Category Archives: Wisconsin

Battleground Watch 2016

This is who I am keeping a close eye on for the future of the party:

Scott Walker follows path familiar to presidential hopefuls

Wisconsin governor to speak to key Iowa GOP gathering

By Jason Stein of the Journal Sentinel
March 30, 2013 5:04 p.m.

Madison – In a few weeks, Scott Walker will head to a Sheraton hotel just outside Des Moines, following a path already traveled by Newt Gingrich, Mitt Romney and Michele Bachmann.

The Republican governor from Wisconsin will fire up a partisan crowd in the very heart of Iowa, the state whose caucus will open the 2016 presidential race. The Polk County Republican fundraiser is an event that doesn’t just draw big names in conservative politics – it draws presidential contenders.

It’s just one of several signs the first-term governor is looking beyond his 2014 re-election to a bigger potential prize – the Republican nomination for a president. Walker is crisscrossing the country to speak to conservatives, holding open a possible run, and overseeing a high-profile book that will introduce his life story to the rest of the country this fall.

It’s a long way off and 2014 is more important due to the calendar, but since 2013 is so boring (NJ gov? cakewalk for Christie; VA gov? Cuccinelli is a surprisingly easy (to the media’s wholly-biased mind) victory; NYC mayor? who cares (and I live here); LA mayor? who cares (the city/state are collapsing). So we kill time until 2014.

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.”

Seven Battleground Counties to Watch on Election Night

Same original author as the earlier piece (Chris Palko) but an election night spin on each county with few repeats.  This guy does good work. Lots of smart info:

Looking for some shortcuts when it comes to projecting which candidate has the edge Tuesday night? Once returns start coming in, turn your focus to these seven counties—they will be small scale indicators of that state and national results:

Prince William County, VA
Virginia will be one of the first states to report results on Tuesday night, and Prince William County is the most important county there. Romney needs to win the county to win Virginia. George W. Bush and Bob McDonnell were able to win the county rather solidly. There has been an influx of immigrants in the past decade, and as a consequence it has a somewhat more Democratic lean than before. This will also be a good check to see if the Romney and Obama campaigns’ assumptions about the demographics of the electorate are correct.

Lake County, OH
This is the closest county in the most important state. Lake County is the eastern suburbs of Cleveland and the best gauge for how the entire state will vote. In 2004, Bush won the county by the same margin as he won the state. Obama ran a bit worse than his state percentages in 2008 but was able to win.  Watching Lake County is the best shortcut for projecting Ohio results on election night.

Bucks County, PA
In the critical suburban Philadelphia area, Chester County is most likely going for Romney and Montgomery and Delaware Counties will go for Obama. The swingiest of them all is Bucks County, north of Philadelphia.  Monday’s Romney rally that garnered some 30,000 supporters was held here for exactly that reason. In 2004, Bucks went for John Kerry by three percentage points, the exact same margin as the rest of the state. It has trended right in the past few years, as Republican Pat Toomey won the county 53 percent to 47 percent in his 2010 Senate race. Romney has to keep the margins close in suburban Philadelphia, and he has to win Bucks to do so.

Jefferson County, CO
In a heavily polarized state, the Denver suburbs hold the balance of power. Jefferson County, along with its suburban neighbors, voted for Bush in 2004 by small margins and then flipped to Obama in 2008. Romney had one of his most memorable campaign rallies at Red Rocks Amphitheater, which is in Jefferson County. Whichever candidate wins this county is going to win Colorado.

Washoe County, NV
The dynamic of Nevada politics is Democratic Clark County against Republican outstate areas, with Reno in the middle. For Romney to win Nevada, he has to win Washoe County. In 2004 and 2008, it matched the state percentages for Bush and Obama. A win here doesn’t guarantee Romney a victory in Nevada, but it is a necessary component.

Racine County, WI
Racine County is slightly more Republican than Wisconsin as a whole. Bush narrowly won it in 2004, while he barely lost the state overall.  Even so, anything more than a narrow Romney victory would augur well for him in a county that is a representative blend of urban, suburban and rural areas. It’s also worth watching due to the potential gains in Southern Wisconsin that could accrue with Paul Ryan, their congressman on the ticket. The potential for adding independents and some Democrats, who have voted for Ryan for years, to the Romney column could be decisive in a close state.

