Monthly Archives: July 2012

Obama +6 in Michigan — EPIC-MRA

President Obama flips the polls in Michigan opening a 6-point lead in the latest EPIC-MRA poll.  In early June EPIC-MRA poll Romney led by +1 but momentum is with the Obama campaign in Michigan today:

In the presidential race, Lansing-based EPIC-MRA released a poll of 600 likely voters on Tuesday showing the Democrat, Obama, leading presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney 48%-42%. The margin of error is plus or minus 4 percentage points for the survey, which was conducted July 24-31.

Last week, a Mitchell Research poll gave Romney a razor-thin 45%-44% lead in Michigan, well within the margin of error, but several other recent polls have shown Obama ahead in the state – which he won by 16 points in 2008. Rasmussen Reports had Obama leading Romney by 6 points last week, while Public Policy Polling put his lead at 14 points.

 

The Thrill is Gone … from 2008’s New Voters

We have noted previously the many reasons for the youth vote souring on President Obama.  We’ve also noted previously that this demographic is slowly losing its loving feeling for Obama.  Now Louisiana State University’s Public Policy Research Lab, tracks the sentiments of those who voted for the first time in 2008. While this survey is of “firt time voters” and not explicitly the youth vote, that demographic comprises much of the “first time” voters.” Interestingly , Obama’s margin with this group is shrinking similarly to that of the youth vote. Republicans don’t expect to win this vote, they do expect to cut into Obama’s impressive 2008 margin. The LSU survey confirms the reduced enthusiasm we’ve seen from the previous polls:

Key Finding: Among this group in 2008 Obama had a 35 percentage point advantage 65 – 30 (page 14), nearly identical to his 34 point advantage among the youth vote. Today that advantage is 30.5 percentage points (page 15) and as we see below, many of those Obama voters have lost their enthusiasm mening many will likely not show up at the polls making that margin even smaller.

Here are other findings mentioned in the Wall Street Journal write-up:

Overall, the new voters still back Mr. Obama. But by a variety of measures, their enthusiasm doesn’t match that of other Obama voters from ’08.

  • Asked if the president deserves reelection, nearly 83% of the new voters who backed Mr. Obama last time said yes, compared to about 91% of other Obama voters.
  • Nearly 52% of the new voters who cast ballots for the president strongly agreed with the statement, “Obama cares about people like me.” By contrast, nearly 64% of other Obama voters strongly agreed with that statement.
  • About 83% of the first-time Obama voters said they are “definitely voting” in the ’12 election, compared to 94% of other Obama voters.
  • Nearly 37% of the new voters are paying less attention to the presidential campaign than they did four years ago, compared to about 30% of the other Obama voters.
  • About 72% of the new voters said Mr. Obama would do a better job of improving the economy than Mr. Romney, compared to more than 80% of the other Obama voters.
  • “In an election like this one that is turning out to be really competitive, those types of numbers matter,” Mr. Goidel said in an interview.

Major Media Blitz to Coincide with VP Announcement August 10th? Probably

As you can see from the limited blogging (and lack of Battleground state news) everyone is taking a bit of a time-out during the Olympics.  That will change soon as Mitt Romney completes his overseas jaunt and is now beginning a major media buy across the Battlegrounds:

Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign is quietly laying the groundwork for a high-profile blitz of several key battleground states in the run-up to the Republican National Convention in Tampa, and Republicans briefed on the plans say it has all the trappings of a vice presidential rollout tour.

Beginning August 10th, Romney will ramp up his campaign operation with a splashy four-day bus tour targeting the largest media markets in several of the states that will decide the November election, CNN has learned. And in a show of force and party unity, Romney will be joined at each stop by prominent Republican officials and campaign surrogates.

Some details are still murky, and Republicans cautioned that they are subject to change, but:

  • August 11, Romney will hit three of Virginia‘s biggest population hubs along I-95 – the Washington, D.C. metro area, Richmond and Norfolk
  • August 12, Romney heads down to North Carolina
  • August 13, the Monday after the Olympic Summer Games finish in London, Romney will arrive in Florida for campaign stops in Jacksonville, Orlando and Miami
  • Romney aides are also scouting multiple campaign venues in Ohio for later that week, knowledgeable Republican sources told CNN. Other states may also be added to the itinerary that week

“Sounds like V.P. week,” said one Republican familiar with the schedule, who did not want to be identified revealing the campaign’s plans. “Hitting the big markets in the big states. It just makes sense.”

6,300 Words on Paul Ryan

Read Ryan Lizza’s account of Paul Ryan is about as accurate as you’ll find over the coming months especially if he gets tapped to be Mitt Romney’s Vice President:

Ryan won his seat in 1998, at the age of twenty-eight. Like many young conservatives, he is embarrassed by the Bush years. At the time, as a junior member with little clout, Ryan was a reliable Republican vote for policies that were key in causing enormous federal budget deficits: sweeping tax cuts, a costly prescription-drug entitlement for Medicare, two wars, the multibillion-dollar bank-bailout legislation known as TARP. In all, five trillion dollars was added to the national debt. In 2006 and 2008, many of Ryan’s older Republican colleagues were thrown out of office as a result of lobbying scandals and overspending. Ryan told me recently that, as a fiscal conservative, he was “miserable during the last majority” and is determined “to do everything I can to make sure I don’t feel that misery again.”

