Tuesday Reads: Tim Burton, Presidential Polls, Romney on Spain, and More

Good Morning!!

Before I get going with the news, I want to recommend a wonderful movie. Yesterday afternoon, I took my nephews to see Tim Burton’s Frankenweenie, and I loved it! Trust me, it isn’t just for kids. It’s a funny, touching story about a boy and his dog as well as a great homage to horror movies. There’s even a scene where the science teacher, who looks like Vincent Price and talks like Bela Lugosi, tells a meeting of parents complaining about his class that they’re ignorant and prefer fantasy to science.

The Boston Globe reviewer gave the movie four stars, which is unheard of for a film aimed at children. There’s a wonderful backstory too:

In 1984, when he was an eccentric young animator working for Disney, the young Burton made a 30-minute live-action short called “Frankenweenie,” about a boy named Victor and the scrappy pet he brings back to life after it’s hit by a car. The movie was weird, it was inventive, and it spooked the bejesus out of Disney executives, who refused to release it and fired Burton. After the director became famous in the wake of “Edward Scissorhands,” the company put it out on VHS; it now can be found as an extra on the “Nightmare Before Christmas” DVD.

The current entertainment landscape has been effectively Burton-ized; this season alone, there are two pallid family-film imitations, “ParaNorman” and “Hotel Transylvania,” that arguably wouldn’t exist had the director not made the world safe for light pop-goth gloom. The new, improved “Frankenweenie” is thus not only revenge served sweetly — it’s being released by Disney, tail between its legs — but a reminder that, at his best, Burton belongs in the same bleakly charming league as Charles Addams and Edward Gorey.

Now I think I need to watch Ed Wood again.

That was such a nice break from all the depressing news about Mitt Romney and other insane Republicans. Now lets see what’s in the news today.

Everyone is talking about the latest Pew Poll which has Romney leading by 4–quite a shock. Even more shocking, TPM’s polltracker average now has Romney ahead of Obama by close to 3 points. On the other hand, today’s Gallup tracking polls shows Obama ahead by 5 points. Weird.

Now for a little expert analysis. Nate Silver advises: Amid Volatile Polling, Keep an Eye on Election Fundamentals

Mr. Obama got a bounce coming out of Charlotte, and it had some staying power — with his national lead appearing to peak at about five or six percentage points. But polling released immediately after the debate seemed to suggest that Mr. Romney had drawn into a rough national tie.

By the weekend, however — after the release of a favorable jobs report last Friday — Mr. Romney’s bounce seemed to be receding some. Tracking polls released on Monday by Gallup and Rasmussen Reports actually showed a shift back toward Mr. Obama, although another poll by Pew Research showed Mr. Romney with a four-point lead among likely voters.

Polling data is often very noisy, and not all polls use equally rigorous methodology. But the polls, as a whole, remain consistent with the idea that they may end up settling where they were before the conventions, with Mr. Obama ahead by about two points. Such an outcome would be in line with what history and the fundamentals of the economy would lead you to expect.

Keep in mind:

Challengers also generally profit from the first debate: in 8 of the 10 election cycles since 1976, the polls moved against the incumbent, and a net gain of two or three percentage points for the challenger is a reasonably typical figure.

At the same time, incumbent presidents just aren’t that easy to defeat. Mr. Obama’s approval ratings are now hovering around 50 percent and don’t seem to have been negatively affected by his performance in Denver. Although Mr. Obama’s approval ratings may be slightly lower among those most likely to vote — meaning that Mr. Romney could win with a strong turnout — historically that number has been just good enough to re-elect an incumbent.

David Adkins of Hullabaloo took a look at the internals of the Pew poll and found some interesting tidbits:

– For starters, a full two-thirds of the respondents were over 50 years old. Is that likely to be the shape of the electorate? Very likely not.

– A full 77% of the respondents were white. That is almost certainly not going to reflect the final electorate.

– A large preponderance of the respondents were from the South (449), with the next highest total from the Midwest (294), and only 219 from the Northeast and 239 from the West. There will not be twice as many voters from the South in the election as from the Northeast or the West.

– Finally, more respondents claimed to be Republicans than Democrats, which would destroy the President’s chances in November automatically. It’s possible for the final electorate to resemble that Party ID, but unlikely.