Oakland County, MI
The county that Mitt Romney grew up in is worth watching for a few reasons. First, if Romney wants to pull an upset in Michigan, he must win Oakland County. Second, it is precisely the sort of northern affluent suburb Republicans have had problems with at the presidential level for the past 20 years. Gains here would be indicative of Romney strength in other affluent suburbs in key states and a significant difference between a winning Romney coalition and the previous winning coalition that George W. Bush assembled.

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.

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

Wisconsin State Journal Endorses Romney (Endorsed Obama in 2008)

Our pick: Mitt Romney

Not enough hope and too little change.

That is President Barack Obama’s record on the economy, debt and Washington gridlock after four years in the White House.

The State Journal editorial board endorses Mitt Romney in Tuesday’s presidential election.

Romney showed as the Republican governor of Democratic-leaning Massachusetts that he can find agreement across the partisan divide. And his vice presidential pick — Wisconsin’s U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Janesville — suggests Romney is serious about tackling America’s fiscal mess.

Romney has an impressive record of success in the private and public sectors. He’s a numbers guy who focuses more on results than ideology. That’s why so many of his fellow Republicans during the GOP primary criticized him for not being conservative enough.

Romney has been a strong leader in business and civic life. This includes turning around many troubled companies and the 2002 Winter Olympics.

Romney better understands how and why entrepreneurs and employers decide to expand and add jobs. He’s more likely to get the private-sector going strong again.

Romney displayed reasonableness and smarts during the debates. And his view on the most pressing foreign policy question — Iran — is similar to his opponent’s.

Yes, Romney did his share of flip-flopping and pandering during the GOP primary to get past stubborn party stalwarts. Yes, Romney’s talk of repealing the Affordable Care Act and boosting military spending are unrealistic. We disagree with Romney on a host of social issues, from marriage equality to abortion rights.

This is not an easy endorsement to make.

Obama is the more likeable candidate and inspiring speaker. Obama inherited a mess from his predecessor, Republican President George W. Bush, who was even more disappointing than Obama has been.

Obama got us out of Iraq. He pressured public schools to reform. He gave the final order that got Osama bin Laden.

But this election is about jobs, the slow economy and Washington’s dysfunction. Our leaders can’t even pass a budget, much less stabilize soaring debt that’s burdening our children and grandchildren.

Obama failed to embrace his own commission’s bipartisan debt deal. Ryan, serving on the commission, similarly balked at the solid and comprehensive agreement.

But Obama is the president. The buck stops with him. This is now Obama’s economy, even though the GOP shares in the blame for partisan games.

It was Obama and his fellow Democrats who went it alone on health care, making subsequent deals even harder to find. It was Obama who too often let Congress steer the ship in circles. It still is Obama who hasn’t laid out a clear vision for the next four years.

We endorsed Obama for change last time around. Now we’re endorsing change again: Mitt Romney.

Romney – Obama Dead Heat in Wisconsin, 2% Undecided — Rasmussen

The latest from Rasmussen Reports in Wisconsin shows it is anybody’s race at this point:

Wisconsin which may prove to be the key to the entire presidential contest remains a tie less than a week before Election Day. The latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of Likely Wisconsin Voters finds President Obama and Mitt Romney each earning 49% support. Two percent (2%) remain undecided.  Wisconsin remains a Toss-Up in the Rasmussen Reports Electoral College Projections. Obama carried Wisconsin by a 56% to 42% margin in 2008.

The race in the Badger State was also tied last week after the president has led there in most surveys since October of last year. During that time, Obama has earned 44% to 52% of the vote, while Romney’s support has ranged from 41% to 49%.

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.

In Wisconsin, It’s Game On

Tom Bevan at Real Clear Politics breaks down Wisconsin which is quickly becoming Battleground central of the 2012 election:

Is Wisconsin the new Ohio? It’s beginning to feel that way. As the presidential race hurtles toward a dramatic conclusion, both campaigns are suddenly locked in an intense battle to win the Badger State and its 10 Electoral College votes.

Polls

A new poll from Rasmussen Reports underscored just how close the contest has become here: President Obama and Mitt Romney were tied at 49 percent each in the poll of likely voters, conducted Thursday. Overall, Obama leads by just 2.3 percent in the RealClearPolitics Average in Wisconsin, down from 6.6 percent two weeks ago.

