Pundits Predict Election Results In Presidential and Congressional Races

The Washington Post has collected the predictions of fourteen pundits, including seven from the new media and seven from the old media. Three questions are included in the main summary after clicking on the link.

Twelve out of fourteen predict that Obama will win the presidential election, with Ed Morrissey and Fred Barnes disagreeing.I go along with the majority here, both as a prediction and my preference.

For most pundits, the question is not whether Obama will win but by how much and which route. The second question is whether Obama will win Virginia, with seven predicting he will. The reason I, as well as the pundits, believe Obama will win is that there are many routes to him making 270 electoral votes. The most conservative prediction is that Obama will take the Kerry states, along with Iowa, New Mexico, and Colorado. After these states Virginia is among the most likely to flip. It is far less certain that Obama will take any individual state than that he will win the election, but if forced to make a guess I’ll go with him taking Virginia. Not surprisingly, the more liberal pundits polled tend to go with this prediction.

The third question is whether they “think the GOP will dash Dem hopes of a 60-seat Senate majority.” All fourteen believe the Democrats will fall short of sixty seats. If forced to make a guess, I’d go with this but I am far less certain of this now than I was a week or two ago.

I also probably differ from most in the liberal blogosphere in being happy if the Democrats fail to accomplish this. For the benefit of newer readers. Liberal as used in the name of the blog is based upon the meaning of the word from a broad historical perspective dating back to the age of enlightenment (leading to the subheading of the blog title). Liberal is not intended to indicate agreement with the liberal blogosphere on all contemporary political matters. With the Republican Party being controlled by extremist social conservatives I tend to prefer Democratic candidates at present, but I do not have the long-term identification with the Democratic Party which is typical of most liberal bloggers. I prefer not to totally give up the checks and balances of a two party system by seeing the Democrats have a veto-proof majority in the Senate in 2009. I figure that there are a handful of moderate Republicans and the Democrats should be able to develop policies which at least one or two don’t feel compelled to filibuster. If it turns out that forty Republican Senators are really blocking popular legislation, there is an opportunity in two years for the voters to take action.

Besides these three key question, clicking on the names of the pundits will reveal additional questions they were asked to make predictions about, along with their exact predictions on the presidential and Congressional results.

SciFi Weekend: David Tennant Leaving Doctor Who; Liz Lemon to Date Don Draper; Weak Economy Helps Weak Shows; Lorelei Gilmore Becomes a Doll; and The Planet Vulcan Discovered

After months of speculation, David Tennant has announced he will leave the role of The Doctor after the upcoming series of four Doctor Who specials are completed. BBC News reports:

Tennant stepped into the Tardis in 2005, and will leave the role after four special episodes are broadcast next year.

He made the announcement after winning the outstanding drama performance prize at the National Television Awards.

“When Doctor Who returns in 2010 it won’t be with me,” he said.

“Now don’t make me cry,” he added. “I love this part, and I love this show so much that if I don’t take a deep breath and move on now I never will, and you’ll be wheeling me out of the Tardis in my bath chair.”

‘I’ll miss it’

Three years was “about the right time” to play the role, he told the BBC in an exclusive interview.

“I think it’s better to go when there’s a chance that people might miss you, rather than to hang around and outstay your welcome,” he said.

His stint in the show had been “the most extraordinary time, it’s been bewildering, life changing, very exciting”, he said.

“And just so much fun, such a great show to work on.

“That’s one of the reasons I think it’s right to take a deep breath and bow out when it’s still fun, when it’s a novelty.

“I don’t ever want it to feel like a job, so I want to move on when it still feels exciting and fresh and that means I’ll miss it.”

Liz Lemon to date Don Draper? Tina Fey and Jon Hamm will have something in common besides both appearing on Saturday Night Live recently. Jon Hamm of Mad Men might appear in a multi-episode arc of 30 Rock as Liz Lemon’s new love interest.Video of two of Hamm’s skits on SNL were posted here.

With all the subplots on Heroes, a lot has happened, including the return of Kristen Bell as Elle. Perhaps the most interesting development was seeing Sylar’s role get even more complex as his father got him to turn on his mother, but he still decided to save  his brother Peter’s life. His character is certainly different from previous years when he was motivated by little more than killing others with super powers in order to obtain their powers. Ultimately we saw him as a pure family man in a possible future shown earlier in the season.

There might be an unexpected benefit from the bad economy. I’ve often felt that, compared to several years ago, television shows are canceled too quickly if they are not doing well in the ratings, not giving them a chance to build an audience. The Hollywood Reporter believes that the bad economy might be responsible for some shows such as Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles being renewed:

Industry observers say the recent cluster of low-rated shows granted full-season orders might have something to do with network executives watching the plunging Dow rather than their shows’ falling Nielsens.