As much as he relished the battle against Obama—“European,” he repeated, with some gusto—his real fight was for the ideological identity of the Republican Party, and with colleagues who were content to simply criticize the White House. “If you’re going to criticize, then you should propose,” he told me. A fault line divided the older and more cautious Republican leaders from the younger, more ideological members. Ryan was, and remains, the leader of the attack-and-propose faction.

“I think you’re obligated to do that,” he said. “People like me who are reform-minded ignore the people who say, ‘Just criticize and don’t do anything and let’s win by default.’ That’s ridiculous.” He said he was “moving ahead without them. They don’t want to produce alternatives? That’s not going to stop me from producing an alternative.”

Ryan’s long-range plan was straightforward: to create a detailed alternative to Obama’s budget and persuade his party to embrace it. He would start in 2009 and 2010 with House Republicans, the most conservative bloc in the Party. Then, in the months before the Presidential primaries, he would focus on the G.O.P. candidates. If the plan worked, by the fall of 2012 Obama’s opponent would be running on Paul Ryan’s ideas, and in 2013 a new Republican President would be signing them into law.

Read the whole thing.

Tea Party Ground Game in Ohio

Douglas Blackmon in the Washington Post takes a look at the changing tactics of the tea party from protest movement to activist organization. In typical mainstream media fashion, the piece is full of passive aggressive slights of the tea party, but buried deep into the write-up is an impressive data point on the massive ground game being unleashed on behalf the Romney campaign and other Republicans:

In pivotal Ohio, tea party organizers who not long ago opposed the presumptive Republican nominee recently supplied hundreds of volunteers for a Romney campaign operation dubbed the “Buckeye Blitz.” In June, the volunteers visited more than 100,000 households identified by the GOP as undecided or independent voters, according to David Zupan, a tea party activist in Avon Lake, a suburb of Cleveland. In a big push this month, a mix of tea party and other Romney volunteers visited at least 40,000 homes in all 88 Ohio counties, according to Scott Jennings, Romney’s state director in Ohio.

Of course, even in these three sentences the writer couldn’t help throw in one of five mentions that the tea party wasn’t against Romney in the primaries. The Obama re-election machine in the media must be getting nervous. Hack journalism at its finest.

What’s Happens When a Poll Doesn’t Over-Sample Democrats?

You get results like these:

The poll, conducted for The Hill by Pulse Opinion Research, found 48 percent of voters consider Romney the stronger leader, compared to 44 percent who favored Obama. Similarly, 47 percent of likely voters also said Romney most shares their values while 44 percent picked Obama. When asked which candidate voters considered more honest and trustworthy, 46 percent said Romney and 44 percent said Obama — a result within the poll’s 3 percentage point margin of error.

And Obama’s likeability advantage?

Asked whether “policies and competence” or “likeability” mattered more in their decisions, “policies and competence” won 93 percent to 3 percent for “likeability.”

These findings are compliments of NRO’s Jim Geraghty who notes:

The sample for The Hill’s poll is 52 percent female, 48 percent male; 35 percent Republican, 34 percent Democrat, 31 percent other.

Olympians for Romney

Some of America’s best-known Olympic gold medalists are featured in a new super PAC ad touting Mitt Romney’s successful stewardship of the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics. Kristi Yamaguchi, Derek Parra and Jimmy Shea star in the new pro-Romney commercial paid for by Restore Our Future, the main super PAC supporting the Republican presidential candidate:

Mitt is Popular in Poland

Thousands show up to greet Mitt Romney in Poland:

“Wow! Thousands on hand to welcome the Romney’s to Poland.” –DGJackson, Mitt’s Body Man

Battleground Counties: Duval County, Florida

Florida has maintained national focus since its prominent place in the 2000 Presidential nail-biter.  Although it no longer holds the pole position as the #1 Battleground state in the nation, its high electoral vote count and persuadable voters make the state a prime destination for any candidate expecting to win the Presidency.  As with most Battleground states Florida has its voter rich Battleground Counties like Hillsborough County in the Southwest and Orange County at the top of the I-4 corridor. The Tampa Bay Times took a deep dive into Duval County in the Northeast which is typically considered GOP country, but there are meaningful trends making Duval very much a Battleground County:

One of Florida’s top battlegrounds, this longtime Republican stronghold is also one of the most confounding and unpredictable electorates you’ll find. Drive 30 minutes from any area in this New South, Navy town and you meet every stereotype imaginable: lifelong, white Democrats with horses and pickups, inner-city African-Americans fretting about street crime, social conservatives in a Baptist church encompassing nine blocks, northeastern retirees in flip-flops on the beach, or socially moderate Starbucks Republicans mingling in trendy restaurants. “It’s one of the most misunderstood counties in Florida,” said Democratic pollster Dave Beattie of Fernandina Beach in Duval. In this bastion of conservatism, the past two Republican mayors of Jacksonville raised taxes and fees significantly, while the new Democratic mayor has tea party activists hailing his fiscal conservatism. It’s a county that statewide Republican candidates routinely win by more than 15 percentage points, but can be nail-bitingly close with the right Democrat on the ballot.

