News from the Votemaster
Midterm elections tend to be about getting out the vote rather than convincing swing voters to pick your candidate. Surprisingly, only 25% of registered voters have been contacted so far. Among people who have been contacted by a campaign, 82% say they will vote vs. 56% of those who haven't been contacted. Most of the people who have been contacted said both parties showed up at their doorstep.
Contacts aren't random. Of the voters earning more than $100,000 a year, 35% have been contacted vs. only 19% of voters making less than $50,000. Many other disparities also exist. For example, 33% of people with a postgraduate education have been contacted, vs. 20% of people with high school or less. Age also makes a difference, with three times as much contact with 40-64 year olds compared to 18 to 39 year olds. The odd thing here is that Democrats depend heavily on the groups such as young people and nonwhite voters who have been contacted the least.
The DSCC has pulled money from other states, such as Kentucky, and poured it into the Georgia Senate race in an attempt to paint the Republican candidate, David Perdue as a heartless, low-budget version of Mitt Romney. Perdue's problem is twofold. First, he ran a North Carolina company called Pillowtex for a year. It filed for bankruptcy shortly after he left. Second, he spent 12 years working for a firm that advised clothing companies on how to outsource their operations (and jobs) to Asia. He is being pictured as a heartless plutocrat who made a lot of money through the suffering of other people. One ad the Democrats are running is basically a copy of an effective ad that was used against Mitt Romney. It consists of interviews with workers whose lives were ruined by the actions Perdue took. Perdue denies all of this and says in his ads that he helped create thousands of American jobs. The race is much tighter than anyone expected even a month ago.
One might think Ebola would a relatively minor story, since only a handful of people have been exposed in the U.S. and it is not terribly contagious (unlike the flu, which kills thousands of people in the U.S. every year), but one would be wrong. The Republicans have turned it into a major political weapon with which to hit the Obama administration for failing to ban flights to West Africa. Health experts don't want to ban flights for two reasons. First, the best way to control the epidemic is to get doctors and supplies to Africa and that would be harder if there were no direct flights. Second, a travel ban wouldn't work since patients trying to get to the U.S. would simply fly to Paris, London, Frankfurt, or some other big city in Europe and then buy a ticket on a different airline to the U.S., (known as "broken travel") making it impossible to track them and inspect them at entry.
Nevertheless, The Hill, a Republican-leaning newspaper that covers Congress, has 28 (!) stories on the front page today about Ebola, as if there were no news about the 36 Senate and 435 House races. A few of the headlines are as follows.
- Obama: Ebola travel ban not the best way to go
- Family: Ebola nurse 'stable,' followed protocol
- Scalise: US health agencies have 'all the funds they need'
- Pelosi demands hearing on Ebola funding
- Distributor reports hazmat suit shortage as Ebola spreads
- Republican Senate hopefuls embrace Ebola travel ban
- McConnell: Ebola flight ban a 'good idea'
- Support builds for travel ban
- Braley, Ernst trade blows on ISIS, Ebola
- House Republican to introduce Ebola travel ban legislation
It is interesting to see how things work. While the idea of banning flights to an infected region sounds reasonable at first, public health experts are against it, as described above, but that is too difficult for most people to understand. So the Republicans begin demanding it, making it a campaign issue, and Republican-oriented media push the idea that the President is asleep at the switch for all it is worth, even though a President Romney would undoubtedly have listened to the same experts and drawn the same conclusion. Everything is about politics, all the time, even if doing so might kill more Americans.
Rep. Bruce Braley (D-IA) and state senator Joni Ernst (R) debated in Sioux City, IA yesterday and Ebola was a key topic. Ernst said the administration, including Braley, needs to do more, although it is not clear what a congressman could do. Braley shot back that had she been in Congress last year, Ernst would have voted with the Republicans to shut down the government, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which lead the fight against contagious diseases. Ernst then complained that Congress took too long to hold a hearing but Braley shot back that Republicans control the House so that any failure to hold a hearing has to be blamed on the Republicans. Other topics that came up were abortion and the Middle East. The race is essentially a tossup.
Ever since Katherine Harris (R), then Florida secretary of state, played an outsized role in the disputed 2000 Florida presidential election, secretaries of state have become much more controversial. In the distant past, they just administered elections in a fair and nonpartisan way and weren't controversial. Since Harris, the parties have been using the office to influence the outcome of elections. Republicans have been especially successful, mostly by making it harder for certain groups of people to vote, including young people, minorities, people who can't take time off from work easily, former felons, etc. As a consequence, elections for secretary of state have become very bitter.
Kansas is the poster child for this effect. Secretary of State Kris Kobach (R) was very active using his office in a partisan way until he was called to order repeatedly by the courts. Now he is in a tough reelection campaign against Democrat Jean Schodorf, who has called his actions a "national disgrace." Schodorf is a former moderate Republican who switched parties after Gov. Sam Brownback (R-KS) purged the party of moderates. While Kansas is a conservative state, the races for governor, senator, and secretary of state this year may demonstrate that even in Kansas, it is possible to move too far to the right.
