Obama 317
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Ties 15
Romney 206
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Dem 52
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Ties 4
GOP 44
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  • Strongly Dem (191)
  • Likely Dem (24)
  • Barely Dem (102)
  • Exactly tied (15)
  • Barely GOP (25)
  • Likely GOP (34)
  • Strongly GOP (147)
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Dem pickups: (None)
GOP pickups: IN NC
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News from the Votemaster

Romney Leads Obama Nationally in New Polls

A new PPP poll puts Mitt Romney ahead of President Obama 49% to 47%. While this is a statistical tie, this is the first PPP poll this year showing Romney ahead. Especially noteworthy is that Obama's lead among women has dropped from 15 points to only 6 points. Most of the polling was conducted Friday, at the height of Romney's debate bounce.

A new Gallup tracking poll of likely voters also shows Romney with a 2-point lead nationally. Together with the PPP and Pew polls, now three national polls put Romney in the lead. However, as we have pointed out before, in politics, a week is a long time. There is a vice-presidential debate tomorrow and two more presidential debates down the road.

Obama's response to his precipitous drop in the polls is to stop fundraising and go into campaign mode full time. He raised $181 million in September and probably does not need any more money, but he does need to talk to the voters.

Romney Says He Will Not Pursue Any New Restrictions of Abortions

In an obvious play for women's votes, Romney said yesterday that, as President, he would not pursue any new legislation concerning abortion. This position is in contrast to what he has been saying all year in order to woo pro-life voters. He is counting on people not remembering his earlier positions. This change is what his advisor Erik Fehrnstrom meant by shaking the Etch-a-Sketch. Fehrstrom felt that Romney could completely change his positions on taxes, abortion, and anything else that was inconvenient near the end of the campaign and hardly anybody would notice.

Ohio Secretary of State To Appeal Early Voting Decision to the Supreme Court

Last week a three judge panel of the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Ohio cannot have the polls open the weekend before election day just for military families. Everyone has to be allowed to vote. Yesterday, Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted (R) announced that he will appeal the decision to the U.S. Supreme Court. Husted claims that he has the sole authority to determine the opening times of polls in Ohio and the federal courts have no authority to challenge his decisions. Democrats say that this is a naked attempt to suppress the votes of minorities, many of whom cannot take Tuesdays off to vote, so they normally vote the weekend before the election. The three-judge panel agreed with the Democrats and said the state has no compelling reason to allow one class of voter to have extra voting days. Since Husted's plan keeps the polls open on the weekend, the state can't argue this is an economy measure.

It is far from certain that the Supreme Court will even take the case. The justices probably do not want to be put in a position where their decision could determine the outcome of another presidential election. None of them have forgotten what happened in Florida in 2000. Chief Justice John Roberts, in particular, is very concerned about maintaining respect for the Court and realizes that thrusting it into the middle of another election would be very controversial. There is also a good chance that if he turns down the appeal, the Democrats will be very happy with him for the moment, giving him the ability to vote with the conservatives on the court for years to come and later claiming that sometimes he supports the conservative position and sometimes he doesn't.

The Role of Congress Likely to Loom Large in Vice-Presidential Debate

The word "Congress" was uttered only four times during the presidential debate last week. Given that Vice President Joe Biden and Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) have a combined total of 53 years of ties to that body, it is probably a safe bet the subject will come up in their debate tomorrow.

In addition, some of the big issues facing the country, especially Medicare, will be fought out in Congress and are expected to dominate the debate. Democrats are looking forward to this since virtually every poll on the subject has shown that the voters do not want to change the way Medicare works and Ryan is the author of a plan that replaces it with a voucher system.

The Ten Most Competitive Senate Races

Earlier this year it looked like the Republicans were very likely to capture the Senate because the Democrats were defending 23 seats to the Republicans 10. However, separate events in multiple states have changed the picture. In Indiana, a tea party candidate knocked off a long-term incumbent and changed what would have been a Republican rout into a close race. In North Dakota and Arizona, the Democrats put up surprisingly good campaigners, and so on. The Washington Post has a story on the top 10 most competitive Senate races. Below is a table giving the most recent poll in each race. Democrats are defending seats in Connecticut, Montana, North Dakota, Virginia, and Wisconsin. The Republicans are defending the others. Incumbents are marked with an asterisk.

