Category Archives: Iowa

0.3% is the Difference Between President Romey and President Obama

A strategic shift in 0.3% of the vote changes the President of the United States. Of course it matters greatly where those 0.3% are located as Team Obama knew from Day 1 while Team Romney keeps smacking their forehead saying “Now they tell us!” Jim Geraghty keeps up with the turnout math:

[H]ere is an updated set of numbers, according to the results this morning on the New York Timesresults map:

Florida: 73,858

Ohio: 103,481

Virginia: 115,910

Colorado: 113,099

Those four states, with a collective margin of, 406,348 for Obama, add up to 69 electoral votes. Had Romney won 407,000 or so additional votes in the right proportion in those states, he would have 275 electoral votes.

Obama’s margin in some other key states:

Nevada: 66,379

Iowa: 88,501

New Hampshire: 40,659

At this hour, 120,556, 279 votes for Obama and Romney have been counted nationwide.

Team Romney GOTV Excuse Making Doesn’t Pass the Laugh Test

Per usual, Mike Murphy remains the very last person the GOP should ever listen to:

Team Romney Thinking on Colorado, Iowa, Wisconsin and New Hampshire

Robert Costa of National Review is as dialed in as any reporter out there when it comes to the Romney inner thoughts.  Here is his dispatch as of 5:09pm:

Romney officials tell me that they’re seeing strong early numbers in Colorado, especially in Adams County. “We will probably win in Adams, which often leans Democrat,” an adviser says. “We’re also running up big margins in the conservative areas, such as Archuleta and Moffat counties.”

Iowa is also looking good. “The northwest part of the state, where Steve King is congressman, is turning out at historic levels,” the adviser says. “The suburban turnout in Ankeny and Clive is quite high.”

The Romney team is also optimistic about Wisconsin and New Hampshire due to reports of high turnout in GOP towns. “We’re seeing big turnout in McCain’s Ohio counties, too,” the adviser says. “In Pennsylvania, the turnout in upper Bucks County, which is a strong Republican area, is great.”

8 Battleground Counties to Decide the Election

Addendum:  This is a re-post from September 20 that I think has held up pretty well.  The biggest difference I’d say is Florida is almost certainly out of reach for Obama so look at Scott County, Iowa as a good one tonight.  You can also scroll through the numerous posts on various Battleground Counties across the county.

[Begin Original Post] That headline is a bit of a stretch but reader Roland Tilden sends a link to a story by Smart Media Group’s Chris Palko who breaks down 10 counties he believes Romney must win to carry the election.   And since we love Battleground Counties almost as much as we love Battleground States, this was right up our alley. What is consistent about the counties selected is each is a big population center so that understandably impacts election outcomes and each was a Bush 2004 and an Obama 2008 county. Not coincidentally Mitt Romney’s original bus tour in June hit a great many of these counties and will almost certainly do so again this time.

The only thing I don’t like about the list is 2 counties are in North Carolina which is not a Battleground in my opinion. In Palko’s defense, this story was originally published in April so his choices are really excellent so far out. As for North Carolina, it’s a state Romney will win by 5-10%. And until President Obama actually campaigns in the state (he hasn’t in all of 2012 outside of his Convention), it’s very likely a GOP pickup with minimal effort from this point forward and not worthy of much attention beyond that acknowledgement.

We have profiled a number of these counties whose links I provide below.  Where there is a battlegroundwatch.com post specifically on one of the cities he mentions, I provided the link as well in addition to my “Battle for [State]” series for each state. With that said, here are the eight Battleground Counties (in reverse order of impact according to Palko) that will go a long way to deciding the election: Hillsborough County, N.H. , Prince William County, Va., Chester County, Pa., Jefferson County, Colo., Arapahoe County, Colo., Hamilton County, Ohio, Pinellas County, Fla., Hillsborough County, Fla.

#8: Hillsborough County  New Hampshire
2004: Bush 51 – 48 2008: Obama 51 – 48
Population: 400,721 Largest city: Manchester

Palko: Most of New Hampshire’s population is close to the Massachusetts state line, which Hillsborough County straddles. It contains a vital grouping of towns and cities including Manchester and Nashua, the two largest cities in the state. Both are swing communities, in the electoral sense.

Battlegroundwatch: This is the location of Mitt Romney’s summer home, the place where he launched his Presidential bid and where he kicked off his June bus tour. They have spent money on the air, these voters are Mitt Romney kind of Republicans and the state has had a Republican resurregence.  Ripe for the plucking but it will be a battle to the end.

#7: Prince William County Virginia
2004: Bush 53 – 47 2008: Obama 58-42
Population: 402,002 Largest community: Dale City

Palko: Prince William County is an exurban county about 25 miles southwest of Washington D.C. It’s on the edge between the traditional, conservative Virginia, and the more progressive suburbs outside the capital. Prince William has become very diverse in recent years, particularly in the I-95 corridor. A hard swing towards Obama was key for him winning Virginia.

Battlegroundwatch: I would have ranked this much higher and definitely in the top 3. This is Obama’s bread-basket: upwardly mobile suburban moderates who trended strongly for Obama in 2008 but whose support has softened in the difficult economic environment. This is where Romney will need to make his mark if he is going to stem the tide of Northern Virginia dominance by Democrats.

  #6 Chester County Pennsylvania
2004: Bush 52 – 47.5 2008: Obama 54 – 45
Population: 498,886 Largest city: West Chester

Palko: Of the four suburban Philly counties, Chester was the only one that Bush won in 2004. The tail end of the prestigious Main Line is in the county, but so is the disadvantaged city of Coatesville. In between, there are plenty of middle-class suburbs, and even still some farmland. This is one of the few counties in Pennsylvania showing substantial population growth, so its importance is increasing.

Battlegroundwatch: It was no accident that the “youthful” Paul Ryan (early-40s is still youthful, right?) and the Romney sons have hit this area hard .  Similar to the suburban growth outside of DC in Virginia, this area outside Pennsylvania is full of persuadable Romney voters.  To win the state, Republicans must begin performing well here and in neighboring counties and they’ll never crack this nut.

#5 Jefferson County Colorado 
2004: Bush 52 – 47 2008: Obama 54 – 45
Population: 534,543 Largest city: Lakewood

Palko: Colorado is a heavily polarized state divided between very liberal Dems in Denver and Boulder, and very conservative Reps in Colorado Springs and the rural areas. The balance of power is held by the handful of counties in suburban Denver. Jefferson County to the west of the city is truly a purple county closely mirroring Colorado’s overall results in the last two presidential contests.

Battlegroundwatch: Filled with one of my favorite stories this cycle about battleground Precinct 7202330176 in Lakewood, a neighborhood who has called all but one statewide race correct since 2000. The swingiest of swing voters, Jefferson has been a regular stop for both sides all election season. Crowd sizes have been huge for Romney and flipping suburban white voters will be the key like they were in 2008 when they flipped for Obama.

#4  Arapahoe County Colorado
2004: Bush 51 – 48 2008: Obama 56 – 43
Population: 572,003 Largest city: Aurora

Palko: Arapahoe County is to the southeast of Denver and, like Jefferson, it’s a purple county that determines which party wins CO. It contains most of Aurora, the second biggest city in the Denver area. The county, and Aurora in particular, has seen a major increase in its Hispanic population in the past decade. This development has made the county a bit more Democratic than its neighbors.

Battlegroundwatch: The key here are the unaffiliated voters who much like Jefferson County swung for Obama in 2008.  Economy is the key.  These are upper middle income workers who often commute to Denver but fall into the pure suburban stereo-type.  Issues like taxes and jobs resonate strongly with this crowd who has unfortunately seen its fair share of recent tragedies.

#3 Hamilton County Ohio
2004: Bush 52.5 – 47 2008: Obama 53 – 46
Population: 802,374 Largest city: Cincinnati

Palko: Cincinnati is one of the most Republican metro areas outside of the South, but the central city county of Hamilton is a swing county. Hamilton County is worth watching, in part, because African-American turnout will be crucial. Sustaining high African-American turnout can make or break Obama’s reelection hopes. [Obama was] the first Democrat since Lyndon Johnson to carry the county.

Battlegroundwatch: A great boon for Obama in 2008 in a state where he underperformed national margins, his win in Hamilton was a shocker.  This is Rob Portman country so look for the debate prep partner and VP short-lister to be featured prominently in efforts to flip this back. This once reliable GOP region must flip if Romney is to have any chance in Ohio.

#2 Pinellas County Florida
2004: Bush 49.6 – 49.5 2008: Obama 54 – 45
Population: 916,542 Largest city: St. Petersburg

Palko: The top counties are both part of Florida’s I-4 Corridor, which runs through the Daytona Beach, Orlando and Tampa areas. The I-4 is the most important region in this presidential election. In Pinellas County, St. Petersburg has some neighborhoods that are solidly Democratic, but most of the territory is split 50/50. Every precinct could make the difference between winning and losing.

