Monthly Archives: September 2012

Sledding with the Romneys

Romney-Ryan Rally Thursday (Oct 4) in Fishersville, Virginia

The day after the debate Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan will be joined by country music star Trace Adkins for a rally in Virginia (ticket required)

Victory Rally with Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan, and the Republican Team Special Guest Country Music Star Trace Adkins

WHEN: Thursday, October 4, 2012
Doors Open 4:00 PM | Event Begins 6:00 PM

WHERE: Augusta Expoland, 277 Expo Road in Fishersville, VA 22939

To get your ticket, click here.

All attendees will go through airport-like security and should bring as few personal items as possible.

No bags, sharp objects, umbrellas, liquids, or signs will be allowed in the venue. Cameras are permitted.

For questions, contact us at: | (757) 279-8253
For Important Campaign Updates: Text (VA) to GOMITT (466488)

When it comes to polls: readers beware — Michael Barone

The dean on conservative election watching and an authority on all American politics, Michael Barone has probably forgotten more about polling and elections than every TV talking head, blogger and reader combined. In his latest column he lays out the trends and controversy in today’s polling with his usual insights and lucid reasoning.  I excerpted the closing portion of his column, but it’s worth reading the whole thing:

I don’t believe that any of the media pollsters have been tilting their results in order to demoralize Republicans, though I do look with suspicion on the work of some partisan pollsters.

But I do have my doubts about whether samples with more Democratic Party identification than in 2008 are accurate representations of the electorate. Many states with party registration have shown big drops in registered Democrats since then.

Pollster Scott Rasmussen, who weights his robocall results by party identification, adjusted monthly, has shown a much closer race than most pollsters who leave party identification numbers unweighted. So has the Susquehanna poll in Pennsylvania.

It may be that we’re seeing the phenomenon we’ve seen for years in exit polls, which have consistently skewed Democratic (and toward Barack Obama in the 2008 primaries). Part of that is interviewer error: Exit poll pioneer Warren Mitofsky found the biggest discrepancies between exit polls and actual results were in precincts where the interviewers were female graduate students.

But he also found that Democrats were simply more willing to fill out the exit poll. Which raises the question: Are we seeing the same thing in this month’s polls?

Entire Narrative of the Election Could Change This Week … and Not Because of the Debate

There isn’t a poll out there that doesn’t have some combination of the economy, jobs and the deficit as by far the paramount issues in this election. Often these are rolled into a general theme of simply the economy and there isn’t another issue even on the radar beyond this topic. This coming week the political press will focus on the October 3 debate but a series of economic data will hit the news wires all week that likely will have an even greater chance of impacting the ballot box decisions. Any number of times we have blogged Obama’s Achilles heel which is the economy and lately the economic data is showing an economy today in the same disrepair as when he took office.   Four years into his Presidency and the country is in many places as bad or worse off than how he found it despite his trillion dollar stimulus, $5 trillion increase in the federal deficit and a sweeping overhaul in our healthcare (Obamacare) that raises costs while lowering quality.  Mitt Romney needs to perform well in the debate, but the looming avalanche of economic data this week could easily overwhelm any narrative coming from out of the debate. Business Insider runs through the week ahead in economic news:


  • Chinese Markets closed for Golden Week
  • Central Bank Decisions from Aussie, BOE, ECB and BOJ
  • Big Ben speaks, and the Minutes from the September meeting
  • Global PMI Data – China, EU, UK, USA
  • September Auto Sales and Retailer Same Store Sales
  • US and EU Employment reports
  • A Big Spanish Bond Auction
  • Value Investing Conference – Major HF speakers
  • European Banking Authority – final report on capital plans
  • The First debate between Gov. Romney and President Obama

Economic Calendar:

MONDAY: It’s global PMI day. So starting late Sunday night in the US, we’ll be getting critical manufacturing reports from Asia, and then Europe, and then of course the US, concluding with the US at 10:00 AM ET. Also at 10:00 AM ET we get Construction Spending for October. There’s also going to be a monetary policy speech by Bernanke, a speech by the head of the SF Fed.

TUESDAY: In the US we get September Auto & Truck Sales, which should provide a critical gauge of the state of the jobs market. The Aussie Central Bank will also act. And we get the New York ISM report.

WEDNESDAY: We get our first big preview of Friday’s non-farm payrolls report, with the ADP jobs report, coming out at 9:15 AM ET. It’s also non-manufacturing PMI day, so we’ll get numbers from China, Europe, and the US. Wednesday night of course is also the night of the first debate between Romney and Obama. Everyone will be watching.

THURSDAY: The all-important Initial Jobless Claims number comes out at 8:30 AM ET. In Europe, there will be rate decisions from the BoE and the ECB (the press conference should be most interesting), and there will be bond auctions in Spain and France. Later in the day, there will be a speech from Fed Governor Bullard.

FRIDAY: The week ends with the Grande Finale of economic data: The September Jobs Report. This needs no hyping of course. Also at 3 PM ET that day, August Consumer Credit is revealed.

The Iowa Poll Takeaways — Des Moines Register

Many state’s have one reporter that stands out among all others reporting on local politics.  In Wisconsin there is Craig Gilbert, Nevada has Jon Ralston and Iowa has Jennifer Jacobs. Easily the very best articles on the state have been penned by her and below is her detailed look at the recent Iowa Poll published in the Des Moines Register showing Obama with a 4-point lead but plenty of opportunity for Romney:

The election is all about an economy that Iowa voters think President Barack Obama has done too little to fix. A Des Moines Register Iowa Poll shows Obama is ahead in Iowa 49 percent to 45 percent. But if Mitt Romney can convince voters that he truly knows how to doctor the nation’s ailing economy, the GOP presidential candidate can still put Iowa in his pocket, political analysts say. Half of Iowa adults disapprove of the job the Democratic president is doing on the economy, an issue that 59 percent of likely voters here rank as one of the most important, the poll found. Romney has built his campaign on the argument that his business knowledge, gained in building the private equity firm Bain Capital, better equips him than Obama to create jobs. Likely Iowa voters agree by a hefty 25 percentage points that the Republican nominee would better care for the needs of businesses. “The numbers are striking — that’s his opportunity that he’s not cashed in on,” said the Register’s pollster, J. Ann Selzer. “It’s just a huge opportunity.” But so far they’re not convinced Romney will do a better job of shoring up the economy. He trails slightly (47 percent to 46 percent) in voters’ perception of who would be the better economy fixer. The news from battleground Iowa, whose six electoral votes are a vital puzzle piece in the journey to 270, means there’s even more pressure on Romney to make a slam dunk case for his economic prowess during three presidential debates this fall. In the first debate, on Wednesday, three of six segments will focus on the economy.

Paul Ryan trumps Joe Biden

Another noteworthy finding: Although Iowa’s likely voters give Obama the nod at the top of the ticket, a strong majority believe Romney’s running mate, budget-and-deficit repairman Paul Ryan, is an asset. More likely voters think Vice President Joe Biden is a liability to the ticket than a lift.

