Morning Examiner: The race starts tonight

Politics,Beltway Confidential,Conn Carroll

If you read only The New York Times, you’d think that not only is President Obama guaranteed to win this November, but that the outcome of the election was never really in doubt either. Don’t believe them for a second.

As The Weekly Standard‘s Jay Cost points out this morning, presidential races have always proved volatile in October. Comparing Gallup tracking numbers from October 1st to final election results for the past 40 years, Cost finds: “The only two years where there was not major movement in the Gallup poll of registered voters relative to the final result was 1988 and 2008. Otherwise, we see pretty substantial breaks in one direction or another – in some years, like 1972, 1984, and 1996 the leader has enough of an edge to endure the rise of his opponent. In other years, like 1968, 1976, 1980, 2000 and 2004 we see enough movement that the entire race is turned inside out.”

Additionally, not mentioned by Cost, is that voters have always broken for the trailing challengers. In 2004, John Kerry gained 9 points on Bush (+11 Bush to +2): in 1996, Bob Dole gained 13 points on Clinton (+22 Clinton to +9); and in 1980, Ronald Reagan gained 10 points on Carter (even to +10 Reagan).

Gallup currently has Romney down 6 to Obama and the Real Clear Politics poll average has Romney down just 2.8 points. Romney does not have too much ground to make up. If he challenges Obama on his record tonight, and successfully responds to the tax and “47 percent” attacks Obama has been pressing on TV, there is no reason he couldn’t win over those independents that are disappointed with the man they elected four years ago.

From The Washington Examiner
Examiner Editorial: Seven questions we’d like to ask in tonight’s debate
Byron York: Can Romney repeat his debate wins over Gingrich?
Michael Barone: Quips, slips and gaffes in presidential debates
Phil Klein: Obama’s record gives Romney targets in debate
Steve Contorno: Kaine buys another $3 million in ad space for Va. Senate race

Campaign 2012
Polls: A new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll of likely voters shows Obama beating Romney 49 percent to 46 percent.
A new Wall Street Journal/NBC News/Marist poll of swing states has Obama up 47-46 in Florida, 48-46 in Virginia, and 51-42 in Ohio.
A new National Journal poll shows Obama and Romney tied among likely voters at 47 percent.
According to a Gallup poll of registered voters, 49 percent of Americans believe Romney would handle the economy better, compared to just 45 percent who say Obama would.
Spending: The New York Times reports that Obama is still outspending Romney by wide margins in key swing states.

In Other News
McClatchy, FTC cracks down on energy-efficiency ads, including some by firms Obama touted: The Federal Trade Commission is cracking down on what officials say is deceptive advertising by energy-efficient window manufacturers, including two companies that President Barack Obama lauded as part of his administration’s “green stimulus” initiative.
The Washington Post, As China’s economy slows, real estate bubble looms: As China’s economy slows to its worst pace in years, China’s dependence on real estate for growth — it’s a bigger driver than even exports now — has put the government in a tough position. Allow prices to continue rising and help the economy in the near-term, but the real estate bubble gets worse. Cool things off and the entire economy slackens too much.
The New York Times, U.S. Is Tracking Killers in Attack on Libya Mission: The United States is laying the groundwork for operations to kill or capture militants implicated in the deadly attack on a diplomatic mission in Libya, senior military and counterterrorism officials said Tuesday, as the weak Libyan government appears unable to arrest or even question fighters involved in the assault.

Righty Playbook
The Weekly Standard‘s Jay Cost says the presidential race has just begun.
At Bloomberg, Ramesh Ponnuru looks at the flaws that will bring down Obama’s health-care plan.
At The Corner, Mark Krikorian notes that Obama’s illegal DREAM amnesty is creating facts on the ground.

Lefty Playbook
The Huffington Post is pushing a video where Paul Ryan says “Only 30 percent want the welfare state.”
The New York Times, again, falsely claims Romney wants to raise middle class taxes.
Think Progress‘ Travis Waldron explains “How To Easily Prevent The ‘Fiscal Cliff’ From Hurting Middle Class Families”

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