My apologies, to all those who’ve checked in on this site over the past few days, for the time since my last blog post although I hope that the various videos have both kept you entertained and informed. Starting a new job here in London can be rather hectic..!
We’re now into the final stretch of the 2012 US Presidential Election and, this time next week, we should know who will be sitting in the White House for the next four years. Barring, obviously, any last-minute debacles such as the recounts in Florida in 2000.
Superstorm Sandy has made herself known all across the East Coast in the past few days, leaving dozens dead and millions without power across a raft of states. President Obama was quick to suspend his campaign, declaring the states of New York and New Jersey disaster areas to enable them to receive emergency federal funding, before heading back to Washington to closely monitor the situation as well as speaking directly with elected officials, Republican and Democrat alike, in the affected areas. In possibly one of his greatest coups of the election, President Obama will today tour the damage in New Jersey with the state’s Republican Governor Chris Christie.
Governor Christie is not just a Republican however; he, as keynote speaker at the Republican National Convention in August, has been the party’s critic-in-chief of the Obama administration and is widely being touted at the 2016 Republican presidential candidate should Mitt fail this tie around.
“The federal government’s response has been great. I was on the phone at midnight again last night with the president, personally, he has expedited the designation of New Jersey as a major disaster area.”
“He gave me his number at the White House and told me to call him if I needed anything.”
Coming from the man who has made no efforts over the last four years to hide his dislike of the President, the resounding support for Barack Obama from Chris Christie is incredible. Coupled with his determination to be the President at this time of crisis, and Mitt Romney’s dogged attempts to turn the storm into a political event (especially in the key battleground state of Ohio), Obama has an opportunity to show millions of Americans exactly why he is the Commander-in-Chief.
As Governor Christie said, when asked on Fox News on Tuesday whether he would tour stricken parts of his state with the Republican nominee, “I have no idea, nor am I the least bit concerned or interested. I’ve got a job to do here in New Jersey that’s much bigger than presidential politics, and I could care less about any of that stuff.” Check out the video of him praising President Obama on Fox News earlier.
I think it’s worth pointing out that, as a candidate seeking the Republican part nomination, Governor Romney said that he would seek to return federal money back to the individual states and shut down FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, that is swinging into action to support New York and New Jersey after Sandy. Indeed, when asked the question by reporters at least eleven times whilst ‘campaigning’ today, the Governor would neither confirm nor deny that he would dismantle FEMA as President. Have a look at the video yourself:
Quickly looking at the national polls (separate blog post to follow on this), I’m still confident of an Obama victory on November 6th. Perhaps not as large as predicted, I need to revisit the polling data in depth, the electoral college should still swing for Obama; the popular vote remains to be seen. Ipsos/Reuters have conducted a poll (with the largest sample size of any recently taken) between the 26th and 30th October that places Obama ahead by a point which echoes that of a CBS/Times poll over the same period and a UPI/CVOTER that shows the same data. Only a few days ago Governor Romney had enjoyed a lead nationally of up to 5% in some polls; this was mostly buoyed by significantly strong support in the southern ‘red’ states. The change of the trends in the data might reflect growing support for the President in some of the more crucial swing states; the picture is not yet clear.
I want to look at four battleground states in particular; Florida, Ohio, North Carolina, and Virginia. In Florida three recent polls (JZ Analytics/Newsmax, PPP, and Quinnipiac/NYT/CBS) all have President Obama leading by a percentage point. Every single poll, with the exception of a Rasmussen study, has the President leading by at least 2 points and in some cases by a margin as wide as six points. Two recent polls in North Carolina (PPP, Elon) have Obama and Romney on exactly level-pegging in a state that should have been a clear win for the Republican candidate whereas, in Virginia, 7 out of the 10 most recent polls are plumping for Obama by margins of between +2% and +5%.
Ohio and Virginia seem to be following the trend of Pennsylvania (there are no polls available that have Romney leading in that state); this is clearly a worrying sign for the Republican challenger’s campaign team. Florida continues to be “too close to call” but the “Mitt-mentum” hasn’t managed to put the state into the red column; I continue to hold that the seniors and Latinos will come out in strong numbers for Obama and keep it blue.
The path to victory for Governor Romney looks so complicated, and often unnavigable, that it is hard to see how he can stage a victory in the electoral college. Superstorm Sandy really may have finally sunk Mitt’s battleship; the final push over the weekend will show the true state of the race.