Say hello to - Florida, North Carolina, Ohio and Virginia. From The Washington Post's Chris Cillizza:
This year will not be like 2008, at least as far as the electoral map is concerned.
Let’s start with the states that are genuinely a tossup. Our analysis suggests that nine of them fit well in that swing category: Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Virginia and Wisconsin.
Republicans will, rightly, point to history in these nine states — a view that suggests at least the possibility that Obama’s 2008 victory was anomalous. Before his wins in 2008, Colorado, Florida, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio and Virginia had all voted for the Republican presidential nominee in the previous two elections.
If all six of those states revert to their 2000/2004 form, Republicans carry Indiana (as seems likely) and Obama wins no other state that he lost in 2008 (as seems likely), the incumbent would drop to 258 electoral votes and lose the presidency. But if Obama wins any one among Florida, North Carolina, Ohio or Virginia, he will be reelected.
If Romney can turn Wisconsin — and its 10 electoral votes — or Michigan (16) or Pennsylvania (20) to his side while also winning the vast majority of the six swing states mentioned above, he will have a bit more wiggle room for a national victory.
There’s no doubt that the 2012 playing field will be narrower than the one Obama dominated in 2008. But the president still retains far more flexibility than Romney in building a map that adds up to 270 electoral votes.
Roughly seven months out from Election Day 2012, Mitt Romney and Barack Obama find themselves deadlocked, according to Gallup's latest daily tracking poll.
Mitt Romney is supported by 47% of national registered voters and Barack Obama by 45% in the inaugural Gallup Daily tracking results from April 11-15. Both Obama and Romney are supported by 90% of their respective partisans.
The race breaks down into the expected patterns by party, with 90% of Democrats supporting Obama, and 90% of Republicans supporting Romney. The Republican results show that despite the rancor and divisiveness of the Republican campaign, the vast majority of Republicans are backing Romney in the head-to-head battle with Obama, as they have in ballot tests earlier this year.
The crucial voting bloc of independents breaks toward Romney by 45% to 39%, giving the GOP challenger his slight overall edge.
At this point, there is no statistically significant advantage for either candidate, as 80% of Romney voters and 76% of Obama voters say they will definitely vote next November.
From Rasmussen Reports:
Most voters consider voter fraud a problem in America today and continue to overwhelmingly support laws requiring people to show photo identification before being allowed to vote.
A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 64% of Likely U.S. Voters rate voter fraud at least a somewhat serious problem in the United States today, and just 24% disagree. This includes 35% who consider it a Very Serious problem and seven percent (7%) who view it as Not At All Serious. Twelve percent (12%) are undecided.
The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted on April 12-13, 2012 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence.
Previous reports indicated that longtime GOP operative Ed Gilliespie would likely be heading Romney's VP search. Clarity has now been provided. ABC News' Emily Friedman has more:
Mitt Romney today revealed for the first time that he has put longtime adviser Beth Myers in charge of his vice presidential vetting process.
“I have selected someone who has been a counselor of mine for a number of years, Beth Myers. She was my chief of staff when I was governor,” the former Massachusetts governor told ABC News’ Diane Sawyer in an exclusive interview.
“I’ve asked her to be the person who oversees the process of the vice presidential selection and vetting an analysis and so she’s begun that process and is putting together the kinds of things you need to do to vet potential candidates,” Romney added.
Asked whether there is a deadline for choosing his running mate, the presumptive GOP presidential nominee said he does have a deadline in mind but would not reveal the specifics.
Smart move by Team Obama, because it is likely to put more strain on Team Romney and the GOP's resources. Still, it is unlikely that Arizona will break for Obama in 2012 given the state's sizeable Mormon population and high unemployment rate. The New York Times' Adam Nagourney reports:
By any measure the obstacles are considerable: Arizona has voted for precisely one Democratic president since Truman was in the White House. Yet Mr. Obama’s aides said in interviews that they thought it was possible they could move the needle of history by winning in 2012 a state that analysts believe is heading Democratic in national elections, but may not be there yet.
Obama strategists are simply following the same techniques they used in 2008 when putting states like North Carolina and Indiana into play. Then, too, there was much initial skepticism, though both states ended up going for Mr. Obama.
Yet for all those signs of organizing activity — and the fact that demographic and political changes across the West have made this region increasingly tempting ground for Democrats —Mr. Obama’s campaign strategists are not yet convinced he can win the state this November. Mr. Obama’s aides said they closely monitored the organizing here and would assess the result of their work over the next few months to see whether it made sense to pour money and resources into Arizona this fall.
[Arizona's] unemployment rate in February was 8.7 percent. That is higher than the 7.6 percent rate in November 2008, but 2 percentage points down from when it broke double-digits in 2010.
Would be a big victory for the Tea Party in Indiana. From NationalJournal:
The consensus around Sen. Richard Lugar's re-election bid has changed markedly, from all-out optimism that he would easily dispatch challenger Richard Mourdock to downright pessimism, bordering on resignation. Lugar would be the Tea Party's most prominent trophy, and they appear to be on the verge of scoring the upset in a few weeks.
