Clinton 334
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Ties 18
Trump 186
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Click for Senate
Dem 49
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Ties 2
GOP 49
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  • Strongly Dem (168)
  • Likely Dem (97)
  • Barely Dem (69)
  • Exactly tied (18)
  • Barely GOP (21)
  • Likely GOP (78)
  • Strongly GOP (87)
270 Electoral votes needed to win This date in 2012 2008
New polls: IA NV OH VA
Dem pickups vs. 2012: AZ NC
GOP pickups vs. 2012: IA

Many Republicans Want Trump to Drop Out, but He Says "Zero Chance" of That

The floodgates are open. Many Republicans hate Donald Trump but felt that party loyalty required them to support him. A lot of them are now revoking their endorsements and heading for the hills. This is especially true of Republicans in tight races where Trump was a drag on the ticket. Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) probably gave a sigh of relief after p***ygate broke, since now she can dump him and not have her constituents see her as disloyal to the party. When she pulled her support for him, she said: "I'm a mom and an American first, and I cannot and will not support a candidate for president who brags about degrading and assaulting women."

Calls for Trump to exit the race came from all quarters. Sen. Deb Fischer (R-NE) said: "It would be wise for him to step aside and allow Mike Pence to serve as our party's nominee." Sen. John Thune (R-SD) called on Trump to end his candidacy. Sen. Mike Crapo (R-ID) withdrew his endorsement and told Trump to quit. When people like Crapo (who could get reelected in ruby-red Idaho even if he were found in bed with both a live boy and a dead girl) are worried, this issue is not going away quickly.

Other Republican senators who have called for Trump to be replaced on the ticket include: Jeff Flake (R-AZ), Cory Gardner (R-CO), Mark Kirk (R-IL), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Ben Sasse (R-NE) and Dan Sullivan (R-AK). Another half-dozen senators denounced Trump but did not call for him to drop out (yet). One senator in the latter group is Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), who said: "[H]is boasts about sexual assaults make it impossible to continue to offer even conditional support for his candidacy."

Many members of the House said they now oppose Trump, including Mike Coffman (R-CO), Barbara Comstock (R-VA), Mia Love (R-UT), Erik Paulsen (R-MN), Steve Knight (R-CA), Martha Roby (R-AL), Crescent Hardy (R-NV), and Scott Garrett (R-NJ), among others.

Conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt said Trump "should withdraw." Carly Fiorina called for Trump to "step aside." Condoleezza Rice said: "Enough. Donald Trump should not be president. He should withdraw."

Even the company that makes Tic Tacs rebuked him with: "We find the recent statements and behavior completely inappropriate and unacceptable." Advertising Age magazine wrote a story defending Tic Tacs, headlined: "What did Tic Tacs do to deserve Donald Trump?" This is the second candy company in a month to denounce a Trump. The makers of Skittles condemned Donald Trump, Jr. last month for comparing a group of Syrian refugees to a bowl of poisoned Skittles.

The RNC put a hold on all projects (e.g., mailing out flyers to voters) involving Trump until the dust clears. At least Melania Trump didn't demand that he quit the race, although she did say: "The words my husband used are unacceptable and offensive to me." Trump himself said there was "zero chance" that he would drop out with exactly a month to go to Election Day. That is probably true, although the pressure on him will increase to the boiling point if he blows the debate tonight.

However, iceberg or no iceberg, not everyone is abandoning the S.S. Trump. Sen Roy Blunt (R-MO) said he would still vote for Trump, as did former senator Bob Dole, while Majority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) merely called on Trump to apologize. Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) has yet to commit one way or another, Reince Priebus is similarly undecided, and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) says he is still "reassessing his support." Notable is that nearly all of the prominent Republicans sticking with Trump are men; Bloomberg's Sahil Kapur reports that many of the Republicans who denounced Trump on Friday did so only after their wives and/or female staffers impressed upon them how very offensive The Donald's words were.

The Trump campaign, for its part, is mostly walling itself up inside Trump Tower, hoping the storm blows over by the time of tonight's debate. Gov. Mike Pence's official campaign schedule was blanked on Trump's website on Saturday morning, replaced by a "TBD." Trump himself canceled a speech, while KellyAnne Conway jumped ship on her Sunday morning talk show appearances. The one person who will not be in hiding is Rudy Giuliani, who is booked on three or four different shows. One almost cannot imagine a worse person to explain this whole mess to America. Maybe Bill Cosby.