Saturation campaigning and ads have voters attention

Thirty-seven days from Election Day, Iowa has few undecided voters left — just 2 percent. But 10 percent of likely voters say they could still change their minds. Of that group, more than half are independent voters.

Feeling better about Obama

As federal debt grows, gridlock confounds Congress, trouble spots heat up around the world and joblessness remains high, Iowans are feeling more optimistic. And for the first time in three years, Obama’s job approval in Iowa is above water. Seven months ago, Iowa was a trouble spot for Obama. More Iowa adults disapproved of the job he was doing as president (48 percent) than approved (46 percent). In hypothetical head-to-head matchups in mid-February, Obama trailed a trio of GOP candidates, including Romney, in the wake of intensive Republican messaging throughout the caucuses. Obama has mounted a vigorous counterattack: 10 days of campaigning in Iowa this year, 67 campaign offices opened, a successful Democratic convention and more than $13 million in TV ads here. The president’s job approval is nowhere close to his Iowa high of 68 percent shortly after he took office. But he has crossed a symbolic point crucial for re-election: More Iowans think he’s doing a good job as president (51 percent) than a bad job (47 percent).

Country on the wrong track, but …

Most Iowans, 54 percent, continue to believe the nation is on the wrong track, the poll found. But those who think the country is going in the right direction have increased by 10 percentage points since February. “When 10 percent more people think the country is headed in the right direction, that’s 10 percent less who feel the need for a change,” Castellanos said. It’s a big uptick, from 30 percent to 40 percent, even though the economy has remained sluggish. The government released revised growth statistics last week, downgrading second quarter growth from 1.7 percent to 1.3 percent. Strategists said there’s still wiggle room for attitudes about the economy to change. Two monthly jobs reports remain before Election Day and four debates — three presidential and one vice presidential. The fact that Iowans’ optimism has shifted so much since February signals how much voters can be moved, strategists said.

Voter perceptions

  • Obama leads Romney by 6 or more percentage points in voters’ perceptions of his ability to determine the future of Medicare, health care and tax policy, and to handle relations with other countries as well as military engagement in Afghanistan and tension in the Middle East.
  • Among all Iowans, 50 percent approve of Obama’s work on relations with other countries, but he has ticked down a couple of points since February, possibly tied to unrest in Libya or his positions on Israeli-Palestinian peace.
  • Meanwhile, he’s upside down on his job approval on health care and the economy. Obamacare is not helping him, but perceptions have improved since February.
  • So have opinions about his handling of the economy, up 7 percentage points since February, to 45 percent. Those gains helped push him to positive territory in overall job approval.
  • Romney’s big issue advantage: He has opened an 11-point lead in perceptions of his ability to reduce the federal deficit, one of the most important issues to 27 percent of likely voters, ranking third behind health care (31 percent). The economy leads the list by far (59 percent).
  • But among independent voters, Romney has a 5-point lead on the economy, and a 12-point lead on the deficit. If he can continue to drive that message, there’s opportunity to shake loose persuadable independents, strategists said.

Get out the vote

The Obama campaign is heavily focused on early voting, which began here last week. Its goal is to build a margin before Election Day, when Republicans tend to turn out more heavily than Democrats, strategists said.

The Battle for Nevada — The Buffalo News

Interesting story on the state of affairs in Nevada from The Buffalo News. They take and in-depth look at the lay of the land in this Battleground with its cross-currents of issues and needs through the eyes of some Buffalo ex-pats in the Silver State:

CoreLogic, a company that tracks real estate data, says 64.7 percent of Las Vegas-area homeowners were “under water” early this year – meaning the value of their homes plunged so far that they owe more on the mortgage than the place is worth. Welcome to Nevada, land of the endless Great Recession, where the 12.1 percent unemployment rate leads the nation and where President Obama and his Republican challenger, Mitt Romney, are fighting fiercely for six electoral votes and the loyalty of voters like John McGinty. The choice, undecided voters and some experts said, pits a Democratic president who has tried and failed to end an economic nightmare against a Republican who might just make things better – or worse. The real estate collapse that happened here and around the nation four years ago is not Obama’s fault, nor Romney’s. It’s the fault of a nation that turned its real estate market into Las Vegas – and left 60 percent of the homeowners in Nevada, and more than a third of those in Arizona, Florida, Georgia and Michigan, under water in the process. All the boom towns went on the same real estate roller coaster ride. As the government encouraged home ownership, banks took to bundling and selling off their mortgages in packages and relaxed lending standards along the way.

Las Vegas

The result was evident in Las Vegas by the mid-2000s. Fueled by such speculation, the median home value in Las Vegas shot up from $205,200 in January 2004 to a peak of $315,000 in June of 2006. But then came the financial crisis. Confidence fell, lending standards tightened, investors started bailing on their properties – and the median home price here plummeted to a low of $118,000 this January. It’s bounced back to $138,000 since then, but signs of the collapse can still be seen everywhere. Two would-be casinos on the Strip have stood unfinished for years. Started and abandoned developments dot the suburban landscape.

Housing bust reality

And at Johnny Mac’s, John McGinty finds himself handing out the occasional free lunch and personal loan to loyal customers in need. “I do what I can to help,” McGinty said. He does this while coping with a downturn in business and mortgage payments on a three-bedroom, 1,800-square-foot home he bought for $495,000 in the mid-2000s that, he reckons, is worth about $210,000 today. Countless Las Vegas homeowners, most of them speculators, have found themselves in McGinty’s situation and walked away, intentionally defaulting on their mortgages. Economic experts say the real estate crash wrecked consumer confidence and crushed the job market, leading to an unemployment rate that’s three full percentage points higher than Buffalo’s.

Frequent visitors, Different ideas

Obama and Romney have had plenty of time for Nevada. The president will arrive here today for three days of debate preparation; it’s his ninth visit of the campaign. Romney, meanwhile, has been here six times. Yet what they’re offering voters could not be more different.

The Obama Plan for Nevada

Obama sticks by the Dodd-Frank financial reform bill, which is aimed at curbing the excesses that caused the financial crisis. In addition, he touts elements of his 2009 stimulus bill that aimed to make it easier for troubled homeowners to refinance, or even to get lenders to agree to reduce the amount of principal on troubled loans, and criticizes Congress for not expanding the refinancing program as he suggested. The trouble is, banks seem to be reluctant to take part in the original Obama refinancing and principal-reduction programs, said Kelley, head of the Realtors group. Besides, many troubled homeowners have second mortgages – and the holders of those loans are not cooperating.

