Clinton 352
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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 (184)
  • Likely Dem (72)
  • Barely Dem (96)
  • Exactly tied (0)
  • Barely GOP (70)
  • Likely GOP (35)
  • Strongly GOP (81)
270 Electoral votes needed to win This date in 2012 2008
New polls: MT
Dem pickups vs. 2012: AZ NC
GOP pickups vs. 2012: IA

Trump's Strategy is to Depress the Millennial Vote

An anonymous source gave an explanation to Yahoo! News about what Donald Trump is trying to accomplish in the last three weeks of the campaign. It is not about increasing the vote for himself, it is all about reducing the Democratic vote, especially among millennials. While older voters find the endless attention Trump is giving to Bill Clinton's alleged affairs to be "old news," many millennials don't know what happened in the 1990s, and for them this is all new. If Trump can convince them that Bill Clinton is Bill Cosby, and that Hillary enabled him somehow, many of them might skip voting, which is Trump's goal. In addition, Trump keeps saying "the system is rigged," which resonates with millennials because that was the line Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) used constantly. Sanders meant something completely different, but Trump is hoping the distinction is lost. (V)

Trump Raises $100 Million in September

Donald Trump's campaign announced its September fundraising haul: a cool $100 million. Trump himself contributed $2 million to the campaign. In total, the campaign has raised $360 million to date. As of the end of September, the campaign had $75 million in the bank.

Hillary Clinton raised $154 million in September. Although she raised a fair amount of money from small donors, Hillary Clinton's real focus has been on large donors, especially in California. For example, this week she attended a party in Beverly Hills, where tickets cost $32,400 each. She took in over $5 million in one evening. She also has 1,133 "Hillblazers," people who gave or bundled at least $100,000 each. Her operation dwarfs previous ones. George W. Bush had 548 "Rangers," people who gave or bundled $100,000, and President Obama had 602 such individuals in 2012. There is no law requiring candidates to name their bundlers, but Clinton has done so voluntarily. Trump has refused to do so. (V)

Trump Breaks Ties with Ohio Republican Party

Donald Trump's campaign has broken with the Ohio Republican Party, and no longer has a relationship with it. Such a public display of disunity between a campaign and a state party (especially in a key swing state) is unheard of, and will surely come back to haunt Trump on Election Day. Trump has almost no ground game in Ohio, and if he can't count on either Gov. John Kasich (R-OH) or the state party to help him, he is on his own in this crucial state. The RNC might try to pick up some of the operations that the state party would normally perform, but it has budget constraints, as well as other fish to fry. Since Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) seems on his way to victory, the RNC might well decide that Ohio doesn't need any help, and concentrate on tight Senate races in Nevada, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, and North Carolina, among other places. (V)

Trump Wants Pre-Debate Drug Test

At this point in the campaign, with his fortunes sagging badly, Donald Trump's tendency to say whatever comes into his mind and to see what sticks is in full effect. Though even by his usual standards, the claim he made on Saturday was pretty wild: That Hillary Clinton has been taking performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs) before the debates. Appearing at one of his many rallies, the Republican nominee declared:

I think we should take a drug test prior to the debate. Because I don't know what's going on with her, but at the beginning of her last debate, she was all pumped up at the beginning, and at the end it was like, huff, take me down. She could barely reach her car.

It's hard to know what drugs Trump might be thinking of here. Anabolic steroids, the substance most generally associated with getting "pumped," do not have that particular kind of stimulant effect. Maybe he thinks she is taking methamphetamines, though every physician in the country would recognize the side effects on TV if she tried those. She might have consumed a big cup of coffee, but that would not be illegal, of course. She also probably wouldn't do it, since caffeine is a diuretic and could create an uncomfortable situation 60 or 70 minutes into the debate. If there was a difference in energy level, the likeliest explanation would be a drop in adrenaline, but that has nothing to do with drugs. Meanwhile, CNN and other networks showed both candidates leaving the debate area, and neither had any issue reaching their vehicles.

What Clinton really should do is make an announcement something like this: "I'll take a drug test Donald, but I should warn you, Rogaine can cause a false positive." She won't do it, but that would certainly hit him where it hurts. (Z)

Another Day, Another Trump Accuser

At the moment, women who say they have been sexually assaulted by Donald Trump are identifying themselves on a daily basis. It's barely news anymore. The latest is Cathy Heller, who told her story to The Guardian (UK), which published it on Saturday. Heller says that she was visiting Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort 20 years ago while The Donald was present. When they crossed paths, he reportedly grabbed her without warning and forced a kiss upon her. This aligns pretty precisely with a statement Trump made in The Tape:

You know I'm automatically attracted to beautiful—I just start kissing them. It's like a magnet. Just kiss. I don't even wait.

