Thursday, October 25, 2012

Last Call

So what about the Senate?

A couple of months ago I would have said that the Dems were in serious trouble.  Now?  With less that two weeks to go, it's looking more and more like the Dems will not only keep the Senate, but actually pick up a number of seats.  Of course, to the Washington Post, that means that the races are "essentially tied" and that "Republicans are very optimistic."

In the battle for control of the U.S. Senate, there are now at least eight critical contests in which polling shows essentially a dead heat, encouraging Republicans’ hopes that they may yet snag the chamber, which very recently seemed beyond their reach.

Some of the GOP boost is coming from the top of the ticket in the form of Mitt Romney, whose recent surge in the polls seems to be helping Republican candidates across the country.

Democrats still have an edge in their effort to keep control of the Senate, and they may have been helped Tuesday when Republican candidate Richard Mourdock in Indiana suggested that pregnancies resulting from rape are God’s will, possibly damaging his chances to succeed Sen. Richard G. Lugar (R).

But both parties agree that many of the most important races have become more competitive in recent days, and their outcomes harder to predict.

Really?  Let's take a look at the WaPo's own predictionsRight now it has the Dems getting to 50, with 6 toss-ups.  That means in order for the Republicans to get control, they would have to win all six toss-up races and Romney would have to win the White House, making Paul Ryan the tiebreaker.  How is that in any way "optimistic"?

There's no evidence that Romney's surge, being based on Obama's shortcomings in the first debate, had any effect on the Senate races at all.

I don't see it happening.  Even the guys at Power Line, who all but have crowned Romney an easy win in November, are not seeing the GOP takeover of the Senate.

I still say the Dems will pick up a couple of seats.  They could pick up 4, maybe even 5.  It's just as likely as the GOP picking up the six they would need, right?

Pretty Flight For Some White Guys

The latest Washington Post/ABC News poll has some pretty grim crosstab news for the Obama campaign:  Mitt Romney has a massive 33-point lead among white male voters.

The clearest loss for the president is among white men. In 2008, Obama lost white men by 16 points, according to the exit poll. This year, Obama trails Romney double that margin — 33 points — larger than any deficit for a Democratic candidate since Ronald Reagan’s 1984 landslide win over Walter Mondale.

After splitting their votes 47 percent for Obama and 49 percent for McCain in 2008, whites who identify as political independents now favor Romney over Obama, 59 to 38 percent. Nearly half of all of those who supported Obama in 2008 but Romney in 2012 are white independents. (Overall, whites make up more than 90 percent of “switchers.”)

A key element of Romney’s advantage among all whites is that by 55 to 39 percent, more white voters say he, not Obama understands the economic problems people in this country are having. Among whites without college degrees, Romney is up 58 to 35 percent on this score, expanding what was a narrow gap just a few weeks ago. This advantage comes even as 44 percent of white voters say Romney, as president, would do more to favor the wealthy; 38 percent say he would do more to for the middle class.

Do you see now why the Romney campaign has been blaring the race air horns for the last five months, portraying the President as a con artist and a thug who cares more about minorities and women than white men?

Romney's been able to come in behind the President and sell himself as the candidate of middle-class white male America.  And guess what?  Still enough middle-class white male voters to give Romney the win.  He's just credible enough to be a viable alternative to the President, and that's all these switcher voters need.

Having said that, the electoral college math still favors the President.

The way the term “momentum” is applied in practice by the news media, however, it usually refers only to the first part of the clause — meaning simply that a candidate has been gaining ground in the polls, whether or not he might continue to do so. (I’ve used this phrasing plenty of times myself, so I have no real basis to complain about it.)

But there are other times when the notion of momentum is behind the curve — as it probably now is if applied to Mitt Romney’s polling.

Mr. Romney clearly gained ground in the polls in the week or two after the Denver debate, putting himself in a much stronger overall position in the race. However, it seems that he is no longer doing so.

If Romney is winning states like Alabama and Kentucky by 25 points instead of 15, it's not going to make a damn bit of difference in the electoral math unless there's gain in states like Ohio, Virginia and Wisconsin.  And right now, the President is continuing to hold on to those states by 3-5 points.

It's going to be a close race.  But electorally, I still see the President winning.

Grinding Out The Ground Game

The Atlantic's Molly Ball foresees an election so close that the President's Obama For America turnout operation could very well be the difference between a win and a loss.

Four years ago, Barack Obama built the largest grassroots organization in the history of American politics. After the election, he never stopped building, and the current operation, six years in the making, makes 2008 look like "amateur ball," in the words of Obama's national field director Jeremy Bird. Republicans insist they, too, have come a long way in the last four years. But despite the GOP's spin to the contrary, there's little reason to believe Romney commands anything comparable to Obama's ground operation.

And this time, Obama may actually need it.

