President Obama, Culture Warrior
August 20, 2012

Why is Obama re-litigating the same cultural issues that hurt Kerry eight years ago?

Paul Ryan’s Medicare Plan May Scare Off Seniors—And Cost Romney the Presidency
August 13, 2012

Mitt Romney simply can't win without the vote of senior citizens. So why did he pick as his running-mate Paul Ryan, a man best known for his proposal

UPDATED: Six Things to Know About Ryan (and Romney)
August 11, 2012

The Ryan pick confirms that Romney is committed to a radical conservative agenda—depriving millions of health insurance, decimating basic government s

Daily Breakdown: Trackers Remind Us Of A Close Race
August 10, 2012

Good round of polls for Romney today, although there weren’t many and they were from firms that have tended to offer decent results for Romney so far this cycle.   Iowa seems destined to be among the closest states in 2012. It leaned slightly to the left in 2004 and 2008, but it has a large white working class population which would tend to suggest that Obama should expect larger losses in Iowa than elsewhere.

How Bush v. Gore Killed the Romney Campaign
August 08, 2012

Over at Slate, Dave Weigel had some nice things to say about my Stuart Stevens profile before raising an objection about how the liberal-industrial-complex has changed campaigns since 2000: Absolutely, the liberal media is stronger and more influential than it was in 2000. But you can draw a venn diagram between strictly left-wing media and mainstream political reporting, and in the intersection, you will find "explanatory, fact-checking reporting," enabled by the endless archives and space of the Internet.

Will Undecided Voters Make This Election 1980-Redux? The Data Points to No.
August 07, 2012

Is it 2004 or 1980? That’s the question rankling the pundits, but what they’re really trying to unlock is the mystery of the sliver of undecided voters. In 1980, undecided voters uniformly broke toward Reagan, turning a dead heat into a landslide. But while Democrats were counting on a similar phenomenon in 2004, undecided voters split evenly, giving Bush a modest victory. In 2012, Obama has a clear and consistent lead in the popular vote, so Romney’s chances hinge on undecided voters breaking overwhelmingly toward the challenger: It’s 1980 or bust.

Did Bush v. Gore Eviscerate Gun Control?
August 06, 2012

In the days after the Aurora horror I was considering floating a theory about the past decade’s decline in support for gun control even in the face of a string of mass shootings. I never got around to it, and put it on the back burner. Well, here we are just a couple weeks later and I once again have what we in the news business call a “peg” for my argument—another half dozen shot dead by a well-armed nutcase. So, here’s my idea: that the Supreme Court seriously undermined the prospects for gun control efforts long before its 2008 ruling in D.C. v.

Romney Could Use a Sister Souljah Moment
August 06, 2012

After embracing stridently partisan positions during the primaries, campaigns traditionally etch-a-sketch to the center after securing the nomination. But while Romney adopted his fair share of conservative positions to squeeze passed Santorum, he has yet to move back to the center: He hasn’t discovered any new centrist positions, he hasn't attempted to co-opt any Democratic strengths, he hasn’t established an independent-minded theme, and he hasn’t found a Sister Souljah moment.

Romney on Taxes: Deny, Distract, Dissemble
August 02, 2012

Twenty-four hours later, the conservative reaction to a devastating report about Mitt Romney’s tax plan is proving almost as interesting as the report itself. The report, published by the Brookings-Urban Tax Policy Center, demonstrated that Romney’s plan, if implemented, would reduce taxes for the wealthiest 5 percent of Americans but increase taxes for everybody else.

How to Read the Polls: It's Not Just About Who's Leading Right Now
August 02, 2012

Everyone pays attention to who's winning, but not all leads are created equal: a candidate's standing matters too. If it’s July in a presidential election year, there’s a big difference between leading 46-40 and 50-44. The former could be a toss-up, the latter is probably not. Why? In recent elections, it is unusual for presidential candidates to finish beneath their share of the vote in summer polling. Consider John McCain in 2008. Other than a Palin-induced sugar high, the final few months of the 2008 campaign couldn’t have gone much worse.