It's highly unlikely that all of these women are all making it up out of whole cloth. Particularly problematic for Trump's claims that they're all lying is that nearly all of the accusers told their stories to friends and/or family at the time, and those individuals remember the incidents. In Heller's case, both a friend and a relative who were there on that day corroborated her claims. In fact, it was an e-mail from the friend, whose name is Susan Klein, that prompted Heller to come forward. "I keep thinking about how he treated you," Klein wrote. "Obviously not an isolated incident."

In any event, Heller brings the total number of accusers to roughly 12, if we include groping, kissing, and ogling of teenage girls in various states of undress. And there's no reason to believe that number won't continue to grow in the next week, particularly if Trump decides to double down on his non-apology at the third debate. (Z)

Summer Zervos Cousin: She's Making It Up

As the defense against the charges by so many women that he kissed or groped them, yesterday the Trump campaign released a letter from the cousin of one of Trump's accusers, Summer Zervos. In the letter, John Barry, of Mission Viejo, CA claimed that his cousin, Summer Zervos, is not telling the truth when she said Donald Trump kissed and groped her. He said that at the time, she spoke much more kindly of him. Barry believes that Zervos wants to get back into television and is taking advantage of his campaign to get publicity. Even if Barry is right and Zervos made up her story (which is far from certain), there are still almost a dozen women whose accusations have not been refuted. (V)

Why Does Putin Oppose Clinton?

There is little doubt that Russia is trying to influence the presidential election, through friends at WikiLeaks. The general presumption has been that Putin is motivated by his positive feelings towards Donald Trump, since the two men have much in common in terms of personality, and since The Donald has signaled fairly passive intentions toward Russia, particularly as regards looking the other way as Putin acts on his territorial ambitions. However, as CNN's Frida Ghitis observes, Putin is just as motivated by his negative feelings for Hillary Clinton.

To start, the enmity between Putin and Clinton definitely has a personal dimension. When the Russian president secured his third term in 2012, he was met with widespread protests at home, particularly since the Russian constitution imposes a limit of two terms. Clinton, then Secretary of State, took the side of the protesters. Putin, showing a bit of his deeply-entrenched KGB paranoia, concluded that Clinton was not only supporting the protests, she was orchestrating them. That displeased him.

There is also, of course, a professional dimension to the Putin-Clinton enmity. Putin has not only grabbed territory in Ukraine, he has given clandestine support to right-wing political movements across Europe in hopes of destabilizing liberal democracies and expanding Russia's sphere of influence. President Obama has taken a fairly restrained approach to these provocations, trying (and failing) several times to make progress through diplomacy. Clinton has indicated her intention to use a firmer hand. We must, "confine, contain, [and] deter Russian aggression in Europe and beyond," she said in one speech. "I remain convinced that we need a concerted effort to really up the costs on Russia and in particular on Putin," she declared in another. She has also committed to a no-fly zone in Syria, which would serve to rein in the Russian military presence there. Putin is operating from a position of financial weakness, since the Russian economy is flailing and is dwarfed by that of the United States, so it comes as no surprise that he would turn to devious (and fairly low-cost) means to try and level the playing field. (Z)

WikiLeaks' Drip, Drip, Drip Continues

WikiLeaks is trying to get maximum bang for the buck out of the hacked John Podesta emails they have, so it is releasing them piece by carefully chosen piece. The highlight of Saturday's dump is three of the speeches that Hillary Clinton reportedly delivered to Goldman Sachs pooh-bahs in 2013. The Clinton campaign did not confirm or deny the speeches' authenticity, but it's fair to assume they're real. They are also fairly pedestrian; she suggests she would like to engage in covert ops in Syria, that the media focuses too often on trivialities, that she would like to have better relations with Russia but is not hopeful, that Wall Street deserved some of the blame for the Great Recession but not as much as they got, and that if she runs for president in 2016 she would benefit from name recognition but would be hurt by the burning hatred Republicans have for her. In contrast to the last batch of speeches leaked, nothing in these is particularly troublesome, nor particularly at odds with her publicly-stated positions.

The other notable part of Saturday's dump was an email discussing Juanita Broaddrick, who in 1999 accused Bill Clinton of raping her in 1978. The message is an aggregation of information related to the case, along with several attachments. Among the attachments is a 1998 affidavit from Broaddrick in which she declares that Clinton did not assault her (she changed her mind a year later, when contacted by Lewinskygate investigator Kenneth Starr). The newly-leaked email does not propose any particular response or course of action, and in any event, the Clinton campaign said nothing whatsoever about Broaddrick until she appeared at last Sunday's debate. Even then, the candidate said only that Donald Trump is entitled to run his campaign in any way he wants, including bringing Broaddrick, et al. to the debate.

