In the vast majority of pre-election polls, likely voters are usually asked, "If the election were held today, for whom would you vote?"
That's the wrong question to ask, says Justin Wolfers, a political economist with the University of Michigan. He's spent years researching polls, and in a new paper he offers what he says is the right question:
Originally published on Sat November 3, 2012 5:44 pm
President Obama and challenger Mitt Romney are making the most of every moment this weekend, with only three days left before Americans choose who will lead the government for the next four years.
Update at 4 p.m. ET. Focus Is On Early Voting:
On his first stop today in the final campaign sprint, President Obama was in the super-battleground state of Ohio. The AP reports that the president reminded voters that Tuesday's election is "not just a choice between two candidates or two parties, it's a choice between two different visions for America."
Originally published on Sat November 3, 2012 8:44 am
Rick and Cindy Oleshak won't be voting the same way in the presidential election, and they want the world to know it.
The couple display competing yard signs in front of their house in Webster Groves, Mo., a suburb of St. Louis. The Romney-Ryan sign is clearly marked "his," while Obama-Biden is "hers."
"We don't watch the debates together," says Cindy Underwood-Oleshak, a marketing consultant. "It took us probably 45 minutes to an hour longer to watch the debates four years ago, because we kept stopping and pausing and arguing."
Dan Lungren has been in and out of public office since 1979. The Republican represented a Southern California district in the '80s, served as the state's attorney general for eight years, and then returned to Congress to represent the Sacramento area in 2004.
These days, he's still the same pro-business, limited-government conservative he's always been, Lungren told a friendly audience in the Sacramento suburb of Rancho Cordova.
Originally published on Fri November 2, 2012 4:34 pm
Have you heard the story that's swept the liberal blogosphere in recent days about how Mitt Romney's son Tagg is going to steal the election for his dad?
It's not true, but like all good conspiracy theories, it is based on kernels of truth.
This conspiracy centers on voting machines in Ohio, a key battleground in this election. A couple of Ohio counties use voting machines made by a company called Hart InterCivic. According to the rumor, Tagg Romney owns part of Hart. So, goes the story, Tagg Romney could fix the election.
In battleground states like Ohio, distant national figures running for the White House show up in person to capture the local news cycle again and again and again. The campaigns' desire to get "free media" simply by appearing is a source of excitement and exhaustion for local news organizations, which know they're being used but can't help themselves.
Social media and the liberal blogosphere have raised questions about a Texas-based voting system company's connections to several fundraisers for Mitt Romney and Romney's son Tagg. Further stirring concern, the voting systems are used in two counties in Ohio. We look at the issue in the latest installment of our series In Context. Tamara Keith talks to Audie Cornish.
Both candidates seized on Friday's jobs report to make the case for why they should be elected next Tuesday. Employers added a better than expected 171,000 jobs in October. But the unemployment rate ticked up to 7.9 percent as more Americans entered the labor force to look for work.
Originally published on Fri November 2, 2012 5:20 pm
Each month, the Labor Department issues an employment report. On Friday, that report showed job creation rose in October — and it revealed something more.
With its latest unemployment assessment, the government in effect took a BEFORE snapshot of the U.S. economy. It collected all of the data before Superstorm Sandy slammed into the East Coast and before the election outcome could be known. Each of those two events has the potential to change the AFTER outlook.
Election Day 2012 is just around the corner, and many Americans will be casting their ballots on electronic voting machines. But how reliable are these devices? Michael Alvarez, professor of political science at Caltech, discusses the technologies at your polling station.
Superstorm Sandy, the October Surprise no one anticipated, throws a monkey wrench into the final days of the campaign. NPR's Ken Rudin and Ron Elving spend the final pre-election podcast scouting the key presidential battleground states and have a forecast for control of the House and Senate in advance of Tuesday's voting.
Join NPR's Ron Elving and Ken Rudin for their pre-Election Day political roundup.
This is TELL ME MORE, from NPR News. I'm Michel Martin. Later in the program, Superstorm Sandy might've turned out the lights along the East Coast, but Twitter was ablaze with comments. We want to talk about the good, the bad and the ugly that Sandy brought out on social media. We'll have that conversation in a few minutes.
