POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 11/1

Is the Republican Brand Keeping Romney Down?

Tom Holbrook: “As I pointed out at the end of August, I see political and economic context of the election as favoring Mitt Romney, though not overwhelmingly so. In fact, I think that Romney’s gains after the first debate partly reflected a dissatisfied electorate responding to a campaign event that pushed them in the ‘right’ direction. But one thing I find interesting is that despite a reversal of fortunes in the last few weeks, there seems to be a clear floor below which Obama’s support will not fall, and Mitt Romney has not been able to do any better than draw even or periodically take a very narrow lead.”

“One thing that may be benefiting Obama could have little to do with the standard indicators of national conditions and may have even less to do with either of the candidates or their campaigns. Simply put, I think a case can be made that the Republican brand name is acting as a drag on Mitt Romney’s candidacy.”

Latest Swing State Polls

Here are the latest polls from the battleground states:

Colorado: Obama 50%, Romney 47% (We Ask America)

Colorado: Romney 46%, Obama 45% (Reuters/Ipsos)

Ohio: Obama 50%, Romney 45% (Quinnipiac)

Ohio: Obama 50%, Romney 45% (Public Policy Polling)

Ohio: Obama 48%, Romney 46% (University of Cincinnati)

Ohio: Obama 48%, Romney 45% (Reuters/Ipsos)

Florida: Obama 48%, Romney 47% (Quinnipiac)

Florida: Romney 50%, Obama 47% (Gravis)

Florida: Romney 50%, Obama 49% (We Ask America)

Florida: Obama 47%, Romney 47% (Reuters/Ipsos)

Iowa: Obama 50%, Romney 45% (Public Policy Polling)

Iowa: Romney 45%, Obama 44% (University of Iowa)

Iowa: Obama 49%, Romney 47% (We Ask America)

Michigan: Obama 48%, Romney 45% (Detroit News)

Michigan: Obama 48%, Romney 42% (EPIC-MRA)

North Carolina: Obama 49%, Romney 49% (Public Policy Polling)

Pennsylvania: Obama 48%, Romney 44% (Franklin and Marshall)

Virginia: Obama 49%, Romney 47% (Quinnipiac)

Virginia: Romney 49%, Obama 44% (Roanoke)

Virginia: Obama 48%, Romney 46% (Reuters/Ipsos)

Wisconsin: Obama 51%, Romney 46% (Public Policy Polling)

Wisconsin: Obama 51%, Romney 43% (Marquette Law)

Obama Gets Positive Marks for Storm Response

Though likely voters give broadly positive ratings to President Obama’s response to the devastating hurricane, the latest ABC News/Washington Post tracking poll finds essentially no change: Likely voters are back to exactly an even split in preferences, 49% to 49%, between Obama and Mitt Romney – within a point or two of where the race has been all along.

Key finding: 78% rate Obama’s response to the hurricane positively (as excellent or good), while just 8% see it negatively.

A new Fox News poll also shows the race tied at 46%.

However, a new National Journal poll shows Obama surging into a five point lead, 50% to 45%.

The Most Subtle Campaign Ad Ever

Richard Tisei (R), who is challenging Rep. John Tierney (D-MA) for a U.S. House seat, has released a new ad that is just video of the waves along the Massachusetts coast.

See more…

Poll Finds No Ground Game Advantage

A new Pew Research survey finds the presidential candidates are running about even when it comes to the ground game.

“Voters nationally, as well those in the closely contested battleground states, report being contacted at about the same rates by each of the campaigns. And with a fifth of likely voters reporting already having cast their ballots, neither Barack Obama nor Mitt Romney has a clear advantage among early voters. This is in sharp contrast to early voting at this point four years ago, which favored Obama by a wide margin.”

Obama Gives Up on Arizona

Obama campaign manager Jim Messina shut the door on that possibility that they would win Arizona, though he called it an “enticing prospect,” reports Politico.

Said Messina: “Our map is set, unlike the Romney campaign, which is flailing, trying to make the map different than it is. I believe on the ground we continue to show real enthusiasm to get to 270 electoral votes in all these battleground states. We understand the several maps we need to get there.”

Majority Think Obama Will Win

A new Gallup poll finds a majority of Americans continue to believe that President Obama will win re-election Tuesday over Mitt Romney, by 54% to 34%.

