Undecided voters in Ohio got a lot of attention this week from President Obama and GOP rival Mitt Romney. Coal may be the key to many swing voters in the Buckeye State, which remains a top coal producer.
It's an issue weighing on coal miner Rick Carpenter's mind at the Barnesville Pumpkin Festival in southeastern Ohio.
"Save coal — fire Obama. Yeah, I've got one of those signs in my yard," he says.
Originally published on Thu September 27, 2012 4:17 pm
During the Republican National Convention last month, I traveled with Mitt Romney's campaign from Tampa, Fla., to the American Legion conference in Indianapolis.
Romney delivered a speech about foreign affairs and national security. Among the thousands of attendees from around the country, I interviewed one woman from Virginia whose quote sparked a conversation among NPR's audience and staff.
Now that Missouri Republican Todd Akin is not dropping out of the Senate race against incumbent Claire McCaskill, the GOP is rethinking how distant it wants to remain from him. Akin became toxic for remarks about "legitimate rape" — but the GOP Senate map nationwide is looking increasingly grim.
Originally published on Thu September 27, 2012 11:26 am
A slew of new presidential polls released this week not only confirm a long-established gender gap among voters, but also suggest that the male-female preference divide in this year's presidential contest could hit historic levels.
It may surprise that that divide appears not driven by social issues and arguments over reproductive care or choices, analysts say, but largely by the national conversation over the size of government.
Originally published on Thu September 27, 2012 8:52 am
With voters in the swing state of Iowa today joining those in two-dozen other states who can already cast their vote for president, the surge in early voting is necessitating a change in campaign strategy, says Paul Gronke, director of the Early Voting Information Center.
Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney's swing through Ohio took him from the suburbs of Columbus through parched cornfields and pumpkin patches to industrial corridors near Cleveland and Toledo. Romney says his policies will make things better for struggling Americans.
Originally published on Thu September 27, 2012 4:22 am
Those who have made up their minds, both Democrats and Republicans, take advantage of early voting. Paul Gronke, a Political Science professor at Reed College, talks to David Greene about who votes early, and how early voting has changed the way people go to the polls. Gronke is Director of the Early Voting Information Center.
Beverly Mitchell shows off her new photo ID card outside a Philadelphia DMV office. She decided to get the card in case a Pennsylvania court rules to allow the enactment of a state law that requires voters to show photo ID in order to vote.
Credit Pam Fessler/NPR
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court is still deciding on whether to allow the state's new rules that require voters to show picture ID when voting will be allowed this election. In case it is approved, Kathleen Herbert went to a downtown Philadelphia DMV office to get her photo ID updated for voting.
The first sign that getting a new ID isn't going to be easy for Beverly Mitchell and Kathleen Herbert comes before the pair have even left their downtown Philadelphia senior center. As they wait for a ride to a nearby Department of Motor Vehicles office, they get the news: The van that was supposed to take them is broken.
A battle is under way in Iowa over whether a state Supreme Court justice can keep his job.
Critics have launched an all-out campaign to throw him off the bench because of his ruling three years ago clearing the way for same-sex marriage. The judge's supporters are fighting back, but they may need to get over their reluctance to mix politics and the judiciary.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.
Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan are spending a lot of time in Ohio this week. The battleground state is being pounded with TV ads. Many of the pro-Romney spots come from the outside groups that sprang up after the Supreme Court's Citizens United ruling. But that decision isn't just benefiting conservative causes.
NPR's Peter Overby reports from Ohio on what Citizens United has done for organized labor.
One topic you don't hear much about from Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney is climate change. Like so much else, it's become politically divisive, with polls showing Republicans far less likely to believe in it or support policies to address it.
But two new groups aim to work from within, using conservative arguments to win over skeptics.
And now to Wisconsin, where people are still livid. It's been two days since a blown call by the NFL's replacement referees cost the Green Bay Packers a win against the Seattle Seahawks. Wisconsinites of opposing political persuasions were briefly united in their anger. But in a state with a Republican governor best known for attacking unions, even the issue of replacement refs is becoming a political football.
President Obama made two campaign stops in Ohio on Wednesday. The state's economy is slightly better than the national average, and the auto bail out is seen as one key to that success. The president's Republican rival, Mitt Romney, was also in Ohio. For now, the swing state is looking favorably at Mr. Obama. Ari Shapiro talks to Melissa Block.
Nevada is one of the eight most hotly contest battleground states of the 2012 election. President Obama carried it by a wide margin four years ago. But since he took office, the Nevada unemployment rate has gotten significantly worse and is now at 12.1 percent. Still, polls continue to show the race is very close there, with Mr. Obama holding a narrow lead, while Mitt Romney has so far been unable to capitalize on the state's deep economic woes.
Originally published on Wed September 26, 2012 3:41 pm
It's no secret that TV watchers in swing states are getting flooded, bombarded, practically drowned in political ads.
According to data from Kantar Media, as of a week ago, nearly 700,000 political ads had aired throughout the country during the general election campaign. The estimated spending on those ads: $395 million.
Early voting is now an option in most of the country, and roughly a third of all Americans casting a ballot in the 2012 presidential race are expected to do so before Nov. 6, Election Day. For an early voting calendar and state deadlines for voter registration, visit http://apps.npr.org/early-voting-2012/
Originally published on Wed September 26, 2012 3:04 pm
Nevada, with its six electoral votes, is far from the biggest Election Day prize sought by President Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney.
But in a race that could be so close that neither candidate can afford to concede a single electoral vote, Nevada is being courted by the candidates to a degree far greater than its size would suggest.
Also, while Obama carried the state by 12 percentages points in 2008, the Great Recession hit the state hard, with widespread foreclosures and high unemployment.
If you don't think a third party candidate can play a role in a presidential election, just ask George HW Bush about Ross Perot or ask Al Gore about Ralph Nader.
This fall, the Libertarian Party will have a candidate on the ballot in at least 47 states. Former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson probably won't be invited to the debates and pollsters don't usually even bother asking about him. But he could influence the outcome of a close election, as NPR Joel Rose reports.
Bill Connell of Weymouth, Mass., who supports Republican Sen. Scott Brown, stands near signs supporting Brown's Democratic challenger, Elizabeth Warren, before the candidates' first debate Thursday in Boston.
Credit Michael Dwyer / AP
Massachusetts Republican Sen. Scott Brown (left) and Democratic challenger Elizabeth Warren before their first debate Thursday in Boston. At center is moderator Jon Keller.