Category Archives: New Hampshire

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 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.

Romney leading between 3-5 points in New Hampshire Bellwether Towns — Suffolk Polling (Nov 4)

DISCLAIMER:  This is NOT today’s exit polling data.  The poll was conducted Nov 1 -4 and published Nov 5.

Suffolk polling takes it a step further and tracks the preferences of Battleground Towns Epping and Milford in New Hampshire and find Mitt Romney with slight leads:

Two New Hampshire towns, Epping and Milford, have mirrored the statewide New Hampshire vote in four out of four presidential elections going back to 1996. In Milford, Romney led Obama 51 percent to 46 percent and in Epping, a closer bellwether, Romney led Obama 49 percent to 47 percent.

Below is a comparison of which presidential candidate won in New Hampshire statewide and the comparative votes of Epping and Milford:

1996 – Clinton
Statewide: 50 percent
Epping:      50 percent
Milford:     48 percent

2000 – Bush
Statewide: 49 percent
Epping:       48 percent
Milford:      50 percent

2004 – Bush
Statewide:
50 percent
Epping:       50 percent
Milford:      51 percent

2008 – Obama
Statewide
: 54 percent
Epping:       53 percent
Milford:      52 percent

Compare and Contrast: Romney in New Hampshire versus Obama in Ohio

Compliments to Shane in the comments section and props to Breitbart for the photo:

Romney in Manchester, New Hampshire with Kid Rock

Obama in Columbus, Ohio with Jay-Z and Bruce Springsteen

Draw your own conclusions.

Manchester, New Hampshire Represent!

Romney Rally packs the house!




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.

All Tied up 47 to 47 in New Hampshire — Granite State Poll

New Hampshire is Romney’s last stop on the campaign trail and it may just be the state to put him over 270.  The latest from the WMUR Granite State poll shows a dead heat at 47 with 4% Undecided.  This is the umpteeth poll where the President fails to get above 50%, an unquestionably bad sign for any incumbent.  Romney leads among Independents by 22-points 54 to 32.  Winning the Independents is how you win New Hampshire so quite honestly I’m surprised it’s tied … but by now we know what that means.  Unfortunately no Party ID was given. Thanks to MikeP’s eagle eyes, we see the party ID is D +3 (Dem 42, Rep 39, Ind 19). In 2008 it was also D +2 (Dem 29, Rep 27, Ind 45) and in 2004 it was R+7 (Dem 25, Rep 32, Ind 44).  Note the consistently high % of self-identified Independents in 2008 and 2004. Now we know the Granite State Poll has far too few Independents and even too many Democrats. If Romney solidly wins Independents this state is turning red on November 6:

Mitt Romney has closed the gap with Barack Obama in the Granite State, and the two are now locked in a dead heat. In the most recent Granite State Poll, 47% of likely New Hampshire voters say they will vote for Obama, 47% say they will vote for Romney, 2% prefer some other candidate, and 4% are undecided. When undecided voters are asked which candidate they lean toward, Obama and Romney remain tied, with 48% for Obama, 48% for Romney, 2% for some other candidate, and 3% remain undecided. Obama has lost considerable support since 2008 as only 87% of 2008 Obama voters say they will vote for him this time while 94% of McCain voters say they will vote for Romney. Romney runs strongest in the vote rich Manchester area and in towns along the Massachusetts border while Obama gets more support in the North Country and in the Connecticut River valley. There is a pronounced gender gap, but neither candidate benefits. Obama leads among women by 58% to 40% while Romney leads among men, 57% to 38%.

Both candidates have secured their bases — Obama currently has the support of 95% of New Hampshire Democrats, and Romney has the support of 95% of Republicans. Independents are breaking heavily to Romney — 54% say they will vote for Romney while only 32% say they will vote for Obama. “The movement of Independents to Romney is the most significant factor in his making this race a dead heat,” said Andrew Smith, Director of the UNH Survey Center. “Two weeks ago, independents were divided in who they would support.”

For President Percent
Barack Obama 47
Mitt Romney 47
Other 2
Undecided 4

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.

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.

Join Mitt Romney in Manchester, New Hampshire on Monday!

