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Category Archive for ‘IA-GOP’ at Campaign Diaries
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Archive for the 'IA-GOP' Category


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Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 55

The morning after, Republicans: Romney is hurting, but has to move on fast

The unthinkable ended up happening in the GOP race. While the press is covering Barack Obama’s victory as a huge stunning surprise, the fact is that no candidate had a lead in the state since Edwards lost his edge some time in the spring and Obama’s organization in Iowa was by many accounts even better than Edwards and Clinton’s. Huckabee’s 9% triumph, on the other hand, defies all rules of politics, and especially all rules of caucusing: Romney had been leading from the spring to November, and usually by very healthy leads; he massively outspent Huckabee; he buried him with attack ads; and he had a well-constructed organization that Huckabee could probably not even conceive of. And I confess that I was also one of those who thought that, in the end, Huckabee just faced too many obstacles to pull this one off. Yet, when voters went to caucus, Huckabee not only defeated Romney but he did so by a very comfortable margin: 34% to 25%.

The entrance polls reveal the main reason for Huckabee’s triumph. We knew, of course, that his base were evangelicals, but the surge of evangelical turnout was not fully expected: 60% of GOP caucus-goers were born-again or evangelical Christians and, among those, Huckabee got 46% versus 19% for Mitt Romney. Among the 40% who are not, Romney got 33% and Huckabee got 14% — behind even McCain and Thompson who got 18% and 17% respectively. Meanwhile, among the third of voters who said that the “religious beliefs of a candidate matter a great deal” Huckabee got 56% and Romney got 11% — tied with McCain and Thompson. Among the third who said it mattered somewhat, Romney and Huckabee were tied. It is impossible to know, of course, whether the beliefs that mattered so much were Hucakbee’s being a preacher or Romney’s Mormonism… My guess is that both had a big impact on the race.

And this highlights the huge challenge to Huckabee going forward, at least in New Hampshire: He did not reach out beyond evangelicals and his base is — for now — very much based on religious affiliation. New Hampshire is not Iowa, and there are much less evangelicals who will go to the polls on Tuesday, which underscores why Huckabee will only go so far in New Hampshire unless he manages to broaden his appeal in the next 4 days. Huckabee’s next natural state, of course, is South Carolina. But keep an eye on Michigan on the 15th: Huckabee’s populism is explicitely designed for states like that, and there could be a major showdown in Michigan between Huckabee and whoever wins New Hampshire (Romney/McCain).

Romney, now, is quasi-fatally wounded. His strategy has been entirely predicated on winning Iowa and New Hampshire. And until the middle of November, it looked like he would get both without even breaking a sweat as candidates were conceding to him one by one. Then Huckabee appeared on the radar screen, followed by McCain. Now, Romney did not lose by a small margin. He got trashed, and he is now going on to New Hampshire where his once-impressive lead has melted. Poll after poll are showing a completely tied race and McCain is even leading in some for the first time. The one good news for Romney yesterday: McCain did not get third place. With 95% of precincts reporting, Thompson is barely ahead of McCain, though they both get 13%. It’s close, true, but it prevents McCain from getting that clear a bounce out of Iowa — and the muddle he is in prevented him from being part of the storyline this morning.

Expect an epic fight in New Hampshire in the next 5 days. Romney and McCain had already been exchanging very pointed attacks through direct comments to the press and through increasingly negative ads (especially on McCain’s part). Romney’s camp has already started raising the age question, and that is only going to intensify in the coming days. Both candidates know that they are probably out with a loss, and this will be vicious. Romney is not out of the race by any means, but he is likely to lose whatever small edge he had left after his Iowa collapse.

Two very important things to keep in mind: (1) Obama’s victory is very bad news for McCain, especially his huge win among independents. It means that Obama is the story going in Tuesday and that independents are likely to massively come out in his favor again. McCain needs those very same independents, and there is a lot of evidence that McCain and Obama are competing against the same people. If Clinton had won yesterday and the Democratic race had seemed less competitive, many of these independents would have been likely to go in the GOP primary instead. (2) Giuliani’s continuing melting means that McCain could pick up whatever support Rudy has left in NH. The debate this week-end was supposed to only feature the top four finishers in Iowa, and that could mean that Rudy is excluded — great news for McCain.

As for the other candidates: Fred Thompson did get third, but he is barely ahead of a candidate who did not air ads and who barely campaigned. He will get nowhere in New Hampshire and the press will keep asking him when he is dropping out. As for Rudy Giuliani, he got 3.5%. That’s right. Even for a candidate who did not campaign, that’s just embarassing — after all, McCain got 13% while campaigning just a bit more. Giuliani did have some mailers going out, and while his strategy is based on bypassing the early states there is some threshold of viability he has to meet to not be ridiculed.

That said, Giuliani has to also be very happy with Romney’s loss yesterday. The race will now stay muddied for a while, as there will be two winners of the two early states and a drawn out fight in Michigan and in South Carolina. In other words, Giuliani now has a fighting chance to implement his Florida/Feb. 5th strategy. And while I’m still skeptical that it has any chance of succeeding, the first requirement has been met.

And congratulations to Ron Paul, who got 10% of the vote and a big share of the independents voters who turned out last night. My one prediction yesterday had been that Paul would beat Giuliani and that he would even contest fourth place, and he did as he is close to McCain while crushing Giuliani. Notice also that Paul’s support was understated in polls — and that’s likely to be the same in New Hampshire.


