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   PoliticsView from the Center and Left


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To: Ron who wrote (206870)11/3/2012 10:22:40 PM
From: Sam
   of 505604
 
I have gotten at least one or two calls almost every day for the past two weeks. None for surveys, all for either money (especially from the DNC) or to get out to vote or volunteer to do something. I will probably drive people who need rides to the polls on election day, at least for a few hours. I have been one of the phone callers as well. One guy was so exasperated that he said if he got one more call (no, it wasn't Steve, it was on the Right Coast), he would vote for Romney out of anger. I apologized profusely, and told him I would do my best to ensure no one else called him. But since I had no control over the voters' sheets, realistically there was nothing I could do to do that.

Personally, I am glad that so many people feel compelled to do these things, so while I have gotten annoyed at the callers, I try to make sure to tell them I am glad they are doing it, but no, I am now tapped out, have given enough money and have already committed to give some time. Now go call someone else.

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To: Sam who wrote (206871)11/3/2012 10:31:33 PM
From: Ron
   of 505604
 
I have found volunteer work quite rewarding. Drove a number of elderly as well as homeless people to the polls during the 2004 and 2008 elections. And also defended an 84 year old nearly blind retired schoolteacher from an aggressive Republican poll worker who was trying to scare her off.
A number of homeless guys I drove to the polls were Vietnam Veterans, and I can nearly guarantee , they
were not voting for Bush.
Not volunteering this year, but I'd definitely recommend it.

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To: Sam who wrote (206869)11/3/2012 10:34:49 PM
From: JohnM
   of 505604
 
p.s. welcome back to the modern world.

Exactly the right comment; it's the one my wife and I and our friends have been using for the past several days. It's like a trip back at least a century or longer. And one in which your focus diminishes to yourself and your family and getting through the day without getting too cold, remembering where the flashlight was, eating before it gets too dark, going to sleep as soon as its dark, the list just goes on and on. Cold and dark.

If you haven't been there, you don't know what it's like.

As for your electoral college maps, I'm trying to keep it simple. Just use the Huffington Post count, cut Ohio off the Obama list, and then see where Obama needs to get the remaining tossup states. He's in better shape that Romney but, without Ohio, it's definitely not a lock.

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To: Sam who wrote (206871)11/3/2012 10:37:08 PM
From: JohnM
   of 505604
 
I've done more than my share of political calling for local elections. It's a very large pain. One of the more harried campaign jobs with zero gratitude from anyone. But the work goes on.

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To: JohnM who wrote (206873)11/3/2012 10:53:59 PM
From: Sam
   of 505604
 
Some years ago, I used to take my daughter to piano lessons. The piano teacher's lights were out for a couple of lessons, but she, being a middle aged hippie, had several large, many stemmed candle abras on hand. They gave a surprising amount of light, way more than enough for my daughter to do her lesson and me to read.

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To: JohnM who wrote (206874)11/3/2012 10:55:58 PM
From: Sam
   of 505604
 
This is a very interesting article from Foreign Policy that was posted on Big Dog's thread about what is going on in Iraq vis a vis oil, Turkey, the Kurds and the private companies that the Iraqis and Kurds hope will drill them to riches.

The Backfire in Baghdad

How ExxonMobil's God Pod beat Iraq's oil chieftains at their own game.

BY BEN VAN HEUVELEN
Foreign Policy
OCTOBER 26, 2012



In 2006, an Iraqi technocrat named Tariq Shafiq was charged with crafting an oil law. A Berkeley-trained engineer, he began his career in the 1950s, rising through the consortium of foreign firms that comprised the Iraq Petroleum Company -- until the Baathists nationalized the oil sector and sentenced him to death, in 1970, for conspiring with the imperialists. Luckily, Shafiq had been out of Iraq at the time, and he didn't return for decades. But now he would again find himself at the center of controversy. In a country that receives 95 percent of its revenue from oil, his oil law would not only shape the management and regulation of the national economy but also determine the extent to which power would be centralized in Baghdad. It was the centerpiece of Iraq's own version of the Federalist Debates.

