The networks are too chicken to call it, but I’ve looked at the county-by-county returns, checked with my family back home, and I’m calling Pennsylvania for Kerry!
You heard it here first.
AZ CO LA PA OH FL MI NM MN WI IA NH Kerry 45 48 42 60 52 51 51 50 58 52 49 57 Bush 55 51 57 40 48 48 47 48 40 43 49 41
I can’t vouch for their accuracy, or meaning. But I’d rather have meaningless, inaccurate data in Kerry’s favor than in Bush’s. History shows that early numbers tend to favor Republicans, but clearly, Kerry is not going to win PA by 20 points, so take these numbers with a grain of salt. And a couple aspirin.
One other interesting thing to note is that Zogby now shows Virginia a dead heat!
All this bodes well.
One good sign that Republicans expect to lose this election is that they’re already casting aspersions on its legitimacy. I was particularly amused by the Drudge Report rumor that voting machines in Philadelphia already had thousands of votes on them before the polls opened.
Now, I grew up in Philadelphia, and worked as a polling official during several elections while in college. And the Democratic Machine there had a well deserved reputation for electoral tricks.
But rigging the machines was not one of them.
Each polling place has a Judge of Elections, a Majority Inspector, and a Minority Inspector… and we inspected the machines together before the polls opened, recorded a preliminary count together after the polls closed, and officially sealed the machines… together. Furthermore, the number of votes recorded on the machine must match the number of voters we recorded on our rolls. There’s no way to jigger those numbers.
So what about those thousands of votes already recorded on the machine? Well there are two odometers on the machine… one records the total number of votes cast in this election, and the other records the total number of votes cast during the life of the machine (in truth, I believe it is reset after major overhauls.) We recorded both numbers before and after.
So when poll watchers claim there are votes already recorded on these machines, it’s the lifetime odometer they are looking at. If these poll watchers (I’m assuming, paranoid Republican Minority Inspectors) had bothered to go to the training sessions (the city actually pays polling officials to go to a half-day session) they would have understood how these machines worked.
A tidbit from the USA Today/CNN/Gallup Poll seems to suggest the vote breaking towards Kerry in Florida:
In Florida, 30% of registered voters said they already had cast their ballots, using early voting sites and absentee ballots. They supported Kerry 51%-43%.
And Ralph Nader?
The independent candidate who helped swing the 2000 election to Bush isn’t much of a factor this time. Among 1,573 likely voters, he was backed by 9.
Let’s see, 51% for Kerry plus 43% for Bush plus about 0.5% for Nader… that comes to 94.5%. Soooo… what? Gallup’s telling us that 5.5% of people who have already voted are still undecided?
But then, this is Florida, so anything could happen.
Earlier today I flattered myself by posting my endorsements in the most important and competitive races in Washington state. Now I’m going to tell you how to vote on the various initiatives and referenda.
Really. You have to vote exactly as I tell you. Or else.
I-892: No to Slot Machines!
It should be clear to even the most casual reader that Tim Eyman and I don’t see eye-to-eye on the issues. And that I think he is a lying, thieving, blowhard.
So I want to make it absolutely clear that my opposition to I-892 would be just as strong even if Tim had nothing to with it. I-892 would put 18,225 slot machines into over 2000 neighborhood bars, restaurants and bowling alleys scattered through nearly every community in the state, dramatically expanding access to the most addictive form of gambling ever devised.
This is a greedy, deceptive, money grab, pure and simple. I-892 would turn Washington into a poor-man’s Nevada, and in return, homeowners get maybe $29 a month on a $100,000 home, tops.
Of course, another really good reason to vote No is just to stick it to Tim.
Prediction: Eyman has more relevance with the media than he does with voters… No 62%, Yes 38%.
I-872: No on the Louisiana primary
“Waaahhhh! I want my blanket primary!”
That’s pretty much what voters and editorialists have been crying ever since the Supreme Court threw out Washington’s odd “blanket” or “open” primary.
Well get over it!