The cavalry

Obama’s campaign has moved quickly over the last week to try to shore up support in a state the president won overwhelmingly four years ago. In addition to the vice president’s visits Friday, the campaign announced that the president himself will make a campaign stop next week in Green Bay. In another sign of Democrats’ concern over the tightening race in Wisconsin, earlier this week Priorities USA, the super PAC supporting the Obama campaign, bought advertising time in five media markets for the final week of the campaign.

Meeting the challenge

The Romney camp has also mobilized more resources to the state, apparently sensing a shift in momentum. Florida Sen. Marco Rubio stumped for Romney on Thursday in the heavily Republican area of Waukesha, just west of Milwaukee. RNC Chairman and Wisconsin native Reince Priebus barnstormed the state earlier in the week, and Romney is set to hold a “victory rally” in the Milwaukee area on Monday night.

The latest firewall

Along with Ohio and Iowa, Wisconsin represents what is being termed Obama’s “Midwest Firewall.” Ohio remains the focal point, thanks to the electoral math; whichever candidate wins the Buckeye State and its 18 electoral votes has a much easier route to reach the magic number of 270. But with Wisconsin (and Iowa) very much in play, the Romney campaign senses an opportunity to break through Obama’s firewall, and with the state’s 10 electoral votes in its column the Romney brain trust can suddenly see a potential path to the White House despite losing Ohio – something that would be unprecedented for a Republican presidential candidate.

Changing map

Under normal circumstances, the idea that a GOP nominee could lose a more traditionally Republican-leaning state like Ohio but win in historically less favorable territory like Wisconsin and Iowa — states Obama carried in 2008 by 14 and 9.5 percentage points, respectively — would appear to be a long shot. But this year is far from normal. Despite having suffered a decline of roughly four points or more in several other swing states since the first debate in early October, Obama’s lead has slipped less than half of that amount in Ohio. He appears to be “defying gravity” there — in the words of NBC News’ Chuck Todd — thanks in part to his stance on the auto bailout, heavy ad spending, an intense early voting effort, and a local economy performing better than the national average. In Wisconsin, however, it appears the laws of physics still apply. Obama has lost 5.3 percent in the RealClearPolitics Average in Wisconsin since October 3, the day of the first presidential debate.

Republican game changers

[T]he Romney campaign has two additional reasons to believe it can keep the president earthbound there.

  • The first is the choice of Paul Ryan, who represents the state’s 1st Congressional District in the southeastern part of the state and hails from Janesville. Ryan’s status as favorite son, and his ability to appeal to independent voters in the state, is suddenly more important than ever.
  • Second, Republicans believe the political machine they’ve built statewide over the past few years, largely to battle the effort to recall Gov. Scott Walker, will make the difference for Romney on Election Day. That machine, which the Republicans test-drove back on June 5, performed exceedingly well: Walker turned out 1.3 million voters in the recall, more than 205,000 more than he did in his 2010 victory.

Early voting

Early voting started this week in Wisconsin, and Republicans say they got off to a good start. “Republican strongholds like Waukesha and Washington counties over-performed 2008, while Democratic strongholds like Dane County under-performed,” said Rick Wiley, political director for the Republican National Committee and former executive director of the Republican Party of Wisconsin. But given the overwhelming size of Obama’s victory in Wisconsin four years ago, Republicans could out-perform 2008 by a significant amount but still come up on the losing end, especially if Democrats are able to avoid a substantial drop-off in enthusiasm.

More Minnesota Rumblings

But you guys knew that all along

Dead Heat in Wisconsin, 49 to 49 — Rasmussen

The latest from Rasmussen Reports shows Wisconsin all tied up at 49 and Romney is heading there Monday:

President Obama and Mitt Romney are now tied in the critical battleground state of Wisconsin. The latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of Likely Wisconsin Voters shows the president and his Republican challenger each earning 49% support. One percent (1%) likes another candidate, and two percent (2%) are undecided.   This race remains a Toss-Up in the Rasmussen Reports Electoral College Projections. Obama carried Wisconsin by a 56% to 42% margin in 2008.

In Election 2000, Florida was the decisive state in the Electoral College. In 2004, Ohio was the ultimate battleground state that put George W. Bush over the top. Scott Rasmussen suggests in his latest weekly newspaper column that Wisconsin May Be the New Ohio this year. A week ago, the president held a slight 50% to 48% lead. Earlier in the month, he was ahead 51% to 49%. In surveys in Wisconsin since October of last year, the president has earned 44% to 52% of the vote, while Romney’s support has ranged from 41% to 49%. Ninety-six percent (96%) of Badger State voters say they are sure to vote in this election. Romney leads 51% to 47% among these voters.

