Tag Archives: Battleground counties

Battleground Counties Don’t Mirror the Country

A potentially incredible resource for determining who will win the Presidency is being run by a local professor (and big ol’ Obama supporter) at NYU:

David Dent is an associate professor of journalism at New York University who is showcasing the 272 counties in the United States that were carried by George W. Bush in 2000 and 2004, and by President Obama in 2008, on a website called BushObamaAmerica.com. Dent has traveled widely across these Bush-Obama counties, conducting interviews with the voters who tipped the scales in 2008 and will likely determine the outcome of the 2012 elections.

This is right up my alley and possibly my favorite topic for this election. Who are these people that don’t obsess over every political utterance?  Who are these people that tune in after Labor Day and kick the tires of the candidates before determining for the rest of us who will be our elected leaders? Professor Dent researched the people who voted for George Bush in both 2000 and 2004 and Barack Obama in 2008 and in an interview with the National Journal tells us a little bit about them:

The Bush-Obama population is so diverse in terms of socioeconomics and ideology that it is the core of what will happen in 2012. There’s a level of civility in places, where there is a swinging back and forth and where there is a large centrist population. In Ohio, we interviewed two best friends and business partners who started a company together. One is very strongly for Obama and one will vote for anyone but—and that’s Romney now, of course. In another, the chair of the Democratic Party is a history teacher and the chair of the Republican Party is his student. Their relationship is very collegial.

These people are generally more understanding, optimistic and feel less betrayed by the “hope” of 2008:

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Battleground Counties: Orange County, Florida

Fox News did a ~4 minute expose on Orange County, unquestionable Battleground county at the top of the all-important I-4 corridor. As we written previously, in elections Florida is 3 states: the North (overwhelmingly Republican), the South (overwhelmingly Democrat) and the I-4 corridor comprising 40% of voters and the segment the determines the outcome in nearly all statewide elections.

This was a county that split nearly 50/50 in both 2000 and 2004 which also mirrored the statewide results. In 2008, Obama won the state by 3% but he carried this swing county by 18% — an incredible performance. Today tells a different story.Take a look at a county hit hard by the housing crises but seeing signs of a turnaround

Pennsylvania ‘Definitely In Play’ — Former Pennsylvania Governor Democrat Ed Rendell

When you hear about a campaign surrogate “going off-message” know that simply means the surrogate committed the political crime of telling the truth. This applies whether it was Cory Booker and the truth about private equity, Bill Clinton on Mitt Romney’s stellar business credentials or now former Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell advocating extending the tax cuts set to expire at the end of the year. But thankfully for us, a guy who knows the Keystone State probably better than anyone in the country, was asked whether Barack Obama would win Pennsylvania:

The election will be determined by basically the four Philadelphia suburban counties … I tell people Governor Romney’s biggest liability in the primaries was that people really didn’t believe he was a conservative. His biggest asset in the general election is people really don’t believe he is a conservative. So will those moderate Republicans, conservative Democrats, independents in the Philadelphia suburbs vote for him because he is really a moderate who is going to govern in a moderate fashion? I don’t know. But I will tell you what I think in the end will determine how those people vote: one convention speech and maybe the first two debates. All the rest of it is noise.

The reporter, Sam Stein, asked again: “So bottom line, is Pennsylvania is in play?”

“Oh, it is definitely in play,” Rendell replied. He went on about how bizarre it was to read reports that Republicans weren’t making investments in the state. “Can’t be right. I mean why would you do that?” … “I think it is definitely in play,” he said again. “I said from the beginning, Mitt Romney is the only candidate who had a chance to do well enough in the Philadelphia suburbs to carry the state.

The suburban counties Rendell is referring to are: Bucks County, Chester County, Delaware County and Montgomery County

After the above sequence, Stein (an avowed Democrat who often has trouble hiding his disdain for Republicans) writes:

If Pennsylvania does indeed come down to the debates, the Obama campaign is in more political trouble than anyone envisions.

As we saw in the early posts regarding the divide between working class voters in Pennsylvania and Obama’s job killing policies on Keystone Pipeline and his war on coal, the state is ripe for a flip to the GOP so long as the Romney campaign turns it into a Battleground.

Romney Campaign Ramps-Up Florida Operations

THE state that famously decided the 2000 Presidential contest no longer holds its preeminent position as ground zero for campaign Battlegrounds (that distinction is shared by Virginia and Ohio today).  But Florida is still supremely important with its 29 electoral votes and often close polling results. Today, Adam Smith in the Tampa Bay Times has a meaty write-up on the nascent and expanding efforts of the Romney campaign in the Sunshine State  and even a Battleground county mention.