On the federalist side, Iraq's minority Kurds -- who had already gained significant political and military independence in their semi-autonomous northern region -- argued that dispersing state power could prevent the kind of oppression that had been fueled by Saddam Hussein's complete, unwavering control of oil revenues. It would be a safeguard against tyranny. The centralists, on the other hand, argued that a Balkanization of the oil sector would lead to conflict, with local governments fighting over cross-border oil fields; moreover, they said, it would be a bad value for Iraq. If different parts of the country were bidding to partner with the same top companies, they would inevitably undercut one another. Shafiq had suffered at the hands of oppressors in Baghdad, but he still took the centralist view. "Without a central unified policy there will be disharmony and competition between [Baghdad] and among the various Regions and Governorates," he wrote in 2006. "This would lead to an unhealthy oil industry ... contributing to the fragmentation of the country." But his prescient words were lost in Iraq's fractured politics.

Six years later, Shafiq's draft is languishing in a Parliament committee, and the debates over federalism still rage. On the ground, however, where both sides have signed billions of dollars' worth of contracts, the battle has been lopsided: The federalists in Kurdistan are winning, for the simple reason that their best ally is more powerful than any of Baghdad's. That ally is ExxonMobil.

It was not always so. For several years, Iraq's central government was in control and Exxon was jockeying to be one of its biggest partners. In January 2010, the company agreed to invest billions of dollars in a super-giant oil field in Basra called West Qurna 1, aiming to increase output there to more than 2.8 million barrels per day by 2017 -- a level roughly equal to Exxon's current total worldwide production. "Our long-term strategic objective in Iraq is to be there for many, many years, and to be a valued partner of the government, and to be a part of the success of their society," an Exxon executive told me in 2009.

Now everything has changed.

On Oct. 18, 2011, Exxon signed six exploration contracts in Kurdistan. The move represented a seismic shift in Iraq's balance of power: Exxon was by far the largest company to align with the Kurds, and it openly betrayed Baghdad to do so. Iraq's top oil official, Deputy Prime Minister for Energy Hussain al-Shahristani, had warned Exxon that signing with the Kurds would be illegal, and constituted a breach of the West Qurna 1 contract. But Exxon's lawyers disagreed. Baghdad was on weak legal footing, since -- in the absence of a modern oil law to bolster its position -- the Oil Ministry's claims, of primary authority over contracting, rested on subjective interpretations of Iraqi law.

In an uncomfortable meeting with Shahristani, a senior Exxon executive explained his company's intentions in Kurdistan. The Iraqi government had made its objections known.

"Thanks to you ... Iraq's position was very clear all along," the executive said, according to Shahristani. But they would sign with Kurdistan anyway.

Several people familiar with the company's internal decision-making have told me there were a few simple reasons that Exxon was willing to risk its relationship with Baghdad. First, Kurdistan's geology looked very promising. Second, the Kurdish government's contract terms offered much greater profit potential. And third, Exxon could probably get away with it. A year later, Baghdad still has not backed up its threats to kick the company out of Basra.

Even so, Exxon is preparing to break ties with Baghdad altogether. The company is actively seeking buyers to take over West Qurna 1. Meanwhile, executives in Exxon's headquarters in Irving, Texas -- which some employees jokingly call the "God Pod" -- have decided to double down on Kurdistan. In the past year, they have spent about a quarter-billion dollars to buy equipment and mobilize rigs for exploration drilling.

Other oil giants are following Exxon's lead. France's Total and Russia's Gazprom both signed deals in Kurdistan over the summer, despite also holding contracts with Baghdad that are now in jeopardy. Chevron signedfor two Kurdish exploration blocks in July. Unlike the others, however, Chevron had never even bothered with the central government in the first place: The company's leaders thought Iraq was driving too hard a bargain.

Indeed, Shahristani's terms had been tough. At the time of his first contracting auctions, in 2009, he was balancing two competing imperatives: first, he believed that only international companies could achieve the production and revenue levels needed to rebuild the country; second, in the aftermath of a humiliating occupation, he felt enormous political pressure to avoid the appearance that Iraq was being economically re-colonized by the West. He needed to let the oilmen in, and to look strong doing it.

His solution was both technical and theatrical. In late 2009, the Oil Ministry staged two televised auctions with all the trappings of a game show. In a large auditorium lined with maroon velvet chairs, Shahristani -- who looks like an Arab version of Richard Dreyfus -- stood on a stage as bidders walked up one by one, to insert envelopes into a clear plastic box. Those bids were evaluated according to a formula that was simple enough for the television audience at home to understand: The company promising to produce the most oil for the least money would win.

