POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 10/30

Obama Predicts War in GOP if He’s Re-Elected

President Obama said that the Republican party “would have to overcome an internal war if he were reelected, but expressed hope that the partisan gridlock in Washington could come to an end,” the Huffington Post reports.

Said Obama: “The question’s going to be, how do Republicans react post-election? Because there’s going to be a war going on inside that party. It just hasn’t broken up. It’s been unified in opposition to me.”

Are Polls Missing Cell Phone Users?

Stan Greenberg: ” I’ve seen tracking polls saying that Mitt Romney is either tied or leading in the presidential race, but we think that they are simply wrong. It’s not a conspiracy theory; those other polls are just simply missing a critical segment of President Obama’s coalition: cell phone users. Failing to survey those who don’t have land-lines — who tend to support the president by a significant margin — those polls are blind to the fact that Obama is on track to win re-election on November 6.”

Romney Avoids Late Night TV

The New York Times notes every late-night television producer has been chasing Mitt Romney “for weeks to try to secure a guest appearance, with no success so far. Mr. Romney also has declined invitations from a host of other media outlets who have landed President Obama for interviews, including MTV and NBC News, which was given two days of access to the president during his campaign tour last week.”

“In the waning days of an intensely close election, one campaign has clearly made a calculation that the late-night audience is valuable and worth courting, while the other has maintained late-night silence.”

Romney Avoids Taxes via Loophole Cutting Mormon Donations

Bloomberg: “In 1997, Congress cracked down on a popular tax shelter that allowed rich people to take advantage of the exempt status of charities without actually giving away much money.”

“Individuals who had already set up these vehicles were allowed to keep them. That included Mitt Romney, then the chief executive officer of Bain Capital, who had just established such an arrangement in June 1996.”

“In this instance, Romney used the tax-exempt status of a charity — the Mormon Church, according to a 2007 filing — to defer taxes for more than 15 years. At the same time he is benefitting, the trust will probably leave the church with less than what current law requires.”

Gallup Suspends Tracking Poll

From a statement: “Gallup has suspended polling for its daily tracking as of Monday night and will reassess on a day-to-day basis. The ultimate effect on the overall picture of polling between now and this weekend, including election polling, will depend on what happens as a result of the storm, about which we will have a better understanding of on Tuesday and Wednesday of this week.”

The Politics of a Hurricane

The Economist: “To be brutal, a certain amount of bad weather on election day helps conservatives in every democracy. In crude terms, car-driving conservative retirees still turn out in driving rain, when bus-taking lower-income workers just back from a night shift are more likely to give rain-soaked polls a miss. School closures are a particular problem for low-income families or single mothers scrambling to find childcare. In this case, the weather is supposed to clear up well ahead of election day, but the impact could be felt in the turnout of early voters.”

Final Pre-Election Jobs Report May Be Delayed

The Labor Department has not yet ruled out delaying Friday’s jobs report due to the havoc caused by Hurricane Sandy, the Washington Post reports.

Presidential Race Remains Dead Even Nationally

As the presidential campaign enters its final week, a new Pew Research poll finds President Obama “has failed to regain much of the support he lost in the days following the first presidential debate and the race is now even among likely voters: 47% favor Obama while an identical percentage supports Mitt Romney.”

A new American Research Group poll shows the race tied at 48%.

These results are also similar to what tracking polls currently show.

Latest Swing State Polls

Here are the latest polls from the battleground states:

Colorado: Romney 48%, Obama 47% (American Research Group)

Florida: Romney 50%, Obama 49% (CNN/ORC)

North Carolina: Obama 45%, Romney 45% (Elon University)

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

Nate Silver notes the hurricane hitting the east coast means we’ll likely see “a reduction in the number of polls issued over the coming days… And certainly, any polls in the states that are most in harm’s way, including Virginia, New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland and Pennsylvania, will need to be interpreted with extreme caution.”

Brown Overtakes Warren in Massachusetts

A new Boston Globe poll in Massachusetts shows Sen. Scott Brown (R) with a razor thin lead over Elizabeth Warren (D) in their U.S. Senate race among likely voters, 45% to 43%.

In September, Warren held a five point lead.

However, Brown’s lead evaporates, with 47% for each candidate, when voters who are undecided are asked which candidate they are leaning toward.

Minnesota Is In Play

Former President Bill Clinton is planning to visit Minnesota this week to shore up support for President Obama, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports.