270 Electoral Votes are needed to win the White House. President Obama has an electoral edge (242 Electoral Votes) over presumptive GOP nominee Mitt Romney (191 Electoral Votes) at this stage. Below are a list of the true swing states, according to AP.
UP FOR GRABS (105 Electoral Votes):
Colorado (9) — Long a reliable GOP state, but Colorado's conservative profile is changing. An influx of young professionals and Hispanic voters were keys to Obama's victory in 2008. The economy has hurt him standing. Female voters in vote-rich Denver suburbs are likely to be key.
Florida (29) — Florida is the prime target for both campaigns. Obama won in 2008, but the housing crisis, high unemployment and gas prices are dogging him. Romney won the primary in January and has picked up endorsement of freshman Sen. Marco Rubio. Obama's organization has a big advantage six months out.
Iowa (6) — An important George W. Bush-state pick-up for Obama. Iowa has been a national popular vote bellwether for 20 years. Obama's attention in the state where his caucus victory launched him in 2008 is countered by Romney's two caucus campaigns. Conservatives are leery of Romney's Mormon faith and social issue profile, but he's got pro-business GOP Gov. Terry Branstad on his side.
New Hampshire (4) — Romney's backyard and vacation home. He won the 2012 primary big, but Obama peeled off this Bush state in 2008 and has worked hard to keep it. Vice President Joe Biden visited Friday. But the GOP is back in power in Legislature, and new Sen. Kelly Ayotte is seen as asset for Romney.
New Mexico (5) — New Mexico emerged as a swing state in the past decade. Democrat Al Gore, then Bush, then Obama carried it. An influx of Hispanic and younger voters has Obama team confident. Gov. Susana Martinez, a rising GOP star elected in 2010, gives the Romney team hope.
Nevada (6) — Part of a triad of Southwestern states Obama flipped in 2008. Nevada is also the prime example of the economy's struggles. Unemployment was 12.3 percent in February, a point Romney will press. There's a strong labor and Hispanic vote, a plus for Obama. A higher Mormon population helps Romney.
North Carolina (15) — Obama was the first Democrat to win North Carolina in 32 years and he hopes again to turn out a high percentage of newcomers and minorities. Romney is contesting the state, an outlier for Obama in 2008, aides say. Obama hopes that holding the party's national convention in Charlotte in September proves a boost.
Ohio (18) — The ultimate Midwestern swing state has been a general election bellwether since 1980. Romney won the 2012 primary and has support from establishment figures such as Sen. Rob Portman. Obama has the organizing advantage, although the economy remains a sticking point, especially in the industrial northwest.
Virginia (13) — Long a GOP bastion, Obama carried Virginia in 2008 by turning out young and minority voters. An influx of under-35 crowd, especially from the Washington, D.C., area, has continued. But Republicans roared back in 2010, ending consecutive Democratic administrations in governorship by electing up-and-comer Bob McDonnell.
Following Democratic strategist Hilary Rosen's now-infamous rant about Ann Romney never working "a day in her life", both the Obama and Romney campaigns have gone to great lengths to praise stay-at-home mothers.
But away from the microphones, TV cameras, rapid response press releases and Twittersphere, where do the candidates stand when it comes to supporting stay-at-home mothers with policy?
Mitt Romney emphatically backs Republican Rep. Paul Ryan's budget, which would slash funding to many social programs that help families and mothers -- particularly single mothers -- including Head Start, child care subsidies, Pell grants for college and a variety of health-care programs.
While Ryan's budget is quite popular among fiscal conservatives on, it's not the sort of spending blueprint that excites U.S. moms struggling to balance a household budget amidst skyrocketing gas prices and ballooning grocery bills, say some analysts.
Of course, not everyone agrees stay at home mothers would be disproportionately hurt under the Ryan bill.
"Stay at home moms are struggling, just like the rest of the middle class," Republican strategist Ford O'Connell argued. "Stay at home parents in general are hurting under Obama with rising gas prices, mounting national debt and high unemployment. It's going to be hard for the President to make the argument" that stay at home mothers are disproportionately affected under the Ryan budget.
Read more from Aliyah Shahid at the New York Daily News
From The Wall Street Journal's Peggy Noonan:
In political terms, the guy who came in second in the last presidential cycle stands most likely to be crowned and anointed in the current one. Republicans, for all their drama, still tend toward the orderly and still credit experience.
Running for president is serious business. You need money, fund-raising networks, organization, a campaign. You have to get on the ballot in Virginia, you have to field full slates. Mitt Romney learned all this in 2008. He was the only non-newbie in 2012.
Rick Perry, Herman Cain and Michele Bachmann did not fully comprehend what goes into the process. Newt Gingrich didn't care.
We learned that proportional representation is a bad idea when you're up against a sitting president. It drags the system out, robs state victories of meaning, makes everything more common and dreary, and leaves serious candidates open to ceaseless attacks from all quarters. Mr. Romney's negatives are up, not down, as the contest ends.