The auctions were a case study in what Exxon executives privately called "the dark side of transparency." They complained that a single, reductive number could not capture the value of a bid, particularly those aspects that would favor Exxon. Iraq ought to be asking which company would best manage the long-term health of its fields, train local staff, and bring in cutting-edge technology. Instead, it was feeding a low-bid war, creating incentives for companies to cut corners.

In the first auction, Exxon was outbid by BP for the Rumaila oil field, which is even larger than West Qurna 1. In the second auction, wary of losing another chance to win a foothold in the world's third-largest conventional oil reserves, executives in the God Pod sucked it up and accepted Shahristani's thin profits. According to several people familiar with the decision, it was part of a longer-term plan. Exxon's leaders had such confidence in their company's ability to prove its value to Iraq -- executing projects on time, keeping to budgets, instilling its business practices in local staff -- that they believed Baghdad would notice the difference and expand their partnership down the road, when the political climate might allow for more reasonable contracts. Establishing a stellar track record had already helped Exxon win an enormous position in Qatar's booming gas sector. It underpinned the company's Iraq strategy, too.

Chevron had been far more skeptical. Shortly after Exxon signed for West Qurna 1, Chevron Vice President Donald MacDonald met with Ambassador Pat Haslach, who was then a top State Department official working on Iraq, at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad. She asked him why his company had decided not to invest.

"The structure of the bid round prevented a competitive bid," MacDonald replied, according to a diplomatic cable published by Wikileaks. The profit margins were simply too thin, especially given all that could go wrong.

Beyond the volatile political and security situation, Iraq would need billions of dollars' worth of supporting infrastructure -- new pipelines, pumping stations, storage tanks, and export terminals -- to support so much new production. All of that was outside the scope of the companies' oil field contracts, and MacDonald doubted that Iraq had the institutional capacity to execute so many large projects at once. He also doubted that Iraq would actually want to produce as much oil as its new contracts anticipated. The deals would need to be renegotiated, he said, "and I have never seen a renegotiated contract benefit an [international oil company]."

All of those worries turned out to be prescient. At West Qurna 1, for example, the original production schedule is now in shambles because Iraq is so far behind with key infrastructure. The government has also failed to make prompt payments for the output that has been achieved. As a result, the cost of financing the project has eroded Exxon's profit margin. To cap it off, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's top oil adviser, Thamer Ghadhban, recently announced that Iraq is cutting its production ambitions by one-third -- an implicit admission that its original goals were too optimistic. Such a reduction would likely hurt several companies, including Exxon, whose profits are essentially proportionate to their production increases. The contracts seem destined for renegotiation.

Kurdistan, on the other hand, has done everything it can to woo the oil companies. The regional capital of Erbil has the feel of an oil boom town, where luxury hotels are opening up one after another, and real-estate speculators are flipping cookie-cutter houses for ballooning prices. At the heart of this exuberance is Kurdistan's minister of natural resources, Ashti Hawrami, whose development strategy has centered on oil contracts that promise generous rates of return, padded to offset the political risk that comes with the territory.

That risk is substantial. Not only does Baghdad consider the Kurdish deals illegal, but it also controls the country's network of export pipelines. As of now, Kurdistan's oil producers have made most of their money by selling crude at roughly half price to domestic refiners within the region. They have intermittently exported through Baghdad's pipelines, but have only been paid for a fraction of that output. Nobody is quite sure how -- or whether -- the central and regional governments will create a durable enough arrangement to support the kind of large-scale exports that Exxon and Chevron will need.

For the moment, Hawrami's promises are enough to reassure investors. He speaks of raising Kurdistan's production capacity by a factor of 10 this decade, to more than 2 million barrels per day. On its face, the proposition is absurd: What company would spend hundreds of millions of dollars to drill for oil without a plan for how to sell it? But in the magical thinking that sometimes animates bullish capitalists, the traditional logic has been reversed.

