Romney's 47 Percent Ceiling

If you were feeling generous, you could call Monday the beginning of Mitt Romney’s “comeback.” Not only has he gained ground in national polls—he's pulled within 2 points of Obama in the latest survey from ABC News and the Washington Post—but there’s been positive movement in several swing states. Gravis Marketing now has Florida as a toss-up, and Public Policy Polling shows a tie in North Carolina, echoing the close race of 2008.

Romney's Ohio Troubles

We are another week closer to the presidential election, and Mitt Romney is still behind. While American Research Group shows Romney in a tight race for Virginia, its track record over the course of this year is not good. If you want a better sense of where the race in the commonwealth stands, you should look to the polling averages, which show President Barack Obama with a consistent lead.

Sat, Sep. 29 Electoral Vote Predictor

How Does the Presidential Race Compare to Previous Ones?

One way to measure the presidential race is to compare the national Gallup poll now to national Gallup polls taken on or close to this date in previous years to see their predictive value. Talking Points Memo has collected the data, and here it is. The notation D+6 means the Democrat was ahead by 6 points, etc. Incumbents are marked with an asterisk.

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A Bright Spot in Nevada

(Thomas Hawk/Flickr)

President Obama’s margin in national polls hasn’t diminished at all this week—he still maintains a strong position among registered voters and likely voters. What is interesting, however, is his position in Nevada and Arizona.

Fri, Sep. 28 Electoral Vote Predictor

You Are the 100 Millionth Visitor

When I started this site in 2004, it was a bit of a lark and just for a few friends. Yesterday it passed the 100-million visitor mark. Thanks for coming by!

Swing-State Voters Oppose Changes to Medicare

A new Kaiser poll in Florida among registered voters shows that 80% think Medicare is very important or extremely important for their vote and by a margin of 53% to 38% they prefer Obama rather than Romney to handle the matter. Recent polls have shown Obama with a small but consistent lead in Florida, no doubt due in part to Florida's many seniors (in 2008, 20% of Florida's voters were at least 65). In retrospect, Mitt Romney's choice of Paul Ryan as his running mate may have been a mistake, since his plan to change Medicare from a defined benefit program to a defined contribution program is wildly unpopular in Florida, the most important swing state of all. Furthermore, Ryan's plan is also unpopular in Ohio and Virginia, the second and fourth biggest swing states.

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The Ohio Problem

I wrote yesterday that President Obama is building a solid margin over Governor Romney in the state. The picture is similar in Ohio—where Obama has led in every poll since the Democratic National Convention—and Nevada, where he's led in almost every survey since the beginning of the year. Tuesday's polls reinforced both trends, and highlighted the extent to which Romney is on something of a downwards trajectory.

In Florida, Romney Has Hit the Danger Zone

Jamelle Bouie

Mitt Romney has a few paths to victory, some more likely than others. He could repeat George W. Bush’s performance in 2004 and carry the White House with wins in Florida, Virginia, North Carolina, and Ohio. He could cede Virginia to Obama and take Colorado and New Hampshire. He could give up Colorado and New Hampshire but win Wisconsin and the single electoral vote in Omaha, Nebraska. He could lose Ohio and make up for it with Virginia, Colorado, and Wisconsin.

Tue, Sep. 25 Electoral Vote Predictor

Ryan Became Romney Instead of Romney Becoming Ryan

Conservatives who cheered Mitt Romney's selection of Representative Paul Ryan, a Republican from Wisconsin, as his running mate in the hope this indicated a more aggressive, more conservative stance for Romney have been sorely disappointed. They had expected Ryan's bold style to rub off on Romney. Instead, it is the other way: Ryan has become muted and vague, like Romney. The problem is certainly not Ryan. All vice-presidential candidates know who is the boss and Ryan is surely doing precisely what his boss wants: looking sharp but be vague about all the details.

In the six weeks since he was tapped, Ryan hasn't given a single national press conference, although he has done interviews for local media outlets—which typically don't push the interviewee very hard. His stump speech rarely mentions his plan to replace Medicare with a voucher system. Instead, he attacks President Obama and plays up his bow hunting abilities and working-class background. None of this is the red meat conservatives had expected, but one see's Team Romney's fingerprints all over it. The one time he did talk about Medicare, at the annual AARP convention, he was roundly booed. To make things even worse, he was supposed to put Wisconsin in play, but our current average of six recent polls gives Obama a lead there of 51 pecent to 45 percent.

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The Night's Watch

Seven swing state polls came out today and each showed President Obama with a decisive advantage over Mitt Romney, making this a bad start to the week for the Republican presidential nominee.

Latino Enthusiasm Bounces Back

(Steve Rhodes/Flickr)

Latino enthusiasm is one of the wild cards of this election. In 2008, a record percentage of Latinos reported high enthusiasm for the election, and their turnout—9 percent of the electorate—was critical to Barack Obama’s victories in Colorado, North Carolina and Florida.

