Archive for September, 2012

Romney Campaign Still Upbeat Despite New Polls

MittMitt Romney’s presidential campaign sought Monday to reassure donors and supporters in a “State of the Race” bulletin after polling data showed a convention bounce for Barack Obama.

“Don’t get too worked up about the latest polling. While some voters will feel a bit of a sugar-high from the conventions, the basic structure of the race has not changed significantly,” said Romney campaign pollster Neil Newhouse.

In his “State of the Race” memo, Newhouse argues that there are three sets of numbers that will ultimately affect the way people will vote in November: unemployment trends, how many Americans are looking for work, and how many are on food stamps.

“President Obama is the only president in modern American history to stand before the American people asking for re-election with this many Americans struggling to find work,” Newhouse writes. “The key numbers in this election are the 43 straight months of 8% or higher unemployment, the 23 million Americans struggling to find work, and the 47 million Americans who are on food stamps.” “The reality of the Obama economy will reassert itself as the ultimate downfall of the Obama presidency, and Mitt Romney will win this race.”

Following last week’s Democratic convention in North Carolina, a series of national polls showed Obama edging ahead of his Republican rival and a survey in the must-win swing state of Ohio put him five points clear.

Newhouse, however, argued that Romney was still the preferred candidate on the crucial issue of the economy and that all the signs pointed to a tight race in which the former Massachusetts governor had a money advantage.

The message was seen as an attempt to shore up support for the Republican candidate after some disappointing polls and after Obama outraised Romney in August for the first time in four months.

Newhouse said Romney’s supporters were more enthusiastic and that the campaign had crossed a 20 million volunteer threshold as they deploy an all-out “Ground Game” across the key states in the November 6 election.

“Mitt Romney will be the next president,” he said. “The outcome of this race will ultimately be determined in favor of governor Romney because he has the better leadership skills, the better record, and the better vision for where he wants to take the country.

“In short, the combination of having the superior candidate, being in a margin-of-error race with an incumbent president, having a cash advantage, and having an unprecedented grassroots effort and a winning message on the economy ensure that Americans will make a change in leadership in Washington on November 6.”

He results though may not be as bad as they suggest, The Gallup seven day tracking poll of 3050 registered voters, that has a margin of error of 2.0 percent, samples Democrats by about a 8 percent margin based on calculations from the reported data. If the data is properly weighted for the partisan makeup of the electorate, the data from this poll unskewed would show a Romney lead of 49 percent to 44. By skewing the poll, it gives Obama a five point lead instead of showing Romney leading by the same total.

The Gallup tracking poll has Democrats favoring Obama by a 90 percent to seven percent margin while Republicans surveyed in the poll favor Romney by a 91 percent to six percent margin. Independent voters to support Romney by a 43 percent to 42 percent edge. The significance of this is, somewhere along the way the weighting and sampling used by Gallup appears to have changed. The polling output resulting from this change demonstrates an apparent change that may not have happened at all, resulting in the showing of a Barack Obama post-convention “bounce” much larger than what might have actually occurred.

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Obama Secures Post Convention Polls bump

Barak Obama-United States-PoliticsPresident Barack Obama claimed the early momentum in the US presidential election on Monday night as he pulled clear of Mitt Romney in four polls, but Republican rival Mitt Romney is still within striking distance with eight weeks to go before the election.

Obama expanded his edge over Romney after their back-to-back nominating conventions and has leads in eight of the top nine battleground states, giving him an advantage but not a lock on the race.

A Gallup seven-day tracking poll out Monday also showed Obama ahead, with a five percentage point cushion, while another post-convention survey gave the Democratic incumbent a five-percent lead in the key battleground of Ohio.

The candidates were tied at 48 percent support in the previous CNN/ORC poll, conducted before last week’s three-day convention in Charlotte, North Carolina, at which Obama was formally nominated for a second term.

Forty-three percent of Americans said last week’s Democratic Convention makes them more likely to vote for Obama, and slightly better than the 40 percent reading for Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney right in a previous poll after the Republican Convention in late August.