The Romney Plan for Nevada

Romney wants to repeal the Dodd-Frank law, saying it’s so burdensome that lenders are now reluctant to make home loans. He also offers varying free-market proposals for addressing the Nevada housing crisis. “Don’t try to stop the foreclosure process,” he told the Las Vegas Review Journal last October. “Let it run its course and hit the bottom.” And on a Sept. 21 trip to Sin City, the GOP nominee went a step further. “The federal government has about 200,000 foreclosed homes they are holding onto,” Romney said. “I’ll make sure we get them sold, so every home is occupied, we fix our neighborhoods,” The trouble with Romney’s comments is twofold, Las Vegas-area economic experts and political pundits said. First off, letting foreclosures move forward, or putting 200,000 more homes on the market all at once, very well could depress housing values further.
On the political side, Romney’s let-them-eat-cake comments on foreclosures reinforced the Democratic caricature of him as an out-of-touch plutocrat. “It’s a very bad sound byte for him,” said Jon Ralston, a Buffalo native and longtime Las Vegas political reporter who now publishes, a political newsletter.

Ground game is key

Ralston finds it “astonishing” that Obama appears to have an edge in a state with a 12.1 percent unemployment rate, but that appears to be the case. The latest Real Clear Politics average of polls in the Silver State finds Obama 3.8 points ahead, and political pundits say there are plenty of explanations for that edge. “The state Republican party is very much a broken party,” said David Damore, a UNLV political scientist. Party control swung to a faction loyal to Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, in May. The result: the Romney campaign has had to build a get-out-the-vote effort from scratch to compete with a Democratic effort honed in Obama’s 2008 victory here and the re-election of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid two years later. “The Democrats have a very effective ground game,” said former U.S. Sen. Richard Bryan, a Democrat who nonetheless said the race remains “too close for any comfort.”


Obama is getting a boost, too, from the state’s Hispanics, who now account for more than a quarter of the state population. Political pros here say heated GOP rhetoric on the immigration issue has helped propel the president to a 43-point lead among Hispanics in a Public Policy Polling survey last month. “A lot of (Hispanics) don’t understand how powerful the vote is,” said Arianni Valencia, 20, a Romney volunteer who specializes in reaching out to the Hispanic community. “They’re not even sure what it is to be a Republican or a Democrat. But they see the other side reaching out to them, and we’re trying to catch up.”

The deciding factor

Sherman Conley, 71, seemed to sum up the thoughts of many of the dozens of Nevada voters interviewed last week by The Buffalo News. “It’s a critical election,” said Conley, a Buffalo native, “and I’ve got to figure out who will do me the least amount of harm.”

Obama +4 in Iowa — Des Moines Register

That latest in Iowa from the Des Moines Register shows a tightly competitive race Obama enjoying a 4 points lead inside the margin of error.  Only the top-lines results have been released but hopefully we’ll have more details tomorrow:

President Barack Obama leads Republican nominee Mitt Romney 49 percent to 45 percent in the battleground state of Iowa, a new Des Moines Register Iowa Poll has found. Almost all likely voters in Iowa have made their choices. Four percent support someone other than the two major party candidates. Just 2 percent remain undecided, the poll shows. But 10 percent say they could still be persuaded to vote for another candidate, the poll found, and that represents an opening for Romney. Another opportunity: persuading more Iowans he can fix the economy, viewed by likely voters in the poll as a priority issue. The Iowa Poll is a Register exclusive since 1943. The new poll was conducted Sept. 23-26 by Selzer & Co. of Des Moines. It surveyed 800 Iowa adults, with a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points. Election questions were asked of 650 likely voters, with a margin of error of plus or minus 3.8 percentage points.

For President Percent
Barack Obama 49
Mitt Romney 45
Other 4
Undecided 2

Obama’s 1st Stop After the Debate is Wisconsin … I Guess it’s Not As Safe as the Polls Say

Could be those union members have long memories after getting stiffed by a President who said he’d march the picket lines with them and then found himself too busy in every state around Wisconsin to stop in to support their recall efforts:

President Barack Obama will hit the campaign trail following the Wednesday presidential debate, stumping in four states rated on the CNN Electoral Map as toss ups, according to schedules released by his campaign and the White House. On Thursday, Obama will hold an event in the debate host city – Denver – then continue on to Madison, Wisconsin, to meet with supporters, his campaign said.

He will then return to Washington before holding events in Virginia and Ohio on Friday. His Virginia event will be in Vienna, the White House said, before an event in Cleveland. Obama’s campaign said it was rescheduling a previously announced event in Columbus, Ohio, for the following Tuesday.

His Republican challenger, Mitt Romney, has not yet announced post-debate campaign plans. Both candidates are in debate preparation mode. Romney is in Massachusetts but plans to travel to Colorado on Monday, while Obama heads to Nevada for debate prep on Sunday.

About that Enthusiasm Gap … We’re not in 2008 any more Dorothy

Gallup has another survey out today in conjunction with USA Today.  While there are plenty of interesting take-aways from the survey questions, what struck me most was the enthusiasm gap and who is up versus who is down this year.

The poll of 1,446 adults, taken Monday through Thursday, has a margin of error of +/- 3 percentage points.

Republicans have opened a big enthusiasm gap: 64% say they are more enthusiastic than usual about voting, compared to 48% of Democrats. In general, though, the results show an electorate that is less excited and less engaged than in recent presidential elections.

Democrats are less enthusiastic about voting than in 2008, although Republicans are a bit more enthusiastic. Fewer Democrats and Republicans say they have given a lot of thought to the election than they did in the falls of 2008 and 2004.

Polls of “adults” over-sample Democrat support which makes the subsequent take-aways all the more damning.  I’m going to repeat them for those who missed it the first time:

Democrats are less enthusiastic about voting than in 2008


Republicans are a bit more enthusiastic.

Paraphrasing Inigo Montoya: You keep using those 2008 turnout models. I do not think they mean what you think they mean.

Hugh Hewitt Takes on the Pollsters

Radio host and conservative columnist Hugh Hewitt has done fantastic work this season interviewing pollsters and asking the tough questions looking for answers how allegedly reliable polls have such unrealistic internal make-ups.   In his Townhall column he lays out numerous arguments to challenge the data including two objective data points that make the Ohio sampling more obviously incorrect:

There are plenty of data points to encourage Republicans, and these are genuine data points as opposed to the junk food offered up by Quinnipiac and Marist, which derived their predictions from samples that included enormous Democratic voter margins in key states, pro-Democratic turnout margins that were even greater than those achieved in Obama’s blowout year of 2008..

Two data points that warm GOP hearts and undermine the junk polls: (1) Absentee requests in Ohio by Democrats are trailing their 2008 totals –often by a lot in key Democratic counties like Cuyahoga County; and (2) overall voter registration for Democrats in the Buckeye State is down dramatically from 2008.

These two bits of info undermine the credibility of the Obama booster polls, as did the interviews I conducted with key leadership from both polls and with other informed observers.

