Entry for September 30, 2006

The graph comes from the Virginia coverage of a site  I’ve already recommended,  Electoral-Vote.com.

As of today, it predicts 51 seats for Republicans, but has downgraded Allen’s chances to “barely.”  The Votemaster has this to say,

Virginia is shaping up to be a real close race, so it is attracting more polling. We have two polls today. SurveyUSA puts incumbent Sen. George Allen (R-VA) ahead of former Reagan Navy Secretary turned Democrat Jim Webb 50% to 44%, while Mason-Dixon puts the race at an exact tie, 43% to 43%

The SurveyUSA poll, released September 27, was sponsored by WDJB-7, our Roanoke CBS affiliate, along with WUSA TV in Washington, D.C.  September 24-6, the pollster asked 1,200 Virginia adults (979 of whom were registered and 628  judged to be “likely” voters):

If the election for United States Senator were today, and you were standing in the voting booth right now, who would you vote for? Republican George Allen? Democrat Jim Webb? Independent Green Gail Parker Or some other candidate? 

The results given were for the likely voters.  The site comments:

Since an identical SurveyUSA poll 2 weeks ago, Allen is up 1 point and Webb is down 1 point. BUT: day-to-day data shows that the race is volatile. On Sunday 9/24, after Allen had been accused of using racial slurs in college, he led by 7 in SurveyUSA Sunday-only data . On Monday 9/25, after Allen strongly denied the accusations, he led by 11 in SurveyUSA Monday-only data. On Tuesday 9/26, after more people corroborated the accusations, Allen trailed Webb by 3 points, in Tuesday-only data. The 5-point Allen advantage shown here, when the 3 days of data are combined and averaged, cannot be considered stable. Earlier polls had shown the race narrowing after publicity over comments Allen made to a Webb campaign worker. Today, Allen gets 87% of Republican votes. Webb gets 86% of Democrat votes. Independents are split. Allen leads by 12 points among men, trails by 1 point among women. Allen leads by 16 in Rural VA, leads by 10 in Suburban VA. Webb leads by 16 in Urban VA. The election is in 6 weeks, on 11/7/06. The Republicans have a 10-seat majority in the U.S. Senate. Allen’s seat had been considered safely Republican…

The Mason-Dixon poll  conducted September 23-7 shows the two candidates tied at 43% was  was conducted for MSNBC and the McClatchy company, whose papers include The Miami Herald,  the Sacramento Bee,  the Lexington Herald-Leader and the Charlotte Observer.  The poll asks additional questions about approval ratings for Congress, the war on terror and other topics.

*

Another interesting source of news is Congressional Quarterly’s site, which includes a map predicting the outcome of  House, Senate and governors’ races.   Last night Greg Giroux posted an interesting article, “Four Incumbents Fell From the Heights, With No Safe Landings for GOP.”

Most of the House contests in which Democrats are staging strong bids to take over Republican-held seats were predictable as early as Election Night 2004.

For example, Democrats are again targeting Indiana’s 8th District, where Republican Rep. John Hostettler has won six terms but never by an overwhelming margin, and Pennsylvania’s 6th District, where two-term Republican Rep. Jim Gerlach faces a rematch with Democrat Lois Murphy after edging her by just 2 percentage points in 2004.

But if the Democrats manage to make the net gain of at least 15 seats they need to take control of the House, the difference could be made in a handful of longtime Republican strongholds — all of which appeared “safe” for the GOP when the current election cycle started — that came into play only because of the personal downfalls of long popular Republican incumbents.

Today’s front page on Washington Post featured staff writers Charles Babington and Jonathan Weisman, “Rep. Foley Quits In Page Scandal: Explicit Online Notes Sent to Boy, 16.  The six term representative’s actions were no secret to his party’s leadership.

House Majority Leader John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) told The Washington Post last night that he had learned this spring of inappropriate “contact” between Foley and a 16-year-old page. Boehner said he then told House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.). Boehner later contacted The Post and said he could not remember whether he talked to Hastert.

