● Layoffs: Some are wondering if a slightly falling unemployment rate will help Obama. Nope. The official unemployment number isn’t really what matters to people. What matters is how secure they feel personally about their jobs. In that regard, there are 23 million unemployed or underemployed individuals. Not only are those people without jobs, but their presence in the labor force makes others vulnerable to being replaced by lower cost workers and makes it harder for employed persons to find new jobs. That’s called job insecurity.
Moreover, the situation is about to get worse. Because of the military cuts in the last budget deal, defense contractors are issuing pink slips to their workers in massive numbers. Further, a series of mass layoffs appear to be underway, such as UBS laying off 10,000 people. That will scare people across the country.
● Paybacks: Obama has thrown several people under the bus in the past few months to save his rear, and they seem intent on paying him back now. Leaks from the intelligence community cast doubt on Obama’s attempts to shift blame on Libya by claiming they failed to warn him. The intelligence community let it be known that they did warn Obama and he ignored them. Obama also tried to claim there was no request for additional security in Libya. That made Hillary look bad. “Friends of Hillary” have now put out a story claiming that Hillary did request additional security, but her request was shot down. It’s not clear if Americans care about Libya, but these leaks suggest that some people inside the administration think they can hurt Obama with this.
● Minority Turnout: For Obama to win Colorado, he will require heavy Hispanic turnout. For him to win Ohio and Pennsylvania will require heavy black turnout. Neither is a given in this election. Polling has found a lack of enthusiasm for Obama within both groups. Will they turn out? We don’t know. We do know that youth turnout will be way down and that is bad for Obama. This is a true wildcard which can decide the race.
● Jews in Ohio?: Yes, there are around 120,000 Jews in the Cleveland area who typically vote Democratic. But if Romney can pull away parts of the Jewish vote, they can make a big difference in a key state which is expected to be very, very tight.
● Same Day Registration: Colorado, Wisconsin and New Hampshire all allow voters to register and vote on the same day. In 2008, Obama used this to get tons of new voters to turn out on election day, adding about 2% to his totals in those states. His team is hoping to do the same and add 3-4% to his total this time. However, there is no reason to believe that there is the same level of enthusiasm for Obama now as there was in 2008, and it seems unlikely that he can inspire the unregistered to suddenly turn out. Without those voters, the polls show likely and registered voters leaning toward Romney.
● Chrysler: Obama seems intent on hanging his hat on the Detroit bailout. And lucky him, Chrysler just announced that its profits surged 80% over last year. All is good, right? Well, no. Fiat, owner of Chrysler, announced that they are considering shifting Jeep production to China and Italy – although now that Romney used this in an ad, they are trying to backpedal. Still, the damage is done. To paraphrase a line that Obama kept using against Romney: “Obama’s Detroit bailout saved jobs. . . in Italy.” This could do significant harm to Obama’s rustbelt strategy, particularly in Ohio where Jeeps are currently made.
● Hurricane Sandy: No one knows how the hurricane will affect this election. On the one hand, it does give Obama a chance to appear presidential. On the other hand, I doubt that will help because that’s his job and doing his job won’t really get him any sort of bonus points. That said, Obama could spend the last couple days before the election running around promising FEMA money to all of these voters. But then, these are blue states so it can’t really change the outcome.
There is also a question of voter turnout. If the storm is destructive enough, large parts of the solid-blue Northeast may find record low turnout because voters will either be away or unable to get to the polls. That shifts the election to the diehards, which could well produce some Republican surprises.
● Show Me The Money!: Romney has a cash advantage in excess of $50 million right now, which gives him the ability to reach states like Minnesota, which are opening up as competitive. Can money win campaigns? I doubt it.
● Silver State Mormons: Nevada remains close, though it seems to be trending toward Romney now. The key demographic helping Obama are unions and Hispanics. They could decide the state. BUT, there is another group few are considering – Mormons. Nevada is packed with Mormons and if they turn out in large numbers, Romney will win Nevada. Stay tuned.
Anything I missed?
5 Days and counting....