This is the final rally before election day, so if you’re in the area welcome our next President on his last day as candidate Romney:

Nashua Telegraph (New Hampshire) Endorses Romney (Endorsed Obama in 2008)

Another Battleground State makes the switch:

Mitt Romney for president

Four years ago, with little hesitation, we endorsed then-Sen. Barack Obama to become the 44th president of the United States, saying it was a time for “new leadership, a new approach to governing, a new way of conducting the people’s business.”

So the basic question facing The Telegraph editorial board when it met last week came down to this: Did the former Illinois senator do enough to live up to those admittedly high expectations to warrant a second term?

After several hours of spirited debate, not unlike conversations taking place in kitchens and living rooms across America, we reached a consensus that he had not. Perhaps more importantly, when we identified the key challenges facing the nation – jobs, the economy and the national debt – we concluded he was not the best candidate to meet them.

That person is former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, and we hereby endorse him to become the 45th president of the United States.

During his many years in the private and public sectors, Romney has demonstrated the critical leadership skills necessary to bring people together toward a common goal.

He did it when he founded a successful investment firm at age 37. He did it when he helped rescue a scandal-plagued Salt Lake City Winter Olympics in 2002. And he did it when he worked with an overwhelmingly Democratic Legislature after being elected governor of Massachusetts that same year.

As we noted when we endorsed Romney for the GOP nomination prior to the New Hampshire primary in January, Washington is broken. In order to fix it, it will take a strong leader willing to roll up his sleeves and work directly with the heads of both parties to carve out the best possible solutions.

We believe Romney has demonstrated that he can do that; the president has had four years to demonstrate that he can’t.

Continue reading

Romney Campaign Aids Hurricane Sandy Relief Effort

Here are more details on the Romney campaign using its resources to assist states with relief efforts from the hurricane:

With eight days remaining until Election Day and a major storm slamming the East Coast, Romney is putting some of his resources onto preparation and relief efforts. President Barack Obama, meanwhile, canceled Monday and Tuesday campaign events and returned to the White House to monitor the storm and federal government response…The campaign is loading supplies into a campaign bus for delivery in Virginia. In Virginia, North Carolina, New Hampshire, and Pennsylvania – all battleground states in the presidential campaign and all expected to be impacted by this storm – Team Romney is collecting supplies at their campaign offices for local relief efforts.

Here is a link to the Romney campaign offices in Virginia where relief supplies can be donated.  At the bottom there is a button to see additional Virginia offices near you.

Romney Using Campaign Resources for Storm Relief Efforts

This isn’t new for Team Romney, back in July:

As more becomes clear on the storm’s impact, I expect more Romney campaign resources to be used similarly. News will be similarly sparse on these efforts so if you see something shoot it my way.

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.

Romney +2 in New Hampshire — Rasmussen

Rasmussen Reports hits New Hampshire finding Romney leading by 2-points, 50 to 48:

The presidential race in New Hampshire remains neck-and-neck, with Mitt Romney stretching to a two-point lead. The latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of Likely New Hampshire Voters, taken the night after the final presidential debate, finds Romney earning 50% support, while President Obama has 48% of the vote. One percent (1%) likes some other candidate, and another one percent (1%) is undecided. This New Hampshire survey of 500 Likely Voters was conducted on October 23, 2012 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 4.5 percentage points.

For President Percent
Barack Obama 48
Mitt Romney 50
Other 1
Undecided 1

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 😦

Romney +2 in New Hampshire — American Research Group

New Hampshire remains a sneaky pro-Romney state within the Battleground context.  I’m your typical jaded conservative in the Northeast frustrated with the reflexive liberal bent to this region.  New Hampshire is that last holdout and I have to say this election far more than any other in recent memory every time I look at the state I really think it is going to break for Romney.  The voters know him well due to its proximity to Boston and Obama’s activist policies don’t mesh well with the “Live Free or Die” state making it ripe for the taking.  The latest from  American Research shows Mitt Romney with a slender 2-point lead, 49 to 47.  Independents are dead even 48 to 48 and that’s an important voter group often accounting for over 40% of the New Hampshire electorate.