Read the rest at the link. I found it helpful. Markos also had a good post on the polls yesterday, if you don’t mind going to the orange place. He noted that the PPP poll to be released today will also have Romney in the lead nationally.

Paul Waldman asks the same question I ask myself every Monday: Why Do the Sunday Shows Suck So Much?

In the American media landscape, there is no single forum more prestigious than the Sunday shows—particularly the three network programs, and to a slightly lesser extent “Fox News Sunday” and CNN’s “State of the Union.” The Sunday shows are where “newsmakers” face the music, where Washington’s most important people are validated for their importance, where issues are probed in depth. So, why do they suck so much?

I live and breathe politics, yet I find these programs absolutely unwatchable, and I can’t be the only one. On a typical episode, there is nothing to learn, no insight to be gained, no interesting perspective on offer, nothing but an endless spew of talking points and squabbling. Let’s take, for instance, yesterday’s installment of “This Week With George Stephanopoulos.” We start off with dueling interviews with Obama adviser Robert Gibbs and Romney adviser Ed Gillespie. Were you expecting some candid talk from these two political veterans? Of course you weren’t. “If you’re willing to say anything to get elected president,” Gibbs says about Mitt Romney, “if you are willing to make up your positions and walk away from them, I think the American people have to understand, how can they trust you if you are elected president.” Which just happens to be precisely the message of a new Obama ad. What a fascinating coincidence! And you’ll be shocked to learn that Gillespie thought Romney did a great job in the debate: “Governor Romney laid out a plan for turning this economy around, getting things moving again. He had a fact-based critique of President Obama’s failed policies that the president was unable to respond to.” You don’t say!

Go read the whole thing. It’s not long.

As you know, Mitt Romney gave a foreign policy speech yesterday, and it isn’t getting great reviews except among the ultra-right wingers. Dakinkat wrote about it yesterday afternoon. This story is a few days old, but I wanted to call attention to it because it didn’t get a whole lot of coverage. During the debate last Wednesday, Romney made some (inaccurate, natch) remarks about Spain that caused some outrage over there. Here’s what he said:

“Spain spends 42 percent of their total economy on government. We’re now spending 42 percent of our economy on government. I don’t want to go down the path of Spain. I want to put more Americans to work.”

That did not go over well in Spain, where it was seen as on a par with the bumbling, insulting remarks Romney made when he was in Great Britain for the Olympics. Some reactions:

Fox News Latino: Mitt Romney Spain Jab Adds to Foreign Policy Woes

It has become apparent to some that Mitt Romney is in need of a crash course in Diplomacy 101.

He irritated Britons and Palestinians during a summer tour abroad and has declared Russia to be America’s No. 1 geopolitical foe. Just last week, the Republican candidate, who plans a foreign policy speech Monday, raised eyebrows in Spain by holding it up as a prime example of government spending run amok.
That left Spaniards confused, and threatened to reinforce Romney’s perceived handicap in international affairs….

Spanish reaction to Romney was swift.
“What I see is ignorance of what is reality, but especially of the potential of the Spanish economy,” said Deputy Prime Minister Soraya Saenz de Santamaria.

Maria Dolores Cospedal, leader of Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy’s Popular Party, noted that “Spain is not on fire from all sides like some on the outside have suggested.” Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Garcia Margallo called it “very unfortunate that other countries should be put up as examples” when the facts are skewed.

At HuffPo, former Clinton economic adviser Laura Tyson corrected Romney’s inaccuracies:

Mitt Romney made a wildly inaccurate claim during Wednesday’s presidential debate, and Laura Tyson, a former top economic adviser to President Bill Clinton, is calling him out….

But according to Romney’s campaign website, government spending accounted for only 24 percent of gross domestic product last year. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office says that government spending is 23 percent of GDP.

“I have no idea where that number came from,” Tyson, a professor at the University of California at Berkeley, told The Huffington Post after the debate. “That is certainly not a number that is consistent with the facts.”

Tyson said she couldn’t tell whether Romney said it “knowing it was wrong” or whether he “mixed the numbers up in his head.” But nonetheless, she said, “It’s clearly wrong.”

Tyson added that when it comes to taxes, “we’re not anywhere near countries like Spain.”