Obama minding the gap

George W. Bush beat John Kerry in Duval by 62,000 votes in 2004 [58% to 42% — 16% difference], while former Jacksonville resident John McCain squeaked past Obama in 2008 by less than 8,000 votes [51% to 49% — 2% difference]. Few people expect President Obama to match his performance from four years ago, however. “His supporters are not going to be as fired up this time,” predicted lawyer Kenneth Boston, inhaling a stogie while sporting a bow tie and a glistening Obama watch at a Jacksonville Beach watering hole. “It’s impossible to match the excitement of last time. It was a first then, it was historic.” The question is not whether Obama can win Duval, but rather how close he can keep it. If the campaign can’t keep Duval closer than 7 or 8 percentage points from Republican Mitt Romney, it becomes harder to make up those votes elsewhere in the state.

African-American vote strength

The African-American vote is key. Nearly 28 percent of Duval’s 530,000 voters are African-Americans who overwhelmingly vote Democratic. The data-driven Obama campaign four years ago saw that tens of thousands of registered black voters hadn’t been showing up at the polls and launched the biggest voter mobilization ever in the area. Obama campaigned in Jacksonville three times in 2008, including the day before Election Day. This year, Obama is ramping it up still more, with one campaign office opened in January and two more to open within weeks. Obama and the first lady have each visited Duval County in the past three months. The administration recently sped up the arrival of a battleship, the USS New York, to Jacksonville’s Naval Station Mayport and fast-tracked a study of deepening Jacksonville’s ship channel.

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A Moment That May Break This Race Loose — ABC’s “This Week”

With the Presidential contest largest a toss-up at this point, guest host Matthew Dowd asked each panelist to name a moment over the final 100 days that could open a lead for either candidate.  Here were the responses:

George Will:  The September jobs report to be released October 5th.  However, Will misleadingly states this will be the final jobs report before “people vote”.  The October jobs report will be released November 2nd, four days prior to election day. Will may have meant to say it is the final jobs report before early voting begins.

Donna Brazile: The first Presidential debate on October 5th where the public will be able to size up Mitt Romney standing next to President Obama.

David Chalian: The first debate because it will focus on domestic policy and it will influence those who vote early in states that allow early voting.

Dana Loesch: The Republican National Convention and Mitt Romney’s speech. Does he close the gap with grassroots Republicans?

Ruth Marcus: Conventions not relevant. The first debate is the key moment.

Matthew Dowd: Punts and says the “unknown” event like Lehman’s collapse ion 2008, the Bin Laden tape in 2004 and the release of Bush 41’s DWI in 2000.

Poland and the Battleground States

With Mitt Romney heading to Poland, the press is picking up on the Battleground state implications of such a targeted visit:

The states that hold the largest communities of Polish-American voters overlap significantly with this year’s swing states. Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Ohio all are home to numerous voters who trace their heritage to Poland, according to John Kromkowski, a Catholic University professor who studies urban and ethnic politics. “They’re not only in swing states, but over the decades that I’ve been tracking this, they’re also swing voters,” he said. “It’s sort of a mixed population, so it’s an almost archetypal swing vote.”

The Polish vote

One issue Romney will likely have to address to get the attention — and votes — of Polish-Americans is to promise to help Poland become a member of the visa waiver program, which is important for voters who still have family in Europe. President Obama offered his support for legislation to do just that during his own trip to the country in 2011.

The Catholic vote

Along with the Polish vote, Romney hopes to woo Catholic voters who may appreciate his visit to a country in which the church is still enormously important. Since the 1960 election, when Catholics flocked to John F. Kennedy as the first candidate of their faith, the balance between Democrats and Republicans has evened out among the population. Still, Romney’s trip won’t have nearly the same resonance it might have had in the midst of the Cold War.

Minding the gap

But this is an election where nibbling at the margins can help, especially after Obama may have alienated some Catholics with an executive order that requires religiously-affiliated organizations to provide their employees with insurance plans that include birth control. Obama received 54 percent of the Catholic vote in 2008, according to the Pew Research Center, several points better than the two Democrats who preceded him. Much of that support comes from Hispanic Catholics, who comprise 58 percent of the religious group in the United States.

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Battleground Counties, “Independent” Voters and Super Lazy Reporters

The Washington Post takes a deep dive (2600 words) into four Battleground Counties that will help decide this year’s election.  Incredibly, they greatly diminish this extensive work by first, including the state of Missouri in the analysis — a state Obama isn’t even contesting. Second, before delving into each state/county they offer polls including an admitted month-old poll in Ohio showing Obama leading by 11 percentage points. Besides using incredibly stale data, they even got the poll #s wrong.  In the cited Quinnipiac poll from June, Obama was only leading by 9 percentage points, not 11.  And there were a ton of issues with that poll like Obama having a 3 point advantage among male voters? There is no chance that is accurate in 2012. With plenty of other polls available, how does an ostensibly reputable newspaper use data from a month ago when election preferences change almost daily.  Lastly, this talk of independent voters is nonsense.  Most of the interviews were with complete partisans.  Of course, the Republican partisan’s concerns were minimized by the reporter in classic liberal journalistic fashion, but regardless this article is allegedly about Independent/persuadable voters. Unbelievable.

