Saturday, April 28, 2012

Election Week One

If this election were a heavyweight fight, the referees would have to stop it by a TKO in the first. President Obama controlled the pace, the roll-out and the whole rhythm of the debate. Like clockwork, the Obama campaign sent one internet ad after the other punching Romney with being too extreme on women's issues,economic issues and showcasing the President's  decision to kill Osama bin Laden and contrasting it to Romney's statements that it wasn't worth the money.
President Obama's appearance on the Jimmy Fallon show to slow talk the Student loan issue generated the right type of reaction from the Republicans and Romney, who tut-tutted that this was beneath the office of the President.

Karl Rove seems to be going Rogue by-passing the Romney campaign as he senses they are floundering. Rove cut an ad about President Obama's cool and trying to insert the old Reagan line whether you are better off today than you were four years ago. But the ad only visually reinforced how Cool Obama is and not the political message Karl wanted to convey.

I don't know whether Joe Biden is Obama's Drew Bundini or his Fight Doctor. Mitt Romney assembled his group of national security advisers to pre-but the Vice President's speech on foreign policy. This team ,with script in hand, lamented the President's policy on Czechoslovakia (which hasn't existed for two decades), the Soviet Union (ditto), China and Iran. Biden gave a slam dunk speech calling Romney out on his out of date thinking and ran down the list of President Obama's foreign policy accomplishments. It was one of the few times in recent memory that Democrats actually took the offensive on this issue. 

The ad about Bin Laden deeply wounded the Republicans from their outrage. The ad had Bill Clinton go on at length about the nature of the decision to take out bin Laden in Pakistan and what would happen if the President failed. The sub text was Karl Rove's misquoting Bill Clinton in the past as saying that Obama did what any President would have done. Clinton made it clear that wasn't the case and then we get Mitt Romney's statements from the last campaign how it wasn't worth the money to go after one man. The ad was wounding. Mitt Romney personally was outraged that he had been called out and John McCain whined that President Obama had desecrated the memory of all those who died in 9-11 by politicizing the killing of bin Laden. 

Of course, we won't mention that John McCain glorified 9/11 at his convention and one Republican president was in a flight suit and posed underneath a banner saying "Mission Accomplished". The Republicans were so wounded by this that their criticism actually was given some weight by the news media but the blood was already in the water. The Obama campaign laid down the marker and challenged the Republicans on national security and they didn't know how to react.

President Obama hit three campuses this week in lobbying for the reduction in interest on student loans and was enthusiastically greeted by students in Swing States and the local print coverage was just as good. Unfortunately, Mitt Romney's strategy of bird-dogging the President at every step back fired. At a university in Ohio, he put the audience to sleep by criticizing the stimulus package and saying that the students shouldn't take out student loans by borrow $20,000 from their parents. This was said at a university with lower to middle-class students. 

It was as if the Romney campaign felt that McCain had a winning formula in 2008. Romney went on the attack against President Obama in terms of the unemployment of veterans. The President flew down to a base in the South outlined his plan to stop for-profit colleges from ripping off soldiers and summarized what his administration has done for veterans. His own initiative for hiring of veterans has significantly reduced veterans' unemployment. It reminds me of McCain who had an awful record on veterans' affairs trying to criticize Obama for his, even though President Obama had backed the new G.I.Plan and McCain had not. This time Romney walked into the trap.

The RNC ran internet ads replaying the 2008 campaign about Obama's "inexperience" and suggesting somehow that he was still inexperienced to be President. Naturally, this ran into fact checkers pointing out that Romney had far less experience in the public sector than Obama at the same time. The ad looked forced and all that was achieved was the Obama campaign forced the Republicans to waste money.

Today, the spokesperson for the Romney campaign said that President Obama's only economic success was following Mitt Romney's idea for bailing out the auto industry. A stunning lie. Of course, the most rudimentary fact-check reproduced Romney's insistence not to bail out the auto industry and let the car industry go bankrupt.

Yesterday, President Obama had an event for women at the White House and gave a full-throated endorsement of issues from equal pay for equal work,reproductive rights and the act against violence against women. This was followed by a strong ad on Romney as "too extreme" on women's issues. 

As if playing the willing pawns, the House Republicans passed the student loan bill but with provisions to pay for it out of funds for women's preventive medicine. At last count, the Republicans around the county have over 900 bills that restrict reproductive rights, equal pay and preventative medicine for women. This week John McCain as Romney surrogate sputtered that the war on women was a Democratic fiction.

Sometimes gaffes are unintentional and aren't generated by a campaign. For some reason, Haley Barbour went out of his way to criticize  Nobel Prize winner Elie Wiesel for his criticism of Mormon's proxy baptizing Holocaust victims. Not only is the issue sensitive but Wiesel has the credibility of having survived the Holocaust. Instead Haley Barbour claimed that Elie Wiesel's request was just a plot by the Democratic Party to criticize Mitt Romney's faith. So without being asked, you criticize a victim of the Holocaust and raise the religion of your candidate as an issue, which the Obama campaign has been avoiding like the plague.

The goal of Republicans is to have this election a referendum on the President and not a choice. The Obama campaign has already made the election a choice and been raid fire in responding to the Romney's campaign's criticism. 

For a week the Romney campaign has basically been playing a me-too strategy of backing the President's proposals on non controversial things. But this has become complicated because the SuperPacs and astroturf groups like the Club for Growth have been running ads undercutting that position. I think you will see more of that as this campaign develops. 

