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Monday, November 3, 2008

ALL: Ambinder says all states lean Obama

3:16 PM

In his final look at handicapping the electoral college, The Atlantic's Marc Ambinder puts all the states except for Ohio in Obama's column. He lists Ohio as a toss-up, but says even it is not a "true toss-up" like Missouri and Indiana as it still has an Obama lean.

He ranks Illinois and Iowa as "likely Obama" states, while Minnesota, Michigan and Wisconsin are "lean Obama."

Read his full post


OH: Dem expert sees state as key in McCain win scenarios

11:19 AM

Polling expert Nate Silver (cited in an earlier post) says the most likely electoral maps that would give a win to McCain all put Ohio in his column.

Silver conducts his projections by using poll numbers to run 10,000 simulations of the election. Here's how he described Ohio's place in the simulations:
Also, there are some states that truly do appear to be "must-wins" for McCain. In each and every one of the 624 victory scenarios that the simulation found for him this afternoon, McCain won Florida, Georgia, Missouri, Indiana and Montana. He also picked up Ohio in 621 out of the 624 simulations, and North Carolina in 622 out of 624. If McCain drops any of those states, it's pretty much over.
Read his entire post


Sunday, November 2, 2008

OH: Three Obama events draw thousands

9:33 PM

From the Cleveland Plain-Dealer
Barack Obama returned to Ohio Sunday to rally tens of thousands of people in the state's three largest cities, whose support is crucial to any Democratic victory in a state known for its evenly divided electorate.

Obama, within reach of becoming the first black president in U.S. history, found rapturous crowds in Columbus, Cleveland and Cincinnati that spilled out of parks and stadiums and into surrounding streets

In Cleveland, according to the city's safety director, Martin Flask, 80,000 people turned out to hear the 47 year-old U.S. Senator from Illinois, making it the largest single political event in Northeast Ohio since Democrat John F. Kennedy rallied more than 100,000 people at Euclid Beach Park during his 1960 presidential campaign.

Obama's Cleveland event, which included a warmup by musician Bruce Springsteen, came 50 hours before the voting ends in the Buckeye State and marked Obama's first visit to the city since the end of August and his second to Northeast Ohio in a week.
In Columbus, Politico blogger Ben Smith highlights a forward-thinking charter bus operator who's selling bus tickets to travel to January's presidential inauguration.


ALL: Final look at Midwest states from NBC political director

8:32 PM

NBC's Chuck Todd has a 50-state breakdown of what he's watching for on Election Night.

Read the whole thing here and see below for excerpts from the states:
Illinois: Obviously, the presidential race isn't in doubt here. The big question is how long Obama's coattails in his state will be. Could he swing four House races? Probably not, but if Democrats net less than two seats out, they'll be disappointed. The big post-election story if Obama wins the presidency will be in the hands of the ethically embattled Democratic Gov. Rod Blagojevich. He's not very popular and has a chance to use his power to appoint an Obama replacement as a step in the direction of political rehabilitation.

Iowa: What has happened to the Iowa Republican Party? Just two years ago, the GOP held four of the five House seats. Now, if the wave hits hard enough, the party could be down to just one seat (the always conservative 5th District). ... the state's Republican infrastructure is just a mess.

Michigan: ... Nothing disappoints national Republican strategists more than their inability to get Michigan back into the swing column. From the presidential race on down, the party hasn't really had a success in this state in 10 years (Gov. John Engler's last re-election victory). Because McCain abandoned the state, there is some fear in GOP circles that the Democrats could pick up one or two House seats.

Minnesota: Forget the presidential race, there's no better campaign for political junkies like myself than the nutty three-way Senate race between Norm Coleman, Al Franken and ex-Sen. Dean Barkley (remember, Jesse Ventura appointed Barkley to the Senate for the remaining days of the late Paul Wellstone's term). It's a crazy race; I think there's even a five percent chance the third party candidate wins. That said, I guess Franken is the very slight favorite.

Ohio: One of the better state Republican parties is right here in the Buckeye State; it's why so many of us aren't ready to count McCain out yet in Ohio. The Republican machine is a good one. The Democrats had a terrible state organization here before 2004 but have since put together a very impressive operation.

Wisconsin: Remember when Wisconsin was a battleground state? Wow, have things changed in this state in just four years. Republicans ought to focus on rebuilding the Wisconsin state party before many other states because once they crack the Wisconsin code, they'll be able to succeed in other states.


OH: Palin hits Obama coal comments

7:50 PM

From the Wall Street Journal
Republican vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin unleashed a new volley against Barack Obama on a four-city tour of Ohio on Sunday by touting newly released audio comments made by the Democratic presidential candidate promising to restrict the construction of new coal-fired power plants in the U.S.

