Entries in Battleground States (10)


Romney Campaign Readies ‘Go Teams’ for Potential Swing State Recounts

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(BOSTON) -- How seriously is the Romney campaign taking the possibility of a post-Election Day recount?

Romney campaign officials have instructed members of their staff from the political and advance teams as well as other departments to “pack a bag” and bring it with them to Tuesday night’s election night event at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center.

Each notified staffer would be part of a “go-team” to be dispatched to one of several states where a close result might lead to a recount. (Inside the campaign, Ohio is the state that has loomed largest in discussions.)

Campaign planes are said to be on stand-by to ferry staff to their as-yet-unknown destination if needed.

In the state capitols of many of the battleground states, the campaign has also kept a small team of advance staffers who would also be ready to spring into action.

“We’re expecting a clear and decisive victory tonight,” a Romney campaign official told ABC News, “but we’re obviously ready for any scenario.”

The campaign already has both volunteer and staff lawyers camped out in all of the swing states.

Team Romney has also set up a “war room” at the TD Garden in Boston where a team of the campaign’s top legal officials, including Benjamin Ginsberg, who played a lead role for George W. Bush’s campaign during the 2000 Florida recount, are monitoring potential problems at polling locations.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Battleground State Early Voting Tallies

Ethan Miller/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Polls may have opened nationwide Tuesday morning, but the election has been under way for weeks thanks to early and absentee voting, and millions have already cast their ballots.

It is expected that 46 million people will have voted before Election Day this year, and their votes will make up roughly 35 percent of the total votes cast in this cycle.  That's an increase from 2008, when the total early and absentee vote was roughly 40 million and accounted for 30 percent of the total votes cast.

Out of the eight states that ABC News currently considers "toss-ups" -- Colorado, Florida, Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, Ohio, Virginia and Wisconsin -- all but New Hampshire allow for some form of in-person early voting.  (New Hampshire only allows mail-in absentee voting for those who can't make it to the polls on Election Day.)

Four of the states -- Colorado, Florida, Iowa and Nevada -- register voters by political party, so their early vote count includes a party breakdown.  In three of these states -- Florida, Nevada and Iowa -- Democrats have a slight advantage in terms of early votes, while in Colorado, Republicans have the advantage.

But the vote is close in all these battlegrounds, and in each one voters registered as "no party" or "unaffiliated" -- more commonly called independents -- make up a sizable percentage of the voting population, which heightens the uncertainty about who is actually ahead in the final, crucial hours.

Below is a breakdown of where the early vote count stands in these battlegrounds:

COLORADO - 1,872,987

  • Dem -- 34.3%
  • Rep -- 36.1%
  • Other -- 29.6%

FLORIDA - 4,469,393

  • Dem -- 42.9%
  • Rep -- 39.1%
  • Other --18%

IOWA - 640,248

  • Dem -- 42.3%
  • Rep -- 32.1%
  • Other -- 25.6%

NEVADA (reports numbers by county)

  • Clark County (the most populous in the state) - 484,363
  • Dem -- 47%
  • Rep -- 33%
  • Other -- 19%

And here's the early vote numbers in battlegrounds that don't register voters by party affiliation:

OHIO - 1,791,334

VIRGINIA - 427,987

WISCONSIN - 412,611

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


How Sandy Affects Early Voting in Swing States

Ethan Miller/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- There are five battleground states in Sandy’s path including Virginia, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, and North Carolina.

Pennsylvania and New Hampshire do not offer in-person early voting, so it’s likely that the storm won’t have much of an impact on voting in either of those states, but in Ohio, Virginia and North Carolina early voting is increasingly popular. Below is a look at how the storm has impacted early voting in these battlegrounds.


Virginia is the state where Sandy is having a strong impact on early voting, looking at the size of the voting population in the affected areas. In Virginia, 21 voter offices were closed Monday, according to a list provided by the State Board of Elections. The affected counties encompass several large metropolitan areas in the northern portion of the state, including both Democrat and Republican friendly areas.

For the Democrats, the normally Dem friendly counties of Arlington and Fairfax, as well as the city of Alexandria closed their offices today. For Republicans, GOP-leaning Loudoun County was also closed.

As of now only one county, Accomack County, has announced that the voter office is going to be closed Tuesday as well. Accomack is located on the Eastern Shore and makes up part of the Delmarva Peninsula.  McCain narrowly carried this county in 2008 with 50.1 percent to Obama’s 48.7 percent, but there were less than 20,000 votes cast there in total.

More closings could be announced as the storm continues to smash into the East Coast.


