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News from the Votemaster            

Cook Predicts Republicans Will Capture the House     Permalink

Long-time political observer Charlie Cook is predicting the Republicans are likely to win 198 seats in the House, with another 47 being tossups. If the Republicans win even half of these, that gives them the majority. But in wave elections, most of the tossups go the same way, so the odds of the Republicans winning 30 or more of the tossups are reasonably good. Cook's best guess is that they will pick up something in the range of 48 to 60 seats. This would put this election on a par with 1994, when they picked up 52 seats in the House.

In the Senate, he is predicting a Republican gain of about 8 or 9 seats. If that happens, all eyes will be on Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE) and Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) to see if they jump ship. However, both of them are keenly aware of what happened to Sen. Arlen Specter (D-PA) when he did just that: he was defeated in a primary. Both of these could expect nasty primary fights if they became Republicans, especially if it were to save their own skins rather than out of some deep-seated convictions that have been rather absent until now. Nelson has to worry about the fact that Nebraska is full of Republican politicians who would primary him with the slogan "vote for a real Republican." If he decided to switch, his real battle would be the primary--where only Republicans can vote--rather than the general election, where Democrats can, too. Lieberman is so unpopular and unpredictable that anything is possible with him, but he has nothing in common with Jim DeMint and even less with Rand Paul and Sharron Angle, so he is likely to continue to caucus with the Democrats.

Profile of Boehner     Permalink

If the Republicans capture the House, as Cook, Nate Silver, and other close observers predict, the new Speaker of the House is virtually certain to be Rep. John Boehner (R-OH) (which he prefers to pronounce "Bayner" rather than "Boner" or "Booner"). Boehner has an everpresent deep tan and smokes two or three packs of cigarettes a day. The Washington Post has a long profile of him today.

Boehner has a strange history within the caucus. He was one of the authors of the Republicans' "Contract with America" that propelled them to victory in 1994. But in 1998, he was booted out of his leadership position, only to be elected majority leader in 2006. He is more of a back-room wheeler-dealer type person than an "ideas" man, as former Speaker Newt Gingrich fancied himself. Still, if the Republicans have a small majority starting in January, he is going to need all his people skills to rein in the fractious tea partiers intent on changing Washington the moment they arrive. It is likely that the tea partiers will form their own coalition. If they get more members than the Republican's majority, they get a de facto veto on everything he does, much as the Blue Dogs have with the Democrats. However, since the brunt of the voters wrath is going to fall on the Blue Dogs next Tuesday, the Democratic caucus is going to move to the left and with the tea party members of his own caucus pulling him to the right and the Democrats moving to the left, he is not likely to accomplish much.

If Boehner moves up, the other Republican leaders will move up. Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA), the only Jewish Republican in Congress, is likely to become majority leader and Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN) would then become whip. Boehner is not very close to either of these (just as current Speaker Nancy Pelosi doesn't especially care for her #2, Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-MD)). Boehner tends to hang up with some of the rank-and-file Republicans, especially Rep. Tom Latham (R-IA). Boehner lives in a basement apartment he rents from one of his many lobbyist friends. His wife, Deborah, lives in Ohio.

Democratic Campaigns Have More Money Than Republican Ones     Permalink

While a lot of attention has been paid to the money poured into the elections by outside groups, such as Karl Rove's American Crossroads and the Chamber of Commerce, when it comes to the actual, official campaigns, the Democrats have more money. In 109 key House races, the Democrat has raised 30% more than the Republican, which will offset the outside spending to some extent. An advantage of having your own money to spend is that you can direct it as you see fit, whereas outside money is not under the candidate's control. The candidate, internal polls in hand, may wish to focus the campaign in a different way than the outside groups, and with internal money can do that better.

Fiorina Hospitalized     Permalink

Republican senatorial candidate Cara "Carly" Fiorina has been hospitalized with an infection related to the reconstructive surgery she underwent after her cancer treatment last year. She is already trailing Sen. Barbara Boxer in most polls and this development could be the end of her. First, it reminds the voters that she had cancer recently. Second, some people may wonder if she is strong enough to withstand the rigors of being in the Senate. Third, her campaigning will have to be curtailed for at least a few days. None of this strengthens her position, which was already weak.

