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News from the Votemaster

Clinton Didn't Say What He Meant to Say

Bill Clinton is still immensely popular, but he is a bit of a loose cannon. He tends to say whatever pops into his head. Staying on message is not one of his strengths. So he was forced to apologize for not sayng what he meant to say, whatever that was.

In reality, it doesn't matter precisely what he says. Very few people besides industrial-strength political junkies parse every word emanating from the mouth of any politician, certain not any one on the campaign trail. These minifrenzies, which inside-the-beltway reporters so dearly love to talk about, don't means beans back in Peoria.

Romney Outraises Obama in May

Mitt Romney raised $77 million in May, compared to Obama's $60 million. It is clearly going to be a very, very expensive race. On the other hand, fundraising is somewhat less important in a presidential general election that in a primary or in a congressional race. Many voters just vote for the guy with the (D) or the (R) after his name, no matter how many TV commercials they see. In a primary, advertising matters more because all the candidates have the same label (except in jungle primaries, like the one California held this week). In congressional races, the candidates are often not well known, so if a candidate can define himself or his opponent through ads, it can matter.

Today's Presidential Polls

We have nine new presidential polls today, one of which is significant. An EPIC MRA poll shows Mitt Romney up +1% in Michigan. Whether this is a genuine change or a statistical fluke remains to be seen. Pundit are now talking abut Romney's "home state effect" but it seems strange that the voters have just noticed it.

One interesting thing it does show, however, is that even if Obama fails to win Florida, Ohio, North Carolina, Iowa, and Michigan, he can eke out a narrow 273 EV victory if he squeaks by in Missouri and Virginia. Fundamentally, Obama has many paths to victory and Romney must block not just one of them, but all of them. This is because in the base map (the lower one discussed here), he starts with a base of 242 EVs to Romney's 165. While the map looks very red, most of the EVs are in smaller states.

State Obama Romney   Start End Pollster
Colorado 45% 45%   Jun 06 Jun 06 Rasmussen
Colorado 48% 46%   May 31 Jun 05 Purple Strategies
Florida 45% 49%   May 31 Jun 05 Purple Strategies
Michigan 45% 46%   Jun 02 Jun 05 EPIC MRA
Minnesota 54% 39%   May 31 Jun 03 PPP
Ohio 45% 48%   May 31 Jun 05 Purple Strategies
Virginia 47% 42%   May 30 Jun 04 Quinnipiac U.
Virginia 49% 46%   May 31 Jun 05 Purple Strategies
Wisconsin 48% 43%   Jun 06 Jun 06 WeAskAmerica

Today's Senate Polls

Two of the Senate polls are also unexpected. Heidi Heitkamp is holding her own in North Dakota. Many Democrats had given the seat of retiring Sen. Ken Conrad (D-ND) up for lost, but it is a surprisingly close race. Also surprising is the 6-point lead Tim Kaine has over George Allen in the Virginia battle. Allen has not mentioned any zoo animals recently, yet Kaine is ahead by more than the margin of error. But remember, the margin of error gives only a 95% guarantee, not a 100% guarantee that the leader is really ahead, and then only if the sample was perfectly random and there were no methodological errors in the survey.

State Democrat D % Republican R % I I % Start End Pollster
North Dakota Heidi Heitkamp 47% Rick Berg 46%     Jun 04 Jun 06 Mason Dixon
Pennsylvania Bob Casey 42% Tom Smith 21%     May 29 Jun 04 Franklin+Marshall Coll.
Virginia Tim Kaine 49% George Allen 43%     May 17 May 20 Marist Coll.