Meanwhile, the sexual predator-related dirt continues to pile up. CNN has dug up recordings from the Howard Stern show, in which Trump—as he has been known to do—ogles his own daughter, declares that after a woman turns 35 "it's check-out time," and brags about having sex with three women at once. In 2012, he offered to expose himself to attorney Gloria Allred, and then questioned her gender identity when she was not interested. Meanwhile, the "Access Hollywood" tape could prove to be the tip of the iceberg. By all accounts, there is a veritable mountain of unused "Apprentice" footage full of lewd comments about women, their breasts, their weight, their menstrual cycles, and the like. The only question is whether producer Mark Burnett (or, a production assistant who decides to seize the initiative) decides to dig it up and release it. If David Fahrenthold is seen lurking around Burnett's production offices, Trump should be very, very worried. (V & Z)

Did Trump Just Blow the Election?

John Avalon made an interesting observation that is going to haunt Donald Trump for the rest of his campaign and for the rest of his life:

Character is what you do when nobody's looking. And this video captures Trump in the middle of the day, sober, a few months after being married, talking with a man he barely knows, bragging about sexual assault, while wearing a microphone.

Avalon said that shouting "Benghazi!" at the top of their lungs isn't going to make any difference for Republicans. He also wrote that this is the most devastating October surprise in history, far worse than Romney's "47% of the American people are moochers" or even Richard Nixon's secret negotiations with the Viet Cong. Hillary Clinton's ad makers are no doubt working overtime, as they are drowning in material. Suburban women are the demographic she is working hardest to win, and the new material plays right into her hands. No doubt many of these women have run into some male bully in the past who hit on them and wouldn't back off (or worse). It shouldn't be hard for her to make ads that make them see Trump as that bully. Trump could run ads saying it was Hillary's fault that Bill strayed, but when the Monica Lewinsky story played out in real time, Hillary's popularity went up, so Trump goes down that road at his own peril. (V)

Could We Have a President Pence?

Election-law expert Prof. Rick Hasen of the University of California at Irvine has looked at the options the Republican Party is faced with now, from a legal standpoint. Getting another name on the ballot would probably require lawsuits in dozens of states, since the ballots have already been printed and many people have already voted. That looks like a nonstarter.

So Plan B for the Republicans might be to try to get the Republican presidential electors to vote for Mike Pence. In some states, the electors are pledged to a specific candidate (i.e., Trump) but in others they are pledged to the party's nominee, which might not be Trump on Nov. 8. If electors broke state laws and voted their consciences, the courts might have to decide what to do, state by state. But that only comes up if Trump/Pence wins a majority of the electoral votes, which is looking less likely by the day. In essence, Hasen doesn't think the legal issues will be so important in the end.

What he expects is that after tonight's debate, if Trump does poorly, Reince Priebus & Co. will make an explicit decision to concede the presidency to Hillary Clinton and pull all resources from the race. Instead, the RNC, along with all the big donors, would put everything they've got into the half-dozen close races that will determine control of the Senate. The new Republican slogan will be: "Republicans need to control the Senate to block all of evil Hillary's plans."

In particular, Hasen (and many others) thinks the choice of the next Supreme Court justice is more important than racial justice, voting rights, marriage equality, money in politics, abortion, gun rights, and climate change. If Republicans control the Senate, they can force a President Clinton to name an elderly moderate to replace the late Antonin Scalia. If Democrats win 50 seats in the Senate, they can either force the Republicans to read the Bible or the Alabama phone book on the floor of the Senate until they drop, or they can simply abolish the filibuster once and for all.

If Republicans do a mode switch and adopt this strategy, Clinton is going to respond by arguing: "What they want is four more years of gridlock so they can take over in 2020 and ram through more tax cuts for the rich." For voters who don't like gridlock, that could be a serious argument. (V)

Trump and Clinton Face Off in the Second Debate Tonight

This evening at Washington University in St. Louis, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump will meet in a town hall debate. Half the questions will be posed by the audience and half by the moderators, ABC's Martha Raddatz and CNN's Anderson Cooper. Long-time Democratic operative James Carville put it this way:

I've never seen a candidate walk into a debate with this much at stake. He's overweight, he's old, he's tired, and he's crabby. And he's going to have a very long hour and a half.

Some other Democrats think Trump will enter the debate with the mindset of a wounded animal. For him, it's now or never. The only way for him to salvage a chance at winning is to gore Clinton so badly that she never recovers. He could say something along these lines:

I thought about kissing women I didn't know, but withdrew when they made it clear I wasn't welcome. Your husband didn't take no for an answer and sexually assaulted many women, including Gennifer Flowers, Paula Jones, and others. You enabled him and did everything in your power to destroy these innocent women just so you could run for president. You're worse than I am.

