Election Night Prep: Senate Curtain Raiser

While the Minnesota Senate race has generated a fair amount of visibility, Senate races overall have been mostly ignored across the nation as the presidential contest has sucked up nearly all of the oxygen in the room.  That’s too bad, because there’s an interesting macro story there as well as a number of fascinating local races worth watching.  As you settle in for a long evening of election viewing next Tuesday, here’s a quick snapshot of what to look for in these races and an overall story that will unfold all across the nation and may make it worth waiting up to see what happens in far-flung Alaska.

The Big Picture: The Democrats currently have a 51-49 advantage in the Senate.  That majority is about as thin as possible because it is achieved through the support of Joe Lieberman, Independent (and McCain supporter) of Connecticut, and Bernie Sanders, Independent of Vermont.

Continue reading “Election Night Prep: Senate Curtain Raiser”

Electoral Data Points Ripped From Today’s Headlines…

Trying to sort signal from noise is tough in any business but particularly so in the hothouse world of presidential politics. In that context, are the following indicators or just static:

– Gordon Smith, incumbent Republican Senator from Oregon, is running ads featuring an implicit endorsement from Barack Obama.

– Team Obama says they expect to concentrate their efforts in 14 states that Bush won in 2004: Alaska, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio and Virginia. This list includes some states that haven’t voted Democratic in a while.

This goal – or hubris – got a response from the McCain camp that at least gets points for effort: “‘It’s revealing that Barack Obama has now been forced to expand the states on his map because he’s so weak in traditional Democratic targets such as West Virginia, Arkansas, Tennessee and Florida, not to mention his ongoing problems in Pennsylvania and Ohio,’ said McCain spokesman Brian Rogers.”

– A Bloomberg-Los Angeles Times poll gives Obama a 15-point lead over McCain. June leads don’t always translate into big margins, it’s worth noting.

– The latest consumer confidence survey reports a month-over-month drop of nearly eight points to a stand-on-the-ledge 50.4 percent. Even more telling, their expectations for the next six months are even worse at 41.0 percent, the lowest levels ever recorded in the history of the survey. Similarly, the percentage of those expecting their incomes to drop in the future is setting new highs.

– Obama’s fundraising machine is offering special t-shirts for those who donate $30 or more before the June 30 FEC reporting deadline. You can also get a car magnet for $15. I don’t know if this means they’re trying to spike the ball in the endzone by raising a truly monster number or if they’re trying to avoid underperforming expectations, but given that a single event this week in L.A. raised $5 million for him, I’m not betting on him underperforming.

What’s it all mean, Crowdies? Evidence of a tsunami in the making? Uncorrelated factoids without meaning? Something in between?

– Austin start up business loans fine