Conservative Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, looking much like a character in Mad Men Season 1, said this morning in Ohio that he is the real candidate of change, complaining that President Barack Obama hasn’t met with Republican congressional leaders about the economy for three months.
** QUICK HITS. Some new polls show President Barack Obama holding his lead in Ohio and taking a very slight lead in Colorado. … Governor Jerry Brown appears at two Get-Out-The-Vote (GOTV) events tomorrow in Los Angeles on behalf of the Prop 30 revenue initiative. … On Sunday, Brown visits four African American churches in Los Angeles.
** DON’T LOOK NOW, BUT … CAN JERRY BROWN ACTUALLY PULL OFF A PROP 30 WIN? Sometimes I like being wrong. This would definitely be one of those times.
I’ve already predicted that Proposition 30 — the California initiative to temporarily raise taxes on the rich, along with a temporary quarter-cent sales tax hike, to stave off big education cuts and stabilize the state budget — will lose. I did that here on The Huffington Post on October 26, and on my New West Notes blog on October 22.
And at that point, 15 days before the election, it looked like Prop 30, dropping below 50 percent in the polls under a multi-million dollar barrage of advertising from the right — billionaire heir Charlie Munger Jr., and a few other mega-rich folks running their bucks through the “Small Business” Action Committee re-branding operation run by a career-long anti-tax/small government lobbyist — and the left (heiress and Charlie Jr. sister Molly Munger pushing her DOA Prop 38 income-tax-hike-for-all school funding measure), suffering from a certain lack of clarity in message, was heading to defeat.
The theory, which may have been shared by Brown, is that if a campaign urging a “no” vote on a complicated financial issue has many millions of dollars to send, that initiative will lose. Which is why Brown worked so assiduously to neutralize opposition from business, even gaining key business support in the process.
But since the middle third of October, things have been stabilizing for Prop 30, the compelling case for which is laid out in this new Los Angeles Times editorial. Brown is bringing new clarity out on the stump, first in a series of speeches on college campuses, now in high-profile talks at prestige venues in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Silicon Valley. And of course President Barack Obama wins handily here.
I think some bets have been missed in this campaign, but there may also be some things that are not yet public.
* The new Field Poll finds Prop 30 still up, 48 percent to 38 percent, but not declining further, with the undecided vote folks that Prop 30 can draw from.
* The “No on 30″ forces may have overplayed their hand in playing the hide-the-funder game. After disguising money from a few very big givers by running it through the “small business” outfit, they then accepted the biggest anonymous contribution in California history, $11 million from a shadowy Arizona super PAC whose law firm is headed by the Republican National Committee’s chief counsel, again running it through the “small business” committee of one. All the while claiming, in mordantly amusing fashion, that they don’t know who the givers are. As if any political professional would take $11 million without knowing its source.
* And the new online voter registration law signed by Brown has led to a flood of new voters, many of them young voters — which explains what Brown was doing on his college tour, a flummoxing experience for Brown’s opponent of 40 years, Sacramento Bee columnist Dan Walters — and not many of them Republicans. Republican registration in California, the GOP stronghold that gave us Presidents Ronald Reagan and Richard Nixon, has now dropped below 30 percent. …
** CALIFORNIA REPUBLICAN REGISTRATION DROPS BELOW 30%. A new milestone has been reached in the latest report of voter registration in California. Secretary of State Debra Bowen’s office reports that California’s voter rolls continued to expand significantly in the final count for the November election thanks to a surge of registration occasioned by the online registration signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown.
Some 18,245,970 Californians, 76.7% of those eligible, are registered to vote
in Tuesday’s presidential election. The percentage of eligible Californians who are
registered has remained about the same for more than a decade, but the total number is a record high.
There are nearly a million more California voters than they were for the November 2008 election.
Despite the ease afforded by online registration, the number registered in September and October, nearly 1 million people, was less than that in the same period four years ago, a total which reached nearly 1.2 million. Much of that was driven by fresh enthusiasm about Senator Barack Obama.
But still there is a big new chunk of voters, disproportionately young, who may not be adequately accounted for in a number of conventional polling models, including the Field Poll. Which would help explain what Brown was doing in his college campus tour for Prop 30.
Now here is the truly dramatic news.
Independent voters are at a record high.
And Republican voters are at a record low.
20.9% are independents, technically called No Party Preference, the new version of Decline To State. That’s up from 19.9% four years ago.
But I think the real number is actually higher than that, as the American Independent Party saw its registration go from 2.1% in 2008 to 2.6% now. Few know what the party, historically a very small right-wing outfit. Even Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom’s wife, actress Jennifer Siebel, was an American Independent because she believed it was the same as “independent.”
Democrats, while growing as an absolute total by about 300,000, dropped from 44.4% in 2008 to 43.7% in 2012.
But the big news is about the Republicans.
They actually dropped in total registration, by nearly 100,000.
As a percentage of the California electorate, Republicans plunged from 31.4% in 2008 to 29.4% in 2012.
