Where the polls stand - Post Debate

Almost a week after the first debate, while the race has narrowed marginally, the national and statewide polling continues to show President Obama in a strong position.

In the Electoral College, Real Clear Politics calculates that the President has a lead of 251 (down from 265) votes to Mitt Romney's 181 (down from 191), with 106 in toss-up status.

The NYT polling analyst, 538, shows President Obama projected to win the Electoral College 307.6 - 230.4

In Ohio, the Presidents polling average lead is down from 5.6% to a still healthy 3.0%

This slight softening of polling in Ohio, has President Obama still projected to have a 79.1% chance of prevailing.

With early votiung underway, Boards of Elections are seeing high turnout

COLUMBUS DISPATCH // New Early-Voting Site Has Critics, Fans on First Day

Many people interviewed at Franklin County’s in-person absentee-voting center on opening day yesterday said that uncertainty surrounding the voting hours leading up to Nov. 6 and the change in the early-voting location have disenfranchised voters…

Yesterday, 1,396 people voted. In 2008, the previous presidential election year, 725 showed up on the first day of in-person voting.

TOLEDO BLADE // Turnout For the First Day of Early Voting Nearly Double of that of 2008

The first day of early voting in Lucas County is over, and the turnout was nearly twice that of the first day of early voting in 2008. It was an overwhelmingly Democratic day. Of the 928 voters, 696 were Democrats, 40 were Republicans, and the rest, 192, were members of other parties or were not affiliated with a party. There was a similar balance in favor of Democrats on the first day of early voting in 2008, when President Obama won in Lucas County and Ohio.

DAYTON DAILY NEWS // Voters Turn Up to Cast Ballots Early

Montgomery County had 695 voters while Champaign County had just 88. In Butler County 540 voters cast ballots. Clark County, which has been a battleground for Republicans and Democrats, had a higher first-day voter turnout - 380 - than larger counties like Warren and Greene, which had 282 and 354 respectively.

“I was just surprised; we didn’t have this (turnout) in 2008 that I recall,” said BOE Deputy Director Sally Pickarski. “It’s been fairly steady all day.”

AKRON BEACON JOURNAL // Early Voting Draws Crowd In Summit County

By the end of the day Tuesday, 1,035 people had voted early in Summit County, more than twice the 458 people who cast absentee ballots on the first day of early voting in 2008, the previous presidential election year. About 75 voters had to stand in the rain outside the board Tuesday, waiting their turns.

IndeOnline (Massilon) // Early Voting Doubles in Stark from Four Years Ago

“It’s been busy all morning,” said Mullane, as voters created a buzz outside her office. “In comparison to 2008, in-person early voting has more than doubled.”

CINCINNATI ENQUIRER // Early Voters ‘Making A Statement’

Within the first hour, nearly 100 people voted at the elections board’s Downtown office. By the time the office closed at 5 p.m., the total had risen to 816, about 27 percent higher than 2008’s 644, according to elections board director Amy Searcy.

SB5 repeal, the difficult second act

Like most compelling stories, the repeal of SB5 will be told in 3 acts.

The first act introduced us to the characters, and the main story element putting those characters at risk, and in confrontation with each other. The antagonists in our story are the Ohio GOP in the form of the legislators and Governor who passed SB5. Pitted against them are our protagonists, the working people of Ohio who will need to fight to preserve their rights to earn a decent living in safe working conditions.

Our protagonists responded to this assault, with over 10,000 volunteers going into their communities and collecting 1,298,301 signatures to place SB5 on the ballot for repeal, setting up the rising tension of act II.

Ordinarily, the second act could be expected to begin with a fight over whether this effort had collected enough signatures to qualify, but having collected over a million more than needed, no one expects this to present a problem.

The next issue to be resolved then will be the formulation of the ballot language. The Ohio Ballot Board will have to decide if the question is posed to voters as "shall the law take effect?” or "shall the law be repealed?" Conventional wisdom suggests it’s easier to get voters to vote “No”, rather than “Yes”, and precedent indicates that’s how the Board will decide the matter. Either option is likely to have little effect on the result.

The story will progress to the repeal campaign protagonists needing to identify and persuade voters, and the antagonists trying all manner of dirty tricks to stop them. So before we look at what that means, let’s take a look at how many voters will likely be needed to vote against SB5 in order for the campaign to prevail. Below is a table of voter turnout going back 15 years. In bold are the off-cycle years, as 2011 is (i.e. none gubernatorial or presidential elections.).

