POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 10/09

Quote of the Day

“In my neighborhood, when you’ve got something to say to a guy, you look him in the eye and you say it to him.”

— Sen. Joe Biden, quoted by NBC News, pressing Sen. Barack Obama’s challengeto Sen. John McCain for next week’s debate.

 

Undecided Voters Breaking to Obama

A new Ipsos/McClatchy poll of undecided voters who watched Tuesday’s second presidential debate indicates that Sen. Barack Obama seems to be picking up momentum among the small number of voters who have not yet decided on a candidate. 

Before the debate, these undecided voters leaned toward Sen. John McCain (Obama 45%/McCain 55%) — but after Tuesday’s debate, nearly six in ten lean toward supporting Obama (Obama 57%/McCain 43%).

ARG Poll: Obama Leading in West Virginia?

The American Research Group released a set of new state polls today with an especially odd result: Sen. Barack Obama is ahead in West Virginia by eight points.

Minnesota: Obama 47%, McCain 46%

Missouri: Obama 49%, McCain 46%

Montana: McCain 50%, Obama 45%

New Hampshire: Obama 52%, McCain 43%

Ohio: Obama 48%, McCain 45%

Texas: McCain 57%, Obama 38%

West Virginia: Obama 50%, McCain 42%.

Polls Confirm Obama Won Debate

Two additional polls confirm the instant polls that showed Sen. Barack Obama winning his second debate against Sen. John McCain:

USA Today: Obama 56%, McCain 23%

Rasmussen: Obama 45%, McCain 28%

PPP Poll: Obama Pulls Ahead in Virginia

A new Public Policy Polling survey in Virginia shows Sen. Barack Obama expanding his lead over Sen. John McCain, 51% to 43%.

Key findings: “Obama’s made tremendous strides with white voters over the last three weeks, cutting a 60-35 gap with them to 52-42. A PPP analysis earlier in the summer showed that Obama would most likely win Virginia if he could capture just 39% of the white vote, and at 42% currently with 6% still undecided it appears at this point he would reach that threshold easily.”

Meanwhile, in Virginia’s U.S. Senate race Mark Warner (D) continues to hold a commanding 58% to 31% lead over Jim Gilmore (R).

Strategic Vision: Chambliss Faces Close Re-Election Race

Strategic Vision has the latest in a series of polls that show Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) potentially in trouble. He now barely leads challenger Jim Martin (D) by just three points, 47% to 44%.

In the presidential race, Sen. John McCain is ahead of Sen. Barack Obama in Georgia, 50% to 43%.

McConnell Loss Would Shake Up GOP Leadership

Roll Call: “With polling in Kentucky suddenly showing Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R) in a dead heat with Democratic upstart Bruce Lunsford, Senate Republicans are privately starting to worry their leader could be knocked off and have begun contemplating what their leadership might look like in his absence.” 

Strategic Vision: Obama Running Away With Pennsylvania

A new Strategic Vision poll in Pennsylvania shows Sen. Barack Obama opening up a 14 point lead over Sen. John McCain, 54% to 40%.

McCain Blows His Top

Michael Kinsley reports an incident in which Sen. John McCain lost his temper while gambling.

“What is bothersome about this story, if it’s true, is only partly the explosive anger. More, it’s the arrogance. At the craps table, who cares who he is? And there’s the recklessness of such a performance in a casino full of journalists (unless McCain absolutely couldn’t control himself, which is even scarier).”

Meanwhile, a former senior Bush administration official told Political Wire of at least three occasions where he saw McCain fly into a fit of rage, including one time when he got physical and actually push the person annoying him.

Joe Klein: “There is…a pent-up anger to McCain. He seems to be concentrating so hard on trying to stay calm that he doesn’t have much energy left over to answer questions in a free and creative way. He is not the sort of person, in the end, that you want to invite into your living room for a four-to-eight-year stay.”

Democratic Strategists See Landslide

“Three weeks of historic economic upheaval has done more than just tilt a handful of once-reliably Republican states in Barack Obama’s direction,” Politico reports. “Democratic strategists are now optimistic that the ongoing crisis could lead to a landslide Obama victory.”

“Four large states McCain once seemed well-positioned to win — Virginia, North Carolina, Ohio and Florida — have in recent weeks shifted toward Obama. If Obama were to win those four states — a scenario that would represent a remarkable turn of events — he would likely surpass 350 electoral votes.”

Important point: “Under almost any feasible scenario, McCain cannot win the presidency if he loses any of those four states.”

McCain Heads Back to Iowa

Sen. John McCain heads back to Iowa this weekend, despite most polls showing him behind significantly.