Battlegroundwatch: I would have inserted Henrico Couty, VA here (bigger Battleground, Florida trending GOP). But Pinellas is an interesting county w/a lot of conflicting politics.  It was a strong Romney county in the primaries where he doubled his nearest competitor. Unsurprisingly Ann Romney has been featured prominently in this county next door to the Republican Convention.

#1 Hillsborough County Florida
2004: Bush 53 – 46 2008: Obama 53 – 46
Population: 1,229,226 Largest city: Tampa

Palko: The most crucial county this fall is on the other side of Tampa Bay from Pinellas, the runner-up. Hillsborough County, which includes Tampa and its immediate suburbs, is the only county listed with more than one million residents. Still, it’s a fairly accurate small-scale version of America. It has a solidly Democratic central city that includes large African-American and Hispanic populations, and some outlying areas that are heavily Republican. The immediate suburbs are closely split. Whoever wins Hillsborough County in November is most likely the next occupant of the White House.

Battlegroundwatch: If Mitt Romney doesn’t win Florida, he probably doesn’t win the election.  And if he doesn’t win Hillsborough County, he probably doesn’t win Florida. Home of the Republican Convention and probably more campaign attention than any in the state.  This target rich county at the base of the I-4 corridor, this county is as closely contested as any in the country.  Of the 1.95 million votes cast in presidential elections since 1992, Republican nominees won only about 14,000 more than Democratic nominees. The outcome in the Tampa Bay market has run within 2 percentage points of the statewide result in every presidential election since 1992.

Electoral Vote Prediction: What Will Happen Tomorrow?

About one week after this blog began its 5+ month odyssey (when I still could not walk and ate pain killers like they were candy) I wrote: “If the poll shows the Democrat with a slight lead, it’s tied.  If the poll shows the race tied, the Republican is winning.  And if the poll shows the Republican winning? well then the race is over.”

Sadly I thought by this point Romney would be up a point or two in the polls and could confidently predict a 330 electoral vote win. But Hurricane Sandy changed the dynamic of the race.  President Obama was “Presidential” for once and appeared in a bi-partisan light with a great assist from Chris Christie. Had his first term been more bi-partisan like he showed during the Hurricane he would have a far better shot at re-election. But his recent political deathbed conversion runs contrary to what this country has lived through over the last four years.  The most divisive President since the disgraced Richard Nixon can give a good speech and wears the genial veneer of a uniter, but his four-year record of division has left the country worse off from his choices.

You can’t swing a dead cat today without hitting a national poll showing the race a dead heat between Mitt Romney and Barack Obama. But the polling today and political commentary reminds me so much of two mid-term elections: 1994 and 2010 — admittedly non-Presidential years.  The press consensus was a “status quo” election in 1994 while they mocked firebrands who were talking about a revolution. The result was historic drubbings in the House and Senate flipping control of both to Republicans. The same press more recently tried the same dodge in 2010 focusing on likely Republican failures Christine O’Donnell and Sharon Angle rather than the transformative Republicans like Kristi Noem, Tim Scott, Ron Johnson and Marco Rubio. The arrogant Obama consoled Democrats ahead of this mid-term saying the difference between 1994 and 2010 was that this time they had him. Of course Republicans famously delivered a “shellacking” at the voting booth.  My favorite gawd-awful pollster, Marist, had the Congressional race dead even ahead of the greatest drubbing ever. As the Washington Examiner’s Michael Barone wrote “you could argue that this is the best Republican showing ever.” Rather odd they seem to always underestimate Republican performance, don’t you think?

Today the press write 50 stories on Missouri’s Todd Akin and barely acknowledge Nebraska’s Deb Fischer.  If Fischer were a Democrat, the upstart Senator-in-waiting would be paraded around Sunday talk-shows like Cleopatra but you see nary a passing mention of Fischer taking down the formidable Bob Kerrey.  The Tea Party of 2010 was misrepresented, relentlessly smeared with false accusations of racist behavior and ultimately dismissed by the press until they kicked the door in. Instead of trying to coalesce into a national movement  they retrenched locally and have been planting the political mustard seeds in Battleground districts across this country.  You already see the fruits of their labors in the great voter registration changes and early voting of low-propensity Republicans. They don’t talk big or preen for the cameras, they just go about their business changing the entire dynamic of American politics. Today’s polls capture none of this and represent an electorate much the same as the dynamic 2008 Democrat wave when there is no evidence to support such enthusiasm or turnout.

Democrats still have to explain away Obama and his plan for the future because he has yet to offer one. The national polls say despite his poor first term record and lack of a second term agenda he is tied nationally but more importantly leading among the Battleground State polls. But as Bob Krumm writes: “The last two times that a Republican challenged a Democratic incumbent (1996 and 1980) the polls overestimated Democratic support by 5.1 and 7.2 points.  And ‘96 was not even in bad economic times.”  (h/t @JohnEkdahl). Add to that the majority of this blog relentlessly focused on breaking down state poll internals demonstrating time and again those same polls were over-representing Democrat voters and misrepresenting the various state electorates. When you combine these two, the reality is that yes, the polls are wrong and this is not a new phenomenon. The major difference in this election is the sheer volume and relentless use of these polls as political advocacy for a preferred candidate.

In those same polls Mitt Romney has consistently led by double digits among Independent voters while locking down Republican partisans. But Independents are not always the greatest indicator in Presidential elections. John Kerry won Independents nationally by ~1% and by double digits in Ohio ~19 points and still lost the election by 3 points. and Ohio by 2-points.  It is this statistic Democrats cling to while Republicans, including myself, scoff at tied polls with Romney leading with Independents by 20-points. George Bush overcame that Independent deficit because he had a historic turnout of Republicans that had never been seen before. Barack Obama also achieved a historic partisan advantage for modern elections in the 2008 turnout but also carried Independents by 8-points and won overall by 7-points. In 2012 his entire re-election is staked on achieving this again but under far less advantageous circumstances. The greatest difference between 2004 and 2012 is George Bush had a passionate following on the most prominent issue of the day–national security–while today Obama is at his weakest on the most prominent issue of the day–the economy–with passion inspired only in the cult of Obama. This is why Obama is so consistently capped at 47 or 48% in nearly every poll. His impassioned followers won’t abandon him but he attracts few others.

This means the only way Obama wins is a turnout superior to his historic 2008 election when his greatest assets, insurmountable early voting leads and enthusiasm unparalleled in American history, are absent. Maybe he’ll pull it off, but the evidence says he will not. Mitt Romney has run a competent campaign and caught fire in the first debate when President Obama’s lack of vision stood in stark contrast to the energized and vibrant Romney. Since that juncture the enthusiasm, initiative and momentum have all been on one side of the contest.  Today the Romney ground game does no worse than match the vaunted Obama ground game with evidence that Team Obama is desperately robbing Peter (cannibalizing election day high propensity voters) to pay Paul (boost weak early voting).

If political directors at ABC, NBC and CBS were told 6-months ago President Obama’s final days would be spent defending Ohio, Iowa and Wisconsin (to crowds far smaller than even John Kerry) while Romney is drawing 30k in Philadelphia suburbs in near unanimity they would conclude Obama is losing the race. Today states like Minnesota, Michigan and Pennsylvania show up in political discussions the way Indiana and North Carolina were in 2008. It doesn’t take much more to know which way the wind is blowing. The Obama campaign’s ground game is a strong operation and plenty of states will be won by less than 1% of the vote, much like 2000 and 2004 so his ability to pull of an election night surprise should not be underestimated. But too many fundamental problems exist for Obama: stubbornly awful economy, eroding trust on foreign policy, formidable opponent, enthusiastic opposition and potentially fatal concerns with the turnout of key demographics (Hispanics and youth) for him to likely win tomorrow.

All of this adds up to the following states falling into Romney’s column: Florida, Virginia, New Hampshire, Colorado, Iowa, Wisconsin, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Minnesota. The only rain on Romney’s parade is his inability to carry his “home state” of Michigan but it will be close. The billions in tax-payer losses on the auto bailout at least bought Obama something.

Final electoral prediction, Romney 331, Obama 207. I guess the fundamentals of the race overwhelmed even Hurricane Sandy.


Special thanks to Matt Margolis at Blogs4Victory for the map.

GOTV Raw Meat for the Converted

Here is the memo from the RNC’s Rick Wiley on tomorrow’s Get Out the Vote designed to bury the Obama machine

Enjoy:

[W]e are poised to blow the Obama campaign out on Election Day thanks to a superior GOTV program and a historical GOP Election Day advantage In the four party-registration states (Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Nevada), we are poised to win the Election Day vote by even greater margins than we did in 2008. That’s right, Jeremy Bird, we beat you on Election Day even in 2008. This time around we have over 150,000 volunteers across the battleground who have already contacted over 53 million voters and expect to contact millions more from now until the polls close tomorrow night.

Who is the cannibal?

In Colorado there are over 26,000 (34%) more high-propensity Republican voters available than high-propensity Democrat voters. In Florida there are 166,000 (21%) more; 85,000 (47%) more in Iowa; and 16,000 (22%) more in Nevada.

