News from the Votemaster
Several national polls were released yesterday. The Washington Post/ABC poll has Obama ahead 49% to 46%. The NY Times has him ahead 45% to 39%. Gallup has Obama ahead 47% to 43%. Rasmussen says it is 47% to 45%. Quinnipiac says Obama leads 50% to 41%. While each of these except Quinnipiac is within the margin of error, the probability of all five of these putting Obama ahead by chance is 1/32 or about 3%. The conclusion is clear: Obama does have a small lead nationally as of a few days ago. However, even small wins in the national vote can be important. If Obama were to get 52%-53% of the national vote, he would probably capture most of the swing states.
Barack Obama said he was going to run a postpartisan campaign, whatever that may be. We may now be getting of glimpse of what he had in mind. First of all, he is targeting the groups he did well with in the primaries: women, young voters, and blacks (and probably soon, Latinos). Second, his pitch to women is not going to be abortion but equal pay for equal work, a principle few women oppose (and not many men are willing to vocally oppose). The Supreme Court recently ruled 5-4 that a woman, Lilly Ledbetter, who sued her employer, Goodyear, for not paying her the same as men doing the same work, should have filed suit within 180 days of commencing her employment. She didn't (because she didn't realize it then) and the court said it was too late. Obama and other senators introduced a bill in the Senate to fix this situation but John McCain skipped the vote and opposes the bill in principle. This issue is something most working women care about and is far less controversial than abortion. It also ties into the Supreme Court since McCain has said he would appoint justices like John Roberts and Samuel Alito, who were in the majority in the Ledbetter case. Women who don't like the ruling aren't going to want more justices like that.
On the other hand, the culture wars aren't over. Massachusetts is about to legalize gay marriage for people who do not live in Massachusetts, something forbidden by a 1913 law the state legislature is poised to repeal. Gov. Deval Patrick (D-MA), whose 18-year-old daughter is a lesbian, has said he will sign the bill, arguing that an estimated 32,000 same-sex couples are expected to travel to Massachusetts in the next three years to get married. He estimates this will pump over $100 million into the state economy as hotels, restaurants, caterers, etc. will pick up new business. What other states will do when two local residents go to Massachusetts, get a valid marriage license, and come home remains to be seen. John McCain is on record opposing same-sex marriage but has also said he thinks it is up to the states to decide.
Georgia had a Democratic primary yesterday to choose the person who will face Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) in November. No candidate got 50% of the vote so there will be a runoff between Vernon Jones and Jim Martin Aug. 5. Neither one has any realistic chance of beating Chambliss.
Prediction: Parker is going to win the AL-05 House seat being vacated by Bud Cramer (D). This is a very safe prediction however, since the winner of the Republican runoff yesterday was insurance executive Wayne Parker. His opponent is Democrat Parker Griffith. If you live in AL-05 and have a lawn sign reading "Parker for Congress" be sure to have a party logo on it.
Jay Cost at Real Clear Politics has a very detailed analysis of how a crucial swing state, Ohio, generally votes. Ohio is delicately balanced between urban and rural areas with industrial and agricultural voters evenly matched. Small effects can tip the state.
We have one presidential poll today, in North Carolina from SurveyUSA. McCain is ahead by just 5% there, even though Bush won this state by 12% in 2004 and 13% in 2000. Taken along with recent polls in North Dakota, South Dakota, and Montana, Obama is apparently making some inroads in red states. However, losing the states by a little bit is really no better than losing them by a lot. Still, by putting a lot of money into these states, Obama could force McCain to use precious dollars to play defense instead of spending them in places like Ohio and Colorado.
We have six Senate polls today. The most important one is in Louisiana, where incumbent Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) is in a tough reelection battle with former Democrat John Kennedy, now a Republican (at Karl Rove's urging). This is the fourth poll this year for the Louisiana Senate seat and all four show Landrieu with a small lead. She narrowly won in 2002 and hurricane Katrina blew many of her supporters out of New Orleans. It is not known where they went though. Many may have gone to Baton Rouge or other cities in Louisiana, and they are starting to trickle back. Landrieu is the only incumbent Democratic senator who is in any danger. All the rest will be reelected easily. The only other one who was in danger was Sen. Tim Johnson (D-SD), who suffered a cerebral hemorrhage in Dec. 2006, but the Republicans were unable to field a top-tier challenger and Johnson is going to be reelected in a landslide.
-- The Votemaster