One of the Big Duds from the Romney campaign  has been their attempt to redefine "fairness" as their campaign's centerpiece. Romney's explanation came off false and phony and he used his statement to try and gin up criticism about President Obama. The problem is that the minute he raises this the whole issue of his taxes and the fact he hasn't released his tax returns comes up. It's like he loves to shoot himself in the foot.

The President has announced May 5th as the start of his campaign with appearances in Virginia and Ohio. The Romney campaign has to spend the next three weeks raising money and putting in place organizations for the fall campaign. Haley Barbour was shrewd in warning the Romney campaign that they would get far behind before they started and the Obama campaign would be damaging the GOP candidate before he was ready for the general election.

Romney is snarled in the Republican Party and enmeshed in the Paul Ryan budget. I don't see how he gets out of it. As Karl Rove noted, Obama has significant leads against the GOP on their two stock issues--taxes and foreign policy. Stripped of these two, the GOP is stuck in culture wars and the ideological destruction of the social welfare state. It is tough how to see how this is a winning hand in a general election where more people turn out. 

Lastly, this week the Republicans have tried to deal with the fact that the American people like President Obama and frankly, don't like Mitt Romney. They have replaced their "Celebrity" meme, the "Cool" meme, and the "Nice guy but over his head " meme to no avail. Romney has also pulled out the new fear card that under President Obama the United States faces a situation like Greece. But voters have to registered the national debt as one of the major issues they are concerned about. 

As I said at the beginning, if this week were the election, you would have to stop the fight. It was no contest. President Obama knocked Romney down and dance circles around him.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Farewell Newt and Callista

Mr. Genrich as the election officials in Connecticut called Newt didn't do so well. Bishop Willard won five primaries tonight while a nation slept. Willard promises you that tomorrow a Better Tomorrow begins. Is that like Colbert's A Better Tomorrow Tomorrow Pac? 

Newt was game in Delaware early in the evening posting 33% of the vote and then fading. At least the Love Revolution keeps chugging along posting 10%.

The Republican party is so united that PPP has Romney winning Texas by 50 to 43. If he keeps it up, Texas will become a swing state.

Meanwhile President Cornball gave a masterful speech of student debt--I would like Willard to do the same--at UNC. It's too bad that the students have turned off on him. They only waited in line since 5a.m to hear him. In Boulder, Colorado the students have been camped out for two days waiting for the speech.

So I shutter at the next months of madness. 

Will Newt Win Delaware?

++So tonight watch Willard's percentages in the GOP primaries. You'll get how far he has united the party. Also, Newt has been the only one campaigning in Delaware and expects to win. If not, he and Callista will bid us goodby.

++ Robin Leach of the "Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous" is the new Romney surrogate claiming that criticizing the rich is a form of socialism.

++Willard Romney has decided to have outreach to the Latino community and is campaigning with Marco Rubio. Romney stonewalled a bunch of Latino voters in Arizona when asked to support the Dream Act. He now claims to be studying Rubio's Dream Act Lite, which would allow Latinos who serve in the military a route to citizenship.

++Romney is also courting the younger voters. His campaign's pitch is that "he's younger than John McCain." Harvard found that Obama has a 43%-26% lead among younger voters while 30% are undecided.

++Ann Romney pushed the envelope at a fund-raising dinner last night saying that "She was glad that some women have no choice."

++Ezra Klein saves you a lot of trouble in today's Washington Post where you can play election predicted. Just decide what the economic growth rate will be in June and the President's approval rate and Presto you will have the odds of the President winning re-election.

++The William Brennen Institute found that 25% of American voters may not cast their vote this year because they believe the politicians are beholding to Super Pacs.

++Meanwhile in the areas of polls, Gallup's tracking poll went from 47-44 Obama to today's 49%-42 Obama with his approval rate at 50% the last two days. Rasmussen has Romney ahead 47-44%. The Daily Kos poll has Obama ahead 49-41 with 7 undecided. 

++ The University of New Hampshire has Obama ahead in the Granite state by 51-42% .

++More interesting is the Morrison Institute's poll of Arizona where Romney has a 44 to 42% lead. Not great for a Red State.

++Ron Paul , as he promised, won the most delegates in Iowa and also in Minnesota. It seems the Love Revolution voted in their own people, depriving Romney of the automatic vote. Watch this tension pay out in the months ahead. 

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Mitt Romney--Economic Genius

Today Willard gave a speech attacking President Obama at an abandoned factory in Lorain County, Ohio, the poorest county in that state and one which was the worst hit by the 2008 economic collapse. The previous day President Obama had been in the county and showcased his initiative of community colleges acting as training centers for unemployed workers for high-skilled jobs. The program has a 90% success rate. 

I think it looks unseemly, Willard's strategy of shadowing the President ,appearing in places immediately after him. First, he does not appear as an equal and in fact hurts himself doing this. The factory in question happened to be owned by a Romney financial backer. It closed under George W. Bush. Romney blamed it not re-opening on President Obama.

Now I have heard it said that on economic matters that Mitt Romney has a touch of genius in him. David Frum has spoken about this. But in two separate campaigns I have not seen a glimmer of original thought or an innovative idea. It's not like Newt Gingrich, who can surprise you with his ideas on having a national program of research on alzheimer's because of its future costs to an aging society. You never get a burst of something that would make you interested in what Mitt Romney would say.