In short, if WikiLeaks truly wants to hurt Clinton, then Saturday's releases better just be the palate cleanser before they serve up the really good stuff. Because if this is all they've got, then they are just tilting at windmills. (Z)

Conservative Women Are Still Supporting Trump

While p***ygate has cost Donald Trump some support with women, he still has a large number of female supporters. Interviews with some women in the South reveal that while they don't approve of Trump's behavior, other issues, such as Benghazi, Obamacare, and abortion are even more important to them. On these issues, it is Trump who has the positions they favor. However, some are wavering because they are not sure Trump really means it when he says he is pro-life.

Among Republican women serving as governors or members of Congress, 42% have rejected their party's nominee, vs. 16% of their male counterparts. But as we have seen time and again this year, there is a large disconnect between what the Republican Party leadership wants and what the rank-and-file Republican voters want. (V)

Democrats Have Big Cash Advantage in Senate Races

The Republicans and Democrats have different strategies for the competitive Senate races. The Republicans greatly outspent the Democrats in August and September, to give their candidates an edge in the polls up until now. Now they are running out of money, just as the Democrats are starting to spend big time in the Senate races. Republicans are concerned that the Democrats will use their financial advantage to hammer home the theme that the Republican Senate candidates have refused to repudiate Donald Trump, who is toxic in many states. Here are the amounts of money each party has reserved for Senate races from Oct. 11 until Election Day:

State Democrats Republicans
Pennsylvania $17.2 million $8.5 million
New Hampshire $15.8 million $12.3 million
Nevada $12.5 million $12.2 million
North Carolina $11.9 million $9.3 million
Florida $4.2 million $9.6 million
Missouri $8.1 million $6.4 million
Indiana $7.0 million $4.3 million
Wisconsin $4.0 million $1.9 million

Republicans are also worried that if the Clinton campaign decides the presidency's in the bag, it may start using the very large amount of cash in the bank on Senate races. (V)

Today's Presidential Polls

Trump is winning in Big Sky Country. No surprise there. (V)

State Clinton Trump Johnson Start End Pollster
Montana 36% 46% 11% Oct 10 Oct 12 Mason Dixon

Today's Senate Polls

Murkowski won as a write-in last time, so winning as the actual candidate this time should be a snap. (V)

State Democrat D % Republican R % Start End Pollster
Alaska Ray Metcalfe 12% Lisa Murkowski* 50% Sep 28 Oct 02 Alaska Survey Research

* Denotes incumbent

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---The Votemaster and Zenger
Oct15 More Women Say that Trump Groped Them
Oct15 Desperation Sets in for Trump
Oct15 Ryan Getting Desperate, Too
Oct15 How the Clinton Campaign Is Playing Its Hand
Oct15 Insiders Think Trump's Chances Are Fading Fast
Oct15 Trump Didn't See It Coming--but Should Have
Oct15 Democrats Sue North Carolina over Voter Registration Deadline
Oct15 CNN: Eight Republicans Sent into Distant Orbit by Trump's 2016 Odyssey
Oct15 Charlie Cook Calls the Election for Clinton
Oct15 The Debates as Boxing Matches
Oct14 Trump Calls the Claims of Sexual Advances Vicious and Absolutely False
Oct14 Michelle Obama Makes Emotional Pitch to Women
Oct14 Donald Trump Has a Double Standard
Oct14 Trump: If Clinton Falls in China, They'll Just Leave Her There
Oct14 Total TV Time Bought by the RNC for Trump to Date: $0
Oct14 Trump Pulls Out of Virginia
Oct14 Only Trump Will Protect You
Oct14 Daily News Pushes Another Trump Scandal
Oct14 Democratic Elector May Refuse to Vote for Clinton
Oct14 Whither the GOP?
Oct14 Could Nonvoting Republicans Affect the House?
Oct14 Bad News for Christie
Oct13 Some Republicans Are Recanting Their Unendorsements of Trump
Oct13 Trump Supporters Not Willing to Face Reality
Oct13 Trump Accusers Coming Out of the Woodwork
Oct13 Evidence that the Tape Was Disastrous
Oct13 Trump Sinking in Utah
Oct13 Early Indications From Florida Favor Democrats
Oct13 Five Takeaways from the WikiLeaks Emails
Oct13 Topics for the Third Debate Announced
Oct13 Whither the Senate?
Oct13 How to Read the Polls
Oct13 About That LA Times/USC Tracking Poll...
Oct12 Trump Unbound
Oct12 Trump Does What No One Else Could
Oct12 Trump Is Blowing Up the Republican Party
Oct12 Trump Releases Dangerous Video
Oct12 That Apprentice Footage Isn't Going Away
Oct12 Republican Absentee Ballots Are Down in North Carolina
Oct12 Gore Campaigning with Clinton in Florida
Oct12 It's All about Demographics
Oct12 Clinton's Main SuperPAC Is Starting to Desert Her
Oct12 Pelosi Liking Her Chances
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