It appears as though Sandy hasn’t affected early voting in Ohio in any noticeable way. The Secretary of State’s office tells ABC News that they haven’t received any reports of issues from any of the 88 counties in the state. Every county in Ohio is required to file emergency plans with the Secretary of State’s office as part of their elections proceedings.

Vote-by-mail appears to be a significantly more popular means of casting an early vote in Ohio. As of the most recent report from the Secretary of State’s office, out of the 800,000 plus votes that have come in so far in Ohio, a little more than 600,000 have come from mail-in absentees, while less than 200,000 have come from in-person voting.


The State Board of Elections reports that over the weekend the early voting sites in Dare County, which includes the Outer Banks, and Ocracoke Island, which is located in Hyde County, closed on Saturday. Early voting sites in Pamlico County, located along the Atlantic in the middle portion of the state, closed on Sunday. The SBE reports on their website that Dare County early voting sites are closed “until tomorrow” and there is no word yet about when they will reopen. McCain carried Dare and Pamlico counties in 2008, while Obama narrowly carried Hyde County.

Sandy is not expected to affect the big vote centers of Raleigh/Durham, Charlotte and their surrounding counties where forecasts call for a few showers, cloud cover, and wind Monday and Tuesday.

ABC News rates Virginia, Ohio and New Hampshire as toss-ups. North Carolina is rated as leaning Republican while Pennsylvania is rated as leaning Democrat.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Obama Campaign Claims Edge in Early Vote

BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/GettyImages(DAYTON, Ohio) -- President Obama’s top campaign advisers Tuesday said early-voting returns in several battleground states show Democrats with an edge over Republicans in courting so-called “sporadic voters,” those Americans who would not otherwise vote and could tilt the scale in a tight race.

“We are outperforming our early-vote margins in key states compared to 2008. We’re ahead of where we were against McCain, and more importantly, we’re ahead of Mitt Romney,” said Obama campaign manager Jim Messina on a conference call with reporters. “Romney may be winning more raw votes than McCain did at this time, but look, the facts are important here. And the numbers tell a very clear story.”

Messina said that the campaign’s growth in early-vote margins, borne out both in state election data and in public polling of early voters, is a net gain for Democrats since many early voters are people who likely would not have otherwise voted. The process was widely credited with helping Obama win several swing states in 2008.

“Early vote isn’t only taking a finite number of voters and only changing the day they vote. …. What early vote does is help us get out our low propensity voters-voters called sporadic voters-which broadens our universe and frees up more ‘get out the vote’ resources later, especially on election day,” Messina claimed.

“This is about increasing the overall share of people, who may be drop out voters. And our numbers and public numbers are showing that more Obama sporadic voters are voting than Romney sporadic voters, which is a very big piece of business for the total turnout,” he said.

Public polls show Obama holds double-digit leads among people who have already voted in Iowa, Ohio and Wisconsin, states where in-person early voting is allowed. Obama also leads in North Carolina.

The U.S. Elections Project at George Mason University tracks all public early voting data HERE.

The data are not considered definitive indicators of the ultimate electoral outcome in any given state, but do provide a snapshot of voter engagement and the campaigns’ ability to bank votes ahead of time.

“Here is the most important thing to remember 14 days out: We’re tied or ahead in every battleground state, and we’re not leaving any place where we are tied or ahead,” he said. “Romney has not been able to knock us out of a single battleground, and we’ve forced him to spend more and more resources in states like North Carolina that the Romney campaign has said they wanted locked up a long time ago.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Romney Likens Obama Campaign to Sinking Ship

Win McNamee/Getty Images(HENDERSON, Nev.) – In his first appearance since the final presidential debate, Mitt Romney stormed into the battleground state of Nevada and characterized President Obama’s campaign as a sinking ship.

“These debates have super-charged our campaign,” Romney said during the first of two joint appearances Tuesday with running mate Paul Ryan. “There’s no question about it, we’re seeing more and more enthusiasm, more and more support.”

“He’s been reduced to try to defend characters on Sesame Street and word games of various kinds, and then misfired attacks after one and another,” Romney said of Obama. “You know the truth is that attacks on me are not an agenda.”

Romney was making reference to Obama’s latest attack line that accuses the Republican nominee of having “Romnesia” when it comes to remembering his position on certain issues. Earlier Tuesday at a rally of his own in Florida, President Obama said that Romney’s “Romnesia” was a “severe outbreak” during the debate, adding, “It was at least stage-three ‘Romnesia.’”

But in Nevada Tuesday Romney sought to focus on his argument that the president has not offered a clear agenda for the next four years.

