Mitt Romney’s 7-point lead in today’s Gallup tracking poll of likely voters has Democrats who were imbued with renewed confidence after Tuesday’s debate breathing a little heavier. But the sample does not reflect the debate’s full impact. That data will arrive on Friday.
And, on Monday, with 15 days until the election, Romney and President Obama have a go at their third debate, this time on foreign policy, when watchers can expect healthy doses of Libya, Iran, and China talk.
Both candidates will be talking to voters in a diminishing number of states with an exquisitely finite allotment of electoral votes. It’s in this environment, when small movements in the polls or the discourse can have outsized consequences, that the little percolations in the race matter more. The offhand remark joins the sad, long line of offhand remarks that have characterized this campaign.
And, despite both sides insisting on vast differences over grand ideas, the election itself will probably tilt on the finest of margins, or perhaps even finer.
-- Jim O’Sullivan
NATIONAL JOURNAL’S PRESIDENTIAL RACE REPORT
Poll Gives Romney Largest Lead Yet Over Obama NEW!
[ABC News, 10/18/12] Gallup’s latest daily tracking poll has Romney up seven points over Obama, 52 percent to 45 percent. The daily poll won’t fully account for the affect of the second debate until Oct. 23.
Advocacy Organization Registers 90,000 Latino Voters NEW!
[ABC News, 10/18/12] Since March, The National Council of La Raza has registered more than 50,000 voters just in Florida. The group break Democratic, and the efforts could prove decisive in the battleground state
Team Obama Expresses Surprise at Romney’s NC Move NEW!
[The Hill, 10/18/12] The Romney campaign is shifting staff out of North Carolina, a sign that they are confident of taking the state’s 15 electoral votes. The Obama campaign is portraying the move as overconfidence.
For Obama and Romney, ‘Middle Class’ Means Pretty Much Everyone
[National Journal, 10/18/12] Obama and Romney agree that this election is all about the middle class, but nobody can agree on how the “middle class” should be defined. Experts say the $250,000 cutoff Obama has proposed is unreasonably high — only 2 percent make over that amount per year.
Romney ‘Will Not Run Again’ If Campaign Falls Short, Wife Says
[Boston Globe, 10/18/12] Ann Romney said Thursday that her husband will not run for office again if he loses to Obama next month. She also said she originally opposed his current run for the presidency.
Clinton: Obama Knows Economy Not ‘Fixed’
[Fox News, 10/18/12] Appearing at a rally in Ohio with Bruce Springsteen Thursday, former president Bill Clinton said the economy still has a way to go to recover and that Obama knows it. The Romney campaign quicklycapitalized the comment, issue a statement agreeing with Clinton’s assessment.
Debate Triggers War Over Women on TV, Twitter, Trail, and Phone
[National Journal, 10/17/12] On its face, the sudden turn toward women’s issues benefits Obama, who has a chance to deepen the anxiety that a Romney presidency threatens moderate, suburban women’s health and economic well-being. But that hardly displaces their concern about Obama’s economic stewardship, Romney’s primary argument.
Why the Romney Campaign Stopped Talking About Libya
[BuzzFeed, 10/18/12] Immediately following Tuesday’s debate, the Romney campaign vowed to push back hard on Libya. But on the stump Wednesday, Romney avoided the issue because focus groups of debate watchers showed him winning on economic issues.
Romney’s Ridiculed ‘Binders' Sparks Struggle to Court Women
[Bloomberg, 10/18/12] Romney’s claim to have ordered up “binders full of women” to staff his Massachusetts Cabinet has opened a fresh struggle with Obama for the backing of female voters, sparking Internet ridicule, Democratic derision, and a day of damage control.
Voters With Questions at Debate Still Have Them
[New York Times, 10/17/12] Three “persuadable” voters who asked questions of the candidates during Tuesday’s town-hall-style debate left the hall with no firmer convictions of whom to choose than when it had begun. Kerry Ladka, who asked about the Benghazi attacks, said Obama did not really answer his question.
Romney-Cited Researcher Disputes Romney’s Jobs Math
[TPM, 10/18/12] After The Washington Post disproved Romney’s claims on creating 12 million new jobs, the author of one of the studies Romney cited confirmed reporter Glenn Kessler’s conclusions.
Dem Convention Used Corporate Cash, Despite Pledge
[Associated Press, 10/18/12] Despite a pledge by the Democratic National Committee not to use money raised from corporate donors for the party’s national convention, the party relied on $5 million from those funds.
A House (and Senate) Divided: Would Romney Get Legislative Ball Rolling?
[CBS News, 10/18/12] CBS’s Lindsey Boerma writes that Romney would face a rude awakening if he took on the presidency with the mindset of a Massachusetts governor, but some argue the circumstances that would likely accompany a Romney win would be more prone to fuel a workable Congress than would an Obama second term.
Analysis: Why Social Conservatives Don’t Mind Romney’s New Abortion Pivot
[Daily Beast, 10/18/12] The Daily Beast’s Michelle Goldberg writes that the right will likely cut Romney some slack on his abortion and contraception shift because he needs to close the gender gap to win the presidency.
500,000 Floridians Have Voted Already
[Miami Herald, 10/18/12] In a sign of the intense interest in the presidential race, about 500,000 Floridians have already cast absentee ballots — and that number is growing by the day. Both Republicans and Democrats are claiming an advantage with these early voters.
Why Virginia is Ground Zero in 2012
[National Journal, 10/18/12] Obama, Romney, and their allies have already poured more than $133 million into TV ads in Virginia. There’s a reason for this: For Democrats, Virginia is a firewall, a state that can virtually guarantee Obama a second term and Democratic control of the Senate.
Evangelistic Association Cuts Mormonism From Listing of 'Cults'
[Charlotte Observer, 10/18/12] This week, the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association removed Mormonism from its list of religious cults, a move that follows Romney’s visit to Graham’s mountain home last Thursday.