Election Scorecard

100.0% probability of winning 0.0% probability of winning
Mean of 369 electoral votesMean of 169 electoral votes

Yesterday’s analysis showed Sen. Barack Obama leading Sen. John McCain by 369 to 169 electoral votes. For today, we get to add in 42 new polls representing 23 states. But no big surprises emerges, and no change to the score.

Today, after 100,000 simulated elections, Obama wins every one. Obama receives (on average) 369 to McCain’s 169 electoral votes. If an election had been held today, Obama would win with a near-100.0% probability.

Detailed results for this analysis are available at Hominid Views.

Methods are described in the FAQ. The most recent version of this analysis can be found on this page.

Open thread

Haunted Mansion at Disneyland last week. They do a “Nightmare Before Christmas” theme this time of year. Photo credit to my wife.

Happy processed sugar, kids.

Palin: Free Press Threatens 1st Amendment

Sarah Palin:

“If [the media] convince enough voters that that is negative campaigning, for me to call Barack Obama out on his associations,” Palin told host Chris Plante, “then I don’t know what the future of our country would be in terms of First Amendment rights and our ability to ask questions without fear of attacks by the mainstream media.”

That’s right, the biggest threat to our First Amendment rights is a free press.  George Orwell would be proud.  And appalled.

Inslee to Interior?

Politico has put together a list of potential appointees in an Obama administration, and the two names being bandied about by Beltway insiders for Secretary of the Interior are Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and Rep. Jay Inslee.

That would be a great resume and profile boost for Inslee, who we all assume aspires to the governor’s mansion, and a well earned reward for his leadership on environmental and alternative energy issues.  But it would throw WA-01′s political scene into turmoil, as there’s no obvious heir, and there’s no reason to count this a safe Democratic seat without Inslee in it.

Let the jostling begin.

I asked Inslee’s office if they would comment on this speculation, and Torie Brazitis promptly responded:

“Nope.  Mr. Inslee is focused on the election and making sure that Senator Obama gets elected to be our next President.”

Reichert: Deficit Spending

When I first reported about the “GOP on Borrowed Time” controversy—the story that Rep. Dave Reichert’s media consultant, Media Plus, was securing the candidate’s TV time on credit (a potentially illegal campaign loan)—Media Plus told me the ad time didn’t constitute a loan. Media Plus president Kathy Neukirchen told me Reichert pays for the booked time on a running basis, paying for the ad placement the day after the ad runs. In essence, the explanation for the advance is: He’s good for it.

It’s not the standard way TV stations deal with campaigns because political campaigns, which survive on fundraising, aren’t the most trusty debtors. Traditionally, ad time for political campaigns must be paid for in advance.

I’ll let the FEC sort through Reichert’s deal with Media Plus— Darcy Burner’s campaign has filed a complaint about the cash advances.

But the latest campaign finance data shows Reichert is not good for it. The numbers indicate he does not have the cash to pay for the media time that Media Plus has secured for him for the final week of the campaign.

Totaling up his fundraising for October, Reichert had about $1.4 million to spend. However, his ad buys for the month total about $1.7 million. That puts him about $300,000 in the red, which is how much ad time he has booked during the last week of the campaign. That means his closing ad blitz is a gimme from the TV stations and Media Plus. (As I’ve reported, local TV stations have a long standing deal with Media Plus allowing the firm to secure ad time on credit.)

Burner spokesman Sandeep Kaushik quips, “These ads shouldn’t say, ‘This message approved by Dave Reichert.’ They should say, ‘Paid for by Media Plus.’”

I’m waiting to hear back from the Reichert campaign for their explanation of the deficit spending.

Oh really, Joni?

Just a few minutes ago on KUOW’s The Conversation, Seattle Times editorial board member Joni Balter kvelled over her paper’s editorial independence and quirkiness, boasting:

“You’d have to open our paper to figure out who we are going to endorse.”