Besides, contrary to popular belief, I-872 does NOT restore the blanket primary… instead it replaces it with the equally odd but decidedly more stupid “Louisiana-style” top-two primary. Yes, I-872 gives you more choice in the primary, but it does so by giving you less choice in the general election… and that, after all, is when the majority of people actually vote.
Prediction: baby wants its blankie… Yes 71%, No 29%.
I-884: Yes to the Education Trust Fund
To be honest, I have a lot of trouble with this initiative. Our children desperately need the extra billion dollars a year it raises for education. But a 1 cent increase in the sales tax hurts those families who can afford it least. Washington already has the most regressive tax structure in the nation, and I-884 will make it worse.
I’m following Ron Sims’ lead on this. He supports I-884 as a stopgap measure to deal with our growing education funding crisis now. And like Ron, I promise to work as hard as I can towards real tax reform that will provide real relief to middle- and low-income families, while assuring an adequate tax base for the services the vast majority of citizens demand.
In real dollars, we are now spending over $500 less per student per year compared to 1993. Anybody who has a child in the public schools has seen the impact, and knows that something has to be done now. So please vote Yes on I-884, and then join me in working for a fair and adequate tax system.
Prediction: I’ll let my optimism get the better of me here… Yes 52%, No 48%.
R-55: No to Charter Schools
I agree 100% with message of R-55’s TV ads… we need to make our schools better. That’s why I’m voting Yes on I-884.
But R-55 gets a big fat NO, because what R-55’s TV ads never mention, is that it authorizes charter schools.
It’s not that I have anything against charter schools… in theory. But in practice, the vast right wing conspiracy is just using charter schools (and vouchers) as a tool to defund public education. In WA, charter schools will be used to bust the teachers unions. Yeah… that’s exactly the way to improve education… pay teachers less.
Charter schools are being driven by a belief in the “free market” that has taken on a religious fervor. Thus it’s not surprising that a large number of charter schools in other states include a religious curriculum.
We need to spend our public education dollars in our public schools. Vote No.
Prediction: once again, WA voters will reject charter schools… No 54%, Yes 46%.
I-297: Yes to cleaning up nuclear waste
Truth is, I don’t know all that much about this initiative, but I’ve been assured by people who know what they’re talking about that I want to vote Yes on this. So take my word on their word.
Not enough? Read the Ballot Summary:
This measure would establish additional requirements for regulating mixed waste (radioactive and nonradioactive hazardous substances) sites, such as the Hanford Nuclear Reservation. The measure would set standards for cleanup and granting permits, would prohibit waste disposal in unlined soil trenches, and require cleanup of tank leaks. Permits would not allow adding more wastes to facilities until existing contamination was cleaned up. Additional public participation would be provided and enforcement through citizen lawsuits would be authorized.
Can’t argue with that.
Prediction: voters can’t argue with that… Yes 55%, No 45%.
As if writing a blog weren’t intellectually masturbatory enough, now I’m going to pretend that people are actually interested in my endorsements. But to make it more interesting, I’m also going to give you my predictions.
President: John Kerry
The Bush administration is without a doubt the most astonishingly incompetent in US history. And I have a BA in History from an Ivy League university, so you can trust me on this. Seriously… Bush makes James Buchanan look like Franklin Roosevelt, and Andrew Johnson resemble Uncle Teddy. He’s turned huge surpluses into huger deficits, and universal good will towards America into universal enmity… in fact, the greatest accomplishment of the Bush presidency was stealing it.
Personally, I’d be happy enough with an “anyone but Bush” endorsement; the fact that John Kerry is such a worthy candidate is icing on the cake. Kerry is thoughtful, curious, intelligent, and honest… everything Bush is not. Is he the most exciting candidate? No. But he may be exactly what we need at this dangerous moment in our history.
Prediction: Given a free and fair election, Kerry 51%, Bush 48%. So it’s a toss-up.
US Senator: Patty Murray
Both Patty Murray and George Nethercutt have something in common: they originally lucked their way into high office. The difference is, the physically diminutive Murray has grown into one of the most effective US senators (in the nation) whereas the politically diminutive Nethercutt has been satisfied to coast these past ten years on his undeserved reputation as a giant killer.
