Job seekers line up to register at a Miami job fair in January. A new study shows that Florida voters discuss joblessness in ways quite different from those in Ohio and Virginia, two other presidential battleground states.
Originally published on Tue October 9, 2012 3:21 pm
Dante Chinni is the director of Patchwork Nation, which uses demographic, voting and cultural data to study communities. It is part of the nonpartisan, not-for-profit Jefferson Institute, which teamed with NPR to examine what can be learned about different communities through online text analysis. The project had Knight Foundation funding.
Since the beginning of the Great Recession, unemployment has driven much of the national conversation, and with good reason.
Originally published on Tue October 9, 2012 2:50 pm
Culture warriors on the left and right would be wise to carefully examine a new survey from the Pew Research Center showing that a growing number of Americans are moving away from religious labels.
The study, titled "Nones" on the Rise, indicates that 1 in 5 Americans now identifies as "religiously unaffiliated," a group that includes those who say they have no particular religion, as well as atheists and agnostics.
Rion Tucker is covering a lot of ground in his home state of Maine these days. The 20-year-old is a canvasser for Equality Maine, and he's been knocking on lots of doors in an effort to make sure that voters in his state pass a ballot initiative in November legalizing same-sex marriage.
Originally published on Tue October 9, 2012 12:12 pm
In its attempt to turn the tables on Mitt Romney following the Republican presidential nominee's big win in the first presidential debate, President Obama's campaign has sought to enlist Big Bird.
The president has repeatedly reminded supporters at rallies that Romney, during the debate, specifically cited Big Bird when he promised to defund the Public Broadcasting Service to reduce federal deficits.
When you consider how carefully staged and planned the debates are and how long they've been around, it's remarkable how often candidates manage to screw them up. Sometimes they're undone by a simple gaffe or an ill-conceived bit of stagecraft, like Gerald Ford's slip-up about Soviet domination of eastern Europe in 1976, or Al Gore's histrionic sighing in 2000. Sometimes it's just a sign of a candidate having a bad day, like Ronald Reagan's woolly ramblings in the first debate with Walter Mondale in 1984.
On a Tuesday, it's MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.
RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:
And I'm Renee Montagne. Just about every poll since last week's presidential debate, shows that Mitt Romney has made the race very close. A Pew survey showed Romney tied with President Obama, among registered voters; and leading by four points, among likely voters.
You heard Brian mention outside groups spending in Virginia. That spending was made easier by the Supreme Court's Citizens United ruling back in 2010, which opened the door to more corporate political spending. Loud complaints about that decision came from the state of Montana, where we're going next. It has a history of restricting corporate political spending, and officials worried that outside groups would swamp their tiny media market - which they have, as NPR's Martin Kaste reports.
It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Good morning. I'm Steve Inskeep.
RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:
And I'm Renee Montagne.
There was a time when Republicans seemed very likely to take control of the Senate this fall. They still have a good chance of that - though political odds makers now see the contest as close. It will be decided by races like the one in Virginia, where two former governors are running and debated last night. Republican George Allen and Democrat Tim Kaine are among the biggest political names in their state.
Originally published on Tue October 23, 2012 8:28 am
The reviews are in and, agree with them or not, most people thought Mitt Romney bested Barack Obama in Wednesday's presidential debate. The two don't meet again until Oct. 16, but in the meantime, there will be the vice-presidential face-off this Thursday.
How much pressure is riding on Vice President Joe Biden and Republican challenger Paul Ryan?
One of the toughest, and strangest, congressional races in the country is between two Los Angeles incumbents. Redistricting put Democrats Howard Berman and Brad Sherman into the same territory. Their faceoff in this election is a result of California's new non-partisan primary system, which sends the top two finishers to the general election, even if they're from the same party.
In the five days since Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney was declared by many the winner of the first presidential debate, political watchers have waited to see if polls would shift in response to his performance. And, they did.
In the next two installments of Solve This, NPR's series on the major issues facing the country, we'll examine each presidential candidate's approach to boosting employment. First, President Obama's strategy, then Mitt Romney's.
Job creation is the centerpiece of President Obama's campaign speeches.
It's MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.
Mitt Romney's campaign spent almost the whole month of September in freefall. Almost nothing he did seemed right and almost everything was criticized, at least in part because he was trailing in the polls. That's a perception that feeds on itself. Then came last week's presidential debate, and surveys over this past weekend show the race much tighter. Now we watch to see what happens next.
This is WEEKEND EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Rachel Martin. Simpson, Bowles - the names flew by eight times, without explanation, during Wednesday's presidential debate. Google reported that Simpson-Bowles was among the most searched-for terms online that night. The reference was to Republican elder statesman Alan Simpson and his Democratic counterpart, Erskine Bowles. The two headed a 2010 commission on the national debt.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Rachel Martin.
