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UW Election Eye 2012

Campaign 2012 through the eyes of UW faculty and students

Topic: Romney

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November 1, 2012 at 7:01 PM

Buzzfeed alleges Romney campaign bought relief supplies at Wal-Mart

The Romney-Ryan campaign suffered a blow today over allegations of another staged photo op, its second in three weeks in the crucial swing state of Ohio. Buzzfeed quotes an anonymous staffer as saying the Romney campaign purchased $5,000 worth of merchandise at an area Wal-Mart to serve as props in a hastily-planned “Relief Rally.” The original…


Comments | More in National | Topics: Buzzfeed, Mitt Romney, Ohio

October 3, 2012 at 7:00 AM

Why the presidential debates will either upend or end the 2012 race for the White House

Presidential debates are spectacles, watched by millions of U.S. voters. This evening we kick off a three-week run that includes three presidential debates and one vice-presidential one. Tonight we’ll be live-chatting the debate along with Times reporter Jim Brunner. Here’s a primer on why we’ve just arrived at The Biggest Moment of the Campaign.

For the past couple weeks I have read countless pieces by pundits, strategists, and analysts insisting that presidential debates don’t matter, and the debates are meaningless rituals. They point to the polls this year, which have hardly budged — as the realclearpolitics average of polls shows. average of all national polls on the presidential race, January 1, 2012, to October 2, 2012.

So, the conventional wisdom is that the debates won’t matter.

I don’t buy it.

Here’s my view: The first presidential debate — scheduled for 6 pm Pacific time tonight — will be the moment that turns the 2012 presidential election upside down, with Mitt Romney suddenly asserting himself as the dominant candidate. Or, alternatively, the debate this evening will be the moment that Barack Obama clinches a second term in the White House.

It will be definitively one or the other. By 9 am Thursday morning the race for the White House will be a brand new one, or it will be over. Tonight will matter.

I offer five reasons, after the jump.


Comments | More in National | Topics: John Kerry, mccain, obama

August 16, 2012 at 11:18 PM

In digital campaign for president, Obama far more active than Romney

Social media networks such as Facebook and Twitter and Youtube channels became part of the political communication mix during the 2008 Presidential election. How do the Obama and Romney campaigns compare as we approach November 2012?

If an election outcome rested on how well a campaign does with Twitter, then President Barack Obama’s camp would be focused not on November 2012 but January 2013. Not only is the Obama campaign out-tweeting the Mitt Romney team but the Obama tweets are being shared at a rate of 17-to-1 compared with Romney’s.

Obama leads Romney

Project for Excellence in Journalism, August 2012

The Pew Project for Excellence in Journalism analyzed the digital activity of the two campaigns over a two-week period in June. The report shows that there is a “digital gap” between the presumed Republican and Democratic candidates for president, just as there was between Obama and John McCain in 2008.

The report reviews candidate activity across a mature set of digital platforms: Facebook, Twitter and YouTube plus the campaign websites. In June, the Obama campaign had a presence on nine platforms: Facebook, Flickr, Google+, Instagram, Pinterest, Spotify, Twitter (@BarackObama plus five others), Tumblr and YouTube. The Romney campaign had public accounts on five: Facebook, Flickr, Google+, Twitter and YouTube; it has subsequently added Tumblr and Spotify, according to the report.

Obama established a broad digital presence in 2008 and has maintained it throughout his presidency. Thus it is not surprising that his digital support dwarfs Romney’s.

But it is not even close, in ways that are intriguing.


Comments | More in National | Topics: Barack Obama, Facebook, Mitt Romney

August 2, 2012 at 7:09 AM

Why Mitt Romney should select Condoleezza Rice as his VP

Mitt Romney turns up the heat on his VP running mate choice by announcing a new mobile app for the occasion. Should he pick Condoleezza Rice?

SEATTLE — We are mired in election season doldrums, that seemingly endless period of the election cycle where it feels as if we are drowning in talk, talk, talk. With the Republican Party national convention not until the end of this month, followed by the Democratic Party gathering in early September, speculation has become a spectator sport.

Mitt Romney

Mitt Romney (Photo by Gage Skidmore/Wikipedia)

Next up? Another round of “Name that Vice President!”

Taking a page from President Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign, Mitt Romney’s campaign on Tuesday released Mitt’s VP, a smartphone app that will tell you his choice for running mate–just as soon as Romney decides to make that decision public. To his campaign’s credit, Romney didn’t misspell America this time.

With the Romney campaign maintaining radio silence on the VP pick, some pundits have suggested Rob Portman (U.S. Senator, Ohio) should have the number two slot. Others have pitched Tim Pawlenty (former governor of Minnesota) or Marco Rubio (U.S. Senator, Florida). Bobby Jindal (governor of Lousiana) has also been mentioned as a contender.

And then there is Condoleezza Rice. How about her?

According to Public Policy Polling (PPP), a left-leaning public opinion survey firm, having Rice on the ticket could have a big impact in Michigan (16 electoral votes) and Pennsylvania (20 electoral votes) because she’s viewed favorably by Democrats in both states. In 2008, Obama took 57.4% of the Michigan vote and 54.7% of the Pennsylvania vote. Both are critical swing states in 2012.

This bi-partisan support makes Rice, 57, a valuable political figure if Romney decides he wants to attract Independents or Democrats. In Pennsylvania Rice’s favorability rating is 60% (vs. 27% unfavorable); in Michigan it is 56% (vs. 28%). These numbers are significant, even after accounting for polling margin of error (Pennsylvania is +/-3.6% and Michigan is +/-4.1%).