With that as our lead in, we will focus on the worthwhile aspects on this opus like the three actual Battleground counties where the outcome is actually relevant: Wood County, Ohio; Henrico County, Virginia; Hillsborough County, Florida

In these next 100 days, President Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney and their political allies will spend hundreds of millions of dollars trying to sway uncommitted voters in a few key states. These are the people they’re after. Interviews with dozens of voters in Florida, Missouri, Ohio and Virginia illustrate just how complicated each voter’s decision can be and, sometimes, how very far removed it is from the election strategies being mapped out in campaign conference rooms in Chicago or Boston or Washington. The conversations with voters also show how little the daily media circus of gaffes and campaign ads and surrogate attacks actually moves its intended targets. After months of heavy advertising by Romney, many voters knew only that he is Mormon, rich and not Obama. This weekend, the Obama campaign kicks off the last 100 days of campaigning with 4,600 small events around the country, including Olympics-watching parties, house parties and “Barbecues for Barack.” The Romney campaign is taking a different approach. The candidate is in Israel this weekend as part of an overseas tour designed to enhance his image as an international statesman.

As it turns out, the fight is for an extraordinarily small slice of the U.S. electorate. In one recent poll, more than two-thirds of voters said they already had all the information they needed to make their choice. So a few undecided people, in just a few places, could swing an entire country. Washington Post reporters visited four counties that could be decisive. All four voted for George W. Bush in 2000 and 2004 and then for Obama in 2008, and each is in a state that will be crucial to the outcome in November.

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Obama +3 in Pennsylvania — Susquehanna Polling & Research

It’s looking more and more like Ed Rendell and yours truly were correct that Pennsylvania is very much in play:

President Obama’s support among likely Pennsylvania voters slipped to a narrow lead over Republican challenger Mitt Romney as concern over the economy intensified, according to a Susquehanna Polling & Research survey released on Friday. The poll, conducted for the Republican State Committee, shows Obama leading Romney 46 percent to 43 percent, with a 3.46 percentage point margin of error. Obama’s lead is half what the Democratic polling firm Public Policy Polling found in a survey released on Wednesday.

“You’re looking at the potential for a pretty close race,” said Jim Lee, president of the Susquehanna polling firm.

The poll of 800 likely voters took place July 19-23. A Susquehanna Poll from June showed Obama leading 48 percent to 43 percent. As has been the case throughout this campaign, the economy remains atop voters’ list of concerns, with 53 percent saying job creation, economic issues or improving the economy will most influence how they vote. Taxes, spending and budget deficits come in second with 26 percent listing those as their top concerns. No other issue breaks single digits.

The poll found 50 percent of people think the country is on the wrong track, compared with 29 percent who think it is headed in the right direction. Eleven percent are undecided. Lee said he thought McCain’s campaign made a mistake in spending time and resources to try to win Pennsylvania in 2008, because polls then showed Obama was heavily favored. “I don’t know how the Romney folks can’t look at this and say, ‘We have a shot here,’” he said.

The Dwindling Gender Gap and Obama Campaign Lies

Democrats generally enjoy an advantage among women voters who also tend to vote more reliably than men.  Despite the fact that the gender gap goes both ways with men disproportionately voting Republican, the always unhelpful to Republicans media spends a disproportionate amount of time talking about the women’s vote and Republicans alleged inability to appeal to women.  Unfortunately for that narrative, the gender gap is both dwindling and in actuality only appears among single women (a majority of married women vote Republican). Even worse for the Democrats, the overall gender gap among women voters in shirking even further despite Democrats routinely debunked claim of Republicans “war on women“. This has led the Obama campaign repeatedly air an wholly dishonest abortion ad:

President Obama is airing another television ad in swing states attacking Republican Mitt Romney’s position on abortion that repeats false claims from an earlier spot. What gives? A look at the dwindling gender gap in just one of the states where the ad is running gives it away.

In Virginia — ground zero for the so-called “war on women” because of anti-abortion initiatives in the state capitol — Obama was running ahead of Romney in Quinnipiac University polls in March and June, largely because of monster leads among women. The gender gap was 13 points in March and 16 points in June. Then came July’s survey, which found the candidates deadlocked at 44 percent each. The gender gap had shrunk to only 5 points.

The ad is so bad, it has been rebuked by even fact-checkers who are no friend to Republicans like Politifact:

The ad from the Obama campaign said Romney “backed a bill that outlaws all abortions, even in cases of rape and incest.” The Obama campaign provides virtually nothing to back that up, however. It has no evidence that Romney explicitly opposed the exception for rape and incest. While he supported the “human life amendment,” there are many versions and the most recent ones allow abortion after rape or incest. And it’s worth noting that in 2011, Romney declared that has said he supports those exceptions. In its effort to appeal to women, the Obama campaign has twisted Romney’s position to a ridiculous degree. We rate the claim Pants on Fire.

The new spot is airing in Florida, Iowa, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Virginia, Nevada and Ohio and starts in Colorado on Monday.