"The scale of the opportunity for Kurdistan and for Iraq is so large that there will be a resolution," said Tony Hayward, the former CEO of BP, who is now running a small Anglo-Turkish company invested in Kurdistan called Genel Energy, in an interview with Reuters.Hayward has often contended that oil and money, if gathered in sufficient quantities, are subject to a kind of natural law of international financial osmosis: "Over the next year or two, Kurdistan production capacity will grow towards 1 million barrels a day -- that's too much oil to be shut in as a consequence of a political dispute. So one way or another, it's going to get resolved."

Call it the Field of Dreams theory of oil dispute resolution -- "if you drill it, they will come around" -- yet the premise gained mainstream credibility the moment Exxon signed with Kurdistan. Initially, only no-name companies had bought Hawrami's pitch. Now, the world's most profitable company had gone in. With Exxon's imprimatur, Hawrami kicked off what he triumphantly dubbed "a season of mergers and acquisitions." Total, Gazprom, and Chevron all signed deals in a span of two weeks in July.

Kurdistan's investment bonanza stood in flattering contrast to Baghdad's anemic attempt to attract similar enthusiasm. In May 2012, the Oil Ministry again gathered international oil executives in its auditorium for another game show-style auction. This time, Iraq was offering 12 new exploration blocks. Some of the same companies that had attended the earlier auctions were there, but many of the largest were absent. After each block was opened for bidding, a period of awkward silence ensued. The participants had 15 minutes to drop their envelopes into the clear plastic box, but two thirds of the blocks didn't receive any bids. The silence was filled mainly by the theme song from "The Godfather," which the ministry had inexplicably chosen for the soundtrack of the proceedings. At the end of the event, they played a nationalist song called "A Victory to Baghdad," but the lyrics rang hollow.

"I believe the Iraqis have to reconsider the terms in order to attract other people," said Sara Akbar, the CEO of Kuwait Energy, in an interviewwith Iraq Oil Report. "For these terms, [many blocks] cannot be developed."

As the oil companies migrate north, political clout is moving with them. The British government just announced it is closing its consulate in Basra, partially to shift resources to Erbil. More importantly, Kurdistan is enjoying a renaissance in its relations with Turkey. Historically the Turkish government has been wary of supporting Kurdish autonomy in Iraq, for fear of emboldening its own Kurdish minority to expect similar levels of independence. Yet a series of regional dynamics has been pushing the two sides closer together: the civil war in Syria, Maliki's worrisome alignment with Iran, and Turkey's booming economy, which is ever more hungry for energy. On all three counts, the Iraqi Kurds could be valuable allies.

Against this backdrop, the Turkish government has provisionally approved the construction of oil and gas pipelines to the Kurdish border. Such infrastructure would be transformational for Iraq and the region. It would bring Kurdistan to the brink of economic self-sufficiency; that, in turn, would threaten to sever the ties of financial reliance on Baghdad that have kept Kurdistan from declaring itself an independent state.

All of this has made Maliki both angry and anxious. Kurdistan's potential secession is only part of the problem. The larger issue is the federalist precedent that Kurdistan is setting. Other provinces have enviously noticed the Kurds' success, and want to emulate it. Populist politicians in provincial governments around Iraq -- even many whose parties are formally aligned with Maliki -- have taken to advocating for greater autonomy within a loose, federal system. If such a movement were to gain traction in a key province like Basra, the source of 70 percent of Iraq's oil production, it could undermine the power of the central government.

The push for regional autonomy has been relatively mild so far outside of Kurdistan, largely because Maliki retains so much power as the commander of the armed forces. Yet the federalist movement also reflects the fears expressed by Tariq Shafiq in 2006: Iraq is a country competing with itself to win foreign investment, haunted by the prospect that its internal conflicts will combust into violence and even war. Many of Baghdad's critics in Kurdistan and within oil companies blame the government for being too stingy and controlling. They may be right -- but those are only symptoms of a deeper political dysfunction in which the Kurds and the companies are fully complicit.

From the Kurdish point of view, of course, the picture is quite different. A long-oppressed minority group has used the competitive dynamics of global capitalism to win an unprecedented level of control over its own fate. They have leveraged the full might of the private sector. Or, as the Kurdistan region's President Massoud Barzani once put it: "If ExxonMobil came, it would be equivalent to 10 American military divisions.... They will defend the area if their interests are there."

http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2012/10/26/the_backfire_in_baghdad?page=full

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From: Sam11/3/2012 11:25:01 PM
   of 505604
 
Well, FWIW, the Des Moines Register's final poll gives Obama 5 point lead in Iowa. Their polling is done by Selzer, which has a pretty good track record, if memory serves correctly. My bolding below.