Mitch Daniels, who endorsed Romney, complained that Romney isn't campaigning as if he will govern. He lamented Romney not mentioning ideas for the young and those of lower classes. 

The main reason I believe is that Romney has no vision of America. He is a technocrat for the FIRE economy, Finance, Insurance and Real Estate. He actually believes that we just restore that an America can move on. 

This is a man so isolated by his wealth, his religion and his own class requirements that he can not envision a different future. I would like him to give such a speech. But today's line "President Obama's is against any energy source under the ground." may seem snide but it also shows a man not able to imagine the implications of something like what Merkel has done in German, go full-tilt for solar to replace their nuclear energy. The Germans have junked tax credits for fossil fuels and thrown these resources at alternative energy sources. This type of thing doesn't enter into his brain. There simply is no imagination there.

What would Romney's economic policy look like. Well,Intrade has the favorite for his Vice President as Senator Portman, who used to be budget director for George W. Bush. He was the man who was Al Gore in the trial run of the 2000 debates. He is conservative, very articulate and presentable. But he is of the radical tax-cutting school we have seen grow on steroids over the last decade. Romney's whole economic team are all veterans of George W. 

Today, reporters jumped Romney's spokesman about his candidate's claims about the factory and wondered how George W. fit into the narrative. He doesn't. The economic mess is all created by President Obama, something that even the American public doesn't believe. It is the untruth which speaks the real truth of Romney's economic plans. 

But if he is such a financial wizard, certainly something should come out that shows he has a different twist to the old ideology, something that suggests he believes it will lead to somewhere different. 

Sadly, it appears he doesn't. This would be like voting for a return of Herbert Hoover after FDR's first term

Voto Latino

Before I rant, I saw a Fox News poll on Ohio--Obama 45- Romney 36. Willard has to close this gap before he can get in the game for real.

Meanwhile,at the Palm Beach fund-raiser where Willard said he would eliminate Hud and downsize the Department of Education, he spoke the unthinkable  when he said that without getting Hispanic votes the GOP is facing a demographic disaster. 

The Obama campaign has launched an television ad campaign in Spanish in swing states and the President has given interviews with the Spanish-language media talking about his plans to try and get immigration reform in the first year of a new term but he stressed the resistance of the Republicans on this.

For the past two days, Republicans have been trying to come up with a Dream Act Lite which would appear to attract Latinos. Marco Rubio has been trying to craft this initiative because he has warned fellow GOPers that the anti-immigration language in the primaries and the House have alienated Latinos. 

What I wonder is why then did Mitt Romney, knowing what he knows about the fate of the GOP,consistently talk about self-deportation and how the Arizona law was the model for how to deal with illegal immigrants when his people knew how alienating that was to Latinos. He is trying to become the President and sometimes he should reveal some character. But to even have the author of the Arizona bill as your adviser on immigration and then down-grade his position as "adviser", that's a bit much.

But as the head of Voto Latino pointed out that all the self-deportation language of the Republican primary was covered everyday in the Spanish-language press and discussed in the community. She also pointed out that Mitt Romney also recruited former Governor Pete Wilson, who is reviled by California Latinos, as an adviser. To damage him further, there is an enormous gender gap. How this affects Latinos is the basic fact that the Latina is the generating force for voter participation in the community. So you have to bridge not only the gender gap but also the Latino problem to make in-roads into the community.

Steve Schmidt, McCain's former adviser, pointed out that George W got about 40% of the Latino vote, McCain about 33% and Romney is now looking at the 20 percentile, while this community is the fastest growing in the country. Unfortunately for them, their numbers are not yet reflected in the total electorate of the country since the Latino community is notorious in neglecting to register to vote. However, that has been changing. As Schmidt pointed out on MSNBC, if the GOP doesn't correct course soon it will face itself doomed.

The only bright not for Romney in all this is there is actually an enthusiasm gap among both women and Hispanics, two groups he is far behind in.

In case you were wondering why Gallup has Romney at 48% over Obama at 43%, part of the reason may be that the make-up of Gallup's tracking poll is more like 2010 than 2008. In other words, it has about 22% people of color, than the 26% of 2008 and also people anticipate this year that figure will be 28%. This differential can account for a lot.

As of now, political scientists say that polls are less than 50-50 as predictors

NBC/Wall Street Journal Poll

The poll conducted by Bill McInturff and Peter Hart shows President Obama topping Mitt Romney 49-43 compared to last month's 50 to 44.  President Obama's approval rating is at 49, approximating the same as George W. Bush and Bill Clinton at a similar stage in their first term. 

President Obama's 2008 base seems to be unifying now. African-Americans support him at 90-4. Latinos are 69-22, the Young at 60 to 34. Women at 53 to 41. President Obama leads among independents at 44 to 34; among Midwesterners at 47-44 and suburban women at 48-45. 

President Obama surpasses Romney in almost every category of character:
1. Likeable  54 to 18
2. Caring    54 to 22
3. Women's issues  49 to 21.
4. Middle Class 48 to 27.
5. Experience 45 to 30.
6. Commander-in-chief 43 to 33
7. Standing up for one's own belief 41-30.
8. Honest and straight 37 to 30.

Romney however is ahead on ideas for improving the economy 40 to 34.

