Projected New Senate: 50 Democrats 49 Republicans 1 tie
News from the Votemaster
A reader pointed me to an old poll in NY-24 which has Mike Arcuri (D) leading Ray Meier (R) 53% to 38%. While the RT strategies poll is a month old, it is better than the 2004 election, which is what I had been using in that district so far. No new polls today.
However, it is interesting to see how pollster Scott Rasmussen is looking at the Senate. He sees only two states as tossups: Missouri and New Jersey. He thinks the other main states with Republican incumbents that are being hotly contested, namely, Montana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Tennessee all lean Democratic. The open seats in Maryland and Minnesota also lean Democratic. If he is right, the Democrats will have between 50 and 52 seats, depending on NJ and MO. Furthermore, Virginia is leaning Republican at the moment, but it is not a sure thing.
In the Massachusetts governor's race, Deval Patrick (D) is leading Kerry Healey (R) by 49% to 28% in this bluest of all states according to a new Suffolk University poll. If Patrick wins, he will be the nation's only African-American governor.
I am now in Shelburne, Vermont, which is not really a tourist destination despite one nice museum. I saw a sign at a local church offering a church supper for $8 a head, so I sprung for it, figuring I'd get to meet some more politicians. (If that remark makes no sense, see the site for Friday .) This time I was prepared and brought my camera. Sure enough, who shows up but Peter Welch (D), president of the Vermont state Senate, who is running for Bernie Sanders' seat in Congress. So unlike Tarrant (R), who got to shake the hand of 80 out-of-staters who can't vote for him, Welch got to shake the hand of 79 Vermonters who can potentially vote for him (I vote in California). My campaign advice to politicians: go where the voters are, not where the tourists are. I talked to Welch for a little while between handshakes. He seems like a perfectly normal, friendly guy, not the least bit stuck up (which could easily happen to the president of the state Senate). Here's the picture I took of him.
Politics in small states like New Hampshire and Vermont is really different from that in big states. Many people I have met here have met their senators, congressman, and members of the state legislature at a sports event, church, rally, store, July 4th picnic, restaurant, or while walking the dog. When a large fraction of your constituents know you, having an opponent who tries to smear you in TV ads makes them very angry. Because most Vermonters actually have met some of their elected officials, they are much more involved in politics. I'd estimate that a quarter of the houses have lawn signs, either for Bernie, Welch, and local Democrats, or for Tarrant, Rainville, and local Republicans (never mixed). I've never seen anything even approaching this sign density in other states. Based on my new methodology--the lawn sign poll--I predict that both Bernie (never Sanders) and Welch will win in November. More conventional polling puts Bernie ahead 61% to 33% and Welch ahead 51% to 43%.
I was thinking about how the Vermont Principle (know your elected officials) could be applied nationwide. The solution: triple the size of the House. The size of the House was set by law in 1911, when the U.S. populaton was 92 million, so a congressman represented about 210,000 people. By tripling the size of the House, a CD would be closer in size to what it was last time the House size was changed. There is nothing in the Constitution about the number of members the House must have. Congress can change the size simply by passing a law, something it has done many times in the past. With small districts, people would have a much better chance of knowing their representative.
And we have a new cartoon on the political humor page.
Projected New House*: 219 Democrats 215 Republicans 1 Tie* Where no independent polls exist, the 2004 election results have been used. See complete House polls.
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-- The Votemaster