The Washington Post explains: “Mike DuHaime, McCain’s political director, said internal campaign polling does not make the electoral map look as bad as some public polls suggest. For example: Asked why, if he has given up on Michigan, McCain has not given up on Iowa, a state that looks strong for Obama in public polls, DuHaime said because the campaign’s polling has Obama’s lead in the low single digits.”

Bonus Quote of the Day

“It’s close to an impossible situation. The next guy, whoever he is, will be a one-term president — if he is lucky.”

— Former White House Chief of Staff Leon Panetta, quoted by Howard Fineman, on the challenges facing the next president.

Forecasting the Electoral Vote

Research by Tom Holbrook and Jay DeSart shows that presidential candidates “generally win states in which they hold a lead in September polls and always win when they lead outside the margin of error.”

Based on this work, they project Sen. Barack Obama will beat Sen. John McCain in the Electoral College, 336 to 202. Projecting the national popular vote based on predicted state margins and assumed state-level contributions to the national vote, they expect Obama will get 51.8% of the two-party vote.

Franken Jumps Into Lead

Two new MPR/Humphrey Institute polls show Al Franken (D) went from 9 points behind to 4 points ahead of Sen. Norm Coleman (R-MN) following congressional approval of the Wall Street bailout plan.

Franken now leads 41% to 37% with Independence Party candidate Dean Barkley’s support at 14%.

Said pollster Lawrence Jacobs: “Norm Coleman’s 9-point lead over Al Franken essentially disappears in the wake of the financial bailout that Congress passed. He is really suffering the consequences.”

Obama Sends Big Guns to Florida

“The Obama campaign’s top two field generals have decamped to Florida, a sign of its confidence that the state, with 27 electoral votes, is tilting toward the Democratic candidate,” according to Marc Ambinder.

“Steve Hildebrand, the deputy campaign manager, will oversee operations from Miami, and Paul Tewes, the chief general election strategist, will help supervise the get-out-the-vote program from the campaign’s state headquarters in Tampa.”

Interesting: “Other senior staff members will be dispatched to other battleground states soon.”

Obama to McCain: “Say It To My Face”

In an interview on ABC News, Sen. Barack Obama called Sen. John McCain’s attempts to link him to 1960s anti-war radical Bill Ayers are an attempt to “score cheap political points.”

Then he issued a challenge to his rival.

Said Obama: “I am surprised that, you know, we’ve been seeing some pretty over-the-top attacks coming out of the McCain campaign over the last several days, that he wasn’t willing to say it to my face. But I guess we’ve got one last debate. So presumably, if he ends up feeling that he needs to, he will raise it during the debate.”

Oprah’s Back

“Oprah Winfrey joins the lineup for an Obama fund-raising weekend in Chicago aimed at female donors at the $2,300-per-person event starting Friday,” Lynn Sweet reports.

Winfrey “attended the Democratic convention, stumped in key primary states for Obama and threw a fund-raiser for him at her California estate. I think this is her biggest high profile appearance for Obama to date for the general election.”

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One Comment on “POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 10/09”

  1. susan Says:

    The real issue is not how well Obama or McCain might do state-by-state, but that we shouldn’t have battleground states and spectator states in the first place. Every vote in every state should be politically relevant in a presidential election. And, every vote should be equal. We should have a national popular vote for President in which the White House goes to the candidate who gets the most popular votes in all 50 states.

    The National Popular Vote bill would guarantee the Presidency to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states (and DC). The bill would take effect only when enacted, in identical form, by states possessing a majority of the electoral vote — that is, enough electoral votes to elect a President (270 of 538). When the bill comes into effect, all the electoral votes from those states would be awarded to the presidential candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states (and DC).

    Because of state-by-state enacted rules for winner-take-all awarding of their electoral votes, recent candidates with limited funds have concentrated their attention on a handful of closely divided “battleground” states. In 2004 two-thirds of the visits and money were focused in just six states; 88% on 9 states, and 99% of the money went to just 16 states. Two-thirds of the states and people have been merely spectators to the presidential election.

    Another shortcoming of the current system is that a candidate can win the Presidency without winning the most popular votes nationwide.

    The National Popular Vote bill has passed 21 state legislative chambers, including one house in Arkansas, Colorado, Maine, North Carolina, and Washington, and both houses in California, Hawaii, Illinois, New Jersey, Maryland, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Vermont. The bill has been enacted by Hawaii, Illinois, New Jersey, and Maryland. These four states possess 50 electoral votes– 19% of the 270 necessary to bring the law into effect.

    See http://www.NationalPopularVote.com


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