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Iowa results thread: Huckabee and Obama win, Clinton likely to be third, Biden and Dodd drop out

11:55pm: Giuliani gave a speech tonight from… Florida and did not mention Iowa once. He is only at 4% in the caucuses, 6% behind Ron Paul which says a lot. With 87% in, Huckabee is ahead 34-26 and the Thompson-McCain race is still tied. Meanwhile among Democrats, all but one precinct have reported with Obama at 37.57%, 29.76% for Edwards, 29.46% for Clinton, and 2.11% for Richardson. Biden gets only 0.96% of delegates. Just imagine the huge number of caucus-goers who had to realign given the final numbers Biden and Richardson had to settle for.
11:20pm: Joe Biden is dropping out as well, CNN is reporting, which is a big surprise. No news for now on whether he will endorse. Barack Obama just gave his victory speech and he was clearly in his element, as this kind of speech in front of a pumped-up crowd is where he shines best — and he emphasized the historic nature of the night. “This is the day we will remember” years from now, he said again and again.
10:50pm: Thompson is back slightly in front but it’s only 300 votes. Race for third is going down the wire. And Ron Paul is firmly in double-digits. Meanwhile, Huckabee’s speech is a classic mixture of Christian humility and populism. With Chuck Norris standing just behind him. And Clinton has not made up any ground at all, with only 70 precincts outstanding she’s 11 delegates behind (while both are about 190 behind Obama). And Clinton is now more than 8% behind Obama. That has got to hurt — and it’s even larger than the DMR poll predicted.
Meanwhile, here are the latest turnout projections: It’s only 90,000 among Republicans, and 221,000 among Democrats. That’s a gigantic number — beyond anyone’s projections. Beyond even Obama’s campaign hopes, as the consensus among Obamaites was about 150,000. And has clearly been a boost mainly among the youth and among independents, and it provided a gigantic boost for Obama. And consider that Democrats outnumbered Republicans 2.5:1… in a state Bush carried in 2004. How much does that speak of the GOP malaise?
10:40pm: Chris Dodd is dropping out, and it is still unclear if he will endorse anyone. This could also mean that Ted Kennedy could endorse soon, as what was holding him back might have been his friendship with Dodd. And it also frees up the endorsement of the prized firefighter’s union.
Meanwhile, Huckabee started speaking at the same time as Romney — and Mitt’s speech is not being covered by the networks. Kind of symbolic of the night for Romney.
10:30pm: It’s Hillary Clinton’s turn, and she is celebrating this as a great night for Democrats, and thanking all caucus-goers for “standing out and caucusing for a Democrat…” She could have said EXACTLY the same thing if she had won the race (which made for a pretty surreal speech) as she framed it all in a GOP v. Democrat frame as opposed to a speech on the eve of a primary election. Speculation: She mentions “Democrats… [pause] and like-minded independents” and there were laughs in the audience. Is that meant as a dig to Obama’s reliance on independents, or am I just imagining things at this point? And Clinton followed it up by taking digs at Iowa… in a brilliantly subtle way by promising to be a president for those who need it like all those who couldn’t caucus tonight like those who have to work night shift and those who are in Iraq. A way to shoot down the undemocratic nature of the caucuses without actually saying so.
The basic message: Clinton might have lost tonight, but she wants Democrats in later states to know she barely cares about it and that she is still the natural front-runner.
10:20pm: John Edwards, speaking right now, claimed second-place and celebrated the “defeat of the status-quo” and the victory of change — apparently lumping himself with Obama versus Clinton. And Edwards is following this up with a populist speech, and he has gone on to address poverty and the need for health care.
With 78% of the GOP in, McCain has now passed Thompson for third-place — though there is only 34 votes differentiating them.
10:05pm: The numbers are hardly changing at this point. With 92% in, it’s 37.18% Obama, 30% Edwards and 29.58% Clinton. CNN reports Obama has won the top 5 counties of Iowa. And among Republicans, numbers have hardly moved. Thompson is barely ahead of McCain.
9:50pm: Entrance poll shows surprising result that union members put Edwards in third, and those who decided late chose Obama and Edwards. With 89% precincts in, Clinton is under 30% and not very far from Edwards. The story will probably be a tie for second at this point. The press is emphasizing the boost Obama will get because of whites embracing his candidacy.
9:45pm: A huge proportion — 55% — of GOP voters were evangelicals. Don’t look further to explain Huckabee’s victory. Republicans numbers are finally coming in with 65% reporting: Huckabee 34%, Romney 25%, Thompson 14%, 13%, McCain. Paul is at 10% and Giuliani is only at 4%. It looks like my one projection that Paul will beat Giuliani is being proven true.
Meanwhile, KEY entrance poll: among independents, Obama got 41% and Clinton 17%. That clearly provided much of his margin of victory. Can Clinton and Edwards stay above 30%? The gap is increasing fast: It’s now 37% Obama.
9:35: Can Obama get to 40%? He is rising fast and he is now at 36%. And the storyline is clear: independents have carried the day for Obama (though I have not yet seen a projection of what the Democratic turnout proportions are). Meanwhile, Edwards and Clinton are basically tied — proving that Edwards is getting a big boost from second choice preferences. Can Clinton avoid her nightmare scenario? Right now it’s Obama-Edwards-Clinton. There’s still 400 precincts to go and there is only 3 delegates separating Edwards and Clinton.

9:25pm: Obama is being projected the winner among Democrats by the networks.

With 70% reporting among Democrats, Obama has crossed 35% and Clinton has gone south of 31%. And here is more evidence of the Obama-Richardson deal. From the results it looks like Obama would not be where he is now without that (it’s safe to assume at least a 3-4% boost). Republican numbers are not updating much.
9:20pm Evidence that second-choices are sinking Hillary: Richardson, Biden and Dodd are apparently viable nearly nowhere — which means that nearly everyone backing them is rellocating which is awful news for Hillary Clinton. The TNR reports that at a precinct Clinton ended up trailing Edwards by a vote while she was ahead in the raw votes of the first count — and Clinton gets one less delegate just because of that one raw vote (out of a total of more than 200). And this explains why Clinton is still trailing Edwards in the results despite coming in ahead of him in entrance polls. With 1200 precincts, it’s Obama 35% and 31% for Clinton and Edwards.
9:15pm More talk about the deal: TNR’s Crowley is now being told that Richardson’s 17 people decided at the site to go for Obama and had not been told anything. Not sure what to think here. The press’s take on Romney’s defeat is emphasizing just how much Romney outspent Huckabee, which is not a conversation Romney wants to have. Meanwhile with almost 1000 precincts in, Obama is still ahead and very very slowly rising. It’s still 34-32-31 with Clinton in third.
9:05pm: Entrance polls have been refined and now apparently show Obama narrowly ahead, which should ensure an Obama victory given that he is clearly benefiting from realignment. With almost 50% reporting in the Democratic race, Obama is starting to rise: 34% to 32% for Edwards and 31% for Clinton. Clearly big precincts are favoring Barack. Let’s see how close Clinton can keep it. Meanwhile among Republicans: With 25%
reporting Thompson is narrowly ahead of McCain.

