POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 8/24

Previewing the Presidential Debates

James Fallows: “The past two cycles of general-election debates have been anticlimactic. Everyone expected the college-debate whiz John Kerry to outperform the aphasic-seeming George W. Bush. He did, but it didn’t matter. For John McCain, the world financial crisis, plus his selection of Sarah Palin, was bringing his campaign down around him before he even stepped on a stage with Barack Obama. The only memorable aspect of their debates was McCain’s short-lived attempt to get out of them so that he could devote his full attention to developing financial-rescue policies.”

“This year’s exchanges have the potential to be different, and more dramatic. Romney is very strong as a debater but has also shown two repeated weaknesses: a thin command of policy details, and an awkwardness when taken by surprise.”

 

Extra Bonus Quote of the Day

“I emphatically denounce Paul Ryan’s use of my song ‘We’re Not Gonna Take It‘ as recorded by my band Twisted Sister. There is almost nothing on which I agree with Paul Ryan, except perhaps the use of the P90X.”

— Dee Snider, in a statement.

 

Did Republicans Misread 2010 Results?

James Carville and Stan Greenberg: “We do not yet know the outcome of the 2012 election and we’re certainly not calling it now — the Congressional ballot remains tight and there are still more than two months of tough campaigning to go. But at this moment, our latest battleground survey in the 54 most vulnerable Republican-held districts — many of the same Republicans who ‘shellacked’ us in 2010 — shows that GOP incumbents are paying a heavy price for misreading the 2010 election results and overreaching on a conservative Paul Ryan agenda that voters did not mandate.”

 

Obama Still Leads in Michigan

A new Glengariff Group poll in Michigan shows President Obama leading Mitt Romney in his his native state by six points, 48% to 42%.

 

Obama Keeps Lead in Pennsylvania

A new Morning Call/Muhlenberg College poll in Pennsylvania shows President Obama continuing his lead over Mitt Romney among likely voters, 49% to 40%.

Notably, Obama maintains that lead despite weak job approval — 47% disapprove of the job he’s doing in the White House, compared to 43% who approve.

Said pollster Chris Borick: “Nine points is a very good place to be going in to the conventions. And this comes despite very mediocre reviews of his performance among likely voters and personal favorability numbers that aren’t as strong as they used to be. Pennsylvania voters are by no means thrilled with what they see from President Obama, but they are unimpressed with alternative, which is Mitt Romney.”

 

50 Shades of Red and Blue

Very interesting: Amazon has an Election Heat Map based on political book sales.

 

Romney’s Tough Path to 270

First Read ranks the nine toss-up states in the likelihood of Romney being able to flip them from blue to red (from most likely to least likely):

1. North Carolina
2. Iowa
3. Florida
4. Colorado
5. Virginia
6. Nevada
7. Ohio
8. Wisconsin
9. New Hampshire

“What’s striking about this list is if you give Romney the Top 4 (NC, IA, FL, and CO) that only gets him to 250 electoral votes. And if you give him the next two on the list (VA and NV), he’s still one short of 270 (bringing us to that 269-269 tie). That means he has to put one of Ohio, Wisconsin, or New Hampshire into the mix to get past 270. Bottom line: Romney’s map to 270 is more than doable, but it’s also a high-wire act.”

 

Bonus Quote of the Day

“The interesting thing here is that this is an individual who sits on the House Committee on Science and Technology but somehow missed science class.”

— President Obama, quoted by ABC News, on Rep. Todd Akin’s (R-MO) comments that “legitimate rape” would not cause pregnancy.

 

Poll Convinced Akin to Stay in Race

A source close to Rep. Todd Akin (R-MO) tells The Daily that the congressman would likely stay in the U.S. Senate race if polls continue to show him within five points of Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO), but that if he falls into a deficit between seven and nine points, “that gets difficult.”

National Journal reports Akin commissioned an automated poll on Monday, which showed him in a statistical dead heat with McCaskill. That finding, along with a separate Public Policy Polling survey also showing the race competitive, played a large role in convincing him not to withdraw from the race.

Meanwhile, The Week looks at six theories why Akin didn’t drop out.

 

Clinton Goes to Bat for Obama

The Obama campaign unveils a powerful new ad featuring former Bill Clinton praising President Obama and saying the election is “a clear choice.”

The ad is running in Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Ohio, Nevada, New Hampshire, Virginia and North Carolina.

ABC News: “The endorsement underscores just how valuable and credible Team Obama sees Clinton in the quest to influence persuadable voters in a handful of key swing states.”

See more…

 

Study Finds Romney Ad Swayed Independent Voters

Vanderbilt University/YouGov Ad Rating Project study finds a Romney campaign ad accusing President Obama of underhanded tactics is the first to change undecided voters’ views.

“The ad — which assails Obama for a super PAC commercial that suggested Romney’s Bain Capital business dealings contributed to a woman’s death from cancer because she lost her health insurance — moved ‘pure independent’ voters not aligned with either party 6 percentage points toward Romney.”

Obama has distanced himself from that ad pointing out the ad was produced by an independent super PAC and has barely run.

See more…

 

Obama Leads in Florida, Ohio and Wisconsin

New Quinnipiac/New York Ttimes/CBS News polls of likely voters finds President Obama leading Mitt Romney in three crucial swing states.

Florida: Obama 49%, Romney 46%

Ohio: Obama 50%, Romney 44%

Wisconsin: Obama 49%, Romney 47%.

Key findings: “Roughly 6 in 10 likely voters in each state want Medicare to continue providing health insurance to older Americans the way it does today; fewer than a third of those polled said Medicare should be changed in the future to a system in which the government gives the elderly fixed amounts of money to buy health insurance or Medicare insurance, as Mr. Romney has proposed. And Medicare is widely seen as a good value: about three-quarters of the likely voters in each state said the benefits of Medicare are worth the cost to taxpayers.”

 

Romney’s Mormon Mission

Bloomberg: “During Mitt Romney’s two years as a Mormon missionary in France three decades ago, he mistakenly checked into a hotel in an area frequented by prostitutes, advised homeward-bound young men about buying perfume for their mothers, bunked in tiny rooms on makeshift beds, and challenged his fellow missionaries to turn tragedy into achievement by exceeding their religious conversion targets after the wife of the mission president was killed in a car accident while Romney was driving. Heather Smith talks with some of Romney’s colleagues from a time in his life that he rarely discusses.”

 

Quote of the Day

“Just because a law is on the books does not mean that it’s lawful.”

— New Hampshire County Sheriff candidate Frank Szabo (R), quoted by Bedford Patch, refusing to back off comments that deadly force is an appropriate means to prevent abortion.

 

Does a Convention Bounce Matter?

Larry Sabato and his team studied party convention bounces going back about a half century and found the average bounce in the polls is about five points.

Key finding: “The actual standings of the candidates after both conventions are sometimes amazingly predictive of the November results, and at other times are terribly misleading. So wouldn’t you know it? We just can’t rely on bounces to tell us much beyond whether the electorate is ‘dug in’ and resistant to switching sides. In 11 of the 24 presidential candidacies since 1964 noted in the charts above, candidates finished within three percentage points of their post-convention polling. Statistically, this makes the bounce meaningless in a predictive sense, because about the same number of candidates’ standings did change significantly from the end of their convention to November.”

 

Presidential Race is a Dead Heat

A new Economist/YouGov poll shows the presidential race tied with President Obama and Mitt Romney both at 45% support.

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