Main map

Presidential polls: (None)
Dem pickups: (None)
GOP pickups: FL IN IA NC

Previous | Next


Downloadable data

News from the Votemaster

Obama Is the Overwhelming Favorite of Nonvoters

As September approaches, pollsters are starting to release polls of likely voters instead of registered voters. These are thought to be more accurate, since the opinions of registered voters who don't plan to actually vote don't affect the election outcome. Every pollster has a secret formula for determining likely voters. Typically there are four or five questions asking about previous voting history, how important the person thinks voting is, etc.

But what about the nearly 40% of adult American citizens (both registered and unregistered) who choose not to vote? That's 80 million people who are eligible to vote but can't be bothered. What do they think? Do they even know who is running? Why don't they vote?

In a ground-breaking study, Suffolk University ran a poll of American adults and then selected out the unlikely voters, rather than the likely voters, for analysis. They are not a politically aware bunch: 61% could not name the current Vice President. Also noteworthy is that 59% said they don't pay attention to politics because nothing ever gets done. It is just a bunch of empty promises. Of these nonvoters, 55% view President Obama favorably while only 25% view Mitt Romney favorably. Clearly, Obama doesn't have to convince them he is the better candidate. He only has to convince them that he could make a difference in their lives.

The top reason for not voting is that they have no time. The recent spate of state laws passed by Republican-controlled legislatures to reduce early voting, require voter ID cards, and create other barriers to voting are all designed to discourage these 80 million people from voting. They know that if this huge group starts voting in large numbers, they are doomed, so the motto here is: "Let sleeping dogs lie."

Federal Court Rules Florida Cannot Reduce Early Voting in Five Counties

On the heels of a decision by a judge in Pennsylvania saying that the state's new voter ID law is not unconstitutional, we now have decision by a three-judge federal panel in D.C. saying that five counties may not reduce the number of days of early voting because in past elections blacks made heavier use of early voting than whites, so curtailing early voting would be discriminatory in effect, even if that was not the intention (which it clearly was). Making it easier for blacks to vote is a clear victory for the Democrats in this mother of all swing states.

The decision affects only the five counties that were put under federal supervision by the 1965 Voting Right Act. These counties had a history of trying to keep blacks from voting, Old ways die hard in some places. The ruling does not affect any of Florida's other 62 counties.

Ryan Releases Two Years of Tax Returns

Just as Mitt Romney did, his running mate, Paul Ryan, promised to release two years' of tax returns and has now done so. In 2011 he and his wife earned $323,000, of which $174,000 was his salary as a congressman, $116,000 was income from rental property the couple owns in Oklahoma (where Janna Ryan is from), and $50,000 was from investment income. They paid $65,000 in federal income tax, for a higher rate (20%) than Mitt Romney, who earned some $20 million. President Obama paid a rate of 21%.

While the tax return does not indicate how much Ryan is worth, the fact that he earned $50,000 on his investments does give a clue. If he is getting a 4% return, they must be worth $1.25 million. If he is getting 3%, they must be worth $1.7 million. If his real estate investments are generating $116,000 in rental income, an ROI of 5-10% would put their value somewhere in the range of $1-2 million.

In addition, this spring, Ryan changed his financial disclosure form to reveal a trust worth between $1 million and $5 million according an article in the Wall Street Journal. The trust was created when Janna Ryan's mother died in 2010. So Ryan is definitely a millionaire with a net worth probably in the ballpark of $5 million, not Romney territory but not bad, either.

Romney's Name May Not Be on the Ballot in Washington State

Washington State has a jungle primary system (think of it as Louisiana North, although California has gone over to it also). As well as denying Democrats and Republicans the right to choose their own nominees for all offices, it has a few other strange effects. In 2010, the Republican party did not officially nominate any candidate for the Senate for internal reasons. As a consequence, the party did not get 5% of the vote in the Senate election and under state law, does not qualify as a major party entitled to get its presidential candidate on the 2012 ballot automatically. While this may seem absurd, the Libertarian Party is now suing the state to make sure it actually follows its own law. While it would be embarrassing for Romney not to be on the ballot, since he has no chance of winning the state, in practice it doesn't matter much.

Ron Paul Will Hold a Big Party in Tampa

Unlike his former rivals Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich, who have seven-figure debts, Ron Paul has $2.5 million in his campaign account and he is planning to use it to hold a big event in Tampa on Aug. 26, the day before the Republican National Convention starts. Since there is not likely to be much news from the convention that day, Paul will probably be the main news story of the day then. Since he is a bit of a loose cannon, he could prove to be a bit of an embarrassment for the party.

Today's Senate Polls

State Democrat D % Republican R % I I % Start End Pollster
FL+ Bill Nelson* 47% Connie McGillicuddy 40%     Aug 15 Aug 15 Rasmussen
WI+ Tammy Baldwin 43% Tommy Thompson 54%     Aug 15 Aug 15 Rasmussen

* Denotes incumbent