Entries in Swing States (17)


GOP Pollsters, Latinos Study Gaps in Swing States

Chris Knorr / Design Pics / Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- It’s become clear to Republicans that the party is falling flat with the Latino community.  What’s still murky is how to reverse that trend.

A right-leaning Latino advocacy group has teamed up with conservative pollsters to figure out where to turn next.

The Hispanic Leadership Network and Resurgent Republic are focusing their efforts on surveying Hispanic voters who cast ballots in Florida, Colorado, Nevada and New Mexico.  Thus far, they say the results indicate that Latino voters don't think Republicans respect the Hispanic community, and that the perception that Latinos naturally align with the Republican Party is misguided.

The Republican "brand needs substantial resuscitation" among Latino voters, former Senator Norm Coleman (R-Minnesota) said Wednesday during a news conference.  

This shouldn’t be news to Republicans, despite the gains President George W. Bush made during his 2000 and 2004 campaigns.  

"We need to recognize that Hispanics have been voting for Democrats for years," added conservative political consultant Whit Ayres, who analyzed the survey results.

He pointed out that, discounting the 1992 and 1996 elections that were three-way races including Ross Perot, 2012 Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney performed worse among Hispanic voters than any Republican candidate since 1976, following the Watergate scandal.

The Hispanics surveyed side with Democrats on issues across the board, from abortion to the economy. In all four states, more think the government should do more rather than less. More also support gay marriage or civil unions than not, and more are pro-choice than pro-life in all but New Mexico.

Democrats won even in terms of which party Latinos think is better equipped to help small businesses grow.

"Now come on," Ayres said. "We are the party of small businesses right? But we haven't quite made that sale in the Hispanic community."

George W. Bush garnered about 44 percent of the Hispanic vote in 2004, while Republican candidate John McCain pulled in only 31 percent in 2008. Romney's share of the Latino vote dropped to 27 percent this year.

The survey showed plainly that not only did the Obama camp do a better job of reaching out to Latino voters, it also struck a better tone.

Ayres and Coleman agree that the Republican Party does not have to change tack on a slew of issues to gain Latino support.

According to Coleman, for the Republican Party, "it's the larger question of empathy."

The survey results came the same week as census data that estimated whites will no longer make up a majority of Americans by the year 2043.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


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


Romney Camp Eyes Sandy as Storm Garners Voters' Attention

J.D. Pooley/Getty Images(CELINA, Ohio) -- One of Mitt Romney’s senior advisers said on Sunday that despite impending wall-to-wall news coverage dedicated to Hurricane Sandy, he feels confident that voters in the key swing states in the region have received enough information ahead of the election and reiterated the campaign’s focus on the safety and well being of those in the storm’s path.

“For people that are living in these states that are going to be impacted you know they’re trying to get as much information about what they can do to keep their families and their properties safe,” said senior adviser Kevin Madden when asked about the possibility that storm coverage could make it harder for the campaign to get their message out to voters in the crucial final days before the election.  “And I think that’s an important priority for them.  It’s been a long campaign I think a lot of folks have gotten a lot of information about the two candidates and so we have a certain degree of confidence that we’ve delivered a message to voters.”

“I wouldn’t even want to even trivialize it by talking about the state of the race when you have so many people right now that are going to be adversely impacted by the storm,” said Madden.  “And their safety is the top concern and that’s the focus of state officials and I think it’s the focus for the campaign’s as well.”

Romney made a last-minute decision to scrap all three events planned for Sunday in the battleground state of Virginia, flying to Ohio instead to join his running mate Rep. Paul Ryan to ensure that emergency resources could remain focused on the storm and not his visit.

But the presidential nominee, who did offer his thoughts to those affected by the storm during a campaign event in Florida on Saturday, made no mention of the storm during his first of three events in Ohio.

Ryan, however, did, telling a crowd at the first event in Celina, Ohio, “First let me start on a slightly different note, let’s today when we get home, put in our prayers the people who are in the East Coast in the wake of this big storm that’s coming, let’s not forget those fellow Americans of ours,” Ryan said at Celina High School’s education complex, in front of a boisterous crowd of about 3,000 people, including those gathered outside who couldn’t get in.

As to why Romney did not mention the storm during his remarks in Celina Sunday, Madden said “right now a lot of stuff is changing” and that “folks in headquarters are staying in contact with folks in the states to get the best assessment on the storm and how its impacting the states.”

At his second event of the day, Romney made reference to the storm during a rally in Findlay, Ohio.

“I know that right now some people in the country are a little nervous about a storm about to hit the coast,” Romney said.  “And our thoughts and prayers are with the people who will find themselves in harm’s way.”