“We’ve gone through four debates, with the vice presidential debate and my debates, and we haven’t heard an agenda from the president, and that’s why his campaign is taking on water and our campaign is full speed ahead!” Romney said.

President Obama’s campaign released a 20-page glossy magazine outlining his plan for the next four years Tuesday, and the Romney campaign quickly pounced and called the move a “glossy panic button.” Tuesday marks Romney’s first trip to Nevada since last month.

Ryan warmed up the crowd of 6,000, praising his running mate’s debate performances, saying Americans saw a “man who is ready to become a great president,” and tailoring his message for this state hit hard by the housing crisis.

“You know what we saw last night, we saw Gov. Mitt Romney offer this country bold ideas and leadership. In so many ways and you know this right here in Nevada, look at the unemployment rate, we cannot afford four more years like the last four years,” Ryan said.

Romney and Obama faced off for the final time Monday night and Ryan asked the boisterous crowd, “You know what we saw last night?”

“Yet again, another display of a man who could be president, another display of someone with the demeanor, with the temperament, with the skills to be a leader,” Ryan answered. “What we saw last night was Mitt Romney being concerned about America’s position in the world and President Obama more concerned about his position in this race.”

The GOP vice presidential nominee noted that voters go to the polls just two weeks from Tuesday, saying then the president “is going to become former President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney is going to be the next president of the United States.”

“Because we can do better than this, we don’t have to settle for this,” Ryan continued.

He also reminded voters in the battleground state that early voting has already started. Polls show Romney and Obama in a tight race in Nevada, with some showing that nationally the race is within the margin of error. The new ABC News/Washington Post poll released Tuesday evening shows Romney with 49 percent support among likely voters to Obama’s 48 percent nationally.

The GOP ticket will appear Tuesday evening at a rally with Kid Rock and country star Trace Adkins in another coveted state: Colorado.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Unemployment Drops in Presidential Battleground States

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Unemployment dropped in all but two presidential battleground states last month, according to new data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

In New Hampshire and Virginia, the rate stayed the same. All but one battleground (New Hampshire) has seen its unemployment rate drop over the past year.

BLS Friday released preliminary state numbers that will be revised, meaning small changes could conceivably reverse when BLS reexamines them. See all states here.

President Obama leads most battleground states according to the latest polls from NBC/Wall Street Journal/Marist and CBS/New York Times/Quinnipiac. Some states have not been polled by those outlets since September, but the latest numbers are linked to the right of states below. As Mitt Romney has surged nationally after his strong performance in the first presidential debate, some figures below predate a shift in opinion nationwide, and it has yet to be determined if that shift occurred in these states.

State     Aug.      Sept.   1-yr change Last Poll
CO        8.2%      8.0%    -.2%         R +1
FL        8.8%      8.7%    -1.7%        O +1
IA        5.5%      5.2%    -.7%         O +8
NV        12.1%    11.8%    -1.8%        O +2
NH        5.7%      5.7%    +.3%         O +7
NC        9.7%      9.3%    -.9%         O +2
OH        7.2%      7.0%    -1.6%        O +6
VA        5.9%      5.9%    -.4%         R+1/O+5
WI        7.5%      7.3%    -.1%         O +6

ABC News rates Michigan and Pennsylvania as solidly blue. On the trend, they split:

MI        9.4%      9.3%    -.9%
PA        8.1%      8.2%    +.2%

Nevada, Michigan, and North Carolina retain the worst unemployment rates of any state listed above. Nevada, which rated first in foreclosures per home unit throughout the housing crisis, has suffered the worst economy of any competitive battleground state.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Mitt Romney: ‘Pleased with Some Polls, Less So with Other Polls’

JEWEL SAMAD/FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images(TOLEDO, Ohio) -- On the same day that polls in two key battleground states -- Ohio and Florida -- showed President Obama growing his lead over Mitt Romney, the Republican presidential candidate acknowledged that he is, “pleased with some polls, less so with other polls.”

“Frankly at this early stage, polls go up, polls go down,” Romney said in an interview on Wednesday with ABC’s David Muir on the campaign trail in Toledo, Ohio.

Romney pointed to the first presidential debate -- to take place in one week -- as a potential turning point in the race.

“We have a chance during the debate to make our message clear to the American people,” the former Massachusetts governor told Muir, “and I’m absolutely convinced that when people see the two of us talk about our direction for America they’re going to support me because I know what it takes to make the economy going [sic] again, and the president has proven he does not.”

Romney spoke to Muir at the end of his busiest day of campaigning in the Buckeye State in months. Romney held rallies in Westerville and Toledo and a manufacturing roundtable in Bedford Heights.

