Electoral Vote: Obama still up in crucial states, Romney closing in

Mitt Romney

While the focus of just about everyone has been on Todd Akin, the Missouri Republican running for United States Senate who made some ignorant comments about rape and abortion, there is some good news for Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan. At the Washington Post, Aaron Blake notes that the Republican ticket has made some small gains in all important battleground states against President Barack Obama:

[Yesterday’s] trio of swing state polls from Quinnipiac University, CBS News and the New York Times are the latest to show a little movement toward Romney.

Here’s a recap:

- Wisconsin: Romney trailed by three points in a Marquette University poll released Wednesday and led in two automated polls conducted last week — his first lead in the state since mid-June. And the new Quinnipiac poll shows him reducing a six-point deficit from earlier this month down to two points in his new running mate’s home state.

Unemployment up in swing states

While we have gotten off on another distraction thanks to Todd Akin’s comments about abortion and rape, swing state voters may wish the national focus of the election was back on the economy. According to recent jobs numbers, the unemployment rate went up in 44 states, including many that will play a factor in determining the presidential race:

The jobless rate climbed in July in nine of 10 battleground states that could play a pivotal role in the presidential election, even though employers added workers in most of them.

The unemployment rates rose in Iowa, Florida, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, and Virginia, according to Labor Department data released Friday. The rate also increased very slightly, in Colorado and North Carolina, and held steady in Ohio, ending 11 months of declines there, the data show.

Nevada’s 12% unemployment was highest among all 50 states. Michigan’s rate hit 9% for the first time since January, and Florida’s rate, now at 8.8%, increased for the first time in more than a year.

The state figures largely tracked the national jobless rate, which ticked up to 8.3% in July from 8.2% in June.

Separately, Gallup notes that 56% of voters in swing states say they are not better off than they were four years ago. Only 40% say they are better off. The number of voters who say they aren’t better off is up slightly from when the same question was asked back in January. Who do they blame? Twenty percent point their finger at President Barack Obama, while only 7% blame his predecessor, George W. Bush.

Bakery Turns Down Joe Biden, Secret Service Thanks Bakery

Super PAC Ad Depicts Allen West Punching White Women

With bold and often-controversial statements, Tea Party favorite Allen West has been a top target for Democrats nationally because of what he represents.

And if you thought egalitarian liberals were above good old-fashioned race baiting, then you should see this latest attack ad from The American Sunrise PAC:

According to The Shark Tank, the Super PAC was founded by the father of West’s opposition, Patrick Murphy. Thomas Murphy is the CEO of a construction firm, and gave $250,000 so far, which is an unimaginable number for a single donor in most congressional districts.

By showing West as a bully, he his hiting caucasion women IN THE FACE, while grabbing their money. Nevermind West is actually trying to end America’s fiscal recklessness while attempting to protect taxpayers’ dollars.

Politics is an ugly business, especially for conservatives who happen to be black.

He’s Back: Charlie Crist backs Democrat in Florida Senate race

Charlie Crist

A little more than two years ago, then-Gov. Charlie Crist, in an effort to avoid what would have been primary loss to Marco Rubio, decided to leave the Republican Party and run for United States Senate as an Independent. During the campaign, Crist had come under fire for backing President Barack Obama’s stimulus bill and being a tax hiker. Crist was apparently so desparate, he met with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and said that he would caucus with Democrats if elected.

Because of his more moderate economic positions and perception as a stereotypical politician — someone who will change positions out of convenience, Crist became the poster boy of what grassroots conservatives loathe in Republican politics. During the Senate primary in Texas, which eventually saw Tea Party favorite Ted Cruz walk away victorious, grassroots conservatives began using “Dewcrist” to knock the squishiness of David Dewhurst.

But Crist hasn’t change much over the past couple of years. Still bitter that Rubio and conservative groups worked hard to defeat him, Crist has endorsed Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) in his race for re-election against Rep. Connie Mack (R-FL) and will appear at a fundraiser with Bill Clinton for the incumbent Democrat:

Former Gov. Charlie Crist, a former Republican, said Wednesday he is backing Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson’s re-election campaign - a race in which he’ll likely face the son of Crist’s longtime political mentor.

CNN poll shows Romney leading in swing states

We haven’t been paying attention to many general elections polls around here lately. Why? Because none of it really matters until around 60 days before voters casts their ballots. But there has been a narrative that Mitt Romney is performing poorly in swing states and President Barack Obama is well on his way to re-election. But a poll released by CNN earlier this week shows that Romney is up in the states that will decide the presidential election:

Mitt Romney has a sizeable lead in 15 battleground states, according to a CNN/ORC poll released late Monday.

The Republican candidate leads President Obama 51 percent to 43 in 15 states that will be critical in determining the outcome of the 2012 election.

Obama won 12 of these battleground states in 2008 — Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin — and will need to keep about half of those in 2012 if he’s to secure reelection. The poll also included Missouri, Indiana and Arizona as battleground states.