“Minnesota has not been on that swing state list but a Star Tribune Minnesota Poll, published Sunday, shows a newly tight race… The sudden attention comes as both campaigns have started buying advertising time in Minnesota, which had been lacking until last week.”

McCaskill Hits Akin on “Legitimate Rape” Remark

Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) is out with a new ad that includes a clip of challenger Todd Akin’s (R) controversial interview in which he argued that “legitimate rape” rarely causes pregnancy.

See more…

Democrats Hold Edge in Early Voting

Bloomberg: “In two of the most competitive states in the U.S. presidential race — Iowa and Nevada — Democrats are building a significant advantage in early voting.”

“Who has the edge is more muddled in the bigger swing states of Ohio and Florida, while Republicans have a narrow lead in Colorado.”

How Hurricane Sandy Impacts the Campaign

First Read: “One, you’re not going to see the candidates campaign in Virginia or New Hampshire for the rest of the week and perhaps for the rest of the campaign. (They can’t bring their motorcades and Secret Service protection to these areas.) Two, three days from this campaign are essentially going to be erased. (Yes, Romney is hitting three battleground states of Ohio, Iowa, and Wisconsin. And Bill Clinton and Biden are stumping in Florida and Ohio. But how much coverage is that going to receive?) And three, if you’re the president, you do your job. That’s probably why you saw the president — who landed in Florida yesterday — decide to return immediately to the White House today.”

“The only unforced error a campaign can make during this storm is acting TOO political. And the Obama campaign erased their unforced error without having today’s awkward campaign event play out on TV potentially. The person in the real bind right now is Romney. What does he do that doesn’t look overly-political or insensitive? He has no specific job right now.”

Bloomberg: “The October surprise goes by the name Sandy. And unlike many late-breaking developments of U.S. presidential elections past, neither side is certain which candidate, if either, will be helped or hurt.”

Will Third Party Candidates Tilt the Election?

Boston Globe: “They campaign in near anonymity, these third-party contenders who stand no shot at the presidency. Their supporters are castigated for wasting their votes. But don’t write them off just yet. In hotly contested swing states, their presence on the ballot may alter the course of the election.”

Looking Back at a Split Popular and Electoral Vote

Steve Kornacki notes that we all remember that George W. Bush “became president 12 years ago despite receiving 543,816 fewer votes than Al Gore. With an assist from the Supreme Court, Bush narrowly carried Florida, allowing him to eke out the narrowest of victories in the Electoral College, 271-267.”

“What we tend to forget, though, is that pre-election polls forecasted the exact opposite outcome. In the weeks leading up to Election Day, it was Bush who had led in the national horserace and Gore who’d held the edge in the three key swing states – Michigan, Pennsylvania and Florida.”

“In the race’s closing days, Republicans began making noise about launching a pressure campaign to change the votes of electors if Gore were to win the Electoral College while losing the popular vote.”

Latest Tracking Polls

Here are the latest national tracking polls of the presidential race:

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

Politico/George Washington University: Obama 49%, Romney 48%

Public Policy Polling: Romney 49%, Obama 48%

Reuters/Ipsos: Obama 49%, Romney 46%

Campaigns Worry About Hurricane Effect

New York Times: “In the dark of night, when they get what little sleep they get these days, the people running the campaigns for president have more than enough fodder for nightmares. Worse, come daybreak, they realize their worst fears may yet come true.”

“Dancing in their heads are visions of recounts, contested ballots and lawsuits. The possibility that their candidate could win the popular vote yet lose the presidency. Even the outside chance of an Electoral College tie that throws the contest to Congress.”

“Now add to that parade of potential horrors one more: a freakish two-in-one storm that could, if the more dire forecasts prove correct, warp an election two years and $2 billion in the making.”

Politico: “The presidential campaigns are publicly hitting pause on East Coast electioneering as Hurricane Sandy spirals toward Atlantic beaches, but privately political professionals are starting to assess important questions about how it might affect next week’s elections up and down the ballot.”

Activists Focus on Voter Turnout

“In a tight election where voter turnout could be crucial, a new force is sending people door to door to try to get conservatives to the polls,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

“Conservative groups, most notably Americans for Prosperity, are spending millions of dollars to ensure that as many supporters as possible cast a ballot. Their efforts, echoing voter drives by unions and other Democratic-leaning groups, represent a new X-factor in the presidential race. Many of the groups barely existed in 2008 and until now had largely focused their spending on television ads.”

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