Obama 332
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Romney 206
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Dem 47
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Ties 4
GOP 49
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  • Strongly Dem (177)
  • Likely Dem (48)
  • Barely Dem (107)
  • Exactly tied (0)
  • Barely GOP (15)
  • Likely GOP (49)
  • Strongly GOP (142)
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New polls: CT IL NJ NV
Dem pickups: (None)
GOP pickups: IN NC
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News from the Votemaster

Ryan Accepts Nomination, Attacks Obama on Medicare

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), now the official Republican nominee for Vice President, clearly believes the best defense is a good offense. Rather than defending his plan to end Medicare and replace it with a system in which seniors are given vouchers to buy private health insurance, if they can, he attacked Obamacare for slowing the future growth of Medicare by $700 billion. Ryan did not note that his plan cuts it by a similar amount.

As Romney has been all year, Ryan was strong on generalities, weak on specifics. He said the Democrats have run out of ideas and all they have left is fear and division. He said they have no leadership. He talked awhile about how his Medicare plan will protect it and as proof pointed out that his mother is on it. Politically, this is probably a smart (if misleading) strategy. The health-care debate is so complex and the numbers involved have so many zeros, that only a microscopic percentage of the voters understands any of this. But the optics of Ryan, who seems like a devoted son, saying he wouldn't do something that would hurt his mother looks good.

Ryan had many lines that the delegates cheered, such as: "College graduates should not have to live out their 20s in their childhood bedrooms, staring up at fading Obama posters," which was a jab at the lack of jobs for young people. The traditional role of the vice-presidential candidate is to play attack dog and Ryan seems to be looking forward to it with great enthusiasm and far more competence than Sarah Palin last time. If Romney loses, Ryan is going to be a strong contender for the Republican nomination in 2016. If he ends up battling Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ) and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) we could have quite a battle, with Republicans bitterly divided like this year, but because all the candidates are so strong rather than so weak. However, unlike this year, disappointed supporters of the losers will quickly close ranks with the winner because all of the likely candidates are acceptable to the base, rather than none of them.

Ryan Speech Prompts Media Debate on How to Deal with Lying in Campaigns

Politicians have probably been exaggerating since the days of ancient Rome, but this year there has been a quantum leap and it is starting to make the media uncomfortable. Ryan's speech may be the straw that broke the camel's back. Last night Ryan said about Obama: "He created a bipartisan debt commission. They came back with an urgent report. He thanked them, sent them on their way, and then did exactly nothing." Jonathan Bernstein noted the use of "they." Ryan was on the commission and successfully convinced the House Republicans to vote it down. So Bernstein is pointing out that Ryan is blaming Obama for killing a plan that he himself actually killed, not Obama. Also in his speech, Ryan blamed Obama for closing an auto plant in his home town that was actually closed during the Bush administration. Bernstein concludes with: "the proper response [is] ... to call the speaker out for telling flat-out lies." These are extremely sharp words to find in a major newspaper (the Washington Post) and an encouraging sign. It is the primary job of the press and media to present the truth, and when any politician lies, Democrat, Republican, or other, they should be called on it.

Another newspaper that has had enough is the Los Angeles Times where a headline read: "Rick Santorum repeats inaccurate welfare attack on Obama." Santorum said that Obama had waived the work requirement for welfare recipients. In fact, he did no such thing. What he did was say he would allow states to experiment with new ways to fulfill the work requirement--something Republican governors had been pleading for.

Republicans Give Women Starring Roles at Convention

Paul Ryan wasn't the only speaker last night. Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice gave a speech calling on Americans to vote for Mitt Romney to restore America's standing in the world. She also argued forcefully for educational reform. Her speech was well crafted and well delivered. She notoriously hates politics (but loves policy) and would be an extremely strong candidate for President or Vice President in 2016 if Romney loses, since she combines an obvious grasp of policy with a great biography (going from growing up in segregated Alabama to becoming the country's top diplomat and a President's must trusted advisor). She also has an engaging speaking style, but it is unlikely she will run.

Another woman who gave a great speech is Gov. Susan Martinez (R-NM), by all accounts a rapidly rising star within the Republican Party. An attractive Latina and former Democrat, she could fill the role that John McCain had envisioned for Sarah Palin, but which Palin muffed. Martinez, a former district attorney, has a law-and-order background and could appeal to conservatives, women, and Latinos. The only thing which may hold her back is that she cares for her disabled sister and ailing father and doesn't want to leave New Mexico.

Still another woman who got a starring role is Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi. She was one of the leaders in the legal fight against Obamacare and although she lost in the Supreme Court, she raised her national profile for leading the fight and has become a heroine to many on the right for putting up such a strong fight. She shared the stage with Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens. Together they hammered Obamacare relentlessly. Unlike Rice, who hates politics, and Martinez, who feels strongly about taking care of her needy family, Bondi is an ambitious politician and likely to run for higher office some day.

Race is Crucial in Election Calculations

Ronald Brownstein of National Journal has crunched the numbers and has concluded that if Obama gets 80% of the minority vote (Blacks, Latinos, Asians, etc.) he needs only 40% of the white vote to win, provided that minorities match the 26% of the electorate, as in 2008. For Romney, the formula is different. If he can capture 61% of the white vote he wins, provided that white voters comprise at least 74% of the electorate.

If the minority vote is less than 26%, it becomes harder for Obama; if it is more, it becomes easier. The reverse is true for Romney. One factor that could play a big role here is the set of voter ID laws passed in 11 states since 2010. This could suppress minority turnout because minority voters who show up at the polls will be turned away if they lack proper ID. In principle, they could cast provisional ballots, but many of them may not know this and precincts could run out of provisional ballots.

