Clinton 352
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Trump 186
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Click for Senate
Dem 49
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GOP 51
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  • Strongly Dem (168)
  • Likely Dem (97)
  • Barely Dem (87)
  • Exactly tied (0)
  • Barely GOP (21)
  • Likely GOP (78)
  • Strongly GOP (87)
270 Electoral votes needed to win This date in 2012 2008
New polls: VA
Dem pickups vs. 2012: AZ NC
GOP pickups vs. 2012: IA
TODAY'S HEADLINES (click to jump there; use your browser's "Back" button to return here)
      •  Trump Unbound
      •  Trump Does What No One Else Could
      •  Trump Is Blowing Up the Republican Party
      •  Trump Releases "Dangerous" Video
      •  That "Apprentice" Footage Isn't Going Away
      •  Republican Absentee Ballots Are Down in North Carolina
      •  Gore Campaigning with Clinton in Florida
      •  It's All about Demographics
      •  Clinton's Main SuperPAC Is Starting to Desert Her
      •  Pelosi Liking Her Chances
      •  Today's Presidential Polls
      •  Today's Senate Polls

Trump Unbound

Donald Trump seems to have temporarily forgotten that his opponent is Hillary Clinton, not Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI). He spent much of yesterday going after Ryan for telling House Republicans that they should forget the top of the ticket and save themselves any way they can. Trump didn't appreciate this and said "the shackles are off." It is considered in poor taste for a presidential candidate to attack his party's highest-ranking official. As a practical matter, it's not a great idea either to go after people who might be able to help you, were they so inclined.

Trump also called Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) "foul-mouthed" and accused him of once begging for his support. McCain recently said that he won't vote for Trump. For good measure, Trump also tweeted: "Disloyal R's are far more difficult than Crooked Hillary."

Trump also reiterated his pledge to hire a special prosecutor to put Hillary Clinton in jail, despite the long FBI investigation that concluded that she was foolish and sloppy but she didn't commit an actual crime. And Trump's comment about jailing Clinton was even after a number of former FBI officials who served in Republican administrations said the idea of the president trying to jail his political opponents was abhorrent. At this point, Trump seems to be completely unbound and is just lashing out at everyone within range. It is not likely to be an effective strategy for the final month. (V)

Trump Does What No One Else Could

They've disagreed vehemently and often angrily about health care reform, the Supreme Court, the war on terror, abortion, the budget, and nearly every issue under the sun. But now, the country's leading Republicans (many of them, at least) and Democrats have finally found something they can agree upon: They can't abide Donald Trump.

There's Paul Ryan, of course, and John McCain, and a host of other high-ranking Republicans in Congress. Barack Obama has been anti-Trump from the outset, and is now actively working to persuade Republicans to abandon him. The progressive wing of the Democratic Party is on board, including Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), as is much of the right-wing commentariat, among them Erick Erickson and Glenn Beck. There are Republican lions, like George H.W. Bush and Democratic lions, like Al Gore and Jimmy Carter. In short, though he presumably did not mean to do so, Trump has built a remarkable coalition.

The reason for this, of course, is that for all of their disagreements, all of these individuals have much in common. They all respect the rule of law, and appropriate limits on government power. They lament sexual violence against women. They also recognize that part of the social contract on which a democracy is founded is abiding by the outcomes of elections, even if those outcomes are disagreeable. In fact, on Tuesday, numerous Republican leaders told Donald Trump and his acolytes in no uncertain terms to stop their talk of a "rigged" election.