9:00pm: Mike Huckabee is now being projected to win the Iowa caucuses by CNN and Fox. He is likely to win big.

9:00pm: More evidence of a Richardson-Obama deal via Ben Smith who reports the Richardson captain at his precinct told his group the campaign strategy is to go for Obama and told Smith he had been told this “informally.” Meanwhile, Obama looks to have cleaned out in the precinct shown on C-Span, where his group is more than the double of Clinton’s. This kind of large precinct will now start reporting, so numbers could change quickly.
8:55pm: With 15% of the GOP vote, Huckabee is up 36% to 23% on Romney with Thompson at 14% and McCain at 12%. On the Democratic side, it’s 33% Edwards, 32% Obama and 32% Clinton… could hardly be tighter. Meanwhile, entrance polls of CNN: 57% of 17-29 year olds went for Obama and 11% for Obama, and among 65+ voters it’s 45% Clinton and 17% for Obama.
8:45pm: Richardson seems to have indeed struck some sort of deal! The TNR’s Crowley reports that in the precinct in which he is standing all 17 of Richardson’s supporters collectively moved to Obama’s group after Richardson was unviable. That’s 17 out of 161 voters — nearly 10%. That is some huge boost for Obama if it holds across precincts and a blow to Edwards who was hoping to pick-up these second choices.
8:38pm: The Obama campaign is now predicting 200,000 — which could be a huge boost to his chances to win this out. We have now passed 10% precincts reporting and it’s now 33% E, 32% C, 31% O. Couldn’t be tighter — but Obama’s strongest counties are probably still to come. And as I already noted, turnout could be a huge boost for Obama and should also help Clinton distance Edwards at the end.
8:30pm: CNN’s entrance poll says that “Hillary Clinton is holding a narrow edge over Barack Obama and John Edwards on the Democratic side.” This is the first time an order has been given in the Obama-Clinton showdown; don’t forget it in no way means Clinton will win — though it could mean she is saved the disgrace of third-place. Out of 118 precincts reporting (which is something close to 8%), it’s 36% for Edwards, 32% for Clinton and 28% for Obama. Once again, this does not include the big precincts so a lot is going to change.
8:20pm: An Obama adviser is talking about a Richardson-Obama deal on Fox… and suggesting that while there is no top-down order people might have seen these rumors online and been pushed thus to go for Obama. Meanwhile, entrance polls suggest 50% of caucus-goers on the Democratic side are first-time voters — that’s close to the DMR’s model.
8:11pm: This is in no way meaningful but six precincts are already reporting on the Democratic side! Edwards has 39% of delegates, 34% for Obama and 25% for Obama. Keep in mind the first precincts to report are smaller rural precincts in which Edwards is stronger. Also, reports are that turnout is huge — which means that it will take a lot of time to count hands.
8:05pm: First entrance polls are out from MSNBC and from CBS: Obama and Clinton on one side, Huckabee and Romney on the other are tied at the entrance (which is not good news for Clinton), but Edwards is trailing.
7:47pm: C-Span just interviewed a young first-time caucus-goer who’s already arrived on site and who has not yet decided who she is voting for; she said she was waiting to talk to others during the deliberation phase. That tells you just about all you need to know about why it’s impossible to know what’s going to happen tonight. Meanwhile, Ambinder reports that “Richardson supporters said to be moving in lockstep to Obama” though he offers no details so it is unclear what he means by that — has there been a deal after all? One more piece of news: It looks like Dodd could be dropping out if he does not get fourth place tonight (which seems rather unlikely).
7:30pm (all times Eastern):
The doors of the caucuses are opening. The Democratic meetings could start in a matter of minutes, while the GOP is going to get going in half-an-hour. C-Span is airing a Democratic caucus, and C-Span 2 is going with a GOP one (though there is definitely much less to see in a Republican caucus). Ambinder is reporting some anecdotal evidence from Cedar Rapids where Democratic turnout was 120 in 04 and that number appears to be shattered today. If that holds across the state, it will bode well for Obama (and, perhaps, for Clinton depending on who these extra-people are).

Original post: Welcome to the first results thread of 2008! Numbers should start trickling in from small precincts as early as 7pm CT (8PM ET) and most precincts should be on their way to reporting by 9:30pm CT. It’s also unclear when the media will be reporting their entrance polls — and don’t forget that there is no reason to think the leader in the entrance poll will still be ahead after realignment and delegate allocation. However, I do believe that the entrance numbers are any many ways much more valuable than the results that will be reported at the end of the night, so I will definitely try to report those as well.

Meanwhile, check my guidelines of what to expect tonight.


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Setting expectations: A few guidelines

I will not make any definite predictions, because I sincerely believe that Obama, Clinton, Edwards, Romney and Huckabee all could emerge victorious tonight. I do have my sense of what is more probable and what would be more surprising, so I will offer a few small guidelines of what I am expecting.

Democrats, first place: All three candidates have very plausible scenarios to win this out: Hillary Clinton will win if she turns out first time voters who are registered Democrats, Barack Obama if he turns out independents, and John Edwards if he rides the second-choice preferences ti victory. My hunch is that a Clinton victory at this point is the least probable scenario, mainly because realignment will play at her disfavor. To put it simply: Clinton has to be leading by at least a few points prior at the entrance of the caucuses to win a plurality of delegates which gives her an extra hurdle that her two rivals don’t have. That said, the benefits of a victory for Clinton would be huge, as she would then be in an ideal position to sweep the rest of the early states. A campaign that now looks so fragile could end up being much easier than predicted (just look at the trajectory of the Gore-Bradley match-up once Gore won New Hampshire).

Meanwhile, I would venture to say that an Edwards victory seems a bit more likely to me than an Obama victory because (1) I do believe independents will make up a larger proportion of voters than ever, but I doubt it will be as much as some are predicting; and (2) realignment should boost Edwards a bit more than it should boost Obama (except if the rumors of deals between Obama and Biden/Richardson are true, which we apparently won’t know for now).