Today's Polls: CA CT IL IN KY MD NC NV OH PA WI WV FL-08 IN-01/02 KY-03 MD-01 NJ-03/06 NY-20 VA-02/09     Permalink

New Senate Polls

State Democrat D % Republican R % I I % Start End Pollster
California Barbara Boxer* 45% Carly Fiorina 40%     Oct 21 Oct 25 SurveyUSA
California Barbara Boxer* 48% Carly Fiorina 44%     Oct 23 Oct 23 Pulse Opinion Research
California Barbara Boxer* 52% Carly Fiorina 43%     Oct 21 Oct 23 PPP
California Barbara Boxer* 52% Carly Fiorina 43%     Oct 21 Oct 24 Suffolk U.
Connecticut Richard Blumenthal 53% Linda McMahon 42%     Oct 23 Oct 23 Pulse Opinion Research
Connecticut Richard Blumenthal 54% Linda McMahon 42%     Oct 18 Oct 24 Quinnipiac U.
Illinois Alexi Giannoulias 41% Mark Kirk 43%     Oct 23 Oct 23 Pulse Opinion Research
Indiana Brad Ellsworth 20% Dan Coats 64%     Oct 20 Oct 22 Mason Dixon
Indiana Brad Ellsworth 32% Dan Coats 54%     Oct 21 Oct 25 SurveyUSA
Kentucky Jack Conway 40% Rand Paul 53%     Oct 21 Oct 24 PPP
Kentucky Jack Conway 43% Rand Paul 50%     Oct 23 Oct 23 Pulse Opinion Research
Maryland Barbara Mikulski* 56% Eric Wargotz 38%     Oct 24 Oct 24 Rasmussen
Maryland Barbara Mikulski* 59% Eric Wargotz 32%     Oct 15 Oct 20 OpinionWorks
North Carolina Elaine Marshall 38% Richard Burr* 53%     Oct 22 Oct 25 SurveyUSA
Nevada Harry Reid* 45% Sharron Angle 49%     Oct 25 Oct 25 Rasmussen
Ohio Lee Fisher 36% Rob Portman 53%     Oct 18 Oct 24 Quinnipiac U.
Pennsylvania Joe Sestak 46% Pat Toomey 46%     Oct 22 Oct 24 IPSOS
Wisconsin Russ Feingold* 46% Ron Johnson 53%     Oct 25 Oct 25 Rasmussen
West Virginia Joe Manchin 46% John Raese 48%     Oct 23 Oct 23 Pulse Opinion Research

New House Polls

CD Democrat D % Republican R % I I % Start End Pollster
FL-08 Alan Grayson* 41% Dan Webster 48%     Oct 22 Oct 25 Sunshine State News
IN-01 Pete Visclosky* 44% Mark Leyva 41%     Oct 20 Oct 22 Mason Dixon
IN-02 Joe Donnelly* 17% Jackie Walorski 67%     Oct 20 Oct 22 Mason Dixon
KY-03 John Yarmuth* 58% Todd Lally 31%     Oct 18 Oct 19 Braun Research
MD-01 Frank Kratovil* 40% Andy Harris 40%     Oct 15 Oct 20 OpinionWorks
NJ-03 John Adler* 43% Jon Runyan 48%     Oct 22 Oct 25 Monmouth U.
NJ-06 Frank Pallone* 52% Anna Little 45%     Oct 22 Oct 25 Monmouth U.
NY-20 Scott Murphy* 42% Christopher Gibson 51%     Oct 23 Oct 25 Siena Coll.
VA-02 Glenn Nye* 41% Scott Rigell 42%     Oct 15 Oct 21 Christopher Newport U.
VA-09 Rick Boucher* 46% Morgan Griffith 47%     Oct 21 Oct 25 SurveyUSA

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