Clinton knows (or should know) this is coming, and needs to prepare a good answer. She could say that while she is not proud of Bill, Bill is not running for president, and as to her enabling him, that is a complete lie. If she wants to get under his skin and make him explode, she might bring up the fact that the first of his three wives swore in a court deposition that he raped her. He could come back with: "She later said she meant 'violated,' not 'raped,' but arguing over words isn't going to help Trump much with suburban women.

In short, this debate will be like no other presidential debate, ever. The one thing we can be sure about now is that a placid discussion of the Social Security trust fund, care for veterans, and how to modernize K-12 education is not going to be what we get. (V)

Email Leaks Give Glimpse of How Clinton's Campaign Works

While the dump of John Podesta's emails is causing the Clinton campaign some mild heartburn, it is being overshadowed so much by p***ygate that it is having little effect. Nevertheless, the dump does reveal some interesting information. The key insight the emails give is how well organized the Clinton campaign has been, and how long it has been organized. What comes across especially strongly is how cautious everyone associated with the campaign is. Nothing happens on the spur of the moment. Everything is carefully thought out. An article in Politico gives many examples. Here is one of them: Back in January, Clinton's research director, Tony Carrk, wrote a 5,000-word memo examining Clinton's vulnerabilities and how opponents were likely to attack her. It had sections entitled:


Sure enough, all of these became major issues, just as Carrk predicted. On the whole, the information about how the campaign operates is not damaging to Clinton, as people generally prefer a president who thinks carefully about matters before taking action. Will it make her look calculating? Certainly, but she already looks calculating, so not a lot of news there. (V)

Pence Supposedly Upset over Trump's Remarks on Tape

According to a report, Mike Pence was beside himself when he heard about the Trump tape, and his wife Karen was furious. Maybe for a few minutes. But Pence is a smart politician. He knows there are two possible scenarios now. First, Trump drops out and the RNC picks him as the new candidate, with a good chance he could win. Second, Trump stays in, is wiped out on Nov. 8, and Pence is instantly the frontrunner for 2020 (sorry, Ted and Marco). That doesn't sound so bad at all. All he has to do is pretend he likes Trump for another month. Then he can write a book, cash in, and start preparing for 2020. (V)

About Candidate Pence...

Republicans who believe that Mike Pence just might rescue them in 2016 (or in 2020) might want to think carefully about getting their hopes up. It is true that, next to Donald Trump, he appears exceedingly sane and presidential. But most voters know relatively little about him, since he comes from a medium-size state, and since his campaigning in 2016 has largely been limited to a handful of swing states. If he were to undergo the kind of vetting that a presidential candidate gets, a lot of voters are going to be unhappy with what they learn. For example:

  • While Pence never bragged about grabbing a woman's body parts, he did lead the charge to defund Planned Parenthood while he was a member of Congress. He also signed a law banning the abortion of fetuses with disabilities, making Indiana one of only two states to have this prohibition. Given the GOP's need to attract women voters, these things are big problems.

  • Pence was also at the center of controversy after he supported and signed an Indiana bill that allowed businesses to discriminate against LGBTQ customers. This is what he was most known for before getting the Veep nod; it's been pushed to the back of many voters' memories by the fact that North Carolina adopted the even more expansive HB-2. Pence is also opposed to gay marriage, of course, and to classifying anti-gay violence as a hate crime.

  • Pence has described global warming as a "myth," and also rejects evolution. The problem is that this is 2016, not 1916.

  • Pence is an unapologetic "warrior" in the war on drugs, favoring draconian sentences for offenders and opposing treatment programs. Given how many states are poised to legalize marijuana in 2016, this puts the Indiana Governor about 30 years behind the times.

  • He tried, illegally, to halt the resettlement of Syrian refugees in Indiana, and to cut off federal aid to those already in the state.

It bears keeping in mind that one of the reasons that Pence was eager to secure the VP slot was that he was in danger of losing his re-election bid in red, red Indiana. This being the case, he would have a hard time winning a national election, especially if he had to compete for primary votes for a year with Ted Cruz. However, if he is parachuted onto the ticket with only three weeks remaining in the campaign, there might not be enough time for people to learn what he really stands for, and he could win by just looking presidential and not saying anything offensive. (Z)

At Least One Bettor Is Convinced the Election is Over

On Friday, right around the time that the story about Trump's video tape broke, British bookmaker William Hill announced that a female bettor had wagered €550,000 ($616,000) on Hillary Clinton to win the presidential election. At that moment, the odds on Clinton were 4/11 (73% chance of winning), meaning that the bettor stands to profit about €200,000 ($224,000)

On several occasions, we've noted the odds being offered at the various European bookies (American bookies, of course, do not take bets on politics). Substantial research supports the notion that a market where people are wagering real money serves as a pretty good predictor of actual outcomes. At Paddy Power, Clinton's current odds are 2/9, which implies an 82% chance of winning. So, by one measure, her chances of winning have increased by nearly 10% in just one day. (Z)

