From Holly Bailey at ABC News:
Mitt Romney's campaign estimates it will raise at least $800 million in its quest to defeat President Obama this fall, according to a fundraising memo circulated among top supporters.
The memo, obtained by the New York Times' Nick Confessore, says the campaign hopes to raise $500 million in high dollar donations for the campaign and for the joint fundraising account it has set up with the Republican National Committee. Romney aides hope to bring in another $300 million from small donors—an area where the former Massachusetts governor has lagged during the GOP primary.
In addition to the $800 million raised directly by the campaign, the memo estimates super PACs supporting Romney's candidacy will raise at least another $200 million to support his general election bid—bringing the GOP's overall fundraising target to at least $1 billion to defeat Obama.
That's on par with what Obama's campaign has estimated it plans to spend in the 2012 election.
Shocker the "economy" and "jobs" top the list of American voter concerns. From Pew Research Center:
With voters continuing to focus on economic issues, Barack Obama holds a slim 49% to 45% advantage over Mitt Romney in the latest Pew Research Center survey of nearly 2,400 registered voters nationwide. Obama’s lead has narrowed since last month, when he had a 12-point advantage, though it is comparable to margins from earlier this year.
More than eight-in-ten voters say the economy (86%) and jobs (84%) are very important issues in deciding who to vote for this fall. Roughly three-quarters also cite the federal budget deficit (74%), health care (74%) and education (72%) as top voting priorities. Near the bottom of the list are some of the hot-button social issues. Just 28% say that gay marriage is a very important issue, and 34% rate birth control as a top issue.
The latest national survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, conducted April 4-15, 2012 among 3,008 adults, including 2,373 registered voters, shows that Obama continues to owe his lead to support from women, college graduates, blacks, Latinos and lower income voters – all of whom support him over Romney by double-digits.
Repeat after me - Under no circumstances can Mitt Romney unseat President Obama without winning Florida. Public Policy Polling has more:
Barack Obama starts the general election with a 5 point advantage over Mitt Romney in Florida, 50-45. This is the biggest lead Obama's had in Florida over the course of five polls PPP's done in the state since the beginning of 2011.
In the head to head with Romney Obama wins independents 53-34, while each candidate gets a pretty even amount of support from his own party with Obama at 84% of the Democratic vote and Romney at 83% of the GOP vote. Obama is up 69-21 with young voters and 52-37 with Hispanics.
Rubio's drawn the most attention as a potential Veep pick, but with him on the ticket Romney actually drops from 45% to 43% with Obama staying at 50%. There's not much evidence Rubio would be able to draw Hispanic voters to Romney. In the straight Obama/Romney match Obama leads 52-37 with Hispanics and in the Obama/Biden v. Romney/Rubio match Obama still leads 52-37 with Hispanics. Rubio is not an overwhelmingly popular figure in Florida with 43% of voters approving of him to 41% who disapprove.
Recognizing that it is likely to be a close election in November, Team Obama is already dedicating significant resources to the battleground states. The New York Times' Michah Cohen reports:
Below is a chart of the Obama campaign’s field offices and paid staff in 12 states that are likely to prove decisive in November...[I]t is not clear how active each office is, and in a couple cases the number of offices reported by the Obama campaign differs from the number reported in news accounts, although by just a few offices.
Caveats aside, Mr. Obama has a substantial head start in organizing a general election get-out-the-vote operation, particularly in the number of field offices he has established.
We likely won't know for quite some time - so the ongoing speculation about Romney's future running mate will be just that "uninformed speculation." Albert R. Hunt at Bloomberg has more:
The U.S. news media are rife with speculation about Marco Rubio, Paul Ryan, Chris Christie, Susana Martinez, Bob McDonnell or Rob Portman as possible running mates for Mitt Romney.
It’s the time of the political season when conjecture runs wild, much of it ill-informed. Mr. Romney’s choice of a vice-presidential candidate will evolve, in ways unforeseeable today, over the next four months.
That isn’t to say that Mr. Romney’s selection is unimportant. It will help shape what the campaign hopes is a reset — or a shaking of the Etch A Sketch — of the nominee as he faces a different electorate. It can send a message.
The chief consideration, people who have been through the process agree, is do no harm. Running mates can help marginally; they can hurt substantially. Some previous exposure to the national limelight is helpful; it’s a tough vetting league for rookies. That’s why the Romney team needs to ask hard questions of the more appealing choices.