The Boston Globe reports that as many as 13,000 people may have gotten tainted steroid injections from a Framingham, MA pharmacy and could be at risk of getting meningitis.

US health officials on Monday said that 13,000 patients in 23 states, including Connecticut, Rhode Island, and New Hampshire, have been injected with a potentially tainted steroid treatment made by a Framingham pharmacy, more information can be found here and linked to a national outbreak of meningitis.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention gave its sweeping estimate of the reach of the crisis as it reported 14 new cases of the disease, and another death in Tennessee, which appears to be the hardest hit among the states where the rare and serious form of fungal meningitis has been confirmed.

“We know that 13,000 people received the injection,” said Jamila Jones, a public affairs specilialist for the CDC in Atlanta. “They received it at facilities across the country. They are at risk.”

So far, 105 cases and eight deaths have been confirmed nationally, the agency said.

The steroid, called methylprednisolone acetate, was made by New England Compounding Center in Framingham, which voluntarily ceased operations Oct. 3 amid a widening probe of the treatment and its use at dozens of health care facilities from New Hampshire to California.

Very scary.

Now it’s your turn. What are you reading and blogging about today? I look forward to clicking on your links!

63 Comments on “Tuesday Reads: Tim Burton, Presidential Polls, Romney on Spain, and More”

  1. Great round up, I missed the Spain reaction completely. I am glad you brought it up. As far as Tim Burton. I loved the Frankenweenie short, and both Nightmare Before Christmas and Ed Wood are a couple of his good movies. That is why I was so disgusted with Dark Shadows. His movies from the past 15 plus years have been crap.

    Here is a spooky link and image for you:

    Fossil reveals spider in mid-strike • The Register

    A hundred million years ago, an amber flow spoiled a spider’s day: it had waited, possibly for hours, to ambush a wasp in its web, and just as it decided to strike, spider, wasp and web were all trapped forever.

    The good news for us is that it’s turned up at a dig in Myanmar’s Hukawng Valley, and here’s what it looks like:

    Click the link to see it.

    And this cartoon…think of it as the snake:

  2. Pat Johnson says:

    Please excuse my “what the hell are they thinking?” attitude as the last few days have shown an upward spike in the polls that are in Romney’s favor. Are you kidding me?

    One lousy “debate” where this fool merely stood there and lied through his teeth has led some to “reconsider” and are now throwing their support behind this man and his “budget balancing” policies completely disregarding what he has said for the last 18 months? Really?

    Do these people have any idea what they are supporting? If it is this easy to “surge” a mere 30 days out from the election why not considering having only one “debate” going forward that would cancel out the need to campaign for 2 years and leave it to the “appearance” of whatevr candidate “looks presidential” enough to lead the blind into the daylight if this is all it requires.

    Obama is not my favorite candidate in the whole wide world but Mitt Romney? Come on!

    I can barely turn on the tv without pundits and polls informing me of how “close” this race is tightening up and the supposition – based on Obama’s lackluster performance – may hand this election to Mitt Romney regardless of what he says, when he says it, and to whom it is addressed.

    A man who has changed positions with such alacrity that it is difficult for the fact checkers to keep up. A man whose campaign admitted that “fact checking” does not count and apparently they are correct in that assessment. Just continue to throw out any lie at hand and the idiocy of the voters will buy into the theory of trusting this man who is focused on his wealth more than on the rest of the nation when it comes to policy.

    I am disgusted with how Obama conducted himself on our behalf but even more so at those who would actively support this lying, shallow piece of crapola based on nothing more than an evening of shape shifting that took place in Denver.

    It seems as though the “uninformed voter” roll is increasing by the day.


    • Ron4Hills says:

      One thing the American people will not tolerate in a president is “weakness.” Shifty (Nixon), arrogant (Reagan), clueless (W), even a chick on the side(The Big Dawg himself), are not necessarily deal breakers. But weak? It killed Carter and it may be Obama’s downfall as well. IMO.

      • bostonboomer says:

        Obama isn’t weak though. His foreign policy has been extremely tough–more so than Bush II.