If Obama wins tonight, it will be a huge story that would reverbate massively in later states and would put Clinton’s campaign in shambles. Obama will not have won the nomination yet at all, but he would have defeated the mighty Clinton machine and that will probably lead many in New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Nevada to take a whole new look at him. The Obama camp did take a risk, however, in letting expectations get slightly out of control in the past few days as one of the state chairs predicting a 200,000 people turnout and Obama repeatedly predicting victory. Compare that to the Clintonites are saying that they “already won just by being competitive” — which is obviously a ridiculous argument considering that they were slightly ahead in polls until two months ago, but it at least sets up their spin in case they lose.

Democrats, third place: I would be more surprised if John Edwards comes in third than if Obama or Clinton do. He is the least dependent on turning out new voters, and he should be boosted up to at least second place as many backers of unviable candidates are likely to line up behind him. However, if turnout really shoots up tremendously and new-comers flood the caucuses, Edwards has the most to lose and could easily fall to third place. The race to avoid third is just as predicated on turnout than the race to be first. And obviously, both Obama and Clinton would face lots of problems going forward if they come in third — especially if the other is the victor.

Republicans, first place: It will be Huckabee or Romney, of course, but I have very little to add to the fact that most polls show a tight race. A few days ago I would have said that Romney has caught up Huckabee and is likely to win, but Huckabee has proved remarkably resilient in the final days, the local media has barely covered Monday’s infamous press conference, and Huckabee will be victorious if evangelicals turn out. But remember that Romney’s campaign is much better organized and looks to be better equipped to get its supporters to caucus, whereas Huckabee has had much less time and money to get his team and lists together. Just because of the few points boost this could give Romney, I would say he is slightly more likely to win it tonight and keep his candidacy alive. (Update: MSNBC is now reporting that both the Romney and Huckabee internal polls have Huckabee narrowly ahead, so Huck’s lead appears very much real with a few more hours to go).

Republicans, lower-tier: The one prediction I will risk: Rudy Giuliani comes in behind Ron Paul, which probably puts him in sixth position. And however much the Giuliani campaign is dismissing results from IA and NH as irrelevant to their big-state strategy, they’re going to have a hard time spinning a sixth place showing. I wouldn’t be surprised at all if Ron Paul were to jump to fourth place. As to the McCain surge, I do think Thompson’s numbers are a bit understated in polls compared to McCain’s given that the former’s campaign is much better organized to make the most of Iowa.


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A few more tea-leaves: Watch the proportion of independents

In what is very symbolic of just how confused the race is, a new ARG poll was just released with Clinton looking stronger than ever just as I was ready to launch this post that acknowledges the CW that Obama is favored. The reason is clear: 83% of the ARG sample are registered Democrats, and Clinton gets 38% among those. The controversial DMR poll had a controversial sample of 50% of Democrats only. Turnout will likely end up being between those two numbers — and how much the portion of independents matters is obvious: Obama gets 45% among the 17% non-registered voters. Here are the numbers:

  • Clinton leads 34% to Obama’s 25% and 21% Edwards. Biden has risen to 8%.
  • But it is also obvious that second-choices could sink Clinton: 31% of Biden supporters say they will choose Obama on the second ballot, 25% Edwards and 12% Clinton. Among Richardson voters, it’s 31% Edwards and 19% Obama.
  • Among Republicans, Huckabee has taken the lead back — he was down by 9% a few days ago, underscoring the craziness of the GOP race as well: He is now ahead 29% to 24%. Thompson is third with 13%, with McCain at 11%. Giuliani gets 85 and Ron Paul 6%.

As I said, Clinton’s 9% lead is hardly surprising if ARG is projecting an 83% registered Democrat turnout model — and that seems highly unlikely given Obama’s outreach to independents. The question is just how low that number will get. The higher it stays, the better for Clinton and Edwards.

One more note: The blogosphere and progressives like Krugman are turning against Obama with an increasingly intense passion. Two weeks ago Kos was pretty much endorsing Obama and he has since then retracted his quasi-support and he blasted him again yesterday. Not that Kos is representative of the Left in general, but this switch is still emblematic enough to deserve to be highlighted because this sentiment is being echoed by many commentators at this point. And it is likely to be a Clinton and Edwards talking point in 24 hours if Obama wins tonight (that he won on the strength of non-Democrats):

Obama has made a cottage industry out of attacking the dirty fucking hippies on the left, from labor unions, to Paul Krugman, to Gore and Kerry, to social security, and so on. People think I was being ticky tack with the Gore thing, and in isolation it would’ve been but a minor non-event. But it was the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back for me, yet another in a pattern of attacks against Democrats and their constituencies. He is the return of Bill Clinton-style triangulating personified… I’d rather have our candidate elected promising progressive reform, especially in a year where the American people seem to crave such solutions.

It’s useless at this point to speculate on different scenarios and what they might mean. It’s pretty much obvious that Edwards needs a win, that an Obama victory would make him a huge favorite in New Hampshire, that Clinton coming in third could very well sink her faster than is conceivable, that Romney losing would be devastating, that McCain coming in third would give him a boost in NH, and that Giuliani in sixth place could have bad consequences, even with Rudy dismissing the caucuses.

And now add one more consequence: Fred Thompson will likely drop out if he does not get a good showing in Iowa, which most sources are placing at 15%. He would likely endorse McCain soon after he dropped out — and that could be one more boost for the AZ Senator (though not in NH where Thompson is stuck at 3%).


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It’s caucus day: Richardson and Biden going for Obama?

Hard to believe that primary voting is starting, pretty much a year after it all started. And what a time John McCain and Barack Obama have chosen to pick. Look at the last installment of the Zogby tracking poll out this morning:

  • Among Democrats, Hillary Clinton has crashed to 24%, down from 28% yesterday and 30% two days ago. Barack Obama is now at 31%, up from 28% yesterday. And John Edwards is second at 27%. There is very little movement in the second-tier, with Richardson at 7% and Biden at 5%.
  • The Zogby numbers are now very similar to the DMR poll — just as in 2004 when Zogby’s tracking took a few more days to pick-up the Edwards and Kerry surge.
  • Among Republicans, Zogby has Huckabee rising at 31%, Romney staying mostly stable at 25%, while Thompson takes third place alone for the first time at 11%. McCain is at 10%, tied with… Ron Paul who has some momentum. Giuliani is at his lowest ever, at 6%.

