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New Polls Show Campaigns’ Dead Heat Hasn’t Lifted

President Obama in Des Moines, Iowa May 24. Photo by: JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/GettyImages

The Morning Line

Deadlocked: past participle, past tense of dead·lock (verb)

  1. Cause (a situation or opposing parties) to come to a point where no progress can be made because of fundamental disagreement.
  2. Cause (a contest or game) to be in a tie.

Both definitions of deadlocked might prove useful this Thursday, as a new poll from NBC-Marist finds President Obama and Mitt Romney to be just that in Colorado, Iowa and Nevada.

In Iowa, Mr. Obama and Romney are tied at 44 percent. (Other Iowa polls show the president with a lead. Check out the TPM Poll Average here.)

The Colorado survey finds Mr. Obama leading Romney 46 percent to 45 percent.

In Nevada, the president leads his rival 48 percent to 46 percent.

NBC’s Mark Murray writes that while voters in these three battlegrounds are more optimistic about the economy and believe the president inherited a fiscal crisis, Mr. Obama is harmed by “a sense that the nation is on the wrong track, with 54 percent in Iowa, 55 percent in Nevada and 56 percent in Colorado sharing that belief.”

And the new Washington Post-ABC survey finds Romney has made up valuable ground among Republican women voters who have boosted their ratings of him to his best-ever showing.

Jon Cohen and Krissah Thompson write on the Post front page that the survey also includes a warning sign to both men on the Nov. 6 ballot.

They note:

Independents in the new poll lean negative on both Romney and Obama. Among all registered voters, the two candidates draw split verdicts. On Obama, 49 percent of voters hold favorable views and 48 percent hold negative ones. For Romney, it is an even 44 percent on both sides of the question, marking the first time since January that voter sentiment has not tilted away from him.

With such a narrow contest ahead for the next five months, voters can expect each campaign team to continue targeting key demographics in an attempt to shift the election in his favor.


The Obama re-election team begins its Thursday with a harsh look at Romney’s record as Massachusetts governor. New attacks will be loaded on the campaign’s Romney Economics site along with a new web video you can watch here or below.

It’s aimed at previewing David Axelrod’s Boston event with Massachusetts Democrats. “When he was running for Governor in 2002, Romney made a series of promises on the campaign trail that mimic those he is making today – that he would pick up the pace of job creation, bring down the deficit, and reduce taxes, spending, and the size of government,” the campaign wrote in an email teeing up the event. “He failed to fulfill those promises as Governor. And he cut programs essential to the middle class like manufacturing and education, while giving special breaks to the wealthiest. Romney Economics didn’t work then, and it won’t work now.”

Team Romney responded with a chart comparing his record to the president’s, along with a dig from spokeswoman Amanda Henneberg.

“If President Obama had even half of Mitt Romney’s record on jobs and the economy, he’d be running on it.” she said.

The Boston Globe’s Matt Viser writes that the push “echoes the campaigns of previous presidential candidates who lambasted foes on their home court, most notably Vice President George H.W. Bush’s use of a chartered boat to link the fetid Boston Harbor to his rival, Governor Michael Dukakis.”

Viser also adds that Romney’s economic record isn’t necessarily his fault:

Like Obama would in 2009, Romney in 2003 inherited a sluggish economy. Between February 2001 and December 2003, the state lost 205,100 jobs, or about 6 percent of its workforce. The climate later improved, and some of Romney’s policies were credited with helping the business climate. He persuaded the Democratic-dominated Legislature to approve a law to fast-track the permitting process, helping businesses expand. “The truth is, if you look at the record, it’s a heck of a lot more than I expected I’d get done in four years,” Romney told the Globe in 2007.

The Romney team is out with its own attack on the president. A new web video released Wednesday says Mr. Obama hasn’t kept the “promise of America.”


This year’s presidential campaigns have stood out not only because of the amount of money allowed into the races, but because of the secret benefactors behind much of it.

NewsHour’s Judy Woodruff spoke with Tom Hamburger of the Washington Post and Politico’s Ken Vogel on Wednesday about the money games.

They discussed reporting by Politico this week that concluded that unrestricted groups separate from the campaigns plan to spend $1 billion on Republican interests.

The Democrats won’t come close to that amount, Vogel said. Instead, they’ll try tactics that may seem “quaint” but could pay off, such as grassroots campaigning and calls for donations through social media.

