Oct. 18

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New Senate: DEM 48             GOP 52

New polls: IA IL KY MT
Dem pickups: GA

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Pollster Who Worked for Romney Reflects on What He Learned in 2012

Neil Newhouse, Mitt Romney's Pollster in 2012, was not only disappointed that Romney did not win, but was even more disappointed that his polling results were so far off. He has now learned three important lessons from that election. First, old models of turnout don't work like they used to due to the efficiency of the Democrats' get-out-the-vote operation. If a demographic group, like blacks, represent say, 15% of the voting-age population, he had better assume they will also be 15% of the electorate.

Second, the old model using using "intensity" to predict who will vote and who will not vote doesn't work any more. Romney voters were much more enthusiastic about voting than Obama voters were in 2012, but the Obama supporters voted anyway and an unenthusiastic vote counts for as much as an enthusiastic vote.

Third, the old random-digit-dialing method of sampling may be giving way to the newer method of sampling from lists of registered voters. At the very least, it is more efficient, since almost all the people called are, in fact, registered voters, and not unregistered voters, fax machines, small businesses, or pay phones.

Bill Clinton Is Trying to Save Pryor

In Arkansas, it is said you can't swing a dead cat without hitting one of Bill Clinton's friends because he has more friends than a dog has ticks. In a state where Obama is poison, Clinton may be the antidote. The man from Hope may be the only chance Sen. Mark Pryor (D-AR) has of beating Rep. Tom Cotton (R-AR). Clinton, of course, is also thinking of the Clintons. If he can work his old magic and save Pryor, he may be thinking that Arkansas could be in play when Hillary runs in 2016. She is not as popular in the state as he is, in part because she didn't take his last name when they got married. Still, if Pryor wins, Clinton will get much of the credit and Hillary will probably contest Arkansas in 2016.

Republicans Attack New Ebola Czar

After attacking President Obama for not hiring an Ebola "czar," when he finally hired one, they began to attack the person he appointed, Ron Klain, as unqualified for the job. The title "czar" is a strange one at best. The U.S. has never been especially friendly with Russia and is certainly not now, what with disputes in the Ukraine and Baltic states unsettled. The Russian czar was an absolute dictator answerable to no one, whereas Klain has no real authority and is more of a coordinator Multiple agencies are involved in fighting Ebola and while Klain is not a doctor, he does have experience dealing with interagency turf wars and can herd the cats by saying: "The President wants ..." and have it be respected. But a czar he is not. "Ebola Pharaoh" is too hard to spell, even if the U.S. has better relations with Egypt than with Russia.

The Republicans are complaining that Klain is a political operative rather than a doctor, but that is probably what is needed. The Centers for Disease Control has plenty of doctors Klain can consult. The problem is not that nobody knows how to treat Ebola patients but rather different government agencies often work at cross purposes and someone needs to oversee the entire process and make sure they are all pulling in the same direction. This is a job Klain can do that an expert virologist without any political experience could not. To some extent, this issue is analogous to the discussion about the travel ban on flights to West Africa. The experts are against a ban so Obama hasn't issued one but that makes him an easy target for 30 second ads. If this appointment had come up after the midterm elections, nobody would have given a hoot who he named. It's all politics.

Wife of Gov. Christie Earned Half a Million on Wall Street

Mary Pat Christie, the wife of New Jersey governor and 2016 presidential hopeful Chris Christie (R-NJ) earned $476,000 for her part-time job at the Wall Street firm Angelo, Gordon, & Co and an additional $35,000 from Cantor Fitzgerald. If Christie tries to run for President as a "man of the people" it may be difficult to explain how he can take the side of the common man when his wife made over half a million dollars for her work at Wall Street firms. Together the couple earned almost $700,000 last year. They paid $194,00 in combined federal and state taxes on it, for an average rate of about 28%.

Today's Senate Polls

State Democrat D % Republican R % I I % Start End Pollster
Iowa Bruce Braley 48% Joni Ernst 47%     Oct 15 Oct 16 PPP
Illinois Dick Durbin* 47% Jim Oberweis 37%     Sep 23 Oct 15 Southern Illinois U.
Kentucky Alison Lundergan-Grimes 44% Mitch McConnell* 52%     Oct 15 Oct 16 Rasmussen
Montana Amanda Curtis 31% Steve Daines 47%     Oct 06 Oct 11 Montana State U.

* Denotes incumbent

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