There was a time, not terribly long ago, when the nation's political leaders would vigorously represent their constituents' interests during the day, and then would share a beer, or play softball or poker, or perform music together at night. Recently, the trend has been toward extreme territorialism and denigrating the other side. It's probably too much to hope, but if somehow Donald Trump serves to remind partisans on both sides of their shared interests and their ability to come together when they want to, then maybe he will actually have done the country a great service. (Z)

Trump Is Blowing Up the Republican Party

Chris Cillizza (and many others) feel that Donald Trump is destroying the Republican Party. Whenever he goes wild, as he did yesterday, more Republicans disown him. That makes him even more furious, and he lashes out at them, often by name. The result of these hissy fits is that more Republicans drop their support for him, in a downward death spiral. Unfortunately for the Republican leadership, these outbursts are wildly popular with their base. With every passing day, the gulf between the leadership and the base increases. Win or lose, it is going to be very difficult to put Humpty Dumpty together again after the election, no matter what the inevitable autopsy report says.

Furthermore, the more the top of the party disengages from Trump, the more it angers the rank and file. There are no doubt increasingly many Trump supporters who will not vote for Republicans downticket, just to spite the leadership. This is a formula for major losses in the Senate and House. It is hard to fight the enemy (the Democrats) when you are too busy fighting a civil war.

Trump's behavior is hardly a surprise; he was like this during the primaries. Everyone knew that when he didn't get his way or was attacked he would get furious, lose control, and start lashing out. Now, many people seem surprised. They have been grasping at straws for months. When Paul Manafort was brought in as campaign manager, Republicans were hoping Manafort could tame Trump. He couldn't and was soon fired. When Trump got a lot of flak for attacking Judge Gonzalo Curiel and then finally said: "I understand the responsibility of carrying the mantle. I will never let you down," they thought Trump was now tamed. But it is now clear that he had simply memorized and repeated a sentence that his handlers ordered him to say out loud. When Kellyanne Conway was brought in as campaign manager, again many Republicans thought she could tame him, and again they were wrong. In retrospect, it is clear that was never going to work, because at the same time he hired Conway, he also hired Steve Bannon, CEO of Breitbart News, a vicious right-wing bomb thrower. Only now is it becoming clear that in the battle for control, Bannon bested Conway, and there will be no more polite messages intended to make Trump look calm and presidential. It is going to be bare-fisted street fighting all the way until Nov. 8. (V)

Trump Releases "Dangerous" Video

Donald Trump also released a new video with an ominous narrator pointing out how dangerous the world is and noting that Clinton doesn't have the stamina to lead. It also shows clips of her coughing and stumbling. It is hard to imagine why the video was released. The base will eat it up, but it is going to be extremely counterproductive with women, millennials, and moderates of all stripes. Maybe team Trump has concluded that it can get so many really angry white men to vote that losing women, millennials, and moderates is not a problem. If there is something dangerous about the video, it is that assumption. (V)

That "Apprentice" Footage Isn't Going Away

The more that people talk about the unreleased footage from "The Apprentice," the more tantalizing the footage seems. Did he say even worse stuff about women? Did he use the n-word? Did he dabble in some homophobia? Anti-Semitism? Something else? All of these suggestions, backed by one or more people who are (or once were) privy to the footage, are already out there. It's just going to get worse, particularly once it occurs to someone to ask Trump to authorize the release of the footage if he has nothing to hide. As far as we know, the IRS does not audit TV shows.

Of course, Trump is never going to do that, but that doesn't mean that the footage won't see the light of day. Surely, the Washington Post's David Fahrenthold and his colleagues are working every angle to get their hands on what's out there, and they have succeeded before, over and over again (see return, tax; interview, Billy Bush). Meanwhile, we and others wondered if a prominent Democrat might come forward and agree to cover any financial costs incurred by a potential leaker. Well, one has, namely media tycoon David Brock. Brock says that if the $5 million penalty is the only issue, then "sign me up." There is also a GoFundMe page dedicated to the same cause. And while Brock, et al. probably can't say it publicly, another million or two in direct payments to the leaker to sweeten the pot are probably doable, too. It's too bad for the Democrats that Edward Snowden does not work for Mark Burnett.