State Democrat D % Republican R % I I % Start End Pollster
Arizona Richard Carmona 45% Jeff Flake 43%     Oct 01 Oct 03 PPP
Connecticut Chris Murphy 51% Linda McMahon 46%     Oct 07 Oct 07 Rasmussen
Indiana Joe Donnelly 40% Richard Mourdock 38%     Sep 19 Sep 23 Howey-DePauw
Maine Cynthia Dill 14% Charlie Summers 33% Angus King 45% Sep 25 Sep 25 Rasmussen
Massachusetts Elizabeth Warren 45% Scott Brown* 48%     Oct 05 Oct 07 MassINC
Montana Jon Tester* 44% Denny Rehberg 42%     Sep 23 Sep 25 Global Strategy
Nevada Shelley Berkley 43% Dean Heller* 49%     Sep 23 Sep 25 Marist Coll.
North Dakota Heidi Heitkamp 47% Rick Berg 47%     Oct 03 Oct 05 Mason Dixon
Virginia Tim Kaine 51% George Allen 44%     Oct 04 Oct 07 PPP
Wisconsin Tammy Baldwin 48% Tommy Thompson 46%     Sep 16 Sep 18 Marist Coll.

Democrats Have Massive Lead Among Latinos in Arizona

Latino Decisions, a firm specialized in polling Latino voters in English and Spanish, has just released a new poll of Arizona Latinos and found that Obama leads Romney by 80% to 14% in Arizona. While no one expects Obama to win the state, a large Latino turnout would be of enormous help to Democratic Senate candidate Richard Carmona, who leads Rep. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) by a margin of 75% to 12% in the same poll. Carmona, a Vietnam veteran who served as George W. Bush's Surgeon General, is of Puerto Rican descent. If Carmona wins, the chance of the Republicans capturing the Senate are dim at best. Early in the year few observers expected this race to be close, but Carmona has run a flawless campaign and Arizona's law that allows police to stop anyone who they suspect of being an illegal immigrant has enflamed the Latino community in the state.

Three States Have a Referendum on Same-Sex Marriage

On election day, voters in four states will determine if same-sex marriages will be allowed in their States. In Maryland, Maine, and Washington state, the voters are going to be asked if they want to legalize marriages between same-sex couples. In Minnesota they are being asked if they want to ban these marriages.

The state most likely to approve same-sex marriage is Maine, where polls show it is leading 57% to 36%. Washington is not far behind, with 51% approving and 37% disapproving. In Maryland, 49% support the idea and 39% oppose it. The Minnesota ballot measure is close, with the most recent poll showing 47% opposed to the measure and 48% supporting it.

Also of note is that polls in Florida, Ohio, and Virginia show that if a referendum allowing same-sex marriage were on the ballot (which it is not this year), it would pass. The change with 8 years ago is striking. In that year, the Republicans got a referendum on the subject on the ballot in many states, largely to get older, conservative voters to the polls. Now the reverse seems to be true. The measures are likely to attract younger, liberal voters to the polls.

Today's Presidential Polls

The national polls showing a large debate bump for Mitt Romney are now starting to filter down to the state polls. Romney is shooting up in Colorado, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. The map does not fully reflect the post-debate situation because the algorithm averages all polls going back a week, which includes polls with some data collected before the debate. Within a few days, however, we should have a better picture of how much damage Obama sustained from his poor debate performance.

State Obama Romney   Start End Pollster
Colorado 46% 50%   Oct 05 Oct 08 ARG
Connecticut 51% 45%   Oct 07 Oct 07 Rasmussen
Massachusetts 52% 36%   Oct 05 Oct 07 MassINC
Massachusetts 55% 34%   Oct 02 Oct 08 U. of Mass.
Massachusetts 63% 33%   Sep 28 Oct 04 Western New England U.
Minnesota 53% 43%   Oct 05 Oct 08 PPP
New Hampshire 47% 41%   Sep 30 Oct 06 U. of New Hampshire
Nevada 47% 47%   Oct 08 Oct 08 Rasmussen
Ohio 45% 44%   Oct 06 Oct 08 SurveyUSA
Ohio 47% 48%   Oct 05 Oct 08 ARG
Ohio 51% 47%   Oct 05 Oct 08 ORC International
Pennsylvania 43% 40%   Oct 01 Oct 05 Siena Coll.
Wisconsin 49% 47%   Oct 04 Oct 06 PPP

