Clinton 284
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Ties 47
Trump 207
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Click for Senate
Dem 48
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GOP 52
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  • Strongly Dem (190)
  • Likely Dem (65)
  • Barely Dem (29)
  • Exactly tied (47)
  • Barely GOP (23)
  • Likely GOP (91)
  • Strongly GOP (93)
270 Electoral votes needed to win Map algorithm explained
New polls: (None)
Dem pickups vs. 2012: NC
GOP pickups vs. 2012: IA NV NH

Clinton Gets Convention Bounce

As expected, Hillary Clinton got a post-convention bounce. A new PPP national poll, taken entirely after both conventions, shows that Clinton is at 46%, Donald Trump is at 41%, Gary Johnson is at 6%, and Jill Stein is at 2%. A month ago, Clinton led by 4 points, so the net effect of both conventions is basically a wash. PPP said that this is good news for Clinton, because it makes the 2016 race look a lot like the 2012 race—not a blowout, but a solid win for the Democrat. Another bit of "good news" for Clinton is that her net favorability now is only -6%, up from -15% a month ago. The convention apparently succeeded in making her more likable, or more specifically, less unlikable.

Nevertheless, the poll also had bad news for Clinton. An astounding 74% of Trump voters think she should be in prison; only 12% disagree. Also, by a margin of 66% to 22%, Trump voters say that Clinton is a bigger threat to the United States than Russia. It is inconceivable that any of these voters will ever vote for her, no matter what gaffes Trump commits in the next 3 months.

On the other hand, the poll also shows Trump has problems ahead. By a 69% to 7% margin, Americans have a negative view of Vladimir Putin, and by a 52% to 14% margin they also view Russia unfavorably. Clinton's team is probably already preparing ads showing Trump saying nice things about Putin and Russia, knowing that this will not go down well with independents and other voters not already committed to Trump.

A Morning Consult poll has Clinton leading Trump 43% to 40%, a lead of 3 points. A week ago, Trump was ahead by 4 points, so according to this poll, Clinton's convention bounce was 7 points. (V)

Koch Brothers Will Not Help Trump

At their semi-annual meeting this weekend in Colorado Springs, the Koch brothers made it clear that they will not spend a penny supporting Donald Trump. Nor will they spend any money attacking Hillary Clinton. Instead, all of their political advertising will be directed at helping the Republicans keep control of the Senate. In effect, the billionaire brothers don't care much whether Trump or Clinton wins the White House. From their libertarian point of view, both are equally bad, so why waste money trying to help one over the other.

The Koch brothers have used their money to assemble a political operation that is on a par with, if not larger than, the Republican Party. They have 1,200 paid staff members working in 38 states. The network run by Charles and David Koch is on pace to spend about $750 million this year, much of it in half a dozen competitive Senate races. (V)

Top Sanders Surrogate May Join Green Ticket

Ohio politician Nina Turner, who was a prominent and vocal supporter of Sen. Bernie Sanders' (I-VT) presidential campaign, has been invited to join the Green Party ticket as Jill Stein's running mate. As of Monday morning, she was still considering the offer.

Stein has made no secret that she is trying to attract disillusioned Sanders supporters, so her choice is not surprising. If Turner declines, undoubtedly some other prominent Berniecrat will be recruited. So, does Hillary Clinton need to be worried? Would Stein + a Sanders surrogate draw enough votes to damage her? It's very unlikely. In the last three presidential elections, the Greens have collected 0.10%, 0.12%, and 0.36% of the vote. And most of those votes came from left-leaning states where liberals could feel free to vote as they chose—Oregon, Washington, Massachusetts, California, etc. If we look at the swing states in 2012, Stein got 0.11% of the vote in Florida, 0.33% in Ohio, 0.22% in Virginia, 0.00% in North Carolina, and 0.25% in Wisconsin. Even if the VP candidate somehow doubles the Green Party's take—a dubious proposition—we're still talking about considerably less than 1% of the total. Only one state was decided by less than 1% in 2012—Florida—and even there the margin was 0.7%. It would take an almost perfect storm for the Greens to cost Clinton even one state, then, much less the election. And if the margins really are that close, then Hillary probably has far larger problems than the Green Veep candidate. (Z)

The Battle for Pennsylvania Is All About Geography

Any analysis of Pennsylvania politics has to start with James Carville's famous remark that the Keystone State is Philadelphia and Pittsburgh with Alabama in between. Both campaigns clearly understand that. Hillary Clinton is focusing on Philadelphia, where Barack Obama won by half a million votes in 2012, as well as its suburbs. For her, the key is a large turnout among minorities in the City of Brotherly Love as well as getting suburban women (and some men) to forget their normal allegiance to the Republican Party and vote for her.

