Jul. 28 absentee ballot for overseas voters

Obama 292   McCain 195   Ties 51
Senate Dem 57   GOP 43  
House Dem 239   GOP 196  

Senate map and races
Downloadable polling data
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strong Dem Strong Dem (197)
weak Dem Weak Dem (49)
barely Dem Barely Dem (46)
tied Exactly tied (51)
barely GOP Barely GOP (21)
weak GOP Weak GOP (83)
strong GOP Strong GOP (91)
270 Electoral votes needed to win
Map algorithm explained
Presidential polls today: (None) RSS
Dem pickups (vs. 2004): CO IN IA MT NV NM GOP pickups (vs. 2004): (None) PDA

PW logo USAT/Gallup: McCain Moves Into National Lead Key Obama Aides Converge in D.C.
Unconventional Wisdom Novak Hospitalized
Obama's Tabloid Strategy Quote of the Day

News from the Votemaster

We have a new feature today. Many people have commented that the states with a white center are statistical ties and arguably shouldn't be counted in the electoral vote totals. On the other hand, a lead of 5% most likely means that one candidate is actually ahead, even if you can't say so with 95% certainty (which requires that the difference be twice the margin of error). Starting today, the link "Electoral coll. graph." below the map now gives three charts:

  1. The electoral votes including the white-centered (i.e., "barely") states
  2. The electoral votes excluding the barely states (i.e., you have to be 5% ahead to count here)
  3. The 2004 graph, including the barely states.

The first two graphs will be updated every day from now on until election day.

We are starting to see the effect of Obama's trip abroad. Gallup's tracking poll released yesterday puts Obama ahead of John McCain 49% to 40%, his largest lead in this poll since polling began in March. Here is Gallup's graph.

Gallup poll

Rasmussen's latest tracking poll puts Obama's lead at 46% to 41%. A Research 2000 poll puts Obama ahead 51% to 39%. Obama's gamble taking the foreign trip clearly has paid big dividends. Of course, we won't know for a while how long the bounce lasts. Sometimes the bounce from a news event, like sealing the nomination is fairly short lived. This one might last longer though because it addresses one of Obama's major shortcomings: lack of experience on the world stage. The fact that world leaders all treated him as though he were already President may ease some people's doubts about whether he is up to the job.

Republicans like to talk a lot about the "liberal media." Is it true? The Center for Media and Public Affairs at George Mason University, which has been studying the media 20 years, has now released a study that shows 72% of the opinions expressed on CBS, NBC, and ABC about Obama were negative and 28% positive. For McCain the figures were 57% and 43%, respectively. The study, which covered the networks' nightly newscasts, began June 8, the day after Hillary Clinton conceded and the general election campaign began.

The core of Obama's election strategy is registering 10 million new voters, especially blacks and young people. This is easier said than done, as a story in the Washington Post illustrates.

Since demography is king (queen? monarch?) this year, a reader pointed out a map of the U.S. showing the dominant ethnic background of each of the 3000 counties. If you click on the map, you get an expanded version of it so you can zoom in on your county.

In medicine and Veep selection, the first principle is: Do no harm. Yesterday we looked at what is wrong with many of the people commonly suggested as John McCain's running mate. None of them is perfect. Now let's see what's wrong with the Democratic field. None of them is perfect either. Here's a plausible list of candidates but Obama is more likely to pull a Quayle and pick someone completely off the radar than McCain who is less likely to gamble on someone completely untested.

Veep candidate Job Downside
Evan Bayh Sen. from Indiana Boring campaigner and if elected costs the Democrats a Senate seat
Joe Biden Sen. from Delaware Incurable verbal diarrhea
Sherrod Brown Sen. from Ohio Not much experience and possibly too liberal
Wesley Clark retired general Poor campaigner; political judgement is not always on target
Hillary Clinton Sen. from New York Would want to be co-president (and Bill too); motivates Republicans to vote
Tom Daschle Ex Sen. from South Dakota Lost reelection while majority leader ==> a loser
John Edwards Ex Sen. from North Carolina Lost in 2004; possible scandal brewing?
Chuck Hagel Sen. from Nebraska Conservative pro-life, pro-gun Republican; party would revolt
Tim Kaine Gov. of Virginia Very little experience on anything and wouldn't even guarantee Virginia
Claire McCaskill Sen. from Missouri Might antagonize Clinton supporters and minimal experience
Janet Napolitano Gov. of Arizona Might antagonize Clinton supporters; never married; had cancer
Sam Nunn ex Sen. from Georgia Sam who? In his heyday, maybe, but too old and anti-gay
Jack Reed Sen. from Rhode Island Doesn't want the job and would be replaced by a Republican
Ed Rendell Gov. of Pennsylvania Doesn't look/act/talk like a President
Bill Richardson Gov. of New Mexico A black and a Latino might be a bridge too far
Kathleen Sebelius Gov. of Kansas Same as McCaskill but with a bit more experience
Brian Schweitzer Gov. of Montana A true longshot but unknown outside Montana
Ted Strickland Gov. of Ohio Doesn't want the job
Jim Webb Sen. from Virginia Doesn't want the job and is a bit of a loose cannon

No state polls today.

-- The Votemaster

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