** NEW SURVEY: NEITHER OBAMA NOR ROMNEY REPRESENTS MOST VOTERS IDEOLOGICALLY. A new Gallup Poll survey indicates that neither President Barack Obama nor conservative Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney represents majority viewpoints.
Obama, of course, despite some vociferous views on the left, is widely viewed as a liberal. Romney is widely viewed as a conservative.
This is a bit more of a problem for Obama, since liberals are seriously outnumbered by conservatives. Hence the imperative for the middle, and for differentiation on personal qualities of leadership.
Overall, 23% of U.S. voters describe their views as liberal or very liberal, 31% moderate, and 42% conservative or very conservative. This conservative tilt of voters in today’s American electorate helps explain the finding that Americans are more likely to see both candidates as more liberal than they themselves are, rather than more conservative.
Overall, about one in four (27%) U.S. voters have the same ideology as they perceive Obama has, and an equal percentage have the same personal ideological position as Republican challenger Romney has. …
Not surprisingly, voters perceive stark differences between Obama and Romney: 60% describe Obama’s political views as liberal or very liberal, while the same percentage believe Romney is conservative or very conservative. Both men are more likely to be associated with their party’s dominant ideology now than they were among national adults in December 2007, when they were running for their respective parties’ 2008 presidential nominations. …
Speaking at a rally this morning in Springfield, Ohio, President Barack Obama — going for the casual storm crisis manager jacket look — hailed the October job numbers as “real progress,” but says there is more work to be done. US employers added 171,000 jobs in October.
** NEW COLUMN COMING UP … DON’T LOOK NOW, BUT…
** OBAMA TODAY. President Barack Obama is in Ohio and Washington.
Early this morning, Obama delivered remarks at a campaign event at the Franklin County Fairgrounds in Hilliard, Ohio.
At 9:55 AM Pacific, Obama delivers remarks at a campaign event at Springfield High School in Springfield, Ohio.
At 11:10 AM Pacific, Obama departs Springfield, Ohio on Air Force One en route Lima, Ohio.
At 11:40 AM Pacific, Obama arrives Lima, Ohio.
At 12:20 PM Pacific, Obama delivers remarks at a campaign event at Lima Senior High School in Lima, Ohio.
At 2:10 PM Pacific, Obama departs Lima, Ohio on Air Force One en route Joint Base Andrews.
At 3:25 PM Pacific, Obama arrives Joint Base Andrews, where he boards Marine One.
At 3:40 PM Pacific, Obama lands on the South Lawn of the White House.
Obama got pretty good news this morning with the monthly jobs report.
It shows that 171,000 new jobs were created last month, nearly 50,000 more than expected by most economists. The unemployment rate, however, remained roughly the same, at 7.9%, below the toxic magic 8% marker, as more people flooded back into the job market with a slightly more buoyant economy.
This picture includes a continued contraction of public sector employment, especially at the state and local level.
Obama will hold the last campaign rally of his career as a candidate on Monday when he appears at a big rally in Des Moines, Iowa, the place where he broke through in 2008 with his stunning victory in the Democratic presidential caucuses, with Bruce Springsteen.
Obama and Springsteen will appear together earlier on Monday in Madison, Wisconsin and Columbus, Ohio. On Friday, Obama campaigns across Ohio, following Bill Clinton’s barnstorming on Thursday.
On Saturday, Obama is in Ohio, Wisconsin, Iowa, and Virginia.
And on Sunday, he is in New Hampshire, Florida, Ohio, and Colorado
Conservative Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney closes out with the last rally of his career as a candidate on Monday with a rally in Manchester, New Hampshire, not far from one of his summer homes.
Today Romney campaigns in Wisconsin and Ohio.
On Saturday, Romney is in New Hampshire and Colorado.
And on Sunday, in something of a surprise move, Romney is makes a play for Pennsylvania, which has not been a battleground state, but where Obama’s margin has dropped after a great deal of super PAC advertising against him.
Obama is countering with a heavy dose of ads but will be out-spent in the Keystone State.
This is one of those x-factors I mentioned in my “Term 2″ piece, the super PAC spending. How serious is Romney about Pennsylvania? Hard to say. He may have decided that he can’t win Ohio so take flyer somewhere else, riding the cushion of super PAC money. And maybe Obama will over-react and lose elsewhere. Or not act enough and lose the state.
John McCain made a big play for Pennsylvania in 2008, also appearing there on the Sunday before the election. Obama still won the state handily. The last Republican to carry Pennsylvania was George Bush I, in 1988.
While Obama will not campaign in Pennsylvania, another president will. Bill Clinton hits the Keystone State on Monday to lock it down for the Democratic ticket.
Vice President Joe Biden is campaigning today in Wisconsin.
Former President Bill Clinton is campaigning today across Florida.
Congressman Paul Ryan is campaigning in Iowa and in Ohio, where he joins Romney for the beginning of the Romney-Ryan Real Recovery Road Rally.
