With the 2012 Republican and Democratic party conventions behind a few weeks, and still some time to go until the actual presidential elections in November, let’s recapture what happened in the meantime.
After the Democratic National Convention, President Obama’s approval numbers increased slightly, a phenomenon known as the ‘convention bounce’ by pollsters.
Mitt Romney did not reap a convention bounce of that magnitude after the Republican National Convention.
How does the electoral map look after the conventions? Among the important swing states, Virginia and Ohio have become slightly more favorable to Democrats. That means 31 more electoral votes for President Obama.
Talking Points Memo explains (09/20/ 2012):
Read more here.
As Gallup reports, one in five swing state voters may change their vote on election day (09/21/2012).
According to a new CBS poll (09/26/2012), prospects look brighter for Obama at the moment in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Florida.
According to a new Washington Post poll (09/25/2012), Obama leads in Ohio and Florida.
Coverage of Ohio:
“Ohio County A Historic Predictor Of State’s Vote” (npr, 09/29/2012)
“Scramble For Ohio Has High Stakes For Romney” (npr, 09/29/2012)
At the same time, in important swing states like Florida or Ohio, a battle is fought over voter registration, with Republicans framing the issue as preventing voter fraud, while Democrats see it as an attempt at disenfranchising minority voters.
“Florida’s voter purge explained” (Washington Post, 06/18/2012)
“Voter ID laws: the Republican ruse to disenfranchise 5 million Americans” (Guardian, 08/10/2012)
“Ohio Lawmaker’s Quest to Fight Voter Disenfranchisement” (PBS, 09/ 20/ 2012)
“GOP Quietly Hires Firm Tied to Voter Fraud Scandal for Work in Battleground States” (The Nation, 09/26/2012)
“RNC cuts ties to firm after voter fraud allegations” (Los Angeles Times, 09/27/2012)
As opposed to the situation in Germany, where there is a mandatory national ID (Personalausweis), which is used for identifying at the polling place, in the American system there is no such mandatory document. Citizens could so far identify with a host of other documents, such as driver’s licenses. Also, German voters do not have to register as supporter of a particular party prior to voting. Instead, they walk into the polling station, identify, and then cast their vote—nobody knows for whom. Thus, in the US, there is an incentive for parties to register as many voters for their side, and potentially to disenfranchise the other side’s supporters.
Here are developments in the Romney campaign, including amusing/worrying bloopers:
During a TV interview with ABC in mid-September, Romney estimated that a household income of $250,000 should be considered a “middle income,” one that would benefit from tax cuts, should he be elected president. In sharp contrast to Romney, the Census Bureau lists as a median income household those in the range of $50,000.
Still, as Gallup reports, one third of lowest income voters support Romney (09/18/2012).
On September 18, a secret recording of Romney at a fundraiser was leaked to Mother Jones magazine, in which Romney characterized 47% of Americans, which he believes are all Obama supporters, as “dependent on the government” and that his job was “not to worry about those people.” The day the recording was released, the Romney campaign put together an emergency press conference at 10:30 pm.
College students, for one, are not amused.
“US-Medien läuten Romneys politisches Ende ein” (Spiegel Online, 18.09.2012)
When the US Ambassador to Lybia and several embassy staff were killed in an attack by radical Islamists after an anti-Islam video went viral, Romney used the occasion to blame President Obama.
At a press conference, while discussing alternative energy sources, Romney praised Adolf Hitler’s idea of using liquified coal as a fuel source. This, of course, does not imply that Romney endorses any other of Hitler’s ideas, but might still be a somewhat unfortunate political move.
On September 19, while giving an interview to Spanish-language TV network Univision, Romney appeared to have tanned in order to appeal to Hispanic voters. Also, a Univision anchor stated that the Romney campaign demanded a favorable audience for the occasion.
On September 27, Mother Jones magazine published an old video of Mitt Romney as CEO of Bain Capital. In this flashback to the 1980s, Romney explains how Bain Capital “harvests” companies for profit.
And here is what happened in the Obama campaign:
Obama has difficulties in getting the approval of military veterans.
On September 23, Obama claimed in a TV interview that “Over the last four years, the deficit has gone up, but 90 percent of that is as a consequence of” President George W. Bush’s policies and the recession.” Fact-checking website PolitiFact rates this as ‘false.’
“Indian tribes, with more clout and money, find an ally in Obama” (Los Angeles Times, 09/24/2012)
“Obama Against the World” (Mother Jones, 09/24/2012) – How world events beyond Obama’s control might influence his prospects for reelection
A videotape from 2007 of then-Senator Obama after hurricane Katrina saying “the people down in New Orleans, they don’t care about as much” was found. (Politico, 10/02/2012)
“10 quotes that haunt President Obama” (Politico, 10/02/2012)
I will do my best to keep up with the news and post updates continuously.