Independents in swing states key to a potential Romney win

This morning we ran through the current electoral vote count and what states were currently in play for both candidates. Some may be wondering what factors are driving the race right as Mitt Romney looks to be making substantial gains in swing states. Perhaps the most important voting bloc helping Romney in these important states is independents, as Christian Heinze notes over at The Hill:

Below, I’ve listed polls showing where the race is with indies, currently (based on polls where pollsters have made partisan breakdowns available).

a. Colorado = Obama won by 10% with indies in 2008.

Most recent polls: Romney +4%, Obama +1%, Romney +4%

b. Florida = Obama won by 9% with indies in 2008.

Electoral Vote: Race continues to tighten as Romney gains in key states


As President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney finish preparations for this evening’s debate, which will focus on foreign policy, it’s clear to both campaigns that the election is on the line and there is no room for error.

The momentum has stayed with Romney over the last several days, despite a stronger showing from Obama in the most recent debate. Post-debate polling indicated, however, that Romney sounded better than Obama on economic issues, the issue on the minds of most voters as they head to the polls.

Weeks ago, it looked like Obama was crusing to re-election. Just two weeks ago, he was easily leading Romney in the Electoral College, 332-206 (this is roughly where it has stayed since we started tracking in August). But that lead began to tighten as polls started to reflect the results of the first debate, which Romney handily won. Colorado and Florida drifted over into Romney’s camp, narrowing the Electoral College to 294-244.

By last week, Romney had taken a slight lead in Virginia, bringing the Electoral College to 281-257. As noted at the time, all that was standing in the way of a win for Romney, other than time, was Ohio, where Obama has maintained a small lead.

Electoral Vote: All eyes are on Ohio

It’s unclear what impact Tuesday night’s presidential debate will have on the race, though one would imagine that the impact will be minimal. There’s still not much margin for error in the race as a major gaffe could swing the election in one direction or the other.

But what we’re seeing now is a trend toward Mitt Romney in some crucial swing states, and perhaps an admission from President Barack Obama’s campaign that they may be about to surrender some ground, according to the National Journal:

What also became clear after the dust began to settle from the rumble on Long Island was the electoral map has narrowed and Obama’s team, while conceding nothing publicly, is circling the wagons around Ohio, Iowa, New Hampshire, and Nevada. Plouffe said that Obama remains strong in all four states, but he would not discuss the specifics of internal polling or voter-contact analytics, saying only that Obama has “significant leads” in all four places.

It is uncharacteristic of Team Obama to concede any terrain, but Plouffe offered no such assurances about Obama’s position in North Carolina, Virginia, or Florida. Romney advisers have seen big gains in all three states and now consider wins likely, although not guaranteed, in all three. They are similarly upbeat about prospects in Colorado but not confident enough to predict victory. That Plouffe left Colorado off his list of states where Obama’s leading and can withstand a Romney surge might be telling.

American Crossroads launches $11 million push in swing states

Barack Obama

With the election now under three weeks away, outside groups are pouring money into swing states that could tip the presidential election. American Crossroads, a “super PAC” co-founded by Karl Rove which has already spent millions in toss-up Senate races, has launched an $11 million ad buy in eight swing states — including Colorado, Florida, Ohio, and Virginia, hoping to help defeat President Barack Obama’s bid for re-election.

The ad kicks off with President Obama, shown on a television inside a kitchen, talking, but quickly fades into a larger shot of a woman who begins asking questions about the lack of jobs, more national debt, and diminished family income under his administration:

Round 2: Obama, Romney to square off tonight

Obama and Romney debate

President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney will tonight square off for the second time. This debate, hosted by Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York and moderated by CNN’s Candy Crowley, who has been a source of concern for both campaigns, will be a townhall setting, where theoretically on-the-fence voters will be able to ask Obama and Romney questions about domestic and foreign policy.

Since the last debate, Obama has seen his numbers drop. Romney has managed to show momentum in some swing states, but he hasn’t been able to best Obama in Ohio or Virginia, two essential states to the GOP ticket. As of this morning, the Electoral College shows Obama up, 294-244.

Electoral Vote: Romney surges in swing state polls

On Monday, Mitt Romney was down in the electoral vote count by 126 votes, but new polls have been reported out of all important swing states that have completely turned the race for the White House on its head.

It may just be a blip thanks to his strong performance last week — what Gallup says is biggest debate win ever, but if you’re working for President Obama right now, you’re no doubt in a panic. According to the latest Real Clear Politics averages out of swing states, Romney now holds slight leads in Colorado and Florida. He’s down by less than a point in Ohio and Virginia.