Among the 90% who say they’ve already made up their minds whom they will vote for, it’s Romney 51%, Obama 48%. Romney has a six-point lead over Obama – 50% to 44% – among all voters in the state when they are asked which candidate they trust more to handle the economy. When it comes to national security, the candidates are almost tied: 48% trust Obama more, while 47% have more faith in Romney. This shows no change from a week ago and is comparable to voter attitudes nationally.

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

Romney Rally in West Allis, Wisconsin Monday (Oct 29) 7pm

Team Obama puts up a firewall and Team Romney knocks it down. Help complete the sweeping changes that began in the Badger State in 2010 and paint Wisconsin red on November 6:

You’re Invited to a Victory Rally with Mitt Romney and the Republican Team

When: Monday, October 29, 2012

Doors Open 5:00 PM | Program Begins 7:00 PM

Where: Wisconsin Products Pavilion, 640 South 84th Street, West Allis, WI 53214

To register for the event, click here.

All attendees will go through airport-like security and should bring as few personal items as possible. No bags, sharp objects, umbrellas, liquids, or signs will be allowed in the venue. Cameras are permitted.

Questions: TeamWI@MittRomney.com | (608) 535-9307
For Important Campaign Updates: Text (WI) to GOMITT (466488)

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 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.

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Declines to Endorse Obama (Endorsed Him in 2008)

Although this is a complete Journalistic cop-out, this is a win for Romney because it is a change away from Obama and the paper is in liberal central Milwaukee. It is only further evidence of the shifting tide away from hopey-changey:. This lack of endorsement is the phase of the Romney campaign where they said: “It’s OK, you tried, he tried, but it’s time to let him go …”

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel decides not to endorse in presidential and Senate races

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel — Wisconsin’s largest and most influential news organization — won’t be endorsing in the very tight presidential and races this year. (Oct. 17 headline: “Marquette Law School Poll finds presidential and Senate races tied in Wisconsin.”)

I asked editorial page editor David Haynes about this and he replied in an email: “I’m writing a column on our decision for the Sunday paper. We may post that early (Friday). As a point of history: The JS did not endorse in the 2000 presidential election, and I remember [editor] Marty Kaiser writing at the time that it was not the first time that a newspaper in Milwaukee had not endorsed. It wasn’t common, but it had happened before.”

Will the paper be making any endorsements? “Sorry, going to have to put you off until we tell our readers,” Haynes replied.

I’m told that both U.S. Senate candidates Tammy Baldwin and Tommy Thompson were furious when they heard the no-endorsement news; I’ve requested comment from both campaigns.

Inside the paper, I’m told, there’s the feeling that “we have two tough picks to make and we’re taking a pass,” and the paper is less relevant because of it.

Five years ago, a Journal Sentinel staffer told Milwaukee Magazine that “we should endorse for president or get out of the editorial business.” In the same media column, the head of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee journalism department said: “If you’re not going to editorialize on the most important topic of the day, and if you’re not going to take a stand in the most important presidential election of our lives, what’s the point?”

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 😦

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.

Obama +2 in Wisconsin — Rasmussen

Another Battleground State poll from Rasmussen Reports this time in Wisconsin showing President Obama leading by 2-points, 50 to 48 over Mitt Romney. Obama leads among Independents by a whopping 11-points and touches the important 50% threshold:

Wisconsin remains a two-point race following Tuesday night’s presidential debate. The latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of Likely Wisconsin Voters finds President Obama with 50% support, while Mitt Romney earns 48% of the vote. One percent (1%) likes another candidate in the race. This race remains a Toss-Up in the Rasmussen Reports Electoral College Projections. Obama defeated Republican John McCain 56% to 42% in Wisconsin in 2008. The president posted a similar 51% to 49% lead in the state earlier this month. In surveys in Wisconsin since October of last year, the president has earned 44% to 52% of the vote, while Romney’s support has ranged from 41% to 49%. Ninety-seven percent (97%) of likely Wisconsin voters say they are certain to vote, and the president leads 50% to 48% among this group. Wisconsin allows early voting, and among those who have already voted, it’s Romney 54%, Obama 43%. Of those who have yet to vote, 90% say they’ve already decided whom they will support. Obama leads 50% to 49% among these voters. Both candidates draw more than 90% support from voters in their respective parties in Wisconsin. The president leads by 11 points among voters not affiliated with either of the major parties. This Wisconsin survey of 500 Likely Voters was conducted on October 18, 2012 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 4.5 percentage points.