At the same time, a relatively high 38 percent of Americans said the Democratic convention made them less likely to vote for Obama, resulting in a net impact rating of 5 percent, which is on the low-end of Gallup’s historical comparisons.

According to the poll, 43 percent of Americans also rated Obama ‘s nomination acceptance speech last Thursday night as “excellent” or “good,” marginally better than the 38 percent who gave the same ratings to Mitt Romney’s speech in Gallup’s post-Republican Convention poll.

However, it is also a much less favorable reaction than Americans gave to Obama’s 2008 acceptance speech in a large stadium in Denver, Colorado, where 58 percent rated his speech positively, including 35 percent who rated it as “excellent,” a record high since 2000.

The Romney camp played down the significance of Obama’s gains, and predicting economic realities would bring the race back to the tight margins that have characterized it for months.

“The basic structure of the race has not changed significantly,” Newhouse said.

“The reality of the Obama economy will reassert itself.”

Romney, has argued his business experience makes him uniquely qualified to boost job growth and turn around a stumbling economy suffering from 8.1 percent unemployment.

But he has made no headway against Obama, whose campaign spent the summer hammering Romney in advertisements as an out-of-touch millionaire whose business experience mostly involved raiding companies for cash and leaving workers jobless.

Friday’s weaker than expected jobs report, released the morning after Obama concluded his convention, did not keep Obama from cracking 50 percent in the CNN poll and in his job approval rating recorded by Gallup.

Romney has also battled a likeability gap with Obama, and much of his convention was spent trying to paint a softer side of the former Massachusetts governor for voters who have not warmed to him.

But the CNN poll found the number of likely voters who viewed Romney favorably dropped from 50 percent before the two conventions to 48 percent. The number who viewed Obama favorably rose from 52 percent before the conventions to 57 percent.

Both camps plan to bombard swing states with television advertisements down the stretch. Republicans hope a sizable cash-on-hand advantage, $60 million in August, will help them make their case against Obama’s economic leadership and convince voters a change is needed.

But Obama and his Democratic allies stayed even in the money race last month, outraising Republicans $114 million to $111 million after trailing Romney and Republicans in every month since April.

Unexpected events, like an economic meltdown in Europe or an Israeli strike against Iran’s nuclear program, could still change the picture. In 2008, the financial crisis in September shifted a tight race with Republican John McCain toward Obama.

“We’ve still got a long way to go to the election, and we’re probably going to see the race tighten up again, particularly ahead of the debates and the key to the debates will be who is most credible on the economy.”

Polls show Obama with a clear advantage on the campaign map in the battle for the 270 electoral votes needed to capture the White House.

The Real Clear Politics average of polls in nine of the key toss-up states won by Obama in 2008 showed the president leading in Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, Ohio, Virginia and Wisconsin. Romney led only in North Carolina.

Those leads exceeded 3 percentage points in only three states, however – Colorado, Nevada and New Hampshire – leaving plenty of room for change.

Democrats have been heartened by Obama’s steady lead in Ohio, a critical battleground that Romney cannot afford to lose. The Real Clear Politics average gives Obama a 2.2 point lead in Ohio, which enjoys an unemployment rate lower than the national average and where Obama’s auto industry bailout is popular.

Obama also has leads in the other big battleground state, Florida, as well as the emerging swing states of Virginia and Colorado, where improving local economies and shifting demographics have helped his cause.

Romney is hoping the choice of Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan as his No. 2 helps him flip that state to his column. He leads in North Carolina, a historically Republican state that Obama narrowly won in 2008.

Top Romney advisers insisted they remain well-positioned to take Ohio and the White House in November. They took heart in the Republican primary race, which featured several challengers who moved past Romney in polls only to fade in the end.

Romney has already been preparing for the debates, which begin on October 3 in Denver with a focus on domestic policy. The vice presidential debate is October 11 in Kentucky, while Romney and Obama will meet again in a town hall format on October 16 in New York and to debate foreign policy on October 22 in Florida.

