More information is usually for the best, but last night’s NBC/WSJ poll took an unusual step that could detract from our understanding of the horse race. In addition to reporting Obama’s 3 percentage point lead, NBC/WSJ decided to note that Obama leads by 8 percentage points in 12 swing states: the ten true battlegrounds where both sides are investing resources, plus Michigan and New Mexico (rolls eyes). Predictably, political reporters have jumped on this data, implying that Obama holds a structural advantage in the Electoral College.
Full Disclosure: Praise For Fred Hiatt
June 19, 2012
Washington Post editorial page editor Fred Hiatt has come in for his share of criticism over here at TNR, so it’s only fair to note when he hits one right on the mark, as he did with his latest column, on what is emerging as one of the top stories of the 2012 campaign: the demise of disclosure. Not so long ago, conservatives arguing against campaign finance contribution limits offered a deal that was, Hiatt notes, rather seductive: let everyone give whatever they want, but put it all out on the table.
Since Romney secured the nomination in mid-April, the horse race has been rattled by supposed game-changers, ranging from Obama’s decision to endorse gay marriage to terrible new jobs numbers. Political pundits engrossed in the twists and turns of the campaign agree that events and poor messaging have conspired to reduce Obama’s chances.
Electionate Live-Blogs the Wisconsin Recall
June 05, 2012
Wisconsin by the Numbers Scott Walker cruised to a 53-46 win in the Wisconsin Gubernatorial Recall, stunning Democrats expecting a tight race after early exit polls. Walker's victory was built on a GOP-friendly electorate, even whiter, older, richer, and less Democratic than the 2010 midterms, let alone 2008. Seniors represented 18% of the electorate, up from 16% in 2010 and 14% in 2008. The non-white share of the electorate fell from 11% in 2008 to 10% in 2010, to 9% in 2012. 20% of voters made more than $100,000/year, up from 16% in 2010 and 19% in 2008.
Will Obama’s Wednesday embrace of same-sex marriage equality hurt him in November? The short answer is: possible, but not likely. First, as a general proposition, it seems unlikely that there are large numbers of socially conservative voters who lean Obama today but will be transformed into opponents simply by his declared support for marriage equality. Obama’s backing for equality for gays has, after all, been apparent throughout his administration, most famously in ending the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy in the military.
What Obama Should and Shouldn’t Do About High Gas Prices
March 16, 2012
During his press conference on March 6, Barack Obama remarked that there’s “no silver bullet” to stem rising gas prices in the short term—and in the view of most energy experts, he’s right. The problem, though, is that the American people don’t agree. In the most recent NBC/Wall Street Journal survey, made public the day before the president spoke, 55 percent said that the government has a “great deal” or “quite a bit” of control over gas prices.
Warning To Democrats: Romney Is a Stronger Candidate Than You Think
January 30, 2012
Mitt Romney’s strong performance in the second Florida debate deprived Newt Gingrich of his last chance to maintain the boost he got from his South Carolina victory. Unless something significant happens before January 31, Romney will beat Gingrich in the Sunshine State by a double-digit margin and regain his standing as the front-runner for the Republican nomination. After a quiet February, he’ll deploy his edge in money, organization, and preparation to defeat Gingrich the way Grant defeated Lee—by inexorably grinding him down.
Mitt Romney, Much Obliged
January 08, 2012
What better person than the French-speaking Mitt Romney to lay bare the pure beating heart of noblesse oblige. Sunday morning's NBC debate in Concord, N.H. was a vast improvement over the ABC one the night before -- it occurred to the non-Romney candidates that they might want to train their fire on the man who's up 20 points in the New Hampshire polls. Their focus trailed off as the debate progressed, but Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich did manage to produce a revealing exchange at the outset regarding Romney's motivations to enter politics.
Grover Norquist Is Right
November 28, 2011
Lord help me, but I have to agree with Grover Norquist about something. A primary subject on Sunday’s talks shows and, more generally, media reports of the last few days has been the "failure" of the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction – a.k.a., the Super-Committee. As you know, the Super-Committee’s members could not agree on plan to reduce the ten-year budget deficit by at least $1.5 trillion. As a result, automatic spending cuts of $1.2 trillion – what’s known as a “sequester” – are now set to take effect in January, 2013. But does that really mean the Super-Committee failed?
Is This The Time For A Quarter-Billionaire?
November 08, 2011
We'll find out tonight whether the labor-led revolt against John Kasich in Ohio is as strong as the polls have indicated, and we'll spend tomorrow trying to prognosticate how much of that revolt will carry over into next year's presidential election in that extremely crucial swing state. But for now, let's just pose the question that's been on my mind a lot recently: at a time when voters are in a deeply populist mood and generally awakening to the stark reality of extreme income inequality, is the Republican Party really on the verge of nominating a man with an estimated $250 million to his