No execs would talk on the record, but the economic crisis, combined with the cost of marketing a new series, the lack of new programming inventory because of the WGA strike and the anticipated difficulty of locking down new advertiser commitments, has networks inclined to play it safe.

“Most years there would be more cancellations than there have been to date,” said John Rash, senior vp/director of media negotiations at Campbell Mithun. “But the dual dynamics of schedule stability keeping ad dollars in place is combining with delayed programming development from last season’s writers strike.”

NBC’s “Knight Rider,” ABC’s “Private Practice” and Fox’s “Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles” recently received orders for an additional nine episodes apiece. Such a move typically indicates a network’s confidence in a show’s performance and signals the inclination to keep a series on the air for the duration of the season.

Life on Mars at least has received well deserved improvements in the ratings. Last week Sam came to the assistance of his mother, learning far more about her than he probably wants to know, and also got the opportunity to meet Jim Croce and Joe Namath (Joe the Quarterback?). In upcoming episodes he gets involved in his father as well as someone who was/will become his mentor.

Bradley Whitford of The West Wing and Studio 60 on The Sunset Strip is producing and staring in a sitcom for NBC named Off Duty about a once-legendary police detective (Whitford) on his way down who complicates the life of his new partner, both on duty and off.

Lauren Graham of Gilmore Girls will be appearong on Broadway as the female lead in a new revival of Guys and Dolls.

J. Michael Straczynski, creator of Babylon 5, is working on a script for a remake of the 1956 classic Forbidden Planet.

And finally, the planet Vulcan might have been discovered.

Why “Fake America” Is Going To Elect “That One”


Barack Obama shows how he differs from the Republicans with their divisive tactics. In contrast, here is John McCain’s “role modelJoe the Plumber questioning Obama’s loyalty to the United States and support for democracy:


There are many issues being discussed this year, but these two videos really sum up the differences between sticking with the Republican mind set and McCarthyism versus voting for change.

Stevens Unlikely To Reman in Senate Even if Wins Reelection

The composition of the next Senate depends partially upon what happens in Alaska. Roll Call reports that even should Ted Stevens be reelected he will not be allowed to keep his seat as a convicted felon:

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) was forced into the middle of Sen. Ted Stevens’ (R-Alaska) re-election bid late Saturday night after a senior Senate Democrat endorsed Stevens and called on voters to disregard his seven-count felony conviction.

In a bluntly worded release from his office, Reid warned that Stevens would not only face an ethics investigation but also expulsion proceedings regardless of his efforts to appeal the convictions.

Reid’s decision to jump into the Alaska Senate race with both feet marks the first time a leading national Democrat has explicitly warned that Stevens’ ouster from the Senate would be sought. GOP leaders including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) have already called for him to step down or face expulsion.

Whether Stevens wins still matters. If he loses, then obviously the Democrats pick up a seat. If he wins there is still a shot for another Republican to wind up with the seat.

Current law calls for a special election to replace Stevens if he were to be reelected and later resign or be expelled. This would give another Republican a shot at the seat. There is also some question as to whether Alaska’s current law is Constitutional, leaving open the possibility that the seat will be decided by Sarah Palin (or the current Lieutenant Governor should the nightmare scenario occur and Palin leave Alaska to become vice president.)

Liberal Values Backs Iniatives For Embryonic Stem Cell Research, Medical Marijuana, and Sunday Beer & Wine Sales

Unless the polls are way off or things change dramatically in the final day of the campaign, we pretty much know how Tuesday will turn out. Obama should win, either by just over 270 electoral votes if McCain manages to win in the states which remain close, or by a landslide if Obama picks up many of the contested states which now lean towards him. The Democrats will get close to sixty seats in the Senate, but watching if they achieve sixty will provide some drama. The Democrats will also pick up several House seats as well as victories in many state races. Questions remain with regards to the ballot initiatives, with some being of importance.

Here in Michigan there are two key iniatives on the ballot, both of which I support. One is to allow research in embryonic stem cells. I have not seen polling on this, but not unexpectedly a glance at signs being displayed shows heavy support in Ann Arbor and opposition here in conservative West Michigan.

The other initiative will allow for medical use of marijuana. There are many other states as well as local governments with similar initiatives, with StopTheDrugWar.org providing a summary. The election of Obama over McCain will also have a major effect on reducing the drug war. Currently the DEA has been raiding users of medical marijuana even in states where it is legal (in a situation which shows how conservatives only back Federalism when it helps promote their beliefs). Obama supports an end to such actions while McCain supports continuing them. Obama has also supported reform of sentences for drug offenders, and appears much more open to other reforms to end the drug war.

