As Fox News has noted, not one Democrat Senate seat has been lost. Five Republican seats are still on the table. If Dems win three they get the Senate. Virginia, Missouri, Montana, Tennessee and Arizona are still on the blocks.
Here are some updates from the email inbox:
KY-03 John Yarmuth D 51 % 17833
Anne Northup R * 48 % 16606
15% of precincts reporting (UPDATE: Fox News has Northup up to 50%)
KY-04 Ken Lucas D 59 % 400
Geoff Davis R * 38 % 258
0 % of precincts reporting
An OH Federal District judge has ordered that 16 precincts Cuyahoga County remain open until 10 pm CST due to problems with voting machines.
Exit polls conducted by a firm hired by the major networks, CNN and the AP. Here are two other polls just released:
Do you approve of Congress:
62 % Disapprove
36 % Approve
2 % Other
Do you trust that your vote will be counted accurately:
88 % Confident it will be counted correctly
11 % Not confident it will be counted correctlyWhat issue was most important to you when making your vote?
42 % corruption
40 % terrorism
39 % economy
37 % the war in Iraq
Do you approve of the war in Iraq?
57 % disapprove
41 % approve
Did national or local issues influence your vote?
62 % national issues
33 % local issues
5 % other
UPDATE: Allen is up big in the early returns.
UPDATE 8:30 pm: MSNBC Projects Bob Casey, Jr. to win…booooooooooooo…time for a much stronger drink…
UPDATE 8:34 pm: Fox News joins MSNBC in that projection. Scotch please…PA did the wrong thing…prepare to send a do-nothing Senator to Congress. Congrats to Harry, Chuck, Ted, Barbara and Dick…you just got yourselves another rubber stamp.
UPDATE 8:47 pm: DeWine is gone too. Chuck Schumer just took to the airwaves. He is absolutely giddy.
Patrick Ruffini of the RNC sends out a list of turnout statistics. See the extended section for the stats. Read the rest of this entry »
“the margin of error?”
Back in 2000 (the last election I covered at CNN as an “unbiased” member of the media) we always mentioned the MoE, which was usually 4-5 points. For example, we’d say, “Bush is ahead 47-45, which is within the poll’s 5 pt. margin of error.”
These days I hear polls reported as if they didn’t have any margin for error.
“Polls show Jim Webb is ahead 52-44 in Virginia.” He is? The poll shows him with an eight point lead — but what’s the MoE? And note that the previous polls listed in the story are all very exact — Allen up two, for example.
Well, the point of a MoE (also called “sampling error”) is that the poll isn’t ever going to be exact. You’d think, since polls have proven unbelievably unreliable in recent years, they’d want to expand, not contract, the MoE.
And by the way, this explains why the polls were actually correct in 2000. They showed a slight lead for Bush going into Election Day, but within the MoE. So Gore’s narrow win in the popular vote was actually predicted by polls that showed Bush winning. Odd, yet true.
According to folks on the ground in PA, the GOP GOTV effort is “crushing,” but the race is “really tight.”
If it is “really tight,” that would be great news.
UPDATE: An operative from the “T,” Pennyslvania’s rural GOP stronghold says turnout is high and the “ambitious targets” set by the campaign for turnout rates are set to be met. Because of some irregularities, the polls in this area will stay open till 9:00.
that CNN’s Heidi Collins is wearing all red today?
Or just a coincidence?
– Rich Tucker
KLO at the Corner has a reader email indicating strong turnout in PA:
Hi Kathryn, Just wanted to let you know that I reside in Hilltown Township, a small community in Bucks County, PA. I am one of those people who vote in every election usually before I go to work. Normally I am one of the first ten voters; today I was #89. I waited in line for 40 minutes. When I left there was still a line out the door and around the corner. Hopefully this will bode well for Rick Santorum.
Even at this early hour, that email seems to be true for much of the state. A friend who is a ground game Santorum volunteer working the “T” area emails me a similar report about strong turnout, but notes “some machine problems.” In southeastern PA, a liberal stronghold, I have received a couple anecdotal reports from volunteers walking the neighborhoods yesterday. The reactions they were receiving were not as hostile towards Santorum as you might expect from that area. Rather, folks seemed frustrated with the race in general. How that will translate today is anyone’s guess.
