Saturday Reads: Obsessive Poll-Watching Edition

Good Morning Sky Dancers!!

Just three more days before the election, and I’m starting to get excited. I’m so looking forward to seeing Mitt Romney go down in flames along with Richard Mourdock, Scott Brown, and–I hope–Todd Akin. I plan to be riveted to the news until all the races are settled. It will really help that MSNBC is going to run real programming this weekend instead of prison videos. I know this is serious business, but I’m having more fun than if the Red Sox were in the World Series.

So let’s see what’s happening out there this morning.

Rupert Murdoch was pontificating on Twitter again yesterday. He’s not happy with Chris Christie’s gratitude for President Obama’s emergency response.

@rupertmurdoch Thanks Bloomberg right decision.@Now Christie, while thanking O, must re- declare for Romney, or take blame for next four dire years.

Mitt Romney had an “all star rally” in Westchester, Ohio last night, and Politico was wowed!

On a frigid fall night — you could see your breath in the air, and organizers handed out fleece blankets and hand warmers to the press — 100 GOP all-star surrogates gathered in this key state, some throwing red meat to the sprawling crowd and stressing that Ohioans hold the fate of the election in their hands.

It was an awesome visual. Those appearing with Romney and Ryan included former GOP rivals Rick Santorum and Rick Perry, and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte. They lined up in rows to Romney’s right in matching red or blue fleeces.
Organizers of tonight’s mega-event said the goal was to create the feeling of a week-long party convention in one night — complete with the the GOP’s rising stars and stalwarts, as well as a performance by Kid Rock.
The crowd loved it. Many waved small Ohio flags. Romney supporters wearing red, white and blue T-shirts positioned themselves behind Romney to create a human image of Ohio’s flag.

Quite a few of those “all stars” were holdovers from the Bush administration like Condi Rice and has beens like Rudy Giuliani, who expressed his frustration at the state of the race by bashing Obama in Ohio yesterday.

Not long after taking a few seconds of silence for those affected by Superstorm Sandy, Rudy Giuliani began ripping into President Barack Obama on Friday while speaking at major campaign event for Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan in Ohio.

The former New York City mayor delivered a series of blistering zingers against the president, rallying the massive crowd with line after line of reasons why Obama should “resign” and faulting him for “incompetence” over the Libya consulate attacks.

Giuliani attacked Obama on the unemployment numbers, while ignoring the 171,000 jobs added in October.

“He should resign! He told us he would resign if he did this poorly,” Giuliani said, referring to a 2009 interview in which Obama vowed to turn the economy around in three years, otherwise there would be a “one-term proposition.”

Giuliani continued to fire off: “He lied. He has been a disaster. The worst president for our economy in our lifetime. He doesn’t want a second term. He wants a second chance, because he screwed it up the first time.”

Mitt Romney himself began the wrapup of his campaign by once again twisting Obama’s words.

The Republican presidential nominee criticized President Barack Obama, who during his own visit to the Buckeye State said voting was the “best revenge.” The Democratic incumbent altered a traditional refrain from his stump speech when he receives boos from the audience.

“No, no, no – don’t boo, vote,” Obama said Friday in Springfield, Ohio. “Vote. Voting is the best revenge.”

That evening, in West Chester, Romney responded, “Our big dreams will not be satisfied by his small agenda that already failed us. Today, did you see what President Obama said today? He asked his supporters to vote for revenge – for revenge. Instead I ask the American people to vote for love of country.”

Doesn’t he ever tire of fake outrage? This is the guy who shipped thousands of jobs to China and hides his money in multiple foreign tax shelters.

In New Jersey, state officials are struggling to make sure residents hard hit by Hurricane Sandy will still be able to vote on Tuesday.

Polling places too far from people’s homes or shelters. Emergency ballots running out. Voting machines breaking down and no one to service them. Poll staffers unable to work on Election Day. Mail-in ballots stuck in a crippled postal system. Results delayed for days.