And in Ohio, Republicans have 368,000 more high-propensity voters available than Democrats–72 percent more, in fact–and enough to off-set the Obama campaign’s most optimistic (and unrealistic) early vote math.

Field Office trash talk

The Obama campaign’s superior ground game is a myth. They claim they have double and triple the people and offices across the country, yet poll after poll has shown voters have been contacted equally if not more by the Romney campaign and the Republicans. It goes to show you what big government bureaucracy gets you.

I’m glad Democrats are so eager to talk about their ground game. The more they talk, the more they prove the numbers don’t add up. It’s (ground) game over.

Iowa Early Vote

Trying to drill down on Romney’s standing with Independents versus Bush’s standing at the same point, but this is a good sign:

I’m hearing that Bush lost Iowa Independents by 1-point while in Iowa polling Romney typically leads among Independents by 5-7 points making his hurdle slightly lower to clear.

Republicans Erase Obama Early Vote Advantage

Apologies to everyone, but I’m working remotely (again).  The lower Manhattan Verizon network is down so my home computer is useless. Even my much delayed wrap up of Clark County, Nevada is on hold.  Thankfully the below write-up by Rick Klein gives the macro view from Nevada which is very good for the GOP although I believe all parties were hopeful for an even better showing. Early voting was Obama’s real secret weapon in 2008 but in state after state that advantage is getting wiped away making election day all the more precarious to his re-election chances.  Our own David Ramos has done an amazing job breaking down ColoradoRick Klein takes a look at Nevada and Florida and other Battlegrounds as we inch closer to November 6 …. one more day! … one more day! … one more day!

Nevada

Take a look at the key battleground state of Nevada, for example, where early and absentee voting made up about 67 percent of the total votes cast in the state in 2008. Democrats outperformed Republicans in early voting that year by a little less than 12 percentage points, 47.6 percent of the early votes cast came from registered Democrats, while 35.8 percent came from registered Republicans. This year, that gap has narrowed to roughly 7 points, with registered Democrats accounting for 43.9 percent of the votes cast already, and Republicans making up 37 percent, according to figures from the United States Election Project.

Florida

In Florida in 2008, registered Democrats cast 44.9 percent of the early votes, while registered Republicans only cast 37.9 percent. This year, that gap is down as well. Registered Democrats have accounted for 42.6 percent of the early vote, registered Republicans 39.5 percent.

Nationwide

Across the board, in 2008, Democrats held an 11 percentage point advantage over Republicans going into Election Day in the battleground states where party registration was available, but this year, that gap has been cut down to about a6 point advantage, according to one GOP official.

To cannibal or not to cannibal

One of the reasons for Republican gains in early voting has to do with an improved get-out-the-vote operation (commonly referred to as “GOTV”) from 2008. In 2008, Republicans had a weaker operation than Democrats. This year, Republicans amped up their game, targeting “low-propensity” voters, or people who, when they vote, vote Republican, but have not consistently turned out in elections. “If you live in Ohio and Iowa, for example, and you’re a low-propensity Republican voter, you voted in a primary or you’re registered Republicans but you’ve missed some, what you’re going to get form the Romney campaign and the RNC is somebody coming to your door with an absentee ballot, you’re going to get mail that has absentee-ballot request forms,” Republican National Committee  spokesman Tim Miller said.

Minding the gap doesn’t mean victory

From a simple mathematical standpoint, however, Democrats are ahead in the vote count in four out of the five battleground states that offer in-person early voting and register voters by a political party: Nevada, Iowa, Florida and North Carolina.

Firewall lacks clarity

The key Midwestern states that permit in-person early voting – Ohio, Iowa and Wisconsin – do not register by party affiliation, so it is impossible to make any definitive statement about which party is ahead in the vote count. Those three states have been identified as a kind of Electoral College firewall for Obama that offers him a path to 270 electoral votes even if he loses in all of the other battleground states

Romney +1 in Iowa — Rasmussen

The latest from Rasmussen Reports in Iowa shows an airtight race with Mitt Romney leading 49 to 48:

Iowa remains neck-and-neck in the closing days of Election 2012, with Mitt Romney now showing a one-point lead. The latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of Likely Iowa Voters finds the Republican challenger with 49% support, while President Obama earns 48% of the vote. Two percent (2%) like someone else in the race, and one percent (1%) is undecided. The survey of 750 Likely Voters in Iowa was conducted on October 30, 2012 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 4 percentage points.

For President Percent
Barack Obama 48
Mitt Romney 49
Other 2
Undecided 1

Marist, You Magnificent Bastard!

Early voting is creating a unique problem for polling organizations this year  in that the results will skew in favor of the party with the higher early turnout, in this case the Democrats. This built in early voting bias to polls greatly diminishing the polls actual value since you know up front one party’s partisans are over-sampled. Since Democrats tend to vote early, you see the Democrat candidate typically leading by wide margins in early voting according to many polls. When it comes to polling results, all voters who said they already voted make it through the likely voter screen and end up in the final results. This means a sizable pro-Democrat segment of those polled are guaranteed to make it through the likely voter screen. This inherently over-samples Democrats which practically guarantees a favorable result for Democrats. This is how a poll consistently shows Democrat turnout levels at or greater than the best in a generation turnout Democrats enjoyed in 2008 despite mountains of evidence saying otherwise. Of course, Marist has magnificently achieved these outrageous party IDs well before early voting which just goes to prove the old axiom: foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of feeble minds.

Final thoughts on Marist before moving on to the states: I’d argue Marist has been the absolute worst polling outfit this election cycle.  Completely in the tank with Pro-Democrat turnout models arriving at unrealistic results in nearly every survey.  The race for much of the last month has been a dead heat across the Battlegrounds with Romney arguably pulling slightly ahead.  But I saw a statistic this morning that in the dozens of Battleground state polling done by Marist for NBC and the WSJ Mitt Romney led in only one of those polls.  If true and Romney wins the election, no one should ever pay for, read or blog a Marist poll again.  A truly disgraceful showing.  But this is nothing new for Marist.  As I reminded readers two weeks ago thanks to Jay Cost at The Weekly Standard, Marist has a fairly bad track record of over-sampling Democrats.  Immediately before the 2010 mid-terms they released a national survey claiming that among likely voters the country was split right down the middle 46 to 46 voting between the Democrats and Republicans up for Congress (~60% of the way down). As history showed, the election results were quite different from what Marist was seeing. Republicans won the popular vote 52 to 45 netting 63 seats in the House of Representatives.  As the Washington Examiner’s Michael Barone wrote “you could argue that this is the best Republican showing ever.”  Marist?  Nice knowing you.

Wisconsin

President Obama leads by 3-points, 49 to46 with 2% voting third-party and 3% Undecided

Party ID is D +5 (Dem 34, Rep 29, Ind 35).  This compares to 2008 of D +6 (Dem 39, Rep 33, Ind 29) and 2004 of R +3 (Dem 35, Rep 38, Ind 27) in 2004.  A very aggressive turnout in favor of the President comparable to his 2008 performance which seems highly unlikely.  Same party ID as their survey a week ago. Another early vote phenomenon favoring Democrats. According to NBC’s First Read, “25 percent say they have already voted or will do so before Election Day, and those voters are breaking to Obama by a 59 percent to 39 percent clip.” This is consistent with yesterday’s Marquette Law School poll (that somehow I missed — totally hiding behind the Hurricane Sandy excuse for as long as I can btw) showed Obama leads among early voters, 56-36%. Survey too many Democrats and you get a Democrat leading, not much more to it.  At the same time, IF Team Obama mobilizes his ground troops to repeat the 2008 turnout advantage, congratulations on your re-election.  I simply believe the overwhelming evidence that shows 2008 was the exception and not the rule for party turnout.

New Hampshire

President Obama leads by 2-points, 49 to47 with 1% voting third-party and 3% Undecided

The party ID is D +1 (Dem 27, Rep 26, Ind 47). In 2008 it was D +2 (Dem 29, Rep 27, Ind 45) and in 2004 it was R+7 (Dem 25, Rep 32, Ind 44). This still strongly shades toward Democrats but quite honestly anything is possible for New Hampshire in my book.  I never know how to read this electorate and I’m always pleasantly surprised when the GOP does well in the state.  It’s just my deep blue New England bias that always makes this state so surprising to me. Objectively though this is a turnout result strongly favors Democrats and Obama only leads by 2 so all-in-all not the worst poll for Romney.

Iowa

President Obama leads by 6-points, 50 to44 with 2% voting third-party and 4% Undecided

It cracks me up how quickly the Obama surrogates disclaim these large Iowa leads. Obviously they are worried about over-confidence but when both sides say a poll is way-off, it’s not worth spending time simply saying “we agree.”

