News from the Votemaster
A new batch of polls released yesterday (see below for the numbers) spells good news for President Obama. With Obama leading in Wisconsin by 5-8 points, it looks like Paul Ryan has failed to do the running mate's main job: bring in your home state. In Ohio, four new polls show Obama leading by an average of 3.8%. Obama is also leading in Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, and Pennsylvania. Two of the three polls put him ahead in Virginia and he is essentially tied in Florida and Colorado. It appears that Romney's post-debate momentum has now stopped, If the current numbers continue to hold over the weekend, the popular vote could be close but Obama is likely to win the electoral college because he needs to win only a few of the big swing states whereas Romney needs to win them all.
About 80% of likely voters say that President Obama is doing a good or excellent job of dealing with the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. Even 2/3 of those voters who support Mitt Romney give Obama credit for doing a fine job. These results are from the latest WaPo/ABC poll. The poll, held nationwide, shows that 18% of all likely voters have already voted, rising to 23% in the swing states.
By now, everyone who is paying attention can cite all the swing states from memory, recite their capitals, name their governors, and describe the smell of their state flowers. But now the Romney campaign is claiming it can expand the map by putting Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Minnesota into play. Obama advisor David Axelrod responded by saying that if Romney wins even one of those states, he will shave off the mustache he has had for 40 years on national television. It is true that Romney is now advertising in those states, but he has more money than he is able to spend, so that says almost nothing. Similarly, Obama is countering those ads with his own, but he, too, has more money than he can reasonably use, so this is just a precaution and probably means little. In 2008, near the end, the governor of Pennsylvania, Ed Rendell, publicly pleaded with Obama to dump a load of money on ads in his state because an internal poll showed big problems ahead. Instead, McCain began pouring money into the state but Obama didn't. Obama carried the state by 600,000 votes. Most likely, Rendell, a canny old pol, achieved his goal: tricking McCain into wasting money on a state he had virtually no chance of winning.
In a year full of surprises, there may be one more in store for us. The Bureau of Labor Statistics has confirmed that the October unemployment report will be released at 8:30 A.M. tomorrow, as planned. There was some doubt about the release date because the office was closed for two days due to Hurricane Sandy.
A lot is riding on the report. If unemployment has dropped compared to last month's 7.8%, Obama and the Democrats will cheer. If it has gone up, the Republicans will try to stifle a cheer, but use the last three days of the campaign to say that Obama has failed and now Romney should be put in charge to create more jobs.
The only thing for sure is that the report will be very contentious. And it should be. It is really nothing more than a poll, albeit a big one. The BLS asks about 140,000 employers about the sizes of their payrolls. A change of 100,000 in the employment figures could swing the election, yet this is only a drop in the bucket in a country with a labor pool of 130 million people. Furthermore, the unemployment number reported is no more exact than any other poll. Because it is not a random sample, the margin of error is generally not reported, but it is certainly several tenths of a percent. Unfortunately, the media treat the number as though it were an exact count of the unemployed, which it most definitely is not.
There is a very real possibility that if Obama loses the election, his supporters will say that he actually lived John McCain's slogan "Country First" and lost three precious days actually doing his day job instead of zipping around Ohio. This allows them to forget that his stimulus wasn't big enough to fix the economy, he wasted months negotiating with the Republicans on the ACA instead of just ramming it through Congress using the budget reconciliation process, and he completely botched the first presidential debate. Just say he was unlucky to catch some bad weather at the end of the season. Much nicer.
If Romney loses, his supporters will say that it wasn't fair Obama was handed a Commander-in-Chief moment by providence. They can then conveniently ignore the fact that his party was solidly against him in the primaries and he won them only because he outspent his opponents by vast margins and targeted them with vicious ads, foolishly allowed Obama to define him all summer without responding, and never answered any questions about how he was going to fix the economy or create more jobs.
Of course, there are a few ways Sandy could actually affect the election. It could disturb early and election-day voting substantially. And all the kisses Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ) is blowing in Obama's direction could convince Republican-leaning voters in Virginia that maybe Obama isn't so bad after all. But probably none of this matters since the polls don't appear to be much different post Sandy than they were pre Sandy.