And speaking of Burnett, whatever happens here is very likely in the "Apprentice" producer's hands. It's true that he's made very clear that he's not going to release the footage. What's less clear is his motivation. If he really and truly wants the footage to remain hidden until after the election, he could take those hard drives/computers, put them in a bank vault under lock and key (and even guard), make sure they are not connected to the Internet, and make sure nobody but him has access. On the other hand, if his real concern is that he just doesn't want the blame for a leak, he could do none of these things, and let the cards fall where they may. Burnett's staff is reportedly very loyal, but love of money/hatred of Donald Trump can make people do strange things, particularly if they have the sense that Burnett wouldn't feel all that betrayed. (Z)

Republican Absentee Ballots Are Down in North Carolina

Although it is too early to make any definitive statements about whether the commotion on the Republican side will affect turnout much, here is a bit of evidence that at least in North Carolina, Republicans are not voting by absentee ballot in the numbers they did in 2012:

NC absentee ballots

In the chart above, it is clear that Republican mail-in absentee ballots are way down this year compared to 2012, whereas Democratic and independent absentee ballots are running about the same. This means that the decrease in Republican turnout is not due to Hurricane Matthew or some other factor. Also, the New York Times has reported that ballot applications by Republicans are also down in North Carolina by 27% this year. The effect seems to be statewide, rather than limited to one or two counties, meaning that it is probably not a computer glitch in a couple of counties.

Why is this happening? There is no proof, obviously, but sometimes when voters see turmoil in one party, even if it is not at the top, they decide to sit that one out. This time it is at the top. Nevertheless, this is only one small data point, so don't take it as a general indicator. (V)

Gore Campaigning with Clinton in Florida

Yesterday, for the first time, former vice president Al Gore made a joint campaign appearance with Hillary Clinton in Florida. Gore said: "Your vote really, really counts, a lot. You can consider me as exhibit A of that group." Gore lost Florida in 2000 by 537 votes out of more than 6 million cast. If he had won Florida, he would have become president.

Gore is well known as an environmental activist. He praised Clnton's environmental policies and said she will make dealing with climate change a top priority. This is the #1 issue for many millennials, who have thus far been much less enthusiastic about Clinton than they were about Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012. Clinton hopes that with Gore campaigning for her, more of the millennials will now back her. (V)

It's All about Demographics

A new national poll released yesterday shows a historic divide between men and women. Hillary Clinton is crushing Donald Trump among women, 61% to 28%. However, among men, Trump leads 48% to 37%. Overall, Clinton is ahead nationally by 11 points. The poll also shows an enormous educational gap. Among white women, Clinton gets 2/3 of the vote from the college-educated women, whereas those women without a college education split roughly evenly. Among white men, Trump leads Clinton by 7 points with college-educated men. Among white men without a college education, Trump crushes Clinton 65% to 22%. So it seems that despite all the hoopla, ads, and scandals, all that matters is gender and education. The poll was conducted from Oct. 5 to Oct. 9, with 44% of the interviews conducted before the controversial tape story came out. (V)

Clinton's Main SuperPAC Is Starting to Desert Her

Priorities USA is Hillary Clinton's main superPAC. It has been spending money for her in almost all the swing states. But now it is considering pulling out, to some extent, to support Democratic candidates for the Senate in Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Nevada, and New Hampshire. This could be a sign that either (1) the superPAC has more money than it knows what to do with, or (2) that it considers the presidential race a done deal and is now trying to get Clinton a Democratic Senate. After Donald Trump's meltdown during the past week, Republican superPACs that were focused on the presidential race may do likewise, putting their money into Senate and House races. (V)

Pelosi Liking Her Chances

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) was speaking to members of the House Democratic Caucus on Tuesday, and declared that if the election was to happen right now, the Democrats would retake control of the House of Representatives. If that were to happen, Pelosi would, of course, resume her former position as Speaker.