The party ID is D +3 (Dem 34, Rep 31, Ind 34). This compares to 2008 of D +1 (Dem 34, Rep 33, Ind 33) and 2004 R +2 (Dem 34, Rep 36, Ind 30).  A highly unlikely scenario considering every metric between voter registration, early voting proclivity and enthusiasm dramatically favors Republicans versus the 2008 comparison.  This is a state with aggressive early voting and Democrats dominating so this is again one of the ways where you end up with screwy party IDs that greatly diminish the polls overall value as indicative of state sentiment. According to the First Read write-up, “In Iowa, according to the poll, 45 percent of respondents say they have already voted early or plan to do so, and Obama is winning those voters by nearly 30 points, 62 percent to 35 percent.”

Breaking Down the Campaign Travel Math

Jame Dupree of the Atlanta Journal Constitution breaks down the final campaign stops for both candidates and looks for insights based on where they are going and maybe more importantly where they are not. This is a time to sure up your base support to make sure the people you need to show up remain engaged.  At the same time you will push the envelope only within the context of 270 electoral votes not 300 so the fringe Battlegrounds absence is less surprising:

The President’s schedule over the next four days will take him to Ohio on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, twice to Wisconsin and Colorado and once to Nevada, Iowa, New Hampshire, Virginia and Florida. Meanwhile, Romney’s schedule has him making stops in Virginia, Wisconsin, Ohio, Iowa, Colorado and twice in New Hampshire; both men still have a few holes left to fill in their schedule before Election Day.

The first thing that jumped out at me was the President is spread fairly thinly across 8 states while Romney is comparatively focused on 6 states. Does that mean the President is vulnerable in more areas so he has to play defense across the country?  Or does that mean Romney has fewer paths to victory?  We’ll see.  Here’s Dupree:

Ohio is getting the most attention by far of any state, as the President will be there Friday, Saturday and Sunday; Romney will be there at least on Friday. Colorado, Iowa and Wisconsin will also get visits from each candidate. Romney will stop Saturday in New Hampshire and is scheduled to hold a final rally the night before the elections in Manchester next Monday, as the four Electoral Votes in the Granite State are getting a lot of attention from both sides.

No surprise Ohio has both campaign’s full attention. The incredible investment by Obama in Ohio shows they know they lose without the state and the internals don’t match the farcical public polls. To be honest that level of investment seems to indicate they may actually be losing the state at this juncture. New Hampshire getting two visits from Romney in interesting.  Romney must see some favorable movement in those four electoral votes to give him reason to double down in these final days.

Maybe more telling the Battlegrounds where they are not going:

As of now, Romney may not be going back to Florida, the largest swing state prize – the President is slated to make only one stop in the Sunshine State, Fort Lauderdale on Sunday; South Florida was where Mr. Obama ran up big margins in 2008 against John McCain.

Clearly Romney is comfortable in Florida to leave it off the schedule. This is a big deal. His campaign did some chest thumping about a double-digit win and while that seemed a bit high to be I’d expect a solid win in the state for Romney.

Also, Romney at this point is not going to Nevada, a state that seems to be leaning towards the Democrats again this year, despite its swing state status.

This one is interesting.  Romney doesn’t need the state but he certainly invested in the state.  Obama is playing defense there which is smart.  Early voting is not nearly as strong for Obama a they had hoped but he still seems to have the edge overall in the state. Senator Dean Heller is running a great campaign for re-election there against a deeply unethical opponent  and his margin of victory may help drag Romney across the finish line in the Silver State.

Not on the travel log for either Romney or Obama right now are states like Pennsylvania, Michigan, North Carolina and/or Minnesota – all of which have been mentioned a lot in recent days as possible pickups for Republicans.

For any student of campaigns, these should come as no surprise.  Neither campaign needs them to get to 270 so while they may fall to either campaign in a late breaking wave, campaign resources are focused at this juncture on 270 and 270 only.  No matter whether your number is 271 or 351, they still call you President all the same.  It’s smart campaign strategy.

This is the schedule – subject to change – for each candidate in coming days:

Thursday November 1
Obama: Wisconsin, Nevada, Colorado
Romney: Virginia

Friday November 2
Obama: Ohio
Romney: Wisconsin, Ohio

Saturday November 3
Obama: Ohio, Wisconsin, Iowa, Virginia
Romney: New Hamphshire, Colorado

Sunday November 4
Obama: New Hampshire, Florida, Ohio, Colorado
Romney: n/a

Monday November 5
Obama: n/a
Romney: final rally in New Hampshire

Expect changes and additions to this schedule as we get closer to Election Day.

UPDATE: kostby in the comment section did the analysis I should have.  I’m trying to get on those Marist polls (who doesn’t enjoy a good game of “whack-a-poll” on the morining?) but if you look at kostby’s analysis within the Karl Rove 3-2-1 context you have to feel really good about his chances. 3: Indiana (done), North Carolina (done), Virginia (virtually done). 2: Florida (done) and Ohio (all the marbles). 1: Colorado (strongest play), New Hampshire, Iowa, Wisconsin all better bets than Nevada. You have to like Romney’s chances looking at the travel schedule with that context.  Thanks to kostby for inspiring the additional analysis.

I look at Romney’s schedule like this.

He needs NC, FL, VA, Ohio + one of Colorado, NH, WI, or Iowa. NC and FL are in the bag. So you hit VA once even though the polling is good. The one last visit gets you local TV coverage and excites your campaign workers. Ohio is the whole enchilada so you hit it hard even IF you are winning. Then you hit Wisconsin because you can win it to improve your mandate, but also because it is key to alternate paths if Ohio doesn’t work out.

Assuming NC, Fl, and VA are already in the bag for Romney then you have these alternatives to win:

Alternative 1 — Ohio + any one of CO, NH, IA, WI
Alternative 2 — WI + CO + either NH or IA
Alternative 3 — CO, NH, IA, and NV

I’m starting to feel like it’s going to be: OH, CO, WI, IA, NH as well. That would put Romney at 295.

Romney +1 in Iowa — The Hawkeye Poll

A tight race with plenty of Undecided voters show how Iowa is clearly up for grabs based on the latest University of Iowa Hawkeye Poll.  Obama leads by 2 with Independents, 41.9 to 40.2:

Romney leads among likely voters, though, with 45.2 percent of the vote compared to 44.4 percent for Obama, with 6 percent undecided and 4.3 percent preferring a third party candidate. The margin of error for the survey of 320 Iowans is 5.6 percent. “Our results show Romney making advances and perhaps taking the lead in Iowa, and that the race continues to be close and within the margin of error,” says Frederick Boehmke, associate professor of political science in the UI CLAS and faculty adviser of the Hawkeye Poll. “It appears that the final result will be determined by each campaign’s ability to turn out supporters and to capture the votes of those last few undecided voters.”

While both candidates show strong support among their respective bases, Obama has a slight lead among self-described independent voters with 41.9 percent of independents supporting him compared to 40.2 percent who back Romney. “Iowa remains up for grabs and it’s understandable and worthwhile for both candidates to continue to spend time here in the remaining few days of the campaign,” says Tim Hagle, UI associate professor of political science.

The race stays tight across different sectors of the electorate as well, with Romney leading among men by 46.3 percent to 43 percent and Obama leading among women 45.9 percent to 44.1 percent.

Romney Path to Victory in Iowa

When media outlets like NBC moved Iowa to lean Obama in mid-September I was beyond dubious.  The race in the Hawkeye state looked air tight to me and I expected it to remain that way through election day.  This intriguing piece indicates Iowa was slipping out of reach for Romney until the first debate. Plenty of interesting nuggets in this great Scott Conroy piece over at Real Clear Politics:

A month ago, as Mitt Romney’s campaign appeared to be foundering on just about every front, even allies of the Republican nominee believed his hopes for recovery to be particularly grim here in Iowa. At the time, he was failing to generate much enthusiasm in his western Iowa stronghold, and President Obama’s vaunted ground game in the state — which had launched him toward the Oval Office in 2008 — was humming along with an efficiency that threatened to put the state out of reach.

Failing to mind the gap

Particularly concerning for the Romney camp was the extent to which its internal polling showed the challenger getting blown out in Obama’s eastern Iowa strongholds of Black Hawk and Linn counties, which encompass the population hubs of Waterloo-Cedar Falls and Cedar Rapids, respectively. Romney did not have to come close to winning in either of those counties, his team had calculated, but in order to have a shot at the Hawkeye State’s six electoral votes, he needed a respectable showing in each.

The debate that changed everything

Just when many Republicans here were about to give up hope, the former Massachusetts governor squared off against Obama in the Oct. 3 debate. Overnight, this traditionally Democratic-leaning swing state became one of his most inviting targets. “A month ago, I could hear the sounds of the Obama train steaming up and leaving the station. He was poised to pull away, which would have had impact up and down the ballot,” said longtime Iowa Republican strategist Bob Haus. “Then, a debate happened and the race was recast in 90 minutes. It’s hard to tell you what an impact it had.”

Minding the gap and then some

Since his commanding performance in Denver, Romney has not only closed the gap somewhat in Black Hawk and Linn counties, he has seen a significant boost in the intensity of support in the dark-red, soon-to-be liquidated 5th Congressional District represented by Steve King. In the 2012 caucuses, Rick Santorum dominated that deeply conservative western section of the state, while Romney struggled to connect with the heavily evangelical and rural population (just as he did in his 2008 caucuses loss to Mike Huckabee). But the Republican nominee now appears to have built a comfortable, double-digit lead over Obama in most of those counties, and his campaign expects turnout there to be sky-high on Nov. 6.