75% would vote for someone who will fight for balance, fairness and strengthening the Middle Class.
7 in 10 would vote for someone who believes that America is better off when everyone gets a fair shot.

For the first time, the poll shows that a plurality believe that President Obama's policies have improved the economy.

Peter Hart says the election will resemble 2000 and 2004 and be very close. 

They Just keep Coming

PPP poll. Obama 49 Romney 46. Obama has 52-43 of independents. Of VP picks, Christie actually ties the race, Mike Huckabee and Jeb Bush bring it close.

More Polls

For what it's worth,

The Nelson Rockefeller Institute in New Hampshire conducted a poll of that state. President Obama has an approval rate of 43. Romney leads Obama 44 to 42.

Quinnipiac conducted their first nationwide poll. President Obama leads Romney 46 to 42. Women give Obama 49 over 39 for Romney.

Yougov has a bizarre poll. President Obama's approval is at 41% and only 37% approve of his handling of the economy. But President Obama leads Romney 49 to 42. 

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Polls As Shiny Objects

Charles Cook says that we should ignore all the tracking polls and just watch the President's approval rating, and the jobs reports to see whether President Obama will be re-elected. He says if this were a foreign policy election, President Obama would win hands down.

The CBS/New York Times poll has it Obama and Romney tied at 46.

The Democracy Corps poll has it 48-47 Obama. In December, the President had trailed by 7 points. The President's approval rate is 46 and Romney's is 32. This type of discrepancy shows up all the time and it makes you wonder whether Cook is right about it all being the economy.

Public Policy Polling for the Daily Kos and SEIU has introduced their weekly tracking poll. President Obama leads 50 to Romney's 44 with only 6 undecided.

The 538 blog posted the list of all the Obama offices that have opened up in the Swing States and the budgets allocated to each. A Fascinating look at the ground game offensive planned by the Obama campaign.

Democracy Corps poll also indicated a big 8 pt bump in Democrats for congress and a shift of key demographics in the congressional races--women, suburban voters, senior citizens and moderates are flocking to Democrats in key districts.

Maybe it is no accident that the DCC released their list of ad buys for 26 districts that they are targeting. Again these are in swing states and ad buys are done now not to interfere with the presidential race. 

The actual quantifiable undecideds are in the presidential race are 7%. This means the couple of billion spent on the presidential races will be aimed at persuading this small number of people.

I happen to agree for once with Mark Halperin, who appeared on the Morning Joe show, and said that despite the evening in the polls the Romney campaign has still at a disadvantage in the electoral college. Halperin said that Romney had to put away Ohio and Florida in order to go on the offense against Obama. So far he is trailing beyond the margin of error in these states. 

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

John Zeigler "An Electoral Tie"

In the political section of Huffington Post, John Zeigler, a conservative columnist, writes how not far fetched an electoral tie would be this year. In that case, the newly elected House of Representatives would choose the President. Given election projections right now, the Democrats will come up short in trying to take over the House because of gerrymandering. Given that the election of Barack Obama cleansed the nation of the 2000 debacle, a return to electoral confusion might fatally de-legitimize our democratic system.

Zeigler doesn't make some wild projections or impossible picks. He predicts Romney will win Iowa, Nevada, and New Hampshire and lose Virginia. He believes that Romney with his Mormons will take Nevada because Obama somehow has dissed the state. He believes that Romney having heavily campaigned in Iowa twice already and Obama could lose 5 points because of the economy--although Iowa has been immune--will take it. He cites New Hampshire as Romney's home state and that the state still hates government but not as much as once advertised. He did make a shrewd observation that stopping Obama in  New Hampshire closes some of Obama's options for getting to 270.

Zeigler doesn't get mired in the Pennsylvania trap, which sank McCain in 2008, although I see Romney going there this year again. He believes Virginia will be very close but that the northern Virginia "federal workers" will be mobilized to vote for an Obama victory.

Right now Zeigler has Romney winning Ohio and Florida, simply on the assumption they are rightfully Republican states. So far the polls have shown no indication that this will be the case. Florida we know will be problematic because of the tight restrictions on voter registration and efforts to suppress the vote. 

But I found Zeigler's piece thought-provoking. He is the first writer I have seen get Romney as high as 269, which worries me that this could become the strategy since people like Grover Norquist has indicated that the conservatives do not need a strong President to sign into law the Ryan Budget or the many different bills to roll-back the social safety net.

So keep your eyes on Ohio.

Interesting Details in Latest Polls

In the CNN/Orc International poll.

With the exception of seniors (65 or over), all age groups back President Obama.

President Obama has a 20pt lead over Romney among people earning less than $50,000. Above that, they are even.

75% of Obama supporters are for him because of who he is.

6 in 10 Romney voters are for him because they are against President Obama.

2/3rds of the voters have already made up their mind. Only 29% say they could change their mind. 

Only 35% say Romney will be victorious. Why that's important is that in the last four presidential elections the public could predict the winner in the Spring or early Summer.

In the poll, which was taken two days after the Hilary Rosen remarks,Obama had a 55%-39% advantage.

50% said that President Obama stands up for what they believe in. Only 29% said the same about Romney.

50% said that Romney will change his mind for political reasons.

The ABC/Washington Post poll covered the character issue between the two candidates. This was not a horse-race poll. 

Obama was seen favorably by 54% against 43%. Romney was seen as favorably by 35% and 47% not. 