In addition to doing the media’s job actually finding the data to challenge the assumptions, Hewitt has used his radio shows to go right to the sources on polling and how we should interpret the data.  After numerous interviews Hewitt provides five major takeaways:

  • The pro-Obama pollsters don’t have answers as to why their skewed samples are trustworthy beyond the fact that they think their approach to randomness is a guarantee of fairness, and they seem to resent greatly that the questions are even asked. Like [Convicted fraud Bernie] Madoff would have resented questions about his stunning rate of return.
  • Barone notes that percentage turnout by party in a presidential year hasn’t been much greater for the president’s party than it was in the preceding off-year, which makes samples outstripping even the 2008 model of Democratic participation “inherently suspicious.”.
  • Cost notes that Romney is winning the independent vote in every poll, which also makes big Obama leads suspect.
  • And my conversation with Mr. Shepard, whose employer National Journal has a reputation for the best non-partisan work inside the Beltway, didn’t find any academic, disinterested support for the proposition that party identification cannot be weighted because of the inherent instability of the marker.
  • The biggest unanswered question of all: If party ID is so subject to change that it should not be weighted according to an estimate of turnout, why ask about it at all? And if it is for the purpose of detecting big moves, as Mr. Shepard argued, why not report that “big move” in the stories that depend upon the polling?

There are a number of reasons polling organizations could offer for their curious sampling but they offer no defense of these results other than it is consistent with the prior election which fails to take into account that admitted notion that party identification changes every election and the current samplings do not reflect the reality of today’s electorate.

About That Crumbling 2008 Coalition of Support for Obama — African-Americans

Yesterday we pointed out how support among both the Jewish community and youth vote are down substantially from their 2008 levels.  Now we get a look at the African-American community from the Economist regarding the often rocky relationship between Obama and this group and how it may impact turnout in 2012.  For both sides who either want to reflexively gripe about or use as a baseline the genuinely  incredible level of support in the Black community for Obama in 2008, take a moment to think about what it would be like if you were a minority in a country and experienced usually subtle but occasionally overt racism every day for 20 or 30 or 50 years and you finally get a chance to cast a ballot for someone of your race.  You would most likely crawl a mile over broken glass to cast that vote similar to the way Blacks voted in 2008.  With that historic vote cast, though, many demons are exorcised and 2012 doesn’t exactly have that same meaning. This group is still overwhelmingly Democrat, but the outsized turnout and support level likely can’t match the last election. That is my entire point when I talk about reduced turnout rates among Blacks expected at the voting booth this November:

It is hardly a secret that black voters love the president (though they may love his wife even more), but the relationship has not always been smooth. If Mr Obama is unique among American presidents, his biography makes him an outlier among black Americans too. He was descended not from slaves, but from an immigrant African father and a white mother. His mother raised him in Hawaii (just 2% black) and Indonesia. In 2007 Hillary Clinton had much higher favourable ratings among blacks than Mr Obama did. Many of Mr Obama’s earliest prominent supporters were white and Jewish, and indeed he has faced consistent criticism, first as a candidate and then as president, for being too aloof from the black community. As president, when Mr Obama has made his race an issue, he has often used it to challenge blacks in ways that a white politician could not. Last autumn he told the congressional black caucus (CBC) to “stop complaining, stop grumbling, stop crying.” Three years earlier, Candidate Obama delivered a Father’s Day speech at a black church in Chicago, telling black fathers that they needed to “realise that what makes you a man is not the ability to have a child. It’s the courage to raise one.” A couple of weeks later an open microphone picked up Jesse Jackson, a civil-rights icon who ran unsuccessfully for president in 1984, saying he wanted to “cut [Mr Obama’s] nuts off” for “talking down to black people”

[P]ressure from the black community has not entirely faded, and with good reason. The economic downturn has hit black Americans particularly hard. A Pew Research Centre study found that in 2009 the median wealth of a white household was 20 times higher than that of a black one: the largest gap since the federal government began tracking wealth data by race in 1984. The median wealth of black households had fallen by 53% over the preceding four years, compared with just 16% for white households. In August 2012 the unemployment rate for blacks was 14.1%. That was down from a high of 16.7% in August 2011, but it still far exceeded the national average of 8.1%.

Both the current and a former head of the CBC have mused that stubborn unemployment, combined with Mr Obama’s perceived aloofness to the high rates of black unemployment, may cause some black voters to stay at home on November 6th. (emphasis added)

Federal Government Offers Bribes to Hide the Coming Job Losses … Until After the Election

I’ve written a few posts about the sequestration cuts which are sizable cuts in the Defense Department’s budget that will lead to hundreds of thousands of job losses.  A controversy arose when by law the companies have to alert employees to the cuts but the Obama Administration wants to hide this fact from the public.  This is part of their double-game I alluded to in the piece this morning where Obama mouths the words he’s against the budget cuts (and job losses) but does absolutely nothing to stop either.  The Hill picks up on the latest efforts to silence the Defense contractors who by law are supposed to inform employees of the looming job cuts.  The Obama Labor Department is offering bribes to the contractors to violate the law:

The Obama administration issued new guidance intended for defense contractors Friday afternoon, reiterating the administration’s position that the companies should not be issuing layoff notices over sequestration. The Labor Department issued guidance in July saying it would be “inappropriate” for contractors to issue notices of potential layoffs tied to sequestration cuts. But a few contractors, most notably Lockheed Martin, said they still were considering whether to issue the notices — which would be sent out just days before the November election.

But the Friday guidance from the Office of Management and Budget raised the stakes in the dispute, telling contractors that they would be compensated for legal costs if layoffs occur due to contract cancellations under sequestration — but only if the contractors follow the Labor guidance. The guidance said that if plant closings or mass layoffs occur under sequestration, then “employee compensation costs for [Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification] WARN act liability as determined by a court” would be paid for covered by the contracting federal agency.

bribe [ brīb ] 1. persuade somebody with enticement: to give somebody money or some other incentive to do something, especially something illegal or dishonest
Senate Republicans, who accused the White House of trying to hide job losses after the first guidance, said Friday that the new OMB statement “puts politics ahead of American workers.” “The Obama Administration is cynically trying to skirt the WARN Act to keep the American people in the dark about this looming national security and fiscal crisis,” Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) said in a statement. “The president should insist that companies act in accordance with the clearly stated law and move forward with the layoff notices.”The fight over WARN Act notices began in June when Lockheed Martin CEO Bob Stevens said his company might send the notices to all 123,000 of its employees.
Quid pro quo

But the new guidance would appear to address one of the chief concerns from the companies — that they could be liable to compensate employees who were laid off if the companies don’t issue the notices. The GOP senators complained, however, that this tactic would push the cost of the layoffs onto taxpayers.

For a refresher, here is the relevant part of the WARN Act:

What Triggers Notice

Plant Closing: A covered employer must give notice if an employment site (or one or more facilities or operating units within an employment site) will be shut down, and the shutdown will result in an employment loss (as defined later) for 50 or more employees during any 30-day period. This does not count employees who have worked less than 6 months in the last 12 months or employees who work an average of less than 20 hours a week for that employer. These latter groups, however, are entitled to notice (discussed later).

Mass Layoff: A covered employer must give notice if there is to be a mass layoff which does not result from a plant closing, but which will result in an employment loss at the employment site during any 30-day period for 500 or more employees, or for 50-499 employees if they make up at least 33% of the employer’s active workforce. Again, this does not count employees who have worked less than 6 months in the last 12 months or employees who work an average of less than 20 hours a week for that employer. These latter groups, however, are entitled to notice (discussed later).