      • ANonOMouse says:

        I agree BB, anyone who thinks Obama is weak on National Security hasn’t been paying attention. Apparently to many folks who have no skin in the game, people like MITT ROMNEY and the NEOCON Chicken hawk republican voters, think we should still be in Iraq and believe that bringing an 11 year war of futility in Afghanistan to an end is weakness. I personally hate the goddam saber rattling of the chicken hawks, they’ll keep us in Afghanistan indefinitely and will attempt to find a way to reinsert our presence in Iraq. And then there’s the big ugly Iran, where the tensions have been pushed to the edge, where the alliances are dangerous and deadly and where the consequence of a pre-emptive strike is likely to spark WWIII. wTF are they thinking???!!!!!!

      • Ron4Hills says:

        I don’t mean weak on policy, foreign or otherwise. I mean “weak” as in passive and cowardly. Answering Romney’s attacks now that Romney has left the playground rather than answering him to his face, comes across as fear and weakness. Obama does not “seem” to have any courage or conviction. I think that if there really are people out there who are “changing” their votes, it is because Obama did not appear to be up to the task off looking the bad guy in the eye and standing up to him. IMO.

    • RalphB says:

      Frankly more of the terrible Obama story has come from his freaked out supporters, note Tweety and Ed Schulz, and the media than anything else. His performance wasn’t nearly as bad as it’s been played up to be by literally every hysterical liberal. The post debate spin has been god awful.

    • Pat @ 7:43

      You are fabulous!

  3. ecocatwoman says:

    I admit to being freaked out when I heard the Pew poll results yesterday afternoon. However, the light of day & time to digest it has calmed me down. Presidents aren’t elected by popular vote. It’s what happens in each of the states because the electoral votes are what actually count. Polls are simply a distraction and make do work until the votes are counted. Apparently, as bb said above, those polled weren’t much of a mixed group. Yes, AL, MS, MO, KS, ID & MT are going to vote Romney, just as NY & CA will go for Obama. Larger population, more electoral votes & Obama continues to lead there according to RCP. He has about 70 more EV than Romney currently. And remember that Kerry was predicted to beat the crap out of Bush. EXIT POLLS all but guaranteed it. Look how that turned out. Seriously, these polls are nothing but a snapshot in time from a very close up perspective. If you stand 6 inches from an elephant, you won’t ever know what the whole critter looks like. My 2 cents, worth about .75 in current markets.

    • Pat Johnson says:

      The way things are going now they will be looking for any “gaffes” that Biden may elicit and this in and of itself could seal the deal.

      Forget the issues. Forget the calamity of the proposed Ryan Plan. Forget that Ryan himself is the co author of a bill granting “personhood” to something that cannot be seen by the naked eye.

      Forget the sexist, anti gay, senior bashing, limited access to healthcare. Just look for the moment that Biden says something considered “off the wall” that will give the pundits an opportunity to chalk off a “win” in the GOP column that could be the “game changer” everyone is looking for in this race.

      It is demoralizing to think that this is all it would take to shift the polls in the favor of these two budget blasters who would increase the burden even more so on the middle and working classes in favor of the rich.

      For those who barely pay attention the “perception”, not the issues, are what is at stake. And that perception so far gives Romney the edge since Obama decided to bring his own interpretation of the “empty chair” to the debate.

      I am concerned at this point in time that something as simple as a constant liar could very well be sworn in come January.

    • bostonboomer says:

      The media is doing its best to keep the election looking close. They want those ad buys and clicks. I’m still not worried. Besides, does anyone really expect that Romney won’t make more disastrous flubs between now and Nov. 6?

      • Pat Johnson says:

        The next “debate” is a Town Hall setting.

        I am waiting – and hoping – that someone in that audience asks Romney to explain his position on the elimination of Planned Parenthood. Or if he considers a zygot a person as does his vp nominee. Or why he would go after PBS instead of cutting military spending and subsidies to the oil and tobacco industries.

        I am also hoping someone raises the question of his stand on D.A.D.T. or why he believes that eliminating medicaid to children, seniors and the handicap is such a good idea. Or why he lied in Denver but we should believe him now?

        He got away with murder going unchallenged by the moderator or Obama which gave him the opportuntity to show his “tougher side” to an audience that tunes in once a year believing they are watching a run up to the next “American Idol” show.

        Unless the moderator actually does his/her job in limiting the answers to the agreed upon time limit he may just go on and on and on as he did last week without staying within the guidelines.