The issue is particularly sensitive in coal-rich Ohio, West Virginia, and Colorado. Obama made the comments to the San Francisco Chronicle in January, which were posted on YouTube over the weekend.

Obama said that under his proposal to cap greenhouse gases, energy suppliers would get incentives to develop technologies to reduce pollution and to use cleaner sources of power. "So if somebody wants to build a coal-powered plant, they can," Obama said. "It's just that it will bankrupt them because they're going to be charged a huge sum for all that greenhouse gas that's being emitted."

Palin told supporters to listen to the audiotape. "You're going to hear Sen. Obama talk about bankrupting the coal industry," she said.
Obama's campaign said Palin is taking the remarks out of context.

This weekend the National Review's Byron York talked to voters on the ground in Ohio to explore the impact of Palin's presence on the ticket.
They don't hate McCain — they have too much respect for what he's done in his life — but they felt a distinct shortage of enthusiasm for his candidacy until he picked Palin. Talking to voters in these key states, it's clear that McCain shouldn't have had to rely on something so momentous as his vice-presidential pick to fire up a constituency whose support he should have already had, but that is what happened.

Now, there's real enthusiasm for Palin. Standing in front of the picture-perfect 1858 courthouse in Chillicothe, she draws about as many people as Barack Obama himself drew earlier this month. And they're just as excited to see her. "Love her," one woman tells me. "She's a great gal." "It's exciting," says another woman. "She just speaks what I think is the truth, right down to earth," says a man.
Read his full article


IA: Recent public polls contradict McCain campaign's message

6:33 PM

The Politico's Jonathan Martin compares a recent McCain campaign memo ("Like many other Midwestern states, Iowa is moving swiftly into McCain's column") to the newest Iowa Poll (Obama 54 - McCain 37: "Obama has widened what was a solid lead in the Midwestern swing state, and has strengthened his position on key leadership traits since the Register's September poll.") and concludes thusly: "One of these isn't true."

Read Martin's full blog post

The McCain campaign is keeping up its effort in Iowa, however: Sarah Palin has a Monday afternoon visit scheduled for Dubuque, in western Iowa. Media coverage of that visit will likely come from western Wisconsin as well.


Saturday, November 1, 2008

OH: Dem polling expert says state could be one of 5 keys to Obama win

1:13 PM

Dem-leaning blogger Nate Silver, whose blog focuses heavily on statistical analysis, says "all relevant electoral scenarios involve some combination" of Virginia, Colorado, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Nevada.

He says "by far the most likely scenario is that Obama wins some relatively decisive victory of anywhere from 3-12 points in the popular vote" but adds that if the polls tighten and McCain makes it a close race, those five states assume more importance.

Here are the paths to victory he then sees for Obama:
1. Win Pennsylvania and ANY ONE of Colorado, Virginia, Ohio, or Nevada*
2. Win Ohio and EITHER Colorado OR Virginia.
3. Win Colorado AND Virginia AND Nevada.

(* Nevada produces a 269-269 tie, which would probably be resolved for Obama in the House of Representatives.)
Read his entire post


Friday, October 31, 2008

IA: Obama thanks Iowans for starting him on path toward presidency

6:49 PM

Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama returned today to Iowa -- the place that 10 months ago launched him toward the Democratic nomination for president -- to thank supporters and urge them to work hard and reject negative campaigning in the final four days to the election.

"This campaign began here. Iowa helped launch this campaign so the people of Iowa, I will always be grateful to all of you," Obama said. "On the day of the Iowa caucus, my faith in the American people was vindicated and what you started here in Iowa has swept the nation. ... A whole new way of doing democracy started right here in Iowa and it's all across the country now."

The campaign for Republican presidential candidate John McCain was quick to jump on that statement, sending out a response and video of it almost immediately after it was uttered.

"Hardworking families need a president whose faith in the American people is not predicated on his own election," said McCain spokesman Tucker Bounds. "At a time of mounting economic and foreign policy challenges, this country needs a president like John McCain who is experienced and tested -- and has proven his selfless faith in the American people."

Obama's 35-minute speech at an outdoor rally was attended by a police-estimated 25,000 people on a sunny, 70-degree fall day in downtown Des Moines. He poked fun at John McCain's voting with President Bush, saying "He hasn't been a maverick; he's been a sidekick." He rejected McCain's negative campaigning, saying, "he has spent the last few weeks of the campaign calling me every name in the book."
See pictures from the Obama rally


IA, MN, OH, WI: Obama outspending McCain on TV ads

12:46 PM

A new analysis from the Wisconsin Advertising Project shows Barack Obama and the Democratic National Committee outspending John McCain and the Republican National Committee between Oct. 21 and Oct. 28 in states covered by

Iowa, which has been a recent focus of McCain's campaign to the puzzlement of state and local political observers, was the only state where McCain outspent Obama. Recent public polls have given Obama a double-digit lead in the state.