If the PPP data are solid, Rice should be his number one pick.


Comments | More in National | Topics: Condi, Condoleezza Rice, Mitt Romney

July 19, 2012 at 6:45 AM

A presidential campaign that doesn’t need polls

Screen snapshot of the database of polls on the presidential campaign, from December 1, 2011 through July 8, 2012.

Been watching the presidential campaign?

Seen all those attack ads and seeming verbal gaffes and millions of Super PAC dollars? Ignore it. None of it seems to matter so far. This is the most stable presidential campaign I have seen since 1996, when Bill Clinton led Bob Dole by just about 10 points the whole way.

Public opinion regarding Barack Obama and Mitt Romney refuses to budge.

Any single poll might suggest a wider gap or a marriage gap or a move one way or another, but when we look at a “poll of polls” — essentially an average of all polls — we are almost exactly where we started.

12/1/2011 polling averages: Obama +2.3% over Romney

7/19/2012, polling averages: Obama +2.1% over Romney

So what gives? Why does nothing seem to give?

Three thoughts, after the fold.


Comments | More in National | Topics: Bain, Economy, Latino

March 3, 2012 at 3:15 PM

Photos: The caucus process in Mount Vernon

MOUNT VERNON – Skagit County’s largest caucus was held at the Emmanuel Baptist Church this morning. Republicans from Mount Vernon and the surrounding farmland gathered to debate the candidates and decide who to throw their support behind.

Caucus-goers began arriving as early as 9:00 am for proceedings that started at 10:00.

Despite differing opinions on the candidates, Republican pride was on display.

Before breaking off into precinct groups, citizens had the chance to make the case for their candidate of choice. Ryan Kent Smith spoke on behalf of Mitt Romney.


Comments | Topics: caucus, Mount Vernon, precinct

March 1, 2012 at 6:30 AM

Will the "Mormon vote" swing Washington's GOP caucuses to Mitt Romney?

A billboard from the I'm a Mormon campaign.

A billboard from the I'm a Mormon campaign, aimed to fight stereotypes about Mormons, hangs over South Seattle (Photo by Alex Stonehill/UW Election Eye)

If you’ve seen those I’m a Mormon billboards around Seattle and have been following the presidential campaign, you might have concluded that there’s a coordinated effort to bring the Mormon faith (known officially as The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) further into the public sphere.

Mitt Romney is certainly closer to being president than any Mormon ever has been before. In advance of the Republican caucuses this Saturday, he is in town today for a fundraising dinner in Medina and tomorrow plans a “meet and greet” in Bellevue – where Marion G. Romney, a cousin of Mitt’s father, oversaw the groundbreaking and dedication of the large LDS temple in 1978.

The Romneys go back, way back, in Mormon history. But that doesn’t mean the LDS church is pushing him as a candidate.


Comments | Topics: church, delegates, Latter Day Saints

February 4, 2012 at 1:21 PM

Romney's Henderson Rally: Locking Down Nevada

HENDERSON — Two hours before a rally here on caucus eve, Metro Pizza buzzed with Mitt Romney supporters, but the owners, cousins John Arena and Sam Facchini, welcomed the throngs with seasoned calm. “We’ve dealt with a number of US Presidents — Jimmy Carter, George W. Bush, Clinton,” said Facchini with a we’ve-been-here-before look.

So, considering the cross-partisan visitors who had made pilgrimages to “Las Vegas’ Favorite Pizza,” were they Romney supporters?

“I support Mitt Romney,” said Facchini. “He’s a job creator, and so are we.”

Arena smiled and put it more delicately this way: “I’m a fan of the system … I don’t make up my mind who to vote for till the day of the polls.”

The Henderson crowd was diverse — multigenerational families, people of color, groups of women and couples chatted excitedly. They came out to see the man they hoped would replace Barack Obama in the White House.


Comments | Topics: henderson, Mitt Romney, Nevada

February 4, 2012 at 6:56 AM

Mitt Romney's Mormon faith helps in Nevada and the West

The LDS Institute at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (Photo Elizabeth Hunter, UW Election Eye)

LAS VEGAS — A couple of undergrads were horsing around in the hallway when I entered the building.

At the Latter Day Saints Institute of Religion Student Center on the campus of University of Nevada-Las Vegas, young Mormons have heated discussions about politics over ping-pong and candy. Lots of candy. Several baskets of candy — in bowls on the front desk, on a coffee table, in the hallway.

I grabbed a piece as I asked the receptionist if I could speak to someone about Mitt Romney and Mormon politics. “LDS,” she kindly corrected me with a smile. I blushed. From that moment on, I’ve used LDS -— not Mormon —- when talking with members of the Church.

She led me to the office of Institute Director Garth Rasmussen, whom she referred to as Brother Rasmussen. The LDS Doctrine and Covenants book, labeled and marked with color-coded tags, lay open on his desk. Within minutes, Brother Rasmussen was openly sharing his gospel with me.

Here’s the thing, though: Rasmussen said he was happy to talk with me about politics, provided I knew that they were his opinions and not those of the LDS Church writ large. I said absolutely, and we started discussing political issues from healthcare to welfare. About the latter, he got particularly passionate, and shared with me a Mormon parable called the “Gullible Gulls.”


Comments | Topics: Demographics, Endorsement, Endorsements

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