Trump's focus is on the rural areas of the state, especially coal-mining regions that have been hard hit economically and are not happy with the Democrats "war on coal." If Clinton picks up suburban voters around Philadelphia, Trump has to get as many Democrats in rural areas to go the other way, just to break even. But breaking even isn't enough. In 2012, Obama won the state by 310,000 votes and a margin of 52% to 47%, so if Clinton wins more suburban voters than usual, Trump needs to do much better than Romney did in the rural areas. It will be a steep climb. Pennsylvania hasn't voted for a Republican presidential candidate in nearly 30 years. (V)

Ohio Is Also about Geography

Nobody has ever said: "Ohio is Cleveland and Cincinnati with West Virginia in between" (well, OK, we've just said it), but it is kind of true. What holds for Pennsylvania also holds for Ohio. Democrats always win the big cities, but the rural areas of the state (especially the coal-mining regions that border on West Virginia) are part of Appalachia, and are full of angry coal miners. Ohio has some differences with Pennsylvania, however. In particular, Trump has openly feuded with Gov. John Kasich (R-OH), and can expect no help at all from Kasich with the ground war. In fact, Kasich most likely secretly hopes Clinton wins, so he can run himself in 2020. In Pennsylvania, Gov. Tom Wolf (D-PA) certainly won't help Trump, but the state Republican organization will.

Nevertheless, in Ohio, the 30,000-foot view of the battle is the same as in Pennsylvania. Can Trump get enough additional support in the rural areas to offset Clinton's gains among urban and suburban dwellers? Mark Munroe, the GOP chairman of Mahoning County, an economically struggling area, noted that Republican registration more than doubled this year and expected the new voters to be there for Trump in November. He even expects Trump to win the county, which Obama took with 63% of the vote in 2012. However, in traditionally Republican Warren County, which hasn't supported a Democrat since 1964, the GOP chairman Jeff Monroe is worried about low turnout. Even 2% less could affect the statewide race, which is expected to be very close. So in Ohio as in Pennsylvania and other states, the big question is whether Trump can get enough additional support in rural areas and decaying cities to offset Clinton's expected gains in prosperous cities and suburban areas. (V)

The Debate Schedule Will Not Be Changed

Donald Trump has been griping about the fall debate schedule, complaining that the first debate is on the same night as an NFL football game and should be rescheduled. The Commission on Presidential Debates responded yesterday with: "The schedule is set." The commission started work 18 months ago, long before the candidates were known, picking dates and venues. It worked carefully to try to avoid federal and religious holidays, baseball playoffs, NFL games, and other distractions, but concluded that it is impossible to avoid conflict with all sporting events (especially since the NFL is on three nights a week—Thursday, Sunday, and Monday). So for Trump, it is take it or leave it.

As we pointed out yesterday, Trump may want to skip the debates to avoid having to answer questions that would reveal his lack of knowledge about many national and international issues. Complaining that he is not willing to miss his favorite football team in order to debate "crooked Hillary" might be a way out. In 2012, each debate coincided with an NFL game, yet viewership was 58-70 million people. Hillary Clinton's campaign manager, John Podesta, demonstrated that he has learned a new word from the vice president when he tweeted: "This is just more Trump debate malarkey." (V)

Counties and Towns Purge Minority Voters

Voting-rights advocates won victories in the 4th Circuit and Wisconsin last week, but there are many more battles to be fought, and voter-ID laws are only part of them. After the Supreme Court voided much of the 1965 Voting Rights Act in its 2013 Shelby County vs. Holder decision, many Republican-controlled states passed a flurry of laws designed to suppress the minority vote. For example, in rural Hancock County, GA, the Board of Elections and Registration issued summonses to 20% of the black population ordering them to show up before the board in person to prove their residence. Many of those summoned didn't understand what they were supposed to do, did nothing, and were then purged from the voter rolls.

Sometimes the attempt to disenfranchise minority voters is more subtle than this. Last year, Alabama closed 31 Dept. of Motor Vehicles offices, nearly all in rural areas with large black populations, making it much harder for people to get voter ID cards. Gov. Robert J. Bentley (R-AL) has strongly supported the closings as a cost-cutting measure. After a lawsuit, he agreed to having the offices be open one day a month, most likely for only a few hours in the middle of a workday afternoon and staffed by one overworked person. The Voting Rights Act prohibited these kinds of changes in laws and procedures without prior clearance from the Justice Dept., but since it has been struck down, changes that have the effect of disenfranchising minorities have become rampant.

