In the campaign’s final days, President Obama’s hopes of reelection may turn on his ability to assemble very different coalitions of support in the Sunbelt and the Rustbelt, a wave of new battleground state polling this week suggests.
In diverse Sunbelt states like Virginia, Florida and Colorado, Obama is drawing enough backing from minorities and upscale white women to remain step-for-step with Mitt Romney, despite big deficits for the president among working-class whites and a substantial shortfall among college-educated white men in most of those states, according to detailed analyses of recent surveys provided to National Journal.
In Rustbelt battlegrounds with smaller minority populations, like Iowa, Wisconsin, and above all Ohio, Obama is clinging to a narrow advantage behind strong support from those same upscale white women-and a better performance among working-class whites, especially women, than anywhere else in the country.
In essence, in the Sunbelt, Obama is relying on the new Democratic coalition of minorities, young people and upscale whites, while in the Rustbelt he is depending on support that much more closely resembles the traditional New Deal coalition that Democrats mobilized from the 1930s to the 1960s.
Across the Sunbelt, Obama is courting the new coalition with a message that draws sharp contrasts with Romney on social issues like abortion and access to contraception. In the Rustbelt, he’s relying primarily on a message of economic populism that stresses his support for the auto bailout, and paints Romney as a rapacious corporate raider for his years at Bain Capital.
The bottom line: On his narrow path to reelection, the president is navigating not one tightrope, but two. Read more
NATIONAL JOURNAL’S PRESIDENTIAL RACE REPORT
Disruption From Storm May Be Felt at the Polls
[The New York Times, 11/2/12] The aftermath of Hurricane Sandy could create chaos in storm-ravaged parts of New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and even parts of Pennsylvania that are still without power.
Rove: Hurricane Sandy Helped Obama Politically
[The Washington Post, 11/2/12] Political strategist Karl Rove said the storm helped Obama, drawing attention away from Romney and depriving him of the chance to talk about the economy.
Polls: Obama Leads by 6 Points in Ohio, 2 in Florida
[National Journal, 11/2/12] Obama is leading Romney in the two biggest swing states following his well-received handling of Hurricane Sandy. Meanwhile, a Miami Herald/El Nuevo Herald poll gave Romney a six-point lead in the Sunshine State, essentially unchanged from the same poll last month.
Romney Camp Continues Attacks on Obama’s ‘Revenge’ Remark
[Talking Points Memo, 11/3/12] In a rally Friday, Obama said that “voting is the best revenge,” to which Romney retorted: “Vote for love of country.” Paul Ryan said Saturday “we believe in change, in hope,” and the Romney camp has a new "revenge"-themed ad.
In Ohio, Some Can’t Wait for Election to End
[The Washington Post, 11/2/12] In this important battleground state, it is sometimes impossible to get away from the campaigns. They call. They write. They stop by the house.
The Vanishing Battleground
[The New York Times, 11/3/12] Adam Liptak argues that the shrinking electoral battleground has depressed turnout, distorted policy, weakened accountability and effectively disenfranchised the vast majority of Americans.
In Final Negative Ad Blast, Reward Could Trump Risk
[National Journal, 11/3/12] With ads featuring Hugo Chavez and Fidel Castro, distortions about carmakers and minute-long attacks on Bain Capital, the presidential race’s final week has taken an unusually nasty turn.
[National Review, 11/2/12] John O’Sullivan takes a look at recent polling and concludes: “we would expect Obama to be resting easily on his international laurels. Instead he’s struggling to stay afloat. And Benghazi is the only available explanation.”
On Voting Worries, Sweat the Small Stuff
[The New Republic, 11/2/12] Alec MacGillis dismisses conspiracy-minded theories about Tagg Romney and instead focuses on more mundane ways the election could be skewed – like discarded ballots – at voting machines. Another worry: An Ohio recount could be a mess.
Obama, Romney Both Pitch Takes on Latest Jobs Report
[Columbus Dispatch, 11/3/12] Friday’s jobs report provided little clarity about the economy’s overall trajectory, the Dispatch writes in an article slugged “Spin Jobs in Ohio.” That allowed both candidates to stick with their own arguments.
Obama’s Early Voting Edge is Tenuous
[Politico, 11/3/12] While an estimated 22 million voters have cast early ballots and Obama’s campaign is leading that effort, some analysts say it may not be enough to capture swing states where Republicans will have strong turnout on Election Day.
Reid to Romney: Senate Dems Won’t Work With You
[National Journal, 11/2/12] If Mitt Romney wins the presidency, he will not win cooperation from Senate Democrats, Majority Leader Harry Reid said on Friday.
Super PACs Provide a Flood of Last-Minute Money
[The New York Times, 11/2/12] A last-minute flood of campaign money has poured into national elections, much of it financing advertising against Democrats.
Investors Brace for Tuesday’s Election
[Market Watch, 11/3/12] With most polls showing the presidential candidates locked in a tie, the outcome of Tuesday’s election is uncertain—and there are few things the markets hate more than uncertainty.
Christie Was Romney’s First Choice for VP
[Politico, 11/3/12] Despite the cooperation between Obama and Gov. Chris Christie, Politico reports that the New Jersey governor was Romney’s first choice for a running mate.