Romney’s Window is Closing

Nate Cohn: “Absent a possible but unlikely last-minute shift in the polls between now and Election Day, Romney’s chances will come down to the low but existent risk that the polls are and have been completely wrong. As Senators Harry Reid and Michael Bennet can attest, the polls have been wrong before and could be wrong again. But the Romney campaign’s revival of August’s welfare attack and their recent Jeep outsourcing antics suggest that Boston’s numbers don’t show something too different, while Chicago has unwaveringly maintained that they hold a modest and clear lead in Ohio. With Obama near 49 percent and just six days to go before the polls close, Romney’s window for a comeback is getting vanishingly narrow.”

Axelrod Bets His Mustache

David Axelrod is confident that president Obama’s reelection chances aren’t in danger in Michigan, Minnesota or Pennsylvania, despite tightening polls there, the Washington Postreports.

Said Axelrod: “I will come on ‘Morning Joe,’ and I will shave off my mustache of 40 years if we lose any of those three states.”

Two Views of the Electoral Map

With less than a week to go, Jonathan Martin notes the two presidential campaigns have two very different perspectives of the election.

“The Mitt Romney narrative: The electoral map is expanding and we are on the march. Minnesota and Pennsylvania — blue states that neither campaign had been paying attention to — are tightening and if such patterns hold up, we could win a smashing victory with over 300 electoral votes.”

“The Barack Obama side: There they go again. This is 2008 in replay mode, when John McCain had no path to 270 electoral votes and made a desperate gambit to try and put Pennsylvania in play. Romney needs to project Big Mo to paper over his struggles in the core battleground states. Nice head fake Mitt — but we don’t buy it.”

Florida Republican Says Democrats Have Early Turnout Edge

A memo obtained by NewsChannel5 from a Republican adviser in West Palm Beach, Florida says that the Democratic turnout effort is “cleaning our clock.”

The memo says, “The early and absentee turnout is starting to look more troubling.”

Blaming Hurricane Sandy

First Read: “Given how close this election is, it won’t be surprising if the losing side ends up blaming Sandy, whether it’s fair or not. You could argue that Sandy has both elevated the president and stopped the momentum narrative for Romney. But you could also contend that Sandy has kept the president off the campaign trail for at least three days. Just like Kerry partisans blamed bin Laden video in ’04, Bush folks blamed the DUI story in ’00 and McCain folks blamed Lehman collapse in ’08, Sandy will get the blame from the losing side, period.”

The Making of Romney’s Storm Relief Event

McCay Coppins reports the last-minute decision by Romney high command to suspend politics while Hurricane Sandy raged sent aides in Ohio scrambling to convert a scheduled victory rally into an apolitical “storm relief event.”

“But the last-minute nature of the call for donations left some in the campaign concerned that they would end up with an empty truck. So the night before the event, campaign aides went to a local Wal Mart and spent $5,000 on granola bars, canned food, and diapers to put on display while they waited for donations to come in, according to one staffer. (The campaign confirmed that it ‘did donate supplies to the relief effort,’ but would not specify how much it spent.)”

Southern Swing States Move Back to Toss Ups

Charlie Cook notes that Florida, North Carolina and Virginia, “which once looked like they were slipping more into the Romney orbit, have pulled back to essentially even-money contests.”

The Fix: “That conventional wisdom has led many… to conclude that Ohio is now the single most important state in the country when it comes to Mitt Romney’s electoral math. But, without Florida and Virginia, Romney may never get to the point, electorally speaking, where Ohio becomes makes or break.”

Storm Provides Obama with Commander-in-Chief Moment

Washington Post: “For a day at least, Hurricane Sandy appears to have done for President Obama what he has not been able to do for himself.”

“In a campaign notable mostly for its negativity, the historic storm provided Obama with a commander-in-chief moment a week before Election Day. The president gained a rare moment of bipartisan praise, with Democratic and Republican governors alike commending the performance of the federal government. And the storm put on pause, for now, the sense that rival Mitt Romney had all the momentum in the home stretch.”

AP: “The politics of Obama’s storm response are not overt. The point is to go the other direction and just be presidential. So gone, for three days and counting, are the rallies in which Obama expressly asks people to re-elect him. Instead, voters see images of Obama in charge in the Situation Room, or addressing the country from the White House briefing room, or assuring the hurting while visiting the American Red Cross that ‘America is with you.’ To the independent and undecided voters sick of the mess in Washington, Obama appears bipartisan and positively unconcerned about his own political fate.”

Romney Refuses to Answer Questions About FEMA

Mitt Romney refused to answer questions about how he would handle the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), after a Tuesday “storm relief” event in Ohio for Hurricane Sandy, the Huffington Post reports.

From the Romney pool report: “TV pool asked Romney at least five times whether he would eliminate FEMA as president/what he would do with FEMA. He ignored the qs but they are audible on cam. The music stopped at points and the qs would have been audible to him.”

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