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House Dem 202   GOP 216   Ties 17

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weak GOP Weak GOP (2)
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Senate polls today: AK AR CO GA IL KY NY PA WA WI WV iPhone RSS
Dem pickups: (None) GOP pickups: AR CO IL IN NV ND PA WI PDA

PW logo Headline of the Year Bonus Quote of the Day
Perry Book Leaked Online Palin Robocalls for Tancredo
Alaska Remains a Toss Up Record Election Turnout Expected

News from the Votemaster            

Republicans Have a 6- to 10-Point Lead in Generic Ballot Poll     Permalink

In the latest Opinion Research poll (for CNN), a generic Republican beats a generic Democrat by 10 points. In a similar NBC/WSJ poll the gap is only 6%. Gallup puts the lead at 12%, although its model has been criticized. The ABC/WaPo poll says it is 4%. Most likely the true number is in the 6-10% range.

While all these polls are a strong indicator of a GOP victory tomorrow, it still comes down to 435 specific House races and 37 specific Senate races in which "Generic" is not one of the candidates. In particular, in the past week, Democrats have been trying to play up the flaws of the specific Republican in each race while the Republicans have been acting like Speaker Nancy Pelosi is running in all 435 congressional districts. Among the people polled, Democrats prefer the Democrat and Republicans prefer the Republican, but independents have moved from supporting Democrats in 2008 to supporting Republicans in 2010.

Unlike 1994 however, when the Republicans were highly popular, this year the Republicans are even less popular than the Democrats. Consequently, many people, especially independents, are going to vote for Republican not because they like the Republicans but because they want to send the Democrats a message (the message being that the economy is still terrible for many people).

Tea Party Candidates Get Big Contributions from Wall Street     Permalink

While tea party candidates like to maintain the image of getting their support from the grass roots, the reality is that some of them have received major funding from Wall Street. Pat Toomey (R), running for the Senate in Pennsylvania, has gotten $1.2 million from Wall St. and Marco Rubio (R), running for the Senate in Florida, has gotten $1 million. If they win, it will be interesting to see how they vote on bills in which the interests of Wall St. and ordinary Americans diverge.

Guesses about the 17 Unpolled Close races     Permalink

So far, only 114 congressional districts have been polled by a nonpartisan pollster, leaving us guessing about the other 321. Well, not entirely. Most of these are so lopsided that it is possible to make a pretty good guess about the race just based on the PVI and electoral history. Our model is described here. Nevertheless, there are 17 unpolled races that are too close to call based on past history. There is no way out except to use a certain amount of knowledge and intuition and make an educated guess. Below is a list of these races and our best guesses.

CD PVI Open? Democrat Republican Prediction
IA-02 D+7 No David Loebsack* Mariannette Miller-Meeks Dem
VA-11 D+2 No Gerry Connolly* Keith Fimian Dem
OH-12 D+1 No Paula Brooks Pat Tiberi* GOP
FL-22 D+1 No Ron Klein* Allen West GOP
MN-03 R+0 No Jim Meffert Erik Paulsen* GOP
MI-11 R+0 No Natalie Mosher Thad McCotter* GOP
PA-12 R+1 No Mark Critz* Tim Burns Dem
FL-08 R+2 No Alan Grayson* Dan Webster GOP
MI-08 R+2 No Lance Enderle Mike Rogers* GOP
KS-03 R+3 Yes Stephene Moore Kevin Yoder GOP
TX-23 R+4 No Ciro Rodriguez* Quico Canseco Dem
AZ-08 R+4 No Gabrielle Giffords* Jesse Kelly Dem
FL-24 R+4 No Suzanne Kosmas* Sandy Adams GOP
PA-04 R+6 No Jason Altmire* Keith Rothfuss Dem
CA-04 R+10 No Clint Curtis Tom McClintock* GOP
LA-04 R+11 No David Melville John Fleming* GOP
AL-02 R+16 No Bobby Bright* Martha Roby Dem

If these predictions hold, the Republicans will pick up 10 more seats and the Democrats 7 more. Added to the scores given at the top of this page, we have a current prediction of 226 seats for the Republicans and 209 seats for the Democrats in the new House. This represents a net gain of 47 seats for the Republicans, which would be a smaller wave than in 1994, when they picked up 54 seats. It would also be smaller than the two-part Democratic wave of 2006/2008 when the Democrats picked up 52 House seats.

