New Hampshire and Iowa voters are used to White House hopefuls and money deluging their states in high summer, six months before their leadoff primary-season contests and 18 months before the actual election. This time, the courtship never stopped.
Both states are now critical battlegrounds, with VIPs swarming across them in the final week of the presidential campaign. That focus might seem misplaced for two states that, between them, possess only a puny 10 electoral votes (equal to Wisconsin’s total and nowhere close to Florida’s 29). But in a race where neither campaign has any margin for error, even those meager totals could determine which contender reaches 270 electoral votes. In-state observers describe this year’s campaign as more unremitting and draining than any they have seen in recent elections.
Polls depict a neck-and-neck race in both states. President Obama appears to hold a slight edge in both, but Mitt Romney was endorsed in recent days by all four major Iowa newspapers. For the president, wins in Iowa and New Hampshire would offset a loss in Wisconsin. Or, if paired with a victory in a state like Virginia, they could overcome a defeat in Ohio.
If so, the centers of the political universe will look awfully familiar.
NATIONAL JOURNAL’S PRESIDENTIAL RACE REPORT
After Sandy, Candidates to Go Back on the Attack
[CBS News, 11/1/12] What has been a remarkable run of storm-related civility is now coming to an end. Obama is returning to the campaign trail on Thursday with stops in Wisconsin, Nevada, and Colorado, while Romney holds a trio of campaign events in Virginia.
Bloomberg Endorses Obama, Highlighting Climate Stance
[Bloomberg, 11/1/12]. In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg has issued a surprise endorsement of Obama, writing that he trusts Obama to lead on climate change. Buzzfeed’s Ben Smith: The endorsement “will dominate what remains of the political conversation around the election, and it offers validation from the same sort of moderate technocratic businessman that Romney is now presenting himself as.”
Analysis: Bloomberg’s ‘Warm Hug’ of Obama arrives at Opportune Moment NEW!
[National Journal, 11/1/12] John Aloysius Farrell writes that Bloomberg’s endorsement could help Obama with independents, Jews, businesspeople, and environmentalists.
Paul Ryan to Campaign in Pa. on Saturday NEW!
[The Washington Post, 11/1/12] The rally plays into the Republican narrative in recent days that Pennsylvania, Minnesota and Michigan are in play. Ryan will also campaign in Ohio, Virginia and Florida, on Saturday.
Obama to End Campaign in Iowa NEW!
[Politico, 11/1/12] Obama’s final campaign stop will come in Des Moines on Monday, where he will be joined by his wife and Bruce Springsteen. Earlier that day, he’ll visit Wisconsin and Ohio.
Some Conn. Polling Places Remain Without Power NEW!
[AP, 11/1/12] Nearly 100 polling stations in Connecticut are without power in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. One of the state’s two largest electric utilities is considering the use of backup generators if it can’t restore power at the polls by Election Day.
Obama Back on the Campaign Trail
[USA Today, 11/1/12] After taking a three-day hiatus to deal with Hurricane Sandy, Obama is hitting the trail today in Colorado, Nevada, and Wisconsin. In Green Bay, he compared his tax plan to former President Bill Clinton’s.
Romney Ridicules ‘Secretary of Business’ Proposed by Obama
[National Journal, 11/1/12] Romney criticized Obama’s proposal for a cabinet-level secretary of business on the trail Thursday. ““I don’t think adding a new chair in his cabinet will help add millions of jobs on Main Street,” he told a crowd of 2,000 in Virginia.
The Economist Endorses Obama
[The Economist, 11/1/12] After the magazine enthusiastically endorsed Obama in 2008, the editorial board seems less thrilled this time around, writing that it chooses to “stick with the devil it knows, and re-elect him.”
Polls: Obama Leads Romney in Mich., Iowa; Close Race in N.H., Wis.
[National Journal, 11/1/12] Obama holds 6-point leads over Romney in Michigan and Iowa, but only narrowly edges the GOP nominee in New Hampshire and Wisconsin, according to new polls. The Michigan poll shows the president gaining momentum, with Obama’s lead up from a narrow 3-point edge after the first presidential debate.
Opinion: What a Narrow Win Would Mean for Obama's Second Term
[The New Republic, 11/1/12] William Galston writes that the election campaign has done nothing to prepare the American people for the choices on the “fiscal iceberg” that lies ahead. And while Obama isn’t solely to blame for this, Galston writes, the way he chose to run for reelection has made a bad situation worse.
What Your Favorite TV Shows Say About Your Politics
[BuzzFeed, 11/1/12] In an analysis of “likes” from thousands of Facebook users, a firm determined that The Weather Channel leans right, Game of Thrones leans left, and Seinfeld and CSI land smack-dab in the middle.
In Presidential Campaign Ads, Political Science Meets Excess
[Reuters, 11/1/12] The most expensive campaign in U.S. history (the presidential race has cost nearly $2 billion, out of a total $5.8 billion spent on elections this campaign cycle) has given analysts a high-profile chance to examine some simmering questions about campaign advertising.
Glitch Held Up Absentee Ballots
[Columbus Dispatch, 11/1/12] Thousands of absentee-ballot requests in Ohio may have been erroneously rejected statewide because county boards did not have up-to-date information on registrants’ addresses.
Voters in Philadelphia and Suburbs Have Extra Day to Seek Absentee Ballots
[Philadelphia Inquirer, 11/1/12] Election offices in Philadelphia, the suburban counties, and most of the rest of the state will be open for an extra day so that Pennsylvania voters can seek last-minute absentee ballots if they are unable to get to the polls on Election Day.
Polls Point to Racially Polarized Electorate
[Los Angeles Times, 11/1/12] More than three-quarters of blacks and Latinos support Obama, while a growing majority of whites is expected to vote for Romney. These widening margins could have repercussions beyond 2012, prompting both parties to recalibrate their messages.