Obama +2 in Ohio — Magellan Strategies

In a survey of likely voters with voter ID of Democrat 40, Republican 32 and Independent 28 or D +8, President Barack Obama leads by 2-points 45 to 43 with 11 percent voting other/undecided. This is consistent with the 2008 party ID that was D +8.  However Ohio is always volatile and in 2004 the party ID was R +5. In 2012 no one knows exactly who will show up at the polls in November but the party ID will almost certainly be much closer to even than a repeat of the 2008 Democrat wave that swept in Obama. The gender ID was women +10 (55% women/45% men) whereas in 2008 the gender ID women +4 (52/48). Women in the survey favored Obama by 11%, while men favored Romney by 8%.  In this survey, they both over-sampled the likely Democrat turnout and also over-represent a pro-Obama demographic by over-sampling women.  All of this is good news for Romney despite trailing in the poll by 2-points. Of concern for both candidates though is the fact that “undecideds” are disproportionately low relative to disaffected voters wanting someone “other.”  The undecideds are what both candidates are competing for while those voting “other” are more difficult to persuade.

For President Percent
Barack Obama 45
Mitt Romney 43
Other 9
Undecided 3

Romney on the Radio

The Battleground state radio waves are going to be hearing a lot more about Mitt Romney shortly:

A super PAC backing Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney says it’s spending $1 million on radio ads in nine states. Restore Our Future plans to put the 60-second ad on the air in Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia. In it, a female narrator says President Barack Obama has no record to run on and has resorted to negative attacks on Romney. The group is an independent committee run by former Romney aides. For his part, Romney has not spent heavily on radio ads and his advisers say they have none running at the moment. Obama has been airing ads aimed at promoting his record to rural and Hispanic voters.

Obama +3 in Wisconsin — Rasmussen

Reversing the results from last month, Rasmussen Reports shows President Obama leading Mitt Romney 49 to 46 in Wisconsin:

It’s still a three-point presidential race in Wisconsin, but now President Obama has a modest edge over Mitt Romney in the Badger State. The latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of Wisconsin Likely Voters shows the president drawing 49% of the vote to Romney’s 46%. Two percent (2%) prefer some other candidate, and four percent (4%) are undecided. Fifty-two percent (52%) of Wisconsin voters now approve of the job Obama is doing as president, while 47% disapprove. These numbers include 30% who Strongly Approve of the president’s performance and 37% who Strongly Disapprove of it. Obama’s approval rating in Wisconsin has improved since June and is higher than sentiments measured nationwide.

Romney is viewed favorably by 50% of Wisconsin voters and unfavorably by 48%, showing little change from last month. The latest findings include Very Favorable reviews from 23% and Very Unfavorable ones from 30%. Romney leads the president 46% to 39% among Wisconsin voters who are not affiliated with either major political party. The GOP challenger has a seven-point lead among male voters in the state, but the president is ahead by 11 points among female voters.

For President Percent
Barack Obama 49
Mitt Romney 46
Undecided/Other 6

Obama +8 in Ohio — We Ask America

We Ask America smartly continues to insert Gary Johnson into its surveys.  Thus far that has helped Obama so keep an eye on that going forward showing the President leading by nearly 8-points:

We wrap up the first round in our Big 10 series with Ohio–perhaps the quintessential and, arguably, most important swing state. The closeness of recent presidential elections certainly makes the Buckeye State a battleground, and with good reason. With a single exception (1960) Ohio has gone with the presidential winner every election since 1944. So, as in our other polls in this series, we asked each participant: “If the election for president were held today, for whom would you vote?” We’ve included Libertarian Gary Johnson to test the impact of a third-party candidate on what may be a very tight race.

What pops out immediately is the high percentage of self-described Republicans who say they will vote for Barack Obama over Mitt Romney.  An outlier?  Perhaps.  But we went back into the field last night to test it again. The results: almost identical.  Hmmm.  We going to keep an eye on that. Since Independents are leaning toward Romney, if the “wayward” GOP electorate come back home to roost, this will tighten up considerably and quickly. And a rumored choice of Ohio Senator Rob Portman as Romney’s VP running mate could reverse what we’re seeing today. Then again, maybe those GOP voters leaning toward Obama are the result of the President working Ohio like Rocky Balboa on a side of beef…breaking a few political ribs while he’s at it. And those take a long time to heal.

For President Percent
Barack Obama 47.84
Mitt Romney 40.20
Gary Johnson 2.04
Undecided 9.93

Poll type: Automated Date: July 24, 2012 – Participants: 1,115 Likely Voters – Margin of Error: ± 3%

Obama +5 in Nevada — Rasmussen

In the latest from Rasmussen Reports, Barack Obama importantly reaches 50% of support for the first time in the hundreds of Battleground state polls we have looked at. This will be an important threshold for Obama to repeat across the country if he is to hold off the expected charge from Romney in late-August and early September when the undecided voters start tuning in.

The presidential race in Nevada is a little tighter this month, with President Obama now leading Mitt Romney by five points in the Silver State. The latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of Likely Voters in Nevada shows the president drawing 50% of the vote to Romney’s 45%. One percent (1%) prefers some other candidate, and four percent (4%) are undecided. The survey of 500 Likely Voters in Nevada was conducted on July 24, 2012 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 4.5 percentage points.