While it is Pelosi's job to be upbeat about the blue team's chances, her prediction—largely unthinkable a few months ago—is not crazy. The recent NBC News/WSJ poll that had Hillary Clinton up by 14 points over Donald Trump also had "generic Democrat" leading "generic Republican" for the House by a margin of 49% to 42%—that's the best the party has done since the government shutdown in 2013. It's true that the House districts are largely gerrymandered to the point of absurdity, but there are still 40 or 50 of them that are somewhat competitive. There are at least three emerging elements of this election that could each cost Republicans running for the House anywhere from 1 to 5 points, namely: (1) The Trump campaign's lack of funds/ground game, (2) Trump supporters who refuse to vote for downballot Republicans out of spite, and (3) traditional Republicans who decide to sit this one out on Election Day. If these three factors (plus any others) combine to cost the average Republican just 3 or 4 points, then that is almost certainly enough to give Pelosi the (re-)promotion she so badly wants. Still, many experts say that what matters the most is Clinton's coattails. If she wins by more than 10 points, that might pull in a Democratic majority in the House. With less than that, it will be tough. (Z)

Today's Presidential Polls

Virginia is a lost cause for Trump. If Clinton can hold the 242 EVs in the "blue wall," those plus Virginia add up to 255. Clinton needs just 15 more. Any ONE of Florida, Ohio, or North Carolina will do, not to mention Colorado + Nevada (9 + 6 = 15). The only fly in the ointment is a possible Trump win in ME-02, but that could be offset by a Clinton win in NE-02. (V)

State Clinton Trump Johnson Start End Pollster
Virginia 45% 36% 7% Oct 02 Oct 06 Roanoke Coll.

Today's Senate Polls

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) seems likely to keep his current job, which he doesn't like at all except for the $174,000 salary part. Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) is too powerful a force for anyone to stop. He'll be in the Senate until he dies. (V)

State Democrat D % Republican R % Start End Pollster
Florida Patrick Murphy 41% Marco Rubio* 48% Sep 27 Oct 04 U. of North Florida
Iowa Patty Judge 36% Chuck Grassley* 53% Oct 03 Oct 06 Selzer

* Denotes incumbent

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---The Votemaster and Zenger
Oct11 Second Presidential Debate Postmortem
Oct11 Second Poll Says Clinton Won the Debate
Oct11 Clinton Leads by Double Digits Nationally
Oct11 Body Language Experts Analyze the Debate
Oct11 Republican Candidates for Congress are Boxed In
Oct11 Conway: Comment about Jailing Clinton was just a Quip
Oct11 Professional Athletes Deny That They Denigrate Women in Their Locker Rooms
Oct11 Federal Judge Extends Florida Voter Registration Deadline
Oct11 Five Things Clinton Needs to Do to Keep Her Lead
Oct11 Jeff Sessions: Grabbing a Woman by Her P***y Is Not Sexual Assault
Oct11 Mark Burnett Holds Trump's Fate in His Hands (or Hard Disk)
Oct11 What's a Lepo?
Oct11 #MuslimsReportStuff
Oct11 Trump Taj Mahal Closes its Doors
Oct10 Mud Flies in Nastiest Debate in American History
Oct10 Five Takeaways from Politico about a Brutal Debate
Oct10 Seven Takeaways from CNN about the Debate
Oct10 Four Takeaways from the L.A. Times
Oct10 Six Takeaways from NBC
Oct10 Initial Post-tape Pre-debate Poll: GOP Voters Want Party to Keep Trump
Oct10 Initial Post-tape, Pre-debate Poll: GOP Voters Want Party to Keep Trump
Oct10 Conventional Wisdom May Be Wrong about Clinton's Problem with Millennials
Oct10 Republican Insiders Speak Out Now
Oct10 Why Are Top Evangelical Leaders Sticking by Trump?
Oct09 Many Republicans Want Trump to Drop Out, but He Says Zero Chance of That
Oct09 Did Trump Just Blow the Election?
Oct09 Could We Have a President Pence?
Oct09 Trump and Clinton Face Off in the Second Debate Tonight
Oct09 Email Leaks Give Glimpse of How Clinton's Campaign Works
Oct09 Pence Supposedly Upset over Trump's Remarks on Tape
Oct09 About Candidate Pence...
Oct09 At Least One Bettor Is Convinced the Election is Over
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