If Obama wins Nevada and Iowa, then winning any other swing state plus the states he is "supposed" to win (esp of course WI, PA, MN and MI, the ones romney's people claims are in play) will lead to 270.

Iowa Poll: Final stretch in Iowa gives edge to Obama
6:59 PM, Nov 3, 2012 | by |
Categories: Iowa Politics Insider


© 2012 Des Moines Register and Tribune Company
blogs.desmoinesregister.com


Iowans are feeling more optimistic about where the nation is headed, and they’re giving President Barack Obama the credit.

Obama is up 5 percentage points in Iowa, leading Republican Mitt Romney 47 percent to 42 percent, according to a new Des Moines Register Iowa Poll, although the results also contain signs of hope for Romney, political strategists said.

Obama barely edges Romney on the question of which candidate would do the best job of fixing the economy, the primary argument of Romney’s campaign, the poll shows.


Romney has gained an edge with his frequent claims in the campaign’s final weeks that he can best quell the country’s snarling partisanship by bringing Democrats and Republicans together. But he’s having trouble getting Iowa voters to trust him.

In what continues to shape up as an ultra-tight race nationally, losing Iowa, with its small cache of six Electoral College votes, would complicate Romney’s chances for winning the presidency.

Democratic pollster Margie Omero said: “If Romney can’t catch up here, he probably can’t catch up elsewhere. Without Iowa and Ohio, Romney’s path to victory is incredibly narrow.”


GOP strategist David Polyansky countered that Romney can and will win the White House, with or without Iowa.

“There is no doubt winning Iowa would be a fantastic plus for Governor Romney,” he said. “However, more than one pathway exists for the governor that does not necessarily include Iowa.”

The poll of 800 Iowa likely voters was conducted by Selzer & Co. of Des Moines from Tuesday through Friday and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.

“There are things that could happen today and Monday that would shape the final outcome,” said pollster J. Ann Selzer. “Nobody need be over-confident.”


Romney now seen as better ‘uniter’


Republicans voiced optimism over one glaring difference in voters’ opinions since the Register’s late September poll: Romney is now seen as more likely than President Barack Obama to unite people despite political differences, said GOP strategist Alex Castellanos.

“Being a ‘uniter not a divider’ is a prerequisite for a president getting things done in Washington, which is what voters are looking for,” Castellanos said. “Romney may be winning the ‘delivering results’ battle.”

But the poll bears mostly rays of sunshine for Obama. Not only does he lead in the horse race, he inspires more confidence than Romney in handling relations with other countries, and he bests Romney considerably in four of five character traits tested.

The poll shows that 42 percent of likely voters have already cast ballots, including more than half of all seniors who plan to participate in this election. That’s a striking difference from four years ago, when the Iowa Poll showed only 28 percent had mailed in an absentee ballot or voted at a local elections office or satellite station at this point.

Said Omero, the Democratic pollster: “With so many Iowans already having voted, and with reports showing more early voting Democrats than Republicans, it will be very difficult for Romney to catch up.”

But GOP strategists expect Election Day voters will be substantially higher in Iowa than this poll forecasts. Historically in Iowa, a higher percentage of Democrats than Republicans participates in early voting, but a higher percentage of Republicans turns out on Election Day. Republican nominee John McCain won more votes than Obama on Election Day in 2008. In his 2004 re-election bid, President George W. Bush also won more votes in Iowa on Election Day and won the state, overcoming Democrat John Kerry’s lead in early voting.

Obama is up 22 points among early voters. Among those planning to vote on Tuesday, Romney wins by 8 points. The poll shows early voting has been heaviest in the 2nd and 3rd congressional districts, which include Des Moines, Iowa City, Davenport and Council Bluffs, and lighter in steadfastly Republican northwest Iowa.


Better economy benefits Obama


A hurdle for Romney: Iowa’s economic outlook is brightening, and that weakens Romney’s argument for change, Castellanos said.