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

Restore Our Future (Pro-Romney SuperPAC) Launches $12 Million Ad Buy

There’s not that much time left before election day so everyone is emptying their war chests. The SuperPAC Restore Our Future run by former Romney staffers announced a large ad buy across 8-states starting next week. The advantage of these SuperPACs is the allow you to leave certain states (North Carolina) while also priming other states (Michigan) for possible future visits. The reality of this 3rd party ad buy though, is you see the campaign’s true priorities: Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Nevada, Virginia and Wisconsin. Ohio is missing from the list but I’d wager that is a typo. In the article below they list Nevada twice where I think they meant to include Ohio. When you see that list, it is the west/mid-west firewall Team Obama is trying to hold together (Colorado, Iowa, Nevada, Wisconsin) plus key high electoral states (Florida and Virginia). These are the states that could ensure getting to 270 so it’s understandable they remain the sole focus despite the election night dreams for some of us:

The “super PAC” supporting Mitt Romney is making its most aggressive and expensive push yet in the advertising wars with a $12 million ad buy in nine states. The expenditure represents a significant expansion of the group’s advertising campaign and will be a major boost for Mr. Romney with only two and a half weeks to go before Election Day. The group, Restore Our Future, had been advertising only in a handful of states in recent weeks. But its latest ad buy will include almost all of the major battleground states — Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Nevada, North Carolina, Nevada, Virginia and Wisconsin — plus Michigan, which has been relatively quiet because President Obama is believed to have a sizable advantage there.

The money is for just six days of ads starting on Tuesday and includes some huge sums, according to a firm that tracks political advertising. Restore Our Future has reserved around $1 million in airtime for Iowa and Wisconsin, an amount that ensures its message will be on television in heavy rotation there because of their smaller-sized media markets. It has also committed $2.5 million to Ohio and $2.3 million to Florida.

Restore Our Future’s ads will help Mr. Romney remain competitive on the air. Until recently, the Obama campaign had been outspending the Romney campaign and its Republican allies in several battleground states. But Republicans believe that with polls showing the race tightening, and a small but potentially pivotal slice of voters still undecided, a messaging barrage in the final days before the election could make all the difference. Carl Forti, a senior strategist for the group, said Thursday that the ads for the latest campaign are still being worked on.

NBC/WSJ/Marist Survey CodePink in Iowa and Wisconsin, Find Obama Leading

I’m going to feel bad when the Marist Poll service goes out of business due to lack of reliability after this cycle’s monstrously awful polls (I won’t really).   You can read my previous take-downs of the least reliable poling outfitl this cycle here, here and here.

I’m still waiting on the detailed crosstabs but based on the released info from MSNBC, today’s doozies include Iowa and Wisconsin:

Iowa

President Obama leads by 9-points (which explains why he’s still campaigning heavily there) 52 to 43.  Two percent are voting Other and 4% are undecided.

  • 34% of those surveyed already voted which compares to 18% of Iowans who have actually voted early
  • Half of actual early voters are Democrats giving rise to a massive over-sampling of Democrat early voters

Party ID is D +2 (Dem 33, Rep 31, Ind 35). 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.

Addendum: Now they tell us …

Ya think? Duh.

Wisconsin

President Obama leads by 6-points 51 to 45.  Only one percent are voting Other and 3% are Undecided.

The party ID was D +5 (Dem 33, Rep 28, Ind 38). 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.  Again a very aggressive turnout in favor of the President comparable to his 2008 performance which seems highly unlikely,

UPDATE: Healthy reminder from 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 and gaining 67 seats in the House of Representatives.  As the Washington Examiner’s Michael Barone wrote that “you could argue that this is the best Republican showing ever.”  Marist?  Nice knowing you.

Romney Shifting Resources from North Carolina to Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania?

The press will soon stop the charade of referring to North Carolina as a Battleground as we’re seeing it already disappear from the lexicon. The Associated Press’ Kasie Hunt gets the scoop on where those resources are likely heading:

[T]he GOP presidential nominee’s advisers and the Republican National Committee are looking to give Romney more routes to reaching the 270 Electoral College votes needed for victory. They are weighing whether to shift resources from North Carolina, where Republicans express confidence of winning, into states long considered safe territory for President Barack Obama, including Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania.