Robert Novak has picked the Dems to pickup 19 House seats and 2 Senate seats. One of the reasons Novak says this will happen is an “arrogant” GOP:
The first is an arrogant and politically tin-eared Republican establishment in Washington. In the handling of key issues such as the occupation of Iraq, the response to Hurricane Katrina, and a meaningful follow-through on Social Security reform, the White House displayed incompetence.
Meanwhile, on Capitol Hill, Republicans encouraged practices (such as earmarking in the appropriations process) that let corruption run free. When scandal hit, they handled it badly, particularly in the most recent case of disgraced former Rep. Mark Foley (R-Fla.). They also went to great lengths to alienate their base on the issue of immigration reform, and they created an issue for Democrats in the form of embryonic stem-cell research. Recall that federal funding for embryonic research received a vote on the House floor only when the House Republican leadership made a deal with moderates in order to pass their budget in 2005.
Andy Roth rounds up the latest prognastications.
Very, very encouraging news from Pennsylvania.
If I could snap my fingers and magically decide the outcome of just one race, it would be this one. Rick Santorum, as Peggy Noonan has argued, is the last of a dying breed. He is a statesman, not a politician. Unlike his opponent, he is not a focus group tested composite designed only to squeak by. He wears his emotions on his sleeve, too often to his political detriment. He says what he believes and believes what he says. Nobody does that anymore in politics, least of all Bob — I am pro-life but I will support an anti-life agenda in the Senate — Casey, Jr.
A Casey victory means a defeat for the long-term vitality of our public life. It means that, rather than speaking from their hearts, politicians will increasingly turn to focus groups, to slick political gurus and to the everchanging polls to tell them what they believe. It means our politicians will be increasingly vanilla, increasingly drab and increasingly spineless. They will no longer speak their minds for fear of offending. Mediocrity will reign and aquiescence and appeasement will be political values.
We don’t need more politicians. We need more statesmen.
I hope my home state finds it in them to do the right thing on Tuesday. This poll suggest that may happen:
U.S. Senator Rick Santorum has gained ground in his bid to win re-election, according to a new poll released Monday. The poll of 800 very likely general election voters, was conducted by McCulloch Research & Polling, an independent polling company out of Chicago, on November 4-5.Santorum’s opponent, State Treasurer Bob Casey, Jr., led the incumbent Senator 48.1-44.1%, according to the poll. “Senator Santorum has a history of closing hard at the end of his campaigns,” said pollster Rod McCulloch. “It looks like this campaign will be no different.”
UPDATE: There are questions about the legitimacy of the above poll.
RNC Chairman Ken Mehlman has issued a memo detailing GOP momentum in the closing days before Tuesday’s elections. Mehlman points to the generic ballot question in which Republicans have cut a previous 11 point Dem lead down to 4 points. He says that Republican enthusiasm is growing and that — most importantly I think for the GOP — conservatives are coming home.
Will all this pan out? It is impossible to tell, but I do think the closer conservatives get to election day the more engaged they become. The Mehlman memo is worth reading.
Meanwhile, The American Spectator’s Quin Hillyer makes a bold prediction: Republicans will keep both houses:
When Congress convenes in January of 2007, Republicans will be elected both as Speaker of the House and as Senate Majority Leader.
The new Republican speaker, who will not be Dennis Hastert, will enjoy a margin of only one vote. But in the Senate, where Republicans currently control 55 of the 100 seats and where many pundits are now saying they teeter on the brink of losing their majority, the GOP instead will lose no more than two seats.
And Mr. Conventional Wisdom, who is the lackey of the mainstream media and the supposedly nonpartisan election “experts,” again will have enough egg on his face to make omelets that feed multitudes.
Quin goes through race by race to explain his prediction. His arguments are persuasive.
Hugh Hewitt is feeling it too as he lists five reasons the Dems will not prevail.
I can’t wait till this election is over. Really, I can’t. I get more excited thinking about what will happen after the election than who will win on Tuesday. The myriad of scenarios are enough to make any political junky excited.
