October 18, 2012

Ohio the Most Crucial Part of Obama’s Four-State Firewall

Romney clearly has Buckeye State momentum, but how much?

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This post went up in slightly revised form at Watchdog.org earlier today.

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Since the first presidential debate between incumbent President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney on October 3, the nationwide momentum shift towards Romney has been unmistakable. It’s now to the point where, according to Major Garrett at National Journal, the Obama campaign appears to be putting a firewall around just four states in hopes of ensuring his reelection: Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire and, as seems the case in every allegedly close presidential contest, Ohio.

Philip Klein’s electoral map at the Washington Examiner on October 12 showed a very plausible election scenario which would result in a 269-269 Electoral College tie. His map shows Romney winning Iowa and Nevada, but losing New Hampshire and Ohio. If Klein is right, a Buckeye State victory is absolutely indispensable to a Romney electoral vote win.

One must careful with polling data this year, especially because of evidence showing that the percentage of potential respondents actually completing surveys has dropped to just 9 percent from 21 percent just six years ago. Because of this, the degree of the momentum change is and will be hard to peg and even harder to be confident about until the polls close and the votes are counted on Election Day.

That said, a nationwide Gallup poll released on October 17 gave Romney his largest lead to date at 51 percent to 45 percent. If Obama had a similar lead with Gallup this late in the contest, the establishment press would be declaring the race over and Romney finished. Actually, they were saying that without any legitimate justification during just about all of September and during the first few days in October, until Romney’s stellar performance and Obama’s virtual no-show in Denver altered the trajectory of the race more than any other debate in my lifetime, including John F. Kennedy’s makeup-driven debate win over Richard Nixon in 1960.

Gallup’s polling was done before the second presidential debate took place on Tuesday night at Hofstra University. Some contend that Obama stopped most of the bleeding which began at the first debate, but I don’t think so. Though the President scored some points, many with disgraceful moderator assistance, the fact remains that most post-debate polls gave Romney a significant edge on substance in every major area except foreign policy, which was roughly a draw.

America’s evaluation of the Obama administration’s foreign policy performance has nowhere to go but down. That’s because of the tragic debacle in Benghazi, Libya, which thus far has included:

  • The death of Libyan ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans;
  • The disgraceful invention of protests which never occurred at the attacked U.S. Consulate, supposedly over a video which virtually no one saw or cared about until the administration began looking for causes other than terrorism;
  • A pack of administration-driven lies about the nature of the attack, with Team Obama doing everything it could to avoid officially acknowledging that it was terrorism until September 20;
  • Internal bickering and public misrepresentations about the quality of the pre- and post-attack intelligence, even though the intelligence community without dissent says it knew that it was a terrorist attack virtually immediately;
  • And finally, the inexplicable and inexcusable drawdown of security in that country during the months before the attack.

Meanwhile, the economy is only marginally improving at best, and whatever improvement is occurring only looks good because the past 3-1/2 years have been so absolutely awful. The recent possible uptick won’t change the fact that we’ve seen the worst economic stewardship by a president since Franklin Delano Roosevelt needlessly lengthened the Great Depression by eight years before World War II.

How does all of this specifically affect the outcome in Ohio? Here’s my take:

  • Evidence that Obama’s campaign is very worried about holding the Buckeye State is apparent in its recruitment of former president Bill Clinton and musician Bruce Springsteen to appear here. Springsteen originally said he wouldn’t campaign for anyone this year, so he must be concerned too. Springsteen’s presence may backfire if enough people remember that he and Obama endorsed the thoroughly discredited Occupy movement, and have never withdrawn their endorsements.
  • The crowds at Romney events have been huge in recent weeks. Obama? Though the press has been low-key in disclosing Obama’s crowd sizes, it’s clear that the 2008 thrill is gone.
  • Most Ohioans aren’t buying the Obama campaign’s absurd notion that the state is outperforming most of the rest of the country economically because of the auto bailouts. They know that it has occurred because Buckeye State Governor John Kasich has managed the state’s finances in a fiscally responsible way while avoiding tax increases. Obama’s fiscal irresponsibility is without precedent.
  • I believe that the administration’s war on coal has moved the southern and eastern rural areas of the state from reliably Democratic to either 50-50 or slightly favoring Republicans.
  • As it will throughout the rest of the nation, Obama’s foreign policy failures in Libya will hurt him in Ohio.