Obama has managed to maintain his support among Latino voters, but for most of this year, their enthusiasm has lagged behind where it was four years ago. This summer, according to NBC News, Wall Street Journal and Telemundo, only 49 percent of Latinos were “highly interested” in the election, compared to 62 percent of all voters. Likewise, a Latino Decisions survey from the beginning of the year found lower enthusiasm compared to 2008; at the time, 38 percent of Latinos said they were more enthusiastic about 2012 while 46 percent said they were more enthusiastic back in 2008.

Since the Democratic convention, however, all of this has changed. Not only has Obama increased his vote share among Latinos—according to the latest Latino Decisions survey, he leads Mitt Romney, 69 percent to 24 percent, with 7 percent undecided—but Latino enthusiasm has spiked. Here is a nifty chart that illustrates the change:

Latino enthusiasm is upside down from where it was in January, with 46 percent reporting greater excitement for 2012 than 2008. It’s hard to understate the importance of this for November. At Romney’s current vote share, and with Latino turnout at 2008 levels, Colorado becomes a stronger bet for Obama, thus strengthening his position in the Electoral College. Indeed, the latest Colorado survey from Public Policy Polling shows Obama with a 6 point lead over Romney and 65 percent support from Latinos—a 4 point improvement over his 2008 results.

It’s increasingly clear that the GOP cannot count on an enthusiasm advantage this November. As was true four years ago, Obama’s core supporters are both fired up and ready to go.

Romney's Wrong Right Move

(AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

Once it became clear that President Barack Obama received a significant bounce from the Democratic National Convention, the next question was whether this bounce would translate to an enduring advantage for his campaign.

On Friday, polls from National Journal and Reason magazine gave Obama a 7-point lead over Mitt Romney, 50–43 and 52–45, respectively. Saturday was a quiet day for national polling, but Sunday saw the release of two tracking polls by Rasmussen and Gallup. Rasmussen was unchanged from the last few days; Romney and Obama remain tied with 46 percent support, though Obama’s job approval has ticked down: 48 percent approve, 50 percent disapprove.

Sun, Sep. 23 Electoral Vote Predictor

Polls Aren't Moving, Both Sides Worried

The bounce President Obama got from the Democratic convention shows no sign of fading and both sides are worried. One reason the polls are not moving is that people have made up their minds and there are hardly any voters left to swing. A large fraction are not really strongly for either candidate but are strongly against one of them. One voter said he'd vote for Saddam Hussein before he'd vote for Barack Hussein but another called Romney the devil. Not much motion is likely there.

Romney's team can read the handwriting on the wall and the pixels on the monitor and is trying to put on a brave face, saying: "We've got a campaign which is tied with an incumbent president [of] the United States." The team knows that in the national polls, it is fairly close, but in this graph of the electoral college Romney has been behind all year and is now down 122 electoral votes. They feel that some fundamentals (such as the poor jobs situation) put them in a strong position, while at the same time ignoring other economic indicators (such as a booming stock market) that favor Obama. They say they have a plan to right their ship and will roll it out this week.

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Sat, Sep. 22 Electoral Vote Predictor

Obama Leads in Poll of Swing States

A new Purple Strategies poll of 12 swing states shows President Obama with a lead of 49% to 44% over Mitt Romney. In August, the same poll had Romney ahead by 1%, so this is a sharp swing towards Obama. Part of Romney's problem is that only 38% of the voters see him in a favorable light vs. 52% who regard him unfavorably. Obama's favorability is above water with 49% to 46%.

Romney Releases 2011 Tax Return, Paid 14%

Willard M. Romney has released his 379-page tax return. His income was $13.69 million, of which $450,740 was earned (business) income. The rest was mostly interest, dividends, and capital gains. He paid $1.9 million in federal tax. Below is the income portion of Romney's tax return.

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Romney's Negative Coattails

Former governor Mitt Romney’s serial gaffes seem to be doing cumulative damage not just to his own campaign, but to Senate and even House races.

In the days since Romney’s clumsy attempt to make political gain from the murder of Ambassador Chris Stevens, Politico’s piece revealing ineptitude and finger-pointing at the Republican National Convention, and the leak of the infamous “47-Percent” video, Democratic Senate candidates in most contested seats have opened up leads, according to usually trustworthy polls.

Thu, Sep. 20 Electoral Vote Predictor

A third of Voters Less Likely to Support Romney Due to Video

A new Gallup poll shows that 36% of voters are less likely to vote for Mitt Romney as a result of the video in which he said that 47% of of Americans are dependent on government and consider themselves victims. In contrast, 20% said they were more likely to vote for him. The rest weren't swayed one way or the other. Among independents, 29% said they were now less likely to vote for him while only 15% were more likely.