Romney began debate practice last week during the Democratic convention, sparring against Ohio Senator Rob Portman, who played Obama. Obama will sharpen his debating skills against Massachusetts Senator John Kerry.

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President Obama beats Romney in the August fundraising stakes

Obama romney fundraisingPresident Barack Obama’s campaign and its Democratic partners raised more than $114 million in August, narrowly beating Republican Mitt Romney for the first time in months as the race for the White House enters its final stretch.

Romney, the former Massachusetts governor, and fellow Republicans raised more than $111 million in the same month, continuing a string of high-dollar hauls that has equipped him well for the last two months of the presidential campaign.

While Obama shattered every fundraising record in 2008 after the becoming the first presidential candidate to opt out of a federal matching funds system, Romney has outpaced him significantly on the fundraising front this year.

That has added to a cash advantage on the Republican side that is helped by the success of outside groups, or Super PACs, that have spent lavishly in support of the Republican candidate.

The Obama campaign appeared to stumble in July, raising $75 million to Romney’s $101 million. That changed in August.

The Democratic incumbent broadened his donor base with more than 317,000 donors who had never given money before, said Obama campaign manager Jim Messina in a statement.

“The key to fighting back against the special interests writing limitless checks to support Mitt Romney is growing our donor base, and we did substantially in the month of August,” he said. “That is a critical downpayment on the organization we are building across the country – the largest grassroots campaign in history.”

Romney, the Republican National Committee and state Republican parties reported that together they have about $168.5 million in cash at their disposal. Republicans argued over the weekend that Obama had spent nearly $100 million to “poison” voters’ views of Romney, but polls show a tight race as evidence that they have withstood the advertising onslaught Obama’s campaign launched early in the year.

“Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan are offering bold solutions to our country’s problems. That is why we are seeing such tremendous support from donors across the country,” Romney’s national finance chairman Spencer Zwick and Republican National Committee chairman Reince Preibus said in a joint statement.
Obama’s advisers say they are confident they spent their campaign cash well by seeking to define Romney over the summer months, but the discrepancy in available funds is a top concern.

The average donation the Obama team collected in August was $58 and 98 percent of donations were for $250 or less. It is the first month Obama’s campaign and its Democratic partners have broken the $100 million monthly threshold this year.

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Romney and Obama hit the battleground states with 60 days to go

President Barack Obama took his “ready to go forward” message to Florida voters in his first stop Saturday on a bus tour through the swing state.

The president was introduced by former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist, who was once a Republican but is now an independent and an Obama supporter. Obama said Crist backing proves “the values we are fighting for aren’t just Democratic values or Republican values, they’re American values.”

President Obama on Saturday pronounced Republicans “dead wrong” for calling America a country in decline, offering a rebuttal to the “naysayers” who drew attention to the nation’s staggering debt and anemic job growth. Mitt Romney said there’s nothing wrong that a new president can’t fix.

Both clawed for advantage in a post-convention push through some of the most closely contested states, Obama on a Florida bus tour, Romney rallying in Virginia, opening the homestretch to the election in less than two months.

Obama told a spirited rally that America’s “basic bargain” is at stake in the election, the promise that “if you work hard it will pay off.” He pledged to make education more affordable, reduce dependence on foreign oil and slash deficits “without sticking it to the middle class” if he gets another term.

“When our opponents say this nation is in decline they are dead wrong,” he said. “This is America. We still have the best workers in the world and the best entrepreneurs in the world. We’ve got the best scientists and the best researchers. We’ve got the best colleges and the best universities.”

He went on: “We are a young nation with the greatest diversity of talent and ingenuity from every corner of the globe so no matter what the naysayers may say for political reasons, no matter how dark they try to make everything look, there’s not a country on earth that wouldn’t gladly trade places with the United States of America.”

Obama’s visit to Florida is his first since Romney and the GOP held their convention in Tampa last month. With 29 electoral votes, the state is a lynchpin in both candidates’ strategies for winning the election.

Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney told a flag-waving crowd at the Virginia Aviation Museum in Virginia Beach this afternoon that Virginia’s voters have the power to change the nation’s streak of anemic jobs reports.