Uh-huh.  And yet, back on September 21, I accurately predicted the Times’ endorsement in every single contested federal and statewide race:

As expected, the Seattle Times editorial board has endorsed Barack Obama for President of the United States, paving the way for endorsements of Republicans Dino Rossi, Rob McKenna, Sam Reed, Allan Martin, Dave Reichert and Cathy McMorris Rodgers, all the while leaving their vaunted bipartisan principles intact.  At least, in their own minds.

In fact, with the possible exception of the race for Commissioner of Public Lands, I can’t imagine a single additional closely contested statewide or federal race in WA state in which the Times endorses a Democrat.

So if your ed board is so unpredictable, Joni, how do you explain my prediction?

WA-04 in play?

Democrat George Fearing’s campaign is touting a new internal poll showing that he’s closed to within 52-47 against “Do Nuthin’ Doc” Hastings in central Washington’s 4th Congressional District… a truly stunning margin in this very Republican district.

Voters in Washington’s 4th Congressional District are clearly unhappy with the direction of the country (79% wrong track).  [...] On the question of “Are you happy with the performance of your Congressman”, 65% of voters said ‘No’.

I’ve met Fearing a couple times, and he’s come across as a great guy who would make an excellent congressman, but given his lack of resources, the dearth of media coverage and his district’s Republican leanings, nobody really expected this race to be that close.

Still, this is a pretty cranky electorate (and with good reason), so while I wouldn’t bet money on Fearing, I wouldn’t entirely dismiss this poll either.  Who knows… perhaps we have the biggest upset in the nation brewing in our own backyard?

Of course, Jon had this earlier, but I just wanted to add my own two cents.

“Blogging is the new journalism”

In response to Wednesday’s expulsion of me and Josh from a Dino Rossi press conference, I wondered out loud if our friends (and enemies) in the traditional media would stand up for the rights of their new media colleagues:

I don’t know if there are some in the old press who applaud these efforts to exclude new media journalists like me, but they certainly don’t seem to be standing up for us.

Well, it turns out that at least a few print journalists have stood up, and I want to thank them for their support.

Over at The Stranger, Josh’s former co-worker Erica C. Barnett slogged on Josh’s plight, remarking that she’s “still pissed” about the one time she was asked to leave a press conference.  She offers this sage advice:

People who work with the media need to learn that you get better press by letting the media (even the partisan media!) in than by excluding them.

Meanwhile, Bellingham Herald political reporter Sam Taylor offers his own defense of both me and my medium:

I would strongly wager that, while my page views are pretty dang big here in our area, Goldy’s make mine look like a tiny, female Chinese gymnast (of legal age to compete, of course) in a Sumo wrestling contest. Blogging is the new journalism, my friends. Mark my words.

But I was most heartened to read Seattle Times editorial columnist Bruce Ramsey’s first hand account of the incident, not only vouching for my description of the events, but defending my media credentials, partisan or not:

Being an employee of a big paper, I have hardly ever had that happen to me. The one time I remember was in the 90s as a business reporter being denied entry to a stockholder meeting of the Fisher Companies, which was then under SEC rules a public company. I was furious–shaking–and a good deal less polite to the Fisher vice-president who kicked me out than Goldy was yesterday–and I don’t regret anything I said to that Fisher man, or about him, thereafter. My experience wasn’t exactly the same as Goldy’s, but close enough.

Obviously, a lawyer holding a press conference in his private offices may let in who he likes and exclude who he likes. It may well be, as Goldy suspects, that they excluded him because he’s anti-Rossi, and because his style of expression is less than genteel. Maybe even the name of his blog has something to do with it. But for the record: Goldy is part of the media in Seattle. People who follow politics know who he is. They read him. Whether Feit is paid, or how much he is paid, is beside the point. We are not media because of how much money we make, or that we make any at all. We are media because of what we do.

Goldy, or his man Feit, should have been let in.

As Ramsey clearly explained in the comment thread of a previous post, the Times op/ed page is opinion, and as such “is not bound to be evenhanded”… and I’d argue that yesterday’s Rossi apologia certainly wasn’t.  That was the sort of partisan editorial the Rossi campaign wanted and expected from the Times, and that is the sort of partisan editorial Ramsey delivered.  There is this convenient fiction that journalistic partisanship is a vice unique to the blogs, and that it inherently diminishes our credibility, but in this particular race it is fair to suggest that Ramsey and I are equally partisan… only in favor of different candidates.