Romney is the first nominee who is "underwater" for the last 8 presidential elections. 

Only 27% of women see Romney favorably. 58% of women see Obama favorably. 

Romney suffers an enthusiasm gap. Only 12% are very strongly for him; about 24% are just for him.

With Obama, about 30% are very strongly for him, and another 26% are for him.

Only 69% of Republicans are for Romney.
86% of Democrats are for Obama.

Among those younger than 40--Obama leads by 36 pts.
Among the middle aged by 17 points.
Among seniors, Romney leads by 2 its.

Among singles, Obama leads by 31 points.
Among married women, Obama leads by 45 points.

Romney has a favorably rating about the same among whites with high school and whites with college education--43%-41%.

Obama has a favorable rating among whites with a high school education of 38%, among those with a college education 52%.

Among Hispanics, Obama has a 76%-33% advantage over Romney; among African-Americans 93%, while only 10% see Romney favorably.

Obama is considered more likable and friendly than Romney by 38 points.
Obama is more inspiring by 26 points.
Obama has a 12 point better understanding of "my economic problems.

Tonight, CNN claims they ran a new poll that showed that Romney had reached a positive favorable rating for the first time since he began running. Frankly, I doubt it. 

What the ABC/Washington Post poll measured was that intangible element of  character. There, Obama still has great reservoirs of political capital. 

The fact that recent polls show a close race is almost due to the economy. If we had a couple of very good months in terms of job creation, you would see the polls widen. Romney may be the strongest candidate from the Republican race but he is the weakest candidate the GOP has nominated in a long time. 

Warning: we are moving into the Obama funk period--the early summer months are when strange things have happened. The Gulf oil spill, the cancellations of foreign trips and oddball things like the prostitute scandal in Colombia. So beware. He usually comes on strong in the early fall.

The Romney Bump--Polls Galore

Gallup tracking--48 Romney,43 Obama

Pew  49 Obama, Romney 45. Gender Gap 23
  ( A month ago--Obama by 12)

Wisconsin: Obama 50 Romney 44
 (A Month ago--Obama 53, Romney 39)

PPP: Florida: Obama 50 Romney 45

Reuters/Ipsos: Obama 47 Romney 43
(A Month ago Obama was up by 11)

CNN/ORC: Obama 52 Romney 43. Gender Gap 16

Rasmussen has Romney up by 2 in North Carolina

Expect many more polls now that pollsters have declared primary season over. Nate Silver warns us that it is best to take the averages of polls at this stage because some polls (Rasmussen) have built-in bias at this stage. He also warns people like me not to make much of the cross-tabs of these early polls because they base their conclusions on too small samples. And lastly he warns us all not to learn too much from American history because the number of presidential elections we have had in the age of polling is still too small. So Caveat Emptor.

Even those polls showing Obama's leads reflect a bump for Romney, largely because the winner of a primary season gets a bounce. Now both campaigns were try to define each other. The GOP want this to be a referendum on the president. The Democrats want this to be an election of two dramatically opposed visions of a democratic society. 

Monday, April 16, 2012

The Intratrade Electoral Map

For a nifty three-D map to track this year's presidential election go to the Intratrade website, which feeds in data as they get it.

Right now 

The count is Democrat has 263 votes
                   Republican has 133 votes
                   Toss-ups are    142 votes.

But the map calls states' toss-ups where they have no data of their own. For instance, unlike Real Politics and others they give Colorado to the Democrats. But they have no allocated Vermont or Illinois. So Illinois has 20 votes and Vermont has three. No one in their right mind would dispute that Obama will win Illinois and Vermont.

So the real total is 286 with 119 toss-ups. Maybe that is why Intratrade has Obama winning re-election now with over a 60% chance.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Chris Cilliza on the Swing States

Chris Cilliza says that the electoral map has shrunk since President Obama's 365 vote and 10 million margin in 2008. Citing Republicans, he claims the map is more like 2004 when George Bush eked out a 286 victory over John Kerry.  He sees that Indiana and Missouri will revert to Republican form.

He claims the Republicans want to include Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania as swing states. But Cilliza claims the list is:
1. Colorado
2. Florida
3. Iowa
4. Nevada
5. New Hampshire
6. North Carolina
7. Ohio
8. Virginia
9. Wisconsin

He notes that Obama carried all nine states by an average of 7.6 points or 8.5points if you exclude North Carolina's narrow victory. 

The Republicans argue that Obama's victory was anomalous so that all these states would fall back to the GOP fold. Therefore, Obama would fail at 264 votes and lose the presidency. 

But if Obama wins only one of these states--such as Nevada with 6 votes, he will be re-elected. Cilliza says that Romney must try and make Michigan and Wisconsin swing states for him to have any wiggle room. As I've written, Obama has a lot of more different ways to get to 270 than Romney.

As I've noted, a series of polls indicates that Colorado is no longer a swing state. Other bloggers has the election as Tilt Obama at 300+ electoral votes.

Today, the Obama campaign opened its 12th office in Virginia. The Romney campaign has 0. 

Keep your eyes on Ohio. It's clear the GOP strategy demands Ohio. So far I have not seen a single poll showing the presidential race is competitive or even the Senate race with Sherrod Brown.

On North Carolina, the Obama campaign plans to put an organization in place prior to the convention and afterwards.