Like we blogged in our weekly ad spending piece:

One of the “tells” we told you about MONTHS ago about this battleground map was to keep an eye on October and see where the battle was being waged more intensely. If it was in the New South battleground states of FL/NC and VA more than the Midwest, advantage Obama. Well, this list of markets tells you, the battle is in the Midwest, that’s good news for Romney.

Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is XVII

MSNBC dishes most of the red meat this week with weekly ad buys.  We don’t have the details for each market but the markets included (and not included) tell a much bigger story.  Look at the week-over-week shift.  Last week had the Romney campaign’s entire 3-2-1 strategy for winning the election: Virginia (2x), Ohio (2x), Florida (2x), Colorado (1x), Iowa (2x) and Wisconsin (1x). This week the front-half of the 3-2-1 strategy carpet bombs Ohio (4x) but thins appreciably after that: no Virginia, Florida down to one market, and it’s the back-half of the 3-2-1 strategy that remains: Colorado (1x), Wisconsin (2x), Iowa (1x) with the expansion to Nevada (1x). This Battleground ad spending shift is a huge win for Romney. As MSNBC writes:

One of the “tells” we told you about MONTHS ago about this battleground map was to keep an eye on October and see where the battle was being waged more intensely. If it was in the New South battleground states of FL/NC and VA more than the Midwest, advantage Obama. Well, this list of markets tells you, the battle is in the Midwest, that’s good news for Romney.

Without the ad points (we asked for them) it’s hard to tell the saturation but MSNBC reported the gross dollar figures which are staggering:

This week alone, more than $58 million is being spent. Obama leads the pack with $20 million spent, but Romney is close at $16.5 million (of course, he is getting less bang for the buck because of when his campaign books ads). With outside groups factored in, Team Romney’s outspending Team Obama this week, $34 million to $24 million.

Regarding the ad points, according to MSNBC:

Romney has more ad points than Obama narrowly in Denver, Mason City, and Orlando.

A quick guide: RNC is the Republican National Committee, ROF is Restore Our Future (Romney Super PAC); AFP is Americans for Prosperity (pro-Romney group); CWA is Concerned Women for America (pro-Romney group); NRA is National Rifle Association (pro-Romney); AFF is American Future Fund (pro-Romney); and Priorities is Priorities USA Action (pro-Obama Super PAC).

Hottest Markets for the week 10/15-10/21 Hottest Markets for the week 10/8-10/14
1. Green Bay, WI
2. Denver, CO
3. Cincinnati, OH
4. Columbus, OH
5. Madison, WI
6. Toledo, OH
7. Rochester-Mason City, MN-Austin, IA
8. Cleveland, OH
9. Orlando-Daytona Beach. FL
10. Las Vegas, NV
1. Orlando, FL (Obama 1600, Romney1600, ROF 775, Priorities 630, ROF 215)
2. Norfolk VA (Romney 1500, Obama 1300, ROF1200, Priorities 350, NRA 300)
3. Cleveland, OH (Romney 1500, Obama 1500, AmCrossroads 1200, Priorities 400)
4. Denver, CO (Romney 1500, Obama 1500, AmCrossroads 1200, Priorities 300)
5. Toledo, OH (Romney 1500, Obama 1500, AmCrossroads 1100, Priorities 300, NRA 250)
6. Des Moines, IA (Romney 1500, Obama 1300, ROF 1000, Priorities 350, American Future Fund 360)
7. Roanoke, VA (Romney 1500, ROF 1500, Obama 750, Priorities 300, NRA 400)
8. Cedar Rapids, IA (Romney 1500, Obama 1300, ROF 780, American Future Fund 415, Priorities 400)
9. Green Bay, WI (Romney 1500, ROF 1500, Obama 500, Priorities 500, NRA 400)
10. Tampa, FL (Romney 1,500, Obama 1500, ROF 675, NRA 250)

MSNBC takeaways:
Ohio, Ohio, Ohio. Four of the top 10 hottest markets this week (in terms of advertising points from Oct. 15-21) are in the Buckeye State. Wisconsin has two, including Green Bay in the top spot. One striking thing about this week’s top markets — no Virginia. Markets like Norfolk, Roanoke, and Richmond have routinely been in the top 10, but they have dropped out to 16, 21, and 22, respectively. The Obama campaign has maintained its levels in Norfolk and Richmond, but cut it in half in Roanoke, from 1,500 points to 795 this week. The Romney campaign, on the other hand, INCREASED its spending in that market. The Obama campaign increased in places like Mason City, IA.