If Dems win the House, but not the Senate, how will Pelosi govern? Will having Nancy Pelosi as Speaker of the House be a silver lining for conservatives? Maybe…in that scenario, it is entirely possible that an up and coming conservative like Mike Pence or John Shadegg (or perhaps both) make a play for leadership. On the other side of the Capitol, a conservative Mitch McConnell leading the Senate would do well to use Pelosi’s liberal policies and positions to provide contrast for his Senate agenda. Suddenly, when compared with the policies of a San Fransisco liberal, conservatism must look more reasonable even to squishy Senate moderates.
If by an act of God Republicans hang on to both the House and the Senate, what will happen to conservatives? Certainly in this scenario the Pence’s of the world are unlikely to make any runs for leadership and it is possible — probable? — that Dennis Hastert (assuming no more revelations in the Mark Foley flap) remains Speaker. Would the status quo continue? I hope not.
And here is the nightmare scenario; liberals run both the Senate and House. How would the Administration react? The White House seems to have only two choices here; be principled in defeat and cling to bedrock conservatism or adopt a position of liberal appeasement. In fact, in all these scenarios it is probable that Republicans are stung by the electorate to one degree or another, so those two choices facing the Bush Administration stand regardless.
One hopes the White House is prescient enough to understand that this election is not a condemnation of conservatism. Indeed, a closer look at the Democratic field makes this apparent. Democrats who are making good runs at Republican incumbents are not liberals, they are moderate-conservative Democrats. If liberals get the key to the city they will have done so on the backs of moderates.
Elections are fun. But it is what the politicians do after the people have spoken that really matters.
A friend on the Hill alerts me to some interesting findings in the latest Washington-Post ABC News poll. Some of these findings suggest very good news for Republicans and run contrary to the media speculation about a Democratic “tidal wave” on Tuesday night. Here are some examples:
Presidential approval ratings
Among registered voters, the President’s favorables rose to 43 (up from 40).
Generic Congressional candidate poll
Among likely voters, this poll has tightened from a dem advantage among likely voters of 14 points (55-41) down to six points (51-45)—an eight-point swing over the past two weeks—the tightest margin listed for this year.
Right track/wrong track
This has also shown significant improvement. Two weeks ago, the numbers were 32-66; this week they improved to 39-59. Still not great, but the deficit between the two shrunk from 34 down to 20.
Which party do you trust to do a better job of handling Iraq?
This number is now tied at 42. Republicans have led only once in this poll in the last two years; dems led by 8 points (48-40) in the last poll, another eight-point swing mirroring the increase in support in the generic poll.
Which party better represents your values?
This question is another where the dem lead has contracted. Dems are currently favored at 48-44. This four-point margin is down significantly from their 16-point lead (53-37) in early October.
Do you think the Democrats are or are not offering the country a clear direction that’s different from the Republicans?
The yes-no margin tightened here as well. This went from 52-44 down to 49-47. In other words, only a minority now believe that the dems are offering a “clear direction” on Iraq.
Was the war in Iraq worth fighting?
This number has shown significant improvement over the past two weeks, despite considerable violence (and its attendant media coverage). The worth it/not worth it numbers are at 44-53 (-9), but up from 40/57 (-17) among registered voters. This is yet another eight-point swing. And it has improved significantly from a month ago (again, despite the increase in violence during that period) from 35-63 (-28!).
Did the President tell the truth about Iraq
For the first time in 20 months, a majority (51-47) report the Bush administration “told the American people what it believed to be true” in making the case for war with Iraq. This ratio improved from 46-52 (-6) in May.
Congressional approval ratings
Though still not great, favorables improved from 31 to 36 over the past two weeks.
More people were contacted on behalf of Republican candidates (29 percent) than dems (20 percent). Forty one percent had heard from both.
Peggy Noonan today writes as compelling a piece as I have read on why Rick Santorum’s reelection matters:
It has been hard not to experience the election as a brute-force clash between two armies struggling over terrain their soldiers have come to see, inevitably–they are at war, they are exhausted–as the location of the battle, but not its purpose. The nation is where the contest takes place; you can forget, in the fight, that its actual future is what’s being fought for.