Prediction: the four-foot-and-change Murray whoops the giant killer’s ass, 57% to 43%.
Governor: Christine Gregoire
My regular readers know that I was big Ron Sims supporter. But I’m also a political pragmatist (really… I am) and the choice between Christine Gregoire and Dino Rossi is a no-brainer.
Gregoire is one of those middle-of-the-road, somewhat boring politicians that Washington voters seem to favor. She’s clearly pro-business while maintaining strong sympathies for many traditional liberal causes. She’s smart, dedicated, and has years of experience as executive of the state’s second highest office.
Rossi, on the other hand, is a complete and total fraud. He’s running on his experience in business, when really he was just real estate agent… a salesman. By that measure, anybody who has ever been employed in the private sector might call themselves a corporate executive. He’s also staking his campaign on the contradictory claims that he is both an Olympia outsider, and managed to single-handedly close a multi-billion dollar hole in the state budget. (Neither is true.)
The biggest lie however is his attempt to paint himself as the kind of harmless, middle-of-the-road, somewhat boring politician that Gregoire really is. Rossi is just as passionately right-wing as the previous nominee, John Carlson… only with oddly appealing soft-spoken mannerisms, reminiscent of a gay man proudly displaying the Victorian house he just restored. Or perhaps it’s the mannerism of a real estate agent selling a Victorian proudly restored by a gay man.
Whatever. The point is, unless your idea of good government is corporate tax cuts and and the type of massive deregulation that brought us Enron, vote for Gregoire.
Prediction: Closer than I would have liked… Gregoire 52%, Rossi 48%.
Attorney General: Deborah Senn
Please, please for the love of Mike, vote for Deborah Senn. Sure, she’s not the most likable candidate ever to claw her way onto a November ballot… but personally, likability is not the top qualification I look for when hiring an attorney. Plus, she’s a tireless defender of consumers, which is exactly what we want in an Attorney General.
Corporate Washington can afford their own attorneys, and we don’t need to hire them one at taxpayer expense in the form a politically driven, mediocre, empty suit like Rob McKenna.
Oh, and if you’re one of those party Democrats still pissed off at Deborah for one thing or another, give a little thought to the future. Senn’s lifelong dream was to be an AG; this is the last office she’ll ever hold. But if McKenna wins, he’ll use the office as a stepping stone to the Governor’s Mansion or the US Senate. Don’t give a young, nasty Republican like McKenna a toehold on statewide legitimacy… you’ll regret it.
Prediction: Barring HUGE turnout and extremely long coattails… McKenna 51%, Senn 49%.
Secretary of State: Laura Ruderman
I say toss out Sam Reed just because of the shameless way he pandered to voters in championing I-872, the top-two primary. This is an incredibly stupid primary system — even more stupid than the blanket primary it would replace.
I don’t know much about Laura Ruderman, except by all accounts she was an effective legislator with moderate positions from a moderate district. That’s enough for me.
Prediction: the R’s retain their inexplicable lock on this office… Reed 54%, Ruderman 46%.
Commissioner of Public Lands: Mike Cooper
Let’s see, who do you think is best qualified to be the steward of our public lands and natural resources? The guy overwhelmingly backed by the forest products, mining and building industries? Or the guy overwhelmingly backed by environmentalists?
Mike Cooper is a no-brainer. He’s an average guy — a fire fighter — with an above average intellect, and a record of passionately fighting to protect our forests and streams. As a member of the Legislature he consistently receives the highest scores from the League of Conservation Voters.
Incumbent Doug Sutherland is, quite simply, the kind of guy who can’t see the forest for the board-feet of lumber.
Prediction: money and name recognition trumps common sense… Sutherland 52%, Cooper 48%.
8th Congressional District: Dave Ross
I’ve got to admit that I’ve found Dave Reichert’s law-and-order TV ads so persuasive that I’m definitely considering voting for him for Sheriff. But my nod for Congress goes to Democrat Dave Ross.
