The Most Divided American Electorate Ever?

Harry Enten: “Four years ago, then-candidate Obama said he could heal the divisions of our country. Those who know anything about voting pattern demographics were suspicious that Obama could accomplish this goal. With this year’s election close at hand, we can now see if the president has come closer to reaching his objective. The polls indicate that voting divisions for this year’s presidential race have either not closed or have actually expanded to near-record extents.”


Obama Maintains Ad Edge Despite Being Outspent

President Obama and his allies “have aired more ads in battleground states this month than Mitt Romney and his supporters, despite being outspent by the Republican nominee and GOP groups,” the Washington Post reports.

“Obama has a key advantage over Romney by raising the bulk of his money through his campaign committee, which qualifies for discounted ad rates under federal election laws. That can allow Obama to pay much less for the same ads compared with conservative super PACs and other outside groups, which don’t qualify for such rates.”

“Unlike Obama, Romney also bought relatively little ad time in advance — which is cheaper — and has tended to choose more expensive ad spots with guaranteed placements.”


Latest Swing State Polls

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

Nevada: Obama 50%, Romney 48% (Rasmussen)

Nevada: Obama 51%, Romney 47% (Public Policy Polling)

New Hampshire: Romney 50%, Obama 48% (Rasmussen)

New Hampshire: Obama 48%, Romney 45% (Lake Research)

Ohio: Obama 49%, Romney 44% (Time)

Ohio: Obama 47%, Romney 44% (SurveyUSA)

Ohio: Obama 48%, Romney 48% (Rasmussen)

Ohio: Obama 46%, Romney 44% (Lake Resaearch)

Virginia: Obama 50%, Romney 43% (Old Dominion University)

Virginia: Obama 49%, Romney 46% (Newsmax/Zogby)


Obama Holds Big Lead Among Early Voters

The latest Reuters/Ipsos tracking poll finds President Obama had a lead of 53% to 42% among the 17% of the surveyed registered voters who said they had already cast their vote.

In the crucial swing state of Ohio, a new Time poll finds Obama holds a two-to-one lead over Romney among those who have voted early, 60% to 30%.


Assessing the Ground Games

Molly Ball: “We may not be able to fully size up the campaigns’ ground games and their effect until Election Day — and maybe not even then. But what struck me most, in talking to Republicans about their ground game, was the extent to which they admitted they weren’t even playing the game.”

David Gergen: “In the pivotal state of Ohio, for example, the Obama campaign has three times as many offices, often captained by experienced young people. By contrast, a major Republican figure in the state, throwing up his hands, told me that the Romney field team looked like a high school civics class.”


Obama Taps Clinton Again

Bill Clinton appears in another TV ad: “The stuff some folks are saying about President Obama sound kind of familiar. The same people said my ideas destroyed jobs–they called me every name in the book.”

Mark Halperin: “Some additional Bill Clinton events for Obama will be announced in the coming days, likely pairing him with other big names, a la his hugely successful Ohio appearance with Bruce Springsteen.”

See more…


Expect the Unexpected

Nate Cohn: “The polls are pretty good, but they are not perfect, and with observers paying so much attention to the slight distinctions between Obama’s 1.9 point lead in Ohio and .6 point lead in Virginia, unrealistic levels of precision may be necessary to avoid surprises. And that’s before accounting for the possibility that the race could shift over the final two weeks in subtle ways that move particular demographic groups and states without similar changes in others. The nine battleground states are so close and so diverse that late movement among specific demographic groups or slight errors in the polling could easily reshape the electoral map before November 6.”


Bonus Quote of the Day

“Direct those questions to Boston because Donald Trump is Mitt Romney’s biggest supporter, so he owns everything he says.”

— David Plouffe, quoted by Politico, when asked about Trump’s much-hyped video announcement today.


Latest Tracking Polls

Here are the latest tracking polls of the presidential race:

Gallup: Romney 50%, Obama 47%

IBD/TIPP: Obama 47%, Romney 44%

RAND: Obama 49%, Romney 45%

Rasmussen: Romney 50%, Obama 46%

Reuters/Ipsos: Romney 47%, Obama 46%

Public Policy Polling: Obama 48%, Romney 48%

UPI/CVoter: Obama 49%, Romney 47%

Washington Post/ABC News: Romney 49%, Obama 48%


Mourdock Stands by Comments

Indiana U.S. Senate candidate Richard Mourdock (R) “refused to apologize this morning for his comments about whether pregnancies from rape were God’s will, apologizing only for what he said were people’s misinterpretation of them,” the Indianapolis Star reports.

Said Mourdock: “I said life is precious. I believe life is precious. I believe rape is a brutal act. It is something that I abhor. That anyone could come away with any meaning other than what I just said is regrettable, and for that I apologize.. The apology — as I said before, roll this tape back — is if anybody misterpreted what I said.”


Why Team Obama is So Confident

Mark Halperin: “Chicago remains sufficiently funded and emboldened by its own polling to compete for the final two weeks in all nine of the battlegrounds: Florida, North Carolina, and Virginia in the South; New Hampshire in the North; Iowa, Ohio, and Wisconsin in the Midwest; and Nevada and Colorado in the West. As they have in the past, Obama campaign officials say they expect to win a high percentage of those states and conceivably could sweep all nine.”

“When pressed, the Obama officials with whom I met said that five of the nine stand out: Nevada, Ohio, Wisconsin, Iowa, and New Hampshire. In that quintet, Democrats believe the combination of their current leads in polling, early voting (where applicable), and ground game makes their chances of winning even greater there than in the other four. And given the Electoral College math, unless Romney picks off one or more of those five states, Obama would win a minimum of 281 electoral votes and re-election.”

As Greg Sargent notes, the polling averages show Obama leading in each of those states as well.