Year Total Votes Turnout Major Issue
2010 3,956,045 49.22% Gubenatorial
2009 3,292,374 44.64% Veterans, livestock, casino
2008 5,773,777 69.97% Presidential
2007 2,436,070 31.34% Local issues only
2006 4,185,597 53.25% Gubenatorial, min wage, casino, smoking ban
2005 3,093,968 40.26% State Bond issue, Reform Ohio Now
2004 5,722,443 71.77% Presidential, Gay Maririage Amendment
2003 2,614,354 36.62% State Bond Issue
2002 3,356,285 47.18% Gubenatorial
2001 2,574,915 36.00% Local issues only
2000 4,795,989 63.60% Presidential
1999 2,467,736 34.53% Local issues only
1998 3,534,782 49.81% Gubenatorial
1997 3,163,091 45.55% Bail, Workers Comp
1996 4,638,108 67.83% Presidential, Riverboat Casino

As you can see these off cycle years have lower turnout with variations that are greatly affected by whether and to some extent, what, state ballot initiatives are present. Ranging from almost 3.3 million in 2009, down to 2.4 million in 2007. It would be wise to think that 2011 will see turnout in the high end, if not the highest. With the GOP and Tea Party failing to get their healthcare countermeasure initiative on the ballot, the turnout battle will be solely fought on the grounds of SB5 repeal.

It would be safe to assume a high turnout – perhaps north of 3.3 million votes, which means the repeal campaign would need 1.7 million votes. The 1.3 million signatures is a great start, and will form the initial base with which to identify potential repeal supporters.

But not all those 1.3 million will be supporters, so in excess of 400,000 more voters will need to be identified – most likely a million more. These voter contacts will require massive volunteer efforts to call (phone bank) and contact in–person (canvass).

These signatories, plus union members and their households, Democrats and Independents (who according to polls favor repeal in the majority) will all be contacted at some point, either by telephone or in person, and most likely both, to determine if they can be relied upon to vote for repeal.

This is why continuing to enter signature data is critical. It is also a huge structural advantage that repealers have over the SB5 supporters – they have no such list from which to draw upon.

As potential voters are contacted they will be graded, typically on a scale of 1-5, on whether they support repeal or not. Those falling in the middle of that range will require persuasion, and that is where the nastiest of the fall campaign will be waged, for the hearts and minds of the undecided voter.

Both sides will be polling to determine what the best lines of attack and defense are. What messages work and what don’t. These polls, unless leaked, will never be made public – but everyone will feel their effects.

Typically one begins to see visible signs of political campaigns after Labor Day. TV, print and mail advertising will begin to bombard voters. The nastiest pieces will be sent via the mail, but in today’s political climate the TV ads won’t be much better.

Repeal supports should expect to see some very ugly TV ads as early as September as the SB5 supporters try and move the polls in their favor. This will be akin to probing the enemies’ lines looking for weaknesses.

In order to provide some inoculation to these inevitable attacks, the SB5 repeal campaign will also try to persuade voters of its case too. First with visibility events, and urging supporters to talk to friends, family, and coworkers, followed by extensive paid media efforts on TV, in print, and mail too.

By the time we reach this point, Act II will be coming to a close and we’ll be entering act III, final act – GOTV, or Get Out The Vote. We’ll discuss that in a later article.

Wisconsin election bodes ill for anti worker forces

We briefly discussed the ramification of the Wisconsin Supreme Court election a few days ago. We indicated a few things to look for

It would have been a stunning upset for Kloppenburg to win, so that's the first test of how organized and angry pro-middle class voters are. But also keep an eye on the votes cast for each - that will give us a rough indication of the effects these labor busting moves are having on real voters, in real elections.

So how did that turn out ?

As of right now, Kloppenburg has declared victory after finishing a few hundred votes ahead in a huge upset.

Nearly 1.5 million people turned out to vote, representing 33.5 percent of voting-age adults -- 68 percent higher than the 20 percent turnout officials had expected. That ought to scare most anti-worker elected officials, but this map below is the real friegthener

Walker decimated

This map shows county after county that Scott Walker won in the recent 2010 election now going against him - and in a lot of cases significantly.

This is the result of real people casting real votes and the message is loud and clear. If you attack the middle class they will fight back and they will defeat you.