Quote of The Week

"Perhaps no one has more at stake in this year's presidential election than the ultra-wealthy."

Washington Post

*Mitt Romney filed for an extension to his tax return. 

The quote is breathtaking and deserves no comment.

Friday, April 13, 2012

While you're waiting for your drug test

Whether you are being strip-searched for a traffic ticket or being drug tested for a job interview, you can listen to some tunes while you wait.

In Jazz:

The Vijay Iyer Trio's "accelerando". If you have a chance, go see Vijay live. He is simply one of the best new Jazz artists.

Billy Hart's "All Our Reasons"  by ECM. Billy hails from the days of Miles Davis' groups and continues a venerable tradition in jazz drumming. He has assembled a great group. 

If you want to support Amnesty International, just buy "Chimes of Freedom", the Songs of Bob Dylan. This four disc set--yes, four discs--is the best anthology of other artist playing Dylan you'll ever hear.

It is hard to believe Buddy Holly could sound new but "Rave On" by Fantasy with Modest Mouse, the Black Keys, Patti Smith and Nick Lowe make the old rocker sound positively today.

Even though the Big Man only appeared on two cuts of the new album before his death, the other Bruce from the Jersey Shore tries to explain how his old town was destroyed by the Wrecking Ball.  Despite Rolling Stone raving about this ode to justice in the hedge fund world, The Wrecking Ball hints at Bruce's past glory and gets a bit bogged down with folk influences.

Real Clear Politics Electoral Map

Real Clear Politics tends to tilt Republican but it is worth looking at for a picture of the electoral map. Remember what I wrote that Romney basically has to "steal" 100 votes from President Obama.

Real Clear now has the race at 227 Obama to 170 for Romney.  The Toss-up states--141-- are:
 Arizona (11)
Florida (29)
Iowa    (6)
Missouri (10)
Nevada   (6)
New Hampshire (4)
North Carolina (15)
Ohio (18)
Pennsylvania (20)
Virginia (13)

As of now, Colorado, according to PPP, is no longer a swing state but solidly for Obama. New Hampshire Obama enjoys over a 10 point lead. So let's now give Obama 240 total.

As of now, it looks like Romney has Arizona. So give him 11 making him at 181.

So the race boils down to 8 states. Obama needs 30 votes. He can do it with Nevada,North Carolina and Virginia. He could do it simply with Ohio and Pennsylvania/ or Virginia and Ohio/ or North Carolina and Pennsylvania.  Or he could do it with Florida and Iowa. And you can play with the other combinations.

On the other hand, Romney has a daunting task. He has to run the gamut from Florida,Ohio, Pennsylvania,North Carolina and maybe Virginia. His big problem is that he is down in all the states he needs to win. His advantage is in voter suppression. It basically is now illegal to register voters in Florida and voter ID laws may benefit him in Pennsylvania and Ohio. And he benefits from having a slew of Republican governors who will turn the other way at voter hijinks. But to pull that off, he needs to keep the margin down to less than 5 points to manipulate the results. 

Today, I just don't see Romney running the string. You have to have a sophisticated ground game in every state you need and right now he has none and the local Republican parties are broke.

Obama only won Florida by 2.2% and that was because Charlie Crist didn't want a repeat of 2000. he current governor Scott could care less. I could even see Gov. Kasich try to throw Ohio but Romney would have to get much closer. 

While Pennsylvania has an almost all-Republican state legislature and Voter ID laws, this might give the GOP an edge but then again Romney would have to get much closer to Obama. Throughout the 2008 campaign, the McCain people honestly thought they could win Pennsylvania, even though all local polls showed they didn't stand a chance. Even the new Voter ID laws has crippled a hidden GOP constituency--the Amish, which had been mobilized for George W. They lack any photo ID and will be cut out of this election. But I have warned that Obama's polling in the state has been lukewarm, even though he has led all the way. 

As for the smaller states, Obama has put in the organization needed to pull the elections out, while Romney can only rely on the Mormons in Nevada to give him a shot.

So far I don't see where Anderson Cooper came up with a Romney victory at this stage of the game.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Gallup Records Romney Least Popular Republican In History

Gallup is now ceasing its primary polling having concluded that Mitt Romney is the Republican nominee. So they took a stroll down history's lane and looked at the popularity of nominees within their parties at the end of the primary process.

Mitt Romney stands at 42% in support among Republicans at the end of the process. This means he is the least popular Republican nominee since 1972. Prior to that Gallup reasons the process was less open to the public. Before Romney, Wendell Willkie in 1944 stands closest--at 44%. 

For Democrats, the lowest support was for McGovern at 30% in 1972. The Democrat closest to Mitt Romney was Jimmy Carter, who had 48% when he won the nomination in 1980. 

Needless to say, all the above lost their general election.

Today's Intratrade has Obama at 60.7% chance of re-election.

The Woman Chasm

While the media flames away today over Hilary Rosen's statement that Ann Romney hasn't worked a day in her life and all the apologies and defenses of mothers,here is what concerns the Romney camp.

The Gender Chasm.
ABC News/ Washington Post Obama +19.
IBD                                      Obama + 13.
USA Today                           Obama + 18.
CNN/ORC                             Obama + 23.
PEW                                     Obama + 20.

Now Romney's tax returns have been released so the issue is why are his five maids paid below the standard rate? 