Today's Presidential Polls

It's mostly good news for Hillary Clinton today—and this is with polls taken before p***ygate broke. Virginia looks out of reach for Trump and Ohio may be competitive after all. Iowa is the one point of light for Trump. He has led there all year and has a good chance of winning the Hawkeye State. Unfortunately for him, it has only six electoral votes. (V)

State Clinton Trump Johnson Start End Pollster
Iowa 39% 43% 6% Oct 03 Oct 06 Selzer
Nevada 44% 41% 8% Sep 27 Oct 02 Repass Research/Hart
Ohio 43% 40% 8% Oct 03 Oct 06 TargetSmart/William + Mary
Virginia 46% 34%   Sep 28 Oct 02 Hampton University

Today's Senate Polls

Nevada's Senate race looks like it will be a photo finish. If the Republicans pull resources from the presidential race, this race will become a recipient of some of that money, which could help Rep. Joe Heck (R-NV) in his bid for a promotion to the Senate. (V).

State Democrat D % Republican R % Start End Pollster
Nevada Catherine Cortez-Masto 46% Joe Heck 47% Sep 27 Oct 02 Repass Research/Hart

* Denotes incumbent

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---The Votemaster and Zenger
Oct08 Trump Was Recorded in 2005 Saying Gross Things about Women
Oct08 Portions of Clinton's Wall Street Speeches Appear to Have Been Leaked
Oct08 Trump Says the Border Patrol Is Letting Undocumented Immigrants in to Vote
Oct08 Trump Cratering with Independent Voters
Oct08 Planned Parenthood Planning $30 Million Effort Targeting Millennials
Oct08 If Trump Loses, Republicans Will Not Be Able to Come Together Easily
Oct08 Giuliani's Daughter Is a Strong Clinton Supporter
Oct07 Trump Abandons the Rust Belt, Aims at the West
Oct07 Clinton's Debate Performance Made Supporters More Enthusiastic
Oct07 Trump: I Was Being an Entertainer When I Insulted Women
Oct07 Trump Preps for Debate...Maybe
Oct07 What Trump Needs To Do in Sunday's Debate
Oct07 Clinton Readies a Final Push
Oct07 Six-year-old Wants to Ask a Question at the Town Hall Debate
Oct07 Hurricane Matthew Could Help Trump
Oct07 How Millennials Describe the Candidates
Oct07 Not All Evangelicals are For Trump
Oct07 Obama's Approval Rating Reaches New High
Oct07 We Are in the Age of the Insta-Ad
Oct07 It's a Civil War at Fox News
Oct06 Vice-Presidential Debate Postmortem
Oct06 Kaine May Have Lost the Debate, but Winning Was Never His Goal
Oct06 You Don't Win the Second Debate by Relitigating the First One
Oct06 Clinton Up 10 Points in National Poll
Oct06 Could the October Surprise Be Trump's 2015 Tax Return?
Oct06 Trump Often Donated to Attorneys General Investigating Him
Oct06 Dope Is on the Ballot All over the Country
Oct06 Vice-Presidential Debate Postmortem
Oct06 Kaine May Have Lost the Debare, but Winning Was Never His Goal
Oct06 You Don't Win the Second Debate by Relitigating the First One
Oct06 Clinton Up 10 Points in National Poll
Oct06 Could the October Surprise Be Trump's 2015 Tax Return?
Oct06 Trump Often Donated to Attorneys General Investigating Him
Oct06 Dope Is on the Ballot All over the Country
Oct05 Vice-Presidential Debate a Tense Affair
Oct05 GOP Website Gives Pence the Win--a Bit Early
Oct05 Politico Insiders: My Team Won
Oct05 Changes in the Swing States of the Past 2 Weeks
Oct05 Trump's Accountant Says He, Not Trump, Was the Genius
Oct05 Poll: Not Paying Taxes is Selfish
Oct05 Candidates' Strategies Differ on Early Voting
Oct05 Trump May Have Illegally Used His Foundation to Bootstrap His Campaign
Oct05 Bill Clinton Attacks ObamaCare, Pitches Medicare for All
Oct04 Vice Presidential Debates Rarely Matter Much
Oct04 Trump Offends Veterans Again
Oct04 Trump Ordered to Stop Raising Money for his Foundation
Oct04 Clinton Hammers Trump More on the Billion-Dollar Loss than on the Tax Avoidance
Oct04 Today's Trump Skeleton #1: He Rented to an Iranian Bank with Terrorist Ties
Oct04 Today's Trump Skeleton #2: He Harassed Women on His TV Show
Oct04 Trump Offices Open in Israel