Friday, November 30, 2012

Early Voting 80%; Only 532,000 Show up on Election Day

Eighty percent, or more than 2 million, Coloradans voted early, mostly by mail.  Only 532,000 showed up on Election Day.
Among active voters, there was 97 percent turnout and more than two-thirds (71%) of total registered voters voted.
Republican and Democratic registration was nearly tied, with only 42,000 more Republicans showing up (the party list voters will not be final until Dec. 6).  Unaffiliated voters made up 31 percent of the total.
In light of the Democratic presidential win, some Republicans and many unaffiliated voters supported President Obama.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

PAPOR Hosts Western States and 2012 Election Panel

For nearly a decade, the pollsters and political scientists from western states have gathered in San Francisco to discuss the most recent election and provide some projections concerning the next cycle.

The Sir Francis Drake Hotel will again be the site of the PAPOR Conference (Pacific Chapter of the American Association of Public Opinion Research) on December 6 and 7.  And, PAPOR again hosts the Western States panel with the dean of California pollsters from Field Research, Mark DiCamillo; Anthony Salvanto, who directs the CBS News Poll; and Paul Lavrakas, the current president of AAPOR. Also joining the panel is Eric McGhee from the Public Policy Institute of California, the state’s leading public policy think tank.  I will discuss Colorado’s battleground status in the 2012 election.

The Western States roundtable will present the western states’ political contests in the 2012 election and the region’s impact on national politics.  A panel on the West has the benefit of a presidential election dominated by a targeted battleground strategy, a host of western toss-up states and a series of close senate races, many with a surfeit of polling data.

Although California, our largest western state, was not a presidential battleground, its politics was significantly affected by reforms in its electoral rules and several ballot issues, which address its fundamental state fiscal policy and politics.

Panel Topics

Mark DiCamillo, Field Research.  California’s Ballot Issues – State of Citizen Governance in the 2012 Election

Eric McGhee, Public Policy Institute of California.  California’s Latest Electoral Reforms – More Competition?

Floyd Ciruli, Ciruli Associates, Colorado.  Colorado – A Preeminent Toss-Up State

Anthony Salvanto, CBS News.  Comparing and Contrasting the 2012 Battleground States

Paul Lavrakas, Independent Consultant, AAPOR President.  Hits and Misses in 2012 Election Polling

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Do the 2012 Election Results Make “To Be Decided” Possible?

Colorado Cooperation Conference Debate the Issue

Governor John Hickenlooper has received the “To Be Decided” report and now must do something about it.  The Denver Post has already opined that action is required, not more discussion.  But, Hickenlooper recognizes the challenge statewide tax increases and constitutional changes desired by the business and political establishment face.

The Colorado Cooperation Conference will take up the topic of tax and constitutional changes at their winter meeting in Pueblo, November 30 and December 1.

Colorado Cooperation Conference
Partial List of Agenda Topics

Friday, November 30 - 2:00-5:00 p.m. 
  • “Observations” - Floyd Ciruli will provide his always-popular analysis of the political environment in the state and nation. 
  • “Colorado’s Constitution: What’s Good, What’s Not So Good, What Needs to be Changed?” - Jim Griesemer, Dean Emeritus of the Daniels College of Business, and Director of the Strategic Issues Program at the University of Denver, directed a recent in-depth analysis of our constitution he will share with our group, including a possible model for changes to the constitution which is generating interest in Colorado. 
  • “TBD Colorado: Final Report and Recommendations” - One year ago, our group heard a report of this new initiative associated with the Governor's Office to engage opinion leaders from around the state. That project has now concluded, with the release of the final report in recent weeks. The Governor's Chief of Staff, Roxane White, will join us to review the report's findings and have a discussion with our group about follow-on efforts to TBD Colorado. 
Saturday, December 1 - 7:30 -11:30 a.m. 
  • Panel Discussion: How to Organize a Broad Coalition Effort - We are fortunate to have a panel of noted Colorado personalities who will lead a dialogue with our group about how to bring together civic and business leaders from around the state to organize a broad-based coalition effort to address the issues we discussed on Friday, including others. The panelists - all of whom have first-hand experience in building successful coalitions - include Joe Blake, Chancellor Emeritus of the Colorado State University System; Former U. S. Senator Hank Brown; and Daniel Ritchie, Chancellor Emeritus of the University of Denver and Chairman & CEO of the Denver Center for the Performing Arts. 
Governors Roy Romer and Bill Ritter were both defeated attempting revenue increases.  They join the political and business communities’ recent attempts to change the constitution related to the TABOR and Gallagher amendments.
However, Referendum C in 2005 and Amendment 23 in 2000 offer hope that, under the right circumstances, statewide majorities can be assembled.
And, the 2012 apparent rising liberal trend that accompanied Barack Obama’s re-election appears to have helped measures from recreational marijuana and gay marriage to California’s Proposition 30 tax measure and Colorado’s myriad of local tax and bond proposals.
Should some elements of TBD be on a 2013 or 2014 ballot?