Most important will be the conditions of the race. This summer, will Mr. Romney be 10 points behind the president or a few points ahead? Will the economic recovery be stalled or taking root? Will the Republican Party conservative base’s hatred of Mr. Obama overcome weak enthusiasm for a Mormon nominee who is suspected of moderate political tendencies?
Don't hold your breath, this might take a while. ABC News' Sushannah Walsh reports:
Rick Santorum said tonight there is “no question Barack Obama has to be defeated,” but did not say he would back presumptive nominee Mitt Romney, instead revealing he had only spoken to Newt Gingrich, not Romney yet.
This is a not so subtle jab at the man about to become the party’s standard bearer. Santorum consistently would say on the campaign trail that in 2008, Romney convinced him of his conservative bona fides before he backed him and then Romney quickly changed his tune.
Although Santorum is expected to eventually back Romney — both longtime adviser John Brabender and top donor Foster Friess told ABC News last week they expect him to endorse Romney — he was specific tonight that he was not endorsing anyone in the presidential race.
“I haven’t supported any candidate at this point,” Santorum said, when asked who his supporters should vote for in the Pennsylvania primary on April 24.
He instead told them “the best thing” they can do is “stay tuned” and promised he would stay “active and engaged” in the campaign.
Senate Republicans were right to stand their ground. That said, the onus will eventually be on the GOP (most likely Mitt Romney) to better explain why this "political gimmick" is a "waste of time." The New York Times' Jonathan Weisman has more:
Senate Republicans on Monday blocked a move to open debate on the so-called Buffett Rule, ensuring that a measure pressed for months by President Obama and Senate Democrats to ensure that the superrich pay a tax rate of at least 30 percent will not come to a decisive vote.
But the fierce debate preceding the 51-45 vote — the Democrats were nine votes short of the 60 they needed — set off a week of political wrangling over taxes that both parties insist they are already winning.
Senate Democrats intend to return repeatedly to the legislation, named after the billionaire investor Warren Buffett, who has complained that he pays a lower effective tax rate than his secretary. On Thursday, House Republicans will counter with a proposed tax cut for businesses that they say would spur job creation but would cost the Treasury almost exactly what the Democrats’ tax increase would raise.
Now that the 2012 battle for the White House is officially underway, the New York Times' Nate Silver has compiled a handy guide of things for political junkies to look for as we are inundated with polling date. One item that merits our attention is President Obama's approval rating:
In the early stages of general election campaigns, a president’s approval ratings have often been at least as accurate a guide to his eventual performance as the head-to-head numbers. Thus, for at least the next couple of months, I would pay as much attention to Mr. Obama’s approval ratings as his head-to-head polls against Mr. Romney.
It is probably slightly better to look at Mr. Obama’s net approval rating — his approval less his disapproval — than the approval rating alone.
President Barack Obama's lead over Mitt Romney has narrowed to 4 percentage points from 11 points a month ago, now that Romney has established himself as the probable Republican presidential nominee, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll released on Monday.
Obama was backed by 47 percent of registered voters in the telephone poll conducted from April 12-15, compared with 43 percent who supported Romney. In the same poll conducted March 8-11, Obama led Romney by 52 percent to 41 percent.
In what could be a problem for Obama in the November 6 election, 53 percent of registered voters said jobs and the economy were the most important issue in the presidential election campaign, and slightly more - 45 percent - rated Romney higher in that area than the 43 percent who favored Obama.
"Obama has had to preside over a really tough economy. ... People are sort of dinging him for it and that's really what's going to make this a competitive race," said Chris Jackson, research director at Ipsos public affairs.
With the election expected to be close, it is likely to come down to the result in a few "swing states," not strongly allied with either party, on November 6.
"All that matters is electoral math," said Republican strategist Ford O'Connell. "The key question: Can Romney win Florida, Ohio, Virginia and North Carolina? If so, then Obama will be unseated. If Obama wins any one of the four - essentially, game over for the GOP."
Read more from Patricia Zengerle at Reuters
I know it is early, but the Gallup graphic below is a good sign for former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney's 2012 presidential bid...From Buzzfeed:
Modern presidents who got re-elected were all leading in the polls at this point in their presidencies — as were some who lost anyway.