Today's Senate Polls

State Democrat D % Republican R % I I % Start End Pollster
Connecticut Chris Murphy 51% Linda McMahon 46%     Oct 07 Oct 07 Rasmussen
Massachusetts Elizabeth Warren 45% Scott Brown* 48%     Oct 05 Oct 07 MassINC
Massachusetts Elizabeth Warren 48% Scott Brown* 45%     Oct 02 Oct 08 U. of Mass.
Michigan Debbie Stabenow* 55% Pete Hoekstra 35%     Oct 04 Oct 06 EPIC MRA
Minnesota Amy Klobuchar* 57% Kurt Bills 31%     Oct 05 Oct 08 PPP
Pennsylvania Bob Casey* 44% Tom Smith 35%     Oct 01 Oct 05 Siena Coll.

* Denotes incumbent

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---The Votemaster

Previous Headlines

Oct09 National Pew Poll: Romney Leads 49% to 45%
Oct09 Next Congress Will Be More Divided than This One
Oct09 Active Duty and Retired Military Personnel Support Romney
Oct09 Biden V2.0 May Be Very Different from Biden V1.0
Oct09 Bill Clinton Campaigning Everywhere
Oct08 Internet Voting Seen As a Huge Risk
Oct08 Absentee Ballots Present Challenges to Election Officials
Oct08 Budget Experts Say the Books Were Not Cooked
Oct08 Heitkamp Running for Mayor of North Dakota
Oct08 Disenchanted Lugar Supporters May Determine Indiana Senate Race
Oct08 Moderator Martha Raddatz Needs to Show Biden and Ryan Who's the Boss
Oct07 Obama Raises $181 Million in September
Oct07 Romney Gains Momentum after Debate
Oct07 Priebus Praises Biden in Advance of Vice-Presidential Debate
Oct07 Democrats Not Expected to Retake House
Oct07 Coloradoans Like Pot
Oct06 Early Voting Reinstated in Ohio
Oct06 Democrats Fight Voter Suppression Laws with Voter Encouragement Laws
Oct06 How Bipartisan Was Romney as Governor?
Oct06 Democrats Counting on Biden to Attack the Ryan Plan for Replacing Medicare
Oct06 Why Isn't Romney Really Rich?
Oct06 Romney Drops Talking Point
Oct06 Will Black Voters Turn Out in Virginia and North Carolina?
Oct05 Obama Approval Reaches 3-Year High
Oct05 Obama Has Record Fundraising in September
Oct05 Obama To Be More Aggressive in Next Debate
Oct05 Etch-A-Sketch Shaken on Wednesday
Oct05 Unemployment Rate Drops Below 8%
Oct05 Obama Crushing Romney Among Latinos
Oct05 Exit Poll Data Will Not Be Reported in 19 States
Oct04 Romney Wins First Debate
Oct03 First Debate Is Tonight
Oct03 Pennsylvania Judge Blocks Voter ID Law
Oct03 Romney Hints at Limiting Deductions to $17,000
Oct03 Obama Getting 70% of Latino Voters
Oct03 Early Voting Has Started in Ohio
Oct02 Romney To Broaden Focus
Oct02 Voters Think Obama Will Win
Oct02 Romney Leads in Parallel Universe
Oct02 A Penny for Your Thoughts, a Dollar for your Vote
Oct02 Unsung Heroes: Media Buyers
Oct02 Suppose Todd Akin Were to Win
Oct02 Early Voting Calendar
Oct01 The Shadow of the Debates Looms Large
Oct01 Supreme Court Starts a New Term Today
Oct01 CNN: Polling Criticism is Nonsense
Oct01 Romney Continues to Fall on Intrade
Oct01 Candidates Pay Lots of Attention to One Small Rural County in Ohio
Oct01 Obama Approaches 10 Million Donors
Sep30 Republican Strategists Tell Romney to Stop Playing It Safe