Swing State Pres

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Hey, Other People Do Song Parodies, Too! (September 30, 2012)

Jimmy Fallon did a great song parody of "Fire and Rain," called "Romney and Bain," complete with a first-rate James Taylor impersonation.  Check it out!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R0uX36AczW0&noredirect=1

Also, for you Springsteen fans (and I am a fanatic, as some of you well know), here are Jimmy Fallon and noted Springsteen fan and Republican New Jersey Governor Chris Christie dueting on a portion of "Thunder Road."  Not a song parody, just a loving rendition, but not bad, particularly the harmony!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_XWBYSIZepQ&feature=player_detailpage

I'm no Chris Christie fan, but the guy has been to 130 Springsteen concerts and you gotta like that (I've been to 20 and people think I'm nuts...)

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Great Articles You've Sent Me (September 29, 2012)

I’ve received a whole bunch of great articles from a number of you, so today’s post is to pass them on.

Here are a couple on the upcoming debates…this one is from me...James Fallows on Romney’s debate history…

And one from Wick, for those who want to play a little Debate Bingo…

Joe submits this one on how Romney must spend time on fundraising, often in non-competitive states…

From Martin, on the real reason Romney is losing…

Another from Joe, suggesting the potential of a media-driven “Romney Comeback” emerging…

Happy weekend reading!

Friday, September 28, 2012

Election Week in Review...Calm Before the (Debate) Storm? (September 28, 2012)

Ah, a week without a huge event, the first in a long time.  As I noted last week, for the last six weeks the campaigns have been dominated by a single weekly theme.  In order:  Ryan picked as the VP, Todd Akin’s “legitimate rape” comments, the Republican Convention, the Democratic Convention, the Libya tragedy and ensuing Mideast violence and then the “47 percent” video last week.  Nothing approached that order of magnitude this week.  Perhaps a collective breath is being taken before the debates begin:  one per week starting this coming Wednesday, October 3rd (at 9 PM EST).

The week was primarily driven by the fall-out from Romney’s “47 percent” video, with the Obama campaign extending the news life cycle as much as possible (and grumpy Republicans adding their critiques as well, of the video comments as well as the campaign management).  Some Republican congressional candidates were distancing themselves from the comments.  Polling seems to indicate that this particular gaffe has hurt Romney and will live on, but was not necessarily a “game-ender.”  I’ll have more on that Monday.

This week had its share of unusual comments…not quite gaffes, but not so great, either.  Obama said that “you can’t change Washington from the inside” at a Univision event.  He seemed to mean that he was taking his case to the public to pressure their elected officials rather than relying on inside-the-beltway negotiations, but it came off awkwardly, as if he was giving up on his 2008 promise to change the poisonous Washington culture.

Romney, for his part, said to Scott Pelley on 60 Minutes that he did not believe his campaign needed a “turnaround” to win.  The answer, odd for a CEO-type, seemed to indicate that all he needed to do to win was to keep up his current tactics.  This seemed consistent with Einstein’s famous definition of insanity:  “…doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”  This might be an appropriate time to remind Romney that he has not led once in the entire campaign.  But I guess the conservative right is reminding him quite pointedly every day….indeed, they were the inspiration for Pelley’s original question.

The Middle East seems to have calmed down, at least from headline news.  There were some rumblings that the Obama Administration should be held accountable for Ambassador Stevens’ death in some way, by not protecting him adequately, but this has not coalesced into a major news item as yet.

