Posted by Political Quarterback · April 10, 2012 11:26 AM
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Remember true 'swing' independents in battleground states are rented and not owned by political parties. The bright spot for Romney is that these indepdendents prefer "opportunity" over notions of "fairness." Politico's James Hohmann has more:
The majority of those who call themselves politically independent typically lean toward one major party or the other, but about 15 percent of the total electorate (roughly 40 percent of independents) are thought to authentically swing between parties.
Obama won 57 percent of this group in 2008. In this poll, which took place in mid-March, he led Romney 44 percent to 38 percent.
As the general election unofficially begins, the Obama reelection campaign’s dual challenge is to convince these voters that Romney is more conservative than they think and that Obama is ideologically closer to them than they realize.
The backdrop of the poll is a decades-old debate among Democrats about messaging and an even longer-term battle between those who prioritize growth and ‘opportunity’ against those who prioritize redistribution and ‘fairness.’ The ‘fairness’ school of thought is more attractive to the party base; the ‘opportunity’ message speaks to what some pollsters and strategists consider the vital center.
Third Way, solidly in the latter camp, points to several data points that they say demonstrate Democratic candidates generally (including the president) are better off framing their plans as designed to create future opportunity rather than make the present system fairer.
In the poll, the greatest fears are about the future: Fifty-nine percent of swing independents are strongly confident they will be able to pay all their bills over the next 12 months, but only eight percent are strongly confident that the next generation of Americans will be able to find good, well-paying jobs.
The poll of 1,000 self-identified independents who voted in the 2008 presidential election was conducted March 8-18 in 12 states: Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin. The margin of error for the full set of independents is plus or minus 3.1 percentage points. For the smaller subset of swing independents, the margin of error is 5.1 percentage points. Because African-Americans and Latinos overwhelmingly vote Democrat, the sample of swing independents is 83 percent white.
A Paul third-party candidacy would, barring some sort of unforeseen dynamic, likely hand President Obama a second term. Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney and his campaign team understand the power that Paul could wield and have gone out of their way to befriend him — and avoid alienating his supporters.
At some point between now an August, Paul and his people will want something — a speaking slot at the national convention? Consideration of Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul as a running mate? — from Romney World.
They may not get it. But Paul is in a much stronger bargaining position than Gingrich to extract promises from Romney because he can do far more damage if he isn’t placated. That’s why — though both men have zero chance of being their party’s standard-bearer — Paul matters more than Gingrich.
Mitt Romney spent last week trying to lower expectations in Pennsylvania while boosting the pressure on Rick Santorum. But actions speak louder than words, and it's clear Romney's advisors see the Keystone State as their opportunity to end Santorum's chances. Late Friday, the Boston team went for the jugular.
All told, Romney's campaign will spend $2.9 million on advertisements in Pennsyvlania over the next two weeks, according to PoliticsPA.com. That's more than Romney has spent in any primary state to date, save Florida -- more than they spent in Iowa, New Hampshire, even South Carolina.
That money gets them saturation-level buys in every major Pennsylvania market except one: Santorum's home base of Pittsburgh. At a time when Santorum and his supportive super PAC aren't on the air at all, the average Pennsylvanian in those markets will see Romney's ads more than 10 times a week.
Santorum has shocked the political world by emerging as Romney’s chief alternative. His slightly belated victory in Iowa was followed by a series of impressive showings, including wins in the Deep South and the Mountain West, and a blowout victory in Louisiana as late as March 24.
But even if he continues to surprise, he has fallen too far back in the delegate race to have a serious shot at capturing the nomination. He’s secured only 281 delegates to Romney’s 658, according to ABC News’ delegate count; 1,144 are needed for the nomination, but only Romney has a legitimate mathematical shot of getting there, given proportional allocation rules in most states.
Santorum has labeled his home state a must-win. But even a win there would probably see him slipping further behind in the delegate race that day, because Romney-favored New York, Connecticut, Delaware and Rhode Island also vote April 24.
Santorum has now gone from ex-senator who lost his last race in a landslide, to the silver medalist in a chaotic, once-crowded GOP primary. At 53, he’s young enough to have a long future in the party, maybe even as a candidate again some day.
Romney’s timely exit in his race against Sen. John McCain in 2008 has been widely cited as the first step toward what’s on track to be a successful bid for the nomination in 2012.
For Santorum to follow a similar path, getting out on his own terms is a must. And losing on his own turf would hurt that prospect, perhaps beyond repair.
National Republicans have begun to intervene in a handful of key Senate and House battlegrounds where state parties are in disarray, seeking to head off the possibility that local mismanagement could cost the party control of Congress.