Though he trounced John McCain organizationally four years ago, the irony was that Obama didn't really need his sophisticated field organization. Riding a wave of voter enthusiasm and Bush fatigue, and crushing McCain with fundraising and TV ad spending, Obama almost certainly would have won the 2008 election anyway. The political operative's rule of thumb is that organization can increase your share of the vote by two percentage points; Obama won the national popular vote by seven points. One academic study looked at Obama's edge in field offices and concluded they probably put a couple of extra states in his column, but he would have won without them.

This year is different. The polls are so close that a lively partisan meta-fight has broken out over which side actually has the upper hand going into the final stretch, with Romney claiming momentum is on his side, while Obama clings to slim leads in enough swing states to take the Electoral College. In an election that's tied in the polls going down to the wire, Obama's ground game could be crucial.

In the closing days of the race, "we have two jobs," Obama campaign manager Jim Messina said Tuesday. "One, to persuade the undecideds, and two, to turn our voters out." The former is the job of the president and his TV and other media ads. As for the latter, "That's the grassroots operation we've been building for the last 18 months." 

I've said all along that this election will come down to turnout, turnout, turnout.  Molly Ball agrees.  I'm putting my money on OFA making the difference in Ohio, Virginia and Colorado to get the win.

The Weirdest Thing To Come Out Of Maine Since Stephen King

SKOWHEGAN, Maine — A 10-year-old girl charged in the death of an infant in Maine is due in court.
The youngster is scheduled for her initial court appearance Monday in District Court in Skowhegan on a juvenile manslaughter charge.
The girl is charged in the July 8 death of 3-month-old Brooklyn Foss-Greenaway, who was staying overnight in the girl's home in Fairfield in the care of the girl's mother.
The state hasn't released the cause of death but Brooklyn's mother was told that her daughter had ingested medication and had been suffocated.
It would seem to be a no-brainer that she was the youngest to face such charges.  But she is only the youngest in thirty years, which makes me wonder what the hell is in the water in Maine.

Woman Fakes Out Cops By Saying Kid Locked In Car

Locked out of her car earlier this month, Brenda Crosdale, 49, called 911 and claimed that an infant was trapped in the vehicle.
But when a sheriff’s deputy responded to a “priority one lockout” at Crosdale’s Florida home at around 9 AM on October 6, he “saw no child” inside vehicles parked in the driveway.
When Deputy Michael Cavanaugh asked a male on scene about the whereabouts of the infant, the man replied, “Brenda only said that to get you guys here quicker.”
We have people who can't figure out kids left in cars is a deadly situation, and people who make up kids to get a faster police response.  I would like to beat them with the same ball bat.

The Abdication Of Cowards

Nick Gillespie and his team at Reason magazine are happy to let you know that their glibertarian purity pity party means they are A) better, more principled people than the rest of us suckers, and B) they're not losing an ounce of sleep over this election either.  By my count, there's:

  • 19 votes for Gary Johnson,
  • 8 people not voting at all, and
  • 1 "none of your business".

Not a one of them believes their vote will count or matter in the least in the larger scheme of things, or that voting will basically ever matter in their lifetimes, because Obama and Romney are essentially the same, as all candidates have been the same since forever and why do you sheeple vote, anyway?  They're all for legalization of pot however.

On the other hand, it's not like any of the folks at Reason have to worry about any of the crazy nonsense the GOP will pull on women, minorities, the LGBT community or the poor should they get into power.

All of them seem to think Romney would be a better choice than Obama for some reason, however.  I wonder why that is.

Direct To Cable Derangement

At least one cable TV company covering the important swing states of Pennsylvania and Ohio is offering the odious Dinesh D'Souza smear job movie on the President for free to its customers, just weeks after it was in theaters.

A major cable provider is offering a notorious anti-Obama movie to all its subscribers for free. The company, Armstrong Cable, operates in six states including Pennsylvania and the critical swing state of Ohio. The move comes just days after the Armstrong’s Chairman of the Board donated tens of thousands of dollars to the Romney campaign and the Republican National Committee.

The film, “2016: Obama’s America,” has been widely panned by fact checkers. Written and narrated by conservative author Dinesh D’Souza, it claims Obama’s “worldview…was largely shaped by the anti-colonalist, anti-white and anti-Christian politics of Obama’s supposedly radical Kenyan father,” who was largely absent from his life. The point of the movie, according to a review in the Washington Post, is to convince viewers “that Obama hates America.” It was panned as “fear-mongering of the worst kind.”

Armstrong recently started offering the movie for free, on demand, to all of its subscribers

Now gosh, why would a cable TV company be giving away  anti-Obama propaganda here for free right now in places like Pennsylvania and Ohio?  I certainly can't think of a reason a cable TV company would be so generous, do you?

What?  Trying to influence swing state voters before the election with a awful, hate-filled hatchet job on the President for no charge?  Can't imagine why any conservatives would choose to do that, huh.


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