Friday, September 26, 2008

Electoral College Adventures - what if 269 to 269?

If you've played around with the RealClearPolitics Electoral map you'll know there are several scenarios where Obama and McCain might split the electoral vote right down the middle with 269 votes each. What you might NOT know is how this tie is broken. Yes, it's a congressional vote but not simply one vote per congressman which would almost certainly give an Electoral tie to Obama since the Democrats are unlikely to lose control of Congress. But wait... in this electoral tie scenario my understanding is that each *state* gets ONE vote per state congressional delegation and each Senator gets one vote. Making this even more unpredictable is the fact that it's not entirely clear if the old or incoming congress would vote though I think I read it would be the new congress as it's first act in office.

I haven't found a source yet that looks at all the current state congressional delegations to see if how they'd likely split in an electoral tie. Let's hope that piece of trivia remains ... largely irrelevant.

Debate polls

CNN's phone poll of about 500 showed Obama as the strong debate winner among those who watched, but John King at CNN noted that since more Democrats tend to watch debates this poll does not give us a good enough picture of things. We'll want to know how each candidate fared within their own parties and more importantly how noncommitted voters viewed this debate. Ultimately the candidates need to change minds, not reinforce existing votes from already supportive constituencies.

Fox's text poll, now underway on TV, is a shamelessly foolish excercise in biased polling that will offer little insight into anything. Fox viewers are not representative of national averages, and since only Fox viewers can participate in that poll (other folks won't see the contact number) it's probably going to show a huge McCain bias. The text aspect is also a distortion which will pull in FOX's younger viewers. Unlike CNN's phone poll which reasonably is a measure of *all* those who viewed the debate, FOX is a measure of how FOX viewers viewed the debate.

82 percent McCain in the FOX poll. Fair? balanced?. More like extremely biased. I can't believe people think this is journalism.

Debate 1: A Tie?

It's going to be very interesting to see the reactions to the first Presidential debate though based on CNN's fascinating and somewhat distracting "Audience Reaction" trend lines it looks like this debate won't change many minds.

Most Republicans will be comforted by McCain's responses and most Democrats by Obamas. Independents - potentially a very significant group of undecided voters - did not seem to show a strong preference unless I missed something, though at the end of the debate it really appeared that Obama scored well and McCain poorly - perhaps because Obama seemed more positive and less distracted as things wound up and the audience seemed to react most positively to positive messages.

Fannie Mae Reform Bill Fact Check - McCain was NOT an original sponsor...

Reports that John McCain was at the forefront of legislation that would have prevented the collapse of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac appear to be greatly exaggerated, though it took more than a little sleuthing to figure this out.

McCain shows as one of three cosponsors of the legislation spearheaded by Chuck Hagel. A quick read of it does not suggest to me that the authors saw a pending catastrophe, but even if they did it was very odd to find that John McCain's name did NOT appear on the legislation when it was introduced. In fact he cosponsored this a full 16 months *after* it was introduced for reasons I don't have time to figure out, but given the time frame it would appear this was done more for political affect than anything else.

Here's the official record:

Title: A bill to address the regulation of secondary mortgage market enterprises, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Sen Hagel, Chuck [NE] (introduced 1/26/2005) Cosponsors (3)
Latest Major Action: 7/28/2005 Senate committee/subcommittee actions. Status: Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs. Ordered to be reported with an amendment in the nature of a substitute favorably.
COSPONSORS(3), ALPHABETICAL [followed by Cosponsors withdrawn]: (Sort: by date)

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