By the way, Ann Romney did serve as Governor Romney's assistant on "faith-based" initiatives.

Houston--We Have Lost The Narrative

You would think that Romney could do a victory lap once Santorum threw in the towel but instead he got himself embroiled in a whole controversy over the war on women. The fact that President Obama controls the 'language of the debate" is a big, big plus for the incumbent.

Yesterday started off with Romney being asked whether he supported equal pay for equal work. He couldn't answer and said he would get back to the reporter. Then Lilly Ledbetter blasted out an e-mail criticizing Romney. Then we had Romney's spokeswoman, a new add-on, say of course he did. Then Romney decides to do his usual--I am not waging war on women--It's Obama and then he claimed that over 93% of those who lost their jobs in the Recession were women and of course it was all Obama's fault. The Democrats pounced with everything from graphs to economic data. 

So ending the news cycle, we have Polifact claim that Romney's statement was mostly false. The Romney campaign demanded Polifact retract its statement. Then we had Romney's women surrogates come out and say how Romney is for women. The big problem here was that all of them voted against equal pay for equal work.

The Democrats made one slip up by saying that Ann Romney hadn't worked a day in her life. This allowed Ann Romney to join twitter and proudly proclaimed she made a choice--save that word for later--to stay at home and raise five sons--all of whom never served in the armed forces. Today Ann gets to defend herself on Fox News but she is still trapped in Obama's narrative.

How long ago was it that we heard Romney was the turn-around guy and the successful businessman. It feels like months because he has been dwarfed by the primary language about who is "Not Mitt". To date, he has no definition, no identity and no overarching agenda. And the Obama campaign is happily filling in the blanks for you.

Buzzfeed tallied up the approval ratings for all the challengers since 1996. Romney is in the worse and weakest position of all challengers. Basically, all the challengers came out of the primary process with net positives--Dole at 22, McCain at 19 and Obama at 18. Romney is the first to come out with a -12.

It's clear that the Romney people are hypersensitive of the gender chasm--not gap--between him and Obama. We haven't even approached the issue of reproductive rights yet and Ann Romney dropped the toxic word--choice--for future debates. 

The pollster for PPP opined that Romney is in such a deep hole for climb out of--he is far behind in key demographics and is challenging a President, who basically sits on his 2008 victory, minus Indiana and Iowa. He thinks this would take an enormous effort to crawl back, especially when you have to also pacify the Right.

The Romney campaign told the New York Times that the length and expense of the primary process cost them two months in creating a ground game and an organization. The Obama campaign started creating its ground game in the Iowa primary and has moved relentlessly forward with their efforts, even opening up offices in states which no one thinks are in play.

Remember Ohio. Rasmussen, whose polls always favor Republicans, had Obama beating Romney 48 to 40 there about a month ago. Yesterday, his new poll shows Obama beating Romney 51 to 40. No Ohio, no Romney win. Period.

While Romney was caught in his underwear yesterday with women's issues, Obama had fun with the Buffett rule, which he has renamed the Reagan Rule for the former President's support of the same principle. While the Buffett Rule has literally no chance to pass Congress and only serves to make the President's point about inequality, Romney bought in and claimed that the Buffett rule would benefit Warren Buffett. Not. 

But that hasn't stopped Joe Biden from now coining the Romney rule and flying off to New Hampshire showcasing the difference between President Obama and Romney. Throughout the campaign, watch where Joe Biden goes. He is stopping in small electoral states to prevent any loss there.

So today, the Obama campaign has celebrations for the sixth anniversary of Romneycare, which includes Deval Patrick in Massachusetts actually hosting such a party. 

So far in just a couple of days, the Obama campaign's reflexes have been sharp and they have responded instantly to Romney's miscues. It's clear to me that the Romney campaign is not ready for prime-time. It has come off as bumbling and not able to counter-punch.

This seems to be true about the feared Karl Rove. For every ad, the Obama campaign has countered by identifying whose behind Crossroads America's funding. But even with this torrent of negative ads by Rove,it's sort of pathetic that his biggest weapon is gas prices.

Perhaps the Romney campaign will find their sea legs. None of them have ever run a national campaign before. But so far--and it has been months--they have had no message--just that Mitt was inevitable. 

Right now the Romney campaign is trapped in GOP World and the Obama campaign is making sure you remember how extreme Mitt got during the primaries. Romney still has to make peace with his rivals before the party can be unified. And this morning a mine was laid on that path--a majority of Republicans do not believe the Afghanistan war was worth fighting. This plays into Ron Paul's campaign and undercuts Romney's desire to be the champion of the neo-cons. So all this has to be sorted out before Romney really starts the general election campaign and by then he will be behind the Eight-Ball.

Romney has enormous financial advantages--$200 million from the oil industry, $100 million from the Koch Brothers, $200 million from Karl Rove's outfit, as well as $100s of millions in his own Superpac. All of this will be thrown at President Obama. But the point of negative ads are to push up your opponents' negatives so as to be able to persuade independents to vote for you. 

Here we have seen the dynamics of Romney's attack machine--they have been effective at squeaking out victories in Republican primaries but at an enormous cost to Romney's favorability rating. If he does unleash an aerial attack on Obama, which everyone expects, watch his negatives go through the roof.  And we still don't know why he is running for President. 