The Great Southern Divide in Virginia

I was raised in Maryland but even though it is South of the Mason-Dixon line (the traditional North-South dividing line), I always considered myself a Northerner (what can I say, no matter the topic, I like winning).  The Washington Post heads even further down South and takes a look at the changing state of affairs in “rural” Virginia and the North-South divide within this important Battleground State:

There’s debate about where the South really begins. The Mason-Dixon Line? The Potomac? The Rappahannock? The “sweet tea line?” What’s certain is that, by the time you’ve reached David Lamb’s horse farm in Orange County, you’re there. Oakland Heights Farm offers riding lessons and holds rodeos in the splendid heart of the Piedmont, on Route 15 a couple of hours southwest of Washington. Lamb is a Civil War buff who says his side lost, and grouses about prickly Yankees who swoop in and buy huge tracts of land and put up fences. Ask him what being southern means, and he says, “You can show up and sit on my front porch and have a glass of iced tea with me.”

Route 15

Southern hospitality isn’t about to disappear, but the intensity of American politics in this election season can make for awkward encounters and tricky relationships, to judge by dozens of interviews in recent days along Route 15 in Virginia. The north-south scenic byway offers a transect of the cultural fault line between Northern Virginia and what might be more traditionally defined as the South. Virginia has a long history as contested territory, and this year it’s a critical battleground state in the presidential election, with 13 electoral votes in the balance. For a full generation, since the political realignment during the civil rights era, Republican presidential candidates had an apparent lock on the old Confederacy. [NOTE: this isn’t true.  Whomever won the South won the election and in 1976, 1992 and 1996 it was a Democrat] But Obama, boosted by support in the booming Northern Virginia suburbs — known among some unreconstructed southerners as Occupied Virginia — won the state four years ago and has enjoyed a small but steady lead in recent Virginia polls.


As a general rule, the true South is more conservative, and more friendly to Republican candidates. The only catch is that the South is changing, modernizing, diversifying. Crude electoral maps and broad-brush political analysis can miss the granular complexity of America’s political geography, because so many people have added to their list of inalienable rights the right to defy stereotypes. “The nature of the South is changing faster than the stereotypes are. Much of the South now looks like San Jose. Is it still southern?” asks John Shelton Reed, a retired professor of sociology at the University of North Carolina who has studied the cultural borders of the South. So where is the border, professor? “If I had to say, and I guess I do, I’d say just about the Rappahannock [River] when you’re going south,” he said. “When you get 50 miles from Washington, you’re probably in the South.”

Changing landscape

Route 15 is the asphalt version of what was known long ago as the Carolina Road. The road crosses the Potomac at Point of Rocks, Md., and is just a two-lane country road when it reaches Lucketts, Va., in northern Loudoun County. Dominating the heart of Lucketts are a couple of antique stores, including Really Great Finds, where Carrie Sisk, 36, the retail manager, is a local and remembers when Loudoun County was just cow farms…Keep heading south, past Leesburg with its outlet stores, and you’ll see the antebellum plantation Oatlands, where preservationists are fighting to keep housing developments out of its viewshed. Oatlands says “South,” but the eye is drawn beyond the old grain silo to the rack of new housing on the distant hillside. Eventually you’ll see signs for the Winery at La Grange, which sits at the base of the Bull Run Mountains…Onward to Warrenton, which is now a suburb of Washington. “When I was a kid, Main Street was dirt,” says William Lawson, 75, a funeral director standing in the shade on Main…Tom Armstrong, 59, an arborist, pops out of the post office and says he remembers when this part of Virginia was rural and didn’t have many middle-class people, just the poor and the very rich. He likes the more multicultural feel of the area. He’ll vote for Romney, saying he doesn’t like the Democratic position on entitlements: “I really don’t think being a citizen of the United States entitles you to anything.” [I normally edit out partisan citizen quotes but that last one was too good to leave out.  That’s a man I want to have a drink with.]

The “South”

Below Warrenton on Route 15, the landscape starts to change. There are fewer housing developments, and fewer just-built mansions that look like they sprouted in a pasture after a recent rain. You’re nearing the Rappahannock, an unofficial border, and now you see vintage motels, what used to be called motor courts, and the occasional old house being eaten by vines. A truck stop has a big sign out front: “BBQ World.” This is Quarles Truck Stop, where the manager is Donn Sachs, 63, a Tidewater Virginian who doesn’t feel he’s in the South when he’s this far north: “A lot of people don’t even know what grits are.” … Just a little ways ahead, in the hamlet of Opal, a sign on the right says, “Clark Bros — Guns.” It’s a gun shop with an outdoor shooting range in back. There’s a fiberglass bear, ferociously kitschy, on the roof. “This is kind of where it starts,” says owner Steve Clark, and he’s referring, of course, to the South.

The Rappahannock River

Now comes the Rappahannock River, which is shallow this far upstream. Last weekend some local African Americans reenacted an August 1862 flight to freedom, in which slaves crossed the river here to escape bondage and join retreating Union soldiers. Ed Dudley, a Verizon employee, has parked a van on the northern side of the river so he can work on a line that leads to a water gauge in the river…In downtown Culpeper, you’re probably in the South, though you’re really not that far from Washington, which spews cultural seeds into distant pastures. Along the fault line you might think yourself deep in Dixie, only to see signs for yoga lessons and a wine bar.

Halfway to Orange is a vintage roadside store, the Midway Country Market. The proprietors are an African American couple who spent years teaching school in the District before relocating. Bob and Mary Royster, both 65, have packed their market with antiques, old tools, vintage glass bottles, furniture. You can buy pigs’ feet marinating in a jar, and pickled eggs. This is where you can buy souse — “head cheese.” …Route 15 comes to Orange, where Jimmy Harris, 57, makes a purchase at a produce stand, and says he was a contractor until “the illegal immigrants put me out of business.” …Eventually Route 15 hits Interstate 64. Just before the interstate there’s a new shopping plaza, with a Wal-Mart and a Lowe’s. The place calls itself “The Shoppes at Spring Creek” — the kind of spelling that makes a southerner suspect that someone’s taking on airs. Beyond that is the village of Zion Crossroads. A man sells produce on the roadside. People trickle into the laundromat and the convenience store. William Sprouse, 55, a logger and tree culler, says he’s undecided this fall…Route 15 keeps going, of course, because remember, it was the Carolina Road. The conversation about where the South begins can safely come to an end at this point. People here know where they live.

Romney Talks the Military and Foreign Policy in Pennsylvania

The Romney campaign surprised more than a few observers hitting the stump in Pennsylvania this week. Speaking at Valley Forge Military Academy and College in Delaware County he took the opportunity to take the Obama Administration to task over crippling cuts in defense spending as well as a flailing foreign policy in the face of Islamic extremists:

Mitt Romney journeyed to a military college here Friday, aiming to make Pennsylvania a more competitive election battleground and tearing into President Obama on foreign and domestic policy in a speech delivered before a backdrop of stoic, uniformed cadets. The Republican presidential nominee charged that Obama has failed to lead both abroad, during a year of tumult in the Middle East, and on the home front, through a prolonged economic recession. “The president wants to go down the same path he’s been on for the last four years,” Romney said. “He wants to keep the status quo. I don’t think we can afford four more years like the last four years. The president calls his campaign slogan ‘Forward.’ I call it ‘Forewarned,’ all right? We know where it heads; we don’t want to go there.”