These “orphan states,” most notably behemoths with traditionally weak parties like California, Illinois and New York, are increasingly the focus of top GOP officials in the nation’s capital this spring.
The Republican National Committee is going to set aside at least $10 to $15 million to aid states where there are competitive House and Senate races but minimal presidential action, a party official tells POLITICO. That’s enough to blunt the GOP’s financial disadvantage in several states, though not to erase the disparity or put the orphan-state groups on par with their swing-state counterparts.
Half of the money will go to the states with hard-fought House contests, including the blue mega-states, and the other half will be directed to states like Montana and North Dakota, where there are crucial Senate battles.
Posted by Political Quarterback · April 09, 2012 8:00 AM
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As Mitt Rommney looks to transition from a hard-fought GOP primary to a an even tougher general election battle with President Obama, American Crossroads could play a very key role in helping Romney to level the playing field. The New York Times has more:
With an anticipated bank account of more than $200 million, officials at American Crossroads said they would probably begin their campaign this month. But they said they would focus the bulk of the first phase from May through July, which they believe is a critical period for making an impression on voters, before summer vacations and the party conventions take place.
Its decision to enter now is helped by a growing perception that the Republican race is nearly over and that Mr. Romney is the presumed nominee, particularly as speculation increases about the future of the candidacy of Rick Santorum (who is not campaigning for several days because of his daughter Bella’s illness). And Crossroads’ planned intervention affirms predictions that the general election campaign will be fought in large part by proxy, via the super PACs, which have been emboldened by the Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling in 2010 that helped pave the way for their creation.
Republican elected officials and strategists acknowledged in interviews that Mr. Romney had significant ground to make up — Mr. Obama leads in many early polls of swing states.
The Republican primary season, which veered into fights over contraception, abortion and immigration, has lifted the gloom Democrats had been feeling.
Posted by Political Quarterback · April 08, 2012 12:00 PM
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Ford O'Connell and Democratic strategist Christy Setzer join Fox News' Arthel Neville On America's News HQ to discuss the March 2012 jobs report, the state of the economy and what it means for President Obama's re-election bid.
Rick Santorum’s campaign insisted Friday the former Pennsylvania senator is still in the race despite mounting pressure even from voters in his home state that he pull out before the Keystone State’s primary April 24.
But Santorum has scheduled no public events over the holiday weekend and has made no major media buys, fueling speculation that he might quit. Polling in Pennsylvania that shows him slipping against front-runner Mitt Romney raises the prospect of an embarrassing home-state loss that could hurt his chances if he were to make a run for the nomination in 2016.
Santorum has given no clear indications that he is about to quit.
Posted by Political Quarterback · April 06, 2012 9:00 PM
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No one will know until June how the Supreme Court will rule on President Obama's Affordable Care Act. What we do know is there are three possible outcomes -- the law is upheld, struck down or struck down in part -- and Republicans must be prepared for each.
If the law, also known as "ObamaCare," is struck down -- in whole or in part -- and the GOP is not prepared, it could find itself on the losing end of a vicious battle that could lead to four more years of Democratic control of the White House and perhaps Congress as well.
For most Americans, health care is like plumbing: They know they need it; they don't truly know how it works, but they definitely know when it's not working. And they sense now health care is not working, and the health care law -- flawed though it may be -- represents a legitimate attempt to fix it.
There is no doubt health care will remain a highly volatile issue in this election year. If ObamaCare is rejected by the court, it would present a huge opportunity for Republicans. They could look like problem-solvers by coming up with a smart proposal that takes the best ideas from the other side. And if they can message it properly, they'll be in a sweet spot.
Posted by Political Quarterback · April 06, 2012 8:00 PM
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Got to give the Santorum campaign credit, they don't back down. From CNN:
In a new memo, obtained by CNN Chief Political Analyst Gloria Borger, the campaign's delegate strategist John Yob maintained that several factors are not being accurately reported that will help Santorum in the hunt for the 1,144 delegates needed to clinch the Republican presidential nomination.
Santorum's camp said its internal count shows Romney with only 571 delegates while Santorum has 342. CNN's current delegate estimate, however, shows Romney with 657 and Santorum with 273.
"This race is much closer than the media and Establishment Republicans would like to report," stated the memo.
By CNN's count, Romney needs 44% of the delegates remaining to gain the nomination while Santorum needs 78%.
The campaign reached its rosier version of the delegate count making some assumptions that many experts don't believe will happen, including that Florida and Arizona will change positions and decide to award their delegates proportionally instead of winner take all. Santorum officials said the states broke Republican National Committee rules by not making their contests proportional and therefore conclude the RNC will take away some of Romney's delegates there.