It was not immediately clear what actions Hastert took. His spokesman had said earlier that the speaker did not know of the sexually charged online exchanges between Foley and the boy.

ABC New investigative reporter Brian Ross  provided the content of the emails on September 29.

Do I make you a little horny?

In another message, Foley wrote,

You in your boxers, too? … Well, strip down and get relaxed.

Foley also disturbed a page with his emails, according to Citizens for Ethics. The St. Petersburg Times  political blog  reported on an emergency meeting at the Capitol among Florida Republicans after Foley’s resignation.  Another representative, Bill Young revealed that

someone at the meeting said there are 36 pages of incriminating emails

Ironically, Foley had chaired the House caucus on exploited children.  More later.

*

Another problem for Republicans is former House Majority Leader Tom Delay’s  Texas’  seat, which is currently leaning towards the Democrats.  Delay refused to step aside and won the primary.  He then said that he was moving to Virginia.  Democrats sued to prevent the Republicans from substituting a new and politically stronger candidate and the courts sided with them,  preventing the Republicans from placing a new nominee on the general election ballot.  As a result, the Republicans have conduct a  write-in campaign on behalf of their replacement candidate, Houston City Councilwoman Shelley Sekula-Gibbs.  Gov. Rick Perry scheduled a special election for the remainder of DeLay’s unexpired term, which will coincide on Nov. 7 with the election for the full term.

 In Ohio’s 18th, Representative  Ney won a sixth term in 2004 with 66 percent of the vote, and an easy win was expected again this year until Jack Abramoff told federal prosecutors that he and his lobbying associates plied Ney in exchange for favorable legislative action.  Ney announced in August that he would relinquish the GOP nomination he had won in May and state Sen. Joy Padgett was  nominated September 14 to take his place.  The next day, prosecutors announced that Ney would plead guilty to two federal counts of conspiracy and false statements, after previoiusly proclaiming his innocence. Democrat Zack Space, an elected municipal attorney,  is airing a television ad that links Padgett to Ney and Republican Gov. Bob Taft, whose job approval ratings have tanked because of controversies about his own ethics. Space’s campaign regularly refers to Padgett as Ney’s “handpicked successor.” 

Pennsylvania’s 10th in northeastern Pennsylvania is normally so dependably Republican-leaning that the Democrats did not even field a candidate against Sherwood in 2002 and 2004revelations that the married incumbent had an affair with a woman who also settled out of court on an accusation of  physical abuse. In the May primary election, Sherwood took just 56 percent of the vote against a political unknown. Democrat Chris Carney, a political science professor, began airing a television ad on Thursday that addresses Sherwood’s personal problems.  Joseph Lech, who describes himself

a Republican who supported Don Sherwood from the very beginning

is featured in an ad that says

He campaigned on family values and he didn’t keep up to his promise.

*

Incidentally, Survey USA’s poll also found that of 612 likely voters, 52% are undecided about how to vote on the proposed amendment to deny all legal recognition of any unmarried relationships, gay or straight.  I’m not surprised, given this vague question, which fails to list the contents of the proposal:

Also on the ballot is Question 1, concerning marriage. On Question 1, are you certain to vote yes? Certain to vote no? Or, are you not yet certain how you will vote on Question 1?

The vaguenesss was intentional, however, compared to a September 13 poll, where a summary of the amendment was read.

 Today’s release shows that 52% of Virginians do not yet have a clear understanding of what Question 1 will do to the Virginia Bill of Rights, and may be persuadable on this issue. Of those who have made up their mind for certain, Republicans support the measure, Democrats and Independents oppose it. The older the voter, the more likely he or she is to vote “Yes.” As the forces who support and the forces who oppose Question 1 spend money to raise the awareness of Virginia voters about just what the implications of Question 1 may be, SurveyUSA expects the number of “certain” voters to increase, the number of “not yet certain” voters to decrease. 

  Here is Equality Virginia’s discussion of the amendment. 

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