Main map

Presidential polls: WI
Dem pickups: (None)
GOP pickups: IN NC

Previous | Next


Downloadable data

News from the Votemaster

GDP Is Increasing but Slower Than It Was

Yesterday the Dept. of Commerce released data on how well the economy did in the second quarter. It grew at an annual rate of 1.5%. While it is going in the right direction, this is not fast enough to create the millions of jobs needed now. With this kind of growth, the economy is expected to add only 125,000 to 150,000 jobs a month. With President Obama's reelection closely tied to the economy, this report was bad news for him. Of course, Mitt Romney cannot openly celebrate bad economic news, but he can and will continue to bludgeon Obama on the economy and jobs.

No News Is Bad News for Romney

After a series of gaffes that caused the British Prime Minister and Mayor of London to mock him, Mitt Romney has failed to generate any positive news to change the story. He could have gone to visit his wife's horse, which is competing in dressage, and said how proud he is of her and her horse. At the very least he could have been photographed with some of America's top athletes, urging them to go for the gold. But basically he didn't generate any news yesterday, when he badly needed it.

Also noteworthy about this trip is that Romney didn't take many top aides with him. They are all still in Boston doing business as usual. In contrast, when Obama went abroad in the summer of 2008, he took David Axelrod, Robert Gibbs, Susan Rice, and all of his other top advisors. All in all, it is as if Romney simply assumed that simply showing up would be enough, a surprising miscalculation for someone who is fond of meticulous planning. While there are no do-overs in politics, Sunday he will meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the focus will shift to the treacherous politics of the Middle East. As it turns out, Sunday is a holiday in Israel, Tisha B'av, that commemorates the destruction of the first and second temples in Jerusalem. He could have could have given a speech at the Western Wall and talked about threats to Israel's security, but he opted for speaking at a conference center instead. That alone characterizes Romney. Rather than picking a venue with great emotional impact, he did what any CEO would do: pick a modern business venue. But what he says could be important if it rises above the standard platitudes about support for Israel. However, avoiding verbal landmines in a country where every word in the Talmud has been the subject of heated arguments for 1000 years won't be easy.

Parties Face Dilemmas While Writing Platforms

While not everyone knows it, each party has a written platform that states what the party wants to achieve. The platforms are formally ratified at the conventions, but the fights over what will be in them are in full swing now. Democrats are wrestling about what to say on the subjects of gay marriage and gun control while Republicans are sweating immigration and health care.

The problems are caused by internal divisions within the parties or electoral concerns. Most Democrats support gay marriage and tougher gun laws but they fear that putting this down in writing will just generate attack ads from the Republicans. Republicans have a problem with immigration because a large part of the party wants tough measures to punish employers who hire illegal aliens, yet such measures are wildly unpopular with Latino citizens who fear employers will just shun all immigrants to avoid potential fines. On health care, Republicans are united on wanting to repeal Obamacare, but there is no consensus at all about what should replace it. After all, for 20 years, their plan was to make everyone buy insurance from a private company (i.e., Obamacare). There was never a plan B.

Not Your Grandpa's Election Day

In days gone by, people went to the polls on the Tuesday following the first Monday in November and voted. It has gotten much more complicated since then. In Virginia and Iowa, early voting begins in September and in almost a dozen other states it begins in October (Oct. 2 in Ohio). Oregon and Washington state conduct elections by mail. Overseas Americans, members of the Armed Forces stationed abroad and people who cannot come to the polls for physical reasons or who will be out of town on election day can vote by absentee ballot. In short, the manner in which people vote has changed radically in the past few decades.

All this has consequences for the results. For example, an enthusiastic Virginian who votes on Sept. 21 might change his mind after seeing the first presidential debate on Oct. 3, but it is too late. In fact, so many votes have have been cast before election day that the fates of the candidates may have already been sealed even before Dixville Notchians (Notchites? Notchonians?) have hit the ballot box at the stroke of midnight. As a result of all the early voting, what happens in September will be more crucial than in previous years, in order to influence the early voters.

Today's Presidential Polls

State Obama Romney   Start End Pollster
Wisconsin 49% 46%   Jul 25 Jul 25 Rasmussen

Today's Senate Polls

In Nevada, Sen. Dean Heller (R-NV) has pulled ahead of Rep. Shelley Berkley (D-NV) by 9 points, possibly due to Berkley's ethical problems. She was involved in legislation that helped her husband's kidney transplant medical center and is being investigated for it. No one really disputes that having a representative bring money into her district for improved medical facilities there is legitimate, but the fact that it directly helps her husband makes it fishy. The voters possibly smell the fish.

Starting today, incumbent senators will be marked with an asterisk.

State Democrat D % Republican R % I I % Start End Pollster
Nevada Shelley Berkley 42% Dean Heller* 51%     Jul 24 Jul 24 Rasmussen

* Denotes incumbent