There are also reports that Romney’s campaign has closed the early voter gap in a few important states and, playing to his advantage, polling out of swing states shows that Republicans are more enthusiastic than Democrats.

Unemployment up in swing states

While we have gotten off on another distraction thanks to Todd Akin’s comments about abortion and rape, swing state voters may wish the national focus of the election was back on the economy. According to recent jobs numbers, the unemployment rate went up in 44 states, including many that will play a factor in determining the presidential race:

The jobless rate climbed in July in nine of 10 battleground states that could play a pivotal role in the presidential election, even though employers added workers in most of them.

The unemployment rates rose in Iowa, Florida, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, and Virginia, according to Labor Department data released Friday. The rate also increased very slightly, in Colorado and North Carolina, and held steady in Ohio, ending 11 months of declines there, the data show.

Nevada’s 12% unemployment was highest among all 50 states. Michigan’s rate hit 9% for the first time since January, and Florida’s rate, now at 8.8%, increased for the first time in more than a year.

The state figures largely tracked the national jobless rate, which ticked up to 8.3% in July from 8.2% in June.

Separately, Gallup notes that 56% of voters in swing states say they are not better off than they were four years ago. Only 40% say they are better off. The number of voters who say they aren’t better off is up slightly from when the same question was asked back in January. Who do they blame? Twenty percent point their finger at President Barack Obama, while only 7% blame his predecessor, George W. Bush.

Sandra Fluke is back

Sandra Fluke

Back at the end of February and early March, Sandra Fluke came to fame thanks to very stupid comments by conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh. Fluke appeared before a panel of Democrats who sit on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. During her testimony, Fluke explained that college women cannot afford the cost of contraceptives, which she said can cost upward of $3,000 over the course of a few years and that it justifies mandates in private health insurance plans.

After Limbaugh’s comments, in which he called her a “slut” and a “prostitute,” President Barack Obama’s campaign and Democrats in Congress began playing up the so-called “war on women,” one of the more annoying, untruthful memes we’ve heard this year.

The underlying problem with Fluke’s comments is that, in her mind, someone should be forced to subsidize the behavior of others. While basking in the sun of her notoriety, Jacob Sullum explained easier options for those that couldn’t afford expensive birth control products, such as buying condoms, which are relative inexpensive, or abstinence. Sullum also noted the holes in Fluke argument, explaining, “By the same logic, religious freedom requires kosher food subsidies, freedom of speech requires taxpayer-funded computers, and the right to keep and bear arms requires government-supplied guns.”

Lautenberg seeks to ban online ammo sales


Most who follow gun laws know that Frank Lautenberg isn’t exactly a friend of the Second Amendment.  For those who don’t know this, let this little tidbit educate you on Lautenberg and his latest efforts:

Democratic Sen. Frank Lautenberg on Monday continued his lead role in advancing gun control legislation in the wake of the Aurora, Colo. mass shooting by introducing a bill to ban the online sale of ammunition.

“If someone wants to purchase deadly ammunition, they should have to come face-to-face with the seller,” Lautenberg stated in his announcement. ”It’s one thing to buy a pair of shoes online, but it should take more than a click of the mouse to amass thousands of rounds of ammunition.”

“The Stop Online Ammunition Sales Act” asserts the following: ammunition will only be sold by licensed dealers; buyers who are not licensed dealers will be required to present photo identification; and licensed dealers must maintain records of ammunition sales and report to officials the sale of more than 1,000 rounds to an unlicensed person. Democratic Rep. Carolyn McCarthy of New York, whose husband was killed and son severely injured in the 1993 Long Island Rail Road mass shooting, has signed on to publicly support the bill.

Lautenberg’s office noted Monday that the shooter who killed 12 and injured 58 in the July 20 attack at the Colorado movie theater purchased upwards of 6,000 rounds of ammunition “anonymously on the internet.”

Jon Stewart slams Brian Ross for lazy reporting

Aurora shooting

In the wake of the shooting last week in Aurora, Colorado, Tea Party groups are understandably upset that Brian Ross, an investigative reporter at ABC News, injected movement into news as Americans were still trying to figure out what exactly had happened. This only lends justification to the view of many on the right that the media is stacked against them and is, at least in this case, literally looking for any excuse to make them look bad; even if it’s just conjecture.

And keep in mind that it wasn’t just in this particular instance where the Tea Party has been blamed for murder. As the Washington Examiner notes, there are more recent incidences of the media jumping to conclusions before the dust had cleared.

But the Tea Party movement did find an unlikely defender. On Monday, Jon Stewart, host of Comedy Central’s The Daily Show, ripped ABC News a new one, equating what Ross did to “I’m feeling ‘lazy’ button” and calling for his suspension:

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