race of the day
focuses today on the Maine Senate race between Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME), a
moderate, and Rep. Tom Allen (D) who already represents the southern half of the
state in the House. Currently Collins is ahead as she has better name recognition
in the northern part of the state, but this is a hotly contested race and Collins
could suffer the same fate as Lincoln Chafee in Rhode Island in 2006. Chafee was
well known and personally popular, but Republicans are virtually extinct in
New England. Allen is emphasizing the fact that Collins votes with Bush most of the
time whereas Collins is talking about her seniority and all she has done for Maine
during her two terms in the Senate.
Do Vice Presidents matter?
SurveyUSA has run polls pairing various
Obama and McCain with various Veeps in
There are too many combinations to list, but very briefly,
in California, Massachusetts, and Oregon, Obama wins no matter who the Veeps are.
In Missouri, McCain wins with all combinations, even with Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) as Obama's running mate.
In the other states it matters who the Veep is.
In Oregon, McCain can win if he (1) picks Mike Bloomberg and (2) gets Bloomberg to agree (very unlikely).
Otherwise, Oregon probably stays blue. In Virginia, Obama can win this key state and its 13 electoral
votes by picking either Sen. Jim Webb (D-VA) or Gov. Tim Kaine (D-VA). With either of these Virginians
on the ticket if Obama can win all the Kerry states, too he has 265 electoral votes. Then all he needs is
just one of Iowa, New Mexico, or Colorado, all of which he currently is leading in.
In Ohio, it looks like all Veeps weigh Obama down except Gov. Ted Strickland (D-OH) who has forcefully
said he is not a candidate. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) was not polled however. In New Mexico,
Obama/Richardson wins big; otherwise it is a mixed bag. In short, the choice of Veep does matter a little
bit, but it is not the overriding factor. The biggest impact is probably about what it says about the
candidate. Will McCain pick a conservative to please the Base or will he pick a moderate to go
after independents? Will Obama pick a young Veep to emphasize "change" or will he pick an old hand
to add the experience he is lacking?
We have three polls today. By far the most important is in Florida, where Rasmussen has McCain ahead
48% to 41%. This is a must-win state for McCain and he is comfortably ahead now. Obama can lose Florida
(and even Ohio) and still cobble together 270 electoral votes in other ways.
We have one not-very-surprising Senate poll today. In Alabama, Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) is on his
way to a landslide reelection over the hapless Vivian Figures.