The party ID is R +6 (Dem 29, Rep 35, Ind 36). In 2008 it was also D +2 (Dem 29, Rep 27, Ind 45) and in 2004 it was R+7 (Dem 25, Rep 32, Ind 44). This poll is very low on Independents and too high on Republicans.  It is within the 2004 and 2008 bounds but still a bit too many Republicans.  I’d prefer something closer to R +2. Obama is stumping in the Granite state so his poll numbers must be showing not much different in this poll.

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

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.

Quick Hits

Lots of good stuff out there that doesn’t fit neatly in this blog or merit a full post so I thought it was time for another one of these:

Calif. official whose agency under-reported unemployment stats was Obama campaign donor.

Volunteer to get out the vote in Florida tonight: Join the FreedomWorks Grassroots team for a comprehensive look at the best techniques for getting out the vote.

Ben over at Ace of Spades volunteered for the Romney using the election day task force link in the sidebar. They sent him an online training course that took 10 minutes. He provides tons of info in you’re so inclined.

Things on the ground in New Hampshire are looking up. First hand report over at the Powerline Blog. (h/t Housebroken Dad)

Attempts to diminish GOP early voting gains in Ohio are being met with rightful derision by Moe Lane. (h/t Medicine Man)

@NUmbersMuncher has a great post at Natiponal Review’s The Corner regarding the Romney lead with Independents in EVERY national poll, typically averaging +8.3%. (h/t No Tribe)

PPP is scrambling to rehabilitate its reputation with a few reasonable polls down the stretch since election “look backs” always focus on the later polls released in the cycle.

Portsmouth Police Investigating Vandalism of Romney Campaign Sign

These aren’t the actions of campaign supporters who are winning, Video is at the link:

PORTSMOUTH, New Hampshire — Police in Portsmouth are looking for the man who was caught on tape targeting one of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s campaign signs. The owner of the Romney/Ryan campaign sign along Maplewood Avenue in Portsmouth said a man pulled up, checked to see of anyone was watching, and then gave the sign a strong whack. Anyone who recognizes the man is asked to call Portsmouth police.

About that Enthusiasm Gap…The Shrinking Obama Crowds

We blogged the comedy of the Obama campaign previously claiming their small crowds were on purpose.  Now the press are saying even the small Obama crowds are likely an exaggeration:

Obama is rallying today in Manchester, New Hampshire.

The Remaining (Expanding) Battlegrounds: Ohio, Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada … Minnesota and Pennsylvania?

Yesterday, in the National Journal, Major Garrett reported the following:

What also became clear after the dust began to settle from the rumble on Long Island was the electoral map has narrowed and Obama’s team, while conceding nothing publicly, is circling the wagons around Ohio, Iowa, New Hampshire, and Nevada. Plouffe said that Obama remains strong in all four states, but he would not discuss the specifics of internal polling or voter-contact analytics, saying only that Obama has “significant leads” in all four places.

It is uncharacteristic of Team Obama to concede any terrain, but Plouffe offered no such assurances about Obama’s position in North Carolina, Virginia, or Florida. Romney advisers have seen big gains in all three states and now consider wins likely, although not guaranteed, in all three. They are similarly upbeat about prospects in Colorado but not confident enough to predict victory. That Plouffe left Colorado off his list of states where Obama’s leading and can withstand a Romney surge might be telling.

I saw this story and thought people were making mountains out of molehills. Major Garrett is a serious non-partisan reporter and if his conversation with the Obama campaign strategist revealed they were de-emphasizing North Carolina, Virginia, Florida and Colorado or even ceding the states to Romney as he implied that would be the blaring headline of the story. But it was buried deep in his story so I thought this may have been off the cuff remarks where a reporter kind of knows it may be a story but its more likely a situation where the campaign can both effortlessly walk it back or blow it out of the water with an updated campaign schedule.

But the series of events after this story blew up make me think there is far more truth to the Garrett story the I originally believed. First, Plouffe is no dummy no matter how much partisans may disagree with his politics. He is a real pro and not the type of surrogate who makes mistakes of omission of this magnitude.  Second, the push-back from campaign spokeswoman Jen Psaki that the campaign was “absolutely not” giving up efforts in Florida, North Carolina and Virginia hit the wrong note with me.  It screamed “methinks she doth protest too much” when if the story were false the campaign laughs it off and effortlessly releases its campaign schedule or ad buys emphasizing those same states, especially Virginia, Florida and Colorado since North Carolina is the one state  pretty much conceded.