And Obama might get a huge boost if this is confirmed, but there are now reports that Joe Biden and Bill Richardson’s precincts captains might encourage their backers to go for Obama if their candidates are unviable. This would truly be huge and such a coordinated move would add many points to Obama and pretty much guarantee a win — it could also spell huge trouble for Edwards whose hopes are pinned on winning second-choice preferences.

Is is true? Biden’s move is being kind of confirmed by a Biden staffer to the HuffPost as he said that Biden backers are likely to migrate to Obama. But Biden’s spokesman said there is “no deal with any other candidate” — though that doesn’t really answer the question, since that is not what the rumor is about. Kucinich, after all, asked his backers to realign for Obama without any deal being struck.

On the other hands, reports about Richardson’s move are being confirmed by the Iowa Independent. And this is huge, huge, huge. Richardson is polling 5-8% in polls, and even half of that moving to Obama would be a tremendous boost that would get him so many more delegates. And it would also be a huge surprise, symbolic of Clinton’s fall: Until a month ago, Bill Richardson constantly rushed to her defense, obviously gunning for being the veep. (Update: Ben Smith is skeptical of any such vote transfer deals).

More than ever, the expectation at this point is that Clinton will get third place — and that Obama is succeeding in turning out in independents and securing a lead — at least in the entrance poll (whether Edwards can overtake him post-caucus politicking is still debated). This does not mean that Clinton will lose at all, obviously, but much of the coverage of the past 3 days has been set by the storyline of Obama’s momentum again — and notice how this is almost entirely due to the DMR’s poll on Monday. Until then, it was all about Edwards’s move and Obama’s troubles. Talk about a poll setting the storyline.


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Democrats: It’s all about turnout

The outcome of the Democratic race is entirely resting on turnout at this point, much more than on the GOP side. Since the Des Moines Register poll was released on Monday, all campaigns and observers are speculating about who will show up to caucus tomorrow night: How many new caucus-goers will there be, and what will be the proportion of independents and Republicans who will go attend the Democratic caucuses?

These have always been questions in the background of coverage of the race, but they picked-up with particular intensity when the DMR poll highlighted just how much increased turnout and independent voter participation could boost Barack Obama. The Obama campaign has actively reached out to non-Democrats in Iowa to get them to come caucus tomorrow and while Hillary Clinton is also heavily depending on first-time caucus goers, a huge boost in turnout would no doubt be due to Obama’s outreach.

But is the Obama campaign disillusional? Gordon Fisher, the Iowa co-chair of the Obama campaign, told Marc Ambinder today that he was projecting a turnout of 200,000. That would be huge: 125,000 Iowans voted in the Democratic caucuses in 2004, and while it appears certain that tomorrow’s turnout will beat that given the unprecedented ground game of the top candidates, 200,000 seems like too much. Possible, sure, and if it happens Obama is in awesome shape — the DMR poll basically models a similar boost.

But rival campaigns are (nervously) mocking the possibility of such a gigantic turnout increase. And Obama staffers have acknowledged that their own internal polls do not project similar proportion of independent. Yet, their internal polls apparently have Obama leading as well — so keep that in mind because it probably means they are also betting on many a significant proportion of independents.

Meanwhile, both Obama and Clinton aired a two-minute ad this evening around the evening news as their closing argument. There really isn’t any big surprise in their ads, so I will not comment on them at length but do watch them if you are interested: the Clinton ad is here, and Obama’s is available here.

And one more interesting story tonight: Hillary Clinton has chosen to spend the last night before the Iowa caucuses on David Letterman — his first show back after Letterman reached an agreement with the writer’s union which is on strike. I guess that there isn’t much more a candidate can do at this point, but how much a boost can Letterman possibly provide in the caucuses? We’ll have to stay tuned to see whether Clinton is going to use this for some kind of announcement.

Meanwhile, Clinton can at least take some comfort in her leads — albeit sometimes small — in today’s New Hampshire polls:

  • Suffolk’s new daily numbers hae Clinton up massively, 37% to 20% with 16% for Edwards.
  • The poll of Franklin Pierce have somewhat tighter numbers: 32% to 28%, with Edwards at 19%.

Notice that Edwards is moving up in New Hampshire and while he is still far from the two front-runners he has set himself in a good position to surge in case he gets a win tomorrow and we could very well have a three-way New Hampshire race in our hands.


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Republicans: McCain is on fire, Romney needs to win tomorrow

The situation among Republicans is getting clearer, as three New Hampshire polls released this afternoon have Romney sinking fast in New Hampshire and McCain taking the lead — and this only a day after the first poll showed McCain ahead of Romney:

  • First, the daily tracking poll of Suffolk came out with improved McCain numbers, as the Senator is ahead 32% to 23% (it was 31-25 yesterday), with Giuliani falling to 11%.
  • Second, Franklin Pierce released its poll with McCain at 37%, Romney at 31% and Giuliani at 10%.
  • Last but not least comes the UNH survey that is perhaps the most trusted NH pollster. Here there is a tie for first place: Romney and McCain both get 29% and Giuliani once again is stuck at 10%, with Huckabee at 8%.
  • And Pew released a national poll today which has McCain in front of Giuliani and Huckabee, 22% to 20% and 17%. This would not be particularly interesting given how useless national polls are at this point, but McCain had not had a lead in any reputable poll (Rasmussen gave him a 1% lead last week) for at least 8 or 9 month. And what a time to surge!

This unthinkable development two weeks ago puts the Romney campaign in its worst situation yet. Even when it started trailing in Iowa it maintained a healthy lead in New Hampshire. Naturally, Romney has to win one of the two early-states to stay alive — and with McCain rising in NH it looks very unlikely at this point that Romney can pull of a win on the 8th if he loses in Iowa. And couple that with the possibility that McCain gets third-place tomorrow night without hardly campaigning in the state, and it becomes evident that the caucuses could bury Mitt Romney.

