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Obama: Congress Must Act on FAA

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Aug. 3, 2011, 10:40 a.m.

A CNN/Time/Opin­ion Re­search Corp. poll; con­duc­ted 10/1-5; sur­veyed 1,501 adults; mar­gin of er­ror +/- 2.5%. Sub­sample of 1,277 RVs; mar­gin of er­ror +/- 2.7%. Fur­ther sub­sample of 773 LVs; mar­gin of er­ror +/- 3.5% (re­lease, 10/6).

Obama As POTUS

- LVs LVs LVs - All RVs LVs Dem GOP Ind Ap­prove 52% 52% 46% 84% 11% 40% Dis­ap­prove 39 42 49 12 86 53

(For more from this poll, please see today’s CT SEN and CT GOV stor­ies.)

Say It Ain’t So, Joe

A Pub­lic Policy Polling (D) (IVR) poll; con­duc­ted 9/30-10/2; sur­veyed 810 LVs; mar­gin of er­ror +/- 3.4% (re­leases, 10/6-7). Party ID break­down: 41%D, 28%R, 31%I. Tested: Sen. Joe Lieber­man (I), Rep. Chris Murphy (D-05), Gov. Jodi Rell (R) and busi­ness­man Peter Schiff (R).

SEN ‘12 Gen­er­al Elec­tion Match­ups

- All Dem GOP Ind Men Wom C. Murphy 39% 61% 14% 32% 38% 39% P. Schiff 25 6 49 28 29 20 J. Lieber­man 19 16 24 18 16 22 Un­dec 17 16 13 22 16 19 - All Dem GOP Ind Men Wom C. Murphy 37% 62% 10% 29% 37% 38% J. Rell 29 12 52 33 32 27 J. Lieber­man 17 14 22 18 18 16 Un­dec 16 13 16 20 14 19 - All Dem GOP Ind Men Wom C. Murphy 47% 70% 20% 41% 45% 49% J. Lieber­man 33 17 59 33 36 31 Un­dec 20 13 22 27 19 20

Lieber­man As Sen.

- All Dem GOP Ind Men Wom 1/5(RVs) Ap­prove 31% 20% 46% 31% 30% 31% 25% Dis­ap­prove 57 69 41 56 58 57 67

Dodd As Sen.

- All Dem GOP Ind Men Wom 1/5(RVs) Ap­prove 36% 59% 13% 26% 32% 41% 29% Dis­ap­prove 54 29 81 63 60 48 57

Rell As Gov.

- All Dem GOP Ind Men Wom 1/5(RVs) Ap­prove 53% 44% 64% 56% 51% 55% 49% Dis­ap­prove 36 44 26 34 38 34 39

House Gen­er­al Elec­tion Match­up

- All Dem GOP Ind Men Wom Gen­er­ic Dem 44% 80% 8% 29% 39% 50% Gen­er­ic GOP­er 42 12 85 43 49 34 Un­dec 14 8 7 27 12 16

(For more from this poll, please see today’s CT GOV story.)

By this time next week, there should be enough na­tion­al and state-level polling data to present a pretty clear pic­ture of where this elec­tion stands, post-Labor Day and after whatever bounces the can­did­ates may have got­ten from the con­ven­tions. But we have seen enough data in re­cent weeks to draw some pre­lim­in­ary con­clu­sions about the con­tests for the White House, the Sen­ate, and, to a less­er ex­tent, the House.

The pres­id­en­tial race is still close and, in a tight elec­tion, either can­did­ate can win. Any num­ber of events, not the least of which are de­bates, cam­paign gaffes, and do­mest­ic or in­ter­na­tion­al de­vel­op­ments, could put Pres­id­ent Obama or Mitt Rom­ney over the top. Al­though it is pretty clear that Obama has an edge over Rom­ney in na­tion­al and swing-state polling, the size of his ad­vant­age re­mains in doubt. Every event or de­vel­op­ment should be judged on wheth­er it might change the path of this elec­tion.

My view is that if Obama is reelec­ted, it will be des­pite the eco­nomy and be­cause of his cam­paign; if Mitt Rom­ney wins, it will be be­cause of the eco­nomy and des­pite his cam­paign. This eco­nomy is an enorm­ous mill­stone around Obama’s neck, yet he and his cam­paign have man­aged to se­cure the up­per hand — al­beit with a very tenu­ous grip. At the same time, des­pite an enorm­ous ad­vant­age that the slug­gish eco­nomy and the sen­ti­ment for change af­fords him, Rom­ney and his cam­paign, to an as­ton­ish­ing de­gree, seem to have squandered too many op­por­tun­it­ies and un­der­mined his chances of win­ning.

