“At the Obama rallies, they’re shouting, ‘Four more years, four more years,' ” Mitt Romney told a pumped-up crowd in West Allis, Wis., this morning. “And I just heard you -- we’re shouting, ‘Four more days.' ”
“Four days. Four days. Just four,” President Obama told his own jazzed audience, in Springfield, Ohio, in the afternoon.
Indeed, four more days. If, that is, you’re a subscriber to the theory that elections are decided by voters and not lawyers, the latter of which has quite salient recent precedent. The sand is running down on undecided voters, who this morning were presented with the government’s report of 171,000 new jobs last month, but also a click north in the unemployment rate, to 7.9 percent.
While Hurricane Sandy recedes from the political conversation, even as millions remain without power and the death toll rises, the campaign is twisting into what is, for all its uniqueness, a standard pattern for presidential contests. Candidates dwell in the battlegrounds -- with the Midwestern trio of Ohio, Wisconsin, and Iowa foremost this year -- to deliver finely tweaked 11th-hour sales pitches and receive blanket, almost stenographical coverage.
Four more days. At least.
-- Jim O’Sullivan
NATIONAL JOURNAL’S PRESIDENTIAL RACE REPORT
Obama’s Reelection Hinges on Two Coalitions
[National Journal, 11/2/12] In the Sun Belt, Obama is relying on the new Democratic coalition of minorities,young people, and upscale whites; in the Rust Belt, he is depending on support that much more closely resembles the traditional Democratic coalition: upscale white women and working-class whites.
Obama Starts Latest Ohio Swing in Hilliard
[Toledo Blade, 11/2/12] President Obama was unsurprisingly in Ohio today, part of a four-day push in the state that could tip the election. Obama, in his second day back on the trail after tending to Sandy’s devastation, went right at Mitt Romney. “You don't scare hard-working Americans just to scare up some votes," Obama said at the Franklin County Fairgrounds.
Romney Begins Final Sprint with Promises of Bipartisanship, Change
[ABC News, 11/2/12] Romney encouraged voters to turn the page by electing him at a rally in West Allis, Wis., saying, “It’s within the power of the American people to choose their own future... You can stay on the path of the last four years, or you can choose real change.” He also promised to eschew partisan legislative initiatives to focus exclusively on job growth.
Obama and Romney Teams Top $1 Billion in Ad Spending
[National Journal, 11/2/12] Since the start of the general-election campaign, the two sides have spent an incredible $1,057,276,151 on TV advertising --nearly half a billion dollars more than was spent during the 2008 general election. Hotline’s Reid Wilson delves into the numbers.
Analysis: Either Way, Election Will Leave Half the Nation Alienated
[National Journal, 11/1/12] Uniting Americans behind any common purpose after an election that appears certain to divide them deeply looms as a daunting, perhaps insurmountable, challenge for whichever man wins next week, Ronald Brownstein writes.
Who Is Really Winning Early Voting?
[The Atlantic, 11/2/12] Molly Ball finds that Republicans are "really" winning the early vote in Colorado, Florida, and North Carolina, while Democrats are winning in Iowa and Nevada.
Another GOP Group Targets Minnesota
[Washington Post, 11/2/12] Karl Rove’s Crossroads GPS began airing an ad titled “Actually Debt” in Minnesota Friday, buying $1.4 million of airtime. The ad says the national debt would reach $20 trillion by the end of a second Obama administration, cites a decline in middle-class incomes over the past four years, and ends with the on-screen narrator saying, “We can’t afford more of that.”
Cook Report: Obama Can Thank Early Negative Ads for His Advantage
[National Journal, 11/1/12] In the 40 or so states that have experienced the minimalist campaign, the popular-vote numbers are even or maybe up for Romney, mostly due to his performance in the first debate, Charlie Cook writes. But for those in the battleground states, who have been immersed in a nasty ad war since the summer, skepticism has persisted.
Do Late Undecideds Really Break for the Challenger?
[Huffington Post, 11/1/12] An age-old shibboleth of punditry is that late undecided voters go for the challenger, but Mark Blumenthal argues that recent elections don’t bear that argument out.
Storm-Wracked States Prepare for Election Day
[Associated Press, 11/2/12] With less than a week to go before the general election, officials in the states hit hardest by Sandy -- New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and others -- were scrambling to ensure orderly and fair balloting in places still dark or underwater.
Axelrod Sets More Combative Tone for Obama
[New York Times, 11/2/12] A profile of Obama’s chief strategist, David Axelrod, discusses the harsher tone he’s brought to this year’s campaign. The piece also reveals that Obama has personally “killed ads” that he deemed too over-the-top, and that Axelrod embraced the recent “Romnesia” attack.
In a Twist, Obama the Democrat Is Depending on Ohio
[National Journal, 11/1/12] For the first time in memory, it is the Democratic, not the Republican, nominee counting on Ohio as his firewall. And yet to win Ohio this year, Obama may need to do something Democrats have almost never done: win a higher share of the vote in the state than he does nationally.
Opinion: Storm Saves Obama From Himself
[National Review, 11/2/12] Hurricane Sandy has been a boon to the president, Jonah Goldberg writes, because in the weeks leading up to the storm, Obama and his campaign were acting like petty jerks.
Campaigns Brace to Sue for Votes in Crucial States
[New York Times 11/2/12] As the effort to persuade voters winds down, campaigns are focused on getting their supporters to vote and getting those votes counted. The result has been a mass mobilization of lawyers, who will monitor polling stations and the ballots cast on Election Day.
Three Ways Election Day Could Get Ugly
[CBS News, 11/2/12] CBS’s Brian Montopoli breaks down three possibilities that could either keep the battle going beyond Tuesday or prompt a national conversation about what some call a broken system: an electoral split, a popular vote-Electoral College split, or an effective tie in a key state.