Monday, May 7, 2012

Last Call

The latest USA Today swing states poll shows some pretty sobering news for Camp Romney.  As expected with Santorum and Gingrich now out, support for Romney has increased among the GOP.  The bad news?  It brought the enthusiasm gap back along with it, and unlike 2010, the gap is massively favoring the Democrats.

The president and the former Massachusetts governor start their head-to-head contest essentially even among registered voters — Obama 47%, Romney 45% — in the dozen battleground states likely to determine the election's outcome. That's closer than the lead of 9 percentage points for Obama in the Swing States survey in late March.

But the poll also finds a reversal in what has been a key GOP asset in the five previous battleground surveys taken since last fall: an edge in enthusiasm among voters. For the first time, Democrats are more likely than Republicans to say they are extremely or very enthusiastic about voting — a shift from a 14-percentage-point GOP advantage at the end of last year to an 11-point deficit now.

That drop is driven by Republicans who describe themselves as moderate or liberal, about a third of the party, even though the candidate widely viewed as the most moderate in the GOP primary field is poised to be nominated. Just 7% of moderate and liberal Republicans now say they are extremely enthusiastic, down from 24% in January and compared with 34% of conservative Republicans who feel that way.

A 25-point flip in the enthusiasm gap in roughly five months in the swing states that will determine this election?  That's devastating news for the GOP and Romney.  There's more:

Obama has some advantages.

By a yawning 27 points, those surveyed describe Obama as more likable than Romney — not a frivolous asset. The candidate viewed as more likable has prevailed in every election since 1980. Even among Romney's supporters, one in four call Obama more likable.

By 10 points, voters say Obama is more likely to care about the needs of people like themselves. By 7 points, they call Obama a stronger and more decisive leader.

"No president can get everything done in four years," says LaTonya McCants, 44, a nursing assistant from Cleveland and an enthusiastic Obama backer. "He did make some good changes, and I feel he should get another four years" to finish the job.

Times may be tough, but she believes Obama is on her side. "He's for everybody," McCants says. Who does Romney care about? "Probably the business people," she says.

You want to know where that enthusiasm gap is coming from?  Romney should look in a mirror.

Tokyo Twister Kills One

It looks like we aren't the only ones having a savage tornado season so far.

TOKYO - A tornado tore through a city northeast of Japan's capital on Sunday, killing one person, injuring dozens of others and destroying scores of houses.
Firefighters and medical teams rushed to the area after the tornado struck Tsukuba city, 60 kilometres (40 miles) from Tokyo. The city is a science centre, with dozens of research and academic institutes, but the tornado appeared to be mostly in residential areas.
A 14-year-old boy died after being injured by the storm, Tsukuba Medical Center said.
On a (mostly) unrelated note, here is a far older video that still amazes me... a tornado in broad daylight, striking a soccer game.

AT&T Keeps Raking In The Good Publicity

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A former Kansas City woman who converted to Islam in 2005 said she was harassed for years at AT&T, and that the abuse boiled over in 2008 when her boss snatched her head scarf and exposed her hair.
A Jackson County jury on Thursday awarded Susann Bashir $5 million in punitive damages in her discrimination lawsuit, along with $120,000 in lost wages and other actual damages.
The Kansas City Star ( ) reported Saturday the award appears to be the largest jury verdict for a workplace discrimination case in Missouri history.
This sort of thing doesn't go on, and go on for years, without the actual assistance of the business.  Missouri caps what Bashir will actually collect (yay for protecting those people versus businesses, am I right??) but it sets a standard in a state that often refuses to allow people religious or personal freedom.

Her boss snatched her head scarf off of her head.  Not only is that a religious issue, but I'm pretty damn sure it's beyond acceptable behavior even beyond the religious angle.

Maybe this is why we're having a hard time teaching kids that there is a better way than bullying.  Ya think?

The Best Three Minutes Of The Day

Oh please, PLEASE watch this video.  It has two of my favorite actresses telling Republicans what they want to hear (maybe hoping they will go away).

Get in my vagina.

I watched it, and the amusement grew.  Such delicate sarcasm, what brilliant directing.  And for you perverts, a chance to hear Kate Beckinsale invite you into her... well, you know.

I love Funny Or Die anyway, but this cements our lifelong friendship.

So Long, Goober. We Will Miss You.

