterday, he gave an explanation of his ruling. The long and the short of it is that the law does not violate the federal or state constitution or any federal law. Under those conditions, the state legislature is free to pass whatever laws it likes. The fact that it might affect some voters more than others is not sufficient reason to curtail the legislature's powers. He also noted that the state was prepared to issue ID cards to voters for free and any voter showing up without ID could cast a provisional ballot. If large numbers of voters end up casting provisional ballots and their number exceeds the margin between the candidates, we will have a situation like the Franken-Coleman Senate race in Minnesota, with hand-to-hand combat over every ballot, possibly hundreds of thousands of them. It won't be pretty.

Provisional ballots are one of those areas where one thinks of Yogi Berra's comment that in theory, theory and practice are the same, but in practice they aren't. If a voter is disqualified from voting, he or she may cast a provisional ballot. This right is guaranteed by federal law. However, the 80-ish volunteers who staff the polling places in many states, frequently do not understand this. In the worst case, they mnay intentionally block people they suspect of voting the wrong way from getting one. Since both parties expect problems, it is possible that the parties will send monitors to some polling places to keep an eye on things.

If you really want to get into the details of the Pennsylvania decision, Rick Hasen's Election Law Blog has a number of stories on the ruling.

Romney Takes the Gloves Off

Up until now, Mitt Romney's view of President Obama was that he was a pleasant enough fellow who is just in over his head trying to run the country. No more. Yesterday he accused Obama of running a campaign of "anger and hate." Then he said: "His campaign strategy is to smash America apart and then cobble together 51 percent of the pieces." This is far harsher than anything Romney has said before. It will be interesting to see if Obama replies in kind. Up until now, he has criticized Romney's policies but not criticized him as a person so much. It is not Obama's style to do that, so he might outsource the attacks to Joe Biden, who is more comfortable in the role of an attack dog.

What this change in the Romney strategy probably means is that he has seen many polls showing that Obama is far better liked than Romney. He apparently thinks that by attacking Obama directly, he won't make himself more likable, but he will make Obama less likable.

Americans Hate Congress but Reelect the Bums Nevertheless

Jack Cafferty observed that Congress is exceedingly unpopular but it doesn't seem to matter. About 90% of Americans think it is doing a miserable job, and that is equally true of Democrats, Republicans, and independents. Nevertheless, reelection rates are always above 85% and usually above 95% as shown in this chart from Open Secrets.

reelection rates

Why? There are several factors. Incumbents have more visibility, experience, and money than challengers. However, even more important is the fact that nearly all congressional districts are badly gerrymandered to protect incumbents. If a district is 60% Democratic or Republican, the only way the incumbent will lose is in a primary or big scandal. In Democratic districts, the voters hate Congress because the bloody Republicans block everything. In a Republican district, the voters hate Congress because the Democrats are all bloody socialists. It is all quite logical: the problem is with the other party and if our side could crush them completely, all would be well. Only the country is so evenly divided, that is not very likely. So we have this irony of everyone hating Congress while the members rarely get booted out.

Today's Presidential Polls

State Obama Romney   Start End Pollster
Colorado 49% 46%   Aug 13 Aug 14 Purple Strategies
Florida 47% 48%   Aug 13 Aug 14 Purple Strategies
Maine 52% 37%   Aug 05 Aug 06 Moore Consulting
New Hampshire 50% 44%   Aug 07 Aug 08 PPP
Ohio 44% 46%   Aug 13 Aug 14 Purple Strategies
Virginia 45% 48%   Aug 13 Aug 14 Purple Strategies

Today's Senate Polls

State Democrat D % Republican R % I I % Start End Pollster
Maine Cynthia Dill 08% Charlie Summers 28% Angus King 46% Aug 05 Aug 06 Moore Consulting
Ohio Sherrod Brown* 44% Josh Mandel 44%     Aug 13 Aug 13 Rasmussen

* Denotes incumbent

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---The Votemaster

Previous Headlines

Aug15 Thompson Wins Wisconsin Senate Primary
Aug15 McMahon Wins Connecticut Senate Primary
Aug15 Pennsylvania Judge Upholds Voter ID Law
Aug15 Ryan Favorability Moves Up
Aug15 What Does Ryan Mean for Latinos, Blacks, and Women?
Aug15 Paul Ryan's Wife is No Ordinary Stay-at-Home Mom
Aug14 Two Key Republican Senate Primaries Today
Aug14 The Ryan Budget in a Nutshell
Aug14 More Facts about Paul Ryan
Aug14 Ryan's Starts with Approval Numbers Worse than Any Running Mate Since Dan Quayle
Aug14 Both Vice-Presidential Candidates Are Catholics but They Couldn't Be More Different
Aug14 Presidential Debate Moderators Are Old White People from the Old Media
Aug14 Retail Sales Way Up in July
Aug14 Domain Names Are a New Battleground
Aug13 Ryan's Budget is Widely Known but Ryan the Man is Not
Aug13 Ryan Will Release Two Years of Tax Returns
Aug13 Ryan Is a Full-Spectrum Conservative
Aug13 Romney's Inner Circle Opposed Ryan as Veep Candidate
Aug13 Biggest Corporations Pay Only 9% of Revenue as Federal Tax
Aug12 Hirono Wins Democratic Senate Primary in Hawaii
Aug12 Polls Show Ryan Plan To Be Unpopular
Aug12 Ryan Pick turns Election from a Referendum on Obama to a Choice between Visions
Aug12 A Good Rule of Thumb for Republican Nominees
Aug12 Choice of Ryan Could Affect Balance in Congress
Aug12 Stock Market Has Zoomed Under Obama
Aug11 Romney To Announce Running Mate Today at 8:45 A.M.
Aug10 Romney Spokeswoman Defends Romneycare, Gets Blasted by Conservatives
Aug10 Competing Bus Tours Set for Swing States
Aug10 Republican Voters Wants Rubio as Veep
Aug10 Trouble in the Wind for Romney
Aug10 Romney Spokeswoman Defends Romneycare, Gets Blasted by Conservatives
Aug10 Competing Bus Tours Set for Swing States
Aug10 Republican Voters Wants Rubio as Veep
Aug09 Thompson Leads in Wisconsin Republican Primary
Aug09 Americans Have Almost No Faith in the Political Media
Aug09 In Politics, Demography is Destiny
Aug09 Romney Waffles on Nuclear Waste
Aug09 Young Republicans Are Not Like Old Republicans
Aug09 Wikipedia Locks Down Pages for Potential Veep Picks
Aug08 Akin Wins Missouri Senate Primary
Aug08 Election Law Specialist Argues Against Changing Election Rules before November
Aug08 The Case of the Senator Who Did Not Bark
Aug08 Big Donors Swamp Small Donors
Aug08 New President of France Wants to Raise Top Tax Rate to 75%
Aug07 Missouri Republican Senate Primary Today
Aug07 Could the Electoral Vote Be a Tie?
Aug06 Obama Close to Breaking Even on Jobs
Aug06 Pollsters Wrestle with Cell Phones
Aug06 Fight Over Early Voting in Ohio Goes to Court
Aug06 When Is a Tax Not a Tax?