Likely Iowa voters are less pessimistic and more confident that the nation is on the right track than they have been since May 2003, in the days of a healthier economy and “mission accomplished.”

Fully 48 percent of likely voters think things are going well right now. About the same proportion, 49 percent, think the nation is on the wrong track, an improvement from a month ago when 54 percent said “wrong track.”

As the national economy has brightened slowly but steadily, Iowa’s outlook has been even better. Job growth here outpaces the nation as a whole. Unemployment in Iowa is 5.2 percent — 2.7 points lower than the national rate. Some Iowa counties are approaching full employment and even facing labor shortages. Other bright spots have been the farm economy, on a years-long upswing, and a harvest this year that beat drought-rattled expectations.

Poll respondent Donyale Crutcher, 43, a forklift operator from Cedar Rapids and independent voter, said that he sees lots of once laid-off Iowans going back to work: “I’m working. People that I know who got laid off are working.”

Asked about feeling inspired and optimistic or angry and pessimistic, 65 percent of likely Iowa voters said optimistic.

Obama’s supporters are slightly more likely than Romney supporters to describe their mood as inspired and optimistic (76 percent to 62 percent of Romney supporters).

Obama gets higher marks than Romney for being the candidate that “cares the most about people like you” and for being the stronger leader.

More Iowa voters think Romney than Obama would be better at reducing the federal budget than Obama.

Poll respondent Gerry Mullane, 69, a Republican from Des Moines who works as a professional recruiter, thinks Romney has the ideal business skills the country needs.

“I think that we definitely need a change, and I just don’t think that our country is going in the right direction at all,” she said.


Negative ads seen as hurting Romney


Romney’s personal attributes are suffering: He is seen as less trustworthy by a margin of 10 points, less honest by 10 points and less caring than the president by 15 points.

“Mitt Romney goes into the final few days of this general election bearing the bruises of two hard-fought campaigns,” Castellanos said. “He is still suffering the scars of the tough negative campaign run against him by his own party in the GOP primary and those inflicted upon him in the general by Barack Obama.”

Obama has roundly attacked Romney in negative TV ads and at rallies in Iowa, attempting to undermine voters’ opinions of Romney’s character, his business career at Bain Capital and his record governing in Massachusetts. Obama also has sought to label Romney as someone whose positions shift depending on his audience.

Joe Trippi, a longtime Democratic campaign strategist, said those attacks, in combination with policy positions that many middle-class voters see as favoring the wealthy, have thwarted Romney’s progress in Iowa.

The president has run 51 different TV ads here, spending $20.6 million in Iowa alone.

Poll respondent Rhonda Hammonds, 50, an independent voter and housewife from Knoxville, said she thinks Romney cares only about the rich. “What about us poor folk?” she said.

“Since he started talking, I haven’t believed a word out of his mouth,” Hammonds said.

Just 2 percent remain undecided, and 5 percent declined to share their choice.

Seven percent say they could still change their minds. Among that small group, a plurality of 48 percent describe themselves as angry and pessimistic, double the overall average.

A majority of Iowa voters (53 percent) say the outcome of the election will affect them a lot. It’s higher with women (59 percent) than men (47 percent), and higher with tea party supporters (59 percent) and union households (70 percent).

Both candidates have locked in their support: 95 percent for Obama and 96 percent for Romney say their minds are made up.

Obama has a more limited chance of attracting crossover voters like he did four years ago: 6 percent of Republicans are with Obama, and 3 percent of Democrats are voting for Romney. Independents tilt to Romney, 41 percent to 37 percent.

Altogether, these results show a race mostly unchanged since the Register’s Sept. 23-26 poll, Omero said.

“Voters have improved economic optimism, benefiting Obama,” Omero said. “Romney lags in personality traits, and can’t make up that deficit through his positions on issues. Early voting and enthusiasm seem to further benefit Obama. And so once again we might see, as Iowa goes, so goes the country.”

Register columnist Kathie Obradovich and pollster J. Ann Selzer discuss the results:



GOING BEHIND THE NUMBERS


President Barack Obama does best with union households (31 points better than Mitt Romney), unmarried voters (up 28 points), younger voters (up 17), those with no more than a high school education (up 16), seniors (up 12), in the 1st Congressional District in eastern and southeastern Iowa (up 12) and with women (up 11 points).