In the end, Josh and I were excluded from the press conference not because we are partisans, and not because we are bloggers, but because Rossi’s handlers feared the difficult questions we might ask in the presence of a roomful of reporters.  The “partisan blogger” label was just a bullshit excuse.

Four years ago when I first started blogging, I didn’t really consider myself a journalist either, but over time both my blog and my thinking has evolved.  As Ramsey unequivocably argues, we are a legitimate part of the media, and it is in the public interest that we be treated that way. For as more and more traditional media moves online while blogs like mine expand the quantity and quality of our coverage, the line between the two will continue to blur, making any effort to ghettoize mere bloggers nothing more than a convenient excuse to deny access to journalists who produce unflattering coverage.

And when subjects get to pick and choose the reporters covering them rather than the other way around, our democracy loses.

Republicans on Borrowed Time: Double Standards?

The Republicans got some media attention yesterday after they notified the press that they’d received a letter from the Public Disclosure Commission acknowledging a GOP complaint against Gov. Chris Gregoire’s campaign. 

The Republican complaint, filed last Wednesday, October 22 alleges that Gregoire got illegal donations worth $12,000 from out-of-state PACs. Candidates are only allowed to get money from out-of-state PACs if a certain amount of the PAC’s donation was raised from in-state contributors. (It turns out Gregoire had already returned all the money—including a batch before the GOP even filed its complaint.)

The news that the Republicans received a letter from the PDC acknowledging the GOP complaint just a week after they filed was heartening to GOP chair Luke Esser. His press release said:

“We have urged the PDC to expedite their investigation in the same way that Judge Kallas expedited the deposition of Dino Rossi, even though it caused him to cancel multiple campaign appearances less than a week before Election Day,’” WSRP Chairman Luke Esser said. “There shouldn’t be a double-standard that allows the Gregoire investigation to be slow-tracked by the PDC until after the election. The people of the state deserve to know the truth about these serious charges before they vote on Tuesday.” 

(Hey, shout out to you for keeping those press releases coming my way, Luke Esser. You’re a good egg and a conscientious Chairman. You might wanna nudge your colleague Mary Lane Strow. She got all bent out of shape when I came to the Rossi press conference on Wednesday afternoon and had me escorted out.) 

I wonder, though, if Esser thinks the people of the state “deserve to know the truth” about the millions of dollars in controversial loans and/or contributions that Media Plus, a local GOP media firm, gave to Dino Rossi, Rob McKenna, and Douglas Sutherland’s campaigns. Should the investigation into that money (millions as opposed to $12,000)—which is the issue of a complaint filed by the Democrats last Thursday—be slow-tracked? Should the people know the truth before they vote next Tuesday?

Democrats are nervous that the complaint is, in fact, on the slow track and people wont know the truth. It’s been a week since they filed and they have not received their letter from the PDC.

PDC spokeswoman, Lori Anderson, says the Democrats’ complaint has been assigned to a staffer. She could not say, however, if the Democrats’ complaint would be investigated prior to election day. It should be

Media Plus has gotten $768,991 worth  of ad time for McKenna, $318,610 for Sutherland, and $6.5 million for Rossi according to the PDC reports.

WA-04: Fearing within distance of Hastings

Apparently internal Democratic polling has challenger George Fearing within five points of incumbent Congressman and lump of coal Doc Hastings, R-Pasco. Read more about it at McCranium.

Also, the General reminds us how Hastings did the bidding of Tom Delay when he was on the House Ethics Committee. There was a fine moment in the history of ethics.

If Republicans wish to accuse us of wishing to settle old scores and rub salt in their wounds, well, they would be correct. The perfidy of the last eight years is more than ample justification to throw the lot of them out of every office we can.

The mind simply boggles at the thought of Doc Hastings having to defend his district.