Those were the logistical nightmares county clerks, political leaders and election lawyers sorted through Friday as they scrambled to piece together a plan for Tuesday. Details, however, changed by the hour and remained sketchy by day’s end.

“Right now, it’s a lot of if’s, maybe’s, we hope, keep your fingers crossed,” said Hudson County Clerk Barbara Netchert, whose office and all others in the state will be open this weekend.

In New York, the absentee ballot deadline has been changed and it’s possible voting could be extended to two days.

New York State extended the deadline for absentee ballots to be received and counted to 13 days after Election Day, from seven days, to allow for postal delays caused by the storm. But they must be postmarked no later than Monday, said John Conklin, a spokesman for the state’s Board of Elections, which has been trying to help local boards get power restored or, failing that, get generators, fuel and extension cords.

A little-noticed New York State law allows counties to seek permission for a second day of voting if they determine that voter turnout was less than 25 percent “as the direct consequence” of a disaster, but several election lawyers said that they did not believe it had ever been invoked and that it was unlikely to be used next week.

There could also be hurricane-related problems for voters in Connecticut, Pennsylvania, and even Ohio. Most of these problems won’t affect the outcome of the presidential election, since NY, NJ, and CT are all blue states and Obama has been leading in PA all year, but there is concern about downticket races and early voting in Ohio.

But even when elections officials get the polling sites up and running, many voters may stay away as they grapple with lingering damage to their homes, power failures and gas shortages. With turnout projected to be down in all these states, Mr. Obama could see his share of the national popular vote reduced.

The storm may have already affected the early vote, which could be important, given that analysts estimate that more than a third of the votes this year will be cast before Election Day. Early voting was temporarily halted in some states. In Ohio, the crucial Democratic stronghold of Cuyahoga County, which includes Cleveland, had more people vote early every day this year than in 2008 — until Monday, the day of the storm, when the daily tally began to lag from its levels of four years ago.

Republicans are still trying to convince themselves that Romney can win on Tuesday, although the latest polls show Obama leading in just about every swing state. Even the Wall Street Journal admits that Obama is ahead in both Ohio and Florida now.

The Wall Street Journal/NBC News/Marist Poll surveys of likely voters released Friday show Mr. Obama maintaining a foothold little changed from four weeks ago, when the Journal surveyed voters in both states just after Mr. Romney’s strong debate performance in Denver.

The surveys found the two battling neck-and-neck in Florida, with Mr. Obama drawing 49% support among likely voters to Mr. Romney’s 47%.

Mr. Obama held a firmer lead in Ohio—51% to 45%, unchanged from mid-October—where the relatively more buoyant economy and the federal bailout of the auto industry appear to have solidified his support among a wide swath of voters.

In both states, Mr. Obama got high marks from all sides for his management of recovery efforts after the storm Sandy hit the East Coast. That tracks an array of polls taken in the past week suggesting that Mr. Romney’s rise may have flattened out just before Sandy landed, an event that sucked national attention away from the campaign trail. In the Florida and Ohio polls, even a majority of Republican voters approved of Mr. Obama’s handling of the storm’s aftermath.

But conservatives like Michael Barone are still trying to create their own reality. He predicts Romney will carry North Carolina, Florida, Ohio, Virginia, Colorado, New Hampshire, Iowa, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania!

We’ll see on Tuesday. But Jonathan Chait notes the signs that Republican “poll deniers” are beginning to face reality.

You may have noticed that the election is getting extremely close, and President Obama’s electoral college lead appears pretty solid. One lagging indicator of the state of the race is the rate at which conservative pundits begin edging slowly out of the Mitt Romney bunker and admitting that maybe the polls aren’t skewed. Dick Morris, last seen predicting a Romney landslide, still insists Romney is likely to win, but now sees “sudden danger signs.” Jennifer Rubin opens a paean to the beautiful poetry of Romney’s closing message by observing, “If Mitt Romney wins Wisconsin, it may be because of the speech. If he loses the election it might be argued it was because he didn’t give that speech at the convention.”