Now today, Jamie Dupree of the Atlanta Journal Constitution writes the correct follow-up story which is the campaign’s schedule speaks louder than any words of protest:

We are at the point now in the race for the White House where decisions must be made by both campaigns on where to spend precious time in the final days of this race, as what seems like a simple decision not to campaign in a certain state can quickly blossom into a major story…The President spent the day after the second Obama-Romney debate in Iowa and Ohio.

He goes on to point out what you already know that North Carolina is off the schedule and off the Battleground States list.  He then gets back to the campaign schedule which is incredibly revealing:

On Thursday, the President goes back to New Hampshire – the four Electoral Votes of the Granite State could still be very important…Both candidates will be in Florida next week for Monday night’s final debate; when the candidates leave town, they will have 14 days of campaigning left and ten states to choose from. On Friday, the President will go to Camp David for several days of debate prep; Romney meanwhile will go to Florida early as he stops in Daytona Beach on Friday and then stays in the state to get ready for the final faceoff with Mr. Obama.

So other than the mandatory trip to Florida for the debate, no state mentioned in his campaign schedule is one of the allegedly ceded Battlegrounds. This supports Garrett’s thesis far more than any words of protest from a campaign spokeswoman.  But Dupree, like Major Garrett before him, buries the lede: “the President will go to Camp David for several days of debate prep”???  These locations are never an accident.  For the first debate, he prepped in suburban Nevada (his most important region in the Battlegound State).  For the second debate he prepped in rural Virginia (his weakest region in the Battleground State). Now President Obama goes to Camp David? He hates Camp David. This is well known throughout Washington and in the press. But Camp David is located right on the border of rural Pennsylvania which will generate local press in a state far more competitive than the media or campaign wishes. Sounds like we have another concession from Team Obama that Pennsylvania is a Battleground State according to the campaign’s own chosen debate prep site.

Dupree closes appropriately:

Once the debate ends on Monday night, both candidates will have 14 days to deal with 10 swing states – 11 if you want to expand it to include Pennsylvania or maybe Minnesota, where the Obama campaign is buying radio ad time and sending in the wife of Vice President Biden. So that brings about a simple question for the final two weeks of the campaign. Where do you go? No campaign wants to see a story that says the candidate is giving up on a certain state – but not every swing state may make the cut before Election Day. Where do you send your candidate next week? The answer is more than just Ohio and Florida.

This is all big news and something that speaks a lot louder about the campaign’s prospects than  fuzzy polls or bravado about competing in states already conceded.

Obama +1 in New Hampshire — Rasmussen

The latest from Rasmussen Reports shows essentially a tied race in New Hampshire with President Obama kissing the 50% threshold, leading 50 to 49. Obama leads with Independents in this poll 58 to 40 which is obviously where his lead comes from. Romney’s approval rating is 52/48 which is great for him. Obama’s job approval in the survey was 50% Approve/49% Disapprove which exactly matches his vote %. That is not a coincidence which is why he is in real trouble elsewhere unless he changes the trajectory of the race:

The race for New Hampshire’s Electoral College votes remains a toss-up. The latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of Likely New Hampshire Voters finds the president with 50% support to Mitt Romney’s 49%. Only one percent (1%) remains undecided. This New Hampshire survey of 500 Likely Voters was conducted on October 15, 2012 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 4.5 percentage points.

For President Percent
Barack Obama 50
Mitt Romney 49
Other
Undecided 1

Romney Campaign Announces $12 million Ad Buy Across 9 States

Not much going on out there in news-land (btw, anyone seen my trolls?  They disappeared again ….) so I thought I’d blog some ad spending.  With ~190 million cash-on-hand following the $170 million September fundraising cycle, the Romney campaign is unleashing one of its largest ad buys of the election. The math seems to be quite clear on Michigan and Pennsylvania: Mitt Romney may well win those states, but to do so he will have already cleared 270 electoral votes in one of the enumerated states below.  Therefore why spend money on states that don’t necessarily win the election for you but only increase your margin:

The Romney campaign, flush with cash from its impressive haul of $170 million last month, is reserving large quantities of airtime for the coming week. In one of his biggest ad buys of his campaign so far, Mitt Romney, the Republican nominee, has booked about $12 million worth of television advertising for a six-day rotation of commercials that will begin on Wednesday.