Crippling Defense Cuts

He argued that Obama would cut the military budget by $1 trillion over the next decade and that cadets looking for a regular job after graduation would have trouble finding one. The defense cuts Romney referred to are automatic spending cuts that would go into effect next year if Congress does not agree to a long-term plan to reduce the deficit.

Note: the classic liberal bias is in this report where the President is doing absolutely nothing about stopping these defense cuts but the Post reporter takes time to make sure readers know Obama has mouthed the words he against the defense cuts> The reporter also ensures the opposing campaign can respond to the charges. When Obama levies an attack it is presented unchallenged by the reporter and often without any response from the Romney campaign.

Foreign Policy

Obama, Romney said, is not providing real leadership as deadly protests sweep the Middle East. “As we’ve seen over the last year, the world needs American leadership,” he said. “I think we look around and say: Why is it we are at the mercy of events? Why are we not shaping events?”

Presidential Debates: Why the Little Things Matter

11 minutes of political junky fun. The Journal’s Jerry Seib and moderators Bob Schieffer, Jim Lehrer, Carole Simpson and Candy Crowley examine the most consequential presidential debates of the past 52 years, when, so often, one moment defined a candidate’s performance.

Obama +7 in Pennsylvania — Muhlenberg College

Pennsylvania remains within striking distance.  Romney had a raucous rally in the state after scooping up some cash.  This will be a fun state to taunt the media with if it flips on election day.The President maintains a nice lead for a Battleground State at 7-points but there are a few extra factors at play making things more interesting than they seemed just a few short weeks ago.  This is one of the few states where the down ballot candidate might actually provide a rising tide for the top of the ticket.  GOP Senate challenger Tom Smith is showing a sneaky competitiveness against famous son Bob Casey Jr.  This race was supposed to be a walk for Casey but Smith is proving to be far more formidable than the conventional wisdom assumed.  He trails by 8 in this survey, but that’s down from 18-points 45 days ago and other surveys confirm his surging acceptance by the Keystone public.  This type of momentum was expected from a candidate like a Tommy Thompson in Wisconsin who is proving to be less than helpful to the Romney campaign, but Tom Smith is a race to watch.

Party ID doesn’t factor in as they surveyed by party registration and although a D +9 split might look high, it is an accurate reflection in Pennsylvania party registrations.

For President Percent
Barack Obama 49
Mitt Romney 42
Other 4
Undecided 5

Number of Interviews: 427 Likely Voters in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
Margin of Error: +/-5% at a 95% level of confidence
Fielding Dates – September 22 – 26, 2012

Obama +2 in Virginia — American Research Group

As the survey groups get more reasonable, the polls tighten … funny that.  The latest from American Research Group in Virginia shows President Obama with a 2-point lead 49 to 47. The party ID is below Obama’s 2008 turnout but still well off the 2004 result.

Party ID:
ARG: D +3, Dem 39, Rep 36, Ind 25
2008: D +6, Dem 39, Rep 33, Ind 27
2004: R +4, Dem 35, Rep 39, Ind 26

For President Percent
Barack Obama 49
Mitt Romney 47
Other 1
Undecided 3

Obama +5 in New Hampshire — American Research Group

I’m always jealous of the “Live Free or Die” motto of New Hampshire.  It’s probably one of the reasons the state is so competitive in most elections — plenty of Independent thinkers. Romney is going to have to pick up his game with Independents as he trails the President 52 to 41. Overall President Obama maintains a 5-point lead 50 to 45 in a survey more reasonable than many previous ARG polls lately.  The Party ID was dead even at Dem 30, Rep 30, Ind 40 versus D +2 in 2008 (Dem 29, Rep 27, Ind 45) and R +7 in 2004 (Dem 25, Rep 32, Ind 44).

For President Percent
Barack Obama 50
Mitt Romney 45
Other 1
Undecided 4

More Proof: MSNBC Caught Doctoring Clip From Romney/Ryan Rally

The first reports I read on this were that Romney was graciously adding Ryan name into the chant of his name.  Later the below video surfaced alleging that the crowd was chanting Ryan and Romney was desperately trying to get the crowd to change their chant to insert his name.  God bless the Internet because I found where I read it first:

Ginger Gibson, originator of the tweet, is National political reporter at POLITICO covering the 2012 election on the trail with Mitt Romney.
Felicia Sonmez, who re-tweeted it, is Political reporter for The Washington Post.

Update: Adding to the list of reporters confirming the chant was “Romney, Romney, Romney” is Kasie Hunt of the Associated Press:

Mckay Coppins picks up on the controversy and writes the following:

BuzzFeed was present at the event, and took note that the crowd was actually chanting Romney’s name, before he encouraged them to add his running mate to the chant.

Coppins also identifies the New York Times write-up of the event confirming the above events and not the doctored video version:

After Mr. Ryan whooped up the crowd in Vandalia on Tuesday, Mr. Romney moved to the front of the stage. As the crowd began chanting “Romney! Romney!” he cut them off.“Wait a second,” Mr. Romney said, instructing the audience to cheer for “Romney-Ryan! Romney-Ryan!” They did.

Here is the doctored video, MSNBC giving it full airing complete with Fredo Scarborough in full defeatist crouch:

Remember the talking heads on TV are not independent people who vote Democrat, they are open advocates for one candidate.

About That Crumbling 2008 Coalition of Support for Obama — Jewish and Youth Vote

One of the key tenets to the argument that polls surveying Democrat turnout higher than the 2008 levels is every poll shows some combination of either reduced enthusiasm or reduced support for Obama versus his 2008 performance on election day. This poll from the American Jewish Committee (hat-tip commenter perdogg) shows Obama with a substantial lead among Jewish voters 65 to 24.  Great for the President, right?  Unfortunately, that 41-point margin is substantially less than the 57-point margin (78 to 21) Obama had in 2008.

This type of drop among Obama’s 2008 coalition is not limited to Jewish voters.  I haven’t focused as much on national polls, but other groups like the youth vote are also leaving the President’s side.  In the CBS/New York Times national poll from Sep 14, Obama was leading among 18-29 year-olds 53 to 45, only an 8-point margin. His margin in 2008 was 34-point (66 to 32). As we have point out numerous times, in 2008 Obama did not meaningfully increase the youth turnout.  He did, however, meaningfully persuade them to vote for him. Now their enthusiasm is dampened and their preferences have changed.

Dynamics like the ones above will make it nearly impossible for Obama to repeat, let alone exceed, his 2008 turnout advantage in the 2012 election.  These are among the many reasons we find the polls over-sampling Democrats by wide margins to be unrealistic surveys and not accurate reflections of voter preferences today.

