Sunday, October 26, 2008

Another Lazy Sunday, Not Much New



PROJECTED ELECTORAL VOTE: OBAMA/BIDEN 375, MCCAIN/PALIN 163
Unchanged
PROJECTED POPULAR VOTE: OBAMA/BIDEN 52.5%, MCCAIN/PALIN 42.5%
(DEM down 0.1%, GOP up 0.1%)
TIME UNTIL FIRST POLLS OPEN: 8 DAYS, 12 HOURS

Not much happening on the electoral front. The polls show a tiny pick-up for McCain nationally. No states move, and only 1 battleground change, modestly in McCain's favor. McCain now needs to pick up 0.8% per day to be even by election day and needs to gain 12 electoral votes per day.

Sunday has historically been the slowest day for state poll releases and that trend continues. Monday is usually the busiest day, so stay tuned.

STATE CHANGES
None

KEY BATTLEGROUNDS
Missouri -- promoted from serious to key -- McCain closes in a little here with a Mason/Dixon poll showing him up by 1%, the other recent polls have all showed it close.
North Carolina and Indiana remain as key battlegrounds

SERIOUS BATTLEGROUNDS
Nevada, Florida and Montana remain as key battlegrounds

SUBSTANTIAL BATTLEGROUNDS
Georgia remains as a substantial battleground

FRINGE BATTLEGROUNDS
Ohio, Colorado, Virginia, New Hampshire, North Dakota and West Virginia remain as fringe battlegrounds

THE DEMOCRATIC TRIFECTA
We haven't talked a lot about senate and house races on this site, and I don't generally believe there is enough polling data to drive decisive conclusions in all of these states, but I thought I'd give a quick rundown:
Senate:
There are basically no opportunities for Republican pick-ups in the Senate.
There are 3 seats are that are basically locked in Democratic gains: Mark Warner in Virginia and the Udalls in Colorado and New Mexico
There are an additional 2 seats that are likely Democratic pick-ups: Al Franken in Minnesota (it IS Minnesota) and Jeanne Shaheen in New Hampshire

So, I think the likely low-end for the Democrats is a 5 seat pick-up or a 54-49 advantage (plus 1 socialist who is really a Democrat and Joe Lieberman, who I don't know how to categorize)

In addition, there are 6 very close races that could go either way:
Alaska -- the outcome of this one is probably with the Ted Stevens jury
Georgia -- Saxby Chambliss should win re-election but has to be worried about the massive African-American early turnout for Obama
Kentucky -- the surprise of the year that Mitch McConnell has a serious challenge
Mississippi -- who figured THIS one to be close?
North Carolina -- it looks a lot like Elizabeth Dole may be toast
Oregon -- I feel bad for Gordon Smith, who has always been a moderate and may well lose his seat

So topside for Democrats (a clean sweep) would be a 60-49 advantage, or a fillibuster-proof majority. The likely scenario is probably somewhere in the middle, around 57 seats for Democrats, meaning they will have an effective working majority of 58 to 59 and will have to peel off 1 to 2 Republicans to break fillibusters.

The house is always almost impossible to project, because there is certainly not valid polling in 435 races available, but the best analysis that I can see is somewhere between a 15 and 20 seat gain in the house. It is not that important the exact margin, because the Democrats will NOT lose ground for sure, and they already have a comfortable working majority in the house.

Traildust
Obama is in Colorado all day today. Obama is off to Ohio and Pennsylvania tomorrow.
No sign of Joe Biden.
McCain is in Iowa and Ohio today. McCain is in Pennsylvania tomorrow.
Palin is in Florida and North Carolina today.

See a theme emerging? Ohio and Pennsylvania are THE keys. McCain has to win Florida and North Carolina too, but MUST have one of the two of those states (in all likelihood two out of two unless he runs the rest of the table), so I would expect the candidates to spend a lot of the closing days there.

Obama/Biden Going on Lockdown?
Is it time to start running clock for Obama/Biden? They haven't done media interviews in several weeks. If I were Obama's campaign manager, I would have an intense schedule of rallies in key battleground states, but would grant zero interviews between now and the election and I have a serious talking-to with Joe Biden so he understands that he must stick 100% to the teleprompter.

McCain on the other hand should exploit the availability of free media -- there is no reason for him not to take chances. Put Palin out there in swing states to rally the base and have McCain speak for the ticket on national and local interviews.

McCain is down to a 7.9:1 underdog in Intrade betting. Looking pretty bleak, but not over yet. Bernard Hopkins beat Kelly Pavlik last weekend and he was a 5:1 betting underdog. Buster Douglas was 20:1 against Tyson.

We'll see if the gap closes any with the new set of polls this week.



Still looking pretty

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