Obama is monitoring several geopolitical crises involving the Arab Awakening, Iran and Israel, Syria, Iraq, AfPak, and the South China Sea.
Military Crisis Zone Times: The Persian/Arabian Gulf is ten hours ahead of Pacific time and Afghanistan is eleven and a half hours ahead of Pacific time. The time in Manila, on the South China Sea, is fifteen hours ahead of Pacific time.
Governor Jerry Brown spoke on Thursday at the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco.
** FROM THE JERRY FILES. Governor Jerry Brown is in Northern California.
He does a third straight day of big picture talk in support of the Prop 30 revenue initiative on Friday at the Silicon Valley Leadership Group’s annual Public Policy Luncheon at the Santa Clara County Convention Center.
At 1 PM, Brown will participate in a conversation with Virgin America CEO David Cush and Netflix CEO Reed Hastings, moderated by San Jose Mercury News Editorial Page Editor Barbara Marshman.
He spoke yesterday at Commonwealth Club headquarters on Market Street in San Francisco, where he offered a spirited argument that California is moving forward in the larger view of things while he works to get its long dysfunctional state government sorted,
Brown’s remarks, which were rather discursive in a number of past appearances, have tightened notably this week, while retaining his unique flavor.
While a California superior court in Sacramento ruled late Wednesday that the shadowy Arizona super PAC which funneled the biggest anonymous contribution in California history, $11 million, through the Small Business Action Committee re-branding operation into the No on 30 campaign must reveal the actual contributors, the outfit’s Virginia law firm — which is headed by the chief counsel to the Republican National Committee — has appealed the ruling.
The Fair Political Practices Commission has moved for an immediate emergency ruling so as to prevent the No on 30 forces from avoiding disclosure before the election.
We’ll see how that goes.
The Field Poll shows Prop 32, the measure to hamstring public employee union campaign spending, going down big time, 34% to 50%.
It also shows support for Prop 34, the anti-death penalty measure, leading opposition, 45% to 38%. But it is still shy of a majority.
Support for the measure is driven by two factors: Actual opposition to the death penalty and, increasingly, a sense that the cost is too great, given how few executions actually take place.
** TERM 2: OBAMA ON THE VERGE. … From my new essay.
** CALIFORNIA STORY: THE INITIATIVES SHAKE DOWN WHILE BANANA REPUBLIC POLITICS REVS UP. … From my October 26th column.
** BOND AT 50: SKYFALL‘S NOTABLE PREMIERE HARKENS BACK TO BOND’S LATE IMPERIAL BEGINNINGS. … From my October 24th essay.
** OBAMA WINS THE FOREIGN POLICY DEBATE ON … OHIO? … From my October 23rd essay.
** RECALLING GEORGE MCGOVERN’S LAST CAMPAIGN. … From my October 22nd essay.
** CALIFORNIA REPUBLIC: PASS THE BANANAS. … From my October 19th essay.
** OBAMA TAKES DEBATE 2: SO WHAT HAPPENS NEXT? … From my October 17th essay.
** GEOPOLITICS: OBAMA FACES BIG CHALLENGES DESPITE DEBATE WINNER ROMNEY’S LATEST POLICY WHIFF. … From my October 9th essay.
** JERRY BROWN GETS AN OCTOBER SURPRISE. … From my October 8th feature.
** RECALLING TOTAL RECALL: SCHWARZENEGGER’S COMEBACK PROCEEDS WITH A BIG (NATURALLY) BOOK. … From my October 5th essay.
** FROM GOVERNATOR TO MOONBEAM. … From my January 3rd, 2011 feature.
** OBAMA: RIDING WITH HISTORY. (NOTE: As Barack Obama was inaugurated as the 44th president of the United States, this column was the featured column on the top of the front page of the Huffington Post.) … From my January 19th, 2009 Huffington Post column.
** 24/7 LIVE TV NEWS FEED FROM AL JAZEERA. With the US entangled in major military operations in the region, and the Arab awakening underway, it’s valuable to keep up with news and perspectives from the leading Middle Eastern-based TV news network. Click here for a live TV news feed on your computer. The NWN live link to AJ does not constitute an endorsement of the channel’s views. It’s presented as an otherwise unavailable new media window.
** 24/7 LIVE TV NEWS FEED FROM RUSSIA TODAY. Russia has re-emerged as one of the world’s great powers. Click here for a live TV news feed on your computer from the Russia Today channel. The NWN live link to RT does not constitute an endorsement of the state-run channel’s views. It’s presented as an otherwise unavailable new media window.
** TRACK GLOBAL AND NATIONAL ENERGY PRICES IN NEAR REAL TIME VIA BLOOMBERG ENERGY MARKET WATCH. Having crashed over $147 for yet another record on July 11th, 2008, crude oil is trading around $86 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
This is up about $52 from the low of $34 per barrel prior to enactment of the Obama economic recovery program, reflecting a low point in global economic activity, and down about $28 per barrel from the price at the time of the Osama bin Laden raid.
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