The other aspect of the money juggernaut is that he has no control over it. He can not legally direct these people--and they are all cranks and very old white men--how to orchestrate attacks on Obama. So we start the general campaign without a ground game or organization,a total lack of control over the behavior of your allies, a lack of unity in your party,and a lack of message. I wouldn't want to be there.

The general objective for the Romney campaign is to strip away 100 electoral votes from Obama's 2008 totals. Right now he has to pray for a terrorist attack, Israel bombing Iran, an economic slowdown. He is total dependent on things outside his control.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

George Zimmerman to be charged, if found

The state of Florida intends to charge George Zimmerman with the murder of Trayvon Martin, if he can be found. Yesterday, Zimmerman's attorney's quit since they had not been in touch with him and claim he has fled the state. This should make for an interesting bail hearing. 

The attorneys said yesterday they had warned Zimmerman from talking to the prosecutor's office without his lawyers present. He called anyway. Just as he pursued Trayvon Martin when the 911 operator told him not to follow the young man. 

I'll leave the lawyering to the lawyers. But it seems to me there are more questions than answers in this case. The crime scene was not secured, Zimmerman's clothing was not bagged as evidenced and the local police did not investigate. Who knows where the gun is? The only hard evidence it appears will be the autopsy reports. And the eyewitnesses seem to be all over the place with their testimony. 

Meanwhile, while the lawyers couldn't talked to Zimmerman, he updated his website, which is being used to raise money for his "defense", I guess, and managed to talk to Sean Hannity of Fox News to say he mentored African-American youths. Armed neo-nazis are patrolling Zimmerman's hometown allegedly to protect whites from black rioting. And the Black Panthers today apologized for some of their more over-the-top comments. 

Unfortunately, the circus after the tragedy seems to be just starting.

Obama Leads Romney by Landslide Numbers

The Daily Kos decided to post the aggregate poll numbers for the so called battleground states and concluded that President Obama beats Romney in a landslide.  President Obama wins 341 electoral votes to Romney's 197. A far cry from Anderson Cooper's prediction yesterday that Romney was close to 270.

For those watching Florida and Ohio, President Obama wins both. Despite today's Florida University poll showing that state as tied 43 to 43, Obama wins with the average of 48 to Romney's 42.1. In Ohio, another state Anderson Cooper said Romney wins,Obama has 48.1 to 40. And Obama crushes Romney in Michigan.

Also, New Hampshire remains Obama's by 49.6 to 39.4.

In the battleground states, Romney currently has leads in Arizona, Iowa and Missouri. Romney in Arizona beats Obama 48.6 to 41.6. In Iowa, Romney only leads by 45.5 to 43.7. And in Missouri, he leads 48.1 to 42.5.

For a nifty map, check out

Karl Rove's Worst Nightmare

Karl Rove's Pac--"Crosshairs on America" leaked out a memo the other day that suggested President Obama was winning on framing the taxes issue. So naturally we get a lame barrage of ads against the Buffett rule and suggestions that Obama and Buffett can pay more taxes--voluntarily. This was the hardy-har joke introduced by Senate Republicans last year.

So PPP polled this question: Who do you trust more to keep taxes lower for you: Barack Obama or Mitt Romney, or do you trust neither candidate more?

Barack Obama: 41%
Mitt Romney:    33%
Neither:            24%
Unsure:              1%

Only when you get to people earning more than $100,000 does Romney eek out a 1% advantage 37 to 36.

So we learned from the Washington Post/ABC poll that the Republicans have lost their national security advantage--big time--against Obama and now they have lost their tax card.

Sometimes Satan Comes as a Man of Peace

++What's wrong with God? So far 0 for 4 in the GOP presidential sweepstakes. Cain, Bachmann, Perry and Forthy Mix are were called. Only the worshippers of Lucifer have made it.

++So far Romney hasn't found any people of Ham to serve in his campaign. No African-Americans have been approached.

++The Obama campaign showed some wit and zing by producing an ad with the best hits from Romney's extreme right swerves. Mitt Romney--"Memories to last a Lifetime".

++Mitt can't figure out today whether he is for equal pay for equal work. After a few zings, one from Lilly Ledbetter herself,the Romney spokeswoman said they would let the law stand.

++Allen West, Looney-Tune from Florida, says he has heard there are 70, 80 or maybe 81 Democratic members of congress who are members of the Communist Party. What do they all follow Angela Davis? What Communist Party is left anywhere?

++Worried about illegal immigration? Illegal immigration now from Mexico is ZERO. They must have realized America is as Third World as Mexico.

++Over 50% of Americans believe that the Supreme Court will decide the healthcare issue solely on politics.

++One in ten American males believe that their retirement will be paid by winning the lottery.

++If you aren't got that swing. New Mexico looks like it is no longer a Swing State. Rasmussen has Obama beating Romney there 52% to 36%.

++PPP has released its poll on North Carolina. President Obama beats Romney by 49 to 44. He has led or tied Romney on polls there since 2010. Romney has a 29-58 approval rating. In other words, he is in the dumpster. Obama leads independent voters in double digits and with woman by fifteen points. Men go for Romney by 6. One weird factoid is that only 79% of Democrats are for Obama and Romney gets 15% of Democrats. Basically, Obama is trending toward his November 2008 victory over McCain in the state. 

++This March was the warmest as long as the government kept records. Over 15,000 locations recorded record highs. When I was in Ohio, only two cities in the whole state did not reach their all-time records.