For President Percent
Barack Obama 50
Mitt Romney 45
Undecided/Other 5

New Romney Web Ad: “These Hands: Nevada”

More of Obama’s words “in context”

Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is IX

MSNBC’s First Read has the weekly rundown of the hottest political ad markets for the week ahead. For the second straight week, the pro-Romney camp massively outspends the pro-Obama camp almost reaching the 2:1 advantage from the prior week. Colorado is not in the top 10 after dominating the list the last couple of weeks due to both campaigns pulling ads following the shooting massacre in Aurora, Colorado. Our previous favorite state to discuss (for its lack of relevance), North Carolina, makes a return with two markets in the top 10. But note the overwhelming advertising spend is from the Romney camp while Obama’s camp barely has a presence.  Looks more and more likely they have pulled up stakes and headed elsewhere. After that, everything looks rather typical with Ohio and Virginia maintaining their positions as top states which will likely continue through November.

Below are this week’s 10 hottest TV markets in the presidential contest (in terms of advertising points from July 23-July 29).

Hottest Markets for the week 7/23-7/29 Hottest Markets for the week 7/16-7/22
1. Roanoke-Lynchburg, VA (Obama 1100, Romney 1000, Crossroads GPS 650, RNC 215)
2. Tampa, FL (Romney 840, Obama 775, Crossroads GPS 670, American Crossroads 600, Priorities USA 200)
3. Cincinnati, OH (Romney 1100, Obama 1000, Crossroads GPS 400, American Crossroads 265, RNC 100)
4. Toledo, OH (Obama 1000, Romney 980, Crossroads 400, American Crossroads 350, RNC 200)
5. Reno, NV (Obama 1300, Romney 650, Crossroads GPS 450, American Crossroads 370, RNC 250)
6. Greenville-New Bern, NC (Romney 970, Obama 600, Crossroads GPS 550, American Crossroads 515, RNC 350)
7. Richmond-Petersburg, VA (Obama 1200, Romney 1100, Crossroads GPS 270, Priorities USA 240, RNC 125)
8. Columbus, OH (Obama 1000, Romney 1000, Crossroads GPS 370, American Crossroads 260, Priorities USA 140, RNC 150)
9. Orlando, FL (Obama 875, Romney 860, Crossroads GPS 475, American Crossroads 425, Priorities USA 274)
10. Charlotte, NC (Romney 1000, Obama 800, American Crossroads 420, Crossroads GPS, 390, RNC 240)
1. Denver, CO (Obama 975, Romney 840, RNC 620, Crossroads 520, Priorities 150)
2. Colorado Springs, CO (Romney 950, Obama 930, Crossroads 700, RNC 300, Priorities 185)
3. Grand Junction, CO (Obama 930, Romney 820, Crossroads 745, RNC 275)
4. Roanoke, VA (Obama 930, Romney 630, Crossroads 600, RNC 470)
5. Richmond, VA (Obama 860, Romney 775, RNC 370, Crossroads 360, Priorities 240)
6. Charlotte, NC (Romney 915, Obama 750, RNC 570, Crossroads 370)
7. Tampa, FL (Romney 875, Obama 711, Crossroads 690, Priorities 185)
8. Columbus, OH (Romney 815, Obama 765, Crossroads 360, RNC 350, Priorities 140)
9. Boston-Manchester, NH (RNC 1000, Crossroads 550, Obama 550, Romney 225)
10. Orlando, FL (Romney 830, Obama 800, Crossroads 615, Priorities 130)

MSNBC First Read take-aways:

1) In most of these markets, Obama and Romney are running fairly even, but GOP outside groups are giving Team Romney the edge in advertising points;
2) the states here are Ohio (3 markets), Virginia (2), Florida (2), North Carolina (2), and Nevada (1)
3)  Roanoke-Lynchburg, VA is this week’s No. 1 market.

How Mitt Romney Turned Around the 2002 Olympic Games in Salt Lake City

Elizabeth Williamson in the Wall Street Journal takes a close look at exactly what Mitt Romney did to turn the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics from a corrupt embarrassing into a national source of pride:

When Mitt Romney took over the troubled Salt Lake City Winter Olympics, it was tainted by allegations of corruption and facing a yawning budget hole. Mr. Romney immediately saw several cuts that could get the Games back on track, including a cultural-education program, a youth camp and free catered lunches for committee board meetings. The cuts required tough conversations with a community that had big expectations for the Games, but in dozens of meetings with local officials and residents, Mr. Romney portrayed the situation as dire. Mr. Romney’s 2002 Olympics stint remains one of the clearest examples of how he sought to transfer his corporate-restructuring experience to a public institution, a theme that runs through the heart of his challenge to President Barack Obama. Both the kudos and the criticisms will be back in the spotlight this week when Mr. Romney visits the London Games, a pointed reminder from the candidate of his former role.

Olympics under a cloud

Mr. Romney arrived in Salt Lake in 1999 from private-equity firm Bain Capital after news emerged that former Salt Lake bid-committee officials had lavished gifts on members of the International Olympic Committee. The officials were cleared of wrongdoing. At the time, however, sponsors were threatening to pull out, and the federal government was investigating.