Expanding the Iowa map

Perhaps even more important for Romney, internal polls have shown him closing Obama’s narrow advantage in swing voter-heavy Scott County, where the GOP standard-bearer held a rally Monday in Davenport. In his remarks introducing Romney at that event, Iowa Republican Gov. Terry Branstad noted that he had won the county in each of his five gubernatorial campaigns and suggested that the candidate’s economic message would produce similar results on Tuesday.

Driving the base

Additionally, the Romney campaign believes that it is outperforming its goal in the heavily white, blue-collar counties that dot southeastern Iowa, an encouraging sign for any statewide Republican candidate. “Our state Senate tracking polls are moving [Romney’s] way in swing districts, and the sweep of endorsements over the weekend gives him a sense of momentum,” said Iowa GOP operative Steve Grubbs. “I predict he wins Iowa.”

Reaching new voters

Indeed, The Des Moines Register’s backing of Romney this past weekend came as a surprise to just about everyone in Iowa politics. In spite of the kerfuffle that resulted from the Obama campaign’s original stipulation that the paper’s editorial board interview the president off the record, there was little reason to believe that the state’s most widely circulated newspaper would back a Republican presidential candidate for the first time since 1972. The endorsement came as a pleasant shock to Iowa Republicans…[D]espite the Register’s reach and the high regard with which its political coverage continues to earn, there is little question that its influence has waned. But taken in combination with endorsements by Iowa’s three other major dailies — The Cedar Rapids Gazette, Quad Cities Times, and Sioux City Journal — Romney’s ability to win over top opinion-makers in the state is emblematic of a remarkable turnaround, especially given the tsunami of positive media coverage Obama enjoyed here four years ago.

Polk County FTW?

Perhaps the area of the state that each campaign will pay closest attention to heading toward Election Day is Polk County — the most populous of Iowa’s 99 counties and home of the capital, Des Moines. Romney strategists believe that the Republican can lose Polk County and still carry the state, but they must keep Obama’s margins down in the capital region. That’s one reason they dispatched Ann Romney to Des Moines on Tuesday evening, where the former first lady of Massachusetts hosted the first Romney rally since the campaign suspended all of its overtly political events in light of the devastation from Hurricane Sandy in the mid-Atlantic area. Vice President Joe Biden will be close on her heels when he arrives in Iowa on Thursday for rallies in Muscatine and Fort Dodge.

Release the Kraken: Romney campaign to hit the road with 100 surrogates

There are only 6 days left to campaign and following the Hurricane Sandy pause Team Romney is gearing up for a final push to close out the cycle that would dwarf any prior campaign’s effort.  According to CNN, Team Romney will hit 11-states with all-stars from the GOP’s deep bench, Colorado, Ohio, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Nevada, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Wisconsin:

Mitt Romney and his running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan, will kick off a four-day tour starting Friday, where they’ll be joined by their wives and 100 surrogates in the final days of the White House race, his campaign announced Wednesday.

The tour starts off with a rally in West Chester, Ohio, the hometown of House Speaker John Boehner. Aside from Boehner, featured guests that day include former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and Sen. John McCain of Arizona.

Boehner will depart on his own bus tour in Ohio from Saturday to Monday.

In the four days before Election Day, the surrogates will fan out across eleven battleground states: Colorado, Ohio, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Nevada, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Wisconsin.

A campaign source confirmed that Romney will be at the Verizon Center in Manchester, New Hampshire on Monday night, and Kid Rock will perform, as well.

On Wednesday, Romney and Ryan resume the campaign trail after canceling some events due to conditions related to Superstorm Sandy. Romney will travel to Florida for three campaign events, where he’ll appear with former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and U.S. Senate candidate Connie Mack. Ryan, meanwhile, will make stops in Wisconsin.

Newspapers Endorsing Romney After Endorsing Obama in 2008

When I see  a major Battleground State paper changing their endorsement I have posted them on this blog. But plenty of papers beyond the Battlegrounds are also voting for change this election.  Here is a collection of all papers who have switched their support:

  1. Des Moines Register: “Mitt Romney Offers A Fresh Economic Vision” “Voters should give Mitt Romney a chance to correct the nation’s fiscal course and to implode the partisan gridlock that has shackled Washington and the rest of America — with the understanding that he would face the same assessment in four years if he does not succeed.” (Editorial, “Mitt Romney Offers A Fresh Economic Vision,” Des Moines Register, 10/27/12)
  2. The Daily Herald (Illinois): “[W]e Endorse Romney Because He, Unlike Obama, Understands That Jobs Are A Creation Of Business, Not Of Government.” “But ultimately, we endorse Romney because he, unlike Obama, understands that jobs are a creation of business, not of government. And that to encourage job growth, we need policies that incent business to grow and provide it with a stable environment for that growth.” (Editorial, “Endorsement: The Case For Mitt Romney For President,” The Daily Herald, 10/28/12)
  3. Florida Today: “Romney Has A Clearer Vision For A Modern Economy…” “Over the next four years, Washington must foster a more competitive economy and balance federal budgets. Florida voters rate jobs and business growth as their No. 1 concern by far. For those reasons, we endorse former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney for president. Romney has a clearer vision for a modern economy. He has a better understanding than President Barack Obama of what could help manufacturers and service companies grow and hire. And he has executive experience and a record of problem solving that Obama did not have before taking office.” (Editorial, “We Recommend Mitt Romney For President,” Florida Today, 10/28/12)
  4. Pensacola News Journal: “We Believe [Mitt Romney] Has The Experience And Temperament To Start The Repairs.” “As he did in 2008, Mitt Romney is campaigning that ‘Washington is broken’: that Congress and the president can neither legislate nor lead effectively. We believe he has the experience and temperament to start the repairs. If elected, we urge him to gather key Democrats on Nov. 7 and start to find solutions to our problems.” (Editorial, “We Recommend: Mitt Romney For President,” Pensacola News Journal, 10/28/12)
  5. Naples Daily News: “[W]e Believe It Will Take Another Administration Change, To Romney, To Bring The Leadership That Will Make That Recovery Timely, Robust And Sustainable.” “This time four years ago, this newspaper’s editorial board sized up the state of the economy and other issues and concluded the country needed a change, to Obama. While we believe the national economy is on the way back, we believe it will take another administration change, to Romney, to bring the leadership that will make that recovery timely, robust and sustainable.” (Editorial, “President Of The United States,” Naples Daily News, 10/28/12)
  6.  Quad City Times: “[W]e Endorse A Successful Leader Focused On Economic Recovery And Growth And Deficit Reduction.” “Today, we endorse a successful leader focused on economic recovery and growth and deficit reduction. We endorse a proven manager who won’t need on-the-job training. We endorse a compromiser who offers the best hope of breaking congressional gridlock. Most of all, we endorse change. We endorse Mitt Romney for president.” (Editorial, “Ready For Change,” Quad City Times, 10/28/12)
  7.  Los Angeles Daily News: “Romney Has Proven His Leadership Qualities…” “Four years ago, as America faced serious trouble at home and abroad, this news organization embraced the need for bold change to a different brand of leadership and endorsed Barack Obama for president. … Romney has proven his leadership qualities as a business success, as the trouble-shooting head of the Salt Lake City Olympics, and as the governor of Democratic Party-dominated Massachusetts.” (Editorial, “Elect Mitt Romney President,” Los Angeles Daily News, 10/28/12)
  8.  Fort Worth Star-Telegram: “Romney Has Laid Out A Consistent Theme … That Theme Is A Winner.” “Romney has laid out a consistent theme focused on encouraging business innovation and growth, reducing government spending and its economic footprint and educating and retraining people to take new jobs. That theme is a winner, and Congress will be receptive when Romney brings it.”(Editorial, “Mitt Romney: New Leadership For More Economic Growth,” Fort Worth Star-Telegram, 10/21/12)
  9. Reno Gazette-Journal: “We Find Ourselves In Need Of Change Yet Again. Romney Must Be The Leader To Get Things Moving.” “Based on our current fiscal condition, a still-weak economy and a Congress deeply divided along party lines, our next president will continue to face a daunting challenge, one that must be met for the good of the country. Four years later, we find ourselves in need of change yet again. Romney must be the leader to get things moving.” (Editorial, “Nevada Needs A Change Now; Elect Mitt Romney President,”Reno Gazette-Journal, 10/20/12)
  10. Orlando Sentinel: “He Understands That Reviving The Economy And Repairing The Government’s Balance Sheet Are Imperative.” “[T]he core of Romney’s campaign platform, his five-point plan, at least shows he understands that reviving the economy and repairing the government’s balance sheet are imperative — now, not four years in the future. … We endorse Mitt Romney for president. (Editorial, “Our Pick For President: Romney,” Orlando Sentinel, 10/19/12)
  11.    New York Observer: “A Strong Leader … [He] Promises To Bring A New And Refreshing Attitude To Washington.” “Mitt Romney stands out because—unlike so many candidates in the past—he understands how to build businesses, create efficiencies, make tough deals and carefully consider divergent viewpoints. America needs a strong leader, a practical leader. … [He] promises to bring a new and refreshing attitude to Washington, one that speaks to his experience as both a successful business leader and the governor of a state not known for its affection for Republicans.” (Editorial, “Romney For President,” New York Observer, 10/16/12)
  12.  South Florida Sun-Sentinel: “We Need A Leader Who Will Chart A Clear Course, Sweat The Details And Get The Job Done Right.” “In these uncertain times, we need a leader who will chart a clear course, sweat the details and get the job done right. We believe Romney’s past performance is a predictor of his future behavior. He’s proven himself to be a successful businessman. He rescued the 2002 Winter Olympics from scandal and mismanagement. He worked with a Democrat-dominated legislature as governor of Massachusetts to close a $3 billion budget deficit — without borrowing and raising taxes.” (Editorial, “Sun Sentinel Endorses Mitt Romney For President,” Sun Sentinel, 10/26/12)

