“The odd thing is th
at, after all the muss and fuss of the past six months, all the debates, all the gaffes, all the economic news, we’re pretty much exactly where we were in 2004, with Bush-Kerry,” the historian David Silbey says. “It’s going to be a close election, and it’s going to come down to Ohio, maybe Florida, but mostly Ohio.”
Say word. The Buckeye State has a very good chance of deciding the whole thing in 12 days — historical bellwether blah blah blah — and President Obama‘s up among folks who’ve already cast their ballots. That’s a big shift; the conventional wisdom used to hold that early voters were military types and seniors, groups that tend to lean Republican. But it’s quickly becoming a Democratic thing. African Americans were overrepresented among the state’s early voters in ’08, which is why many voting rights groups thought it more than a coincidence that the Republican officials there were trying to rein in the practice.
Obama’s lead in the polls there — which the AP put at 5 points — is the single biggest obstacle facing Mitt Romney. While his surge in the polls has become the narrative of the campaign coverage over the last few weeks, Romney’s momentum from the first debate has essentially topped out. Princeton’s Sam Wang reminds us that Obama has never trailed in the electoral college since the beginning of the campaign, and no polls show that changing. His deficit in Ohio and shaky standing in some other key swing states still makes the president the prohibitive favorite. Obama has several ways to win the White House. Romney has to get about two-third of the swing states, and electoral vote-rich Ohio is a must-win. Here’s Jesse Taylor:
He’s losing, but he’s losing by slightly less than he was before, so the obvious takeaway is that he’s probably winning. Romney’s “closing the gender gap” (he’s not), he’s “got a path to victory” (it involves flipping seven states that Obama won, five of which Obama is leading in, one of which they’re tied in, the last of which Romney is leading in by less than Obama is in the states where Obama is leading), he’s basically the next President despite not being able, at this point, to win the election.
Some morning links (with no hog!):
- More on early voting. The practice is really picking up steam around the country. Paul Gronke, who founded the Early Voting Information Center, described it as “a quiet revolution.” At this point, depending on the election and the state, it could be anywhere from 15 to 20 percent, up to, of course, Oregon and Washington, where 100 percent of those ballots come in by mail and we don’t have polling places here anymore.”
- Why do we vote on Tuesdays, anyway? A TED animated explainer.
- In case ‘Romnesia’ wasn’t getting his point across: Obama calls Romney a “bullshitter.“
- Angel Haze, takes the beat from Eminem’s “Cleanin’ Out My Closet” and raps about being raped and sexually assaulted from her childhood through her teens. “Good” seems like the wrong adjective to use here, but it’s definitely important.
- Great job, Internet! Remember that bizzaro post-Biggie, pre-Eminem interregnum in the late 90s when Ma$e was the biggest star in hip-hop? Here’s a video of him, with a hungry, eager-to-be-put-on kid named Kanye West. I know it was the ’90s, but those glasses still require an explanation.