To make matters worse, the NH newspapers are continuing their anti-Romney crusade. Today, the New Hampshire Union-Leader which was one of the first papers to get behind McCain blasted Romney for the second time in two weeks in a front-page editorial. Newspaper endorsements usually don’t matter that much, but newspapers also usually don’t bother blasting a candidate again and again, and McCain has been using these editorials in ads and on the trail. And it’s hard for Romney to make himself heard when the press systematically discredits him.

So a lot will be decided tomorrow night, and Romney might have more at stake than any other candidate; at this point, it cannot even be said that a NH win would be insured by an Iowa victory. At least, Romney has to be satisfied that he was able to climb back in Iowa. He had fallen behind a seemingly insurmountable lead against Huckabee but a month of steady pounding and of negative stories about the former Arkansas Governor leveled things again, and most polls now show a dead heat with the majority registering a tiny Romney lead (for all it’s worth, Bob Novak just predicted that Romney would win tomorrow).

And we will also hopefully be able to measure tomorrow what impact if any Huckabee’s infamous press conference of Monday had on the choices of Iowa voters. Huckabee has been pounded ever since in the national media, and things might have just gotten worse for the candidate. TPM is reporting that the negative ad against Romney that Huckabee announced he would not run to much fanfare is running after all on some Iowa televisions. This revelation might come too late to impact the voting tomorrow, but if confirmed it would severely discredit Huckabee’s campaign and questions about this could follow him to later states.

One other interesting story in the GOP race: One of the big questions facing John McCain, of course, is his age. He is now 71, and he would be the oldest person inaugurated president if he wins next November. There had already been speculation that McCain could try to address this by pledging to only run for one-term, and he took the first step towards that today by opening the door to that possibility while taking questions from voters at a town hall. Naturally, this could also serve to bring his age in even more focus, as some voters might think that even one term is too much at such an advanced age. And does this not open the risk of lame-duck status coming much faster?


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Morning poll delivery: Iowa and New Hampshire all tied up

The daily installment of the Zogby tracking poll is out and it has some minor movement in Barack Obama, Fred Thompson and Mitt Romney’s favor:

  • Among Democrats, Obama gains two points and Clinton loses two: They are now tied at 28% for the first time. Edwards gets 26% — putting the three in a complete tie, but that’s before realignment.
  • Among Republicans, the race at the top gets closer and is now separated by only 2 points: 28% to 26% in Huckabee’s favor (it was 29-25 yesterday). Behind, John McCain holds at 12% and Thompson rises at 12%.

Zogby points out that Obama is gaining among independents and, though he warns that the gains are small, how much Obama can rely on independents has become the dominant story in these finals days because of the DMR poll. In 2004, Zogby’s tracking caught the Edwards rise but a few days late — is something similar happening here?

Meanwhile, CNN/WMUR has a new poll from New Hampshire:

  • In the Democratic race, Hillary Clinton leads 34% to 30% for Obama, with Edwards at 17%.
  • This is a slight improvement from the last CNN poll of two weeks ago in which Obama was up 30% to 28%.
  • In the GOP race, Romney and McCain are tied at 29%, with Giuliani at 12% and Huckabee at 10%. Don’t forget that McCain led in his first poll from the state yesterday, and we have seen a few polls with the two candidates tied — which in itself is a huge surge for McCain. The trendlines are clearly in his favor but at this point any movement will be dictated by the results of Iowa on Thursday.

One other key statistic: 63% of independents who are planning on voting in NH say they will do so in the Democratic primary. That number was 54% a month ago. McCain and Obama are the two candidates who want to benefit from independents, so if that number goes down again it would hurt Obama and benefit McCain, and vice-versa. This competition is one of the most fascinating dynamics of the campaign since it atypically cuts across party lines.

And one another news item this morning: The Politico is now reporting that the total amount of money the Huckabee campaign spent on the negative anti-Romney material over the week-end (the material which the candidate then scraped though he showed some of it to the press) was $150,000. For a campaign with scarce resources, that’s a pretty large sum. Could Huckabee not have made up his mind before shooting the ads? It’s not as if he was not told of the decision prior to the preparations starting.


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Iowa Update: Fourth poll of the day, and the tone of the Huckabee campaign

Strategic Vision has been faithfully releasing a poll of the Iowa caucuses every week and here is their latest delivery:

  • In the Democratic race, Barack Obama is ahead with 32% with John Edwards at 29% and Hillary Clinton at 27%. Last week, Strategic Vision had Obama at 30%, Clinton at 29% and Edwards at 28%. And that was a decline for Obama, who was up 3% the week before and had an 8 point lead the prior week.
  • Note, however, that this is the only one of the day’s four polls that has Obama ahead. As we saw with yesterday’s DMR poll, there is a very clear factor explaining the variations: Every pollster is using a different turnout model, and it appears impossible today to predict who will turn out on Thursday night; and what will be the proportion of first-time caucus goers?
  • Among Republicans, Mitt Romney is rising and has erased much of Huckabee’s surge: He is ahead today by a tiny 30% to 28%. Last week, Huckabee was up 29% to 27%, and two weeks ago it was 31% to 25%. The trendline in Romney’s favor is clear, and confirms other Iowa polls released today
  • But it is the numbers behind that are truly stunning: John McCain now reaches 16%, with Fred Thompson at 13%. That is a shocking number for McCain, a candidate who has barely campaigned in Iowa for the past few months (though it’s not like the other lower-tier candidates but Thompson have). Last week, McCain got 13% and 8% two weeks ago. Here too, this trend is confirmed by all other polls.

Interestingly, GOP Senator Grassley of Iowa retracted his earlier prediction that Romney would win the caucuses, saying that it had become too close to call. What is strange is that Grassley issued that bold prediction at the height of Huckabee’s surge when the former Arkansas Governor looked unstoppable. And now that Romney is looking to have a chance to pull off a victory again, Grassley suddenly senses the depth of movement in Huckabee’s favor?!

More seriously, the big story since yesterday’s now infamous Huckabee press conference is the tone of his campaign. He pledged to stay positive in the last 3 days of the campaign — and he made a big show out of it, assembling reporters and accusing them of cynicism. So the press cannot be blamed for scrutinizing Huckabee very closely to see if he is just showing off or if he is serious. And that gets us a deluge of stories about Huckabee’s subtle digs at Romney (today on CNN) or this report of how Huckabee surrogate Chuck Norris (one of the first big Huckabee endorsers) blasted Romney today in Huckabee’s presence without the candidate intervening.