That’s good news for Romney, showing he has a base of support in those states, though the blanket poll of 534 registered voters doesn’t give an indication of which candidate leads in an individual state, or by how much.
Obama holds a slim lead over Romney nationally in the CNN/ORC poll, 49 percent to 46, which is within the poll’s margin of error and unchanged from the same poll in May.

Floridians back “Stand Your Ground” law

In the wake of the Trayvon Martin’s death, many on the Left have been blaming Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law, a statue passed last year that allows use for the use of deadly force in self-defense (my home state of Georgia passed a similar law a few years ago). They say that the law empowered George Zimmerman to target Martin and claim self-defense.

While I have no opinion on Zimmerman’s guilt or innocence in the case at this point — I believe too little is known to jump to conclusions one way or the other, the ire over the “Stand Your Ground” law seems a little misplaced and, in some cases, dishonest. Dave Kopel, a Second Amendment scholar, explains:

The assertion that Florida law allows shooting whenever someone believes it to be necessary is a flat-out lie. The actual law of Florida is that “a person is justified in the use of deadly force” if “(1) He or she reasonably believes that such force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the imminent commission of a forcible felony” (Florida Statutes, Section 776.012).

The second part of the law provides special provisions for self-defense against violent home invaders or carjackers. Neither of those is relevant to the Zimmerman case.

If the factual claims of Trayvon’s supporters are true, Mr. Zimmerman criminally attacked Trayvon and killed him, while having no reasonable belief that Trayvon was perpetrating a forcible felony, or imminently about to kill or gravely wound Mr. Zimmerman. So Florida’s self-defense laws simply would not apply, since Mr. Zimmerman would have no right under Florida law to use deadly force.

Law Enforcement Needs To Reassess Its Priorities

In a story that will shock and disgust any sane American, Florida police officers went undercover into high schools and spent weeks befriending students…who they then tricked into becoming marijuana users:

Last year in three high schools in Florida, several undercover police officers posed as students. The undercover cops went to classes, became Facebook friends and flirted with the other students. One 18-year-old honor student named Justin fell in love with an attractive 25-year-old undercover cop after spending weeks sharing stories about their lives, texting and flirting with each other.

One day she asked Justin if he smoked pot. Even though he didn’t smoke marijuana, the love-struck teen promised to help find some for her. Every couple of days she would text him asking if he had the marijuana. Finally, Justin was able to get it to her. She tried to give him $25 for the marijuana and he said he didn’t want the money — he got it for her as a present.

A short while later, the police did a big sweep and arrest 31 students — including Justin. Almost all were charged with selling a small amount of marijuana to the undercover cops. Now Justin has a felony hanging over his head.

This is outrageous.

First of all, I don’t think 25 year old police officers should be dating 18-year old high school students; that’s just inappropriate in any situation. But second (and third) they are now fabricating criminals out of whole cloth, while wasting scarce police resources that could be put to far better uses.

Libertarians Should Reject Anti-Capitalist, Statist Campaign Tactics

The race for the Republican presidential nomination has turned ugly over these past few weeks thanks primarily to former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) and former Senator Rick Santorum (R-Penn.), whose campaigns have resorted to an “everything but the kitchen sink” smear campaign to destroy former Governor Mitt Romney (R-Mass.). Both Gingrich and Santorum have attacked Romney’s success in the private sector by criticizing his work at Bain Capital and relentlessly demanding that he release his tax returns. Gingrich’s campaign upped the ante when it unleashed a robocall slamming Romney for vetoing additional funding for kosher kitchens in nursing homes as Governor of Massachusetts. Apparently fiscal restraint has now joined business success in this race’s growing list of taboos.

Looking ahead in the race for the GOP nomination

As had come to be expected in days prior, Mitt Romney took Florida easily last night over Newt Gingrich, who defiantly promised to press on for the forseeable future despite the struggling to win a state where he had a lead a week before the primary.

Here are the results of the Florida Republican primary:

  • Mitt Romney: 46%
  • Newt Gingrich: 32%
  • Rick Santorum: 13%
  • Ron Paul: 7%

Romney wins all of the state’s 50 delegates, which was cut by 50% per Republican National Committee rules due to the Florida GOP holding its primary before March 6th (Super Tuesday). Gingrich wins nothing and the momentum he had built after South Carolina has been squandered after a couple bad debate performances, particularly the one in Jacksonville last Thursday.

So where is the race as it stands now? It appears that Gingrich doesn’t have high hopes for the Nevada and Minnesota caucuses. You’d have to expect Ron Paul to be a factor in both of those states, where his campaign directed its focus instead of competing Florida. However, Super Tuesday, which will include his home state of Georgia, may offer more to Gingrich. We’ll get a clearer picture of what to expect next month in the coming days as polling firms will no doubt provide us with plenty of numbers.

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