        We make interpret that as arrogant and dismissive but surprisingly there are those who would view that as “commanding”. Sorry to say.

      • Fannie says:

        Yeah, the NRA is stepping in saying Obama is gonna take their guns and rights away……..that shot is coming right at the election.

  4. Fannie says:

    Here’s the NRA AD

    • Fannie says:

      I don’t know what happend with the link……….NRA chipping away at our second amendment rights………………anyway it’s just more lies that support Romney.

      • ANonOMouse says:

        Yeah, these guys are NOT really about 2nd amendment rights, they’re about feathering their own nest through fear mongering and duplicity.

  5. ANonOMouse says:

    For what it’s worth this mornings Rasmussen has it back to a tie.
    Rasmussen Tracking

    10/6 – 10/8

    1500 LV


    Obama 48

    RMoney 48

    I’ve always thought the RAssmussen as a right leaning poll, but it’s positive aspect is that it is a rolling average and it is polling LV’s, where the Gallup is polling RV’s. The PPP and the Pew, as noted by another commenter are a snapshot and much more volatile. If you look at RAND and others that are snapshots and are not accounted for in the RCP average because of the nature of their survey methodology, Obama is still ahead by several points.

    Still, Obama better come to the next debate with some passion, if not he’s going to get his ass handed to him on a platter. I think Biden will do fine in his debate this week against Ryan, but I can’t imagine that the VP debate will move the needle. Obama better bring it!!!!

    • Pat Johnson says:

      The difference is that I know what I am voting AGAINST. These people have no idea what they are voting FOR.

      If you are unfamiliar with the issues and have no idea what the next 4 years could involve with a GOP win, then I suppose just hearing how bad Obama has been from listening to soundbites would make you declare your support for Mendacious Mitt.

      It’s all becoming way too much for me to understand the logic.

      • ANonOMouse says:

        “If you are unfamiliar with the issues and have no idea what the next 4 years could involve with a GOP win, then I suppose just hearing how bad Obama has been from listening to soundbites would make you declare your support for Mendacious Mitt”

        ODS…….So many dumb cluckers are going to support the candidate whose policies will hurt them because they’re afraid of the “secret muslim, socialist, terrorist, kenyan”

      • The difference is that I know what I am voting AGAINST. These people have no idea what they are voting FOR.


        If you are unfamiliar with the issues and have no idea what the next 4 years could involve with a GOP win, then I suppose just hearing how bad Obama has been from listening to soundbites would make you declare your support for Mendacious Mitt.

        Again, I simply mention the flag pin, and the perception that people bring to the election process. It doesn’t matter what shit the candidate says, because these “swing” voters don’t pay attention to that. They probably didn’t even stay for the full debate. All they saw was one guy being aggressively confident and the other being half asleep.

    • RalphB says:

      Supposedly Gallup is switching from an RV to an LV screen beginning today. That always drops numbers for Democrats and I’ll bet especially so at this time and with their current poll sample. We won’t know for several days where the race stands. Maybe not then since other debates will factor in. National polls may be worthless from here out because of the debate schedule.

      • ANonOMouse says:

        “Supposedly Gallup is switching from an RV to an LV screen beginning today”

        That explains why they didn’t release a poll yesterday.

        I’m not paying as much attention to the National polls as the state polls, but looking at the state polls there’s little doubt the debate hurt Obama. Again, he’d better get his ass in gear or he’ll be packing soon.

      • bostonboomer says:

        Gallup had Obama ahead by 5 yesterday. It’s linked in my post. The media conveniently ignored that, but it still happened.

      • ANonOMouse says:

        The Gallup I saw yesterday was 10/4 – 10/6 and had the race tied. Yesterday I was expecting to see 10/5 -10/7, but I never saw one. if that’s the period your talking about BB, it wasn’t posted at RCP. I suppose I need to check Gallup website. Thanks for the info.

  6. RalphB says:

    Check out this comment on PPP’s website to see what I am voting against.

    Wow comment

    • bostonboomer says:

      Jeeze. Shouting moron. I couldn’t read it all.

    • ANonOMouse says:

      Damn, I”m going to have to wash my eyes out!!! 🙂

    • Sounds like the kind of crap I hear in banjoville.