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

U.S. Still has Israel’s Back

Americans still support Israel’s right of self-defense.  By 61 percent, Americans lean more toward Israeli interest than the Palestinians (19%).  But, one-half say (51%) they support an independent Palestinian state in Gaza and the West Bank.
Partisanship affects views on Israel, with Democrats most likely to advocate maintaining current support level (55%), but Republicans suggesting the U.S. is not supportive enough (46%).  Very few Democrats advocate higher levels of support (9%). 
The public is concerned about the future of American interests in the aftermath of the Arab Spring.  Americans generally want to reduce or not add to Mideast engagement.
  • They favor withdrawal from Afghanistan
  •  Have little interest in jumping into the Syrian conflict
  •  They want a firm stand on Iran, but would like to avoid war
Although there is some partisan divide, generally after two wars in the last decade, Americans are ready to go slow on new engagements.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Public Not Confident Obama Will Get the Economy Moving

Americans still rate the economy and unemployment the number one problem, with the federal budget deficit the next biggest concern. But, when asked what they thought the Obama administration will accomplish, only half believed “creating a strong economic recovery” would get done.

People believed that the administration’s most likely accomplishment will be in foreign policy related to Afghanistan and terrorism or domestic issues that benefit minorities and education.

*See full list at Gallup.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Consumer Confidence Holds While Market Swoons

Consumer confidence, possibly helped by the election outcome, appears to be rising in spite of the negative news about the fiscal cliff.  It is as high as it has been since the 2008 recession.  Partially, it’s a reflection of about three-quarters of the public not understanding the effects of what could happen January 1, 2013 (Pew 2012).

The market, on the other hand, is off 1000 points since early October.  After hitting 13610 in October, it closed Friday at 12588, only up three percent for the year.

Conditions affecting the markets:
  • Jan. 1, 2013 tax hikes and spending cuts of $600 billion, possible recession in 2013
  • Doubling the market fueled by $4.7 trillion in federal borrowing and Fed intervention to lower interest rates and add money to market – not sustainable
  • Long-term capital gains taxes could rise from 15% to 23.8%; dividends up from 15% to 43.4% (depending on income level)

Obama and Democrats in Honeymoon With Voters

President Obama and the Democratic Party gained some favorability with Americans after their victory.  Obama has added three points, up to 58 percent favorability after the election from his pre-election rating.

The Democratic Party added six points, to 51 percent favorable.  The Republicans added a point, but are in the low 40s (43%).

Obama and Democrats now have a bit of political capital.  How will they use it?

The Architect of Disaster

When G.W. Bush labeled Karl Rove “the architect,” it was for his 2004 re-election and Rove’s career-long dedication to Bush’s advancement.  But Bush’s narrow re-election victory (2 percent popular vote and 281 electoral votes) must be paired with Rove’s frequent election disasters.

In 2006, he argued that the mid-term election would be a choice between Republican and Democratic candidates and not a referendum on the Bush final term.  Wrong.  Democrats swept into power on the start of the anti-Bush wave that crested in the Barack Obama win in 2008.

This year Rove reversed his position and argued the race would be a referendum on Obama.  Instead, it was mostly a choice between Mitt Romney and Obama, which Obama won.  A host of Republican Senate candidates also lost in campaigns, where many were seen as an unacceptable choice.

Rove’s crack up on Fox News election night was an indication of the parallel universe of in-house polls and false assumptions he was existing in.  He was also surprised by the 2006 disaster.

