In what sounded like a Reader’s Digest version of the powerful and passionate speech she gave in Charlotte, NC. in early September at the Democratic National Convention, Michelle Obama again wowed the modest crowd of 2,000 who showed up in the Branch Rickey Arena on the campus of Ohio Wesleyan University in Delaware, Ohio Monday afternoon to see someone featured on campaign merchandise outside as a possible candidate for president in 2016.
One vote closer
The First Lady’s popularity rating of 69 percent with Americans is higher than the rating voters give her husband, President Barack Obama. If she could take on Mitt Romney tomorrow in a debate the nation is holding its breath to watch, hoping the president comes fired up and ready to go instead of displaying diffidence and detachment as he did two weeks ago, the strong and stirring defense of her husband’s presidency over the last four years that she delivered today would be cheered wildly by Obama backers, Democrats in general and independent voters, who increasingly recognize that while he can’t duplicate the sheer showmanship his GOP challenger does, he’s been a steady rudder in high seas, keeping the ship of state afloat by choosing safety over speed.
In Ohio in advance of the second Presidential Debate, and in advance of the return of her husband to Ohio University on Wednesday, Mrs. Obama told those in the arena that voting, and urging others to vote, would be the key to winning Ohio and the election.
The tweet heard around the world
Before taking off for Ohio on Monday, Obama tweeted that she had just dropped her absentee ballot in the mail, and President Obama followed shortly with a tweet announcing that he would be voting on October 25. He’ll vote in person in Chicago in order to give news sources a chance to snap a picture of him casting his ballot, even though it will be nearly two weeks before most of the rest of the country votes.
As she did in Cleveland in the afternoon, Mrs. Obama used something she did today to make a point. “And let me tell you, I’m feeling pretty fired up and ready to go because this morning, let me tell you what I did, I cast my ballot early for Barack Obama. Yeah! Yes, today! It felt so good,” she said. “Right now, my absentee ballot is on its way to my hometown, Chicago, Illinois, and that means we are one vote closer to reelecting my husband and moving this country forward for four more years.”
Ohio now more than ever
The battle to win the race for the White House has again come down to which candidate can win Ohio, widely believed to be the state a winning candidate must win. For Mitt Romney, the stakes could not be higher. Ohio has only voted for the losing candidate, once, in 1960 when Richard M. Nixon won it but lost the presidency to John F. Kennedy.
For President Obama, who won Ohio by nearly five points four years ago, winning it again would mean that Mr. Romney would have to experience a Massachusetts miracle to surmount the hurdle losing Ohio would present to him and his running mate Paul Ryan of Wisconsin.
While the national polls show the two teams in a dead-heat race, smart money looks at the battleground states, especially Ohio, where the White House has been able to maintain an advantage over the GOP ticket by as many as six points.
In a Marist Poll dated Thursday, President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden lead Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan by a margin of six points, 51-45 percent, among Ohio likely voters, including those who are undecided yet leaning toward a candidate and those who voted by absentee ballot. One percent supports another candidate, and 4 percent are undecided.
“It’s all about early voting for Obama in Ohio,” Dr. Lee M. Miringoff, Director of The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion, said. “Among those who will vote on Election Day, there is only a two point Obama-Romney difference.”
In a National ABC/Washington Post poll released today, President Obama leads Mitt Romney 49-46 among likely voters and 50-43 among registered voters. Some polling gurus argue that polls featuring likely voters are more accurate than registered voters, other analysis says that when real results are compared to polling results using one or the other, results based on likely voters is only right about one-third of the time.
It appears that the polling bounce Mitt Romney benefited from in the wake of the first Presidential Debate in Denver, CO., which consensus of the media awarded to the former governor of Massachusetts, has stalled as reflected in the recent Public Policy Polling report showing President Obama leading Mitt Romney in all-important Ohio by five percentage points.
Other national polls show the race much tighter. For example, the Battleground Poll for George Washington University/Politico shows President Obama with a one point lead, 49-48, over Mitt Romney. A National Gallup Tracking poll has Mitt Romney ahead of the president 49-47 among likely voters while among registered voters President Obama has a two-point lead, 48-46.
Michelle Obama talked about voting early for good reason, because in over 40 states, early voting has started, meaning seven percent of voters have already cast their ballots. Analysis based on an Ipsos poll shows that these votes have broken for President Obama, 59-31 percent. Both teams, Obama-Biden and Romney-Ryan are telling their backers to vote early, its said, because “a vote banked early can’t change,” regardless of what their candidate does later. It’s often noted that strong partisans, whose votes will not change no matter what, like to vote early, while so-called “fence sitters” delay it until Election Day.
Ohio’s junior U.S. Senator, Rob Portman, a Republican from Cincinnati, made headlines and election watchers scratch their heads when he said that Mitt Romney can win the election without Ohio. Romney could have picked Sen. Portman as his running mate but he didn’t, choosing 42-year old Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan instead. What was perplexing to some about what Sen. Portman said, is that no Republican has ever been elected President without Ohio, and this year doesn’t promise to be different.
According to Electoral-vote.com, a Website that tracks election issues, if President Obama wins all the states Democrats have won the past five presidential elections, he locks down 242 electoral votes. Now that New Mexico doesn’t appear to be breaking for Republicans, Team Obama-Biden can expect 247 electoral votes. By winning Ohio, that number increases to 265, and 270 is the magic number to win the White House. If Mr. Obama can win Ohio, and unless Mr. Romney has a comeback of historic proportions it will go blue again this year, the White House can put the game away if it wins only one of these states: Nevada, Colorado, Iowa, Florida, North Carolina, or Virginia. For Mitt Romney to win, he would have to win all of them if he loses Ohio. One rare scenario involves New Hampshire, which only has four electoral votes, but if Mr. Romney’s miracle comes true and he wins all of the states just named, and President Obama wins New Hampshire, they would tie 269-269. The new U.S. House of Representatives, which is projected to again be controlled by Republicans, would, as The Constitution prescribes, elect the next President. Each of the 50 states would have one vote.
Poll watchers note that there have been eight polls taken after President Obama’s terrible presidential debate performance. The president leads in seven of them. In the PPP poll, noted above, he’s ahead in Ohio by five points. By averaging all eight polls, President Obama leads Mitt Romney 49-46.
Ending on a high note
In Delaware and in Cleveland, First Lady Michelle Obama made her case for reelecting her husband. “Remind them that their President, he knows the American Dream because he’s lived it,” she said, adding, “…he is fighting every day so that everyone in this country can have that same opportunity no matter who we are or where we’re from or what we look like or who we love.”
She was unequivocal in her closing message. “My husband is nowhere near satisfied. Barack of all people in this country knows very well that too many folks are still hurting. He knows that there’s plenty of work left to be done. And as President Clinton said, it’s going to take longer than four years to finish rebuilding an economy from the brink of collapse.”
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