Obama won Florida by less than 3 percentage points in 2008 after mounting the largest statewide campaign operation ever seen here. The effort promises to be even bigger in 2012, but Republicans are banking on a turnout operation more like George W. Bush’s formidable 2004 campaign than McCain’s. The latest Florida polls show a dead heat, and both sides understand that if Romney loses Florida it’s next to impossible for him to win the White House.

Despite the reality that Florida is not mandatory for an Obama re-election, his campaign is unloading on the state with both barrels:

For 10 months, President Barack Obama has been steadily building a voter mobilization army here and now has about 100 paid staffers, 27 field offices and thousands of volunteers working almost every day to deliver Florida’s 29 electoral votes. A click on Romney’s Florida campaign website Thursday found no upcoming events in the state, while Obama’s site showed 194 events within 40 miles of downtown Tampa.

A rather daunting operation for a candidate who until recently had little more than a skeleton operation.  But “optimism abounds among Republicans across Florida”:

Veteran activists see the start of a Florida campaign operation far more robust than John McCain’s anemic effort four years ago, and they see a Republican electorate fired up to defeat Obama. “The difference between 2008 with (John) McCain and 2012 — I could cry with relief. The people running the Florida campaign today are professional, they’re sharp, they’re disciplined. It’s like we have grownups in the room, people who know what they’re doing and lots of enthusiasm from volunteers.”

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Who Cares About the China Policy? Swing State Voters

Although this blog is about Battleground states, we’ve previously taken a look at Battleground counties. Today, the Financial Times (of London) takes a close look at the rhetoric and reality around the differences between the Obama Administration’s policy towards trade with China and the often blistering criticism from the Romney campaign.  The backdrop for such an analysis is the personal impact such a debate has on the swing-state manufacturing sector voter, especially in Lake County, OH — crucial to either campaign’s hopes for winning in November.

Lake County, OH was carried by George W. Bush in 2000 and 2004 but swung to Barack Obama in the 2008 presidential election could be pivotal again this year. Dale Fellows – whose Cleveland, Ohio company prints everything from business cards to billboards — thinks Mr Romney’s confrontational attitude on trade will be well received in the region. Fellows is chairman of the Lake County Republican party and believes: “It’s time to push the envelope. [The Obama administration] dropped the ball big time – they’ve done just the opposite of what they talked about in 2008 and now we are more subservient and dependent on China than ever before.”

The Romney campaign has been a harsh critic of China’s currency policy as well as the Obama Administration’s trade stance:

Romney maintained a tough stance on China throughout the Republican primary contest, vowing to brand it a “currency manipulator”. Last week, his campaign made clear that he intended to double down on this message during the general election, releasing an ad that promised Mr Romney would “make China play by the rules” from his first day in office. The Romney campaign has stepped up its criticism of US President Barack Obama for being too lenient with China on its economic policies, saying the US has “little to lose” in being more confrontational with the Asian nation and brushing off concerns that this could lead to a trade war, writes James Politi in Washington. “If you go with an outstretched hand to countries that are cheating, you get the short end of the stick and we have been seeing that for some time with China,” said Oren Cass, a domestic policy adviser to Mitt Romney’s campaign. “Taking a tougher stance will not endear us to the Chinese leadership, but we have little to lose if they are already pursuing the policies that harm us.”

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Battleground States? How About Battleground Counties

Amy Walter at ABC News’ The Note drills down even further into the very topic of this blog — the limited nature of Battlegrounds in this year’s election:

We all know there are just a handful of states that will ultimately decide the election. But  it’s really just a handful of counties in a handful of states that actually matter. The two states I think will determine the outcome of the election are Colorado and Virginia.

Colorado: Jefferson and Arapahoe Counties in suburban Denver are the swing counties in the state. In 2008, those two counties contributed 565,000 votes – or 25 percent of the 2.2M cast.

Virginia: Five key counties determine the winner of the state: Henrico (Richmond suburbs), Loudoun and Prince William (suburban Washington, D.C.), Virginia Beach and Chesapeake City. Total votes cast by these five counties in 2008: 764,000 (20 percent of total votes cast in the state).

I’ve never lived in a Battleground state or even a loosely contested state, but I can imagine by election day residents in each of the above counties will loathe both campaigns due to what can be an inundation of campaign ads littering their televisions over the come five months.