Still, both sides have engaged in high profile events to draw millions. George Clooney hosted a celebrity event for President Obama weeks ago, and Donald Trump appeared at a Romney fundraiser earlier this week.

The Clooney event drew a record-breaking amount of cash, but the $15 million it earned for Obama exists separate from the shadow game being waged by outside spenders.

“The law says no coordination, and yet one can’t help but notice that there is a close familiarity between the themes that are offered by the super PACs or the organizations that are supposedly independent and those that are backing an official candidate,” Hamburger said.

Vogel and Hamburger also answered the perennial question of whether negative campaign ads work.

Watch the segment here or below.

Also Thursday, Christina talked with Judy about the money, Mitt’s Texas-sized win and his new iPhone app that misspells “Amercia.”

Watch the Political Checklist here or below.


Do you speak Spanish?

We’re having the all-volunteer Amara community help us translate Gwen Ifill’s report on the efforts to win over Hispanic voters in Colorado. Join us here.


  • Stuart Rothenberg’s column in Roll Call explores the possibility of an “electoral mess.”
  • “President Obama’s campaign team and top supporters are telling donors they need to get off the sidelines now so they can compete with GOP super-PACS waging an expected $1 billion campaign against them,” Amie Parnes writes in The Hill.
  • The Obama campaign released a third in its series of Spanish language television and radio ads on Thursday. This batch focuses on jobs and health care.
  • The New York Times has two stories focused on foreign policy’s impact on the presidential race. This one is about the White House and Syria and this one looks at how Romney’s credentials are viewed.



  • Wisconsin Republican Governor Scott Walker widened his lead over Democrat Tom Barrett to 7 percentage points in a new poll released on Tuesday, less than a week before a recall election prompted by Walker’s drive to curb labor union power.
  • Both Roll Call and Politico devote major ink Thursday to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s role and legacy.
  • The Hill’s Daniel Strauss reports that Rep. David Rivera has talked with fellow Florida Republican, Sen. Marco Rubio, as he crafted his own alternative to the DREAM Act. Rivera’s proposal would give young immigrants living in the country illegally a chance to be granted non-immigrant status for five years if they meet certain criteria, Strauss writes.
  • The Willamette Week, a Portland newspaper, digs into large campaign donations that may be hidden because of an Oregon law’s loophole.
  • ProPublica is seeking all those who receive political campaign emails for some data collection and analysis. We’re looking forward to what they uncover.
  • Sunlight Foundation has been blogging every deleted tweet sent to the Internet by politicians through their blog, Politwoops. Here is the full list. And here’s the president’s page.
  • Bill Clinton may join the crowd in Wisconsin this week preparing for Gov. Scott Walker’s recall election, says Debbie Wasserman-Schultz.
  • Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, chairman of the Democratic Governors Association, will join Barrett Thursday in Madison and Milwaukee.
  • Illinois Rep. Joe Walsh’s opponents have dubbed this his “macaca moment.”
  • The Washington Post’s Paul Kane looks at how redistricting in Texas is unlikely to bring any more Hispanic members of Congress to Washington.
  • Crossroads GPS has new ads out targeting Sen. Claire McCaskill.
  • Reuters reports that 25 Illinois gay and lesbian couples sued the state for the right to marry on Wednesday, a year after same-sex couples in Illinois were granted the right to enter into civil unions.
  • The Washington City Paper devotes its cover story this week to Washington D.C.’s most prolific public witness. Disclosure: Christina’s husband wrote the profile.
  • Christina will be a panelist at a Personal Democracy Forum conference in New York next month.

Politics Desk Assistant Alex Bruns contributed to this report.


All events are listed in Eastern Time.

  • President Obama and Vice President Biden meet with former Presidents George W. Bush and George H.W. Bush for lunch at the White House at 12:10 p.m. First Lady Michelle Obama and the former first ladies also will join. At 1:25 p.m. the group will attend the official unveiling of the George W. Bush and Laura Bush portraits.
  • Mitt Romney attends private fundraisers in California for the second day in a row.

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.

Follow the politics team on Twitter: @cbellantoni, @burlij, @elizsummers, @kpolantz, @indiefilmfan, @tiffanymullon and @dePeystah.

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