“I know that this week has not been a week of a lot of good news,” he said. “You saw the reports that we’re not creating as many jobs as even would keep up with our population growth. And you saw that for every net new job that was created last month, four people dropped out of the workforce. So this was not the kind of news that the American people were hoping for and deserve. I’m here to tell you that things are going to get a lot better, but that’s going to require you doing something important and that’s electing me the next president of the United States,” he said.

Romney noted that the nation’s unemployment rate has remained above 8 percent for 43 consecutive months. Romney also emphasized the importance of a strong Navy and Air Force. He said America must have a military so strong that no foe would consider testing it.

Romney said America is creating about nine ships a year, and that he would increase it to 15 ships as president. “It’s time to have a rebuilding of our Navy to make sure it’s the strongest in the world and it fulfills our missions,” he said. “I will not cut our military. I will maintain our miltary commitment.”

He also cited the automatic defense cuts, called “sequestration,” that will start to take effect in January if the president and Congress cannot reach a deficit reduction agreement. “If I’m president of the United States we’ll get rid of those sequestration cuts and rebuild America’s military might,” he added.

Romney said that at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, the president did not detail how he plans to put people back to work.

“He doesn’t have a plan. He doesn’t have any ideas. We’ve got to make sure he doesn’t have any more days in the White House after January.”

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Disappointing August jobs report hits Obama post convention

U.S. employers added 96,000 jobs last month, allowing Republican Rival Mitt Romney to use the latest disappointing report to criticize President Barack Obama over the economy and jobs, leaving the White House incumbent flat-footed on the defining issue of the 2012 race.

The Republican nominee seized on weak employment data to reclaim momentum on the campaign trail and double down on Obama, whose speech at the Democratic National Convention the previous night was criticized for lacking detail and dynamism.

“If last night was the party, this morning is the hangover,” Romney said in a written statement quickly issued by his campaign. “For every net new job created, nearly four Americans gave up looking for work entirely. This is more of the same for middle-class families who are suffering through the worst economic recovery since the Great Depression. After 43 straight months of unemployment above 8%, it is clear that President Obama just hasn’t lived up to his promises and his policies haven’t worked. I don’t think the American people want four more years of the four last years. I think they want to see more jobs, they want to see their kids coming out of college able to get jobs, they want to see rising incomes again.”

The unemployment rate fell to 8.1 percent from 8.3 percent in July. But that was only because more people gave up looking for jobs. People who are out of work are counted as unemployed only if they’re looking for a job.

The government also said Friday that 41,000 fewer jobs were created in July and June than first estimated. The economy has added just 139,000 jobs a month since the start of the year, below 2011’s average of 153,000. A net total of only 96,000 jobs were created, the unemployment rate remained above 8 percent, and nearly 370,000 more Americans simply gave up even looking for work

Coming on the heels of the two major parties’ conventions, the political stakes are high when it comes to jobs. Poll after poll show that voters are most concerned with the economy and the jobs markets and there are only two more monthly Labor Department reports due before the general election.

No president since the Great Depression has won re-election when the jobless rate was higher than 7.4 percent, the level at which Ronald Reagan won a landslide re-election in 1984. Given the current pace of job creation this year (139,000 jobs per month), the unemployment rate will likely remain above 8 percent by Election Day and probably by the end of the year as well.

During the past two weeks, the parties have released dueling narratives of the jobs situation: Republicans claim that progress is too slow and Democrats say that while the improvement may not be ideal, the damage was too vast to be repaired in a normal time frame.

Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke last week said the labor market’s stagnation was a “grave concern,” a comment that raised expectations for a further easing of monetary policy. Economists said at the very least the Fed appeared set to push further into the future its conditional pledge to keep rates near zero through late 2014. Futures traders added to bets on Friday that the central bank would keep rates near zero until at least the second quarter of 2015.

