New Senate: DEM 49     Ties 1     GOP 50

New polls:  
Dem pickups: (None)
GOP pickups: AR CO MT SD WV

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Updated Features of This Site

In the event you didn't check in yesterday, we had a story about dealing with flakey polls that might be of interest. You can always go backward to previous postings by clicking on the "Previous report" button to the right of the map. With enough patience, you can do this to see every posting since May 24, 2004. But to make skipping around easier, a page Links to previous years ... has been added to the "Data galore" page on the menu to the left of the map. Also updated there is the track record page, which compares EVP to Nate Silver, Sam Wang, and some well-known political pundits. Also, the green icon labeled "Smartphone" below the legend now works again.

Voting Rights Case before the Appeals Court Today

The Supreme Court has made it clear that Congress has the final say on who may vote in federal elections and Congress has said that the only requirement is that the voter sign a statement under penalty of perjury that he or she is entitled by law to vote. Some states don't like this, citing a vague threat of voter fraud, of which there is no evidence. Arizona and Kansas have responded to the the Court's ruling by creating a two-tier voting system in which a sworn statement is enough to vote in federal elections but proof of citizenship is required for voting in state elections.

The more-or-less naked power play here is that while Republicans concede they cannot stop poor people (who often cannot afford the price of a birth certificate to prove citizenship) from voting in federal elections, they can stop some of them from voting for the governor and the state legislature. And as everyone well knows, in most states it is the state legislature that gerrymanders the congressional districts every 10 years, so control of state elections very much affects who is elected to the House.

A case about the Arizona and Kansas laws will be heard by the Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit in Denver today. Proponents basically say that states are free to implement any laws they want to for state elections. Opponents say that because people have to pay to get proof of citizenship, the laws are a form of poll tax, which is explicitly prohibited by the 24th amendment to the Constitution. The first clause of the 24th amendment reads:"

"The right of citizens of the United States to vote in any primary or other election for President or Vice President, for electors for President or Vice President, or for Senator or Representative in Congress, shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any State by reason of failure to pay any poll tax or other tax."

Proponents of the state laws say that the amendment refers only to taxes, not fees for obtaining citizenship documents.

The case is certain to wind up in the Supreme Court within a year.

Alaska Seeing a Surge in Out-of-State Money Pouring into Ads

Normally Alaska elections don't get much attention in the lower 48, but this year they will attract a huge amount from both parties, as the Democrats desperately try to hang onto Mark Begich's seat in this big red state. Karl Rove's group, Crossroads GPS has already launched a $1.25 million ad buy in the state. The first ad attacks Begich for paying his female staff less than his male staff. Pro-Begich super PACs are also active in Alaska, one of which just spent nearly $500,000 portraying Begich's opponent, Dan Sullivan, as someone Alaskans can't trust. It's only going to get more intense from here on out.

Democrats Have Raised More Money Than Republicans This Year

While money isn't everything in an election, it certainly helps and the Democrats have raised more of it so far. According to reports filed with the Federal Election Commission, the DSCC has raised $104 millionto the NRSC's $77 million. Over in the House, the DCCC has outraised the NRCC $137 million to $109 million. Of course, outside money is becoming far more important than it used to be, and the Republicans have the advantage here. The billionaire Koch brothers alone are reportedly planning to spend nearly $300 million on the election. The reclusive brothers are also getting quite a bit of unwanted publicity, as they are featured as villains in many Democratic ads. Billionaire Democrats like Tom Steyer and George Soros may also ante up millions for the Democrats this year, but not nearly as much as the Koch brothers.

Battle in Marshall County, KY, Could Affect 2016 Presidential Race

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), who is more-or-less openly running for President already has a small problem: he is up for reelection as a senator in 2016 and state law does not allow a candidate to appear on the ballot twice. So a run for President might mean giving up a safe Senate seat. He has asked the speaker of the state house, Greg Stumbo, to change the law, but Stumbo, a Democrat, has said he has no intention of bringing up any bills that would change the law. Democrats control 54 of the 100 house seats; Republicans have a majority in the state senate.

This is where Marshall County comes in. Paul's strategy is to spend a lot of time campaigning in 2014 for Republicans running to defeat state house Democrats, such as Rep. Will Coursey of Marshall County in western Kentucky. If he can flip the legislature, it would no doubt look more kindly on his request to change the law. Gov. Steve Beshear (D-KY) would certainly veto any bill that reached him, but in Kentucky, a veto can be overridden by a simple majority of both chambers of the state legislature.

Republicans have been trying for years to take over the state house but so far without success. What Paul injects in the mix is money. One of the Republicans trying to unseat a local Democrat has $13,000 in the bank. The incumbent has $26,000. If Paul could bring in, say, $100,000 per Republican candidate, it could make a huge difference. He currently has $3 million in his campaign account.

Paul is a rising star within the Republican Party largely due to his unorthodox views and ability to attract people who normally do not like Republicans. However, as the 2016 race heats up, he will start to get blowback from traditional Republicans who strongly disagree with his views on domestic policy (e.g., police forces do not need army tanks) and foreign policy (the U.S. is not the world's cop). For once in a long time, primaries may feature actual fights over policy. In 2012, it was all about style, not issues. For example, during one Republican primary debate, the moderator asked if anyone was willing to sign onto a "grand bargain" that raised taxes by a little bit but cut government spending by 10 times as much and not a single candidate raised his hand. No policy fight there, but there might be in 2016 as Paul is not entirely on the same page as Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, and Rick Perry, among others.

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), another potential contender, has the same problem as Paul, but has indicated he may not run for the Senate if he runs for the White House in order to focus all his energy on one campaign.

Gov. Scott Walker Under Investigation

A potential Republican candidate who does not have that problem is Gov. Scott Walker (R-WI), but he has other problems. He is being investigated concerning a $700,000 donation from a mining company during his recall fight and whether he did anything to help the company as a result of the donation. Walker claims to be unaware of the donation. Historically, when donors give large amounts of money to politicians they make some effort to be sure the politician is aware of their efforts to help him, even if there isn't an immediate quid pro quo.

The Effect of Migration on Elections

For decades, people have been moving from the North to the South. This movement has two major effects on elections, although the effects work in opposite directions. First, the movement is largely from blue states to red states. It thus decreases the number of House seats and electoral votes the Northern (blue) states have and increases the number that the Southern (red) states have, Here is a table showing the effect for three states in each region.

State 2012 2004 1992 1984 1972 1964
New York 29 31 33 36 41 43
Pennsylvania 20 21 23 25 27 29
Massachusetts 11 12 12 13 14 14
Virginia 13 13 13 12 11 12
North Carolina 15 14 14 13 13 13
Florida 29 27 25 21 17 14

Clearly the effect various by state but the migration from New York to Florida has had a huge effect. In this respect, the migration helps the Republicans since it gives the red states more clout.

On the other hand, when people move, they often pack their political views with them. The effect of this is that the red states with significant in-migration from the North are getting less red. States like Virginia, North Carolina, and Florida have become swing states in recent elections. Taken together, the trend favors the Democrats because while the losses in New York are substantial, the ability to wage competitive campaigns in states like Virginia, North Carolina, Florida, and soon Georgia, more than outweighs the electoral vote losses in blue states. There is a good article in TheUpshot about this trend.

Most Liberal and Most Conservative Senators

Based on their voting records, the National Journal has compiled a list of the 15 most conservative senators and a list of the 15 most liberal senators. The top three conservatives are Sen. James Risch (R-ID), Sen. Michael Enzi (R-WY), and Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC). The top three liberal senators are Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI), Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), and Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT).

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