Originally published on Fri November 2, 2012 11:20 am
(Revised @ 12 p.m. ET)
The final monthly jobs report before Tuesday's general election contained something for both President Obama and Republican Mitt Romney to work into their closing arguments to voters.
For Obama, it was the news that the economy in October created significantly more jobs — 171,000 — than many economists had forecast. And the Labor Department revised upward the job numbers for September and August, suggesting even more underlying strength in the economy than earlier appeared to be the case.
One of the most liberal members of the House, Wisconsin congresswoman Tammy Baldwin was not supposed to stand a chance in a statewide Senate run after she won the Democratic primary. And, a week out from the election, she remains in a tight race with former Governor Tommy Thompson for the open seat. Wisconsin Public Radio's Shawn Johnson has this report.
With his city picking up the pieces left by Sandy, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg used the spotlight today to make a high-profile endorsement. President Obama gets his vote for a second term. Bloomberg singled out the president's leadership on climate change.
AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:
Mr. Obama, meanwhile, resumed campaigning. He's holding rallies today in Wisconsin, Nevada and Colorado while his opponent, Mitt Romney, spends the day in Virginia.
It's a tight race in Nevada, where the vaunted Democratic machine is being challenged by Republicans. The GOP hopes a higher turnout will counter a Democratic registration advantage. Unions — which have half Hispanic membership — and the Obama campaign are doggedly pursuing every voter. Meanwhile, the Romney campaign's Nevada team is doing the same. Early voting ends Friday.
Canvassing has long been a part of the political process. But now, new social networking technologies are changing how people go door-knocking. Mobile apps with integrated voter registration rolls make it possible to collect and react to voter sentiment instantly. And a new Facebook tool enables volunteers to evangelize for their candidates like never before.
From member station KQED in San Francisco, Aarti Shahani reports.
ARI SHAPIRO, BYLINE: I'm Ari Shapiro, traveling with the Romney campaign. After a few days of muted criticism of the president, Mitt Romney let loose in Virginia today.
MITT ROMNEY: We really can't have four more years like the last four years. I know the Obama folks are chanting four more years, four more years. But our chant is this, five more days. Five more days is our chant.
Originally published on Wed December 19, 2012 2:36 pm
Campaign reporters spend a lot of time pointing at color-coded electoral maps like the one below, showing which states voted for Republican John McCain (in red) and Democrat Barack Obama (in blue) in 2008.
But these maps lie — visually speaking.
Red appears to be the clear winner, dominating a vast swath from the South to the Rockies. It's all geographically accurate, but electorally skewed. For example, Montana (three electoral votes) dwarfs Massachusetts (which had 12 electoral votes in 2008).
Originally published on Thu November 1, 2012 5:02 pm
Amid the devastation caused by Sandy, there are signs the superstorm might have blown a fresh breeze into the nation's politics. Suddenly, everyone's talking about something that seemed impossible just days before — bipartisanship.
Nothing sums that attitude up better than the actions of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. Republican Christie, who has worked closely with GOP hopeful Mitt Romney's campaign and has consistently proved one of President Obama's harshest critics, put that aside in the aftermath of Sandy.
Last week, after Donald Trump asked President Obama to produce more records to prove his citizenship, the president used an appearance on "The Tonight Show" to dismiss the issue with a one-liner. Host Jay Leno asked, what's this thing between you and Trump?
(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "THE TONIGHT SHOW WITH JAY LENO")
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: This all dates back to when we were growing up together in Kenya.
Originally published on Thu November 1, 2012 12:49 pm
Just five days before Election Day, President Obama returned to the campaign trail after spending several days preoccupied with overseeing the federal response to the devastation in the Northeast in the wake of Superstorm Sandy.
Obama began his campaign re-emergence Thursday with a rally in Green Bay, Wis., a state where his once-substantial lead in polls over Republican Mitt Romney has narrowed to only a few points in a majority of the polls.