THE MORNING LINE -- June 27, 2012 at 9:03 AM ET
Obama Ahead in Battlegrounds Despite Economic Concerns
President Obama attends a fundraiser in Miami Beach on Tuesday. Photo by Marice Cohn Band/Miami Herald via via Getty Images.
The latest snapshot of the presidential race reveals President Obama and Mitt Romney locked in a close race nationally, but it also finds the Democratic incumbent in a stronger position when it comes to the battleground states that will ultimately decide which of the two men takes the oath of office in January 2013.
The president leads his likely Republican challenger, 47 percent to 44 percent, among registered voters, according to an NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll released Tuesday. The three-point lead is within the survey's margin of error.
NBC's Mark Murray breaks down the numbers:
Obama is ahead among African Americans (92 to 1 percent), women (52 to 39 percent), Latinos, voters ages 18-29 (52 to 35 percent) and independents (40 to 36 percent).
Romney leads among Tea Party supporters (94 to 1 percent), whites (53 to 38 percent) and men (48 to 43 percent).
The president's re-election prospects are weakened by feelings of economic uncertainty. Fifty-three percent of respondents said they disapproved of his handling of the economy and 61 percent said they believe the economy is headed in the wrong direction.
That said, 60 percent of those surveyed said they thought the president inherited the economic situation, compared to 26 percent who said it's the result of his policies. A majority of respondents -- 51 percent -- described the economy as recovering.
As previously mentioned, the president appears strong in states that are up for grabs this cycle. Among voters in a dozen swing states -- Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin -- the president holds a 50 percent to 42 percent advantage.
Another survey from Quinnipiac University released Wednesday found Mr. Obama running ahead of Romney in three of those states. The president leads by four points in Florida (45 percent to 41 percent), nine points in Ohio (47-38) and six points in Pennsylvania (45-39).
As we've said in this space before, it remains difficult to see how Romney gets to 270 electoral votes without putting states like Florida and Ohio back in the Republican win column.
DEMOCRATS SPURN OBAMA
The list of Democrats in tough races who are taking a pass on this summer's Democratic National Convention is getting longer.
Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., said Tuesday she plans to skip the event in Charlotte, N.C., and spend the week campaigning in her home state. She also responded to the media buzz about her decision in a Q and A with Politico.
Hotline On Call reports that North Dakota Senate candidate Heidi Heitkamp will also pass on the Democratic convention so that she can focus on her campaign against GOP Rep. Rick Berg.
Last week, three leading West Virginia Democrats -- Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin, Sen. Joe Manchin and Rep. Nick Rahall -- announced that they did not plan to attend the convention in September.
Talking Points Memo compiled a handy slideshow of all the other Democrats not attending the convention.
The moves by some Democrats to create space between themselves and Mr. Obama reflects the political reality that the president is not popular in Republican-leaning states like West Virginia, North Dakota and Missouri. By skipping out on the festivities in Charlotte, which will certainly be full of praise for the president, these Democrats avoid giving their opponents some election-year fodder to bludgeon them with, and at the same time assert a bit of independence, even if it is for their own electoral benefit.
The Supreme Court this week eliminated any doubt: We live in a post-Citizens United world.
Gwen Ifill talked Tuesday night with Democratic strategist Tad Devine, a veteran of the Al Gore and John Kerry presidential campaigns, and Rick Tyler, former senior adviser to the pro-Newt Gingrich super PAC "Winning Our Future" about what that means for the future of campaigning.
In short, it's more negative campaigning and more money from individual and anonymous donors. It even has one candidate, the president, admitting during his marathon calendar of fundraisers that he will be outspent.
Watch the discussion here or below.
The Supreme Court's Citizens United decisions and a related ruling in 2010 gave birth to the super PAC era. This week, the court reversed a campaign finance-related ruling from Montana that was at odds with Citizens United, despite many people's hopes that the court would rehear the issues and reconsider its past decision.
"They're becoming more like parallel campaigns rather than support campaigns," Tyler said. "In fact, they could raise so much money, they could actually dominate the message of the campaign. That part does concern me."
Still, there's hope.
"I would argue since Sept. 11, 2001, we have gone through a decade in this country where there's been a dark cloud hanging over the head of people. And they desperately wanted a new direction," he said. "And they're looking for someone to provide it. So, even if there's a cacophony of negative ads in states, people are going to vote their interests and I think they're going to turn out because there's so much at stake in this election."