Congress has the clear authority to set the procedures for all federal elections nationwide. It could pass a law creating registration procedures (for example, a mail-in federal form), and setting election hours and days (for example, every day from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. for the 14 days prior to an election). It could state that no voter ID shall be required to vote and in cases of doubt about a voter's eligibility, the poll worker would just give the voter an affidavit to sign under penalty of perjury that he or she was eligible to vote. It could also specify that the number of polling places in each county be equal to the county's population divided by some number. Furthermore, it might mandate no-questions-asked absentee ballots to anyone asking for one. But it is unlikely that Republicans in Congress would ever support such a law. Whether Congress may regulate state elections is an open question. (V)

Ghazala Khan Speaks Out

After Khizr Khan spoke at the Democratic National Convention about how his Muslim son, Humayun Khan, gave his life fighting for America in Iraq, Donald Trump attacked Khizr Khan's wife for standing next to him on stage and not saying anything. Yesterday she didn't remain silent. She wrote a piece published in the Washington Post. In it, she talks about how her son would help her with housework, how he volunteered to teach disabled children how to swim, and how he wanted to be a lawyer to help people. She also directly answered Trump's question about why she didn't speak at the convention. No one prevented her; it was simply too emotional for her seeing the enormous photo of her son on the screen on stage. (V)

Did Trump Go Too Far?

That's the headline on CNN's website. Once again, Donald Trump has said some outrageous things, targeting people who are generally considered "out of bounds" (judges, war heroes, parents of war heroes, etc.) And once again, he's been blasted from across the political spectrum. Of course, the Democrats, from Hillary Clinton on down, have been hitting The Donald hard all weekend. On Sunday, Jeb Bush, Gov. John Kasich (R-OH), Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI), Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), and many others joined in. The remarks of Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) were characteristic: "If you're going to be leader of the free world, you have to be able to accept criticism. Mr. Trump can't...'unacceptable' doesn't even begin to describe it."

So, the question is: Is this it? Is this the incident that finally cuts Donald Trump off at the knees and causes his support to crater? Is attacking the family of a man who died defending his country a bridge too far? It could be—recall how quickly Ben Carson's support evaporated following his fumbling on foreign policy. But the smart money is that it is just not possible for Trump to go "too far." We have seen enough evidence that, for supporters of The Donald, saying outrageous things is a feature, not a bug. He may be slammed by Democrats and establishment Republicans, but those aren't his voters, and their criticism likely just makes his supporters more certain they've chosen the right horse. Add in the fact that we're now past primary season, and so there are no other horses to switch to, really, and there's no compelling reason to think that Trump's base will abandon him, regardless of what he says or does. (Z)

Trump Stumbles on Ukraine

Donald Trump was on "This Week" with George Stephanopoulos on Sunday, and was asked about Vladimir Putin's designs on the Ukraine. He replied:

He's not going into Ukraine, OK, just so you understand. He's not going to go into Ukraine, all right? You can mark it down. You can put it down. You can take it anywhere you want.

Stephanopoulos was rather taken aback by the assertion, and observed that Putin has already invaded the Ukraine, having taken possession of Crimea and other territory. Trump, clearly thrown off, answered by admitting that Putin was "there in a certain way," but only as long as Barack Obama is in the White House. It was a moment reminiscent of 1976, when President Gerald Ford declared that, "There is no Soviet domination of eastern Europe, and there never will be under a Ford administration."

Apparently, Trump has not spent much time discussing this subject with right-hand man Paul Manafort, whose previous job was advising Ukrainian President Viktor F. Yanukovych, until they were both run out of town by street protesters in 2014. In any event, the foot-in-mouth moment gives us a concrete reminder as to why Trump may be leery of spending 90 minutes trying to hold his own on foreign policy up against Hillary Clinton. "This Week" is having a good week when they draw 3 million viewers. The debates will draw 20 times that. (Z)

New York Post Runs Nude Picture of Melania Trump on the Front Page

The British tabloid The Sun runs photos of scantily clad women on page 3 every day, but U.S. newspapers generally don't do that sort of thing—until yesterday. The New York Post, which is owned Rupert Murdoch, ran a full page nude photo of Melania Trump on the front page yesterday. The photos were taken in 1995, according to Alé de Basseville, the French photographer who did the Manhattan shoot. The photos originally appeared in a French men's magazine that went out of business in 2006. Donald Trump's campaign reacted to the photos nonchalantly, as if nude photos of the candidate's wife on the front page of a major newspaper were an everyday occurrence.