Not exactly love at first sight

Mr. Romney ranked about sixth on a list of a dozen potential candidates for the job, said Robert Garff, who chaired the Salt Lake committee at the time. In “Turnaround,” Mr. Romney’s book about his Olympics experience, he said: “Somehow my name had come up.” Mr. Romney writes that he thought Utah’s bid to be “ill-advised from the start. All the more reason for me not to carpetbag to Utah and take up the Olympic banner.”

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The More Context You Get, The Worse It Sounds

I love this ad since Obama and his surrogates in the media counter the Republican critiques by parroting that the “You didn’t build that” quote was taken out of context. The problem is the quote was part of an unscripted rant by Obama against entrepreneurs and successful businesses. Thankfully the Republican National Committee sees the same thing and decided to make sure you could see and hear Obama’s antagonism towards business in its full context … and it makes his comments even worse:

“You didn’t build that” Rallies in Pennsylvania

Across the nation, the Romney campaign held round-table discussions with small business owners capitalizing on the Obama rallying cry telling successful businesses “You didn’t build that“:

For the second week now, Republicans are laser focused on a comment President Barack Obama made during a campaign speech that they say proves Obama’s negative attitude toward business… The Romney camp is holding dozens of events in swing states across the country featuring small business owners and GOP politicians to keep the fire flamed on Obama’s “you didn’t build that,” remark. Three were held in Pennsylvania Wednesday and several are planned in the Lehigh Valley for Friday. Republican U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey, a loyal foot soldier for Romney, is expected to attend in Allentown.

Harrisburg rally

At the state Capitol building in Harrisburg on Wednesday, Tom Smith, the man challenging incumbent Democrat Bob Casey for the U.S. Senate, blamed Obama for stifling business. “In 1989, my wife and I mortgaged everything we owned so that I could enter the coal business myself, in the hope that we could build a better life for our family,” Smith said, according to a press release after the event. “After more than two decades in the business I sold the companies in 2010. At that point we were mining more than a million tons of coal a year and employed more than 130 people. Unfortunately, that opportunity is no longer a viable option, and America is now plagued by an administration that would rather mock our hard work and entrepreneurial spirit out of ignorance, than support and encourage small businesses to thrive.”

The Final 100 Days — A Primer

Susan Page in USA Today has done some of the best reporting this election season.  With the 100-day mark in the countdown to the election approaching this Sunday, Page puts together a lengthy write-up on five key events from now through election day that could change the direction of this incredibly tight election:

There are moments we know to expect, and that are likely to matter, over the next 100 days. Here is a reader’s guide to five of them:

Jockeying at the Olympics

In London on Friday, Michelle Obama will lead the official U.S. delegation at the opening ceremonies of the Olympic Games, typically an event marked by national unity and pride. Mitt Romney will be there as well, a reminder to voters of his success in turning around the troubled Salt Lake City Winter Olympics in 2002. Ann Romney will stick around to see the horse she co-owns, Rafalca, perform in the dressage competition.

Jobs, jobs, jobs

History says the unemployment report for July, released at the end of next week, will do more to shape November’s outcome than those that follow. That’s because election-year perceptions of the economy begin to be firmly set in the summer — and the economy is driving this election. This year, the October jobs report is scheduled to be released on Nov. 2, four days before the election. Other important measures of the economy’s course are the GDP estimates — due July 27 for the second quarter (with revised estimates in August and September) and on Oct. 26 for the third quarter, from July through September.

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Romney Surrogates Canvas the Battlegrounds

Building  on our previous post reporting Bobby Jindal and Bob McDonnell stumping in Iowa Thursday, MSNBC’s “First Read” provides a comprehensive rundown on an impressive array of surrogates storming the Battleground states while Romney is overseas:

NBC News has learned at least eight surrogates will make campaign stops in the key battleground states over the next six days.  Some of those names are believed to be under heavy consideration to be named Romney’s vice presidential running mate in the coming weeks. While speculation was rampant last week that the former Massachusetts governor could make his VP pick before heading off to London, at least one benefit of delaying his pick will be on display this weekend. Instead of having just one running mate to campaign in the states while Romney is abroad, he’ll instead have a team spread throughout the country, most of which will be getting attention as the potential next vice president of the United States. Voters in six battleground states — Iowa, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Virginia, and Wisconsin — will see Romney campaign buses traveling the state and hearing the politicians on the stump.