If you would like to provide, say, $25 worth of salt in the form of a last minute television ad, click here. (Yeah, supposedly cable spots over there are just incredibly cheap. More salt for your buck.)

Senate Republicans (surprise) lying with PDC complaint

Looks like even long-time Republican incumbents are really feeling the heat. So what should Republicans do? In the case of struggling state Sen. Don Benton, R-Vancouver, the answer is predictable. Just lie.

Senate Republicans Thursday accused Democrat David Carrier of violating state campaign finance laws by receiving $40,000 more from the Senate Democratic Campaign Committee over the past two weeks than the law allows his campaign to accept.

But Carrier, who is running to unseat Republican Sen. Don Benton, denied the charge, calling it “a complete lie.”

“What they’re trying to do is create the appearance of inappropriate activity that isn’t there,” he said.

And what exactly was the heinous crime that has the senate Republicans so exorcised?

Chris Gregorich, executive director of the Senate Democratic Campaign Committee, said the committee’s contributions remain well within the limit.

As of Thursday, he said, the Carrier campaign reported $31,070 in in-kind contributions and $14,000 in cash from the committee, for a total of $45,070.

Gregorich said the committee wrote a $30,000 check to the Carrier campaign on Oct. 12 that would have put the campaign over the legal limit. But he said the check was written in error by the committee’s treasurer and later destroyed.

Pass the smelling salts. Now the GOP Party is complaining about stuff that didn’t actually happen. It stretches credulity to believe that Senate Republicans actually believed their Democratic counterparts would violate contribution limits by $40,000. I mean, wisecracks aside, these are professional campaign operatives on both sides.

Besides, the voters could give a rip, especially right now. Little things like retirement funds and jobs are weighing a wee bit more on people’s minds than manufactured Republican outrage. But Republicans are always the victims, you know. It couldn’t possibly be that Republicans generally have few positive ideas and people are finally seeing through their boilerplate platitudes about taxes.

And with the PDC complaint coming on behalf of a special interest glutton like Benton, the whole kerfuffle is nothing but a last-weekend smear aimed to the GOP Party base. Like we’ve never seen this play before.

If nothing else it was good to see Carrier call them out on their lie. He’s one to watch.

Here’s hoping Carrier gets added to the list of incredibly pleasant surprises come Tuesday.

One More Bogus Argument Against I-1000

A report by Progressive Future and the Ballot Initiative Strategy Center listed I-1000 as one of the best voter initiatives in the United States this year (you can see their full report in PDF form here). This is good news for several reasons, one of which being that progressive groups are seeing the value of promoting liberty as the road to achieving the goals that progressives want to achieve. If you go through the report, you’ll see that a number of the initiatives were chosen because of an emphasis on limiting government interference with our decisions. That’s how the progressive movement can succeed in this country.

In addition to this endorsement, former Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber cleared up another piece of propaganda being spread around by I-1000 opponents:

You may have seen the story of a woman on the Oregon Health Plan that makes the insinuation that services covered under Oregon’s Death with Dignity Act are prioritized over chemotherapy because it costs less for patients to die than to live. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Unfortunately, a poorly worded letter to this individual contributed to that mistaken impression. Since then, the political campaign against I-1000 has made it difficult for the public to get the facts. I would like to set the record straight.

Like most insurers, the OHP covers nearly all chemotherapy prescribed for cancer patients, including the multiple rounds of chemotherapy this patient received. The request for second-line treatment was denied because of the drug’s limited benefit and very high cost.

When the Oregon Health Plan went into effect in 1994, it was backed by principles that remain relevant today, including a process for setting health care priorities that reflects a consensus of social values and considers the good of society as a whole.

As I’ve explained previously, the argument that we must limit our choices out of fear of what could happen within our broken health care system is pure folly. It’s no different than saying that we should outlaw abortion because it could allow for health care providers to cover abortions but not cover the cost of having the child. As Kitzhaber points out, the hysteria whipped by the I-1000 opposition is completely baseless. Patients in Oregon are not at risk of being told that they won’t receive proper health care because of their death with dignity law, and neither will patients in Washington.