News from the VotemasterEditorial note: A short posting today but back to normal tomorrow.
Early voting has started in over 40 states and 7% of the voters have already cast their ballots. These early votes have broken strongly for President Obama, 59% to 31%, according to a new Ipsos poll.
Both campaigns are urging their supporters to vote early because a vote banked early can't change, even if the candidate stumbles later. Typically, strong partisans, whose votes will not change no matter what, are the ones who vote early. Fence sitters tend to wait until the last minute.
Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) said yesterday that Mitt Romney can win the election without Ohio, but it would be tough. This is an amazing statement for two reasons. First, Portman knows very well that no Republican has ever been elected President without Ohio and this year is unlikely to be different. If Obama wins all the states the Democrats have won the past five presidential elections, he has 242 electoral votes locked down. New Mexico is not really in play any more, giving Obama 247 electoral votes. If he wins Ohio, he has 265. It takes 270 to win, so if Obama wins Ohio, he needs to win only one of Nevada, Colorado, Iowa, Florida, North Carolina, or Virginia. Romney would have to win all of them without Ohio. New Hampshire has only 4 electoral votes, so if Romney sweeps all of the above but Obama wins New Hampshire, we would have a 269-269 tie and the new House would elect the President, with each state having one vote.
Second, key politicians rarely make such negative statements about their states. Normally, the senator from Ohio would say that he expects Romney to carry Ohio, and not talk about Romney losing the state. Clearly Portman is fairly pessimistic about Romney's chances in Ohio. This assessment is consistent with Romney spending most of the week campaigning in the state and Ryan spending several days there as well.
This is why Portman and Romney are worried. There have been eight polls taken entirely after Obama's disastrous presidential debate. In seven of them, Obama is ahead. In the most recent one, by 5 points. In only one of the eight polls was Romney ahead, and then by only 1 point. Averaging all eight polls we get Obama 49%, Romney 46%. Hence all the attention on Ohio.
President Obama and Mitt Romney will go at it again tomorrow at Hofstra University on Long Island. The format will be different than the first debate: a town hall, with members of the audience submitting questions to moderator Candy Crowley in advance and Crowley selecting questions to ask.
Eveyone expects Obama to come out swinging but the format does not lend itself to nasty attacks well. After all, the candidates will be addressing a member of the audience who asked the question, not each other. Nevertheless, if some little old lady asks Obama about Medicare, he could reply that he wants to keep it as it is and Romney wants to turn it into a voucher system. One thing that the Obama campaign has promised is to go after Romney whenever he says something that contradicts what he has been saying all year. In the first debate, for example he said he would not cut taxes on the rich, even though all year he has been saying he would cut taxes on the rich, which he called the "job creators," so they could go create some more jobs.
Town Hall debates are less predictable than debates where the moderator thinks up the questions because issues that are a big deal inside the Beltway (like what happened in Libya a few weeks ago) are frequently of little import to actual voters. Here is a nice history of "presidential debates" going back to 1858.
|Georgia||43%||51%||Oct 08||Oct 11||Atlanta Journal|
|Idaho||27%||63%||Oct 08||Oct 10||Mason Dixon|
|New Mexico||49%||39%||Oct 09||Oct 11||Research and Polling|
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