News from the Votemaster
After an awkward pause due to Hurricane Sandy, both President Obama and Mitt Romney are back where they belong--at each others' throats. Obama campaigned in Wisconsin and Romney was in Virginia yesterday, In the final 100 hours, Obama is planning to visit three states a day from now on. In practice, that means he'll spend almost the entire day in the air on the phone. Romney has said he will make a push to win Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Pennsylvania, but the proof of the pudding will be in seeing how much time he spends visiting those states.
When the October unemployment numbers come out today, one side will give a sigh of relief and one will be angry. We'll soon know which is which.
Update at 8:30 A.M. EDT. OK, we got it wrong, there is something for both sides in the BLS report. The unemployment rate is up slightly, from 7.8% to 7.9%, but nonfarm employment is up, too, with 171,000 more people working than in Sept. This apparent contradiction is possible because more people were looking for work than last month. Some of them found work and some didn't. Romney will focus on the 0.1% higher unemployment rate. Obama will say 171,000 new jobs were created last month. A split decision like this is not likely to affect the election much.
While all the television ads are about the middle class and who loves it more, the reality is a bit different. As Deepthroat told reporter Bob Woodward some 40 years ago: "Follow the money." In 2008, Wall Street bankers were divided between John McCain and Barack Obama, but this year they have come down clearly on the side of Mitt Romney. The five biggest sources of donations to Romney's campaign this year are Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, Morgan Stanley, Credit Suisse, and Wells Fargo, all giant financial institutions that recognize Romney as one of their own. Clearly an elite group if ever there was one.
How does Obama compete with these financial powerhouses? He does get small donations, but he has his own elite team as well. His consists of people from the tech sector, government, and universities. His five biggest donors are the University of California, Microsoft, Google, government employees, and Harvard. These people made their money by dealing in ideas rather than by moving money around.
In what has to be interpreted as a sign of desperation, The Romney campaign is running an ad in Florida that says Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez support Obama. The idea is to convince Floridians--especially Cuban-Americans--that Obama is buddy buddy with socialist dictators. The real takeaway here is that Florida is still up for grabs and Romney is very nervous. Ohio is looking bad and losing Florida on top of losing Ohio would seal his doom. In football, this would be called a "Hail Mary pass."
The much-touted budding relationship between Obama and Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ) is taken by some (naive) people as a sign that the era of fierce partisanship is over and now the parties can work together to solve problems, like rebuilding after the hurricane. Don't believe it. Both Obama and Christie have more complex motives. To start with, going on a helicopter ride along the beach is easy. It doesn't cost either one any political capital. For Obama, the hope is that independent voters in swing states will lap this up and be so happy that he is being bipartisan, even though it means nothing. Christie could have one or more not-so-hidden motives. First, by playing nice with Obama, he is surely hoping for lots of federal money to rebuild his state, especially since it will be easy for him to take credit for getting it later, as in: "I schmoozed with the Prez and he sent us millions to rebuild. I'm great, aren't I?" Remember, this is a guy who gave a speech supporting Romney at the Republican National Convention and didn't get around to mentioning Romney until 16 minutes into the speech.
Second, Christie is well aware that Rudy Giuliani gave a couple of speeches on Sept. 11, 2001 and that made him "America's Mayor." He used that fame to make a run for the Republican nomination. It didn't work for him because he is far too liberal for the modern Republican Party, but it might work for Christie.
Third, while Christie is a Romney surrogate and is going through all the motions of helping Romney, it is actually in his own interest that Obama wins. If Obama wins, Christie can run for the White House himself in 2016. If Romney wins, Christie can't run in 2016 and if Romney is reelected in 2016, Christie will have to face a sitting Vice President, Paul Ryan, in the 2020 primaries. Clearly, an Obama victory makes Christie's path to the oval office a lot easier. So by giving Obama a subtle boost, he helps himself. If the subject of the helicopter ride comes up in 2016, he has an obvious reply: "I was trying to get federal funds to rebuild New Jersey and it worked."
Well, not officially, but both the Democrats and Republicans will have thousands of lawyers deployed at polling stations all over the swing states to watch for any infractions of the law. The Democrats alone will have 600 lawyers watching the vote in Cuyahoga County (Cleveland), which is the biggest source of Democratic votes in almighty Ohio. Statewide, the Democrats will have 2,500 lawyers ready to sue at the drop of a ballot. The Republicans will have 70 legal teams in the field, as well as many others who are not lawyers.
In actuality, the real purpose of all the lawyers is to make sure the poll workers, who are often elderly, poorly trained volunteers, don't make any mistakes. For example, state law generally makes it fairly clear what kind of ID, if any, a poll worker may ask for. The Democratic lawyers are there to see that poll workers don't ask for anything that the law does not require. The Republican lawyers are going to focus on seeing that no one who is ineligble to vote does so. If someone shows up and is not on the voting rolls, he or she is allowed to cast a provisional ballot and get about a week to resolve the problem. Many people don't know this but the lawyers certainly do.
Pennsylvania is another state where there is bound to be legal confusion about who may vote. Poll workers are required by law to ask voters for photo ID. However, a voter who doesn't have any is allowed to vote anyway. Many voters--and probably some poll workers--aren't going to understand this. The reason for this anomaly is that the legislature passed a law requiring photo ID, which is still on the books. However, a federal judge said the law can't go into effect for this election. So the poll workers have to ask for ID but it doesn't matter if the voter doesn't have any.