Madden said that the Romney campaign has decided to halt fundraising e-mails to the states in Sandy’s path, including Washington D.C., North Carolina, Virginia, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.  The campaign will also collect items to distribute after the storm to those in need at all of their Victory offices in Virginia, a campaign aide said. 

Ann Romney’s two events scheduled for Monday in New Hampshire were also canceled because of the storm.  Mitt Romney cancelled a rally in Milford, N.H., as well that was scheduled for Tuesday night.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Republicans Nervously Eye Swing State Polls

J.D. Pooley/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- For Mitt Romney’s campaign, the outlook in the battleground states is even worse than the national polls.

According to a GOP source with access to private polling being done by independent Republican groups (who are spending a lot of money tracking public opinion in the battleground states), Romney is in trouble in two must-win states:

  • In Ohio, Romney is down 5 percent.
  • In Virginia, Romney is down 4 percent.

Most troubling for Romney: the Ohio trend has been consistent for several weeks and is not a “sugar high” resulting from the Democratic convention.

These internal state-by-state tracking polls show some positive signs for Romney, but nowhere near enough to compensate for Ohio and Virginia.  The good news:

  • In Wisconsin, which then-Sen. Barack Obama won by 14 points, Romney is only down 2 percent, putting the state within reach.
  • In Nevada, which Obama won by almost 13 points, the race is tied.  It is also essentially tied in Colorado and Iowa.

Could Romney win without Ohio and Virginia?  It’s mathematically possible, but so is winning the lottery.  Consider this scenario:

If Romney loses Ohio and Virginia, he must run the table in all the battleground states won by Obama in 2008 where the Romney campaign is now running ads: Florida, North Carolina, Iowa, Nevada, Wisconsin, Colorado and New Hampshire.

The result, assuming Obama wins the one electoral vote awarded independently by Omaha, Neb.: An electoral tie -- 269 to 269.

In case of a tie in the electoral college, according to the 12th Amendment, the House of Representatives decides the presidential election.  Each state gets one vote.

Romney would seem to have the edge in that scenario.

Of the 50 state delegations in the House, just 14 are Democratically-controlled House delegations and 33 are controlled by Republicans.  Three states are split evenly.  Right now, the whole number of the House is 430; there are five vacancies in the House that won’t be filled until after the election.

These numbers are driving decisions on spending hundreds of millions of dollars, but are also contributing to the sense of gloom among top Republicans about the direction of the campaign.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Romney-Ryan Ticket Elicits Mixed Emotions from Wis. Swing Voters

Win McNamee/Getty Images(MILWAUKEE) -- So how is the new Mitt Romney/Paul Ryan ticket playing in Ryan’s home state of Wisconsin? Among a group of swing voters -- twelve white, suburban women from the Milwaukee area -- the feelings are mixed.

Most of these women, brought together for a focus group conducted Tuesday night by the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania, think Obama is more approachable than Romney, are leery of the Ryan budget, and think Romney is “hiding something” by not releasing his taxes. But, overall, it’s still the economy -- specifically their own fragile economic situation -- that is driving their votes.

Here are some other key takeaways from this group of women, who say they are desperate for a candidate who can understand their struggles and help make their lives better:

1) They Are Disillusioned with Obama
:  Ten of the women in this group voted for Obama in 2008, but just four said they would definitely vote for him today. The other six expressed various levels of frustration with the president, and all were upset that he hadn’t lived up to his promises of 2008.

2) But They Don’t Think Romney Is Relatable
:  When asked what kind of neighbors Mitt Romney and his family would make, these women pictured someone who was elitist and aloof. “Snobby,” “can’t associate with him,” “would feel like I am not good enough for him,” they said.

3) They Like Scott Walker
:  A number of women in the room voted for Obama in 2008, but also supported Republican Gov. Scott Walker in the recall. How can that be? They voted for Obama in 2008 because they wanted to see someone shake up the system and get stuff done. No more posturing. No more partisan posturing. With Walker, they see something similar. He is confident and competent. And willing to break some eggs.

4) They Are Wary of Paul Ryan’s Plan: 
Jody, Michelle and Linda voted for Obama in 2008. They respect what Walker did in Wisconsin, but are wary of Ryan’s budget plan.

Says Michelle, the former electrical wirer, “with Walker it was with unions. They [unions] still had something, it’s not like everything got taken away from them. Ryan’s plan is not like that.”

Jody, a 55-year old educational administrator who voted for Obama in 2008, said, “Walker was dealing with unions, but when you touch on health care and medical, people get scared.”

Linda, who is also leaning toward Obama, said comparing Ryan to Walker was an “apples to meat comparison. Medicare,” said the 43 year old homemaker, “people rely on that.”