Ross is truly an independent thinker — and a bit curmudgeonly — not necessarily my kind of Democrat, but probably just the right kind of Democrat for the 8th district. Reichert on the other hand, seems little more than a cardboard cut-out, parroting the conservative GOP agenda. Voters have a clear choice between somebody who is going to simply vote the Republican Party line, or somebody who is going to make their own decisions.
Prediction: Reichert in a squeaker.
State House & Senate: Vote Democrat
Tax reform is my passion, and we’re not going to get any unless the Democrats control both state houses (and even then it will be a struggle.)
Prediction: D’s maintain control of the House… clueless on the Senate.
[Coming up soon Initiative and Referenda endorsements]
The latest from Zogby International, probably the most reliable pollster on national elections, shows Bush 48%, Kerry 47%. But there are interesting caveats:
Pollster John Zogby: “Razor thin margin here, if there is one at all. The President still does not get above 48%. The real news here is that 18-29 year olds favor Kerry 64% to 35%, with 1% for Nader
According ESPN, the Green Bay Packers win over the Washington Redskins today guarantees a Kerry victory on Tuesday:
If history holds, the 28-14 result portends a victory for Kerry on Tuesday because the result of the Redskins’ final home game before the presidential election has always accurately predicted the White House winner. If the Redskins win, the incumbent party wins. If they lose, the incumbent party is ousted.
Nearly as ominous for Bush is the fact that incumbents polling under 50% almost never win reelection.
Polling firm Zogby International reported the results of the first nationwide text messaging poll, finding that young, cell phone users favor Kerry 55% to 40%.
Much has been made about the fact that traditional polling may underreport support for Kerry, because it does not reach voters without land lines, who tend to be young and urban. While the Zogby poll shows overwhelming support for Kerry in this demographic (18-29 year-old likely voters), it is not clear what, if anything, it says about the traditional polls. Zogby points out that the results are almost identical to those for 18-29 year-olds with land lines.
What is clear is that if young voters — many of whom will be voting for the first time — turn out in large numbers, they will decide the election in Kerry’s favor.
It is not surprising that in all his literature, yard signs, and radio ads, and in all his media appearances, Tim Eyman never mentions what Initiative 892 actually does: legalize slot machines. What is curious, is how little time he spends on his familiar property tax message, instead choosing to focus on the real rhetorical theme of the initiative: “Stick it to the Tribes!”
His PDC reports show no expenditures on polling or focus groups, so I’m assuming this racist appeal comes directly from Tim’s heart. After all, the first initiative Tim sponsored was the anti-affirmative action I-200. (And yes, John Carlson, I know you deserve the credit for passing it… though why you so fervently want the credit, escapes me.)
An editorial in yesterday’s Seattle P-I (“Native slurs“) shows just how low I-892 supporters are willing to take this argument, and how shameless they are in promoting it. The editorial mentions a series of pro-892 political cartoons that have been offered to local newspapers, “that use offensive stereotypes to depict Indians.”
The cartoons depict Indians in loincloths, headbands and feathers and include the phrases “keep ‘um cigarette tax, keep ‘um sales tax, keep ‘um gas tax, too,” apparently trying to make the common I-892 proponents’ argument that tribal casinos have an unfair competitive advantage over non-tribal gambling businesses.
In debating Tim on the radio and in person, I always steered away from the tribal issue, so I could relentlessly focus on the single, winning message of the No campaign: I-892 legalizes slot machines and puts them into our neighborhoods. (It’s a beautiful thing when a political soundbite is both effective, and the incontrovertible truth.) If I strayed off-message, it was only to reinforce it by talking about the very real dangers of problem gambling.
This type of rhetorical discipline was as painful for me as it was out of character. I am opposed to legalizing slots, even at tribal casinos. But I sympathize with the tribes, their unique economic and social challenges, and their long, tragic history at the hands of the “Us” in Eyman’s Orwellian-named PAC, “Just Treat Us The Same.”