Obama, a Democrat, also does well with Iowans who did not participate in the 2010 election, winning 53 percent to 31 percent among this group.

Romney, a Republican, does best with evangelicals (26 points better than Obama), voters in Iowa’s 4th Congressional District in northwest Iowa (up 19 points), married moms (up 18), affluent voters (up 17), married voters (up 10), middle-age voters (up 9), people with minor children (up 5), and with men (up 3).



ABOUT THE IOWA POLL
The Iowa Poll, conducted Oct. 30 to Nov. 2 for The Des Moines Register by Selzer & Co. of Des Moines, is based on interviews with 925 Iowans ages 18 or older. Interviewers contacted households with randomly selected landline and cell phone numbers. Responses were adjusted by age and sex to reflect the general population based on recent Census data.

Questions based on a subsample of 800 likely voters have a maximum margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points. This means that if this survey were repeated using the same questions and the same methodology, 19 times out of 20, the findings would not vary from the percentages shown here by more than plus or minus 3.5 percentage points. Results based on smaller samples of respondents, such as by gender or age, have a larger margin of error.

To qualify as likely Iowa voters, respondents had to say they live in Iowa and will definitely vote or have already voted in the November 2012 general election. Republishing the copyright Iowa Poll without credit to The Des Moines Register is prohibited.

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To: Win Smith who wrote (206831)11/3/2012 11:35:58 PM
From: Sam
   of 505604
 
The rush to judgment about Benghazi is completely in character for the RW, waxing indignant over rumors that prove to be false several days later. It is repulsive.

Nov 2, 7:07 PM EDT
US officials counter reports on Benghazi attacks
By LOLITA C. BALDOR
Associated Press


AP Photo/Ibrahim Alaguri
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WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Pentagon provided more details Friday of the military response to the assault on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, as questions continue to swirl ahead of the presidential election about the government's response to the attack, detailing the troops that were dispatched to the region, even though most arrived after the fighting was over.

Although two teams of special operations forces were deployed from central Europe and the United States, the attack, which began after 9 p.m. local time and ended by about 6 a.m., was over before they arrived at Sigonella Naval Air Station in Sicily, Italy, across the Mediterranean from Libya.

Pentagon press secretary George Little said that after the attack began, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta quickly met with his senior military advisers, including the top U.S. commander for Africa Command who was in Washington for meetings. Little said that within a few hours Panetta had ordered units to move to Libya.

"The entire U.S. government was operating from a cold start," Little said.

He said the military units were prepared to respond to any number of contingencies, including a potential hostage situation.

The military also immediately moved an unarmed Predator surveillance drone to Benghazi airspace to provide real-time intelligence on the situation for the CIA officers on the ground who were fighting the militants.

The Pentagon comments came a day after senior U.S. intelligence officials detailed the CIA's rescue efforts, striking back at allegations they failed to respond quickly or efficiently against the deadly attack, which killed U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans.

Two of those Americans were ex-Navy SEALs Tyrone Woods and Glenn Doherty, who initially were identified publicly as State Department contractors. But on Thursday, the intelligence officials said they were CIA contractors. Previously the agency had asked The Associated Press and other news organizations to avoid linking the men to the CIA because the officials claimed that doing so would endanger the lives of other security contractors working for other agencies around the world.

U.S. officials are using the details to rebut some news reports that said the CIA told its personnel to "stand down" rather than go to the consulate to help repel the attackers. Fox News reported that when CIA officers at the annex called higher-ups to tell them the consulate was under fire, they were twice told to "stand down." The CIA publicly denied the report, laying out a timeline that showed CIA security officers left their annex and headed to the consulate less than 25 minutes after receiving the first call for help.

The consulate attack has become a political issue in Washington, with Republicans questioning the security at the consulate, the intelligence on militant groups in North Africa and the Obama administration's response in the days after the attack. Republicans also have questioned whether enough military and other support was requested and received.

The issue popped up during President Barack Obama's campaign swing through Ohio on Friday, as a small group of protesters holding signs about Libya greeted him at Springfield High School. One sign read "We won't stand down. Tell us the truth about Benghazi"

The intelligence officials told reporters Thursday that when the CIA annex received a call about the assault, about a half dozen members of a CIA security team tried to get heavy weapons and other assistance from the Libyans. But when the Libyans failed to respond, the security team, which routinely carries small arms, went ahead with the rescue attempt. At no point was the team told to wait, the officials said.