5) They Think Romney Is “Hiding Something” by Not Releasing His Taxes:  Many were frustrated by his secretiveness, with one woman noting that “regular people don’t get these loopholes.” But this issue is not a driving concern for them.

Almost every woman in the room had experienced some serious economic loss/distress. From lost jobs, to lost homes, to family businesses that had to be sold off, these women have felt the brunt of the economic recession. And, while they don’t feel like it is going to get worse, they aren’t confident it’s going to get better either. Finally, they don’t see that Obama -- or Romney -- has any sort of specific plan to get America back on track.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


State Voting Technology Inadequate in Several Swing States: Study

Ethan Miller/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- When it comes to elections, you don’t need to say more than three words —  Florida in 2000 — to remind people how big an issue individual states’ voting technology and practices can be in a close election.

Twelve years later, elections practices remain inadequate in many states, including important swing states like Pennsylvania, Colorado and Virginia, according to a study produced by the Verified Voting Foundation, an education non-profit organization whose mission is to “safeguard elections in the digital age”, Rutgers Law School’s Constitutional Litigation Clinic, and Common Cause. a nonpartisan lobbying organization promoting “accountable government."

The study evaluated each of the 50 states and graded them based on an evaluation of five questions: Does the state require paper ballots or records? Does the state have adequate contingency plans at every polling place in the event of machine failure? Does the state protect overseas voters by ensuring that their ballots are not cast online? Does the state have a post-election audit to verify outcomes? Does the state use solid ballot tabulation practices?

Records, contingency plans and detailed verification processes are crucial not because there’s a chance that something could go wrong, but because history has shown that somewhere, some problem will come up.

“It’s likely that some voting systems will fail in multiple places across the country- in every national election some failures have come up,” says Pamela Smith, president of the Verified Voting Foundation on a conference call to reporters.  ”It’s Murphy’s Law even in elections that something can and will go wrong.”

Pennsylvania, Colorado and Virginia scored “inadequate” grades on the report because they use paperless machines in some or all counties, which means that no independent record is produced for the votes cast. If the vote is very close, there’s no paper trail to use in a recount, so if a voting machine malfunctions, there’s no way to find and correct the miscalculation.

Several other swing states received poor grades in other areas. Nevada was rated “needs improvement” with regard to their contingency plans in the event of equipment failures. New Hampshire received an “inadequate” rating on audits; the state does not conduct them.

With less than four months to go until Election Day, the issues cited in the report cannot be fixed in time for this election cycle. Changing a state’s voter practices is a lengthy, involved and highly bureaucratic process. Depending on the necessary changes it can involve re-allocating a state’s budget to update equipment, or it can involve passing new legislation to implement a new auditing process.

However, experts conducting the research expressed hope for changes going forward.

“There is an insufficient length of time for a jurisdiction to change to a new voting system,” said Susannah Goodman, director of the Voting Integrity Program at Common Cause. “However, many of them are moving towards that direction going forward, and I expect many of these states are going to be fully papered up and going to be able to do audits statewide and be in a much better position by the next general election.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Obama Stars in 60-Second Pitch to Swing State Voters

Obama for America(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama stars in a new 60-second TV ad for his re-election campaign, laying out what he sees as the fundamentals in the 2012 race.

“Over the next four months, you have a choice to make. Not just between two political parties, or even two people. It’s a choice between two very different plans for our country,” Obama says, speaking directly to the camera.

“Gov. Romney’s plan would cut taxes for the folks at the very top … Roll back regulations on big banks.  And he says that if we do that, our economy will grow and everyone will benefit. But you know what? We tried that top-down approach. It’s what caused the mess in the first place.”

Obama offers his now familiar prescription for economic growth: higher taxes on the wealthy to fund greater government investment in education, public works programs and tax incentives for manufacturers.

He mentions but does not attack Romney in his first TV spot since the shootings in Aurora, Colo.

“Sometimes politics can seem very small,” Obama says. “But the choice you face, it couldn’t be bigger."

[To watch the ad, CLICK HERE.]

The ad begins running Monday in eight battleground states: Florida, North Carolina, Virginia, New Hampshire, Iowa, Nevada, Ohio and Pennsylvania, according to the Obama campaign. It will also air in Colorado at a later date.

The ad blitz comes as part of a July push by Democrats to highlight the differences between Obama and Romney. It’s part of an effort to paint the Republican as an unpalatable alternative for swing state voters as they weigh their choices this fall.

Romney campaign spokeswoman Amanda Henneberg said the new Obama ad could not erase the president’s record of the past three and a half years.