What is more interesting is why the Post ran the photos, something the editors would never have done without Murdoch's permission. One theory is they simply wanted to sell a lot of newspapers. Another is that Murdoch has some beef with Trump and wanted to get under his skin. Who knows? (V)

Wasserman Schultz's Headaches Aren't Over

Debbie Wasserman Schultz had a very bad week. DNC email-gate broke, she got booed off stage at the DNC, she had to let someone else gavel the proceedings to order, and she ultimately had to resign as DNC chair. At the very least, she had her day job as a member of Congress to fall back on, though, right? Not so fast.

Wasserman Schultz's district, Florida-23, is solidly Democratic (D+11), so she need not be concerned about Republican opponents. And given her prominence, as well as the fact that she's Jewish and represents a heavily-Jewish district, she generally hasn't faced serious challengers (or, sometimes, any challengers) in primary season. This year, however, progressive Tim Canova is giving her all she can handle. He's been meeting and greeting citizens in the district for eight months, and has raised an impressive $2.3 million, while also earning the endorsement of Bernie Sanders. Those things still might not have been enough, but now DNC-emailgate has angered many of Wasserman Schultz's constituents. There hasn't been any polling, but expert observers say it could be very close. The deciding factor could be if Sanders decides to travel south to campaign for Canova in person. If Wasserman Schultz is defeated, her downfall would be one of the most stunning reversals in recent Congressional history, on par with the defeat of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor at the hands of tea partier Dave Brat in 2014. (Z)

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---The Votemaster and Zenger
Jul31 The Convention Ratings Are In
Jul31 Federal Court Strikes Down Wisconsin Voter ID Law
Jul31 Trump Will Concentrate on Only Four States
Jul31 Trump's Racism Could Cost Him White Votes
Jul31 Trump Is Likely To Have Trouble in Colorado
Jul31 Why Trump Might Avoid the Debates
Jul31 Trump in War of Words With Khizr Khan
Jul31 The Luddites Strike Back
Jul31 How Should the U.S. Strike Back at Russia's Hacking?
Jul31 How Does Steve King Keep Getting Elected?
Jul30 General Election Expected To Be the Ugliest in Memory
Jul30 Trump Attacks the Democrats in a Massive Tweet Storm
Jul30 Will Trump Show Up For Debates?
Jul30 Federal Court Strikes Down North Carolina Voter ID Law
Jul30 Manafort Explains Why Women Will Vote for Trump
Jul30 Do Republican and Democratic States Brag About Different Things?
Jul30 Bernie-or-Bust Delegates Are Not Conceding
Jul30 Sanders Delegates Blame Him for DNC Chaos
Jul30 Koch Brothers Reject the Idea of Meeting with Trump
Jul30 The World Wide Web Is Like the Wild, Wild West
Jul30 One of the Women Who Said Yes to Roger Ailes Give Long Interview
Jul29 Democratic Convention, Day 4: Clinton Gets the Job Done
Jul29 Has Trump Violated the Logan Act?
Jul29 Trump to Dems: Your Worldview is a Fantasy
Jul29 Billionaires Urge Koch Brothers to Back Trump
Jul29 Rubio Thinks Trump Will Learn on the Job
Jul29 How Asian-Americans Became Democrats
Jul29 New Stars Shine at the Democratic Convention
Jul29 Joe Biden Loves the Word 'Malarkey' but Americans Don't Know What It Means
Jul29 Tim Kaine Plays the Harmonica
Jul28 Democratic Convention, Day 3: Another Good Night for the Blue Team
Jul28 Trump Calls for Russia to Find Hillary Clinton's Deleted Emails
Jul28 Security Expert: Russian Hackers Could Target Voting Machines in November
Jul28 Suburban Women Are the Big Prize
Jul28 Soros Getting Back in the Game
Jul28 Are the DNC and RNC Being Held in the Same Country?
Jul28 Trump Will Definitely Not Release His Tax Returns
Jul28 Historic Event Noted with Photos of ... Bill
Jul27 Democratic Convention, Day 2: Cracking the Glass Ceiling
Jul27 New Poll: Trump Gets a Convention Bounce
Jul27 The 2016 Election in One Chart
Jul27 Evidence Mounts that DNC Hack Was Done by Russians
Jul27 Wikileaks Will Release a Lot More Material Relevant to the Election
Jul27 Sanders May Work for Senate Candidates
Jul27 Clinton Stops Advertising in Colorado
Jul27 O'Reilly Thinks Slaves Had it Pretty Good
Jul27 Trump Supports a $10/hr Minimum Wage
Jul27 Alan Grayson's Ex-Wife Says He Abused Her Repeatedly
Jul26 Democratic Convention, Day 1: Hillary Can Sleep Well Tonight
Jul26 Trump Gets a Big Bounce