Each week in the Friday Roundup, Riding the Tiger takes a look at the major news stories of the week involving the presidential election of 2012.
Vox Populi. A new Pew Research poll finds that the values and basic beliefs of American voters are more polarized along partisan lines than at any point in the past 25 years, and nearly all of the increase has occurred during the presidencies of George W. Bush and Barack Obama.
The GOP base is coalescing around Mitt Romney faster than expected. According to one Republican consultant, “Conservatives don't universally claim Romney as one of their own, but they appear to have united behind him, perhaps reluctantly, but without question.” The right has been romanced.
In a new Purple Strategies poll, President Obama leads by a narrow two-point margin among voters in swing states.
A Fox News poll finds Republican Mitt Romney tops President Barack Obama on economic issues, while Obama’s biggest strengths are mainly foreign policy and fighting terrorism.
Ezra Klein argued that elections do not give presidents mandates.
Battle for the Ballots. Obama's campaign manager, Jim Messina, shared the campaign's conceptualization of the current electoral map. The map counts Florida, North Carolina, Virginia, Ohio, Wisconsin, Iowa, New Hampshire, and Colorado as “tossups” and places the current electoral count at 243 for Obama and 191 for Romney. Governor Scott Walker might add Wisconsin to the list of states in play. After retaining his seat, Walker had this advice for Mitt Romney:
“The best thing he can do between now and November, because this is a very competitive state and we hope to see him here throughout the next several months, but is to get out and make a very compelling case about how he’s willing to take on the tough challenges.”
Michigan may also be in play. A new poll from EPIC-MRA shows Romney leading Obama 46%-45%.
Larry Sabato and his team have two new political maps – one that shows states in play based on current Crystal Ball Electoral College ratings and one that shows states in play by unemployment. From these views, the nation looks pretty divided.
Before we read too much more into what the Walker recall election results means for the presidential campaign, Nate Silver has numbers from the past 40 years that show the party identification of a state’s governor has said little about how presidential candidates will fare there.
A POLITICO review of public speeches and news clippings shows that six Cabinet members have made more than 85 trips this year to electoral battlegrounds such as Colorado, Florida, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio and Pennsylvania. The trips meld politics and policy with fiery defenses of administration policies mixed with off-the-clock fundraising. More support for Todd Purdum’s argument that Obama’s Cabinet members are not much more than mascots.