Instead, they said the often outmanned and outgunned team members made all the key decisions on the ground, with no second-guessing from senior officials monitoring the situation from afar.

The officials insisted on anonymity to discuss a CIA operation, as they routinely do. The anonymity was a condition of discussion even on a topic that has become highly politicized days before the presidential election.

On Thursday, intelligence officials said they had early information that the attackers had ties to al-Qaida-linked groups but did not make it public immediately because it was based on classified intelligence. And they said the early public comments about the attack and its genesis were cautious and limited, as they routinely are in such incidents.

They added that while intelligence officials indicated early on that extremists were involved in the assault, only later were officials able to confirm that the attack was not generated by a protest over the film.

Arizona Sen. John McCain and other Republicans insist that if the Obama administration didn't know enough about the attack to discuss it clearly in the days that followed, it should have. They also say the response to the attack has been too muted to send a deterrent message to terrorists.

The officials' description Thursday of the attack provided details about a second CIA security team in Tripoli that quickly chartered a plane and flew to Benghazi but got stuck at the airport. By then, however, the first team had gotten the State Department staff out of the consulate and back to the CIA annex.

While the U.S. military was at a heightened state of alert because of 9/11, there were no American forces poised and ready to move immediately into Benghazi when the attack began.

The Pentagon would not send forces or aircraft into Libya - a sovereign nation - without a request from the State Department and the knowledge or consent of the host country. And Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has said the information coming in was too jumbled to risk U.S. troops.

---

AP National Security writer Robert Burns contributed to this report.

hosted.ap.org

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To: Sam who wrote (206877)11/3/2012 11:43:18 PM
From: Sam
   of 505604
 
I wrote, "If Obama wins Nevada and Iowa, then winning any other swing state plus the states he is "supposed" to win (esp of course WI, PA, MN and MI, the ones romney's people claims are in play) will lead to 270."

I take that back. If he only wins CO or NH in addition to the above, then Romney would eke out a win. He would need both CO and NH, or any one of the four "big" swing state prizes, OH, VA, NC or FL.

One more note before heading off to sleep: some people have been writing that this election will either be Romney by a lot, or Obama in a squeaker, or, occasionally, Romney in a squeaker. But I think Obama's ceiling is higher than Romney's. He has a chance to nearly sweep the swing states, IMHO--a sweep would give him 347 EC votes. NC is the least likely of them, losing that one would still give him 332 votes. And if he also loses FL and CO, the final tally would be 309-221. I am cautiously optimistic that those numbers will be the floor for Obama.

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To: Sam who wrote (206861)11/4/2012 12:22:44 AM
From: Win Smith
   of 505604
 
Yeah, you don't understand about Ohio. In the parallel universe of stupid people that Fox News caters to, it's poor Mittens who's endangered by Husted's machinations and all those dubious voting machines . Including, presumably, the ones provided by Mittens Jr.

Claims increase of machines switching votes in Ohio, other battlegrounds
Imagine going to vote for your presidential candidate and pushing the button on a touch-screen voting machine -- but the "X" marks his opponent instead.

That is what some voters in Nevada, North Carolina, Texas and Ohio have reported.

Fox News has received several complaints from voters who say they voted on touch-screen voting machines -- only when they tried to select Mitt Romney, the machine indicated they had chosen President Obama. The voters in question realized the error and were able to cast ballots for their actual choice.

Read more: foxnews.com
I got that story from James Fallows in theatlantic.com . I'm sort of wondering if predelegitimization is related to antidisestablishmentarianism , but I take his point. Since Clinton, Republicans seem to find it impossible to acknowledge that a Democrat could legitimately be elected President.

Sadly, I imagine this means that if Obama is reelected, the GOP will just double down on Obama hatred as a way of life. Personally, I sort of wish that, in honor of the bastardized neo-Randism that seems to be gradually supplanting voodoo economics as official dogma in the GOP, they'd all go Galt and get the Koch Brothers to build that secret redoubt in the Colorado mountains, where they could all gather together and celebrate their special separate reality, and leave the rest of us alone.

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