 

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President Obama’s speech fails to convince voters owing to lack of specifics

Obama dncPresident Obama’s speech was lacking in detail, full of divisive rhetoric appealing to his base, and if anyone thinks this speech was a game changer, they are sadly mistaken. It lacked vision, conviction and really only promised more of the same renewable energy projects, and a wild promise to recruit another 100,000 teachers.

Obama used his nationally televised speech closing out the Democratic National Convention to try to revive the excitement that powered his first run for the presidency.

With just two months before election day, Mr Obama needs to win over undecided voters, especially those who had been swayed by his inspiring message of hope and change in 2008, but now feel disillusioned after years of economic weakness and persistent political bickering.

“The election four years ago wasn’t about me. It was about you,” he said. “My fellow citizens – you were the change.”

Obama implored Americans to grant him a second term in the world’s most important job, as he cast himself as a realist and said the US recovery was bound to be hard after the worst recession in generations.

“The truth is, it will take more than a few years for us to solve challenges that have built up over decades,” Obama said at the Democratic National Convention in North Carolina.

Obama’s core message was I need more time. He compared America’s economic problems to the Great Depression of the 1930s, calling it the Great Recession.  To overcome the challenges ahead will require “common effort, shared responsibility and the kind of bold persistent experimentation” that Franklin D Roosevelt once made the Democrats famous for.

He said the American people were the ones responsible for accomplishments on his watch, such as overhauling healthcare, changing immigration policies and ending the ban on gays in the military. If they turned away now, he warned, “you buy into the cynicism that the change we fought for isn’t possible”. “Change,” he said, “will not happen”.

Mr Obama built on the message Democrats delivered throughout the convention: that America is on the road to recovery while Mr Romney would revive failed policies, cutting taxes for the rich and slashing programmes that give regular Americans a chance for a more prosperous future. “If you reject the notion that this nation’s promise is reserved for the few, your voice must be heard in this election,” he said.

Republicans, who nominated Mr Romney last week, argue that America’s high 8.3% unemployment rate is proof that Mr Obama’s policies have failed and that the president’s spendthrift, big-government policies have hurt business and caused the federal deficit to soar.

The two candidates are locked in a tight race. Polls show that Mr Romney, a wealthy businessman and former governor of Massachusetts, is seen as the better candidate for improving the economy, while Mr Obama is viewed as more likeable and having a better understanding of everyday Americans.

Mr Obama’s speech marked the climax of the three-day convention. First lady Michelle Obama highlighted the first day, talking about her husband’s humble roots and compassion for those living through tough times. Bill Clinton, the popular former president who led the United States during years of prosperity, gave a rousing speech on Thursday, vouching for Mr Obama’s economic policies and urging Americans not to turn back to Republicans.

Preceding Mr Obama was vice president Joe Biden, who was formally re-nominated. Mr Biden proclaimed in his acceptance speech that “America has turned the corner” after experiencing the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.

Mitt Romney’s campaign accused President Barack Obama of glossing over broken promises in his speech Thursday, saying he offered “more of the same” instead of admitting failure.

“President Obama laid out the choice in this election, making the case for more of the same policies that haven’t worked for the past four years,” Romney campaign manager Matt Rhoades said in a statement issued in the middle of Obama’s speech accepting the Democratic nomination for president.

“He offered more promises, but he hasn’t kept the promises he made four years ago,” Rhoades added.

“Americans will hold President Obama accountable for his record. They know they’re not better off and that it’s time to change direction.”

Overall, the speech while decent was far below some of the other speakers over the three days most notably First Lady Michele Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and President Clinton. While the auditorium crowd were delirious, one cannot help but to feel disillusioned if you were sitting at home.

People need to be convinced that whoever they elect has a firm and detailed plan for the next four years and will deliver with actions, not speeches. President and Obama need to rise to the challenge and whoever is successful in that task will win this election.

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Classic Clinton speech reminds us more about Obama’s weaknesses more than his strengths

Bill clintonI have never hidden my respect or admiration for former President Bill Clinton; he always was, and is the masterful politician. Taking the stage at the Democratic National Convention to address the convention crowd and the million’s watching on television. Clinton delivered as a good a defence that anyone possibly could’ve made of the Obama Presidency, there is one factor however, President Obama is no President Clinton.