But here’s an exception: the state of Pennsylvania, which has been this year a bright patch of meaning. Its U.S. Senate contest has been the great race of the cycle, the one about which conservatives in their hearts most care. And not only conservatives, but those who know, for whatever reason and in whatever way, that there is something truly at stake here, something beyond mere red team and blue.
That would be Sen. Rick Santorum. The sense among so many people–including politicians and journalists–is that the Senate needs his sort, his kind.
Read it all here.
Move over soccer moms, their is a new coveted voting bloc in town:
IT’S pretty sad when a Democrat can’t rally the traditional stronghold of Hollywood, plump his coffers and sail to victory. It’s even more daunting when you have zero personality, like Treasurer Phil Angelides, and when your challenger has pumped Tinseltown’s pocketbooks from his years as an uber-action star.
Arnold Schwarzenegger has been ably flexing his fundraising muscle in his gubernatorial re-election campaign after the state’s Democratic voters inexplicably pushed through the man least able to beat him in the primary. And while Angelides has secured the traditional support from Hollywood party stalwarts such as Barbra Streisand and Warren Beatty, Schwarzenegger has a good share of heavyweights in his corner, including donors Steven Spielberg, James Cameron, Jerry Bruckheimer, Jeffrey Katzenberg, Brian Grazer, Jerry Zucker, Dennis Hopper and Lawrence Gordon, according to campaign finance reports for this election cycle.
The Hollywood split can be explained by Schwarzenegger’s industry ties or his centrism that appeals more to industry moderates, but trends may also be indicating a new class of Tinseltown voters: the security celebrities.
From my weekly column:
You have to hand it to John Kerry. It takes a lot of bravado to — whether intentionally or not — insult the men and women of the American military in the plainest of terms, and then insist that those he’d insulted “misinterpreted” his comments. Kerry is aghast that Americans would consider his comments insulting. When he told students in California that they better study hard or they would “get stuck in Iraq,” he insists he was not referring to the military, rather he was joking about President Bush.
How anyone who understands the English language could read the simple words uttered by John Kerry and conclude that this was a joke is hard to see. In fact, if you watch the tape of Kerry delivering the comments, the students behind him appeared stone faced at the “botched joke.” Nevertheless, Kerry insists it was so and, unfortunately, his revisions appear to be gaining traction in a way that he may not personally desire, but that his party should be thankful for.
Check out this video of Stephen Morse of the Daily Pennsylvanian looking for some answers from PA Senate candidate Bob Casey, Jr. The best part of the video is the smarmy Casey press secretary.
David Keating takes another look at what the market has to say about the outcomes of next week’s election. The Senate, according to the market, will stary Republican. Barely.
The House is gone.
The interesting note is the upward ticks in New Jersey and Maryland for the GOP Senate candidates. Read Keating’s analysis here.
This AP story says it all. Kerry’s “botched joke” was no such thing. It was the utterance of a deeply held belief from a different era:
WASHINGTON –During a Vietnam-era run for Congress three decades ago, John Kerry said he opposed a volunteer Army because it would be dominated by the underprivileged, be less accountable and be more prone to “the perpetuation of war crimes.”
Kerry, a decorated Vietnam veteran who turned against the war, made the observations in answers to a 1972 candidate questionnaire from a Massachusetts peace group.
After Kerry caused a firestorm this week with what he termed a botched campaign joke that Republicans said insulted current soldiers, The Associated Press was alerted to the historical comments by a former law enforcement official who monitored 1970s anti-war activities.
In so much as the comment is seen in the media as botched joke by a clumsy politician, it ceases to be a political issue. The Influence Peddler makes an excellent point about this issue:
I think this picture may hurt the GOP, in that we are helped when people realize that John Kerry is a leader in the Democratic party, and he holds offensive views. This picture however, tends to make it plainer that John Kerry is a joke, who almost never ought to be taken seriously. And if enough voters think that Kerry shouldn’t be taken seriously, they are less likely to regard it as important to come out and vote for his oppposition.