The ad buy — timed to start the day after the second presidential debate — will cover both cable and broadcast television in nine states: Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Virginia and Wisconsin. The biggest amounts will be spent in Ohio (about $2 million), Virginia ($1.5 million) and Florida (more than $3 million).

The advertising onslaught coming from the Romney campaign only adds more political noise to the thoroughly saturated airwaves in battleground states. From now until Election Day, candidates and “super PACs” have set aside more than $83 million for advertising, all of it concentrated in 10 states. (Michigan is the one state where neither campaign is advertising, despite the efforts of a pro-Romney super PAC there.)

And the barrage of ads is only going to get heavier. The Romney campaign typically books its advertising time only a few days in advance because it is wary of tipping its hand to Democrats. But with so much money at its disposal — and a group of top advisers who have long said the election will be decided in the final days of the race — the campaign is certain to buy heavily over the next three weeks.

Commercial time in many states like Nevada, which is the epicenter of the 2012 political advertising binge, has been completely bought out on some programs. Las Vegas is the most saturated media market in the country, data from Kantar Media show. Cleveland is No. 2, followed by Denver, Reno and Columbus, Ohio, rounding out the top five.

Romney Running Up the Score in the Rural Battlegrounds

Any analysis of the Obama campaign strategy typically talks about demographics and Obama running up huge margins with the “coalition of the ascendent” to offset dwindling White support.   However the exact same analysis is also based on geography where Obama needs to run up insurmountable leads in urban America to offset Romney and Republican strength in rural areas. Since 2004 is often the model used for this election, here is a county-by-county map of the 2004 election results where you see how red geographically the country is compared to the more balanced red state/blue state divide:

Thanks to a tip from Michael in the comments section, we see that NPR in conjunction with the Daily Yonder did a great expose on Romney’s growing advantage in rural counties across 9 Battleground States:

As Mitt Romney and President Obama get ready for their second debate, a new bipartisan survey shows a surge for Romney in a key voter group following their first debate Oct. 3. The random cell phone and landline poll of 600 likely rural voters in nine battleground states Oct. 9-11 has Romney at 59 percent among the survey’s respondents. Obama’s support is now down to 37 percent among rural battleground voters, a plunge of 10 points from the actual rural vote in those states four years ago. “What Republican candidates need to do is to rack up big margins in rural areas in order to offset smaller [Republican] margins in urban and suburban areas,” says Dan Judy of North Star Opinion Research, the Republican polling firm that participated in the survey.

Quick Note:  The factually accurate report above is misleading.  They mention the 10-point drop for Obama in this survey which is true, but they leave off the other half of the change from 4-years ago which translates into a actual 20-point swing … hide the decline!

Thankfully the Daily Yonder who focuses on rural America is on top of things:

In 2008, Barack Obama lost among rural voters in swing states by just a little more than two percentage points. According to the latest National Rural Assembly poll, rural voters in swing states favor Mitt Romney by 22 points. Rural voters polled last week said they preferred Romney to President Barack Obama by a 22-point margin, 59 percent to 37 percent.  In a similar poll from mid-September, Romney led Obama among rural voters in swing states by 14 points, 54 percent to 40 percent. The poll questioned 600 likely voters living in rural counties in nine swing states  — Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Virginia and Wisconsin.

The poll documents a continuing  — in fact, accelerating — collapse of support for President Obama among rural voters. Rural voters had been staunchly Republican in 2000 and 2004 presidential elections. George W. Bush won a nearly 20-point advantage among rural voters over John Kerry in 2004. In 2008, however, candidate Obama lost the rural vote in 13 swing states by just a little more than two percentage points.

Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research, a firm that works for Democratic candidates, conducted the poll. A Republican firm, North Star Opinion Research, helped devise and interpret the poll’s results. The poll was commissioned by the National Rural Assembly and the Center for Rural Strategies; it was paid for by the Carnegie Corporation of New York.

To see a full copy of the poll’s results, click here.

Tons of great data at the Daily Yonder. I highly recommend you real the whole thing.