Sigh.  I grew up with this man in our living rooms.  My dad loved everything Andy Griffith, and now that you mention it, Hee Haw as well.  Not only was he a great character actor, but by all accounts George Lindsey was a good, kind man.  The icons are leaving us, and I may sound like an old fart when I say this, but there are few classics to take their place.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — George Lindsey, who made a TV career as a grinning service station attendant named Goober on "The Andy Griffith Show" and "Hee Haw," has died. He was 83.
The Marshall-Donnelly-Combs Funeral Home in Nashville said Lindsay died early Sunday morning after a brief illness.
Lindsey was the beanie-wearing Goober on "The Andy Griffith Show" from 1964 to 1968 and its successor, "Mayberry RFD," from 1968 to 1971. He played the same jovial character on "Hee Haw" from 1971 until it went out of production in 1993.
"At that time, we were the best acting ensemble on TV," Lindsey once told an interviewer. "The scripts were terrific. Andy is the best script constructionist I've ever been involved with. And you have to lift your acting level up to his; he's awfully good."
In a statement released through the funeral home, Griffith said, "George Lindsey was my friend. I had great respect for his talent and his human spirit. In recent years, we spoke often by telephone. Our last conversation was a few days ago ... I am happy to say that as we found ourselves in our eighties, we were not afraid to say, 'I love you.' That was the last thing George and I had to say to each other. 'I love you.'"

Unleash Joe Biden, Gay Marriage Edition

Vice-President Joe Biden's major duties in the Obama administration continues to consist mainly of being a combination trial balloon and lightning rod.

In an appearance on Meet the Press Sunday, Vice President Joe Biden said he is “absolutely comfortable with the fact that men marrying men, women marrying women.” But, he added, “The President sets the policy.” 

Biden’s comments mean he has gone further than President Obama in expressing support for marriage equality. 

“I think Will and Grace probably did more to educate the American public than almost anything anybody’s ever done so far,” Biden said Sunday. 

Two things I learned from Will and Grace:  Debra Messing has big feet, and people in New York City drink constantly.  But in all seriousness this is going to put the entire gay marriage issue on the map just as North Carolina votes on Amendment 1 tomorrow to end civil unions and domestic partnerships as well as end same-sex marriage.

It's an interesting play.  We'll see how the President responds, as he will be attacked by both the left and the right.

Dressed To The Nines

The New York Times figures the entire presidential campaign will come down to nine of the states the President won in 2008 that are up for grabs in 2012.

The nine — Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin — offer both parties reasons for hope, and concern. It is no coincidence that Mr. Obama chose two of them, Ohio and Virginia, to hold his first official re-election rallies on Saturday. 

“This is a make-or-break moment for the middle class,” Mr. Obama said at Ohio State University in Columbus. 

While the performance of the national economy will help shape the mood of the country and set the tone of each campaign, the situation on the ground in each of the nine states could be pivotal as well.
It would be hard to argue that these states are better off now than they were four years ago, given that they have yet to recover the jobs they lost. Often, that makes a compelling argument for a challenger trying to unseat an incumbent. 

But political scientists have found that past elections have been more influenced by the changes in the economy in the year or two before the election. And a range of economic data provided by Moody’s Analytics shows that all nine states are rebounding and that most now have unemployment rates below the national average. If voters in those states begin to feel the improvement by the fall and the economy does not take a turn for the worse, it could aid the president’s efforts to hold on to enough of them to win. 

Seems to me that the Times is making the case this race is wide open.  It's not.  The Real Clear Politics averages map shows right now President Obama needing only a couple of tossup states, or really just one: Ohio or Florida, to win outright with a 253-171 lead of Mitt Romney.  Romney would have to win at least 7 of 9 tossups in this scenario and cannot lose either Ohio or Florida or it's over.  In other words, the reality here is that Romney has a major uphill battle right now.

But the Times model ignores North Carolina, another state that went for President Obama (barely) and doesn't mention it as a toss-up.  It also takes Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Nevada out of President Obama's column, and ignores perennial swing state Missouri which barely went for McCain.  If we make those changes and keep NC for Obama and give Missouri to Romney, it's still a 232-180 race, but Romney has more options, and in that scenario Pennsylvania and Florida become far more important than Ohio.  It's still tough for Romney to win, but not nearly as tough as the truth.

In other words, the Times is selling you a horse race where Romney remains extremely competitive.  Our liberal media, folks.


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