As an analogy, few realize that Jerry Springer was once the Democratic mayor of Cincinnati. If you thought about Springer as a leader in the Democratic party, you would probably race to the polls to vote GOP. But since most regard him as a joke, it loses the ‘punch.’ Well, do we really want the voters to realize that Kerry is as unserious as Jerry Springer?
With the exeption of media outlets like Fox, this is being covered from the botched-joke-by-a-dumb-oafy-politician angle. And if you saw last night’s late night comics, that image was reinforced. Just wait till Saturday Night Live gets a hold of it this weekend.
While this press angle is funny, it does not get to the heart of the matter in the way this AP story above does. Kerry’s comments reflect Kerry’s long held beliefs about the military. And that is not funny.
Is there a less popular guy in the Democratic Party than John Kerry right now? Hillary is the latest Dem to pile on.
Senator John McCain made the following comments yesterday in Grand Rapids Michigan.
Michael Barone links to a report of ours at the Heritage Foundation. The report directly contradicts the notion that our military is composed of under-educated men and women:
Overall, the wartime recruits are more similar than dissimilar to their civilian counterparts. The all-volunteer force displays near proportional representation of income backgrounds. Whites serve in approximate proportion to their population, although representation of minority groups varies. Recruits must meet educational standards, and the military provides resources for furthering education to those who might not otherwise have the opportunity to attend four-year colleges. Although rural representation is disproportional, the military offers the opportunity to gain new skills and enter industries that are not available in rural areas.
With regard to income, education, race, and regional background, the all-volunteer force is representative of our nation and meets standards set by Congress and the Department of Defense. In contrast to the patronizing slanders of antiwar critics, recruit quality is increasing as the war in Iraq continues. Although recent recruiting goals have been difficult to meet, re-enlistment is strong and recruit quality remains high. No evidence supports arguments for reinstating the draft or altering recruiting policies to achieve more equitable representation.
John Kerry today called a press conference to address the growing uproar over his recent comments denigrating the troops and their mission in Iraq. Instead of apologizing for his brain-dead comments, Kerry tells everyone that they misunderstood him and that he was referring to the President’s education, not the troops.
He then went on to pander to the Kos kids by acting tough and calling people names. Kerry vowed to fight back against “these Republicans” who are lead by “stuffed suit spokesmen” (reference to Tony Snow) and “doughy” Rush Limbaugh.
“Americans are sick of this,” said Kerry.
Well, he probably got that right.
UPDATE: Pasted below is Kerry’s press release:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Liz Richardson 978-257-7424
October 31, 2006
Statement of John Kerry Responding to Republican Distortions, Pathetic Tony Snow Diversions and Distractions
Washington – Senator John Kerry issued the following statement in response to White House Press Secretary Tony Snow, assorted right wing nut-jobs, and right wing talk show hosts desperately distorting Kerry’s comments about President Bush to divert attention from their disastrous record:
“If anyone thinks a veteran would criticize the more than 140,000 heroes serving in Iraq and not the president who got us stuck there, they’re crazy. This is the classic G.O.P. playbook. I’m sick and tired of these despicable Republican attacks that always seem to come from those who never can be found to serve in war, but love to attack those who did.
I’m not going to be lectured by a stuffed suit White House mouthpiece standing behind a podium, or doughy Rush Limbaugh, who no doubt today will take a break from belittling Michael J. Fox’s Parkinson’s disease to start lying about me just as they have lied about Iraq. It disgusts me that these Republican hacks, who have never worn the uniform of our country lie and distort so blatantly and carelessly about those who have.
The people who owe our troops an apology are George W. Bush and Dick Cheney who misled America into war and have given us a Katrina foreign policy that has betrayed our ideals, killed and maimed our soldiers, and widened the terrorist threat instead of defeating it. These Republicans are afraid to debate veterans who live and breathe the concerns of our troops, not the empty slogans of an Administration that sent our brave troops to war without body armor.
Bottom line, these Republicans want to debate straw men because they’re afraid to debate real men. And this time it won’t work because we’re going to stay in their face with the truth and deny them even a sliver of light for their distortions. No Democrat will be bullied by an administration that has a cut and run policy in Afghanistan and a stand still and lose strategy in Iraq.”