Remember that Obama only won Ohio by 4.6 points in 2008. There’s no way he will improve on that. Instead, it seems likely that he will lose to Romney this year by that margin or slightly less.

Initial Unemployment Claims Shoot Up to 388K SA, Up 46K from Upwardly Revised Previous Week; NSA Claims Up From Last Year

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 9:13 am

The California snafu involving unsubmitted claims from last week carried over into this week.

From the Department of Labor:

SEASONALLY ADJUSTED DATA

In the week ending October 13, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 388,000, an increase of 46,000 from the previous week’s revised figure of 342,000. The 4-week moving average was 365,500, an increase of 750 from the previous week’s revised average of 364,750.

… UNADJUSTED DATA

The advance number of actual initial claims under state programs, unadjusted, totaled 359,048 in the week ending October 13, an increase of 29,129 from the previous week. There were 357,562 initial claims in the comparable week in 2011.

Last week’s initial figure was revised up by 3,000, representing the 81st time in 82 tracked weeks this has occurred.

The seasonal factor for this year’s raw claims was 89.0; this year it’s 92.6. If last year’s figure had been used this year, seasonally adjusted claims would have been 403,000 (359,048 divided by .890, rounded) instead of the reported 388,000 (359,048 divided by .926), i.e., 15,000 higher. Columbus Day fell on Monday in both respective weeks, so I can’t explain why the seasonal factors should be significantly different.

Today’s release doesn’t say a word about California’s failure to turn in a large number of claims last week. This year’s raw claims were greater than the previous year for what has to be the first time in years, but because of sloppiness. I’m disappointed that DOL didn’t push California’s late claims into last week, as it in my view obviously should have. It looks like those who were predicting results thought that’s what DOL would do, or they wouldn’t have predicted that today’s number would be 365,000, as Bloomberg reported.

The seasonally adjusted four-week average of 365,000 is at the low end of what we’ve seen this year. It was at about this level during March and July and ticked back up into the 370s or 380s both times.

Thursday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (101812)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 6:10 am

Rules are here. Possible comment fodder may follow later. Other topics are also fair game.

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Positivity: Atlanta archdiocese cites high stakes in challenge to HHS mandate

Filed under: Health Care,Life-Based News,Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

From Atlanta:

Oct 13, 2012 / 06:52 pm

Adding to the dozens of lawsuits against the HHS mandate, the Archdiocese of Atlanta and three other Catholic institutions have filed a legal challenge to the federal rule.

“We are undertaking this action because the stakes are so incredibly high,” Archbishop Wilton Gregory of Atlanta said Oct. 10. “The unchallenged results of the HHS mandate would require that we compromise or violate our religious faith and ethical beliefs.”

The archbishop, a past president of the U.S. bishops’ conference, said the mandate affects the religious liberty of the archdiocese, of Catholics, and people of other beliefs throughout the country.

“We become one more voice that must be heard by the courts as they consider the legality of this action,” he said.

The Atlanta archdiocese is joined in the lawsuit by the Catholic Diocese of Savannah, Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Atlanta and Christ the King Catholic School in Atlanta.

Over 100 plaintiffs have filed 33 other lawsuits against the federal government challenging the Department of Health and Human Services mandate.

The Atlanta archdiocese’s lawsuit says the existing legality of contraception and sterilization “does not authorize the government to co-opt religious entities” into providing or facilitating access to them.

The mandate’s existing religious exemption is “so narrowly worded” that religious institutions like Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Atlanta and Christ the King Catholic School may not qualify for it, the archdiocese said.

Joseph Krygiel, CEO of Catholic Charities Atlanta, said the charity board feels that religious freedom is “the cornerstone of every basic human right.” He said the mandate is “an unprecedented direct attack on our Catholic faith and our religious freedom guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution.”

“This lawsuit is not about contraception, it is about religious freedom and it always has been,” he said. …

Go here for the rest of the story.