As has been already noted, the local media looks to be giving Huckabee somewhat of a pass, but the national press is having a field day with Huckabee’s hypocritically positive tone since his decision to air that attack ad during the press conference. Some of that coverage is bound to trickle down to caucus-goers (who, after all, must be committed politicos to go and caucus for hours). And many of the questions aimed at Huckabee are now reflecting this skepticism, not a good thing to have going for you 48 hours before an election.


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3 new caucus polls: 7 days from New Hampshire, all eyes are on Iowa

It’s only the first day in 2008, and it’s hard to imagine that not only Iowa is voting in 2 days, but New Hampshire is just around the corner as well. In a week, we will know the results from both early contests — but (almost) everyone is in Iowa. The NH Secretary of State was obsessed with making sure his state gets the attention it supposedly deserves, but for now it has been forgotten.

And with that, we get three new polls from Iowa today, and the Democratic results are very different from yesterday’s DMR poll as Clinton is leading in two and Edwards in one. But we for once know exactly the reason of these variations, as the weirdness of the DMR model (60% first-time caucus-goer, 40% independents) is now well-documented and is based on a turnout of between 180,000 and 200,000, hugely superior to 2004. It’s not an impossible turnout, and if it happens there is no doubt Obama would win the day.

The first poll comes to us from CNN and was conducted Dec. 26-30, more or less the same dates as the DMR survey:

  • Hillary Clinton is ahead 33% to 31% with Edwards crashing at 22%. Two weeks ago, it was 30 for Clinton, 28 for Obama and 26 for Edwards.
  • In the GOP, Romney is ahead 31% to Huckabee’s 28% and Thompson manages to take third place at 13%, with McCain at 10%. Ron Paul and Giuliani both get 8%. Two weeks ago, Huckabee was up 33% to Romney’s 25%.

The second poll is the latest delivery from Zogby’s tracking numbers and they have little movement since yesterday:

  • Hillary Clinton stays at 30% followed by Obama at 26%. Edwards gets 25%. Yesterday it was 30-26-26.
  • Obama does get a bit weaker among second-choice preferences, as Edwards leads 30% to Obama’s 22% and Clinton’s 15%.
  • Among Republicans, Huckabee holds on to a 29% to 25% lead with McCain at 12% and Thompson at 10%. Yesterday, it was 29-27-13-8.

And third is an Insider Advantage poll which only released Democratic numbers — with Obama very far behind:

  • Hillary Clinton leads 30% to 29% for Edwards and 22% for Obama. And in a fascinating set of numbers, Edwards gets a solid lead when the second-choice preferences are plugged in: 41% to 34% for Clinton and 25% for Obama. What more proof do we need that gaps are going to be created very quickly come the end of the caucuses and delegate allocation? Note that Edwards got a total of 11% from realignment!
  • Two weeks ago, the numbers were 30% for Edwards and 26% for Clinton and 24% for Obama, so some movement in Clinton’s favor here.
  • As for the GOP race, the pollster refuses to release the numbers: “I’ve seen enough GOP polls in 28 years to know when some sort of shift is taking place. The Republican numbers right now are all over the place and, in my experience, that means the numbers probably won’t settle until immediately prior to the voting.” The last Insider Advantage poll had Huckabee up 28% to 25% on Romney, so keep that in mind when hearing about “some short of shift.”

The analysis of the Democratic numbers of these polls has basically been done at the start of this post: If Obama manages to inspire enough independents to come out and vote for the first time, he will likely pull off a win; if the turnout model stays closer to what we are used to seeing, look at these three polls for an indication of where things might be heading and things then look better for Clinton.

Among Republicans, Huckabee is barely holding off at this point and many polls are showing Romney back in the lead. Even the DMR survey had some signs of trouble with Huckabee’s supporters less committed to going to vote on Thursday night than Romney backers. With that, Huckabee’s hypocritical move yesterday could be very important. I had started to link to local media stories to get a sense of whether they were as brutal with Huck than the national press corps.

Marc Ambinder finishes the job today and finds out that they weren’t at all: KCCI, for example, the Iowa affiliate of CBS, reported that Huckabee decided to not go negative and still aired a portion of the ad! Which, of course, was exactly Huckabee’s intention and hope: Get credit for being positive and the benefits of going negative. Compare that to the AP story that does not shy from using the word “hypocrisy.”


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Final DMR poll smashes all conventional wisdom and has Obama gaining

The much-anticipated Des Moines Register poll, talked-up as the most reliable survey of the Iowa caucuses, was released last night after a week of speculation and rumors. In 2004, the DMR poll had Kerry, Edwards, Dean and Gephardt in the correct order — a mighty accomplishment given the fluidity of that race. And with the new survey sure to get a lot of press, it smashes the conventional wisdom that was developing in all polls and observations from the trail during the past week. More precisely, the three storylines that are undermined here are (1) the Edwards surge (2) Obama’s struggles and (3) Huckabee’s sinking.

  • In the GOP poll, Mike Huckabee leads Mitt Romney 32% to 26%. McCain confirms his rise as he comes in at 13%, ahead of Fred Thompson. Ron Paul and Fred Thompson are tied at 9%… and Giuliani is very far behind at 5%!
  • In the Democratic race, Obama increases his lead in the last DMR poll and is now ahead 32% to 25% for Clinton and 24% for Edwards. Richardson is very far behind at 6%. And in what is an even more encouraging news for Obama, he does better and Clinton does worse in every day of polling.