Sorry for my obsessive focus on the election today. I’ll end with a think piece (still election related) by Rick Perlstein, highly recommended by Paul Krugman. It’s called The Long Con: Mail Order Conservatism. It’s too long and involved to excerpt, but here’s what Krugman says about the piece:

The estimable Rick Perlstein has a fascinating essay about the seamless continuum from direct-mail marketing scams to direct-mail right-wing fundraising, and from there to the whole character of modern movement conservatism. Go read. I didn’t know, for example, that heroes of direct-mail fundraising like Richard Viguerie ended up delivering hardly any of the money to political causes; somehow it ended up swallowed by overhead, otherwise known as the fundraisers themselves….

Remember how Rove and others were supposed to raise vast sums from billionaires and corporations, then totally saturate the country with GOP messaging, drowning out Obama’s message? Well, they certainly raised a lot of money, and ran a lot of ads. But in terms of actual number of ads the battle has been, if anything, an Obama advantage. And while we don’t know what will happen on Tuesday, state-level polls suggest both that Obama is a strong favorite and, much more surprising, that Democrats are overwhelmingly favored to hold the Senate in a year when the number of seats at risk was supposed to spell doom….

Well, what if we’ve been misunderstanding Rove? We’ve been seeing him as a man dedicated to helping angry right-wing billionaires take over America. But maybe he’s best thought of instead as an entrepreneur in the business of selling his services to angry right-wing billionaires, who believe that he can help them take over America. It’s not the same thing.

So was it all just about making money for Rove? What did Romney expect to get out of all this?

Now it’s your turn. What are you reading and blogging about today?


61 Comments on “Saturday Reads: Obsessive Poll-Watching Edition”

  1. Pat Johnson says:

    My stomach is in a knot. My local paper is saying that though Obama is in the lead in MA their seems to be a “surge” for Romney taking place.

    I know in my heart Romney can’t win MA but where is this “surge” coming from? Expecially in the last week when Romney looked like and has been exposed in Ohio as even more of a fool and a liar than ever before?

    If this is true in MA what is going on in those key states that are even closer?

    You can see why my hair is constantly on fire as this race finally reaches the finish line. It is still a mystery to me how anyone can actually be considering casting a vote for that lying sack of incredibility when the polls show a “dead heat”.

    Romney should be fading owing to his missteps and lies but not so fast. This is what keeps me up nights.

    I’m running out of Advil.

    • peregrine says:

      Pat, take heart for it will be over soon. Romney should be under the jail for lying. Since I take Advil for serious pain, I had to read the label to find that you must be taking it for headaches which may be serious pain for you. Some years ago my internist recommended Benadryl when I delayed sleep at night to solve the world’s problems. In the last two or three weeks, I’ve had to take 4 or 5 pills (only one a night) to stop my mind’s swirl of political noise. Getting your sleep will help you through next week whatever the election results. Take two Benadryls and call me in the morning.

    • RalphB says:

      Nate Cohn notes that, along with the solidly blue states, “the combination of Wisconsin, Nevada, and Ohio provides Obama with 271 electoral votes. As of today, there is not a single non-partisan survey showing Romney ahead in any of these three states.”

      Greg Sargent points out that the polling averages show Obama leading in those states by 2.9, 5.4 and 2.7 points respectively.

      Surge? Maybe in a toilet or bathtub as he circles the drain somewhere.

    • Pat, I wish we lived near each other, so we could suffer this election anxiety together. I am right there with ya, and no matter what those poll results may say, I still have a horrible worry that Romney will squeak out a win.

  2. Beata says:

    More good polling news from Indiana: John Gregg, Democratic candidate for Governor, is gaining on Republican Tea Party darling Mike Pence in the final days of the campaign. The latest poll shows Pence 47% vs. Gregg 40%. A poll taken a month ago had Pence 47% vs. Gregg 34%. Now national Democratic money is coming in to help Gregg’s campaign. If Gregg can win, it will be a pick up seat for the Democrats, replacing former Republican Governor Mitch Daniels. Mike Pence is every bit as crazy as Senate candidate Richard Mourdock but Pence is a better politician and largely manages to hide his insanity.

