Obama 332
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Romney 206
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Dem 48
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Ties 3
GOP 49
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  • Strongly Dem (188)
  • Likely Dem (66)
  • Barely Dem (78)
  • Exactly tied (0)
  • Barely GOP (10)
  • Likely GOP (68)
  • Strongly GOP (128)
270 Electoral votes needed to win Map algorithm explained
Dem pickups: (None)
GOP pickups: IN NC
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News from the Votemaster

Romney Doubles Down on Foreign Policy

After two days of being hit hard by Democrats, Republicans, and the media for falsely accusing the Obama administration of appeasing jihadists, Mitt Romney is continuing to attack Obama on foreign policy. He said that other countries no longer respect America and if he were President nobody would dare attack American property abroad or kill American diplomats. Obama shot back that Romney is shamelessly politicizing a sensitive diplomatic matter.

What Obama didn't say is that Romney's model of the world no longer holds. In the past, wars and attacks were governmental affairs. Country A invaded country B and then country B could send its army or air force to wreak havoc with country A. But like so many other government functions, in parts of the world, war has largely been turned over to the private sector. Al Qaeda, other terrorist groups, and the jihadists who killed the American ambassador to Libya, J. Christopher Stevens, are all private sector organizations, not government ones. As a result, you can't just bomb them because you can't find them. If Romney were President, it is very doubtful that the people who killed Stevens would be quaking in their boots because they know very well he couldn't easily find them, so there is nothing to bomb. Furthermore, many jihadists believe that dying while fighting for their cause will get them into heaven, so threatening them with death doesn't work nearly as well as threatening atheists. Saber rattling only works these days when it is entire countries you are threatening and then only when the threat is credible, that is, when the adversary believes you might actually do what you are threatening to do. It is clear that Romney fully subscribes to the theory of provocative weakness, which basically means that weakness allows potential enemies to spring up and thrive since they are not scared of being mercilessly rooted out.

On another foreign policy subject, Romney said yesterday that he would not let Iran get close to building a nuclear weapon, but he didn't say what he would do if Iran called his bluff and kept working on one. It is thought that key Iranian nuclear facilities are deep underground underneath a mountain, making them difficult or impossible to take out by bombing. Would Romney start another war in the Middle East by sending American troops there? He didn't say. He also said he would indirectly help Syrian rebels by sending arms to other Arab countries, which could then send them to Syria. In general, Romney's foreign policy is full of bluster, which the Republican base loves, but if he were President he would quickly learn that bombing the world into submission is not really an option and would probably end up doing the same things Obama is doing.

Politically, Romney should be more careful. Polls show that some people think he would be better than Obama at creating jobs, but virtually no poll shows people have more faith in him on foreign policy. His blunders this week only made it worse.

As an aside to this whole story, no one except Los Angeles County knows who really is behind the film that caused the riots. All movies made in Los Angeles must have a permit and this one was made in Los Angeles and had a permit. All officials are saying for the moment is that the permit was issued to "Media for Christ" but they won't release it for 10 days. The permit lists the names of the producer, director, and writer.

Advice from Conservatives to Romney

As Obama maintains his small, but consistent, lead in the polls, many conservative media outlets are starting to fret about Romney losing. But fretting won't get them anywhere, so they are offering free advice to him on what he must change to win. Politico has summarized this advice in this video.

  • Get specific about what he would actually do as President
  • Get rid of his 57-page economic plan and replace it with five talking points
  • Get tough: no more floating like a butterly, instead sting like a bee
  • Move to the right and stand tall for conservative positions
  • Get rid of your current staff and replace them with real conservatives

The trouble with this advice is that Romney is not only trying to please his base, but also make a play for moderates and each of these pieces of advice has a downside. Getting specific, for example, about which programs and deductions he would cut to balance the budget while slashing taxes will bring out howls of protest from the affected groups. To some extent, he has already abandoned his 57-page economic plan and reduced it to saying lower taxes will stimulate job creation. As to stinging like a bee, his entire campaign, starting with the primaries has been as negative as any in memory. It is hard to see him attacking Obama any more than he is already doing. Standing up for far-right positions (e.g., no abortions ever, under any conditions) is sure to turn off all the moderates he needs. Finally, getting rid of his staff and replacing them with true conservatives this late in the game will lead to complete chaos. The real message here is that conservatives are worried that (1) Romney won't win and (2) even if he does, he won't do what they want.