A new American Jewish Committee poll found 65 percent of Jews nationwide planning to vote for US President Barack Obama versus 24 percent for Mitt Romney, with another 10 percent undecided. The poll, conducted Sept. 6-17 among 1,040 Jewish voters nationwide, found Obama doing better than Romney among Jews of all religious backgrounds with the exception of Orthodox Jews, who favored the Republican nominee. Taking into account the poll’s margin of error of plus or minus 5 percentage points, the poll’s overall finding regarding the state of the Jewish vote is similar to other recent polling from Gallup and elsewhere.

For President Percent
Barack Obama 65
Mitt Romney 24
Undecided 10

Two Quick Points on the Debates and Impact on Election Outcomes

I’ve seen a meme floating around today about how debates don’t change the fundamental trajectory of elections.  The invaluable Adrian Gray tweeted out two points that blows that false notion out of the water:

  • At the first debate 12 years ago, Bush was at 39% (down by 8%). Media quickly called it a win for Gore. Voters disagreed. #Election2012
  • In 2004, Bush had 11% lead going into debates. A week later, Bush led by 2%. Don’t tell me debates don’t matter. #Election2012

Do not buy the spin.  Remember the media already has Obama winning an election that is 40 days away.  The only thing else they could report on are things that would change a result they want.  Keep fighting.

Addendum: Some people are saying the Bush 2004 lead heading into the debate was only 6% but that doesn’t change the thrust of the argument

Obama Leaving the Economy as He Found It Part 2

This may become a regular feature.  Yesterday I pointed out how today’s weak economy is mirroring the bad state of affairs when Barack Obama took over as President.  Obama decries how awful things were when he was handed the baton, but it looks like it will be just as bad for the next guy:

Chicago Business Barometer Falls Below 50 for First Time Since 2009

U.S. manufacturers suffered a slide in new orders during September, sending the keenly watched Chicago Business Barometer down to a seasonally adjusted 49.7 from 53.0 in August, the first contraction in three years.

Order backlogs also retreated to their lowest level in two years in the latest downbeat signal from a manufacturing sector still concerned with the pace of China’s economic recovery and the ongoing euro-zone crisis. While other regions have factory surveys from private groups or regional Fed banks, economists at BTIG point out the Chicago PMI has among the highest correlations with the national Institute for Supply Management survey. Firm says the Chicago PMI’s unexpectedly bad September report suggests this month’s reading for the ISM — out Monday — will be the fourth month in a row in which the index is below 50. And a reading below 50 means factory sector is contracting.

The survey of Chicago-area purchasing managers published Friday by the Institute for Supply Management-Chicago, still better known as the Chicago PMI, was well below the consensus forecast of 52.5.

Obama +4 in Michigan — Gravis Marketing

Just not clicking on all cylinders this morning over at battlegroundwatch headquarters.  Anyway, here is the latest from Gravis Marketing/Capitol Correspondent in Michigan.  The party ID is D +6 (Dem 34, Rep 28, Ind 38) which compares to D+12 in 2008 (Dem 41, Rep 29, Ind 29) and D +5 in 2004 (Dem 39, Rep 34, Ind 27).  Six months ago you could have convinced the turnout would look more like the 2004 election, but not so much today.  Michigan remains a Democrat-heavy state despite the hollowing out of the population due to the devastating effect of the failed Granholm years.  Nice top-line result for Romney but the sample likely favors him too much.

For President Percent
Barack Obama 50.0
Mitt Romney 46.2
Undecided 3.8

SEIU Paid Protesters at Romney Cleveland Ohio Rally

Obama Protesters at Romney Rally admit that they are from SEIU and Paid by SEIU at $11.00/hour.

Obama Could Have Met With Netanyahu, “Afternoon Was Free”

Probably interfered with his tee time:

Bleg: Need Help Finding Demographics in National Surveys

I don’t blog the national polls so I’m not as versed finding the data, digging through them and how the it is reported.  Is there a good site for the cross-tabs on these national surveys?  I have checked Real Clear Politics but the PDFs of the polls leave out some backup data.

What is am really looking for in these polls are two things:

1) What are the demographics by race of the survey?

2) How did these demographics vote?

What I am finding odd in the national surveys I researched is they will often give one or the other of these but never both.

I know what the numbers are supposed to look like but I want the backup data to prove out a few things I have swirling around in the back of my head.

Final note: the more unrealistic the sampling the better.  Those national polls where the party ID was D +8 or D +111 would be perfect if they provided the demographic information I’m looking for.

Feel free to post in the comments or email me at battlegroundwatch “at”


Fun with Polls: NBC/WSJ/Marist Complete the Cycle Without Finding Romney Leading Any State — Race OVER!

We’ve gone after this unholy alliance of polling hard over the last few weeks and not without cause. Now I blog their aggressive samplings of Democrats more out of sadness than anger.  They spent a lot of money to bolster President Obama and it seems like even these fiascos of polls are coming back to reality with closer races despite the turnout models with 0% chance of occurring on election day.

This week we have New Hampshire, Nevada and North Carolina.

New Hampshire — Obama leads by 7; 51 to 44, one vote other and 4 Undecided

Party ID is even with Dem 25, Rep  25, Ind 47.  This compares to 2008 D +2 (Dem 29, Rep 27, Ind 45) and 2004 of R +7 (Dem 25, Rep 32, Ind 44).  A shade high on Democrats since the state is probably R +2 or R +3.  But a good poll for the President.

Nevada — Obama leads by 2; 49 to 47, one vote other and 3 Undecided

Party ID is D +7 (Dem 38, Rep 31 , Ind 30) versus 2008 of D +8 (Dem 38, Rep 30, Ind 26) and 2004 of R +4 (Dem 35, Rep 39, Ind 26). Again with the repeat of the once-in-a-generation turnout from 2008 that almost certainly will not be repeated.  But with such an aggressive turnout model Obama only leads by 2?  Very bad poll for him.  I’ll turn it over from here to a guy who knows a lot more about Nevada politics and polls than me, Jon Ralston:

  • Looked at full demos for NBC/WSJ/Marist. Look good. Dems may not like, but could argue it favors them. although the Hispanic sample may be slightly high (20 percent)
  • Latinos in NBC/WSJ/Marist are 62-36 in NV for Obama. 2 percent undecided.

North Carolina I will barely mention considering it is such a Battleground Obama refuses to campaign there and they are pulling all their money out of the state.  So I’m certain this poll is accurate … not. Obama leads (of course) leads by 2 and the party ID is D +8 in a state I will bet you $1000 will be pro-Republican on election day.  Split was R +1 in 2004 and since 2008 the Democrat Party has embarrassed itself statewide the likes of which few parties have imploded. One of the states with a large missing White vote is North Carolina.  This state is not a Battleground regardless of what polling the DNC tells these news outlets.