In Ottawa County where I live there is also a proposal to allow beer and wine sales on Sunday. (I did say that West Michigan is conservative). We currently have an unusual situation here where restaurants can sell mixed drinks but not beer or wine, which both makes no sense and which is foolish in a region which depends upon the tourist trade. I also knew someone who, while he was still working, had done quite well with a store selling beer and wine just past the country border.  Incidentally, because of the wording of the proposal, it is necessary to vote No to prevent continuation of the current ban.

Frank Luntz Predicts Obama Victory Based on Polls

“I cannot foresee a scenario that John McCain is elected president of the United States.”

–Republican Pollster Frank Luntz on The BBC

The polls still are not showing any meaningful narrowing in the polls. Luntz sees some narrowing in the firm red and blue states, possibly decreasing the popular vote lead for Obama, but Obama continues to have strong leads in many battleground states.

In today’s Gallup tracking poll, Obama leads by eleven points among all registered voters, eight points in the traditional model (which excludes new voters), and by nine points in the expanded model for likely voters. Pew Research shows Obama leading 52 percent to 46 percent among likely voters, with an eleven point lead among all registered voters. CNN/Opinion Research shows Obama leading 53 percent to 46 percent. Reuters/CSpan/Zogby has Obama leading 50 percent to 44 percent.

Back in 2004, when George Bush had a small lead over John Kerry going into election day, many of the liberal blogs were predicting a Kerry victory by arguing that no incumbent president has been elected when they went into election day with under 50 percent in the polls. They believed that the undecided vote would go more heavily to Kerry and he would win.

This year John McCain’s supporters have predicted both that the polls would narrow and that the undecided vote would go to McCain. We are not seeing meaningful narrowing in the polls, and it is questionable how the undecided voters will break.

McCain supporters speculate that some white voters who are unwilling to vote for a black candidate are telling pollsters that they are undecided when they really plan to vote for McCain. Others discount the Bradley effect, arguing that those who plan to vote for McCain, regardless of reason, are already telling pollsters they are voting for McCain (even if not always admitting that race is the reason).

Today on CNN’s Late Edition, John Fund argued that Obama is a quasi-incumbent and tried to apply the same theory applied in 2004 to Obama, also arguing that the independents would go to Obama. There are two major problems with these theories that the undecided will go to McCain. First, Obama leads by fifty percent or more in many polls. Even if one hundred percent of the undecided vote goes to McCain, which is unrealistic, Obama would still win. Secondly, Obama has safe leads in all the blue states which Kerry won and is concentrating on picking up support in several red states.

Even if Obama splits the red states where he is leading in the polls he would still exceed 270 electoral votes. McCain is hoping to pick off Pennsylvania but although some polls show the race is narrowing, Obama still has a strong lead, such as by seven points in the Survey USA poll. Obama’s confidence in winning Pennsylvania can be seen by his plans to campaign in red states for the final couple of days of the campaign, leaving Joe Biden to campaign in Pennsylvania. There are paths to victory for Obama even if he sould lose Pennsylvania. In contrast, McCain has been forced to also campaign in the red states in an attempt to hold onto them, including in his home state of Arizona, and needs to come back from behind in several states in order to win.

The Endorsements

Hardly what McCain needs.

Jonah Goldberg Concedes Defeat for McCain With Warnings Against Extremism

Conservatives such as Jonah Goldberg and The New York Post apparently recognize that Barack Obama will be elected president next week. Goldberg writes a speculative/paranoid view of Obama Four Years Later: A Look Back At His Presidency. He portrays a term so extremist and  unsuccessful that Joe Biden is forced to resign and that, after being denied the vice presidency a second time, Hillary Clinton successfully challenges Obama for the Democratic nomination 2012.

Besides virtually acknowledging that McCain will lose, articles such as this demonstrate how out of touch with reality conservatives are if they think that, even granting some intentional hyperbole, this in any way resembles what an Obama administration would be like. Do they really believe their own talking points when Republicans run for office by distorting the views of their opponent?

Vice presidents resigning? Does Goldberg really want to remind readers that the only vice president to resign was Republican Sprio Agnew who has many similarities to Sarah Palin, including being used as an attack dog/pit bull to bash the opposition and the press while ultimately facing ethics scandals in his own state?

Failed presidencies? You would think they would want to avoid any thought of George Bush.

Even the extremism argument works against the Republicans. Repeatedly we have had Republicans make promises of a kinder, gentler government, and with George W. Bush a promise of compassionate conservatism. Now John McCain runs as a Maverick against his own party’s rule.  It should be a tip off that something is wrong with conservatism when most of the Republican candidates feel compelled to run against it or promise they are somehow different.

