Miller Center

Next →
Moving Beyond Benghazi Moment
← Previous
Highlights and Lowlights from the Second Presidential Debate

You might also like...

Announcing the Miller Center’s new Historical Presidency Series (06/21/13)

Miller Center Celebrates President’s Day with Panel on 2012 Election (02/22/13)

A Citizen’s-eye View of the 57th Inauguration (01/31/13)

A Voter’s Eye View of the 2012 Election - Charles Stewart III (01/25/13)

Honoring MLK in the Inaugural (01/21/13)

Presidential Speech Archive

American President: A Reference Resource

Presidential Recordings

Presidential Oral Histories

← Return to Riding The Tiger

Friday Round-up: Party Bosses

Obama Vs Romney. Photo Courtsesy Malwack, CC BY-SA.

Obama Vs Romney. Photo Courtsesy Malwack, CC BY-SA.

  1. Polling Week: The most up-to-date RealClearAverage of polls gives Romney a slight edge (2.6%). The most recent Rasmussen Poll, conducted during the three days since the debate, shows a national 48-48 tie, with 2% undecided. This differs from Gallup’s most recent poll, which was conducted over a week-long period, and shows Romney ahead 52-45. Could the Rasmussen poll be an early sign of the effect of the debate? Another Rasmussen poll reports that Romney has “hit the 50% mark in Virginia.” Despite gains in other battleground states, the national polls could be a misleading indicator of outcome, given that Romney has gained significant ground in states he is unlikely to win, like California. Additionally, the validity of the polls continue to be questioned--statistician Nate Silver, for example, pointed out that when Gallup is the outlier, it has often performed poorly. Silver’s FiveThirtyEight forecast, which aggregates national polls, still gives Obama a slight edge in the Electoral College and a 71.6% chance to win the election.  In a memo, the Obama campaign also challenged Gallup’s poll indicating a tie between the candidates among women voters in battleground states.
  2. Labor statistics in battleground states released today reveal mixed trends of continuity and change.


Battleground State



August Unemployment

September Unemployment













New Hampshire








North Carolina












Of these battleground states, only four had an unemployment rate below the national average of 7.8% (Iowa, New Hampshire, Ohio, Virginia); while five came in above the national average (Colorado, Florida, Nevada and North Carolina). Nevada has the highest unemployment rate of all 50 states. However, all of the swing states except Virginia saw a drop in unemployment, which has the possibility of contributing to more positive evaluations of the direction of the economy. As we’ve argued previously, it’s important to pay close attention to economic indicators, as well as to job approval and favorability ratings in these key states leading up to the election. While state-by-state information is not yet available, Real Clear Politics average shows Obama’s national approval rating is up, at 49.4%. On favorability, recent polls show Romney has gained quite a bit of ground. According to a Gallup Poll this week, voters are equally favorable to both candidates. A Pew Research Center poll from last week shows Romney is ahead of Obama by a point, 50 percent to 49 percent (for comparison, a March 2012 Pew poll found Obama had a 55% favorability rating compared to 29% for Romney).

  1. Mitt Romney and the RNC raised $171 million in September, with $191 million “cash-on-hand.” The campaign’s fundraising efforts fell short of the Obama campaign’s $181 million (information released last week). $43 million of the campaign’s donations fell in the $250 or less category (or about 25% of all donations), well under the Obama and DNC proportion of 98%. The campaign fundraising totals for the candidates and their parties stand at: Obama--$833 million, Romney--$707 million.
  2. A preview of the final presidential debate? The latest ads reiterate the campaigns’ talking points regarding the United States’ relationship with China. In two ads, Romney charged President Obama with failing to stop American manufacturing jobs from going to China, while labeling China a “cheater.” The Obama campaign countered, citing Mitt Romney’s time at Bain Capital, during which it invested in Globaltech--a company whose labor practices in China have met serious ethical questions. Predictably, the ads are running in battleground states (Colorado, Florida, Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, Ohio and Virginia--with the notable exception of North Carolina).
  3. Party Bosses? Former third-party candidate and Texas businessman Ross Perot endorsed Mitt Romney this week in an editorial for the Des Moines Register, writing, “the United States is on an unsustainable course.” Meanwhile, the Obama campaign received campaign support this week from Bruce “The Boss” Springsteen, who played an acoustic set at a rally in Cleveland, Ohio. The concert included his specially composed theme-song, “Forward and Away We Go.”
  4. President Obama and Governor Romney traded one-liners (in good humor) at the Alfred E. Smith Memorial Dinner on Thursday. The candidates took the opportunity to poke fun at themselves and their opponents:
    • Romney [wearing a tuxedo and bow-tie]: “A campaign can require a lot of wardrobe changes...but it's nice to finally relax and to wear what Ann and I wear around the house."
    • Obama: “I had a lot more energy in our second debate...I felt really well rested after the nice long nap I had in the first debate."
    • Romney: “I was actually hoping the President would bring Joe Biden along...because he’ll laugh at anything.”
    • Obama: “Everyone please take your seats, otherwise Clint Eastwood will yell at them.”
  5. In the five-day period from Thursday to Monday, there will be seven appearances by the candidates (mostly the VPs).
  6.  As Carah Ong noted, the subject of the Benghazi attack was the most heated moment of Tuesday’s debate. Commentators continue to debate which of the candidates has “politicized” the topic, but the continued emphasis on national security seems to have affected the Obama campaign, who re-added “al Qaeda is on the path to defeat” to the President’s stump speech.
  7. 45% of early-voting ballot requests in Iowa have come from registered Democrats--compared to 30% Republicans. Though, officials caution using the proportion as an indicator of actual votes. Additionally, the requests may be part of a general trend of increased early-voting in the state of Iowa (40% are expected to vote early this year).
  8. Kenneth Vogel of Politico suggested today that large campaign donations may be reaching a tipping point. Large “investors” in SuperPACs supporting the GOP have donated in record-numbers, and face the real possibility of no return (a Romney loss with no GOP gains in the Senate).

Carah Ong contributed to this round-up.

Date edited: 10/19/2012 (9:37AM)


Rules for Comments

We reserve the right to remove any post or user.

Things that will get comments edited/deleted:

  • Offensive or abusive language or behavior
  • Misrepresentation (i.e., claiming to be somebody you're not) – using a “handle” is fine as long as it isn’t offensive, abusive, or misrepresentative
  • Posting of copyrighted materials
  • Spam, solicitations, or advertisements of any kind

We hope these rules will keep the discussion lively and on topic.

Commenting is not available in this channel entry.

← Return to Riding The Tiger