Will Republican big contributors give him $300 million in 2014 or 2016?

Monday, November 19, 2012

Washington Failing Early Test on Fiscal Cliff

Just as the public was attempting to put the nastiness of the last campaign behind them, the so-called “negotiations” over the fiscal cliff have reminded everyone what they don’t like about Washington. The President and leaders in both parties are showing themselves much better at declaring what they won’t do than what they will do.

The lack of responsible management of the country’s finances and the looming economic consequences of that inaction may finally bring down a torrent of public condemnations that can’t be ignored.

Since the election, the public has told pollsters:
  • Fixing the economy is the top goal for Obama’s second term, with ensuring long-term stability of Social Security in second place.  (Gallup)
  • All three partisan groups – Democrats, Republicans and independents – believe it is extremely or very important to avoid the fiscal cliff (national: 82% extremely or very important).  Seventy-one percent say they are watching the news of the fiscal cliff closely.  (Gallup)
  • A majority of both parties believe both sides should compromise equally – 68%.  (Gallup)
  • Americans have shifted slightly during the last year toward being willing to “increase taxes equally with spending cuts” versus earlier during the debt ceiling crisis in August 2011 when more people felt spending cuts should be “only” or “mostly” used.  This, of course, benefits Democrats in the negotiations (45% equal cuts and taxes, up from 32% in August 2011; 40% only mostly cuts, down from 50%).  (Gallup)
  • Both parties are at risk if their intransigence leads to more political gridlock and a lack of action to improve the economy. But the public believe Republicans will be most responsible if no agreement is reached, although, as expected, Republicans mostly blame the President (68%) (if no agreement, 53% blame Republicans in Congress and 29% will blame Obama).  (Pew)
In the current post-election partisan environment, Republicans appear to be the most likely to be blamed, but the economic consequences will take place on Obama’s watch.  And, both sides said during the campaign, they would act responsibly and compromise to reach a solution.  Voter retribution in the mid-term election is possible and only about 700 days away.

See polls:
Gallup:  Economy, Entitlements, Iran are Americans’ Top Priorities
Gallup:  Americans Urge Congress, the President to Avoid Fiscal Cliff
Gallup:  More in U.S. Now Want Balanced Approach to Cutting Deficit
Pew:  Broad Concern About “Fiscal Cliff” Consequences

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Is it too Soon to Talk About the 2014 Election?

Colorado Democrats must defend a senate seat and the governorship in what could be a difficult year.  The final mid-term election of a president often produces a strong trend against the incumbent’s party – 2006 cost Bush both House and Senate majorities.

Mark Udall won his senate seat in the Barack Obama sweep of Colorado in 2008, getting a slightly larger vote (Udall 53% to 42%; Obama 54% to 46%).

Like most first-term senators, the public does not have much of an opinion of Udall.  A recent poll puts his approval at only 36 percent, with nearly one-third (31%) not able to rate him.

John Hickenlooper won a three-way race with a narrow majority of the vote (51%).  But, he has excelled in accruing and maintaining public esteem, and now has 54 percent approval.  He has had 60 percent earlier in the year when the environment was less partisan.

Hickenlooper’s problem is a liberal legislature, especially a large House majority, that unless disciplined may cause him grief.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Denver Metro Economy Remains Strong

The monthly report from the State Department of Revenue on sales tax revenue in the seven-county metro area continues to show very strong performance.  The region’s sales tax revenue is up 8.5 percent over last year as of the end of September.  And, the month of September was up 11.6 percent over September a year ago – hence, showing no end of year slowdown.  Some political implications:
  • The recent strong performance of President Obama in the metro area partially reflects Colorado’s recovery.  It reinforced his position that the economy was improving, justifying four more years.
  • The willingness of local voters to support a host of school and municipal revenue increases through bonds and TABOR overrides was aided by general sense of economic recovery.
  • The failure of a bond initiative in Aurora suggest that voters are still picking and choosing where to say yes.  A general rush to the ballot will likely produce more stringent approval criteria by voters.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Democrats Establish a Base in the Mountain West

Barack Obama won the three mountain states of Colorado (4.7%), Nevada (6.6%) and New Mexico (9.9%).