Parties Settle on Early Voting in Florida

When the state of Florida decided to drastically cut back the early voting days, the Dept. of Justice sued the state because under the 1964 Civil Rights Act, any changes to voting laws in five Florida counties with a long history of racial discrimination (Collier, Hardee, Hendry, Hillsborough, and Monroe) require DoJ approval. The lawsuit has now ended when the state and DoJ agreed to new voting hours. Early voting is an explosive issue in Florida because in 2008, 54% of the black voters used early voting, whereas only 27% of white voters did so. Cutting back on early voting would have the effect of reducing the black vote, which is heavily Democratic. The agreement says that the five affected counties must keep the polls open between 7 A.M. and 7 P.M. for 8 days prior to the election.

The L Word Banned in Wisconsin

No, not that L word. Many people have already called Rep. Paul Ryan a liar as a result of his acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention. Republicans have called Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), the Democratic candidate for the open Senate seat being left behind by the retirement of Sen. Herb Khl (D-WI) a liberal and a leftist, but haven't called her a lesbian, even though she has never made her sexual orientation a secret. If elected to the Senate, she would be the first openly gay senator. When a staffer sent out an email last week showing Baldwin at a Gay Pride parade, the Republican nominee, former governor Tommy Thompson, quickly distanced himself from it. Thompson currently leads in the polls.

Fed To Buy Bonds, Stock Market Surges

Yesterday, Fed chairman Ben Bernanke, announced that the Fed will buy $85 billion in long-term bonds by the end of the year and will continue to buy bonds and keep interest rates low through mid 2015. When this news was released, the stock market shot up to the highest level since Dec. 2007, with the Dow Jones Industrials index closing at 13,540. Thus we have the odd economic situation of high unemployment while the stock market is doing great. Surprisingly, the Democrats haven't talked about it much. When the question "Are you better off than 4 years ago" question comes up, they could point out that for many people, their retirement and investment portfolios have done very well under Obama.

Married Voters Like Romney, Singles Like Obama

An analysis of over 90,000 interviews Gallup conducted this summer shows that among married voters, Romney is favored 54% to 39%. Among unmarried voters, Obama is ahead 56% to 35%. At least part of the explanation probably lies in the fact that married voters are more likely to be religious, white, over 30, and earning over $60,000 a year, all of which correlate with increased support for Republicans generally.

Today's Presidential Polls

We have 12 presidential polls in nine states today. The main news is that Obama is ahead in Colorado, Florida, New Hampshire, Ohio, and Virginia. The only swing state where Romney leads is Missouri. Actually, this is not really news since the situation has more-or-less been like this for months. Obama's lead in these states is small and within the margin or error, but it has been stable that way for so long that there is little doubt he is slightly ahead in the key states. Obama's small but persistent lead may explain why Romney is now hitting Obama on foreign policy for the first time. He may have concluded that attacking on the economy simply isn't working as too many people still blame George W. Bush for the mess, not Obama.

State Obama Romney   Start End Pollster
California 55% 33%   Sep 09 Sep 12 Pepperdine U.
Colorado 49% 47%   Sep 10 Sep 12 ARG
Florida 48% 46%   Sep 12 Sep 12 Rasmussen
Florida 49% 44%   Sep 09 Sep 11 Marist Coll.
Minnesota 51% 44%   Sep 10 Sep 11 PPP
Missouri 45% 48%   Sep 11 Sep 11 Rasmussen
New Hampshire 45% 40%   Sep 04 Sep 10 U. of New Hampshire
New York 62% 34%   Sep 04 Sep 09 Quinnipiac U.
Ohio 47% 46%   Sep 12 Sep 12 Rasmussen
Ohio 48% 47%   Sep 10 Sep 12 ARG
Ohio 50% 43%   Sep 09 Sep 11 Marist Coll.
Virginia 49% 44%   Sep 09 Sep 11 Marist Coll.