Obama Deputy Campaign Manager Goes On Attack Against Des Moines Register

When you don’t have a record to run on, and your attacks on your opponents aren’t working, attack the process:

Quad City Times (Iowa) Endorses Romney (Endorsed Obama in 2008)

Another flip in endorsements for this paper that straddles Iowa and Illinois:

Our presidential endorsement: Ready for change

We invested heavily in hope back in 2008.

Our 2012 endorsement of Mitt Romney comes with an imperative for change.

The change that we’d hoped would elevate our economy wound up woefully short. The presidential gambit to place health-care reform ahead of economic recovery jeopardized both. President Barack Obama expended all of the presidential leadership on muscling through health care reform, leaving little for implementation and none for significant economic recovery.

We support many aspects of the president’s health care reform. But so much is left undone because of the president’s inability to win popular support for the reforms. For example, the health care exchanges so critical to implementation are stuck at square one. Nov. 16 is the federal government deadline for establishing exchanges, yet 35 states have balked. Even the president’s home state has ignored the directive.

That’s just one example of flagging leadership on an issue that defines the Obama presidency.

Sadly, others exist.

The president’s green energy initiatives were intended to launch a U.S. alternative energy boom. Earlier this month, A123 Systems joined the succession of green energy firms that failed after being selected by the Obama administration for preferential grants. Beacon Power. Abound Solar. EnerDel. Solyndra. All stumbled despite receiving hundreds of millions of dollars in taxpayer-funded grants.

The president laments congressional gridlock that fomented under the inflammatory leadership of Rep. Nancy Pelosi and Sen. Harry Reid. The president’s deference to their reckless rhetoric further deepened congressional divide. Obama doesn’t deserve all of the blame. But he merits little credit for any meaningful attempt to bridge the gap.

That gap pushed the U.S. to a series of precipitous deadlines, including the sequestration ledge where Congress currently is perched. Lots of blame to go around and some of it lands squarely on a president who chose a marginal health care victory over a badly needed growth agenda.

Our hopeful 2008 endorsement went to a promising up ’n comer over a lackluster challenger who botched his first big presidential decision by picking an unqualified running mate. Sen. John McCain’s choice of Sarah Palin struck us, and apparently millions of undecided voters, as a calculated political ploy, not a credible presidential successor.

This year, the Republican ticket is led by a candidate with a proven record of moderate governance, legislative leadership and compromise. Mitt Romney arrives at the presidency with global leadership experience and a track record of turnarounds.

No need to rely on hope. His record includes evidence of change. He changed the trajectory of a failing U.S. Winter Olympics. He changed the path of Massachusetts with a health care plan we admire, even if Romney is now less than enthused.

He picked a running mate who has specific deficit reduction plans, not just hopeful intentions. Ryan’s plan cuts too deeply in some areas and needs significant compromise, particularly on the future of Medicare, but these plans are in the hands of a presidential team experienced in compromise.

Our interest in Romney jelled into support through the debates, where we saw his leadership and pragmatic managerial experience shine through. He didn’t just say what ardent Republicans wanted to hear. In fact, he stated his unequivocal support for women’s contraception rights, knowing it would incense a huge number of Christian and Catholic voters.

Romney described himself in alignment with most of the president’s foreign policy directives.

What differs for us is his lifelong leadership success. We don’t begrudge his Bain Capital decisions, all legal and lucrative on behalf of his employers and investors. He made different decisions when he worked for the people of Massachusetts as governor.

We’re confident he’ll be as responsive to all Americans if elected president.

We heard the eavesdrop audio of Romney’s glib reference to a small group of acquaintances about the 47 percent. We also heard Obama’s comments to Russian President Vladimir Putin. For this endorsement, we take our queues not from excerpts of overheard remarks or lip-slips. We rely on leadership experience, detailed public statements and our personal meetings with the candidates during this and the 2007 caucus campaigns.

Today, we endorse a successful leader focused on economic recovery and growth and deficit reduction. We endorse a proven manager who won’t need on-the-job training. We endorse a compromiser who offers the best hope of breaking congressional gridlock.

Most of all, we endorse change.

We endorse Mitt Romney for president.

Des Moines Register Endorses Romney; First Republican Since 1972

This is huge:

The Register endorsement: Mitt Romney offers a fresh economic vision

Ten months ago this newspaper endorsed former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney for the Republican nomination for president. An overarching consideration was which of the party’s candidates could we see occupying the White House, and there was no question that Romney was qualified for the job.

Now, in the closing days of the general election campaign, the question is which of the two contenders deserves to be the next president of the United States.

Both President Barack Obama and Governor Romney are superbly qualified. Both are graduates of the Harvard University Law School who have distinguished themselves in government, in public service and in private life. Both are devoted husbands and fathers.

American voters are deeply divided about this race. The Register’s editorial board, as it should, had a vigorous debate over this endorsement. Our discussion repeatedly circled back to the nation’s single most important challenge: pulling the economy out of the doldrums, getting more Americans back in the workforce in meaningful jobs with promising futures, and getting the federal government on a track to balance the budget in a bipartisan manner that the country demands.

Which candidate could forge the compromises in Congress to achieve these goals? When the question is framed in those terms, Mitt Romney emerges the stronger candidate.

The former governor and business executive has a strong record of achievement in both the private and the public sectors. He was an accomplished governor in a liberal state. He founded and ran a successful business that turned around failing companies. He successfully managed the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City.

Romney has made rebuilding the economy his No. 1 campaign priority — and rightly so.

In Iowa, Disappointment with Obama Runs Deep

These are not the articles President Obama wants to read:

In Iowa, a rural state of outsized political importance, retired nurse Pauline McAreavy is among thousands eager to vote against President Barack Obama after four years of disappointment. McAreavy holds a personal grudge against the president that dates back to 2008, when she hosted Obama’s supporters for three weeks in the Midwestern state that nurtured his improbable White House dreams. She never got a thank you note for her small role in helping land Obama in the White House, but McAreavy’s antagonism goes deeper, the product of broken promises and accumulated disillusion with the “hope” promised by the man who has billed himself an “adopted son” of Iowa. “Obama gave us this ‘no red, no blue state’ America,” said McAreavy, 78. “I was fooled, I kick myself everyday,” she said. “I said: ‘In four years I’ll get you buddy — and I’m going to.'”

Breaking up with Obama

McAreavy is among many voters in midwestern Iowa — which kicks off the presidential nominating contests every four years — who have abandoned their allegiance to Obama’s platform. Their lack of support, revealed in two dozen interviews with Iowa County residents, is at the heart of the president’s challenge in seeking a second term in what has become a very tightly contested White House race. Sweeping in front of her house in Williamsburg, McAreavy recalled how she had thought Obama would bring a politically divided country together and that electing the first African American president of the United States would be “wonderful” for this country. “He didn’t, he tore us more apart. I did feel maybe the world didn’t like America, but the world hates us more now than they did before!” she said.

One way street with 2008 voters

Many voters who chose Obama last time around are quick to vent frustration over the discrepancy between what they had hoped from a historic Obama presidency and what actually transpired. Almost no McCain voters, meanwhile, seem ready to cast a ballot for the Democrat. Even if Obama wins the state of Iowa and the entire election this year, the victory will be narrow and will lack the sweet taste of 2008. Back then, Obama got 54 percent of vote in Iowa against 44 percent for McCain. But in this race, no poll gives him more than 51 percent, and Romney is only two points behind, on average.

Despondent Democrats

[T]he president’s supporters — and there are still legions of them — are gloomy. Many cite Republican control of the House of Representatives and its sizeable contingent in the Senate as extenuating circumstances. All search for excuses. “Every election it’s the lesser of two evils,” said Williamsburg librarian Carol Uhlmann, a 72-year-old registered Democrat…Inside the Williamsburg Public Library, a woman playing with a young girl has already decided not to vote for Obama, like she did four years ago. “I’m going to go with the change,” said the woman, who would only give her first name Ann.