Trump Promises $5 Million if Obama Releases Records

Donald Trump said in a video from his office that if President Obama releases his college records and application and his passport application, the businessman will give a $5 million check to a charity of Obama’s choosing, Politico reports.

See more…


How Mitt Romney Gets So Tan

“A knowledgeable source tells BuzzFeed the answer is in a bit of cosmetic technology used commonly by celebrities: spray tanning. The Republican nominee has made a habit of spray tanning before major speeches, debates, interviews, and other events that have a chance of getting wide TV coverage, the source said. He pays for the process out of pocket — sparing his campaign the expense, and the task of masking it on public campaign finance reports — and steers clear of public salons where he could be recognized. Instead, he gets misted down in the comfort of his own home or hotel suite.”


Efforts to Misinform Voters Increase

Reuters reports on the uptick in efforts to mislead, intimidate or pressure voters as we head towards Election Day.

In addition to billboards warning against voter fraud and employers pushing workers to vote a certain way, in Florida, Virginia and Indiana, voters have received phone calls that wrongly told them there was no need to cast a ballot in person on Election Day because they could vote by phone.

Meanwhile, a probe of similar phone calls in Indiana has focused on a firm called Vote USA, but it is unclear who was behind the group because its phone number is no longer active.


Quote of the Day

“Two-to-one, people who say they have already voted are Barack Obama supporters. The majority of people who plan to vote early are Barack Obama supporters. The majority of people who plan to vote on election day, Romney supporters. I think that’s what’s gets tricky — you have to have a huge margin on election day to offset the Democrats.”

— Pollster Ann Selzer, in an interview with TPM on the impact of early voting.


No More Interviews for Romney

The Romney campaign is not committing to granting any network interviews in the final two weeks of the campaign, Politico reports.


No Proof of Romney Surge in Battleground

Rick Klein: “The truth is both sides are worried — Team Obama is nowhere near as confident about its map as public statements suggest, and the Romney surge isn’t as real (or relevant, given battleground-state polling) as Republicans are spinning. Yet it’s that map that governs still — national polls aside, the Romney surge hasn’t spilled into the battlegrounds (particularly Ohio) enough to upend the race in Romney’s favor, at least not yet.”

First Read: “Obama could still lose Ohio and get to 270 electoral votes, and the path is not a nutty path. He does it by winning Wisconsin (a state that hasn’t gone GOP since 84), Iowa (a state Gore carried), New Hampshire (a state Kerry carried), and Colorado. That gets him to 272. Sorta stunning that with all of our focus on FL-OH-VA that they all three could get rendered meaningless by the Rodney Dangerfield of the battleground: Colorado. And this is why, despite some national polls showing Romney either tied or slightly ahead, the narrative has never held that Obama is behind – due to all of his different paths to 270.”


Quants vs. The Pros

James Fallows notes the diverging outlook between political “experts” who say Mitt Romney’s momentum may carry him to victory and quantitative analysts who insist President Obama is still the solid favorite for re-election.

“We have an exceptionally clear instance of people judging from their experience, their ‘bones,’ their personal instinct, etc that things are going one way… while data… point in the opposite direction.”

“I don’t know who’s right, but I note this as a moment of unusual clarity about two approaches to politics. Among the many things we’ll learn two weeks from now (and in the assessment afterwards) is which of these approaches to political analysis has revealed a profound flaw.”


Obama Wouldn’t Talk to Newspaper on the Record

President Obama spoke to the Des Moines Register yesterday on a phone call which was described as “an incredibly informative exchange of questions, answers and an insightful glimpse into the president’s vision for a second term. He made a genuine and passionate case for our endorsement and for reelection.”

But for some reason the White House declared the conversation “off-the-record.”

The newspaper makes its endorsement on Saturday night.

Update: The Des Moines Register was now allowed to publish the transcript of the Obama interview.


Romney Distances Himself from Mourdock

Mitt Romney distanced himself from Indiana U.S. Senate candidate Richard Mourdock’s (R) suggestion that pregnancy resulting from rape is “something God intended,” according to the Huffington Post.

A new DNC video points out that just yesterday Romney appeared in a new advertisement supporting Mourdock.

First Read: “Even though the Romney camp quickly distanced itself from Mourdock’s remarks, the story could matter to Romney. Why? Because just as Romney is trying to move to the middle — on domestic policy, foreign policy, and social issues — the Mourdock story is a reminder how the conservative bent of this Republican Party has been a drag on Romney.”

See more…


The First Meme President

Ryan Teague Beckwith has an exhaustive history of the memes of the Obama presidency, including the hope poster, Superman, the teleprompter, Spock, the Joker, the Jedi knight and “not bad.”

“Though they’re usually playful, memes can tell us a lot about what people really think about the president. They’ve tracked the hopes projected on him, the difficulties he’s faced in office and the fears of his opponents. And though they are generated and sustained by grassroots Internet users, Obama has played a key role in popularizing many of them.”


White House Told of Terrorist Claim Same Day

Emails show that White House and State Department officials “were advised two hours after attackers assaulted the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya, on September 11 that an Islamic militant group had claimed credit for the attack,” Reuters reports.


Murphy Opens Lead in Connecticut

A new Quinnipiac poll in Connecticut finds Rep. Chris Murphy (D)with a 6-point lead over Linda McMahon (R) in the U.S. Senate race,49% to 43%.

National Journal notes the poll closely mirrors the results of an internal poll the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee released Wednesday shows Murphy up by five points, 46% to 40%.


Warren Leads Brown by Five Points

WBUR poll in Massachusetts finds challenger Elizabeth Warren (D) leading Sen Scott Brown (R) in the U.S. Senate race by five points, 48% to 43%.

Explore posts in the same categories: Candidates, National, Politics

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