Another legal issue that is sure to come up in multiple states is whether the polls should be kept open after the official closing time if there is a long line of people waiting patiently to vote. Needless to say, if some voter shows up an hour before closing time to vote, but the line is so long that he or she hasn't made it to the front of the line by closing time and then is told: "Sorry, you can't vote. Go home" there are going to be lawsuits. While it might seem obvious that everyone should be allowed to vote, Republicans in Cuyahoga County have already made it clear that they will fight any attempt to keep the polls open past 7:30 P.M. on Tuesday on the grounds "state law says the polls close at 7:30 P.M."/p>
There may also be battles when the absentee and provisional ballots are counted, but they come later. While both parties would prefer to win in a clean, uncontested election, with the loser graciously conceding at 11 P.M. Tuesday, nobody is really expecting it.
Illegal dirty tricks to suppress your opponent's vote have a long history in American politics. This year is no different than previous years and the illegal tactics are surfacing again. Here are some of the common ones.
- Send the other side's voters bogus voting instructions, such as "vote by phone" or on Nov. 7th
- Send people letters saying they have been flagged as suspected noncitizens who can't vote in order to scare them
- Get the other side's voters to register and then throw out the registration forms
- Forge absentee ballots and cast them; when the voter shows up, he or she will be refused the right to vote
- Send millions of voters DVDs full of propaganda and lies
All of these have been employed this year already. No doubt there are many more techniques in use as well.
A conservative group called Americans for Limited Government has been sending voters letters containing the voting histories of themselves and their neighbors. This information was culled from public records. The letter tells people to visit the group's website, which is highly critical of President Obama. The the real goal, of course, it to let people know that they if they don't vote they will be shamed in 2014 or 2016. By sending the letter only to people expected to vote for Romney, they hoped to increase Republican turnout. When the Orlando Sentinel got wind of this project and began interviewing people about it, they got reactions ranging from "offensive invasion of privacy" to"absolutely despicable."
|Colorado||46%||47%||Oct 30||Nov 01||IPSOS|
|Colorado||47%||50%||Oct 29||Oct 29||Rasmussen|
|Colorado||49%||48%||Oct 29||Oct 31||CallFire|
|Colorado||50%||48%||Oct 26||Oct 31||ORC International|
|Florida||48%||46%||Oct 30||Nov 01||IPSOS|
|Iowa||48%||49%||Oct 30||Oct 30||Rasmussen|
|Iowa||50%||44%||Oct 28||Oct 29||Marist Coll.|
|Iowa||50%||47%||Oct 29||Oct 31||CallFire|
|Michigan||53%||45%||Oct 30||Oct 31||PPP|
|North Carolina||45%||46%||Oct 22||Oct 30||High Point University|
|New Hampshire||49%||47%||Oct 28||Oct 29||Marist Coll.|
|Nevada||50%||46%||Oct 23||Oct 29||SurveyUSA|
|Ohio||47%||45%||Oct 30||Nov 01||IPSOS|
|Rhode Island||54%||33%||Oct 24||Oct 27||Fleming and Assocs.|
|Virginia||49%||44%||Oct 30||Nov 01||IPSOS|
|Virginia||49%||46%||Oct 30||Oct 31||PPP|
|Washington||54%||40%||Oct 28||Oct 31||SurveyUSA|
|Washington||57%||36%||Oct 18||Oct 31||U. of Washington|
|Wisconsin||49%||46%||Oct 28||Oct 29||Marist Coll.|
|Wisconsin||49%||49%||Oct 29||Oct 29||Rasmussen|
|Wisconsin||51%||42%||Oct 25||Oct 29||St. Norbert Coll.|
|State||Democrat||D %||Republican||R %||I||I %||Start||End||Pollster|
|Florida||Bill Nelson*||52%||Connie McGillicuddy||41%||Oct 30||Nov 01||IPSOS|
|Hawaii||Maizie Hirono||55%||Linda Lingle||40%||Oct 24||Oct 26||Merriman River Group|
|Minnesota||Amy Klobuchar*||60%||Kurt Bills||29%||Oct 26||Oct 28||SurveyUSA|
|Ohio||Sherrod Brown*||50%||Josh Mandel||42%||Oct 30||Nov 01||IPSOS|
|Virginia||Tim Kaine||47%||George Allen||44%||Oct 30||Nov 01||IPSOS|
|Washington||Maria Cantwell*||61%||Michael Baumgartner||33%||Oct 18||Oct 31||U. of Washington|
|Wisconsin||Tammy Baldwin||43%||Tommy Thompson||46%||Oct 25||Oct 29||St. Norbert Coll.|
|Wisconsin||Tammy Baldwin||48%||Tommy Thompson||47%||Oct 28||Oct 29||Marist Coll.|
* Denotes incumbent
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Previous HeadlinesNov01 New Batch of Polls Welcome News for Obama
Nov01 Poll: Obama Doing a Good Job Dealing with the Storm
Nov01 Can Romney Expand the Map?
Nov01 Jobs Report Will be Issued Friday at 8:30 A.M.
Nov01 Will the Loser Blame It on Sandy?
Nov01 Native Americans Sue Montana over Voting Rights
Nov01 Same-Sex Marriage Initiative Tied in Maryland
Nov01 Dick Morris Predicts a Romney Landslide and Republican Senate
Oct31 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?