Colorado and Nevada received toss-up status with massive advertising and candidate visits.  As the table shows, Colorado continues to be the state in the middle.  It was fifth closest in the country and most competitive in the west.

As expected, Romney won all the rest of Mountain West, including Montana (13.5%), which re-elected its Democratic Senator, Jon Tester (3.9%).  Not surprising, Utah was Romney’s best state, winning it by a 48 percent margin.  Although there was a tightening in the polls in Arizona the last month, Mitt Romney won it decisively (10.6%).  However, the senate race was much closer, with the Republican Jeff Flake barely winning (4.2%).

Obama cornered the Pacific States by margins of 12 percent in Oregon to 21 percent in California.

See The Buzz:  Western senate races could shift the Senate to Republicans

Friday, November 9, 2012

Obama Wins Nine Battleground States

Rankings of the ten closest states in the election between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney place Colorado in fifth.  In fact, the Obama campaign’s targeting was correct.  The top ten include the nine, which received the most attention.  However, Romney was correct to add Pennsylvania to the list and his final efforts.  It came in sixth.

Battleground States
Final Results
Nov. 6, 2012
  1. Florida:  0.6% (Obama 49.9%; Romney 49.3%)
  2. Ohio:  1.9% (Obama 50.1%; Romney 48.2%)
  3. North Carolina:  2.2% (Obama 50.6%; Romney 48.4%)
  4. Virginia (99% reporting):  3.0% (Obama 50.8%; Romney 47.8%)
  5. Colorado:  4.7% (Obama 51.2%; Romney 46.5%)
  6. Pennsylvania (99% reporting):  5.2% (Obama 52.0%; Romney 46.8%)
  7. Iowa:  5.6% (Obama 52.1%; Romney 46.5%)
  8. New Hampshire (99% reporting):  5.8% (Obama 52.2%; Romney 46.4%)
  9. Nevada (99% reporting):  6.6% (Obama 52.3%; Romney 45.7%)
  10. Wisconsin:  6.7% (Obama 52.8%; Romney 46.1%)
People are impressed with how quickly the election was decided on Tuesday and how decisively.  After a month of hearing about a close race; i.e., margin of error, and the likelihood of a long election night, Ohio was called before 10:00 pm MST, which is always important for the newscast.

The Ohio call was preceded by Romney’s apparent loss of Virginia, an essential state for his alternative path to 270 electoral votes.  The quick call of the race was a reflection of the alternatives to 270 votes being long identified and the late polling having turned against Romney.

As soon as it was clear there wasn’t some extraordinary and undetected wave of support for Romney, analysts and anchors gained confidence the race was over.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Republicans Remain Ahead by 35,000 Colorado Votes: 1,943,000 Mailed Back by Election Day

Most of the mail-in vote arrived at county clerk offices on Tuesday, Nov. 6.  The expected total vote is about 2,700,000, and mail-in voting should be 70 percent of the total (now 72% of active voters have early voted).  Democrats reduced their deficit to less than two percent of the total vote.
Democrats won the early vote by two percent in 2008, they lost it by six percent in 2010 and are losing by two percent now.  Obama won the state by nine points in 2008, and if early vote is an indicator, he is down four points.  Does he win the state by five points or do partisan returns in the early vote offer little evidence of significance?
The county-level returns indicate a close election.  Democrats have closed the gap in Arapahoe, but Jefferson and Larimer still show Republican leads.

Battleground Counties

As the results come in, watch the three swing counties of Arapahoe, Jefferson and Larimer.  President Bush carried all three in 2004, but so did President Obama in 2008.
They have drifted Democratic in recent years, from a long-time Republican voting history to be the state’s premiere ticket-splitting counties.  They each have very significant blocs of independent-leaning registered unaffiliated voters.  Colorado and its swing counties are at the national averages for presidential races.

Will Colorado Democrats Win the State House?

The intense and deadlocked presidential race has absorbed most of this year’s political attention, but control of Colorado’s State House could shift to the Democrats in this election, complicating Governor Hickenlooper’s next two years, moving the image and agenda of the legislature to the left.