Another state where the secretary of state is under fire is Georgia. A Democratic group collected more than 85,000 applications to vote, mostly from black and Latino potential voters, and has accused the secretary of state of not processing them. When there was no response, they sued. The official, Brian Kemp (R), said: "we should not have to waste valuable resources on a frivolous lawsuit." The battle is continuing but the clock is running out.
As many people are aware, it is hot in Florida. One person who is keenly aware of the heat is former Republican governor Charlie Crist, who is now running for his old job but this time as a Democrat. To cool off at Wednesday's debate with Gov. Rick Scott (R-FL), Crist placed a small fan at his feet. When Scott saw this, for 7 minutes he refused to come on stage to debate Crist. While alone on stage, Crist said: "Are we really going to debate a fan or are we going to talk about education, the environment, and the future of our state."
The incident exploded on social media and mostly to the benefit of Crist. Floridians don't see the problem in trying to keep cool when it is hot. This incident might end up being comparable to George H.W. Bush glancing quickly at his watch during a 1992 debate, which some people think cost him reelection. Are the voters so stupid that looking at your watch disqualifies you from being President, even after you have just won a war? Apparently. If Scott loses, it will undoubtedly be blamed on fangate.
|State||Democrat||D %||Republican||R %||I||I %||Start||End||Pollster|
|Arkansas||Mark Pryor*||44%||Tom Cotton||47%||Oct 13||Oct 15||Rasmussen|
|Colorado||Mark Udall*||41%||Cory Gardner||47%||Oct 08||Oct 13||Quinnipiac U.|
* Denotes incumbent
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Oct16 Roberts and Orman Fight about Abortion in Debate
Oct16 Udall and Gardner Deal with Aggressive Moderator at Final Debate
Oct16 Pryor and Cotton Tangle in Their Final Debate
Oct16 All Models Predict a Likely Republican Takeover of the Senate
Oct16 Various Endgame Scenarios Are Possible for the Senate
Oct16 NRSC To Put Another $6 Million into North Carolina
Oct16 Rand Paul Won't Be Getting Help from John McCain in 2016
Oct15 Democrats Give Up on Beating McConnell
Oct15 Alaska Veterans Are Up for Grabs
Oct15 Accidental Experiment Compares Polling Techniques
Oct15 Landrieu Tries to Move Away from Obama
Oct15 Trackers Are Everywhere This Year
Oct15 Republican Leader Attacks National Science Foundation
Oct15 Ann Romney Rules Out a 2016 Romney Presidential Bid
Oct14 McConnell and Grimes Attack Each Other in Debate
Oct14 Voter ID Laws Are Getting More Analysis
Oct14 Voters Prefer Republican Positions on Key Issues
Oct14 New Ads Attack Republicans for Cutting Ebola Vaccine Funding
Oct14 Democrats Don't Trust the Polls
Oct14 Eleven Questions that Will Decide the Senate
Oct14 Christie in Trouble with Religious Conservatives
Oct13 Pressler Says He Is Really an Independent
Oct13 Billionaires Are Lining Up for Orman
Oct13 Ernst and Braley Clash over the Environment
Oct13 The Internet Is Full
Oct13 Candidates Skip Their Day Jobs at Their Peril
Oct13 As Many as 40,000 Voter Registrations Not Yet Processed in Georgia
Oct13 The Battle for the Early Voters Is Ramping Up
Oct13 Judge in Alaska Throws Out Ban on Same-Sex Marriage
Oct12 NRSC Moves Its Money to Six Senate Races
Oct12 Secret Money Dominates Campaigns
Oct12 Not All Large Donors Are Secret
Oct12 Candidates Call in the Big Guns in Iowa
Oct11 Washington Post Model Gives Republicans 95% Chance of Capturing the Senate
Oct11 Denver Post Endorses Cory Gardner
Oct11 Blank-Slate Candidates Are on the Rise
Oct11 Federal Election Commission Has Stopped Functioning
Oct11 Hillary's Potential Opponents Won't Attack Her
Oct10 Supreme Court Shoots Down Wisconsin Voter ID Law
Oct10 Federal Judge Strikes Down Texas Voter ID Law
Oct10 Study: Voter ID Laws Reduce Turnout
Oct10 Roberts and Orman Debate in Kansas
Oct10 Landrieu Fires Her Campaign Manager
Oct10 Republicans' End-game Strategy Comes into Focus
Oct10 Have the October Surprises Already Happened?
Oct10 Huckabee Threatens to Leave Republican Party over Same-Sex Marriage
Oct09 Supreme Court Reinstates North Carolina Voting Restrictions
Oct09 Could There Be a Real Horse Race in South Dakota?
Oct09 Pollsters Predict Republican Senate--Maybe