Obama +2 in Virginia — Suffolk University/NBC12

Obama leads by 2-points (46 to 44) in the Old Dominion State.  A much more reasonable result than some of the non-sensical polls last week. No cross-tabs for party ID or mention of Undecideds but process of elimination says 8 % and that’s a lot.  The good news for Romney is neither of the Independents are registering much of an impact nor is the Green Party’s Jill Stein who failed to garner even 1%.

Thanks to commenter Waingro we have the crosstabs and the party ID is D +3 (Dem 38, Rep 35, Ind 27) which off the 2008 D +6 (Dem 39, Rep 33, Ind 27) but above 2004 of R +4 (Dem 35, Rep 39, Ind 26).

The Suffolk University/NBC12 poll shows President Obama getting 46 percent of likely voters to Mitt Romney’s 44 percent.  Virginia is considered crucial to determining which party controls both the White House and the Senate. Obama campaigned in Virginia Beach Thursday, while Romney appeared in Springfield. The Suffolk poll found that 46 percent of Virginia voters believe Obama is the better debater of the two candidates, while only 19 percent picked Romney, setting a high bar for Obama to clear ahead of next week’s debate in Denver. While Obama and Romney are effectively tied, Constitution Party nominee Virgil Goode and Libertarian Gary Johnson got 1 percent apiece, while Green Party pick Jill Stein got less. Some Republicans have feared Goode, a longtime congressman with a conservative record, could sap votes from Romney.

For President Percent
Barack Obama 46
Mitt Romney 44
Virgil Goode 1
Gary Johnson 1
Undecided 8

Romney +1 in Iowa — TIR-Voter/Consumer Research

As the linked write-up says: Reports of Mitt Romney’s demise in Iowa may be greatly exaggerated. I’d bet any amount of money this state is mired in about a 46 – 46 tie and I thought it was pre-mature for NBC to move it to lean Obama.  One poll doesn’t make a trend but it does show there is plenty of fight left in the Hawkeye State for Mitt Romney and Republicans.

Party ID update: In my haste I missed this the first time.  This poll was R +1 (Dem 35, Rep 36, Ind 30).  This compares to 2008 that was D +1 (Dem 34, Rep 33, Ind 33) and 2004 that was R +2 (Dem 34, Rep 36, Ind 30).  So the party ID almost splits the baby with the slightest shade towards the GOP. Since only 3 points separate the 2 party IDs you can’t get it exactly in between.  Still the sample is between 2004 and 2008 which is where I think this election will fall so not a bad sample.

The stories of Mitt Romney’s demise in Iowa may be exaggerated.  While the latest Wall Street Journal/NBC News/Marist poll results have caused NBC to move Iowa from being a toss-up to a lean Democrat state, a new TIR-Voter/Consumer Research poll suggests otherwise.  The poll of registered voters conducted between September 23rd and September 25th shows Romney with a one-point lead over President Obama in Iowa. Respondents were asked whom they would vote for if the election for president were held today.   Forty-seven percent chose Republican Mitt Romney, while 46 percent said Democrat Barack Obama.   Two percent said neither, one percent refused to answer, and only four percent of respondents were undecided…The TIR/VCR poll was comprised of 36 percent registered Republicans, 35 percent registered Democrats, and 30 percent no-party voters.

For President Percent
Barack Obama 46
Mitt Romney 47
Other 3
Undecided 4

Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is XV

Very disappointed this feature fell by the wayside.  But we are at the mercy of publicly disclosed information and for two weeks during the Convention and then again last week NBC did not publish the data (UPDATE: Props to NBC, Mark Murray says he is shooting me last week’s data.  Big ups to the guy!).  As such we have gaps and the thread in ad buying trends gets harder to piece together.  One thread this that isn’t hard to piece together is the recurring absence of North Carolina. The only reason the state appeared in the top 10 over the last 2 months was due to spending from the Romney campaign to put the state to bed while Team Obama slowly left the state.  The drop is ad dollars every week told us this but since our data lately is sporadic we can only comment that North Carolina is not in the top 10 and won’t be again as evidenced by the recent Obama ad buy leaving North Carolina on the chopping block.

Below, we see Wisconsin resting comfortably in the King’s throne thanks to Obama’s recent visit and also the Milwaukee market bleeds into Paul Ryan’s district. After that we get few surprises:  4 Virginia (DC market in Northern Virginia), 2 Ohio and 2 Florida. That said here is this week’s top 10:

Below are this week’s 10 hottest TV markets in the presidential contest (in terms of advertising points from September 24-September 30).

Hottest Markets for the week 9/24-9/30 Hottest Markets for the week 9/10-9/16
1. Madison, WI: Obama 1540/Restore 1480/Romney 940/Priorities USA 860
2. Orlando, FL: Obama 1700/Romney 1240/AJS 890/Crossroads 620/Priorities 250
3. Cleveland, OH: Romney 1540/Obama 1500/AJS 710/Priorities 440/Crossroads 400
4. Tampa, St. Pete, FL: Obama 1710/Romney 1300/AJS 670/Crossroads 480/Priorities 280
5. Washington, DC: Obama 1800/Romney 1500/AJS 570/Crossroads 250
6. Roanoke-Lynchburg, VA: Romney 1500/Obama 1340/AJS 670/Crossroads 530
7. Norfolk-Portsmouth, VA: Obama 1450/Romney 1440/AJS 730/Crossroads 215/Priorities 200
8. Dayton, OH: Romney 1540/Obama 1390/Crossroads 570/AJS 360
9. Richmond-Petersburg, VA: Romney 1475/Obama 1360/AJS 490/Crossroads 400/Priorities 230
10. Toledo, OH: Romney 1500/Obama 1110/AJS 680/Crossroads 270/Priorities 330
1.  Columbus, OH (Romney 1200, Obama 800, Priorities 500, American Crossroads 250)
2. Des Moines, IA (Romney 1100, Obama 1000, American Crossroads 270, Priorities 245)
3. Richmond, VA (Obama 1100, Romney 1100, American Crossroads 220, Priorities 180)
4. Norfolk, VA (Obama 1200, Romney 1000, American Crossroads 200, Priorities 100)
5. Cleveland, OH (Obama 1200, Romney 780, Priorities 270, American Crossroads 180)
6. Raleigh, NC (Romney 1200, Obama 880, American Crossroads 365)
7. Tampa, FL (Romney 1000, Obama 880, American Crossroads 250, Priorities 230)
8. Toledo, OH (Obama 1000, Romney 815, American Crossroads 340, Priorities 240)
9. Reno, NV (Romney 980, Obama 845, American Crossroads 545)
10. Las Vegas (Obama 1000, Romney 800, American Crossroads 500)

MSNBC takeaways:

It’s worth noting that Obama’s lead in the current polls comes as the GOP continues to enjoy an ad-spending advantage in the presidential race. This week — from Sept. 24-30 — Team Romney (campaign and outside groups) are outspending Team Obama (campaign and outside groups), $24.4 million to $18.6 million. Last week’s GOP edge was a bit smaller, $22 million to $19.3 million. In the general election to date, more than $650 million has been spent on ads, with Team Romney at $356 million and Team Obama at $308 million.