But even with some minority voters being turned away, it is not a sure thing that minority participation will be under 26%. Due to demographic changes, minorities are now 29% of the voting age population, so Obama has a small margin of error. Also important is the relative number of women voting compared to men. Women, especially single women, are more Democratic than the population at large, so a high female turnout helps Obama and a high male turnout helps Romney.

Boehner Has Never Read Republican Platform

In an attempt to make the activist-written Republican platform vanish without a trace, Speaker John Boehner said yesterday that he has never read the platform. He advocates a one-page platform. But nothing in the RNC rules prevent such a platform. All that is needed is for the platform committee to write one and submit it to the convention for approval. What is getting to Boehner is the plank that the activists who wrote the platform put in about opposing all abortions, including those in cases or rape and even those to save the life of the mother. Boehner knows very well that Obama is going to use the platform to beat Romney over the head and try to increase the gender gap. If Romney loudly and clearly repudiates the Republican platform, the base will go bonkers but if he supports it, he will lose lose women and independents. So the the strategy is for Boehner to say it is unimportant and pretend it doesn't exist.

Turnout Among College Students Could be Crucial

The enthusiasm among college students in 2008, who expected that Obama could instantly change the world, is appreciably diminished this year and Obama knows it. He is now pleading with them to give him more time and go vote again. College students are notoriously fickle about voting and since they are very strongly Democratic (as young people in general are), Obama has his work cut out for him to get them to put down their books and beers and go vote.

Today's Presidential Polls

State Obama Romney   Start End Pollster
Connecticut 53% 40%   Aug 22 Aug 23 PPP
Illinois 55% 29%   Aug 17 Aug 23 IPSOS
New Jersey 51% 37%   Aug 23 Aug 25 Rutgers-Eagleton
Nevada 50% 47%   Aug 23 Aug 26 PPP

Today's Senate Polls

State Democrat D % Republican R % I I % Start End Pollster
Connecticut Chris Murphy 48% Linda McMahon 44%     Aug 22 Aug 23 PPP

* Denotes incumbent

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---The Votemaster

Previous Headlines

Aug29 Republicans Nominate Romney
Aug29 Romney is Least Popular Nominee in Decades
Aug29 Republican Platform Moves Sharply to the Right
Aug29 Candidates Average 5-Point Bounce After Convention
Aug29 Republican Insiders Split on Top Task for Convention
Aug28 First Day of Republican National Convention Lasts 2 Minutes
Aug28 Seven Factors that Will Determine the Convention's Success or Failure
Aug28 Ann Romney's Speech Tonight May Be the Most Important One
Aug28 Americans More Interested in GOP Platform than Romney's Speech
Aug28 Is 2012 just 2004 All Over Again?
Aug28 Why Do Republicans Say Obama is Divisive?
Aug28 First Day of Republican National Convention Lasts 2 Minutes
Aug28 Seven Factors that Will Determine the Convention's Success or Failure
Aug28 Ann Romney's Speech Tonight May Be the Most Important One
Aug28 Americans More Interested in GOP Platform than Romney's Speech
Aug28 Is 2008 just 2004 All Over Again?
Aug28 Why Do Republicans Say Obama is Divisive?
Aug27 Why Did the Republicans Pick Hurricane-Prone Tampa?
Aug27 What Does Romney Have to Do at the Convention?
Aug27 Up-and-Coming Republicans Will Speak at the Convention
Aug27 Yet Another Guide to the Republican Party
Aug27 Charlie Christ Endorses Obama
Aug27 Ron Paul Exits Gracefully
Aug27 No Bananas at the Republican Convention
Aug26 Republicans Cancel First Day of Convention
Aug26 Are Convention Bounces Real?
Aug26 Why Do Cities Host Political Conventions?
Aug26 Planned Parenthood Plans Battle
Aug25 Republican Convention Schedule Changed
Aug25 Republican Platform Has Changes from Previous Years
Aug25 Democratic Congressman: GOP Anti-Immigrant Platform Will Backfire
Aug25 AARP Flags Key Issues for Seniors
Aug25 Akin Again Affirms He Will Stay in Senate Race
Aug24 Poll Shows Women See Romney as Out of Step on Their Health Issues
Aug24 Could North Dakota Senate Race Be Competitive?
Aug24 Hundreds of Pages of Bain Capital Internal Documents Published Online
Aug24 Hurricane Isaac Could Affect Security at Republican National Convention
Aug24 Nevada Voters Have to Pick Somebody for President
Aug23 How Can the Republican Party Pressure Akin to Leave the Race?
Aug23 Republican Platform Committee Adopts Plank Banning All Abortions
Aug23 Hurricane Might Hit Tampa During Republican National Convention
Aug23 Both Parties Announce Convention Speakers
Aug23 Obama To Campaign in Swing States During Republican Convention
Aug22 Romney Calls on Akin to Drop Out of Missouri Senate Race
Aug22 Akin Incident Brings Up the Akin-Ryan Anti-Abortion Bill
Aug22 Six Theories about Why Akin Refuses to Drop Out
Aug22 New Study Shows That In-Person Voting Fraud Is Microscopic
Aug22 Biden to Campaign in Tampa During Republican Convention
Aug22 Voters Are Ignorant on Medicare Proposal
Aug21 Akin Vows to Stay in the Senate Race