“Instead of meeting with his Jobs Council, he is busy holding fundraisers, playing golf and trying to tear down Mitt Romney,” she said in a statement. “Mitt Romney will never be too busy to focus on jobs and the economy and it will be his top priority as president.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


In Swing States, Obama and Romney Campaigns Unleash Negative Ads

Alex Wong/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- To most of us, the country looks like 50 states. But to the Obama and Romney campaigns, it looks like just a dozen hotly contested states in which almost all of their campaigning has been.

And, if you follow the money, it really comes down to just Ohio, Florida, Virginia, Nevada and Colorado, where the two sides have already spent more than $110 million on the presidential election. Turn on the TV in one of these states and you’d think the election was next week. A vast majority of the political ad tsunami is brutally negative.

In Ohio, for example, ads from both sides have cost more than $38 million.

“Most of the ads are negative and at a certain point people get discouraged and start feeling like nobody in Washington is listening,” President Obama has said.

Consider President Obama’s own campaign: Over the last month, the Obama campaign has run some 68,000 ads -- more than 52,000 of them attacking Mitt Romney.

Romney and his supporters have their share of negative ads, too.

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But ads from both sides are not just negative -- they're also loose with the facts. In one Obama ad, a narrator says: “Romney’s never stood up to China. All he has ever done is ship them our jobs.”

Watch the anti-Romney ad here:

Romney’s former company, Bain Capital, may have invested in companies with operations in China, but there is no evidence that it shipped any U.S. jobs there under Romney’s leadership.

And this, from the Romney campaign: "Mitt Romney has a plan to get America working. Barack Obama? Worst job record since the Depression.”

That line could be seen as misleading. It’s true that on Obama’s watch there have been more jobs lost than created -- something no president has done since the Depression. But in George W. Bush’s first term, the net job loss was actually higher. And the biggest job losses came in the months after Obama became president, a trend that started under Bush.

Watch the anti-Obama ad  here:

All this is a sign of things to come -- over just the past month, the Romney campaign raised $109 million -- shattering all of his previous records.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Obama’s Swing State Voters Sound Off

JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/GettyImages(NEW YORK) -- On the Obama campaign trail over the past few months, ABC News has had conversations with dozens of swing state voters about the president’s record, his pitch for a second term and their view of the general election race shaping up in their states.

We heard a mix of emotions and viewpoints that run the gambit, from disappointment in Obama’s unfulfilled ’08 promises and anxiety over Mitt Romney’s competitiveness to confidence that grassroots organizers can turn out the votes.

Here’s a sampling of Obama voters sounding off on the state of the 2012 race as we listened:

•     Delia Alkhatib, Columbus, Ohio:  “We realize that the president did not do much of what he promised four years ago, we realize that. But you also realize the influence of the Republicans on his efforts. They have been a roadblock at every corner,” she said. ” So we’re keeping that in mind, and hoping that he’ll be more aggressive and more of who we voted for in ’08 in a second term because he’ll have nothing to lose.”

•    Dan Bergeron, Nashua, N.H.:  “Money is a big concern; naturally we’re going to be outspent. I’m seeing it all the way down to local politics.”

•    Elaine Tomlin, Philadelphia: “We know we’re going to need an army with the obstacles put out there with the voter ID law and we know that we will be able to deliver for President Barack Obama and Philadelphia Co. and Pennsylvania. We know what we have to do, even though the GOP has the dollars, we have the grassroots campaign. And it’s one person, one vote.”

•    Jim Kenyon, Roland, Iowa:  “Sure, we’d like someone maybe a little more liberal, but he’s better than what we could have gotten from anyone else… I think it’s going to be a close race…but when you look at the alternatives, people will get on board.”

•    Alison Janvrin, Epping, N.H.:  “Obamacare, the economy and all that stuff – that’s what’s pushing people away [from Obama]. But a lot of people in New Hampshire have also seen what Romney did to Massachusetts. He couldn’t run the state of Massachusetts. How’s he going to be able to run our country?”

•    Brandon Toyer, Columbus, Ohio:  “It’s been a tough four years, I won’t lie. But things are looking up now. If we give him a little more time, he’ll see things through,” he said. “I’ve lived in Ohio my whole life. I think this is a key state for him.”

•    Timothy Michael Sullivan, Ames, Iowa:  “A lot of people are hurting, no doubt about that. It’s still tough, but I think people forget how bad a crisis we had in 2008 and no one is going to have brought us back from that in four years. Still tough spot, but steady progress. “

•    Connie Arther, Philadelphia: “[It's] going to be a little hard, going to be close…because of all the unemployment and people’s a little leery of what happened. But if I have anything to do with it, he will win.”

Between now and November, ABC News plans to bring you more of these voices from around the country — Obama backers, Romney supporters and the undecided. We’ll be listening. Stay tuned.

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio