Saturday, August 18, 2012

The Big 2012 Electoral Map - Ryan Selection Shows Some Gains for Romney, Conventions Take Form

Race Tightens
Days Until Election: 80
Projected Popular Vote Total: Obama +1.9% (down 1.9% from 2 weeks ago)
Projected Electoral Vote Total: Obama 323, Romney 215 (Romney +9 from 2 weeks ago)

State Changes: Colorado swings from Romney to Obama (9 electoral votes)

Since the selection of Rep. Paul Ryan as Mitt Romney's running mate, media coverage has been largely focused on Ryan and has largely been positive.  This, plus Joe Biden firing off yet another in his seemingly endless string of gaffes, have moved the polls back towards Romney.

In addition to Colorado swinging from Obama to Romney, Ohio and Florida are now even closer (arguably well within the margin of error) and Ryan's Wisconsin roots puts that state in contention in a more meaningful way.

So, at least in the short-term, the selection of Ryan appears to have been a success for Romney.  This was the first of 7 scheduled significant events in the last 100 days of the election that I discussed previously, with the 2 conventions and the 4 debates comprising the other major events.

Romney still has ground to make up, obviously.  Even if Romney manages to flip Ohio and Florida, he will be at 262 electoral votes and will need to either flip Virginia or Wisconsin or some combination of two states between Iowa, New Hampshire and Nevada.

The next major events are the Republican convention in Tampa and the Democratic convention in Charlotte.  Let's turn our attention there.

Convention Speaker Roundup
The GOP is rolling out the A-list for the convention and largely excluding the more polarizing wing of the party.  Confirmed speakers are listed below, including keynote speakers.

Chris Christie, NJ Governor, Keynote
Jeb Bush, Former FL Governor
Nikki Haley, SC Governor
Mike Huckabee, Former AR Governor
John Kasich, OH Governor
Susana Martinez, NM Governor
Rick Scott, FL Governor
Scott Walker, WI Governor
Mary Fallin, OK Governor
Luis Fortuno, PR Governor
Condoleezza Rice, Former Secretary of State
Pam Bondi, FL Attorney General
Sam Olens, GA Attorney General
Ted Cruz, TX Senate Nominee
Artur Davis, Former Democratic Representative
Rand Paul, KY Senator
John McCain, AZ Senator
Rick Santorum, Former PA Senator

A few key things to note.  First of all, the outside-the-beltway focus is evident, with 10 current or former governors and 2 AG's speaking (12 state-level speakers) and only 3 current or former Senators, 1 Senate nominee, 1 former Representative and 1 former cabinet official (6 national politicans.)  So, two thirds of the convention will feature people from primarily outside-the-beltway.

Also notably absent are the most controversial of the Republican politicians.  Sarah Palin is not featured.  Neither is George W. Bush or Dick Cheney.  Newt Gingrich is missing, as is Herman Cain.  This is, perhaps, the first time I can recall a living, healthy ex-President not making a speech at his party's convention, although there is still time for Bush to be given a speaking spot and if not, one can certainly understand Romney's desire not to remind people of the last Republican President.

Also of note is the diversity of the speakers.  Of the 18 that have been named, fully one third are ethnic minorities with 3 featured hispanics (Cruz, Fortuno and Martinez), 2 featured African-Americans (Davis and Rice) and 1 featured Indian-American (Haley.)  5 of the 18 speakers are women (Bondi, Haley, Martinez, Rice and Fallin.)

I think the focus on diversity is progress.  While Democrats will say it is a cynical attempt to win hispanic votes and appear inclusive to swing white voters, I say that even if that is the motivation, the very fact that the GOP chooses to focus on highlighting diversity in the party is a good thing.

On the Democratic side, the schedule is far less formed.  Confirmed so far are:
Bill Clinton, Former President
Jimmy Carter, Former President (by video)
Michele Obama, First Lady
Julian Castro, San Antonio Mayor
Elizabeth Warren, MA Senate Candidate

Stay tuned.

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