George Bush ran as a compassionate conservative and then governed as possibly the most extremist president in our history, thinking he could govern with the support of fifty percent plus one, ultimately causing his support to fall below that of even Richard Nixon (another Republican forced to resign from office). If voters want to get away from extremism the choice is clear in backing a centrist government under someone like Barack Obama who has showed he is open to ideas from both the left and the right, as opposed to gambling on yet another Republican who claims he is different.

Obama’s Birth Certificate Verified by State of Hawaii

During the campaign there have been numerous bogus reports spreading around the internet, including claims that Obama is a Muslim, stories greatly exaggerating Obama’s association with William Ayers, and false claims that Obama plans to redistribute the wealth. Another claim being spread by the right is that Obama is not an American citizen, despite the release of his birth certificate and other evidence disproving these claims. This one was debunked yet again on Friday as the State of Hawaii verified the validity of his birth certificate:

The state’s Department of Health director on Friday released a statement verifying the legitimacy of Sen. Barack Obama birth certificate.

The state has received multiple requests for a copy of Obama’s birth certificate. State law does not allow officials to release the birth certificate of a person to someone outside of the family.There were rumors that Obama was born in Kenya, where his father is from. The Constitution requires that the president be a natural born citizen of the U.S.

While many sites and news organizations have released copies provided by the Obama campaign, the rumors have persisted.

“There have been numerous requests for Sen. Barack Hussein Obama’s official birth certificate. State law (Hawai‘i Revised Statutes §338-18) prohibits the release of a certified birth certificate to persons who do not have a tangible interest in the vital record,” DOH Director Dr. Chiyome Fukino said.

Fukino said she and the registrar of vital statistics, Alvin Onaka, have personally verified that the health department holds Obama’s original birth certificate.

“Therefore, I as Director of Health for the State of Hawai‘i, along with the Registrar of Vital Statistics who has statutory authority to oversee and maintain these type of vital records, have personally seen and verified that the Hawai‘i State Department of Health has Sen. Obama’s original birth certificate on record in accordance with state policies and procedures,” Fukino said.

Fukino said that no state official, including Gov. Linda Lingle, ever instructed that Obama’s certificate be handled differently from any other.

Some Obama critics claim he was not born in the United States.Multiple lawsuits were filed to try and force Obama to provide proof of citizenship. Earlier Friday, a southwest Ohio magistrate rejected a challenge to Obama’s U.S. citizenship. Judges in Seattle and Philadelphia recently dismissed similar suits.

John McCain and Tina Fey on Saturday Night Live

John McCain joined Tina Fey (playing Sarah Palin) on Saturday Night Live. The two opened the show in a skit in which they were appearing on GVC since they lacked the funds to purchase a spot on network television as Obama did last Wednesday. McCain explained, “Look, would I rather be on three major networks? Of course. But I’m a true maverick–a Republican without money.” Palin announced, “And, as part of our agreement with the QVC folks, we’re gonna try and sell you some stuff.” Palin sold a set of Joe Dolls: Joe the Plumber, Joe Six Pack, and Joe Biden. Pull Biden’s string and he talks (endlessly). Cindy McCain also appeared briefly to demonstrate the product when John McCain sold “McCain Fine-Gold” jewelry. Ultimately Sarah Palin went rogue and offered a Palin 2012 shirt, requesting that purchasers wait until after Tuesday to wear it. The video of the skit is below:

McCain also appeared on Weekend Update as he explained his final campaign strategies to Seth Meyers:

“I thought I might try a strategy called the Reverse Maverick,’’ Mr. McCain told his interviewer. “That’s where I do whatever anybody tells me. I don’t ask questions, I just go with the flow. If that doesn’t work, I go to the Double Maverick. That’s where I go totally berserk and just freak everybody out. Even the regular mavericks.’’

McCain also mentioned other possible strategies including “Forrest Gump” and “The Sad Grandpa Strategy.” The full video is below:

McCain has consistently done the best of the major political candidates appearing on Saturday Night Live. I have more on his previous SNL sketches here. Perhaps McCain has a new career to fall back on should he lose both the presidential race and lose his Senate seat, which appears to be a real possibility in 2010

The show also featured guest host Ben Affleck mocking Keith Olbermann. In the opening monolog Afflect described his history of backing politicians, including Jimmy Carter’s reelection bid against Ronald Reagan, Paul Tsongas in 1992, Al Gore in 2000, and  John Kerry in 2004. In light of the outcomes of those races, he felt that the best thing he could do for the Democratic Party this year would be to endorse John McCain.