Presidential Election: How Celebrity Endorsements Affect Voters

First of all, if you believe the polls, the presidential race is supposed to be brutally tight right now. At least one respected pollster disagrees, predicting an Obama presidency for four more years. But in general, it's assumed that, if you care at all about who lives in the White House (and you should), getting out on Election Day is gonna be extra, super-duper crucial with sugar on top. For everybody.

In that vein, each side of the ticket needs to rally not only undecided voters but also their bases, the people who are solidly in one camp or another but may forget to cast a ballot on Nov. 6.

That includes young voters, the types who are, according to pollsters, more likely to vote for Obama. Just because so many of them are in the blue camp doesn't mean they're a lock—not if they don't vote. And that's why skin-tight ballot dresses and viral videos about zombies might actually make a real difference on Election Day.

"Viral videos tend to work for the youth vote, ages 18 to 29, because social media tends to have a greater impact on their everyday lives," political consultant Ford O'Connell tells me. "In President Obama's case this is a demographic he needs to show up in large numbers on Election Day, particularly in the battleground states."

Read more from Leslie Gornstein at E! Online

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Poll: Romney Leads By Two In Ohio Among Likely Voters

From Rasmussen Reports (10/29/12):

The race for Ohio’s Electoral College votes remains very close, but now Mitt Romney now has a two-point advantage.

The latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of Likely Ohio Voters shows Romney with 50% support to President Obama’s 48%. One percent (1%) likes some other candidate, while another one percent (1%) remains undecided.

Nearly one-in-three Ohio voters (32%) have already cast their ballots. Obama leads 62% to 36% among these voters. Romney has a large lead among those who still plan to vote.

Among all Ohio voters, Romney now has a 12-point lead over the president in voter trust – 53% to 41% - when it comes to the economy.

National security has been an area where the president has typically had an advantage over Romney this year. But, the Republican challenger now has a 52% to 42% advantage on the issue.

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Mitt Romney's Most Likely Path To 270 Electoral Votes Without Ohio

Romney can win 11 different ways in the Electoral College without Ohio, but...From Reuters' John Whitesides:

Romney's path is tougher without Ohio, but still possible.

The former Massachusetts governor has a slight lead over Obama in Florida and has pulled even with the president in Virginia. If Romney sweeps those two states and adds Colorado, he would still need to win Iowa, New Hampshire and Wisconsin to capture the White House.

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Obama's Independent Problem

From Chris Cillizza At The Washington Post:

President Obama has a problem with independents. And it’s not a small problem.

In the last three releases of the tracking poll conducted by The Washington Post and ABC News, Obama has trailed former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney among independent voters by between 16 and 20 percentage points.

That’s a striking reversal from 2008, when Obama won independent voters, who made up 29 percent of the electorate, by eight points over Sen. John McCain of Arizona.

And if Romney’s large margin among independents holds, it will be a break not just from 2008 but also from 2000 and 2004. In 2000, Texas Gov. George W. Bush won independents by 47 percent to 45 percent over Vice President Al Gore. Four years later, Bush and Sen. John F. Kerry of Massachusetts essentially split unaffiliated voters, according to exit polls — 48 percent for Bush to 49 percent for Kerry. (Independents made up 27 percent of the vote in 2000 and 26 percent in 2004.)

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Iowa's The Des Moines Register Endorses Mitt Romney

From The Des Moines Register:

Both President Barack Obama and Governor Romney are superbly qualified. Both are graduates of the Harvard University Law School who have distinguished themselves in government, in public service and in private life. Both are devoted husbands and fathers.

American voters are deeply divided about this race. The Register’s editorial board, as it should, had a vigorous debate over this endorsement. Our discussion repeatedly circled back to the nation’s single most important challenge: pulling the economy out of the doldrums, getting more Americans back in the workforce in meaningful jobs with promising futures, and getting the federal government on a track to balance the budget in a bipartisan manner that the country demands.

Which candidate could forge the compromises in Congress to achieve these goals? When the question is framed in those terms, Mitt Romney emerges the stronger candidate.

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A Closer Look At The Tight Presidential Race For Ohio

From The Cincinnatti Enquier:

The race for the White House continues to be too close to call in Ohio, according to a new Enquirer/Ohio News Organization Poll that shows President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney each with 49 percent support from likely voters.

That’s a slip for the president, who took 51 percent of likely voters in the newspaper group’s September poll.

Romney’s support grew among males, among high school and college graduates and among respondents in every age category except 18 to 29.

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Florida Looking Good For Mitt Romney

From Adam C. Smith at the Tampa Bay Times

It has been a fundamental rule of Florida politics for decades: Statewide campaigns are won and lost on the I-4 corridor.

Today that celebrated swing-voter swath stretching from Tampa Bay to Daytona Beach is poised to deliver Florida's 29 electoral votes to Mitt Romney.

An exclusive Tampa Bay Times/Bay News 9 poll of likely voters along the Interstate 4 corridor finds Romney leading Obama 51 percent to 45 percent, with 4 percent undecided.

"Romney has pretty much nailed down Florida," said Brad Coker of Mason-Dixon Polling and Research, which conducted the poll for the Times and its media partners. "Unless something dramatically changes — an October surprise, a major gaffe — Romney's going to win Florida.''

The formula for Democrats to win Florida has long been simple: win big in the Democratic stronghold of Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties, avoid overwhelming losses in conservative North Florida, and stay close to even along the I-4 corridor. Obama and John McCain essentially tied in the battleground four years ago.

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Ohio's Five Swing Counties

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The State Of The Swing States - October 25, 2012

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Study: Political Lies Tend To Work

From Psychology Today:

Lies tend to stick in people's minds, and can sway the outcome of elections, as well as public opinion in many arenas. So, what happens within our minds and emotions that make us receptive to lies, and then resistant to information that exposes the truth? A study led by Stephan Lewandowsky of the University of Western Australia explains part of what may happen. The researchers found that "Weighing the plausibility and the source of a message is cognitively more difficult than simply accepting that the message is true -- it requires additional motivational and cognitive resources."

If the subject isn't very important to you or you have other things on your mind, misinformation is more likely to take hold, according to the researchers. They point out that rejecting false information requires more cognitive effort than just taking it in. That is, weighing how plausible a message is, or assessing the reliability of its source, is more difficult, cognitively, than simply accepting that the message is true. In short, it takes more mental work. And if the topic isn't very important to you or you have other things on your mind, the misinformation is more likely to take hold.

Moreover, when you do take the time to evaluate a claim or allegation, you're likely to pay attention just to a limited number of features, the study found. For example: Does the information fit with other things you already believe? Does it make a coherent story with what you already know? Does it come from a credible source? And do others believe it?

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Analysis & Political Strategy