Finally, some very encouraging numbers for Obama:  Gallup reports his approval rating in its daily tracking has been in the 50-51% range over the last week, and will average 49% for the month of September.  This is a significant improvement over the 45% level of August and 41% of one year ago.  Most importantly, Gallup states that 50%+ are “numbers associated with near certain re-election” for incumbents.  Stay tuned…

Comments welcome!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

We All Live in the Same House (September 26, 2012)

Guest blogger Wendy reminds us that each House race affects all of us....case in point, our own redistricted New York 18th, where Tea Party Republican incumbent Nan Hayworth is running neck and neck with challenger Democrat Sean Patrick Maloney...
I know we live in a sound bite, Facebook world where only the last five minutes seem relevant, but remember Todd Akin?  Most of us (but amazingly enough, not all of us) can agree that this guy is a fool.  A fool yes, but not harmless. While August’s commentary focused on whether or not Akin would remain on the ballot for Senator, I was thinking about the fact that he’s been representing Missouri for twelve years; and while his colleagues in the House are too savvy to utter the words “legitimate rape,” many share his ideology (think: Paul Ryan). 
There would be a silver lining to the insane little Akin episode if it drove home the fact that the Congressional races matter.  A lot.
Over the past four years, impasse after impasse has demonstrated that the House has quite the impact on our lives.  Our system of checks and balances was well conceived, but right now we have more check than balance. Those who would critique Obama should first point a finger at Republican Congressmen so hell bent on ousting him that they put that objective ahead of the well being of 314 million citizens. 
Our own neck of the woods (the New York 18th) was recently redistricted.  As it currently stands, come November our Representative will switch from Nita Lowey, a twelve term Democrat, to Nan Hayworth, a one-term Tea Partier currently representing the 19th.  In less than two years in Congress, Representative Hayworth has voted to prohibit use of federal funds for Planned Parenthood, to repeal the Affordable Health Care Act, and for Ryan’s Path to Prosperity Budget; she initially voted against increasing the debt limit, ultimately voting yea for the Boehner proposal.  The list goes on and on, but you have the flavor.  I will note that in a departure from her conservative roots, Ms. Hayworth supports gay rights (sort of – watching her flank, she won’t go as far as endorsing the Equal Marriage Act but she was a member of the LBGT caucus). Then again, a la Dick Cheney, one of her children is gay.  Call me cynical, but I find it hard to respect those who can only muster the backbone to do the right thing when it hits close to home.
This summer, Tom and I attended two receptions for Congresswoman Hayworth’s Democratic opponent, Sean Patrick Maloney.  Mr. Maloney is the diametric opposite of Nan Hayworth, a strong supporter of women’s reproductive rights, of gay rights, of the Affordable Health Care Act, and a foe of the Ryan budget proposal.  You actually don’t need to know much more; the contrast with Nan Hayworth is so stark that it’s hard to envision anyone being on the fence between the two.
For those of us who live in New York, there’s a temptation to skip going to the polls (especially if the first Tuesday in November is rainy).  After all, New York will go easily for Obama and Senator Gillebrand’s re-election is a given, so why bother?  It’s that attitude that brought us Republican Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino, a politician who has wrecked havoc on affordable housing, social programs, and women’s rights -- my point being, it all matters.  And here in the 18th district, Hayworth versus Maloney matters a lot because this is one of those hot Congressional seats that truly is contested.  
House issues blend the local and national, so while I get to vote yea or nay for Ms. Hayworth, those of you who don’t live in my district will be affected by my choice.  I urge you to look closely at YOUR choices.  They will affect you, and some also will affect me.  Washington’s tight gridlock over the past four years is proof positive that unless we succeed in changing the blue/red mix in Congress, we’ll be facing another frustrating four years of rancor and inertia.  Of the 435 House elections in November, only about 100 are truly in play.  Our district is one of them; you should check to see if your district is too.  Tom’s analysis of the House races can help you with that.  Here’s the link:

Comments welcome!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Dashboard Update...It Doesn't Matter Until Election Day? Wrong! (September 24, 2012)


So you think it doesn’t matter that The Dashboard is solid blue because we still have 6 weeks (see our new nifty countdown graphic above) to go?  With four debates in October?  Two more job reports?  Middle East uncertainty and who knows what else?

Think again.  Jane reminds us that voting has already started, folks…in 25 states no less, including swing states Virginia, New Hampshire and Missouri.  Five more will begin by the end of the month.  Experts predict that a whopping 35% of voters will cast their ballots before Election Day.