Native Americans who live on reservations are U.S. citizens and can vote in federal and state elections--if they like driving. Fifteen Native Americans have sued the state of Montana for lack of a place to register and vote anywhere near their reservation. Some of them may have to drive over 100 miles to get to the nearest polling place. The U.S. Dept. of Justice supports their lawsuit. Their tribes have even offered to pay the costs of operating a polling place on the reservation.
At first, this sounds much like the now-usual story of a Republican Secretary of State trying to disenfranchise poor Democrats. But it is not. Native Americans are overwhelmingly Democrats but the Montana Secretary of State, Linda McCulloch, is an elected Democrat. It is not at all clear why she doesn't want to help the 30,000 Montana Native Americans vote. It is a foregone conclusion that Romney will carry the state, but there is a fierce battle for Jon Tester's Senate seat, something Tester won in 2006 by only 3,500 votes out of 400,000. The Native American vote (or lack thereof) could determine which party controls the Senate, so McCulloch's actions are puzzling, to put it mildly.
A ballot measure that could overturn a new Maryland law allowing same-sex couple to get married is effectively tied according to an OpinionWorks poll. About 47% of the voters want to overturn the law and make same-sex marriage illegal and 46% want to keep it. A major source of opposition to same-sex marriage comes from black churches, where ministers have shouted down the idea from the pulpit. In the OpinionWorks poll, conducted Oct. 20-23, 50% of black voters were against same-sex marriage while 42% supported it.
Dick Morris, Bill Clinton's political advisor until the day a Washington newspaper published photos of him with a Washington prostitute, Sherry Rowlands, is getting even with the Democrats by predicting a massive Romney landslide and a Senate with 53 Republicans, things that not even Mitt Romney or Mitch McConnell are predicting. Try to remember these predictions for a week. It is people like this who give punditry a bad name.
On the other hand, nearly all the other pundits and editorial writers are saying "beats me." No presidential race since 2000 has been this close and there are so many late-breaking factors to consider this year, including the debates, Sandy, and the final jobs report tomorrow, that only fools like Morris or dyed-in-the-wool partisans are daring to make a prediction.
|Colorado||45%||46%||Oct 27||Oct 30||IPSOS|
|Florida||47%||47%||Oct 27||Oct 30||IPSOS|
|Florida||48%||47%||Oct 23||Oct 28||Quinnipiac U.|
|Iowa||44%||45%||Oct 18||Oct 27||U. of Iowa|
|Iowa||50%||45%||Oct 29||Oct 30||PPP|
|Massachusetts||59%||40%||Oct 25||Oct 25||Rasmussen|
|Michigan||48%||42%||Oct 26||Oct 29||EPIC MRA|
|Minnesota||50%||43%||Oct 26||Oct 28||SurveyUSA|
|North Carolina||49%||49%||Oct 29||Oct 31||PPP|
|Ohio||48%||45%||Oct 27||Oct 30||IPSOS|
|Ohio||48%||46%||Oct 25||Oct 30||U. of Cincinnati|
|Ohio||50%||45%||Oct 23||Oct 28||Quinnipiac U.|
|Ohio||50%||45%||Oct 29||Oct 30||PPP|
|Pennsylvania||49%||45%||Oct 23||Oct 28||Franklin+Marshall Coll.|
|Virginia||44%||49%||Oct 23||Oct 26||Roanoke Coll.|
|Virginia||48%||46%||Oct 27||Oct 30||IPSOS|
|Virginia||49%||47%||Oct 23||Oct 28||Quinnipiac U.|
|Wisconsin||51%||43%||Oct 25||Oct 28||Marquette Law School|
|Wisconsin||51%||46%||Oct 29||Oct 30||PPP|
|State||Democrat||D %||Republican||R %||I||I %||Start||End||Pollster|
|Florida||Bill Nelson*||52%||Connie McGillicuddy||39%||Oct 23||Oct 28||Quinnipiac U.|