And at times, I felt ashamed, biting my tongue as Tim attempted to stoke the fires of racial hatred. I could have rejoined by pointing out that the tribes are sovereign nations — essentially, local governments — and that the vast majority of casino profits are used to provide services to their citizens, like education, health care, roads, etc. I could have repeated Pierce County Executive John Landenberg’s assertions that the tribes have saved county taxpayers millions by building their own schools and health clinics, and eliminating their burden on social services. Or I could have simply appealed to a sense of historical justice, suggesting that if Tim wanted to be treated the same, we should steal his Mukilteo McMansion and move him to a reservation.
But responding to Tim would have allowed him to control the terms of the debate, thus clouding the issue for voters. The issue is gambling. Voters don’t want more of it, especially not in their neighborhoods… and especially, especially not slot machines.
Tim is banking that voters resent the tribes more than they revile slot machines. Racial resentment proved to be a winning theme in the I-200 campaign, and Tim is apparently hoping that “Us” hates Indians at least as much as they hate black people.
I know that may sound like a cynical, harsh, and unnecessarily blunt assessment. But if I-892 loses as overwhelmingly as recent polls suggest, it will encouragingly show that Tim’s racist rhetoric has as little appeal with voters as the two anti-government initiatives he has failed to qualify the past two years.
Tim Eyman has ceased to be relevant with voters. Eventually, the media will wake up to this, and allow his state-wide celebrity to slowly ebb away.
Bush continues to try to spin his way out of it, but the Al Qaqaa story is sticking. As reported here yesterday, an embedded news crew from a Minneapolis TV station captured video of the munitions dump nine days after the fall of Baghdad. Now The NY Times reports that weapons inspectors have confirmed that the footage was shot at Al Qaqaa, and shows the high explosives in question.
“The photographs are consistent with what I know of Al Qaqaa,” said David A. Kay, a former American official who led the recent hunt in Iraq for unconventional weapons and visited the vast site. “The damning thing is the seals. The Iraqis didn’t use seals on anything. So I’m absolutely sure that’s an I.A.E.A. seal.”
One weapons expert said the videotape and some of the agency’s photographs of the HMX stockpiles “were such good matches it looked like they were taken by the same camera on the same day.”
Independent experts said several other factors – the geography; the number of bunkers; the seals on some of the bunker doors; the boxes, crates and barrels similar to those seen by weapon inspectors – confirm that the videotape was taken at Al Qaqaa.
Yesterday the right-wing media echo chamber went into overdrive, suggesting the explosives might have been moved before the US invasion. Today, the party line is that the munitions represented less than one percent of Iraq’s stockpile.
But of course, that’s not the point. Bush says he went into Iraq to make America safer, but by failing to put enough troops on the ground to win the peace, he has allowed dangerous weapons to fall into the hands of terrorists and insurgents.
Bush’s incompetence has cost American lives. And tragically, may continue to cost American lives for years to come.
According to a KOMO TV/Seattle P-I poll, voters are getting the message on Initiative 892. The poll of 800 likely voters, taken Monday and Tuesday showed only 29 percent of voters supporting I-892, with a whopping 64 percent opposed.
Eyman, cocky SOB that he is, is already wearing a victory T-shirt, claiming “The reality is tax-cutting is politically incorrect.” (Yeah Tim, so is race baiting.) Tim continues, “They tell the pollster one thing, but they do something different at the ballot box. So, I’m still dripping with optimism.”
Well… he’s dripping with something.
“Every year we get a poll that says we are going to lose and the voters vote for it on election day. So based on experience that’s pretty standard stuff.”
To prove his point, Eyman pulled out a Seattle P-I story from exactly two years ago. It showed a KOMO TV/Seattle P-I poll showing overwhelming opposition to the car tab measure, Initiative 776.
True enough, I-776 passed, even though opinion polls showed it trailing 53 percent to 39 percent. But it just barely squeaked by… and to repeat that upset, I-892 would have to close 35 point gap!
Still, we all need to continue working just as hard to defeat this dangerous initiative. The bigger the margin of defeat, the better.