All Tied Up in New Hampshire 47 to 47 — Suffolk University/7NEWS

Thye Granite State has a lot of ties to Romney but its voters definitely go their own way on any issue or candidate.  The latest from Suffolk University shows the two candidates all knotted up at 47 a piece. Two percent go to Gary Johnson and and four percent remain Undecided.The Undecided vote however was leaning towards Romney by a margin of 36 to 18 when pressed by the polling outfit. Obama favorability is positive at 50 Favorable/44 Unfavorable.  Romney’s is also positive at 48 Favorable/46 Unfavorable.  Obama’s job approval/disapproval is deadlocked at 47 – 47. The party ID in the survey was R +3 (Dem 29, Rep 32, Independent 39). In 2008 it was also D +2 (Dem 29, Rep 27, Ind 45) and in 2004 it was R+7 (Dem 25, Rep 32, Ind 44).  This is a good balance between the last two elections while also maintaining the high Independent vote.

Republican Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama are tied, with each polling at 47 percent in a Granite State showdown, according to a Suffolk University/7NEWS survey of likely voters in that swing state. Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson received 2 percent; and 4 percent were undecided. “Although New Hampshire offers only four electoral votes in the presidential sweepstakes, it may be an important state for both candidates to actively campaign in,” said David Paleologos, director of the Suffolk University Political Research Center in Boston. “It would be especially worthwhile for Obama, given that his job approval-disapproval number also is fixed at 47 percent.” President Obama is scheduled to appear in Manchester this coming Thursday. When a subset of 30 undecided and Gary Johnson respondents were given the choice between Romney or Obama only, Romney led 47 percent to 13 percent, with 40 percent remaining undecided.

For President Percent
Barack Obama 47
Mitt Romney 47
Other 2
Undecided 4

Romney +5 in 12-State Battleground Poll — USA Today/Gallup

Mitt Romney holds a 5-point lead, 51 to 46, among the Battleground States identified by USA Today which include my ten plus North Carolina and New Mexico.

The states in USA Today’s survey are: Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin.  This is huge for Romney because the only true red state is North Carolins and it is balanced by New Mexico’s inclusion.  So no state is unnecessarily skewing the results one way of the other and if anything the inclusion of Michigan and Pennsylvania unnecessarily help Obama. The most surprising takeaway is Romney support among the women surveyed was dead even at 48 a piece.  If it is anywhere near that on election day, look for a blowout with Romney carrying all of the above mentioned states:

Mitt Romney leads President Obama by five percentage points among likely voters in the nation’s top battlegrounds, a USA TODAY/Gallup Poll finds, and he has growing enthusiasm among women to thank. As the presidential campaign heads into its final weeks, the survey of voters in 12 crucial swing states finds female voters much more engaged in the election and increasingly concerned about the deficit and debt issues that favor Romney. The Republican nominee now ties the president among women who are likely voters, 48%-48%, while he leads by 12 points among men.

“In every poll, we’ve seen a major surge among women in favorability for Romney” since his strong performance in the first debate, veteran Democratic pollster Celinda Lake says. “Women went into the debate actively disliking Romney, and they came out thinking he might understand their lives and might be able to get something done for them.” While Lake believes Obama retains an edge among women voters, the changed views of Romney could be “a precursor to movement” to the Republican candidate, she says. “It opens them up to take a second look, and that’s the danger for Obama.”

Can Romney Win Without Ohio? Assessing the Battlegrounds

While the answer to the above question is obviously yes, the deeper question is how plausible is a Romney win without Ohio.  Jim Geraghty at National review does an actual assessment of the Battleground States unlike that horrid Wall Street Journal piece over the weekend.  Unlike Neil King, Geraghty uses actual facts and polls to base his conclusion which evolve into a realistic, though glass-half-full, view of the race  for Romney without Ohio:

Ohio proved decisive in President George W. Bush’s victory over John Kerry in 2004, and its sizable swing in favor of Barack Obama in 2008 exemplified the dramatic shift to the left that gripped the country that year. This cycle, the state has proven particularly tough ground for Romney, and much of the coverage of the fight for Ohio suggests that without the Buckeye State, Romney has no chance of winning the presidency. In fact, even if he loses Ohio, Romney still has a chance, but it would require some wins in other states that have proven tough for Republicans in recent cycles. The good news for the Romney campaign is that with their candidate’s recent surge in the polls, the Electoral College map looks a lot more like 2000 or 2004 than the wider swaths of blue in the 2008 map. But the bad news is that while Romney has gained a lot of ground, he still needs at least one more sizeable state to shake loose and fall into his pile.

