News from the Votemaster
Prediction: The next President's birthday will be in August. Probably a safe bet since Barack Obama turned 47 yesterday and John McCain turns 72 on Aug. 29.
Primary day today. There are contested primaries (mostly for Congress) in Kansas, Michigan, and MIssouri today. One of the hottest races is in KS-02, where former representative Jim Ryun (R) is battling state treasurer Lynn Jenkins (R) for the right to try to get his old job back from Rep. Nancy Boyda (D-KS) who knocked him off in 2006. The Republican primary has been very bitter and both candidates are exhausted and broke. Either one will have a tough battle to defeat a Democratic incumbent in what is shaping up to be a big Democratic year.
For the past three years, the number of registered Republicans has been dropping and the number of Democrats and independents has been rising. In six states, including New Hampshire, Pennsylvania and Iowa, the Democrats gained over 3% since 2004. The only state in which the Republicans had a relative gain of over 1% was Louisiana (not due to more Republicans, but as a result of Democrats being driven out of the state by hurricane Katrina). These changes might foreshadow a larger partisan realignment. In the 26 states that register voters by party, the net number of Democrats increased by 214,656 while the net number of Republicans decreased by 1,407,971. This suggests that people are disgusted with the Republicans rather than in love with the Democrats.
Ten executives or family members of the Hess Corporation, a big oil company, gave John McCain $285,000 just after he reversed his position on off-shore drilling from against it to for it. While these contributions are perfectly legal, the Democrats are undoubtedly going to say his energy policy is being dictated by big oil. This revelation could be important because almost the only policy issue where the public sides with McCain against Obama is offshore drilling. Also going on on the energy front is the "tire gauge war". Obama pointed out that the U.S. Dept. of Energy states that keeping your tires properly inflated can improve gas mileage by 3.3% and this energy savings is immediate whereas new oil found off the coasts won't show up for 10 years and is estimated to be about 1% of current production. Republicans have been passing out tire gauges lately to mock Obama.
Barack Obama has taken Howard Dean's 50-state strategy to heart. He is waging a campaign and spending millions of dollars in red states that most professionals expect him to lose, with one exception (Virginia). The other states are Indiana, North Dakota, North Carolina, Montana, Georgia, and Alaska. All told, Obama has spent $7.8 million on TV ads in these seven states (vs. $1.6 million for McCain). Many Democratic insiders would rather have him abandon them all except Virginia and spend the money in Ohio, Missouri, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, and Iowa, instead, all of which will be very close. After the election results are in, Obama (but mostly his advisors David Axelrod and David Plouffe) will be seen either as geniuses or dodos.
CQ Politics has a nice article on new Hampshire, one of the two Kerry states that McCain has a serious chance of winning (the other being Michigan). The state has traditionally been more conservative than the rest of New England and McCain rescued his candidacy here by winning the New Hampshire primary. On the other hand, the Democrats won all the marbles in 2006, including knocking off both sitting congressmen and capturing both houses of the state legislature for the first time since 1874.
Five new polls today, one of which is important, in Florida. John McCain has regained the lead again in this key swing state. He is now ahead 50% to 44% according to Rasmussen. Florida is a must-win state for McCain. The other polls are about as expected.
Two Senate polls today, in Oklahoma. It looks like Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) is cruising to reelection. In Alabama, the same is true of Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL).
-- The Votemaster