This is one of those rare moments when a politician lets his actual true colors show. Unfortunately for Kerry, I don’t think too many Americans, let alone the men and women of the Armed Forces, will take this comment very well…nor should they. Serving your nation in the way our military does in Iraq is as noble an endeavor as they come. It is not, as Kerry apparently believes, a job America sends screw-ups to go do.
The MSM is going to love the political theatrics that will surely ensue should Democrats take the House:
Democrats vow to flex their subpoena and investigative muscles if elected to lead Congress next month and will take on President Bush’s use of wiretaps.
“We have not had significant issues addressed from an oversight standpoint — we’ve not issued one subpoena,” said Rep. Bennie Thompson, the Mississippi Democrat who as ranking member of the House Homeland Security Department is in line to lead the panel.
“Leadership, in agreement with the chairman, just decided that it [investigations] was not a priority,” Mr. Thompson said. “That will not be a problem with the new Congress.”
Democrats have an outside chance of taking complete control of Congress, but a better chance of winning one chamber, and in this series, The Washington Times will look at how such a transfer of power will affect U.S. policy and politics.
Both of the Democratic Capitol Hill leaders, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California, have said Mr. Bush is threatening civil liberties in the name of war and pledged to force the administration to obtain court orders before issuing wiretaps of terror suspects.
Democrats say that Mr. Bush’s wiretaps without court orders violate the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) — created in 1978 to ensure court oversight — and that they will legislate allowances to obtain the subpoenas in a speedy manner.
“We will pass tough and smart legislation to deal with this important legislation,” said Jim Manley, spokesman for Mr. Reid.
I missed this National Review editorial yesterday in support of Rick Santorum:
t will be no surprise to anyone that we favor Rick Santorum’s reelection as a senator from Pennsylvania. He has been a fine moderately conservative lawmaker, the moderation owing mainly to his state’s unionism and statism. He has led the fight for reform of welfare and Social Security, and he is superior to his opponent, Robert Casey Jr., on the broad range of issues from trade to defense to marriage.
What makes this race unusual is that both candidates profess to be pro-life. Casey is from a great pro-life family in Pennsylvania politics: His father was denied a chance to speak at the Democratic convention in 1992 because he was likely to use the opportunity to argue that his party’s tradition of defending the weak and vulnerable ought to apply to unborn children. Casey’s position on abortion may very well help him win the election. Pro-life liberals, who usually have to swallow hard before they cast a vote, will be eager to support him. Some pro-life conservatives may think that their energies are better spent on races where a fellow pro-lifer is running against a supporter of the abortion license.
Even on the life issues, however, we see a contrast between Santorum and Casey. Each brings some distinctive advantages to the fight for life, but on balance the contrasts tell strongly in favor of Santorum.
UPDATE: Also see this NY Times piece on Santorum today.
Chris Matthews keeps insisting that this stupid ad running in Tennessee is a racist ad. If I understand his argument it is this: the ad is racist because white guys in Tennessee are racist and they cannot help but get infuriated when they think of a white woman dating a black man. Maybe I am mischaracterizing his argument, but watch him make the argument below and see if you agree.
There is an argument to be made against this ad and it is this: it is tacky and unbecoming of an ideal political race. Ideally candidates would run ads about issues and they would dialogue with one another so that an educated public could make up their minds and cast their votes accordingly. But, I suppose, that is lala land.
The argument against this ad should not be that white guys in Tennessee are too stupid, bigoted and racist to handle this 30-second spot. That is insulting.
Here is a great video from Hot Air discussing the faith and politics double standard. Harold Ford can film ads in a church and wear his faith on his sleeve because he is a “new Dem,” while a Republican who did the same would be roundly criticized by the MSM.
Mary Katharine at Townhall observes:
This candidate for Senate is praying to the Lord with his staffers. Is that even legal? I’m sure it’s not. Only a backwoods, Jesus-freak Republican would sink so low, with his anti-science, voo-doo, Duby-lovin’ beliefs…Oh, wait. What? That’s Democrat Harold Ford? Oh, how refreshing and genuine. He’s not your daddy’s Democrat. I’ve heard that. Very charismatic, they say. Where’s my checkbook?