  3. peregrine says:

    Do follow bb’s suggestion and read Perlstein’s “The Long Con: Mail-Order Conservatism”. If his 4.5 page article is too long, try to read the last section: “Untruth and Consequences”, where you’ll find this confounding phrase, ‘…lying for the Lord,’ as Mormons call it.’

    • Pat Johnson says:

      I am taking my “Debbie Downer” self over to a corner and lose myself in the latest Streisand biography that will more than likely take two days to get through.

      This will allow me to turn off the tv, the polls, the pundits, and the sound of Romney’s voice yammering and stammering away. Can’t stand listening to that liar and his host of phony surrogates out to steal the election.

      Consider this my idea of “self deporting”. And I’m not even that big a Streisand fan to be honest!

      At this point I am seeking distraction from any source available.

      • ecocatwoman says:

        Pat, was that you in the Bronco Bama & Mitt Romney video? Remember November 7th is only a few days away.

      • RalphB says:

        I feel for you. I want it to end myself.

      • ANonOMouse says:

        Pat….Keep the faith, we’re almost there and Obama is going to win.

        Peace to you, JJ and to us all.

      • NW Luna says:

        Sounds like an excellent plan — no need to get driven crazy about stuff we can’t change. Don’t let the bad guys have any more influence on how we’re feeling.

        Easier said than done, I know. Distraction helps.

    • pdgrey says:

      BB, really enjoying reading the Long Con, not thru yet, but
      “Back in our great-grandparents’ day, the peddlers of such miracle cures and get-rich-quick schemes were known as snake-oil salesmen”
      This is what i was trying to say poorly yesterday, about old people are being abused.

    • peregrine says:

      It’s more like 16+ pages long. My brain is still asleep.

    • RalphB says:

      Read the Long Con piece yesterday and it’s amazingly good and informative. Huge scamming of the wingnuts.

      • peregrine says:

        O, Ralph, you’ve read everything before the rest of us (humor). I’ve noticed that you post at 12 AM. Are you doing all nighters? Benadryl to you too!

      • RalphB says:

        In my case, Tequila would be good but I don’t use it often enough. 🙂

  4. ecocatwoman says:

    FL voter reporting in. I DID IT! I VOTED THIS MORNING! Big sigh of relief. It certainly wasn’t as quick & easy as it’s been since 1972, but it wasn’t a nightmare. I parked about the length of 2 city blocks from the polling place – the office of the Supervisor of Elections. I was about #200 in line. Fortunately my sciatica was gone, but I took my cane just in case. Getting inside was quicker than I thought it would be. Once inside I had my ID & signature & address checked. Took a seat & waited for my name to be called. When my name was called I was given my ballot – 3 pages, front & back. Prez, US Senator, US Rep, State Rep, 3 Soil & Water reps, keep or ax 3 state Supremes, Clerk of the Court (unopposed Republican), Circuit Court judge (no info so voted for the woman), 11 amendments to the state constitution, 4 to the county charter & a special referendum to the charter. Finally finished, I checked to make sure I’d made no mistakes coloring in the oval dots. At this point I would normally walk up to the ballot machine & insert my ballot, but there was a long line for the 2 voting machines. Maybe I was just anxious to get this whole thing over & done, but that seemed to take longer than any other stage of this process. The woman at one of the ballot boxes kept having trouble with the voters’ ballots she got. Those poor folks had to go to another poll worker, come back, go back again & finally insert their ballots. Finally it was my turn – about a six step process including the one by one inserting of each page of the ballot. SUCCESS! Votes scanned & got my validation sticker. Then the long walk back to the car.

    For the life of me I cannot imagine how I participated in 9 presidential elections when voting was restricted to a single day. How the hell did everyone who wanted to manage to vote in one day only?