2012 LINE ITEMS
The Republican National Committee channels a cinematic thriller in a new web video attacking President Obama on transparency.
Potential Republican vice presidential pick Ohio Sen. Rob Portman said Tuesday that Romney would make tough choices about the country's debt and deficit problems in a way that might put him at risk of being a one-term president.
During a campaign event in Salem, Va., on Tuesday, Romney said if the Supreme Court deems the health care overhaul unconstitutional "then the first three-and-a-half years of this president's term will have been wasted on something that has not helped the American people." Romney also vowed to repeal the law if the court rules in the administration's favor.
Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell is now mum in the latest round of "Is he or isn't he?" veep questions.
Politico reports that Rick Santorum seems to be ready for round two.
Chris Cillizza teams up with Google for an uber veepstakes chart project.
4thEstate.net crunches the numbers to reveal when the Obama campaign has played defense lately. In its assessment, the president's "private sector is doing fine" caused the campaign's message to veer.
What kills more Americans than hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, and earthquakes combined? bit.ly/M1yhu8— Al Gore (@algore) June 26, 2012
Besides healthcare, 2 decisions left: Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (argued November! why so long?will you care?) & Stolen Valor Act— Marcia Coyle (@MarciaCoyle) June 26, 2012
OUTSIDE THE LINES
Rep. Charlie Rangel staved off his toughest-ever challenge in a Democratic primary. The New York Democrat won't have anything to worry about in the general.
Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, dashed Tea Party hopes by surviving his primary bid and should easily cruise to re-election this fall.
But Rep. John Sullivan wasn't so lucky. He lost the Republican primary for his Oklahoma seat to Jim Bridenstine.
Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., set his sights a little higher Tuesday, issuing a letter to the president objecting to the use of executive privilege to shield Attorney General Eric Holder from the force of a congressional investigation. A vote on the House floor is still expected to take place Thursday.
Thirty-one GOP Senators wrote a letter to Holder urging him to appoint a special counsel to look into leaks about national security matters.
So, can women have it all? Judy Woodruff talked about the Atlantic Magazine article that has sparked heated debate with Anne-Marie Slaughter, Monica Olivera of MommyMaestra and Naomi Decter of the public relations firm Beckerman. Watch the discussion.
A new Public Policy Polling survey finds Sen. Scott Brown, R-Mass., and Democratic challenger Elizabeth Warren tied at 46 percent.
The New York Times' Nicholas Confessore writes that the New York attorney general is "investigating contributions to tax-exempt groups that are heavily involved in political campaigns, focusing on a case involving the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which has been one of the largest outside groups seeking to influence recent elections but is not required to disclose its donors."
Democrats are still feeling like they can win a Senate race in North Dakota. Roll Call's Shira Toeplitz writes they have reserved $1.2 million in ads for Heidi Heitkamp. (Yes, that's the same woman who is skipping the convention.)
Progress on a flood insurance measure halted this week as Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., offered an unrelated "personhood" amendment to the measure to say the Senate believes life begins at fertilization.
The House Majority PAC is going after Colorado GOP Rep. Mike Coffman for his birther backtrack.
The furor has ended: The board at the University of Virginia voted unanimously Tuesday to reinstate Teresa Sullivan as president after ousting her two weeks earlier.
Join us Thursday at 10 a.m. ET for likely word from the Supreme Court on the health care reform cases. We'll have the SCOTUSblog's live coverage on our site. The day could make for what the Washington Post called the most important week of Obama's presidency.
Obligatory Rielle Hunter update.
Christina Bellantoni and Alex Bruns contributed to this report.
ON THE TRAIL
All events are listed in Eastern Time.
President Obama has lunch with Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Zayed at 12:40 p.m., attends a campaign event in Washington at 3 p.m. and hosts a picnic for members of Congress at the White House at 7 p.m.
Vice President Joe Biden delivers remarks at a campaign event in Dubuque, Iowa, at 11:30 a.m. and in the afternoon attends a campaign event in Clinton, Iowa.
Mitt Romney holds an event in Sterling, Va., at 5 p.m.
All future events can be found on our Political Calendar:
For more political coverage, visit our politics page.
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Questions or comments? Email Christina Bellantoni at cbellantoni-at-newshour-dot-org.