Today's Senate Polls

Democratic Senate Candidates appear to be safely ahead in California, Florida, Minnesota, New York, and Ohio, but in Virginia it's a tie. Many observers doubt that George Allen can run ahead of Mitt Romney in Virginia, though, so if Romney loses Virginia, it is very likely to sink Allen as well.

State Democrat D % Republican R % I I % Start End Pollster
California Dianne Feinstein* 52% Elizabeth Emken 30%     Sep 09 Sep 12 Pepperdine U.
Florida Bill Nelson* 51% Connie McGillicuddy 37%     Sep 09 Sep 11 Marist Coll.
Minnesota Amy Klobuchar* 55% Kurt Bills 36%     Sep 10 Sep 11 PPP
New York Kirsten Gillibrand* 64% Wendy Long 27%     Sep 04 Sep 09 Quinnipiac U.
Ohio Sherrod Brown* 49% Josh Mandel 42%     Sep 09 Sep 11 Marist Coll.
Virginia Tim Kaine 46% George Allen 46%     Sep 09 Sep 11 Marist Coll.

* Denotes incumbent

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---The Votemaster

Previous Headlines

Sep13 Obama: Romney Shoots First, Aims Later
Sep13 Republicans Are Deeply Worried about Ohio
Sep13 Voter ID Laws Could Affect Downticket Races
Sep13 Florida Finds Far Fewer Noncitizens on the Voter Rolls than Expected
Sep13 Libertarian Gary Johnson on the Ballot in 47 States
Sep13 Incomes Are Back to 1989 Levels
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Sep12 Three Under-the-Radar Senate Races Get Attention
Sep12 Obama Won't Meet Netanyahu in New York
Sep12 Romney's Wealth Could Be a Problem in the South
Sep12 Ryan Buys Ads for His House Race
Sep12 Romney Wants to Replace Obamacare but Doesn't Know with What
Sep12 Some Questions for the Debates
Sep11 Obama Gets Substantial Bounce from the Convention
Sep11 What's Going on in the Nine Swing States
Sep11 Three Factors that will Determine Who Wins the Presidency
Sep11 Economy Is Doing Better in Swing States than Nationally
Sep11 Could Romney Be Swiftboated on National Security?
Sep11 In Maine, the Republican Party is Supporting the Democrat
Sep11 Battle for the House to Begin This Week
Sep11 Of Tuna and Poverty
Sep11 Obama Gets Substantial Bounce from the Convention
Sep11 What's Going on in the Nine Swing States
Sep11 Three Factors that will Determine Who Wins the Presidency
Sep11 Economy Is Doing Better in Swing States than Nationally
Sep11 Could Romney Be Swiftboated on National Security?
Sep11 In Maine, the Republican Party is Supporting the Democrat
Sep11 Battle for the House to Begin This Week
Sep11 Of Tuna and Poverty
Sep10 Early Voting Has Started
Sep10 State of the Electoral College
Sep10 Republicans Hold the Edge in the Senate
Sep10 Election May Depend as Much on Judges as on the Voters
Sep10 Romney and Romney Want to Close Loopholes but Refuse to Say Which Ones
Sep10 Romney and Ryan Want to Close Loopholes but Refuse to Say Which Ones
Sep10 Obama and Romney Are Even in August Fundraising
Sep10 Has New Mexico Become a Blue State?
Sep09 Romney Pulls Ads from Michigan and Pennsylvania
Sep09 Obama in Florida; Romney in Virginia
Sep09 Gay Rights Meets States Rights
Sep09 People Are Speculating about Pelosi's future
Sep09 Obama Got 700,000 Donations during the Convention
Sep08 Bump Time
Sep08 Obama's Speech Had More Viewers and More Tweeters than Romney's
Sep08 Romney to Start Ad Blitz
Sep08 Ohio Secretary of State Concedes to Federal Judge
Sep08 Early Voting Starts Today in North Carolina
Sep07 Obama Accepts the Democratic Nomination