[Read a transcript of David Muir's interview with Mitt Romney]

A New York Times-CBS News-Quinnipiac University poll out Wednesday morning found President Obama’s edge over Romney in the crucial state growing to double digits, 53 percent to 43 percent. That’s up from the president’s 50 percent to 44 percent lead in a similar poll released on August 23.

In response to Wednesday’s new numbers as well as a series of other public polls in the state, ABC News moved the state of Ohio, with its 18 electoral votes, from “Toss Up” territory to “Lean Obama.”

But Romney said he was not deterred.

“I’m tied in the national polls, both Gallup and Rasmussen have the numbers at even,” he told ABC News. “State by state you’ve got some advertising going on from the Obama people, which expresses their views on my positions which frankly, I think are inaccurate, and in some cases, dishonest.”

In the interview, Romney declined to respond directly to the voices of critics, some from within his own party, who have been urging him to shift his strategy after several trying weeks for his campaign.

“There are critics and there are cheerleaders, we have people of all different persuasion,” Romney said, noting that “every day there are improvements and new messages that come out.”

“What the president said just the other day about ‘bumps in the road’ with regards to the events in the Middle East,” he added. “That obviously was a whole new area to be discovered and discussed.”

The Republican presidential hopeful was making his way across the state on the same day that President Obama campaigned at two Ohio colleges -- Bowling Green State University and Kent State University. At those events the president did not miss an opportunity to refer to the comments made by Romney in a hidden camera video released last week showing the GOP candidate saying that “47 percent” of the American people are dependent upon government and would not vote for him.

While some critics of the negative poll numbers point to oversampling of Democrat respondents -- which would skew the numbers in favor of President Obama -- Romney said he will be offering a different message to voters in the battleground states he will be visiting between now and Election Day.

“Mine is a campaign about 100 percent of the people, not 99 and one, not any other percent,” Romney said. “It’s about getting 100 percent of the people in this country to have a brighter future, better job prospects and higher take home pay.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Obama to Play Defense on Upcoming Bus Tour

JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Obama for America announced Tuesday a two-day bus tour through Pennsylvania and Ohio, which will take the president across some friendly turf; not only did Obama win those two states in 2008, he'll stop in counties that supported him.

On Thursday, Obama will traverse the northern region of Ohio, a Democratic stronghold. On Friday, he'll visit Pittsburgh, a Democratic outpost in traditionally red Western Pennsylvania.

Obama will stop in Toledo, Ohio, in a county where he defeated John McCain by 31 percentage points; in Sandusky, Ohio, where he won by four percentage points; in Cleveland, where he won by 39 percentage points; and in Pittsburgh, where he won by 15 percentage points in 2008. In all, Obama carried the total vote in these four counties by 27 percentage points.

In mid-June, Romney's five-day bus tour swung through New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Iowa, Wisconsin, and Michigan, all Obama states in 2008. In the 15 counties Romney visited--including major Obama strongholds in Madison, Wis., and Davenport, Iowa--Obama carried the total vote by five percentage points. Counting all votes cast, Obama defeated McCain 50 percent to 45 percent in Romney's bus-tour counties.

"We're certainly campaigning on their turf," Romney strategist Russ Schriefer told reporters the day the tour began.

Why did Obama's campaign choose such friendly territory? A campaign official explained the stops as "still-critical towns and markets," and in Pennsylvania, Obama will reach voters who opposed him last time, as Pittsburgh's media market covers surrounding counties that all voted for McCain. Pennsylvania's Democratic counties surround Philadelphia, the state's southeastern region.

But in Ohio, Obama will largely seek to energize and solidify his 2008 base. The tour will take Obama across the northern part of the state, where every county east of Toledo backed him last time.

Ohio is among a handful of swing states Obama won in 2008 and is struggling to hold. In 2008, Obama defeated John McCain 52 percent to 47 percent in Ohio, but he registered only 42 percent approval there in 2011, according to a January state-approval-rating report by Gallup. When Quinnipiac University polled there in May, Ohio rated as a statistical tie, with Obama leading Romney 45 percent to 44 percent.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Marco Rubio Planning Book Tour Through Battleground States

Joe Raedle/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., will embark on a book tour this summer through three key battleground states -- Florida, North Carolina, and Virginia -- along with South Carolina and Georgia.

ABC News confirmed Thursday that Rubio will promote his autobiography, An American Son, which will be released June 19, with a book tour over the Fourth of July holiday weekend.

The Florida portion of the book tour will start on June 30 at the Palm Beach Book Store in Palm Beach and end at a Barnes and Noble in Pensacola on July 3.

