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News from the Votemaster

Republicans Cancel First Day of Convention

The Republican National Committee has canceled all activities for Monday due to Tropical storm/Hurricane Isaac. The convention will simply be a day shorter. But the networks weren't planning to cover Monday anyway, so not much is lost.

A communications consultant, Rich Masters, has offered a way for the Republicans to make hay from Isaac. First the delegates should quickly nominate Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan. Then Romney could show his decisive leadership by announcing the end of the convention immediately, in order to free up the police assigned to the convention to let them deal with the storm. Romney and Ryan would head off to Ohio or Colorado to deliver their speeches. This would show the people of Florida that they care about the state's welfare as well as showering attention on one or two other swing states. But most of all, it would show Romney as a decisive leader who can deal with a crisis.

But maybe there is more afoot here. In 2004, Hurricane Frances hit Florida and the Florida delegation had to leave the Republican convention early. In 2008, Hurricane Gustav struck and the Republicans felt it necessary to cancel a day of activities. Now Isaac is wreaking havoc with the Republicans' plans. Could this just be a coincidence? Florida is often hit by hurricanes but three times in a row is statistically very unlikely. Could it be that God is trying to send the Republicans a message that 3 days are enough?

Are Convention Bounces Real?

An analysis of 24 conventions since 1960 shows that convention bounces are real. The Democrats have gotten an average bounce of 7.3% and the Republicans have averaged 6.4%. So on the whole, the effects cancel out and neither party gains anything from their convention in the long run.

In previous years, campaigns started after Labor Day but this year they have been going full blast for months. Consequently, the bumps may be less because the conventions won't be introducing the candidates to the public. They are well known already.

Why Do Cities Host Political Conventions?

The biggest reason cities want political convention is money. The 50,000 people expected to show up in Tampa are probably going to leave something like $175 million behind. Hotels and restaurants certainly like conventions, as do other businesses as varied as equipment rental and strip clubs. Of course there are costs, too, such as additional police protection and possible costs from protests and vandalism. Nevertheless, city governments like conventions. In fact, Tampa tried to get the Republicans in 2004 and 2008 and failed but kept trying. An additional benefit is that it puts the city on the map for potential future tourists.

Planned Parenthood Plans Battle

In politics as in physics, for every action there is a reaction. Mitt Romney has said he would defund Planned Parenthood (for ideological reasons only since the amount of money involved is miniscule). So Planned Parenthood has set up an action fund that will spend $3 million in Ohio and Virginia trying to defeat Romney.. Polls show the races very close in these large swing states.Planned Parenthood deals with all aspects of women's reproductive health. It has 7 million members. Its campaign will be designed to increase the already-substantial gender gap.

Today's Presidential Polls

State Obama Romney   Start End Pollster
Missouri 43% 50%   Aug 22 Aug 23 Mason Dixon
Pennsylvania 51% 42%   Aug 21 Aug 23 Global Strategy

Today's Senate Polls

Today we have another Missouri Senate poll showing the fallout of Todd Akin's remarks about "legitimate rape." Mason-Dixon has Akin down by 9 points, almost the same as Rasmussen's poll in essentially the same time frame showing him down by 10 points. He clearly dropped something like 20 points in 5 seconds, a feat not easily achieved.

State Democrat D % Republican R % I I % Start End Pollster
Missouri Claire McCaskill* 50% Todd Akin 41%     Aug 22 Aug 23 Mason Dixon

* Denotes incumbent