I haven’t blogged in a while, and haven’t blogged about US politics in ages, so here we go.
Obama finally put Clinton to bed. This has been inevitably basically since super Tuesday when Clinton blew her load and didn’t really get much of a win. Whats interesting has been the national polling of Obama against McCain. During the latter phases of the primaries Obama was heavily campaigned against by Clinton and also was undergoing Wrightgate, and consequently fell behind McCain in the national polling. This was up to 5% and over 100 EC votes at some stages.
During June, the month following Obama’s primary victory, he made a considerable comeback. Polling showed him gaining against McCain nationally, taking tracking polls averaged from key pollsters late last month had him over 150 EC to the good. Since then coverage has been more negative towards Obama, commenting on his movement towards the centre, and polls have fallen back.
Since primary season is over, a lot of senate races have become clear, so here’s a brief summary of a few of them.
Two term senator Jeff Sessions seems to be strongly leading (65-35) his democratic opponent, Vivian Figures, in nearly all polls. Despite democratic strength in the current electoral cycle, some places are still out of reach for them.
Ted Stevens (whose claim to fame is being the oldest republican in the senate and stating that, “The internet is like a series of tubes”) is having a hard time, despite his position as a longrunning incumbent, against Begrich. In some polls he’s still ahead, others behind. Steven’s senility is probably a campaigning drawback, hopefully he’ll be out of office come November.
Mark Udall is looking to take this seat for the democrats, and is polling about 10% ahead against Republican opponent Schaffer. This fits in well with Howard Dean’s strategy of hitting hard in the western states, traditionally a republican stronghold. There might be some synergy between this campaign and Obama’s national effort in Colorado.
Tom Harkin will retain his senate seat, continuing Iowa’s swing to the democrats over the current election cycle.
Two term incumbent Pat Roberts has a 10% or so margin above his democratic opponent, Jim Slattery. I don’t really know much about the candidates or polling issues here.
Mitch Mcconnell, current senate minority leader, holds a narrow lead over his democratic challenger, proving that even high ranking republicans aren’t impossible targets. He’s a stalwart conservative on nearly all issues. Interesting the libertarian party candidate is Sonny Landham who is a former porno actor who also starred in Predator. Despite his high profile, I doubt that he will really impact Mcconnell’s re-election bid too much, and Mcconnell is apparently fundraising well, so will probably be re-elected.
Incumbent Mary Landrieu is being challenged by a defectee to the republican cause, current State Treasurer John Kennedy. Landrieu is currently maintaining a razor-thing lead. I imagine the result of this will go down to the wire.
Early on in the election season it looked like John Kerry was going to be strongly challenged, but the polls have slowly slipped his way, as one would expect of a leading democrat in a democratically leaning state in a democratically leaning year. He’s currently miles ahead of his republican opponent Jeff Beatty and his re-election looks like a sure thing. Part of Beatty’s problem is that few locals even know who he is, polling data suggests that 44% of them have no opinion of him.
Jack Hoogendyk, Michigan house of reps member, is running against 6 term incumbent Carl Levin. He’s behind in the polling, and was the only republican running for the position. In 1996 Levin was opposed by Ronna Romney, who is Mitt Romney’s sister in law.
Susan Collins, centrist republican incumbent, is leading democratic challenger Tom Allen in polls, but by a narrowing margin. Joe Lieberman has stated that he might campaign for her.
If you thought the pornstar running in Kentucky was interesting, this is a minefield. The incumbent is Norm Coleman, a strong Bush supporter was one of the people who accussed Galloway of abusing his relationship with Saddam Hussein. Al Franken, well know comedian, SNL alumni, author, etc. is running against him, with a strongly leftwing agenda, note the title of one his books, “Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right”. Currently Al Franken is behind in polls, though I’m sure his campaign is entertaining. On 9th July Jesse Ventura, former professional wrestler and governor, announced that he may run for office. Now Ventura bear Coleman in his 1996 election campaign, his entrance into the the campaign makes what the wrestling community might call a ‘3-way dance’. On his previous election effort Ventura won on the back of the Reform party ticket, its unknown who would back him this time. Ventura claims organised religion is a shame, has made numerous comments about drunken Irishmen, heavily invested in mass transit during his period as governor, is now massively bald, supports gay and abortion rights. He is generally fiscally conservative and socially liberal. Its already amusing, and if Ventura runs it will become hilarious.
I’ll leave it at that for now. Perhaps I might get round to finishing off the rest of the alphabet at some point in time.