- It’s the economy, stupid! The final jobs report before the election was issued this morning and the presidential campaigns have already incorporated the findings into their talking points even though the report is unlikely to make a difference with just four days remaining. Employers reported adding 171,000 jobs in October, which was better than expected and better than September (148,000). The unemployment rate rose to 7.9 percent, up from 7.8 percent, but the reason behind the increase was that more people counted themselves as looking for work.
- Disaster Politics. Mitt Romney suspended campaigning on Monday and Tuesday, while Barack Obama didn’t return to campaigning until Thursday due to Hurricane Sandy. The hurricane also interrupted early voting efforts in affected states, though not in Ohio. Sandy appears to be benefitting Obama, at least at the margins. According to the latest release of the Washington Post-ABC News tracking poll, President Obama received high marks for his response to Hurricane Sandy. Nearly eight in ten likely voters think the President did an “excellent” or “good job” responding to the disaster. And finally climate disruption has entered the race, thanks to New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg (Independent) who endorsed Obama in an op-ed in the wake of Sandy:
The devastation that Hurricane Sandy brought to New York City and much of the Northeast — in lost lives, lost homes and lost business — brought the stakes of next Tuesday's presidential election into sharp relief ... Our climate is changing. ... We need leadership from the White House.
Obama and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie together surveyed storm-battered New Jersey.
Meanwhile, Romney ignored repeated questions from reporters regarding his position on the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). In a June 2011 CNN debate, Romney agreed that federal disaster response could be curtailed: “Absolutely. Every time you have an occasion to take something from the federal government and send it back to the states, that’s the right direction. And if you can go even further and send it back to the private sector, that’s even better.”
Economic damages inflicted by Hurricane Sandy could reach $50 billion, according to the catastrophic risk modeling company Eqecat.
- According to the Center for Responsive Politics' new analysis of Federal Election Commission data, this election will likely cost $6 billion. The 2012 election will be the most expensive election in American history, with the cost exceeding the next most expensive election by more than $700 million.
- Pew Research Center released a new poll of likely voters this week. Here is a breakdown of some of the key findings: 76 percent of Republican and lean Republican voters said they are likely to vote compared with 62 percent of Democrats and lean Democratic voters. 59 percent of the sample said Obama connects better while 31 percent say Romney does. 46 percent say Romney has "new ideas" while 41 percent say the same of Obama. Romney is only losing women by six points (for comparison, McCain lost women by 13 points). 49 percent of Pew’s likely voters say Obama will win and 31 percent say Romney will win.
- Deploying the Big Dog. Bill Clinton, aka the Secretary of Explaining Things, campaigned for Obama in seven states this week, including in Minnesota, Iowa, Colorado, Ohio, Virginia, New Hampshire, and Wisconsin.
- Romney has received 11 endorsements from swing state newspapers, while Obama has received eight. According to findings by political scientists, newspaper endorsements tend to matter more in primary campaigns than in general elections. But since we’re on the topic of media endorsements, we would also contend that another metric might be social media. As of this afternoon, Mitt Romney has 11,701,872 likes and Barack Obama has 31,666,468 likes on Facebook. On MySpace, Barack Obama has 1,713,615 friends, but Mitt Romney doesn’t maintain an official candidate profile. On Twitter, Mitt Romney has 1,654, 981 followers, while Barack Obama has 21, 616,898 followers. Status People, a social media management group, has determined that a substantial proportion of the candidates’ Twitter followers are fake (31% of Obama’s, 16% of Romney’s). Note that the term “fake” is used loosely by Status People to refer to accounts that are completely inactive or duplicates. In addition, an unknown amount of followers are bought through online services--a simple google search yields seven such service providers.
- Mitt Romney’s campaign has come under some last minute fire for an ad that aired in Ohio this week, which claims that President Obama “sold Chrysler to Italians who are going to build Jeeps in China.” CEO of Chrysler, Sergio Marchionne, shut down speculation that the company planned to move production to China in an internal email. Additionally, Greg Martin, a spokesman for General Motors called the ad “cynical campaign politics at its worst.” Chrysler is considering expanding to China because of increased demand--shifting output, not production. Washington Post Fact Checker Glenn Kessler, has calculated that Romney and Obama were roughly even in their prevarications for much of the campaign. However, in the past few months, Romney has sharply increased his output of falsehoods. In May, Romney's average "Pinocchio" rating from Kessler was 1.97 on a scale of 0 to 4. Obama was at 1.91. Now, Obama is at 2.11 and Romney is at 2.40.
- In the last days of the race, Ohio appears to be mirroring national polls. The most recent Rasmussen daily tracking poll shows a 49-49 tie. The Obama and Romney campaigns will hold a combined 10 candidate-attended events between now and Tuesday. It is worth noting that the most recent adjusted unemployment rate for September in Ohio is 7.0%, and that Ohio had the second largest decrease in unemployment of any state in that month.
- Bonus! Check out this xkcd comic on the partisan and ideological makeup of the United States Congress, to which Miller Center Faculty Member and UVa Politics Professor Jeff Jenkins contributed.