The latest national polls show the presidential race tightening in some of the all-important battleground states, with Republican Mitt Romney gaining on President Barack Obama's lead. We've been talking with political reporters in these swing states and this morning, we focus on New Hampshire. President Obama won the state back in 2008 with 54 percent of the vote to John McCain's 45 percent. The state's four electoral votes could be crucial this year.
Despite its liberal reputation, the home of Jack Kennedy and Tip O'Neill has never elected a woman as governor or senator. And in Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown's tight re-election race with Democratic challenger Elizabeth Warren, gender could prove the difference.
When Brown won his Senate seat in a special election in 2010, he came away unscathed by something his female opponent at the time would have had a much harder time explaining away. He posed nude for Cosmopolitan when he was 22 to help pay for law school.
Afghan children run to school on Sept. 24. Whoever takes over as the next U.S. president will have to determine how many troops will remain after the December 2014 deadline to help with long-term security.
How does a president bring the war in Afghanistan to an end? There are 68,000 American troops serving in the country as the war enters its 12th year.
The war hasn't been a major issue in the presidential campaign, and polls show American voters are tiring of the war. But the next commander in chief will find the Afghan war among the most difficult of many foreign policy challenges.
Both President Obama and Gov. Mitt Romney appear to agree on a date: the last day of December 2014. That's when the Afghan security forces are scheduled to takeover.
President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney squared off in their first debate this week. Some pundits say the debates don't really matter in the final outcome of the election, and yet polls show Romney got a big bounce following his performance. Host Guy Raz talks to Jim Fallows, of The Atlantic, about what, if any, effect debates may have on undecided voters.
Air Force F-22 Raptors, made by Lockheed Martin, are prepared for flight operations at Langley Air Force Base. Despite the looming defense spending cuts that would go into effect in January if Congress does not pass a deficit reduction plan, Lockheed Martin and other defense contractors announced this week they would not issue layoff notices.
Major defense companies said this week they will not send out layoff notices to warn of big job cuts in January, taking away the prospect of embarrassing layoff notices right before the November elections.
That's led to charges that the White House overstepped when it told the industry the notices are not needed.
Moderator Jim Lehrer sits at his desk before last Wednesday's debate between President Obama and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney in Denver. For third-party candidates, getting into a presidential debate is practically impossible.
What's it like to be a third-party candidate running for president? Ralph Nader can tell us.
"You're excluded from the debates," he says. "You spend an exhausting amount of time, until Labor Day, trying to get over the ballot access barriers. Your petitioners are harassed in the streets; you're subjected to baseless lawsuits by one party or another."
Nader has run for president three times – four if you count the time he ran unofficially. In 2000, he managed to win almost 3 percent of the national vote.
Nov. 6 is 32 days away, but for millions of Americans, there is no longer an Election Day.
Thirty-two states and the District of Columbia now have early voting, which is under way even now in eight states. Hundreds of thousands of votes have already been cast, most before this week's presidential debates or Friday's jobs report, and all ahead of the three future debates and any unforeseen October event that might test the mettle of a candidate.
And Mitt Romney a little more than a day to savor his presidential debate win before the September unemployment figures forced him to recalibrate. High unemployment has been Mitt Romney's number one argument for why voters should replace President Obama. Now, the jobless rate is still high, but it is below the important psychological threshold of 8 percent. NPR's Ari Shapiro reports on how the Republican presidential nominee reacted to the news.
Independent fact checkers have not been particularly kind to Mitt Romney since Wednesday's first presidential debate in Denver. But one of the candidate's claims turned out to be so far off the mark that he had to be corrected by his own aides — a fact not unnoticed by the Obama campaign.
ARI SHAPIRO, BYLINE: I'm Ari Shapiro, traveling with the Romney campaign. The Republican presidential nominee had been chugging along on momentum from Wednesday's debate performance when this morning's unemployment numbers changed the story. At a rally near Virginia's border with Tennessee, that did not faze voters like Nancy Lemieux(ph). She says the statistics are bogus.
NANCY LEMIEUX: Because they twist the numbers to suit the politicians and right now, it's Obama's cronies. So I don't believe anything I hear on TV.
This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block. Another page turned today in the presidential campaign. After a day of debate analysis giving Mitt Romney a leg up, President Obama got some news he can play to his advantage - the jobs numbers, which show the unemployment rate dropped sharply to its lowest level since he took office, 7.8 percent.
This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block. In the 2008 election, Indiana was a surprise. It voted for Barack Obama by a tiny margin. Typically, it's a solidly red state. And this year, Indiana seems on the verge of a Republican sweep, that is, except in the race there for U.S. Senate. The campaign to replace longtime Republican Richard Lugar is heating up in the Hoosier state.
Though Lugar is out of the running, that doesn't mean he's out of the race as NPR's Sonari Glinton reports.