Because I like Cliff Notes – or in this case Galen Notes

My background is in construction and engineering – not public policy, marketing, law or anything else that most politicos study.  As I try to follow along with how things work in politics, I can appreciate things being broken down to a blonde level for me.  That’s largely why I enjoy Mullings every few days.

Here is yesterday’s bullet list.  Enjoy.  OPEN THREAD on national politics.

  • Romney’s bounce in the polls since the first debate remains stubbornly in place. According to the Real Clear Politics average of national polls, Romney has a lead of two percentage points in those polls that have been taken this week.
  • Two percentage points, as we have been told over and over, is well with the margin of error (MoE) in every single poll. Still, as we have discussed before, given a choice you’d rather be ahead in a close race than behind.
  • Ok. We know that our system is not a direct vote for President. It is 51 separate elections – 50 states and the District of Columbia – in which 49 of those jurisdictions have a winner-take-all policy: Who ever gets the most popular votes in every state except Maine and Nebraska, gets all the electoral votes.
  • As long as we’re doing Presidential Elections 113, we might as well remind the new people in the class that the number of electoral votes each state gets is the total of the number of Congressional Districts plus two because each state has two U.S. Senators.
  • It takes 270 electoral votes to win an absolute majority so you might think that states with large numbers of electoral votes like California (55), New York (31), and Texas (38) for a total of 124 or about 46 percent of all the votes a candidates needs would be in the eye of the storm of electoral activity.
  • Nothing could be further than the truth.
  • In fact other than for raising money, neither candidate has done very much more than a drop by any of those three states. New York and California will go for Barack Obama. Texas is firmly in the Mitt Romney column.
  • If both camps agree that a state is “off-the-table” they turn their attention and resources to states that are still in play – battleground states.
  • Most political pundits list these battleground states thus (numbers indicate the average lead as of last night):
    • Ohio – O +2.1
    • Florida – R +1.7
    • Virginia – R +1.5
    • New Hampshire – O +0.8
    • Colorado – R +0.4
    • Iowa – O +2.0
    • Nevada – O +2.8
    • Wisconsin – O +2.7
    • Pennsylvania – O +4.8
    • Michigan – O +4.0
    • Minnesota – O +7.3
    • North Carolina – R +5.0
  • Although Obama has a lead in most of these states, the trend lines make it almost impossible to assign a final total.
  • Early polling has begun in many states – more than 30 have some form of allowing its citizens to vote before the official election day. I voted in Virginia last week, so feel free to take me off your robo-call list.
  • I wrote a piece for the Daily Beast earlier this week that included actual reporting, in that I interviewed Romney political director Rich Beeson about the polls showing Obama jumping out to huge leads in early voting.
  • He told me that the Obama campaign is turning out their high propensity voters first and will then go after lower-propensity voters.
  • Because of a higher level of intensity among Romney supporters, Beeson said
  • “We know our high-propensity voters will vote; we’re focusing our early voting operation on the lower-propensity voters. We want them to get to the polls or to send in their absentee ballots before Election Day.”
  • If that theory is correct, then early voting tallies may not tell us as much as the Obama campaign would have us believe.
  • Most analysts now believe it will all come down to Ohio and it its by no means clear how Ohio will go.
  • According to the University of Virginia’s Dr. Larry Sabato, “The truth is that the Midwestern battlegrounds of Iowa, Ohio and Wisconsin could still go either way.”
  • The corn belt, the rust belt and the cheese belt might decide this whole thing.


  1. View from Brookhaven says:

    Link to this Daily Beast piece? Apologies if you posted earlier and I missed it.

    Not sure if Beeson is accurate or just spinning.

    NPR did a story on early voting at “pop-up” locations in Iowa earlier this week. Mentions of the low/high-propensity voters there:

    We need to bring that idea here. I’m all for an early voting booth outside of Green’s on Buford Hwy.

    • Stefan says: is where I’d go to look for that link.

      I disagree, the Green’s there has a very steep hill on which I once scraped the bottom of my car – it is effectively an impediment that for many of our seniors could result in disenfranchisement.

  2. Calypso says:

    The multitude of bullet points (albeit square bullets) in your post is off-putting, making it difficult to read. FYI

  3. Mize1970 says:

    I remember reading a few years ago (and wonder if it’s still true, if it ever really was), that in California, if you go something as little as one mile inland from the coast, and discount every voting precinct in that one-mile strip, that California would actually be the “reddest” state in the country.

    Anyone know the straight scoop on that?

      • Mize1970 says:

        Not sure about the percentage, but a very fair point about the population. I think the point of whatever story that was, was that as large of a state as you have with California, all of its fortunes are dictated by folks who live at the beach 😉

        • saltycracker says:

          Same coastal density for Florida – and based on empirical observation, more migrated from somewhere else to escape some issue than due to opportunity.

  4. Blake says:

    Actual reporting involves more than talking to a spin doctor. LOL at Minnesota being a battleground state.

    And sure, conceivably Ohio could still go either way. But chances are it won’t.

  5. SallyForth says:

    I just wish our state could get labeled “a battleground state” or even “in play.” We could put up with a bunch of commercials for a few months in order to get all those millions of dollars into GA’s economy. Think of all the jobs it could generate in taken-for-granted Georgia.

    And every four years the public gets all those concerts by big name entertainers!! If you’ve ever gone to one of those states during election year, you know what I’m talking about. For example, pack a picnic and some brews, enjoy a free Bono concert, or Bruce, or Kenny, or Toby, or Black Eyed Peas, or Bon Jovi, etc. of the music industry. Plus all the comedians, actors, etc. of celebrity-ville courting we, the voters, of said states.

    But, wait, getting anywhere close to parity between the two parties will require a GA Democratic party with a pulse. ‘Looks like it will be a very long time before we see any political largess.

  6. saltycracker says:

    And in other meaningful studies:
    Money mag. 100 Best Places to live

    Gotta love the deep south number of cities:

    Georgia – Zero
    So. Carolina – Zero
    Alabama – Zero
    Mississippi – Zero
    Louisana – Zero
    Kentucky – Zero
    Tennessee- one
    No. Carolina – two

    We don’t need no stinkin’ studies telling us where to live…..

Comments are closed.