Posted by Political Quarterback · October 04, 2012 8:30 AM
In Denver, Mitt Romney commanded the debate and showed glimpses of the reasonable, practical Massachusetts moderate who Democrats feared. If he keeps this up, there will be a new occupant at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue come 2013. It's just too bad that voters didn't see this Romney sooner.
Posted by Political Quarterback · October 04, 2012 8:00 AM
Darrell West, vice-president of governance studies at the Brookings Institution and Republican strategist Ford O'Connell find the peaks and valleys in the first of three debates between President Barack Obama and his Republican rival Mitt Romney.
Given our new NBC/WSJ/Marist polls of Florida, Ohio, and Virginia -- as well as our other state polls over the past few weeks -- here are Romney’s best opportunities to win a battleground (in order): NC, FL, CO, NV, VA, WI, IA, NH, and OH. With Iowa, New Hampshire, and Ohio all increasingly heading to Obama’s column, that puts the president at 265 electoral votes. As a result, it means that Romney must run the table on the remaining states (NC, FL, CO, NV, VA, WI) to get to 270. And it raises the question, especially if Romney is unable to change the race tonight: Does Romney consider pulling out of Ohio with its size and all of its media markets, to put those resources in the remaining states? It’s a question that Boston has to be pondering right now. By the way, out of all of our new state polls (of FL, OH, and VA), Romney appears to be the best shape in Florida – not only by margin (down one point), but also in Romney’s fav/unfav (46%-43%) and Obama’s job approval (48%).
Most voters view this year’s election as a referendum on the Obama presidency rather than one on his Republican challenger’s plans for the future. But independent voters don’t believe that as strongly as GOP voters and Democrats do.
The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 53% of Likely U.S. Voters consider this election as a referendum on President Obama’s agenda. Only 25% regard it as more about Mitt Romney’s agenda, but nearly as many voters (21%) are undecided.
Posted by Political Quarterback · October 03, 2012 12:00 PM
Mitt Romney is ramping up his outreach to Hispanic voters, softening his rhetoric on undocumented immigrants and making a major investment in Spanish-language media.
The renewed push — focused on the key swing states of Colorado, Nevada and Florida — comes as polls show President Obama increasing his already-large nationwide lead over Romney with Hispanic voters, although swing-state polls of Latinos offer a more inconclusive picture.
Republicans with an eye on the fast-growing Hispanic population commended Romney’s comments and his campaign’s renewed focus, though some worry they’re coming too late.
“It’s the right move; they’re doing the right things. I just wish they had been doing them earlier,” said GOP strategist Ford O’Connell.
Conventional wisdom holds that the first presidential debate offers an especially good opportunity for the challenging candidate, who for the first time gets to stand on a literal public stage, and a proverbial level playing field, with the incumbent president.
As much as we like to debunk the conventional wisdom at FiveThirtyEight, this hypothesis has the ring of empirical truth to it. There are no guarantees for Mitt Romney, and if he makes gains in the polls following Wednesday night’s debate in Denver, they will probably be fairly modest. But if historical precedent is any guide, he is more likely than not to see his standing improve at least some.
This analysis will be quite simple: I’ve made a comparison of the polls just before and just after the presidential debate in years dating back to 1976.
[O]n average, the challenging-party candidate gained a net of one and a half percentage points on the incumbent-party candidate.
Posted by Political Quarterback · October 03, 2012 8:30 AM
The stakes are high for Mitt Romney in Wednesday's US presidential debate, as the Republican challenger cannot afford a mediocre performance in a race where he lags behind nationally by nearly four points, analysts say.
"This is the biggest moment of his political life," said Republican strategist Ford O'Connell.
Indeed, 50 million viewers are expected to watch the debate, but many may not tune into the second installment if Romney fails to make a strong showing on Wednesday, and the contender needs to keep audiences tuned into the entire series.
A break from the past and a vision for the future
To be successful, Romney must convince voters of what he believes is President Barack Obama's failure to steer the economy in the right direction, O'Connell said, as the economy is undergoing a sluggish recovery from one of the worst recessions in decades.
At the same time, he must show he has a vision for the future, analysts say.
Posted by Political Quarterback · October 03, 2012 12:41 AM
Nate Silver, the New York Times's political stat guru, says Mitt Romney trails President Barack Obama by a touchdown in the fourth quarter. I would say he is down 10 with no timeouts, but it's hard to know given the confusion over polling methods andsuspicions among many that the current polls are substantially less accurate than in recent elections.
But that's not the football analogy Romney should focus on in his debate with the president on Wednesday night in Denver. He should paint President Obama as a coach who took over a team four years ago. The team was in some disarray and needed a strong leader to turn things around. Four years later, it's time to decide whether to extend that coach's contract.
But if Romney doesn't take advantage of this huge opportunity—50 million people watching; Jim Lehrer, a true pro, officiating; and a nation wanting change—the president will emerge with a two touchdown lead and, in all likelihood, that long-sought contract extension.
Posted by Political Quarterback · October 02, 2012 3:30 PM
If Romney takes this further, he could have a real ballot box winning issue in November, particularly in the southwestern part of the country. From Allison Sherry at DenverPost.com:
Young illegal immigrants who receive temporary work permits to stay in the United States under an executive order issued by President Barack Obama would not be deported under a Mitt Romney administration, the GOP presidential hopeful told The Denver Post Monday.
"The people who have received the special visa that the president has put in place, which is a two-year visa, should expect that the visa would continue to be valid. I'm not going to take something that they've purchased," Romney said. "Before those visas have expired we will have the full immigration reform plan that I've proposed."
Romney said in a sit-down interview with The Post aboard his campaign bus ahead of a Denver rally that he would work with Congress in the first year to pass permanent immigration reform legislation.
He didn't furnish specifics on that plan, but has said in previous interviews that students who served in the military may get a path to citizenship.