President Clinton took to the stage saying, “We’re here to nominate a president, and I’ve got one in mind,” Clinton began his speech with and no, it’s not Hillary. I want to nominate a man cool on the outside but burning for America on the inside…A man who had the good sense to marry Michelle Obama,” he joked, as the audience gave a laughing Michelle a standing ovation.

Clinton set about attacking the Republican ticket and to serve as advocator, explainer, translator, and above all, validator in Chief of the Obama presidency. Clinton, the most popular living former president, gave a detailed point-by-point criticism of the Romney-Ryan ticket and congressional Republicans. The speech was vintage Clinton, overlong for sure, insults delivered with a folksy charming grin, references to his own time in office and his wife Hillary, all designed to improve Obama’s chances for re-election in a time of poor economic growth and 8.3 percent unemployment.

Clinton went on saying,”I like the argument for President Obama’s re-election a lot better.  Here it is.  He inherited a deeply damaged economy.  He put a floor under the crash.  He began the long, hard road to recovery and laid the foundation for a modern, more well-balanced economy that will produce millions of good, new jobs, vibrant new businesses, and lots of new wealth for innovators”.

Now, why do I believe it?  I’m fixing to tell you why.  I believe it because President Obama’s approach embodies the values, the ideas, and the direction America has to take to build a 21st-century version of the American dream, a nation of shared opportunities, shared responsibilities, shared prosperity, a shared sense of community. He accused Romney of wanting to overhaul government entitlement programs Medicare and Medicaid in a way that would reduce benefits for poor children and seniors, he said.

Responding to the most crucial election question, whether Americans are better off today than they were four years ago, when Obama was elected, Clinton said the answer was a definitive “yes.” “Are we where we want to be today? No. Is the president satisfied? Of course not,” Clinton said. “But are we better off than we were when he took office?” The crowd replied with shouts of yes. The rhetoric and oratory were fantastic and nobody could have put in such a charming, persuasive and engaging argument in support of the current incumbent.

Clinton continued claiming President Obama has spent the last four years laying the foundation for a more vibrant and balanced economy and needs four more years to see that vision through. “The most important question is, what kind of country do you want to live in?” Clinton said. “If you want a you’re-on-your-own, winner-take-all society, you should support the Republican ticket. If you want a country of shared prosperity and shared responsibility – a we’re-all-in-this-together society – you should vote for Barack Obama and Joe Biden.”

Clinton, in full flow and wowing the Democratic crowd in the convention center finished by saying, “We’ve come through every fire a little stronger and a little better. And we do it because, in the end, we decide to champion the cause for which our founders pledged their lives, their fortunes, their sacred honor, the cause of forming a more perfect union. My fellow Americans, if that is what you want, if that is what you believe, you must vote and you must re-elect President Barack Obama”.

Rhetoric and oratory as brilliant as they were by Clinton; will not be enough to convince those people sitting at home without a job to vote for President Obama. They know that fine words alone, doesn’t change their plight and this election will come down to belief, confidence and trust. It is now up to President Obama and Mitt Romney to firmly convince people, they can be that person who can deliver the economic turnaround people so desperately want.

Gone is “Hope and Change,” Gone is “Yes We Can,” Gone is the sense of anticipation and belief, people had in President Obama four years ago. If this were a case for a third Clinton term, I think most Americans would jump at the prospect, and who could blame them. The reality is it is an election between a president who promised to fix the economy in his first term, and instead delivered the weakest recovery despite massive spending.

I don’t think President Obama could have asked for a better and more commanding performance by anyone in arguing the supportive case for another Obama term. However; President Clinton’s speech was perhaps all the more effective in drawing a stark comparison between the two Democratic presidents’ records, leading those watching to realise that despite Clinton’s gusto and enthusiasm in support of President Obama, it only served to point as more of a reminder of President Obama’s weaknesses, as opposed to his strengths in these most challenging times.

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