The Midterm Snapshot: October 21

By

For most people, voting means standing in line with other grudging citizens on a specially designated day every couple of years. But in many places around the country, a single election "day" doesn't really exist. Thirty-four states allow some form of early voting (alas, not New York), and around 30 percent of the electorate took advantage of it in 2008. Which means that even before Election Day, early voting provides a sample of the voting patterns that could determine the outcome of the election. According to the AP, Democrats — perhaps surprisingly, considering the enthusiasm gap everyone's been talking about for months — have an edge so far. More Democrats than Republicans have to date voted in "Iowa, Maryland, North Carolina, Louisiana and Nevada's heavily Democratic Clark County, which supplied two-thirds of the state's voters in 2008," while more Republicans have voted in Florida and Colorado. Take it all with a grain of salt, though, because this all represents only 3 million votes cast nationwide.

Meanwhile, in a look at races around the country, Lisa Murkowski supporters think they can handle a write-in vote, Sharron Angle wonders how Harry Reid got so rich, and a Republican congressional candidate in South Dakota doesn't want people to know that she's a terrible, terrible driver.

In South Dakota, Republican congressional candidate and one of many "next Sarah Palins" Kristi Noem is demanding that the DCCC take down a television ad that basically warns that Noem might kill your kids. "Next time you send your kids to school, consider this," a narrator says as ominous music plays and images of innocent children crossing the street grace the screen. "Noem ran a stop sign three times because she was in a hurry." It may be brutal, but it's also true. As the ad mentions, she's also racked up twenty speeding tickets, and police issued two warrants for her arrest after she failed to pay fines. She's just a terrible driver. The race is a toss-up.

In Alaska, with Joe Miller and Lisa Murkowski all tied up, the result may come down to how many of Murkowski's supporters can handle the process of executing a write-in vote, which involves filling in a bubble and writing her name. A new poll says that 93 percent of Murkowski supporters think they can handle it. The others should probably start practicing.

In Nevada, GOP Senate candidate Sharron Angle is running an ad asking how Harry Reid got so wealthy on a public salary. Get out the pitchforks! Despite the implication that he's done something unsavory to earn that much money, Reid was already a millionaire when he started out in Washington 27 years ago.

In Colorado, Republican Senate candidate Ken Buck is one of many tea-party candidates this year who don't believe in climate change. His race with Democratic incumbent Michael Bennett is a toss-up.

In Kentucky, strangely enough, Republican Senate candidate Rand Paul said for the first time today that the whole Aqua Buddha story didn't even happen. "I'm being attacked for someone's anonymous accusations of what I might have done in college, which I did not do in college," he told Fox News. Paul leads Jack Conway by four and a half points in Pollster.com's poll average.