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 Wisconsin — Marquette Law School Poll

Marquette Law School is expected to release the details of their latest Wisconsin poll showing Barack Obama clinging to a 1-point lead, 49 to 48. This is a dramatic change from their previous poll showing President Obama with an 11-point lead in Wisconsin. The prior poll surveyed voters in late September and was released the day of the first debate. Today’s poll was surveyed ahead of the 2nd debate which means the stellar job Romney did in the first debate likely created some structural shifts in the Wisconsin electorate. The Marquette Law School poll is very well respected in Wisconsin politics and they they nailed the Wisconsin recall election in June when pollsters were all over the map in that hotly contested race.

Romney +4 with Independents:

Partisanship continues to anchor support for both parties. In the presidential race, 97 percent of Republicans support Romney and 96 percent of Democrats support Obama. Independents lean to Romney 49 to 45 percent.

The party ID in today’s survey is  D +1 (Dem 47, Rep 46, Ind 6) versus 2008 of D +6 (Dem 39, Rep 33, Ind 29) and 2004 of R +3 (Dem 35, Rep 38, Ind 27) in 2004. The Marquette Law School poll, conducted Oct. 11 through Oct. 14, surveyed 870 likely voters, for a margin of error of plus-or-minus 3.4 percentage points.  Note: there is a breakdown of the Registered Voters surveyed that is D +5 (Dem 49, Rep 44, Ind 7 ) which is consistent with the trend from 2010 where registered voter polls over-sample Democrat support by 4 percentage points.  Sorry for the confusion to anyone who saw I flipped this at first.

From Wisconsin’s top political reporter, Craig Gilbert:

Candidates Favorable/Unfavorable levels:

  • Obama still holds edge in favorable image, at 52% fav/ 44% unfav. It was 56-41 two wks ago
  • Romney fav/unfav 43/48% now, was 39/53 among all registered voters two weeks earlier.

VP debate reaction from Marquette Law:

  • Before VP debate, Ryan fav/unfav was 46/41. Afterward, it was 50/40.
  • Before VP debate, Biden fav/unfav was 49/41. Afterward, it was 44/47
For President Percent
Barack Obama 49
Mitt Romney 48
Other
Undecided 2

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.

Update on Yesterday’s Wisconsin Voter Fraud Post

Yesterday I mocked the Left who routinely claim voter fraud does not exist despite the mountains of evidence to the contrary.  Well, yesterday’s story gets even richer with the woman convicted of voter fraud having worked for a community organizing  group opposed to Wisconsin’s Voter ID law:

A Florida woman charged Monday with two counts of election fraud in Milwaukee appears to have once worked for a community-organizing group that is fighting to stop Wisconsin from implementing its voter ID law. Yadira Colon, formerly of Wisconsin, pled no contest to charges that she illegally registered to vote in 2008 (lying about where she lived to election officials) and forged signatures on nominating petitions for then State Rep. Pedro Colon (D), no relation. Ms. Colon currently lives in Florida.

The Spanish Journal, a bilingual Milwaukee news source, is reporting that Ms. Colon apparently worked for Voces De La Frontera, a group known for championing liberal and pro-labor causes. Voces, as it is commonly called, is one of several groups that filed a lawsuit against Wisconsin’s newly passed voter ID law which requires voters to show a photo ID to confirm identity when they go to the polls. The lawsuit they filed successfully led to the law being suspended by a Dane County court.

Members of the Wisconsin Supreme Court have refused to hear the voter ID case before the November 6th election. This means that Wisconsin, a state known for examples of voter fraud, will not be protected by a piece of legislation that mirrors similar election integrity legislation in states like Indiana.

In one moment she’s actively opposing voter ID laws designed to stop voter fraud on bogus grounds of disenfranchisement and in the next moment she’s aggressively pursuing voter fraud in the exact same state. This is a perfect example of the Democrats lies over opposition to voter ID laws.  They don’t hate the laws because of any disenfranchisement as they claim.  They hate the laws because it hinders their efforts at rampant voter fraud.

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.