Rubio will then head to Atlanta, Greenville, S.C., and Columbia, S.C., on July 5.  He will continue through South Carolina, North Carolina, and Virginia before ending his tour at the Books A Million in McLean, Va. on July 7.

Rubio is on many lists of potential running mates for the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, Mitt Romney, and recently has heightened his criticism of President Obama, calling him one of the most “divisive figures” in American history.

But Rubio also is believed to hold higher national ambitions, with many expecting he will one day run for president, and a book tour through swing states and the early primary state of South Carolina could help him lay the groundwork for a future presidential bid.

Just last Saturday, Rubio delivered a major speech to the South Carolina GOP at their annual Silver Elephant Dinner, which was seen as a move to court Republican voters who could help him during a 2016 run or beyond.

Rubio’s book, which will be published in both English and Spanish under the title Un Hijo Americano, will be released on the same day as an unauthorized biography by Washington Post’s Manuel Roig-Franzia called The Rise of Marco Rubio.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Republicans Attack Obama on Debt, Repeat ‘No Experience’ Accusation

MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- In conference calls around the country Tuesday, the Republican National Committee attacked President Obama on the nation’s deficit, government spending, and the unemployment rate.

In calls with reporters all day in the battleground states of Missouri, Ohio, Florida, Virginia, Nevada, North Carolina, and Colorado, Romney backers blasted the president for his “historic debt and deficit.” RNC Chairman Reince Priebus called the president the “undisputed debt king of the last five presidents.”

Monday, the RNC released a Web video highlighting the same issue, with footage of the president promising to cut the nation’s deficit in half and pay it down. Tuesday, Romney campaigned in Iowa, pushing the same theme.

The goal is to keep the heat on the president and focus on the economy and try to keep the national conversation there instead of other issues that have come up, most notably Obama’s declaration last week that he supports same-sex marriage. Several supporters on the calls, including Nevada Rep. Joe Heck, called that nothing more than a “distraction.”

“Despite the fact that President Obama has repeatedly promised to cut the deficit in half by the end of his first term,” Priebus said on the Missouri call, “we’ve seen the most rapid increase in debt under any U.S. president under this president...and by the time he’s finished President Obama will have added as much to the national debt as all of the predecessors before him combined.”

Although the lawmakers and backers on the calls were all different, the calls were similar and the message coordinated, lauding Romney for being a “turnaround artist” specializing in reviving struggling companies and chastising the president for “broken promises.”

While the debt has increased since Obama became president, his campaign cites record spending on the two wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, which began while George W. Bush was president, and Bush’s tax cuts.

Priebus blamed the president’s health care plan and stimulus as reasons the debt has increased, calling them a “debt bomb” and saying “a guy like that needs to be held accountable.”

Florida Rep. Dennis Ross openly said the debt was the fault of both parties, but he criticized the president for not doing more.

“The president did not create our debt problem. I’ll be the first to admit that it has been a Republican and Democrat issue for the last 30 years at least, but the president has spent the last three years ignoring it,” Ross said on the Florida call. Romney will be in the state Wednesday campaigning in Saint Petersburg and holding a fundraiser at the Biltmore Hotel in Miami. Thursday he will campaign in Jacksonville.

The Virginia call, led by Romney delegate Barbara Comstock, who was a consultant on Romney’s 2008 campaign, was probably the most aggressive in comparing the nation’s economy to Greece and saying the president “simply has no experience,” a line used heavily in the last campaign.

Former Rep. Tom Davis, also on the Virginia call, touted Romney’s time working across party lines in Massachusetts, not something the campaign usually dwells on.

In response to the Republicans’ focus on the nation’s debt Tuesday and Romney’s speech in Iowa, the Obama campaign responded by saying his speech in Des Moines was “heavy on dishonest claims about President Obama’s record.”

“It was noticeably lacking in any mention of Romney’s own record of increasing spending and debt in Massachusetts and his failure to lay out a plan to pay for his $5 trillion tax plan,” Obama campaign spokeswoman Lis Smith said in a statement. “It’s not surprising why Mitt Romney consistently ignores his record as governor on the campaign trail -- he raised state spending 6.5 percent each year and left Massachusetts with the largest per-capita debt of any state in the nation.

“And while President Obama has put forward a plan to reduce the national debt by more than $4 trillion over the next decade, Mitt Romney refuses to say what spending cuts or tax increases he’d make to cover the cost of giving $5 trillion in tax breaks to the wealthiest Americans. Mitt Romney simply wants to return to the same policies that caused the crisis and weakened the middle class: budget-busting tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans and letting Wall Street write its own rules.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio