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Dem pickups: (None)
GOP pickups: IN MI NC OH

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News from the Votemaster

Median Family Net Worth Plunges 40% in 3 Years

A new report from the Federal Reserve shows another aspect of how the financial crisis and recession have whacked Americans in the wallet. Median family net worth in 2010 was $77,300, down from $126,400 in 2007. The 2010 level is comparable to what it was in 1992, corrected for inflation. Basically, the wealth won in almost a generation went up in smoke. Although the subject of net worth has gotten less attention than unemployment and foreclosures, it is another reason why people are so unhappy with the economy. Of course, that net worth has declined is hardly a surprise. For many people, their house is their biggest asset and housing prices are way down. In addition, people who are unemployed usually eat up their savings pretty fast. All in all, the economy, while recovering, still has a ways to go and that is bound to be one of the main issue that determines the election.

Attacks on Bain Capital Are Working

While a weak economy is always bad for an incumbent President, in an unusual twist, this year the incumbent can make the case that his opponent would be even worse. While "Obama: the lesser of two evils" might fit on a bumper sticker, it is a far cry from the "Hope and Change" mantra from 2008. Nevertheless, it might be worth a shot, and Obama is apparently aware of that. His relentless attacks on Bain Capital and Romney as someone who ruined companies and lives while making millions is apparently taking root. By a 4 to 1 margin independents said that Romney's business background makes them less likely to vote for him. Attacking Romney's role at Bain Capital worked well for Ted Kennedy in 1994 when Romney challenged him for the Senate so Obama is likely to keep harping on the point.

Federal Government to Sue Florida to Stop Purging the Voting Rolls

Florida is engaged in a major operation to purge the voting rolls of noncitizens and people otherwise ineligible to vote. In principle, this is legal and no one objects to Florida enforcing the law. The problem is the way they are doing it has a far greater impact on minorities and young people than on people likely to vote Republican. One method the state is using is to remove anyone who was not a citizen at the time he or she applied for a drivers license--even though they may have becomes citizens since then.

The Dept. of Justice asked Florida to stop what it considers this discriminatory practice but Gov. Rick Scott (R-FL) said he has no intention of stopping. So the federal government is now going to sue Florida to try to stop them. The key issue concerning the suit is whether the judge will issue an injunction to get Florida to stop right now. If not, then by the time the Supreme Court gets the case, it may have some effect on the 2020 election, but not the 2012 election.

Special Election Today in Arizona to Fill Gifford's House Seat

After former representative Gabrielle Giffords was shot, she continued to serve in the House for a little while. Then she concluded that her rehabilitation was incompatible with doing her work in Congress, so she resigned. Today is the special election to fill the now-vacant seat. Her former staffer, Ron Barber, is the Democratic candidate. Jesse Kelly, a veteran and small businessman is the Republican. There is also a Green Party candidate on the ballot. The only poll for this race, taken by PPP, shows Barber ahead of Kelly 53% to 41%.

While special elections for House seats generally do not attract a lot of attention, this one has due to Arizona's potential role in the November election. Colorado, New Mexico, and Nevada are all becoming blue states, so there is a lot of focus on whether Arizona, with similar demographics, might also be in play this year. In addition to the presidential race, there is an open Senate seat also up for grabs this year in what promises to be a race with national implications.

Today's Presidential Polls

State Obama Romney   Start End Pollster
North Dakota 39% 52%   Jun 04 Jun 06 Mason Dixon