So that means what is happening right now matters a great deal.  Mitt Romney can’t count on a late spending blitz or strong debate performances, although those are certainly requirements for him.  He has to begin the turnaround – and yes, despite his protestations otherwise, it is a turnaround that is required – now.

Obama has not lost any of his convention bounce, and remains 3-4 points ahead nationally and ahead in 8 out of 10 swing states.  It is entirely possible that the bounce was beginning to recede or would have receded, but the Romney gaffes in his too-quick Libya tragedy response and the “47% video" seem to have recharged Obama’s momentum.

Swing States.   There were lots of new polls in the swing states last week.  Some were before the 47% video so the impact of that remains in flux.  Ohio, Virginia and Wisconsin are all quite solidly in Obama's camp, and North Carolina is now a tie (which I give to the "Charisma Factor" leader). 

24-Sep
Electoral
Polling
Since
8-Sep
10 states
Votes
Obama
Romney
Obama +/-
Ohio
18
48.5
43.0
5.5
Wisconsin
10
50.3
45.3
5.0
Virginia
13
48.3
44.0
4.3
Nevada
6
48.0
45.5
2.5
Iowa
6
47.0
44.5
2.5
Colorado
9
47.7
45.7
2.0
Florida
29
48.0
46.5
1.5
North Carolina
15
47.0
47.0
0.0
New Hampshire
4
46.5
47.5
-1.0
Missouri
10
45.0
48.0
-3.0
120
2.2

Thus Obama maintains a very healthy lead in the electoral college projections.  Romney does not even achieve 200 electors in this projection.  Obama has 237 solid electors, which means he needs only 33 more from the swing states for the magic 270..  Ohio, Wisconsin and Virginia, his three strongest swing states, with leads of 4-6 points, total 41...enough alone.

 270  to win
Solid
Swing
Total
Obama
237
106
343
Romney
181
14
195

 The Obameter.  The Obameter rose to a very blue +13.9 on a continued strong stock market and no movement on Romney’s favorability.  Pew did some research that said Romney is the only modern candidate from either party to still have a net negative favorability rating at this stage of the campaign.

OBAMETER
Baseline




1-Jan
9-Sep
16-Sep
23-Sep
Unemployment Rate
8.7
8.1
8.1
8.1
Consumer Confidence
65.0
60.6
60.6
60.6
Price of Gas (avg. for week)
3.32
3.90
3.90
3.88
Dow-Jones (avg. for week)
    12,076
       13,155
       13,406
       13,535
Romney Favorability (avg.)
38.0
48.0
44.5
44.7
"Events"
0
10
10
10


Unemployment Rate
8.7
6
6
6
Consumer Confidence
65
-4
-4
-4
Price of Gas (avg. for week)
3.32
-6
-6
-6
Dow-Jones (avg. for week)
    12,076
11
13
15
Romney Favorability (avg.)
38
-10
-7
-7
"Events"
0
10
10
10


OBAMETER
0.0
6.6
12.6
13.9
Obama versus Romney
1.1
3.3
3.4
3.6

 The Charisma Factor.   Obama continues to maintain a commanding “charisma” lead with net positives well ahead of Romney, who cannot crack into positive territory himself.


Fav
Unfav
Net
Obama
51.0
43.3
7.7
Romney
44.7
45.3
-0.6
Net


8.3

Latest National Polling.  Obama holds a 3.6 point lead on average in the recent national polls.  Romney may think that 47% will never vote for him…the reality is that number may be quite an underestimate.  It seems to be more like only 47% WILL vote for him (see below).


Nat'l Polls
Obama
48.3%
Romney
44.6%
Diff
3.6%

Popular Vote Projection.  My projection of Obama’s national popular vote has increased to a 4.5 point lead over Romney, 51.5% to....yes, 47.0%.


Vote (000)
%
Obama
   66,955
51.5%
Romney
   61,045
47.0%
Other
     1,988
1.5%