|Florida||Bill Nelson*||52%||Connie McGillicuddy||42%||Oct 27||Oct 31||IPSOS|
|Michigan||Debbie Stabenow*||52%||Pete Hoekstra||38%||Oct 26||Oct 29||EPIC MRA|
|Nevada||Shelley Berkley||40%||Dean Heller*||46%||Oct 23||Oct 29||SurveyUSA|
|Ohio||Sherrod Brown*||49%||Josh Mandel||41%||Oct 27||Oct 31||IPSOS|
|Ohio||Sherrod Brown*||49%||Josh Mandel||44%||Oct 25||Oct 30||U. of Cincinnati|
|Ohio||Sherrod Brown*||50%||Josh Mandel||48%||Oct 28||Oct 28||Rasmussen|
|Ohio||Sherrod Brown*||51%||Josh Mandel||42%||Oct 23||Oct 28||Quinnipiac U.|
|Pennsylvania||Bob Casey*||48%||Tom Smith||39%||Oct 23||Oct 28||Franklin+Marshall Coll.|
|Rhode Island||Sheldon Whitehouse*||55%||Barry Hinckley||33%||Oct 24||Oct 27||Fleming and Assocs.|
|Virginia||Tim Kaine||42%||George Allen||47%||Oct 23||Oct 26||Roanoke Coll.|
|Virginia||Tim Kaine||47%||George Allen||45%||Oct 27||Oct 31||IPSOS|
|Virginia||Tim Kaine||50%||George Allen||46%||Oct 23||Oct 28||Quinnipiac U.|
|Wisconsin||Tammy Baldwin||47%||Tommy Thompson||43%||Oct 25||Oct 28||Marquette Law School|
* Denotes incumbent
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Previous HeadlinesOct31 Now Comes the Hard Part for the Campaigns
Oct31 Effects of the Storm on Voting
Oct31 Voter-Fraud Vigilantes Could Affect Voting
Oct31 Hurricane Damage Will Affect Polling All Week
Oct31 Could the Popular and Electoral Vote Be Different?
Oct31 Chrysler CEO Rebuts Romney on Jeeps
Oct31 More Republicans Than Democrats Have Voted in Colorado
Oct31 Charlie Crist Campaigning with Bill Clinton in Florida
Oct30 One Week to Go
Oct30 Obama Cancel Events to Stay in Washington
Oct30 Obama Cancels Events to Stay in Washington
Oct30 Five Hidden Factors That Could Affect the Election
Oct30 Hurricane May Delay Final Jobs Report Scheduled for Friday
Oct30 Who Gets the Blame for the Loss?
Oct29 National Polls Are Divided
Oct29 Where Do We Stand Now?
Oct29 Sandy, Barack and Mitt
Oct29 Lawyers Are Massing for Election Day and Beyond
Oct29 Response Rates to Pollsters Are at an All-Time Low
Oct29 Supreme Court Appointment(s) Could Be the Next President's Only Legacy
Oct29 Palm Beach County Has Another Ballot Snafu
Oct29 Could Faithless Electors Change the Election Result?
Oct29 A Possible Compromise on the Electoral College
Oct29 Another Analysis of Rasmussen Polls
Oct28 Early Voting Started in Florida Yesterday
Oct28 Early Voting Explodes in Nevada
Oct28 NRSC Pulls Out of Maine Senate Race
Oct28 Obama Has to Balance Being Mr. President with Being Mr. Candidate
Oct28 Romney Canceling Virginia Appearances and Heading to Ohio
Oct28 Expat Vote Could Affect Election Results
Oct28 Cookies Are Planning a Big Role in Campaign Advertising
Oct28 Cookies Are Playing a Big Role in Campaign Advertising
Oct27 Frankenstorm Could Determine Election Results
Oct27 As Many as 40 Percent of the Votes May Be Cast Early
Oct27 Ohio Results May Not Be Known Until Nov. 17
Oct27 Possible Key Players in the Election: Ginsberg and Bauer
Oct27 Clinton Campaigning for--Clinton?
Oct27 Democrat Proposes To Add New Members to the Electoral College
Oct26 Are We Heading Toward a Split Decision?
Oct26 When Will We Know the Results of the Election?
Oct26 Electronic Voting in Swing States Could Lead to Chaos
Oct26 Could a President Romney Govern with a Democratic Senate?
Oct26 Republicans Support Mourdock
Oct26 Younger Voters Are Apathetic
Oct26 Romney Outraises Obama in First Half of October
Oct25 The Battle for the West Heats Up
Oct25 Advertising Executives Not Impressed
Oct25 Goodbye Soccer Moms, Hello Waitress Moms
Oct25 Workplace Intimidation Becoming an Issue
Oct25 As Election Day Nears, Dirty Tricks Multiply