Embracing Romney

[D]isenchantment with Obama is not the only factor explaining Romney’s impressive climb up the polls, as the Republican steadily builds his base of support while softening his public image. Romney was not the first choice for Sarah, an 89-year-old Lutheran, because he is of Mormon faith. But she has grown accustomed to the him thanks to repeated campaign appearances that are a tradition in Iowa, which likes to see its candidates up close, shake their hands and look them in the eyes. Sarah said she became especially comfortable after seeing Romney’s large family — he has five sons — on television. And she is far from being alone. National polls by the Washington, DC-based Pew Center show that Romney’s favorability ratings jumped from just 37 percent in July to 50 percent in October.

Youth vote

Even young people, among Obama’s most ardent supporters in 2008, appear disillusioned. Sam Tracy, who delivers beer in Marengo, said he plans to abstain from voting, disgusted by the political impasse in Washington. In 2008, the registered Independent proudly cast a vote for Obama in an election that made the history books. “Based on what we were coming from, there was a lot of enthusiasm for Obama, but now that he’s in office, the shine has worn off,” Tracy said.

Obama +4 in Iowa, Trails by 12 Among Independents — Gravis Marketing

President Obama leads by 4-points in Iowa, 50 to 46 in the latest Gravis Marketing survey. But something tells me if Mitt Romney wins the Iowa Independent vote by 12-points like he is in this poll he’s going to carry Iowa.  Independents make up 33% of the Iowa vote.  It’s one of the rare states where it really is divided almost evenly 33% Democrats, 33% Republicans, 33% Independents. It can vary by a percent or two between the popular party of the moment but not much.   If each candidate locks down their base, it’s the Independent vote that decides Iowa. In 2008 Obama won Iowa Independents by 15-points and carried the state by 9-points. So he actually lost the vote when combining only the pure partisans by 6-points.  [I got some spread-shseets crossed and that’s wrong, Obama carried the partisan by ~4.5 points. Thx Tim]. In the Gravis poll we have a 27-point swing towards Romney among Independents and this poll wants me to believe Obama is winning among the pure partisan Democrats and Republicans by 12-points in a more traditional party breakdown?  I have a better chance of Kate Upton escorting me to Romney’s Inaugural Ball than that being true.  This may well be the most encouraging poll for Romney in Iowa that I have seen.

Party identification

Like I said above the partisan identification is surprisingly stable in Iowa which makes this poll all the more unrealistic for Iowa today. The party ID is D +6 (Dem 41, Rep 35, Ind 24). This compares to 2008 of D +1 (Dem 34, Rep 33, Ind 33) and 2004 R +2 (Dem 34, Rep 36, Ind 30). It is simply not the case that President Obama will enjoy a 6-point partisan advantage at the voting both this election, substantially greater than his 2008 advantage.

Highlights:

  • Gender gap: Romney leads by 18 percent among men while President Obama leads by 23 percent with women.
  • Obama job approval +1 but below 50%: 47 percent approve of his performance while 46 percent do not approve of President Obama’s job performance.
  • Right track/wrong track: Iowans are more likely to think the country is headed in the wrong direction than the right direction by a 4 percentage point margin, 47 percent to 43 percent.

Just imagine how bad Obama’s #s would be if the poll were reasonably balanced?  Yikes.

For President Percent
Barack Obama 50
Mitt Romney 46
Undecided 4

Michael Barone Sees a Suburban Swing Towards Romney

Michael Barone has his usual smart take on the election with a great little nugget for why Romney is closing strong in Pennsylvania and Michigan but isn’t seeing the comparable moves in Ohio:

Barack Obama’s campaign spent huge sums on anti-Romney ads to create a firewall in three states that the president won narrowly in 2008 — Florida, Ohio, and Virginia. But post-debate polling shows Romney ahead in Florida and tied in Virginia. National Journal’s Major Garrett reported last week that Obama strategist David Plouffe omitted Florida and Virginia in a list of key states but mentioned Ohio, Iowa, New Hampshire, and Nevada. Obama carried the latter three by ten, ten, and twelve points respectively in 2008. So much for the firewall. In addition, polling shows Romney ahead in Colorado, which Obama carried by nine points last time, and the race closing in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Michigan, which Obama carried by 14, 10, and 16 points respectively.

That tends to validate my alternative scenario that Mitt Romney would fare much better in affluent suburbs than have the previous Republican nominees since 1992, and would run more like George Bush did in 1988. The only way Pennsylvania and Michigan can be close is if Obama’s support in affluent Philadelphia and Detroit suburbs has melted away. This also helps explain why Romney still narrowly trails in Ohio polls. Affluent suburban counties cast about one-quarter of the votes in Pennsylvania and Michigan but only one-eighth in Ohio.

A pro-Romney swing among the affluent is confirmed by the internals of some national polls. The 2008 exit poll showed Obama narrowly carrying voters with incomes over $75,000. Post-debate Pew Research and Battleground polls have shown affluent suburbanite Romney carrying them by statistically significant margins. In particular, college-educated women seem to have swung toward Romney since October 3. He surely had them in mind in the foreign-policy debate when he kept emphasizing his hopes for peace and pledged no more wars like those in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Winning the Battleground News Cycle in Iowa

The Des Moines Register hasn’t endorsed a Republican since 1972, but lately the paper has been awful friendly to Mitt Romney.  Their endorsement comes out this weekend.  Here is today’s front page.  Which candidate do you think has the better outlook for voters?

 

 

 

“This must be what momentum looks like” — Des Moines Register

When reporters start write-ups like that you something special is going on:

Cedar Rapids, Ia. – This must be what momentum looks like.

It was a dramatic entrance into Iowa for Mitt Romney on Wednesday – as stirring music played, his campaign airplane touched down at the Eastern Iowa Airport, taxied toward a hangar and parked just 50 feet behind the stage, his campaign motto “Believe in America” visible along its fuselage.

Romney stepped down the jetway to meet a cheering, chanting crowd of more than 3,000 and deliver a high-energy speech that was by turns sharply critical of incumbent President Barack Obama and confidently optimistic about the nation’s future under new leadership.

Namely, him.

Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts, reeled off a litany of troubles facing the country, from debt and deficits to the weak economy.

“But the American people can overcome those challenges if they’re led by leaders who will tell them the truth and lead with integrity and I will.”

Romney’s appearance capped off one of the busier days of the Iowa presidential campaign, and comes amidst a frenzied final push to Election Day. Obama appeared in Davenport Wednesday morning at the start of a two-day trip that will take him to six battleground states. Romney’s rally followed high-profile visits from other national Republicans, including Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, and Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus.

The pro-Romney roars at times where deafening inside the sheet metal structure – despite the fact many of the attendees had been in place for hours, and some were turned away at the door per the fire marshal’s warning about the building’s maximum occupancy. (emphasis added)

Romney SuperPAC Goes Retro Targeting Battleground Voters

I like the “different” thinking by the pro-Romney SuperPAC Ending Spending Action Fund.  This group is better know by its main backer Joe Rickets, founder of TD Ameritrade:

This is the point in the presidential race where voters have been slammed with so many TV ads that campaign strategists wonder how they can possibly cut through the clamor.

And that can lead to some unorthodox tactics.

In a retro move for a new media age, one conservative super PAC is spending more than $1 million in Wisconsin and four other battlegrounds on a breezy, pro-Romney, 12-page color “magazine” for insert into daily and weekly newspapers. It features boosterish profiles of Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan and even comes with a campaign-themed crossword puzzle (clue for 1 Down is the “the burger company where Paul Ryan worked as a kid”).

“We’re trying to get outside the clutter box,” says Will Feltus, who did media buying and targeting for the 2004 Bush re-election effort, and is now working on the $10 million independent ad campaign funded by conservative billionaire Joe Ricketts, founder of TD Ameritrade.

A lot of that $10 million has gone into TV, radio and online ads. But the newspaper insert, so popular with big retailers, is an unusual vehicle for a political campaign. The group’s rationale is two-fold:

  • the airwaves are almost hopelessly saturated with TV spots, and
  • newspaper readers are highly cost-effective targets for political communications because of their propensity to vote.

The group, Ending Spending Action Fund, says it has printed more than 4 million inserts for distribution in Wisconsin, Ohio, Iowa, Virginia and Florida. They will show up in some weekly papers on Thursday and daily papers on Sunday.

“The basic idea is that print is the new ‘new media,’” says Feltus, citing data from Scarborough Research that shows the correlation between voting and media consumption is stronger for newspaper use than for TV, radio or the Internet. The chart below was put together by Feltus’ firm, National Media Inc., based on Scarborough’s 2011 surveys of more than 200,000 adults.

Restore Our Future (Pro-Romney) SuperPAC Launches $17.7 million Ad Campaign

You can’t take it with you and Restore Our Future is unloading the ammunition (bayonets and all!)  in these final weeks:

Restore Our Future, the super PAC supporting Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, released two new TV spots as part of a $17.7 million ad campaign launched Tuesday in 10 battleground states.