Chaos in Alaska     Permalink

ABC is reporting that the Republican leadership has abandoned its senatorial candidate in Alaska, Joe Miller, and is hoping for a win by write-in candidate, Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R). Miller has been sinking in some (but not all) the polls in the past few days as a result of ethical violations of his that have been revealed recently. Evidence that the NRSC is giving up on Miller can be seen in the ads it is running in Alaska: they attack Democrat Scott McAdams. If the NRSC really wanted Miller to win they would be attacking Murkowski. Their fear is that Murkowski comes in first, followed by McAdams, but that so many of Murkowski's (write-in) ballots are ultimately disqualified that McAdams squeaks through. Also a concern is that up until now, Alaska's Democrats were lining up behind Murkowski because they wanted to stop Miller at all costs. But now that Miller is apparently less of a threat, they may come home and vote for McAdams. In 2008, Obama got 39% of the vote in Alaska. If McAdams gets 39% of the vote, in a three-way race in which many of Murkowski's votes are sure to be disqualified, that could be enough to win.

A new PPP poll shows how unsettled this race is. While 37% say they will vote for Miller (see below), only 36% have a positive opinion of him while 59% have a negative opinion, with only 5% undecided. It is rare for a candidate so uniformly disliked to win an election. In contrast, McAdams' approve/disapproves are 50%/30%. Couple this with the fact that 39% of the electorate are Democrats and the difficulties of getting people to write in a candidate, and this has to be the most unpredictable Senate race of all.

One Republican who is not abandoning Miller is Sarah Palin. She reconfirmed her support for him yesterday and attacked the "corrupt bastards" in the Alaska media for conspiring against him.

If the Alaska vote is close, it could be weeks before the results are known. For one thing, ballots from overseas civilians and military personnel postmarked on or before election day are valid votes if they arrive within 15 days of the election, so election officials have to wait 15 days before even announcing the votes. And if Murkowski ends up ahead, there will be endless court challenges, especially if control of the Senate hinges on this seat.

Both Parties Prepare for Recount Battles     Permalink

Alaska is not the only place where a court battle could determine the outcome of an election. Close races are expected for the Senate in Nevada, Colorado, and Illinois, for governor in Ohio, and in many congressional districts. Accordingly, both parties have hired squadrons of lawyers to parachute in where needed to do battle in court cases. In addition, PR experts are much in demand since war for public opinion is as important as the court cases. If one side can convince the public that its horse won and the other side is trying to steal the election, that can affect the entire process going forward and has many times in the past. The NRCC is expecting at least a dozen recounts and the close ones could end up in court.

Republican Leaders Want to Stop Palin     Permalink

Looking beyond tomorrow, the Republican leadership is increasingly worried about former Alaska governor Sarah Palin, who they see as a loose cannon and a threat to their future. They want to stop her any way they can, but that won't be easy as she marches to her own drummer and doesn't take orders from anyone. As she develops her own footing and style, they are very concerned she will run for the Republican presidential nomination in 2012 and get it, leading to a disaster in which they give up all the gains they will achieve tomorrow. The older leaders remember the 1964 Barry Goldwater disaster in which Lyndon Johnson crushed him with 61% of the vote, pulling in so many new Democrats into the House that Johnson could pass Medicare, somethng the more charismatic John Kennedy didn't have the votes for. The Republicans fear that Palin would do even worse than Goldwater because although Goldwater was considered an extremist by many voters, virtually everyone in both parties regarded him a man of great personal integrity. In contrast, polls show that 2/3 of Americans regard Palin as unqualified to be President.

The problem for the GOP leadership is to find someone to beat her that all of them can agree on. The obvious candidate, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, has a few serious problems. For one thing, if the Republicans plan to run against ObamaCare in 2012, Romney will spend a lot of time explaining how RomneyCare (which he devised and got passed as governor of Massachusetts) is different from ObamaCare. For another, he is a Mormon, and the Republican base consists of Southern Protestants, many of whom do not regard Mormons as Christians. But there is no other obvious heavyweight candidate, which is why they are worried about Palin.