How does he win without Ohio?

The political world expressed surprise this week when David Paleologos, director of the Suffolk University Political Research Center, declared that he thought three big swing states were no longer in play — and he felt so confident in the assessment, his organization wouldn’t be conducting surveys in them again. “In places like North Carolina, Virginia, and Florida, we’ve already painted those red,” Paleologos said on The O’Reilly Factor Tuesday night. “We’re not polling any of those states again. We’re focusing on the remaining states.”

North Carolina, Virginia, and Florida

Colorado and New Hampshire

  • In Colorado, Obama enjoyed a lead for much of the year, but Romney appears to be surging of late, leading in four of the last six polls. If the Suffolk threshold of 47 percent for an incumbent president is indeed the best measuring stick, it is worth noting that Obama has been at or below 47 percent in five of those six polls in Colorado. Perhaps that high mountain altitude really is a problem for Obama.
  • New Hampshire seemed like a prime state for a Republican win this year, with a dramatic swing in favor of the GOP in the 2010 midterms and the sense that Obama’s 2008 victory was driven heavily by Bush fatigue, not any particular affection for Obama. (Recall Obama’s surprise defeat in the Democratic primary there in 2008.) In fact, Romney led almost all of the head-to-head polls against Obama . . . in 2011. But once the race began in earnest this year and Romney found himself under attack, first from primary rivals and then from the Obama campaign, his numbers slid to the mid to low 40s, and Obama enjoyed a steady lead. However, in the most recent surveys, Romney was tied in Rasmussen and ahead by four in American Research Group. While it would be nice to see more polls conducted up there, Romney probably enjoys a small lead in the Granite State at the moment.

This gets Romney to 261 electoral votes

But the path to those final nine electoral votes could be tough without Ohio.

Wisconsin

[T]he addition of Paul Ryan to the ticket has helped Romney’s prospects in Wisconsin. But Romney has led only two of the 21 polls conducted in this state since the end of June. The good news for Romney and Ryan is that Obama’s lead has shrunk, to only two or three percentage points in the three most recent polls, and the Obama campaign clearly feels the need to defend this state, which is why Obama did a rally here immediately after the first presidential debate. Unfortunately for Romney, a razor-thin defeat in a state the opposition usually wins handily gets you the same number of electoral votes as a blowout loss: zero.

Nevada

Taking the lead in Nevada has proven surprisingly difficult for the Romney campaign, considering the state’s obliterated housing market and high unemployment; Romney has led only one poll in Nevada the entire year. But the tightening seen in nationwide polls has occurred in this state as well, as only one of the past five polls has shown an Obama lead greater than 2 percentage points. Jon Ralston, Nevada’s most sharp-eyed political correspondent, notes that Democrats have a registered-voter advantage of 85,000 — down from the 100,000-voter advantage they enjoyed in 2008, but still considerable. While Romney is likely to enjoy a high Mormon turnout and possibly an advantage among independents, he still has an uphill climb in this state.

Iowa

In Iowa, Obama’s lead seems small but steady — two percentage points in Rasmussen, four points in the Des Moines Register, four points in WeAskAmerica. Democrats are touting an advantage in early voting; according to the Iowa secretary of state’s office, 376,200 ballots — including 111,877 from Republicans and 181,026 from Democrats — had been requested as of October 10. Republicans have returned 50,032 ballots, while Democrats have turned in 101,613. But clearly the Obama campaign doesn’t consider this state safe; Obama is expected to campaign in Iowa Wednesday.

Geraghty adds that if Romney doesn’t win Ohio, there’s even little reasonable possibility he’d win Pennsylvania or Michigan which I agree with.

Conclusion

The conventional wisdom on the race has changed dramatically in the past ten days, but a consistent lead for Romney in Ohio would make him a genuine favorite to win on Election Day.