Midwest ad spending:
See the Wisconsin Advertising Project release for details


MN: Bachmann, Tinklenberg meet for final 6th CD debate

8:56 AM

From Minnesota Public Radio:
During an interview on MSNBC, Bachmann said she was concerned Barack Obama might have anti-American views. She also called on the media to look at the views of members of Congress and find out if they are they pro-America or anti-America.

Bachmann has since said she was misunderstood. But during the MPR debate, she denied making the comment. Bachmann also insisted that voters aren't asking about the issue.

"That is not what I said in recent remarks, and the number one thing that people have been concerned about as they talk to me when I'm all over the district campaigning is the bailout. That's their main concern," said Bachmann.

But the controversy that Bachmann sees as a non-issue resulted in a financial windfall for Tinklenberg. Donations to his campaign have totaled nearly $2 million in the past two weeks. Tinklenberg says Bachmann's comments show the need for political unity and bipartisan cooperation.

"The idea that this is not an issue in the campaign is simply not credible," said Tinklenberg. "I mean it's what's given this campaign a national interest. And it's what generated Colin Powell's comments about that kind of nonsense has got to stop. It is important."
The Associated Press reported on the candidates' back-and-forth over the economy:
When Tinklenberg said he would consider undoing some of President George W. Bush's income tax cuts -- while cutting taxes for the middle class and small businesses -- Bachmann jumped on the statement.

"The voters have a real clear distinction," she said. "They can have increased taxes and increased spending under El Tinklenberg or they can count on Michele Bachmann to cut their taxes and to cut wasteful spending."

Bachmann also said property taxes went up in Blaine when Tinklenberg was mayor.

Tinklenberg said he brought jobs to the suburb while keeping property taxes low -- and took the chance to tie Bachmann to Bush.

"That's a record I'm proud of, and I think it stands in good stead against the failed policies we have seen from the Bush administration," he said.


Thursday, October 30, 2008

OH: Dem pollster responds to McCain camp's polling memo

3:42 PM

Pollster Stan Greenberg has responded to the McCain polling memo mentioned Tuesday at

Greenberg says Joe the Plumber may be a household name, but that doesn't necessarily mean he's helping McCain:
True, McCain and Palin have made "Joe the Plumber" famous, but not in ways that have been helpful to McCain. In our tracking of people's viewing of the news and communications over the previous few days, what they have heard about Obama has made them more favorable by 10 points (46 to 36 percent), while what they have heard about McCain has made them less favorable by 8 points (36 to 44 percent). Week after week, Obama gets favorable comments from voters, but McCain, mostly negative.

Last week, we tested the big, unfolding tax debate - including the "Joe the Plumber" storyline of wealth redistribution, raising taxes on the wealthy and cutting taxes for the middle class. Obama was winning that argument by 14 points (see Democracy Corps poll of 1,000 likely voters nationwide conducted October 21-23, 2008). In this battleground poll, Obama has taken virtually no water on being "too liberal" or "will raise my taxes" - both essentially unchanged over the past month at 51 percent.
Read Greenberg's full response


Tuesday, October 28, 2008

OH: McCain campaign says Joe the Plumber "a household name"

2:53 PM

A new polling memo from McCain pollster Bill McInturff says the campaign's focus on Ohio's "Joe the Plumber" has increased awareness of the difference between the presidential candidates' tax policies.

From the memo:
This has been the week where "Joe the Plumber" has literally become a household name. An astounding 59% of voters in these battleground states have heard "a lot" about this story, 83% have heard "a lot" or "some" about this episode.

The 59% "a lot" dwarfs the other stories/thematic elements we are tracking this week.

The campaign's relentless focus has helped strengthen our margins on the issue of taxes and broadened as well to the attribute of handling the economy and jobs.


Thursday, October 16, 2008

IA, MN: Greenwald, Tinklenberg added to DCCC's "Red to Blue" list

12:20 AM

Two Democratic challengers -- Becky Greenwald in Iowa's 4th CD (taking on Republican Tom Latham) and Elwyn Tinklenberg in Minnesota's 6th CD (taking on Republican Michelle Bachmann) -- have been added to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee's "Red to Blue" list, which highlights top Democratic campaigns across the country.

Those on the list are offered financial, communications, and strategic support. The program's Web site states that candidates earn a spot in the program by surpassing demanding fund-raising goals and skillfully demonstrating to voters that they stand for change and will represent new priorities when elected to Congress.

See more on the Red to Blue program


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