In a sign of just how much the DMR poll has the potential to change the narrative, the Edwards campaign literally immediately came out swinging with a release blasting the poll’s accuracy. And I have to admit that this poll truly contains some very uncommon turnout projections in the Democratic race:

  • Independents: 50% of respondents are registered Democrats, and 40% are independents. In 2004, 80% of caucus-goers were registered Democrats. One has to be a registered Democrat to participate in the caucus, but anyone can register at the caucus site on Thursday night — so that is not a problem (though it still means that people have to be ready to do that step).
  • Among the 50% of Democrats in the sample, Clinton leads 33% to 27% for Obama and 25% for Edwards. Among the 40% of independents, Obama is up with 39% with 25% for Edwards and 15% for Clinton!
  • First-time caucus-goers: 60% of respondents would be first-time caucus goers. In 2004, that proportion was only 20%. If the DMR’s projection is true, it would be a huge gigantic increase of turnout and while the ground games are better than ever this year, are they really that much better? And first-time caucus goers massively benefit Obama, who draws 72% of his support from them.

This is not to say that it is impossible that this huge a group of Iowans go to caucus for the first time, nor that many of them are independents that like Obama so much that they are ready to go and change their registration on January 3rd. But if Obama inspires enough to move such huge crowds, he certainly deserves to win — and the GOP should start trembling for November.

The issue, of course, is that no other poll has detected this huge a boost among independents for Obama. And much of the conventional wisdom off the ground was that the poll numbers were ticking up for both Hillary and Edwards. What, then, has led the Des Moines Register to assume that there could be this significant an influx of independent novices in the caucuses? Is it just an outlier? Given the reputation of the pollsters, they might be on to something — but we will have to wait and see Thursday night.

Oh, and happy new year!


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In unscripted moment, Huckabee confuses everyone and hypocritically renounces to go negative

In this constantly scripted campaign, Mike Huckabee just was caught in an uncontrolled and utterly confused moment. With most candidates in the spotlight for a year now, Huckabee burst unto center-stage a month ago only; many were already questioning whether he had peaked too soon and whether he was ready for primetime, and this is now likely to spark a new round of questioning about the state of the Huckabee campaign.

Let’s recap: Romney has been running ad blasting Huckabee for three weeks now, and Huckabee’s poll numbers have clearly gone south as a result. Huckabee had refrained from attacking back despite the golden rule to never let an attack go unanswered; and he took most of his Sunday off to shoot advertisements blasting Mitt Romney. That’s right, he took off a Sunday 4 days before Election Day as all other candidates where out campaigning.

The ads which accused Romney of being “dishonest” were scheduled to run this morning, and were already sent to the TV stations. Huckabee had scheduled a press conference this afternoon to mark the start of this new strategy, and in front of the entire press corps, Huckabee reversed course (early reports are indicating he changed his mind mere minutes before the presser) and announced to the press that he would not run the negative ads and that a campaign had to remain positive. Until then perhaps this could have been a boost for Huckabee if the media had relayed his determination to stay positive and he had won points among the electorate.

But Huckabee then went on to say that he would still show the ad to the press: “I know that some of are up saying, well did you really have an ad? Well, I’m going to show you the ad. You’ll get the chance to find out.” Could Huckabee’s attempt to get the media to relay his message and say “this is what Hucakbee wanted to criticize Romney before deciding to go positive…” be any more clear? In other words, Huckabee was hoping to get the benefits of having launched a negative attack WHILE STILL getting credit for staying positive.

The entire press corps reportedly burst out laughing at Huckabee’s audacity. Asked whether he was being hypocritical by showing the ad and clearly hoping that news broadcasts would show it for free, Huckabee answered that people could be cynical if they wanted to be (I certainly am) and that he was only showing it to prove that he had prepared the ad in the first place. (Since I have now denounced Huckabee’s hypocrisy, I feel like I would not be playing his game by linking to the negative ad, so here’s a bootleg version of the ad filmed by a Time reporter).

And yes, this move does seem way too transparent for any campaign to risk it; but don’t forget that Huckabee apparently decided to shift gears only very shortly before the press conference which probably explains the impression of complete improvisation. Now the question, of course, is how the local media covers it. Do they go along Huckabee’s plan? Or do they openly express skepticism?

FOX News (do watch this brutal report if you have a few minutes) and observers like the Politico’s Jonathan Martin are clearly choosing the latter path. And the NYT’s blog straight out says that it will not summarize the ad as that’s exactly what Huckabee wants here. And Time’s Joe Klein writes, “That sound you hear rumbling out of Des Moines appears to be a monumental implosion.” But as Martin explains, what’s most important is the way this will be covered by the local media: Will they describe the ad and praise Huck for not running it?

How do the local TV affilates here describe the move? What will the AP story that dozens of papers here pick up tomorrow read like? And what sort of presentation and play will The Des Moines Register give to what can only be described as a singular moment in an already topsy-turvy campaign? We’ll know tonight from WHO, KCCI, and WOI and tomorrow in the Register, Quad City Times and Sioux City Journal whether the move worked or if his shtick finally became too cute by half.

What is the evidence in those local journals for now? The Sioux City Journal is going along exactly what Huckabee would want, explaining that Huckabee is staying positive and still describing the ad they saw. But the Des Moines Register is openly skeptical, and Radio Iowa is also employing a heavily sarcastic tone and not describing the ad.

Could Huckabee’s improvisation work? If his numbers improve in the coming days, you could credit this move. But if he continues weakening and ends up losing a lead that 10 days ago seemed gigantic, this crazy and hypocritical decision will have to take some of the blame. My guess (and hope for the sake of political honesty) is that this is way too obvious to work. And reporters laughing at your press conference is never a good thing.



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    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 52

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 54

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 55

    Strict Standards: mktime(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 41

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 50

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 52

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 54

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 55
  • Election Night results thread: Rep. Boucher’s fall first surprise of the night

  • Strict Standards: mktime(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 41

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 50

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 52

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 54

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 55

    Strict Standards: mktime(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 41

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 50

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 52

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 54

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 55
  • Election night cheat sheet

  • Strict Standards: mktime(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 41

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 50

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 52

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 54

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 55

    Strict Standards: mktime(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 41

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 50

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 52

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 54

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 55
  • Final ratings: Democrats brace for historic losses

  • Strict Standards: mktime(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 41

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 50

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 52

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 54

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 55

    Strict Standards: mktime(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 41

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 50

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 52

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 54

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 55
  • What to watch for down-ballot

Strict Standards: mktime(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 41

Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 50

Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 52

Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 54

Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 55

Strict Standards: mktime(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 41

Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 50

Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 52

Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 54

Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 55

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

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