    PS – I went to another polling place first & it was so much worse than I thought it would be – you would have thought Elvis was alive & performing in concert judging by the number of cars in the parking lot. I left & headed to another polling place.

    • ecocatwoman says:

      Oops – add Tax Collector to the list. I voted for the dead 82 year old Democrat. He died about a week ago & the Dems substituted Scott Randolph – the only REAL DEM – in our state for the position. I’m willing to bet that most people voted for the dead guy without even knowing he had died. I think he’d been Orange County’s tax collector since FDR was in office.

      • RalphB says:

        That’s a great story and congrats 🙂 I voted 2 weeks ago on the first day of early voting and it took about 15 min total. Yesterday I drove by the same location and there were long lines outside. We are usually a low turnout state.

        • ecocatwoman says:

          Trust me, I’ve been kicking myself – metaphorically of course – all week. Last Saturday was our first early voting day & I didn’t go. DUMB! But I have no one to blame but my lazy ass self. This old dog learned a new trick – vote immediately.

      • NW Luna says:

        most people voted for the dead guy

        See! Dem voting fraud!


    • peregrine says:

      Good for you, ecocat. Voting does make one excited and proud, especially in doing your part in this election. It took me 45 minutes to vote October 25th. Where I live, the Reagan presidential election and re-election were the two that caused me to wait the longest in line, but only for an hour, hour and a half max. I am a dem isle dot surrounded by a republican sea.

      • peregrine says:

        Meaning that the republicans in my voting district go into the booth and vote straight “republican” each time making their voting in the booth time quick while I vote for each office debating whether I can vote for a recommended republican. This time, and most times, hell no!

      • ecocatwoman says:

        I have to say that I was thrilled that the voters in line were easily 60% or more African American. Regardless of what folks say, at least in Florida, neighborhoods are still segregated. I occasionally see Latinos at my regular polling place, but never an African American. Oh & LOTS & LOTS of women, probably 75% of those in line. I saw one elderly AA woman, probably in her 80s walking back to her car. I walked back to mine with an AA nurse, a widow, who just finished her 15 hour shift as a surgical nurse. She said her daughter had voted earlier.

      • peregrine says:

        Our paper’s associate editor has written an excellent opinion. He writes how Republican leaders have embraced and feared the “proud ignorance and joyful ugliness”, but rarely criticized the racism.

        Onge ends with, “Maybe the best thing that can happen for them — for all of us — is for extremism to lose, and for that not to be — as it never should — a winning strategy.”

    • bostonboomer says:

      I’m very glad that I voted last week. But where I normally vote, I’ve rarely had to wait. They always have lots of booths to use and then we just feed our paper ballots into the machine that counts them. Of course we don’t have poll taxes in MA and as far as I know, the gov’t doesn’t try to keep people from voting. It sounds like Florida needs more polling places.

      Anyway, congrats on voting, Connie. I was thinking of you last night when I saw those long lines on TV.

      • janicen says:

        I’m waiting until election day because my daughter is coming home to vote with me and hubby for her first election. Just talked to her today and she is so excited. So am I. She said one of her FB friends that she met during either Model UN or Girls’ State, I forget which, is an African American and she just discovered that her voter registration was somehow wiped off or nullified or whatever you want to call it. She was registered, now she’s not, so there are plenty of shenanigans going on but I still think we’re going to win big.

      • NW Luna says:

        That’s cool that you’ll be voting with your daughter, janicen!

      • ecocatwoman says:

        The early voting places are the area libraries & the Supv of Elections office – at least in my county. The regular neighborhood polling places aren’t open early. The line I was in looked worse than it was. I doubt I stood in line longer than 30 minutes. From parking to driving away, I think I spent about 1 hour total. Considering everything, I don’t think that was bad.

  5. RalphB says:

    Turdblossom and Dick Morris doing a bit of CYA.

    TPM: The Hoofbeats of Unicorns

    With the election three days off, a growing chorus of Republican operatives and pundits are saying Sandy may be the game changer. Karl Rove says it’s turning out to be the “October surprise.”