  • Thursday Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal head to Iowa
  • Thursday and Friday, South Dakota Sen. John Thune will be in Virginia where he will bracket President Barack Obama’s visit to the Old Dominion state on Friday
  • Friday, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani heads to Florida, where during his 2008 presidential run, he spent the majority of his time and campaign resources in the Sunshine State.  He’ll even host a “Cafe Con Rudy” to reach out to Hispanic voters
  • Saturday, former Minnesota governor and one-time presidential candidate Tim Pawlenty will make an appearance in Raleigh, North Carolina
  • Saturday, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio will spend in Las Vegas, Nevada, the city where he spent a majority of his youth. There he will hold a rally in the elementary school he attended as a child, marking his first solo public appearance on Romney’s behalf
  • Saturday, Jindal hopscotches to Florida to hold an event for the presumptive nominee
  • Sunday, Republican National Committee chair Reince Priebus will be traveling on a bus through Wisconsin.  Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin may also join
  • Monday, Ohio Sen. Rob Portman will take his act on the road to campaign in Pennsylvania.  It will mark the second time Portman will hit the Keystone State in hopes of turning the traditionally blue state to red.
  • South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, who has not campaigned for the GOP nominee for months, will also hit the trail in the coming days.  She will travel to Michigan on Romney’s behalf

Bobby Jindal and Bob McDonnell Campaign for Romney in Iowa Thursday

With Mitt Romney overseas for the Olympics and a tour of important foreign allies, two potential Vice Presidents will stump on his behalf in Iowa Thursday:

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, two potential VP contenders, are being deployed to Iowa to campaign on behalf of Mitt Romney while he is on an overseas trip, ABC News has learned.
As first reported by the Des Moines Register, the two governors and high profile Romney surrogates will jump on the Romney campaign bus in Iowa on Thursday. McDonnell will hold an event in Davenport Thursday morning and will meet Jindal at an event at the Victory Center in Coralville in the early afternoon. Jindal then will campaign in Newton and Des Moines.

Jindal campaigned in Iowa last December ahead of the caucuses there, but for another GOP candidate — Texas Gov. Rick Perry, whom the Louisiana governor initially endorsed in the Republican primaries. Jindal endorsed Romney in April and has hit the trail in recent weeks for him, including a rally last week in Columbus. McDonnell, who endorsed Romney one day ahead of the South Carolina primary, has campaigned for the presumptive GOP nominee in Virginia, Florida, Michigan and South Carolina.

The Remaining Schedule of Presidential Debates

From the Commission on Presidential Debates:

Second presidential debate (October 16, 2012, Hofstra University, Hempstead, NY)Moderator: Candy Crowley, CNN
Hoefstra University – Hempstead, NY

The second presidential debate will take the form of a town meeting, in which citizens will ask questions of the candidates on foreign and domestic issues. Candidates each will have two minutes to respond, and an additional minute for the moderator to facilitate a discussion. The town meeting participants will be undecided voters selected by the Gallup Organization.

Third presidential debate (October 22, 2012 Lynn University, Boca Raton, FL)

Moderator: Bob Schieffer, CBS
Lynn University – Boca Raton, FL

The format for the debate will be identical to the first presidential debate and will focus on foreign policy. The debate will be divided into six time segments of approximately 15 minutes each on topics to be selected by the moderator and announced several weeks before the debate. The moderator will open each segment with a question, after which each candidate will have two minutes to respond. The moderator will use the balance of the time in the segment for a discussion of the topic.

Romney +1 in Michigan — Mitchell Research

The latest from Mitchell Research flips the recent Obama 1-point lead now in favor of Romney by 1-point: 46 to 45:

Michigan was supposed to be easy pickings for President Barack Obama. However, according to recent poll numbers, the state is still in play and Obama will have to work harder and divert resources here. That gives Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney reason to think he can win in Michigan. “We had it with Obama by one point last time. This time we’ve got Romney leading by one point,” said pollster Steve Mitchell. “All the polls by Michigan pollsters have shown it to be very close.”

While the overall numbers show a statistical dead heat between the candidates, it’s the breakdown which is really interesting to look at. President Obama owns Detroit. He polls at 91 percent in the city. However, it’s Romney who leads in Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties with 48 percent of votes to Obama’s 40 percent. Then there is the number which may be the key to it all: Independent voters. The Mitchell Research poll shows Romney is gaining ground with independents as he leads by 10 percent — 44 percent to Obama’s 34 percent. “You got to have the independents to win,” said Mitchell. “You’ve got that narrow sliver now about 16 percent of the voters, and Romney has now doubled his lead among independents.”

16 Reasons Why Obama Will Lose in November

While Obama spends his time asking people for campaign contributions and hacking up local golf courses, the economy continues to worsen.  Regardless of his likability and misplaced confidence over biased polls, the public is given regular reminders that the job market has not recovered despite an illusory statistical drop in the unemployment rate.  Business Insider recounts 16 of the biggest layoffs in 2012 — each a painful reason Barack Obama will lose in November:

 Rank Company Layoffs % of Employees Cut
#1 Hewlett-Packard  27,000 7.7
#2 American Airlines 14,200 17.7
#3 Lockheed Martin 10,000 8.1
#4 IBM 9,000 2.1
#5 Pepsi 8,700 2.9
#6 Research In Motion 5,000 30.3
#7 Best Buy 2,800 1.7
#8 Supervalu 2,500 1.9
#9 Boeing 2,160 1.3
#10 (tie) Yahoo! 2,000 14.2
#10 (tie) First Solar 2,000 28.6
#12 Kraft Foods 1,600 1.3
#13 (tie) United Continental Holdings 1,300 1.5
#13 (tie) Cisco Systems 1,300 1.8
#15 (tie) Archer-Daniels-Midland 1,200 3.9
#15 (tie) Citigroup 1,200 0.5