POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 10/1

Latest Swing State Polls

Here are the latest polls from the battleground states, updated as needed through the day:

Iowa: Obama 49%, Romney 45% (Des Moines Register)

Ohio: Obama 51%, Romney 42% (Columbus Dispatch)

Ohio: Obama 49%, Romney 45% (Public Policy Polling)

Obama Campaign Says Don’t Expect Zingers

President Obama’s re-election campaign said the president “likely won’t be flinging barbs during this week’s presidential debate,” CNN reports.

Said spokeswoman Jen Psaki: “If you’re expecting that, that’s probably not what he’s going to deliver.”

Psaki was referring to reports that Mitt Romney was “working on zingers” and memorizing short attack lines to fire off at the president during Wednesday’s debate in Denver.

Great Expectations

A new DNC video makes sure the expectations are high for Mitt Romney as he heads into this week’s presidential debate.

See more…

Last Chance for Romney?

National Journal: “After nearly six years of running for president, millions of dollars spent on ads, a massive political convention and hundreds of rallies in swing states such as Ohio, Florida, and New Hampshire, Mitt Romney’s bid to become the next president could come down to a few hours onstage on Wednesday night.”

The Week: The first debate: “Do or die” for Mitt Romney?

Bill and Hillary

“No one has ever doubted the influence of the Clinton marriage, but in his new book, Bill and Hillary, the historian William H. Chafe ups the ante, arguing that the entire Clinton presidency was powered by the psychodynamics of the Clinton union,” according to a New York Times review.

“In his telling, Bill was a brilliant mess, Hillary gave him discipline and from this sinner-rescuer complex, the drama unfolded… The Clinton marriage, he argues, played a large part in Bill Clinton’s loss of the Arkansas governorship in 1980, his decision to run for the presidency in 1992, the first-term scandals and even the partisanship that hardened over Washington. That’s before the author even gets to Monica Lewinsky.”

Bonus Quote of the Day

“It would take me too long to go through all of the math.”

— Rep. Paul Ryan, in an interview on Fox News, after host Chris Wallace played a clip of President Obama saying “they tell you they’re gonna start talking specifics really soon, they don’t do it. And the reason is because the math doesn’t work.”

Quote of the Day

“This whole race is going to turn upside-down come Thursday morning.”

— New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R), in an interview on CBS News, arguing that Wednesday night’s presidential debate will mark a new stage in Mitt Romney’s campaign.

Obama Within Reach of Re-Election

“If the election were held today, an Associated Press analysis shows Obama would win at least 271 electoral votes, with Ohio and Iowa now among the states he would carry.”

“To overtake Obama, Romney would need to quickly gain the upper hand in nearly all of the nine states where he and Obama are competing hardest.”

Obama Maintains Lead Nationally

The latest Rand survey — an experimental polling method which uses the same single panel of voters over several months — confirms what nearly every other traditional poll has found: President Obama and Mitt Romney were running neck and neck until the Democratic convention and ever since then, Obama has been rising and Romney falling in the poll.

Obama now holds a seven point lead in the Rand survey over Romney, 50% to 43%.

For comparison, the Gallup tracking poll shows Obama leading by six points, 50% to 44%, while the Reuters/Ipsos poll shows Obama leading by five points, 47% to 42%.

Warren Leads in Massachusetts

A new Boston Globe poll in Massachusetts finds Elizabeth Warren (D) leading Sen. Scott Brown (R) in the U.S. Senate race, 43% to 38%, with another 18% still undecided.

This survey is the sixth of eight public polls taken this month that show Warren ahead.

Said pollster Andrew Smith: “It’s trending away from Brown. Brown right now is not doing well enough among Democrats to offset the advantage that ­Warren has. That’s just such a big obstacle to overcome for any Republican candidate in Massachusetts.”

Debates Rarely Have An Effect

Miranda Green: “From Al Gore’s loud sighing to Jimmy Carter saying he consulted his 12-year-old daughter on nuclear proliferation, presidential debates are full of memorable moments. But despite the fanfare that surrounds each election cycle’s televised events, historical data shows the debates are rarely game changers.”

“A 2008 Gallup study found that between 1960 and 2004, there were only two years where debates made a difference in actual votes. Instead, the most common outcome of the presidential debates is a slight popularity bump… Data from the Gallup study also saw no direct correlation between the winner of each debate and the winner of the presidency. The 2004 Kerry vs. Bush debate was cited as an example. Kerry was considered the victor of all three showdowns, but still lost the election.”

Donna Brazile: “The debates this year will certainly have their moments. But both candidates are already so well-known, the memorable lines will probably reinforce, rather than change, voters’ perceptions.”

Who Watches the Debates?

American Prospect: “When Kennedy and Nixon had their debates, it was little exaggeration to say that nearly the whole country stopped and watched. The three debates got Nielsen ratings of around 60, meaning that the debates were on in 60 percent of all homes that owned televisions. The third debate’s rating of 61 was higher than any since, though the one debate in 1980 between Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan came close.”

“Since then, however, viewership has declined significantly. The nadir was reached in 2000, when the final debate between George W. Bush and Al Gore got a rating of only 25.9. Viewership rebounded somewhat in 2008, but the highest-rated debate that year–the second–got a rating of only 38.8. For comparison, the most watched broadcast of the year–the Super Bowl–gets ratings in the mid-50s. So while the 1960 debates got Super Bowl-type ratings, debates in recent years have gotten ratings about 20 points lower. That means that though today’s population is almost twice what it was in 1960, the total number of people watching isn’t much higher than it was then.”

Romney Practices Debate Zingers

New York Times: “Mr. Romney’s team has concluded that debates are about creating moments and has equipped him with a series of zingers that he has memorized and has been practicing on aides since August. His strategy includes luring the president into appearing smug or evasive about his responsibility for the economy.”

Is Obama Headed for an Electoral College Blowout?

“Some political scientists and Democratic strategists believe it’s now possible that President Obama could replicate his break-out Electoral College map from 2008, with the exception of Indiana, even if the popular vote is closer than four years ago,” Politico reports.

Said Democratic strategist Tad Devine: “He’s in a position to get close to 350 electoral votes, without a doubt. The president and his campaign successfully identified states where they could beat Romney, set out to define Romney in those places and did so well through the course of the spring and summer.”

The Week: Three paths to electoral victory for Mitt Romney.

Many GOP Operatives Conceding Ohio

Walter Shapiro: “Many of the well-known Ohio Republicans I interviewed offered their blunt assessments only after they were guaranteed complete anonymity. That is often the Faustian bargain of political journalism in 2012: robotic talking points on the record or something resembling honesty with no names attached. The reason, though, that I am emphasizing the don’t-quote-me part of the equation is that I was stunned by the vehemence of the thumbs-down-on-Mitt verdict. All but conceding the state to Obama, these Republicans were offering what may be the biggest rejection of Ohio since Philip Roth wrote Goodbye Columbus.”

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