One ad, “Genuinely Cares,” features an on-camera testimonial from Sgt. Peter Damon, whose injuries while serving in Iraq left him a double amputee. Damon recalls meeting Romney when the GOP nominee was serving as Massachusetts governor and says Romney “helped make a huge difference” in his life. The commercial showcases the compassionate side of Romney, who has often struggled to connect and has been branded as out of touch by his opponents.

The second ad, “Better,” focuses on President Barack Obama’s economic policies. A narrator states that “high unemployment has become normal” during Obama’s first term, while also citing the debt and credit downgrades. The spot is a similar to previous ads that have targeted the president’s economic record.

Both ads will air between Oct. 23 and Oct. 29 and will be rotated across the ten states, according to a press release from the super PAC. A state-by-state breakdown of the ad buy is below. Not surprisingly, $7 million of the total is geared toward Ohio and Florida — considered the must-win states this cycle.

  • Colorado: $1.2 million
  • Florida: $4.0 million
  • Iowa: $1.2 million
  • Michigan: $1.6 million
  • Nevada: $1.6 million
  • New Hampshire: $0.5 million
  • North Carolina: $1.8 million
  • Ohio: $3.0 million
  • Virginia: $2.9 million
  • Wisconsin: $1.3 million

The selections are smart tactically as these states put Romney well over 270 so why get greedy and potentially leave one of these on the table.  Putting the bow on North Carolina but still no Pennsylvania 😦

Ohio and Iowa Early Vote

A few quick comments from Bush-Cheney 2004 campaign operative Adrian Gray who has been closely monitoring these issues:

 

And a little nugget about Undecideds breaking heavily for the challenger … Bush won Ohio by only 2%

Iowa!

Image of Romney crops up in Iowa farm field

Romney-Obama Tied at 48 in Iowa — Rasmussen

Rasmussen Reports hits the Hawkeye State with the race all knotted up at 48 a piece.  And since Undecideds break overwhelmingly for the challenger, one candidate is likely winning this tie:

President Obama and Mitt Romney are now dead even in the battleground state of Iowa. The latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of Likely Iowa Voters finds Obama and Romney each earning 48% support. One percent (1%) prefers some other candidate, while two percent (2%) are still undecided. The survey of 500 Likely Voters in Iowa was conducted on October 21, 2012 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 4.5 percentage points.

Candidate Percent
Barack Obama 48
Mitt Romney 48
Other 1
Undecided 2

Battleground State Polls, Campaign Schedules and Probabilities

Jamie Dupree of the Atlanta Journal Constitution offers his usual smart takes on the state of polling, campaign schedules and practical probabilities of who is winning the Battleground States.  I tried to blog this and by that I mean skinny it down to just the important stuff but nearly every sentence was good so by all means read the whole thing :

As President Obama and Republican Mitt Romney meet in their final debate on Monday night, let’s take a snapshot of where the race stands in the “swing states” that will determine which way the 2012 race for the White House goes.

  • Florida (29 Electoral Votes) – The polls continue to be shaded slightly in favor of Romney (just over 2% in the poll average).  Most interesting is that Romney has led in 11 of the last 13 statewide polls conducted in Florida – all of them done after the first debate in Denver.  [Obama] will hold an event in Delray Beach the morning after the debate.
  • Pennsylvania (20) – I’m not yet convinced that Pennsylvania is in play, but clearly the polling lead for the President has narrowed; it was at 4% in a Quinnipiac poll last week. On Saturday, Paul Ryan made a short stop in Pennsylvania, stoking hopes among Republicans, as a number of GOP volunteers from Maryland went in to the Keystone State to help this weekend as well.  The big question is obvious: was the Ryan stop outside Pittsburgh just for PR? Or will we see another Romney/Ryan visit?
  • Ohio (18) – Despite gains in other states, Romney has not been able to edge ahead in the Buckeye State, as many believe the auto bailout efforts by the Obama Administration have paid dividends here and in Michigan. [T]he President has been ahead in 9 of the last 13 Ohio polls – but – five of those polls have only given him an edge of one point, well within the margin of error.  The President goes here the day after the debate, Vice President Biden is in Ohio on Monday, Tuesday & Wednesday.
  • Michigan (16) – Romney is not advertising in Michigan (but there is Super PAC money on his behalf there) and the GOP standard bearer has not been in Michigan since a late August visit, though Paul Ryan was there last week for an event with Kid Rock. This may be the Democrats’ version of North Carolina as the President has led in the last 17 polls conducted in Michigan since the week of the Republican convention in August.
  • North Carolina (15) – This past week the Romney campaign all but sent out a news release saying they were going to win the Tar Heel State, as officials let it be known that the GOP is shifting resources to other states.  [T]he fact is the President has not been to the state since September 7. The poll edge is still with Romney, as he has been ahead in six of the last seven polls giving him a poll average advantage of over 5%.
  • Virginia (13) – The Old Dominion remains a toss up, as both sides have spent lot of time and money here. Last week, the Obama & Romney camps sparred repeatedly over women’s issues, as they ran ads on abortion only in that state. The President’s Friday speech in the Washington, D.C. suburbs was filled with references to women’s issues, the Romney “binders of women” comment and more.  6 of the last 8 polls – all taken since the first debate in Denver – have had Romney ahead in Virginia.
  • Wisconsin (10) –  The polls have definitely closed in recent weeks, but this is another state where the President had stubbornly held on to his lead. The GOP won the recall turnout fight; can they repeat that effort over the next two weeks? Like Pennsylvania, the overview of the polls doesn’t give much hope to Romney, as the President has led the last 15 state polls taken in Wisconsin, though Mr. Obama’s average lead is now under 3%.
  • Colorado (9) –  Both Romney and Obama are scheduled to stump in the Centennial State this week (Romney on Tuesday night, the President on Wednesday) so neither side is giving up. Romney has led in 6 of the last 10 polls in Colorado, but his lead in the poll average is under one point – in other words – a true toss up.
  • Nevada (6) – Also on the agenda for both campaigns this week is the Silver State; Democrats remain confident that they can deliver this state for the President – and as I showed last week – the polls have routinely underestimated Democratic voting numbers in 2004, 2008 & 2010. Will that happen again in 2012? Republicans thought this state was a big pickup opportunity.  In 24 statewide polls this year on this race, President Obama has led in 21 of the last 24 polls, with the other three a tie.  Still, the President’s poll average lead is only 3%.
  • Iowa (6) – Democrats have the edge so far in absentee ballots, but new figures show Republicans now have a very narrow overall edge in voter registration. The President was in Iowa last week and will be there again on Wednesday.  There have been five polls taken in Iowa since the first debate – the President led in three, Romney in one and the other was a tie, giving Mr. Obama an average lead of 2.4%.
  • New Hampshire (4) – Mitt Romney had not been able to parlay his status as a neighbor of the Granite State or that he has a home on Lake Winnipesaukee into any momentum until last week when several polls suddenly showed the race closing. In five polls taken since the first debate, Romney has led in two, there have been two ties, and the President was ahead in one – the poll average gives Romney a one point lead.

Path to 270

Romney’s route to victory most likely lies in the following breakdown: If Romney were to win Florida, North Carolina, Virginia and New Hampshire, he would stand 18 Electoral Votes from victory.  A win in Ohio would provide that – but if the President wins Ohio, then Romney would need to put together two states, like Wisconsin and Colorado, unless he were to win Pennsylvania.

For the President, wins in Ohio, Nevada and Michigan would put him only 9 Electoral Votes away from victory, meaning he could seal the deal with either Colorado or Wisconsin.

Paul Ryan Retail Politicking in Iowa

Iowa can be a tough state for politicians who are less comfortable meetin-n-greetin, cheesin-n-squeezin and all that jazz. Paul Ryan is right at home in Iowa being their neighbor to the North and sharing their mid-western sensibilities. Today, Ryan has a few stops in the Hawkeye State before moving on to Colorado later tonight:

Appealing to football fans of all stripes, vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan said he and his running mate are offering more than just a “well-founded critique” of the president, but ideas for reinvigorating the economy. “We can do this. This is within our grasp,” the Republican congressman told a crowd of 1,300 outside a sporting goods store here. “So Council Bluffs, Cornhuskers and Hawkeyes and everybody in between – even Packer fans and Badgers because I see a few of you here in the audience. OK, maybe four – we can do this. We can get this country back on the right track.”

Next stop Sioux City

After giving a 12-minute speech that was well received by the mix of Iowans and Nebraskans, Ryan departed for Sioux City. The program there begins at 3:45 p.m. at Bev’s on the River, 1110 Larsen Park Road, in Sioux City.

Republican early voting up

Republicans in Pottawattamie County are doing better this year with voter participation than four years ago. The county is overperforming 2008 by nearly 9 percent on in-person early voting, as well as absentee ballots requested and cast, said Romney’s Iowa campaign spokesman, Shawn McCoy.

Sad Joe

Vice President Joe Biden attracted about 450 to a rally at the same casino and shopping complex on Oct. 4, a Thursday.