      • Fannie says:

        sounds like a religious nut looking for another war

      • Speaking of religious nuts: The Bible Teaches Legitimate Rape; God Also Kinda Pro-Choice | Mediaite

        On Monday night’s The Last Word, host Lawrence O’Donnell devoted his patented Re-write segment to the favored liberal pastime of making Bible literalists look (more) foolish by reading The Bible to them. In this case, the target was Rep. Paul Broun (R-MO), who recently made remarks (apparently from inside a deer-themed kaleidoscope) indicating his belief that evolution, embryology, and The Big Bang are “lies, straight from the pit of Hell.”

        O’Donnell connected Broun to fellow Missourian Todd Akin by dint of Broun’s literal interpretation of the Good Book, reading a passage that, like Akin and VP hopeful Paul Ryan, draws some funny (not “ha ha” funny) distinctions about rape:

  7. bostonboomer says:

    Nate Silver today:

    Mr. Romney’s chances were down to just 13.9 percent immediately in advance of last week’s debate in Denver. He has nearly doubled his chances since then.

    [Romney’s chances still only 25%]

    But the gains that he made on Monday in particular were all because of a single poll.

    We’ll talk about that poll — a Pew Research poll that gave Mr. Romney a 4-point lead among likely voters — in a moment. But let’s first consider the day’s worth of polling without it, which was pretty mixed for Mr. Romney.

    The most unfavorable numbers for Mr. Romney came in the national tracking polls published by Gallup and Rasmussen Reports. Both showed the race trending slightly toward President Obama, who increased his lead from 3 points to 5 points in the Gallup poll, and pulled into a tie after having trailed by 2 points in the Rasmussen survey.

    [Note that Gallup DID release a poll yesterday as I stated in my post]

    In both cases, the numbers looked more like pre-debate data than the stronger numbers that Mr. Romney has been receiving since then. On average between the Democratic convention and the debate, the Rasmussen poll showed Mr. Obama with a 0.7-point lead (the Rasmussen poll is Republican-leaning relative to the consensus), while the Gallup poll had Mr. Obama ahead by an average of 3.4 points.

    A third national tracking poll, an online tracking poll published by the RAND Corporation, showed essentially no change from Sunday. All of this seemed to be consistent with a story in which Mr. Romney’s debate bounce was receding some.

    • bostonboomer says:

      More on the Pew poll:

      There are two smarter questions to ask about the Pew poll. First, is it really likely that Mr. Romney leads the race by 4 points right now? The consensus of the evidence, particularly the national tracking polls, would suggest otherwise. Instead, the forecast model’s conclusion is that the whole of the data is still consistent with a very narrow lead for Mr. Obama, albeit one that is considerably diminished since Denver.

      It might be granted that the situation is more ambiguous than usual right now. But our forecast model looks at literally all of the polls; it estimates Mr. Romney’s post-debate bounce as being 2.5 percentage points, not quite enough to erase Mr. Obama’s pre-debate advantage.

      The other valid line of inquiry concerns the timing of the poll. The Pew poll was conducted from Thursday through Sunday, although more of the interviews were conducted in the earlier part of that period. There’s nothing in the poll that really refutes the story that Mr. Romney initially received a very large bounce after the debate (perhaps somewhere on the order of 4 or 5 points, if not quite as large as Pew shows it), which has since faded some between the news cycle turning over and the favorable jobs report on Friday.

  8. RalphB says:

    John Cole at Balloon-Juice has what may be the best response to Sully’s latest freakout.

    I ask for very little, but I would like some mother fucking credit for paying no attention to the latest Sullivan freak-out. I haven’t even clicked the links from other front pagers to find out what his major malfunction is this time.

    I’s rather roofie myself before taking a prison shower than pay attention to that fucking nonsense.

  9. pdgrey says:

    I’m back, goofy, dizzy, swollen jaw but OK. Yea! You guys are on fire, great links. There are so many I enjoyed.
    Here is something I wish would happen in the US.

  10. RalphB says:

    Fred Kaplan does a super takedown of Rmoney’s “big” foreign policy speech, point by point. I believe it’s devastating.

    Slate: Mitt Romney’s Most Dishonest Speech

    When it comes to lies and half-truths, Romney saves his best stuff for foreign policy.

  11. RalphB says:

    Minnesota poll with interviews after the debate and big bounce…