  6. ecocatwoman says:

    I admit that I love MHP. Good discussion on the election/Sandy-FEMA/jobs & economy, then next education/reading/civics/critical thinking. Tonight at 6PM – a special called Why Women Matter. Check out the videos later if you missed it.

    I thought her guest Lakshman Achuthan, who wrote Beating the Business Cycle, brought up some good points. Republican Katon Dawson was also on the panel.

  7. RalphB says:

    Sam Wang has a great post now at PEC.

    How likely is a popular-vote/electoral-vote mismatch?

    President Obama is peeling away. As you can see from the electoral vote (EV) estimator, he is the candidate with the momentum, not Romney. In terms of EV or the Meta-margin, he’s made up just about half the ground he ceded to Romney after Debate #1. And the indicators are still headed straight up.
    A few days ago, the word was that Team Romney was buying ads in Minnesota and Pennsylvania. If he wins either of those states I will eat a bug. Ohio…a really big bug. And yes, I will post a photo.
    Anyway, the short answer: I estimate Romney’s chance of winning the popular vote at 6%, odds of 16-1 against.
    The exact popular-vote prediction today is Obama +2.1 +/- 1.1%. Allowing a little bit for Gary Johnson, this gives a vote share of Obama 50.3 +/-0.5%, Romney 48.2 +/-0.5%. I’ll update that to a final prediction this weekend.

    As of November 3, 10:00AM EDT:
    Obama: 323
    Romney: 215
    Meta-margin: Obama +2.98%
    Probability of Obama re-election: Random Drift 98.0%, Bayesian Prediction 99.8%

  8. pdgrey says:

    I just 30 minute hold on work. Hey. Check out this video fro Talk Left.

  9. peggysue22 says:

    That Perlstein article is really interesting, BB. It reminded me of something I read months ago about these mega-$ super PACs–that they were more about raising funds and fees for the fundraisers than politics. There’s a beauty in all this, that the millionaires and billionaires end up swindled by conmen [Rove et al]. They get a taste of their own bitter medicine.

    If you’ve looked at Nate Silver’s page recently, it’s quite obvious that Obama in the world of probabilities is on the uptick–over 80% probability of a win. There were 20 polls released yesterday; Obama led in 19.

    Romney loses, unless the GOP tries to steal the election. Anonymous has already warned the GOP–any hinky computer blips and the organization of Hackers United will take them out and put their asses in a sling.

    The excitement mounts!

  10. mablue2 says:

    I love the tiltle of this post: “Obsessive Poll Watching”. That’s exactly what I’ve been doing for the last couple of weeks. I check and refresh Nate Silver, Sam Wang and Drew Linzer a couple of times a day.

    I have to confess that I was very nervous and down the days following the first debate, as Romney’s chances to win the election were inching close to 40% on Nate Silver’s forecast. This Rightwwing ticket of liars should not be allowed anywhere near the White House. Who is Romney anyway? Anybody knows? Does Romney even know? And a budget arsonist like Paul Ryan in the White House? Ugh!!!

    I totally agree with Brad Delong: The bright future of America depends on the complete obliteration of the current Republican party.

  11. bostonboomer says:

    Terminally obtuse and literal-minded Mitt Romney has now made an ad out of his “revenge” charge against Obama (see post)

    • bostonboomer says:

      The sour expression on Ann’s face is priceless.

      • ecocatwoman says:

        I noticed that too when I saw the clip last night.

        I heard the “revenge” thing from Romney on the radio this AM. Seems it’s mostly Right Wing websites that were talking about Obama’s comment (shock, right?). Most think he meant revenge against Romney or asked “revenge against what?”. If any of these folks were forced to add 2 + 2 to save their lives – they would die!

      • RalphB says:

        She doesn’t hide it well.

      • bostonboomer says:

        If Obama used the original phrase “living is the best revenge,” what outrage would Romney dream up? He’s a complete buffoon–no better than Donald Trump.