Country Split on Obama     Permalink

A NY Times poll about President Obama shows substantial differences between what various demographic groups think about President Obama, both past and future as well as people's opinion of their congressman and the government. For example, conservatives, whites, and older people are most unhappy with Obama, while blacks, liberals, people making under $30,000, and people with a post graduate degree are happy or at least neutral. The split by income is not monotonic, with the poorest voters liking him most, followed by the richest. The income group liking him least are those making $30,000 to $50,000. While the poll doesn't go into this, it is certainly possible that this group contains a large number of white working-class men who feel their job is threatened by blacks and think Obama is giving preference to them in hiring and firing decisions.

The question about whether it is time to replace one's own representative shows a great majority for someone new, which is historically unusual. The group most wanting to replace their congressman is the group making $75,000 to $100,000, where 70% have had enough. In contrast, blacks are least in favor of replacing their congressman, although 43% would like to do so.

Another interesting issue probed is whose fault the current economic mess is. Virtually every demographic group blames the Bush administration, generally by large margins. Bush fares best among college graduates and people making $75,000 to $100,000, who blame the banks. Conservatives are split, with 22% blaming Congress, 21% blaming Bush, and only 13% blaming Obama.

Today's Polls: AK AR CO GA IL KY NY PA WA WI WV ID-01 NH-01 NH-02 NM-01 NM-02 NM-03 NV-03 UT-01 UT-03     Permalink

New Senate Polls

State Democrat D % Republican R % I I % Start End Pollster
Alaska Scott McAdams 30% Joe Miller 37% Lisa Murkowski 30% Oct 30 Oct 31 PPP
Arkansas Blanche Lincoln* 36% John Boozman 55%     Oct 28 Oct 28 Rasmussen
Colorado Michael Bennet* 48% Ken Buck 49%     Oct 30 Oct 31 PPP
Georgia Mike Thurmond 33% Johnny Isakson* 56%     Oct 26 Oct 28 Mason Dixon
Illinois Alexi Giannoulias 42% Mark Kirk 46%     Oct 30 Oct 31 PPP
Kentucky Jack Conway 40% Rand Paul 55%     Oct 28 Oct 30 PPP
New York Kirsten Gillibrand* 56% Joseph DioGuardi 36%     Oct 25 Oct 28 SurveyUSA
New York Kirsten Gillibrand* 57% Joseph DioGuardi 37%     Oct 27 Oct 30 Siena Coll.
Pennsylvania Joe Sestak 44% Pat Toomey 48%     Oct 28 Oct 31 Muhlenberg Coll.
Pennsylvania Joe Sestak 46% Pat Toomey 51%     Oct 30 Oct 31 PPP
Washington Patty Murray* 48% Dino Rossi 50%     Oct 29 Oct 31 PPP
Washington Patty Murray* 51% Dino Rossi 45%     Oct 29 Oct 29 U. of Washington
Wisconsin Russ Feingold* 46% Ron Johnson 52%     Oct 25 Oct 28 YouGov
West Virginia Joe Manchin 51% John Raese 46%     Oct 30 Oct 31 PPP

New House Polls

CD Democrat D % Republican R % I I % Start End Pollster
ID-01 Walt Minnick* 48% Raul Labrador 38%     Oct 28 Oct 30 Greg Smith
NH-01 Carol Shea-Porter* 39% Frank Guinta 46%     Oct 27 Oct 31 U. of New Hampshire
NH-02 Ann McLane Kuster 43% Charlie Bass 40%     Oct 27 Oct 31 U. of New Hampshire
NM-01 Martin Heinrich* 46% Jon Barela 49%     Oct 27 Oct 28 Research and Polling
NM-02 Harry Teague* 45% Steve Pearce 48%     Oct 27 Oct 28 Research and Polling
NM-03 Ben Lujan* 49% Tom Mullins 43%     Sep 25 Sep 25 PPP
NV-03 Dina Titus* 43% Joe Heck 53%     Oct 25 Oct 27 Mason Dixon
UT-01 Morgan Bowen 21% Rob Bishop* 66%     Oct 25 Oct 28 Dan Jones
UT-03 Karen Hyer 19% Jason Chaffetz* 70%     Oct 25 Oct 28 Dan Jones

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