It should be em­phas­ized again and again that this cam­paign isn’t over and that the race is still aw­fully close. But without a change in the tra­ject­ory, it’s a good bet that Obama will come out on top. The ques­tions are wheth­er the op­por­tun­ity will arise for that tra­ject­ory to change and wheth­er the Rom­ney cam­paign be able to ef­fect­ively cap­it­al­ize on it.

Look­ing at the math of the Sen­ate a year and a half ago, Demo­crats were hav­ing to de­fend 23 seats and the GOP just 10. Demo­crats had sev­en open seats, com­pared with just two for Re­pub­lic­ans; the arith­met­ic ar­gued strongly that Re­pub­lic­ans had a real shot at over­turn­ing the cur­rent 53-47 Demo­crat­ic ma­jor­ity. At the time, it looked as if Re­pub­lic­ans had at least a 60 per­cent, maybe even a 70 per­cent, chance of pre­vail­ing. Now, a 45 per­cent chance of a GOP ma­jor­ity is prob­ably closer to the mark. It’s not that a pro-Re­pub­lic­an tide has waned, but that de­vel­op­ments in in­di­vidu­al states have hurt Re­pub­lic­ans more than Demo­crats, chan­ging the status from “strong edge” for the GOP to “some­what up­hill.”

There are at least two im­port­ant, yet seem­ingly op­pos­ing, dy­nam­ics at work in the Sen­ate races. The first is an in­tensi­fy­ing po­lar­iz­a­tion that is mak­ing many con­tests more com­pet­it­ive and closer than they were even a month ago. Par­tis­ans, and even those just lean­ing to­ward one party or the oth­er, have come home very quickly. This is true in Flor­ida and Ohio, where Re­pub­lic­an chal­lengers have closed the gap against Demo­crat­ic in­cum­bents. This in­creased po­lar­iz­a­tion is work­ing against the GOP in Hawaii and New Mex­ico, where the party has fielded es­pe­cially tal­en­ted can­did­ates. These chal­lengers gave Re­pub­lic­ans reas­on for hope in two Demo­crat­ic-tilt­ing states, but as Pres­id­ent Obama has so­lid­i­fied his stand­ing there, early GOP op­tim­ism no longer seems war­ran­ted.

The second dy­nam­ic is that neither party ap­pears to have the wind at its back. As a res­ult, can­did­ates and the qual­ity of their cam­paigns mat­ter more than they have in the last three elec­tions. This ex­plains why Demo­crat­ic can­did­ates in In­di­ana and North Dakota are more than hold­ing their own, mak­ing those two races in Re­pub­lic­an-lean­ing states more com­pet­it­ive than they ought to be. Re­pub­lic­ans are also be­ne­fit­ing from this. In Mas­sachu­setts, GOP Sen. Scott Brown is stat­ist­ic­ally tied with Demo­crat Eliza­beth War­ren, des­pite the state’s strong Demo­crat­ic tilt. And, in Con­necti­c­ut, Re­pub­lic­an Linda McMa­hon has a lead over Demo­crat­ic Rep. Chris Murphy, largely be­cause she has run the bet­ter race to date. Per­haps whatever bi­as voters may have had against McMa­hon dur­ing her ill-fated 2010 Sen­ate cam­paign be­cause of her back­ground as a pro­fes­sion­al-wrest­ling ex­ec­ut­ive is no longer as much of a li­ab­il­ity.

These strong and even some­times con­tra­dict­ory dy­nam­ics have cre­ated much more un­cer­tainty in the Sen­ate pic­ture in the past month. Now, 15 seats — 10 held by Demo­crats and five by Re­pub­lic­ans — can be called com­pet­it­ive. Ten or pos­sibly 11 oth­ers can be con­sidered le­git­im­ate toss-ups — six or sev­en held by Demo­crats and four held by Re­pub­lic­ans.

The House still seems to be a hard-fought but fairly evenly matched fight, with little chance of a ma­jor shift in either dir­ec­tion. If there is a sig­ni­fic­ant turnover, it will have been triggered by something that hasn’t happened yet.

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