Several factors make the current legislative battle unique in Colorado’s recent history.  The extraordinary presidential race, especially the get-out-the-vote effort, will no doubt affect down ballot voting in the handful of competitive legislative races, the end of session fight over civil unions was the surprise issue that has influenced the races more than any other, and the mass of money in targeted races is beyond even the expensive races of recent years.

Similar to the presidential race, both parties target districts.  The consensus is that four Senate races and twelve House seats began the summer competitive.  Republicans would have to sweep the four competitive Senate seats to win control.  State legislative lobbyists and observers believe the Republicans could pick up a senate seat or two.  The most unusual race in sheer level of expenditures is in the San Luis Valley where the Democrat Crestina Martinez has received more than $700,000 to grab what has been a Republican seat.  (The chart shows Super PAC expenditures and the percent given to Democrats.)

Democrats have the advantage in having to win just one House seat out of several they have targeted, but many races are close and there are vulnerable Democratic incumbents.

Jefferson County wins the award for the most competitive county.  It has two competitive Senate seats, three House seats, a competitive congressional race, and is considered an essential win for the presidential candidates.

Other factor affecting the races this year are redistricting, which shifted the partisanship of several districts causing retirements and endangering incumbents, and third party candidates, both on left and right, who may take sufficient votes to affect close races.  Also, minority candidates, both African-American and Hispanic, are running in either safe districts or have a good chance of winning – significantly increasing minority representation.  Gay representation and clout will likely increase, especially if Democrats take control of the House.  The first House bill is likely to be legalizing civil unions.

Prediction:  Democrats control both houses.

See Denver Post:
Colorado’s liberal super PACs dominate spending in state races
Democratic activist Tim Gill heavily funded federal super PAC

So Goes Arapahoe County

Colorado’s largest eleven counties contain 84 percent of the state’s voters, but Arapahoe County will get the most attention.  It voted for G.W. Bush in 2000 and 2004, but Barack Obama carried it by 9 points, his state average, in 2008.  It has three targeted legislative races, a down to wire congressional race and is likely the linchpin of the state presidential race.

On election night, Democrats must carry large majorities in their three largest counties of Boulder, Denver and Pueblo.  Similarly, Republicans need big votes in Douglas, El Paso, Mesa and Weld counties.  The two swing counties of Arapahoe and Jefferson will likely decide the winner, which is why the candidates most frequently visited them, especially the last couple of weeks.

Also, Larimer County tends to lean Republican as Adams does Democrat.  By how much in a close election will help determine the winner.

Small counties that lean Republican are Broomfield (33,000 registered voters), Fremont (21,000), Garfield (25,000) and Montrose (21,000). Democratic counties are Eagle (24,000) and La Plata (30,000). These six counties, the next largest after the top eleven, have 154,000 registered voters, which gives them a political clout slightly greater than Weld County (123,000).

Monday, November 5, 2012

Millions Spent on Colorado TV

The two presidential campaigns have been spending one million dollars a day in the Denver television market for advertisements.

More than $35 million has been spent since the end of September and $75 million spent before that, beginning with the commencement of major time purchases in April.

A part of the time purchases, beginning in September and especially October, has been congressional races, much of which is purchased by independent groups, including party committees.  Democrats have been most supportive of Joe Miklosi in the 7th CD and Ed Perlmutter in the 6th CD.  Republican outside money has been spent defending Scott Tipton in the 3rd CD.

See 9 News:  A million dollars in campaign ads haunt Denver

Friday, November 2, 2012

Republicans Ahead by 36,000 Colorado Votes: 1,305,000 Mailed Back Thursday

Two-thirds of the expected mail-in vote arrived at county clerk offices on Thursday, Nov. 1.  The expected total vote is about 2,700,000, and mail-in voting should be 70 percent of the total.

The county-level returns indicate a close election.  Toss-up counties are producing narrow wins for Republicans.

Three counties are providing the parties the highest percentage of partisan advantage in returns.  Boulder Democrats’ advantage over Republicans is now 28 percent of the county total and Denver Democrats are 38 percent.  Douglas is the top achiever for Republicans with 31 percent Republican returns mailed than Democrats.

Major Upset? Final Polls vs. Results

If Mitt Romney wins the presidential election, it will be a major upset. Polling and the Washington-based political establishment believe President Obama will win a sufficient, if modest, majority in the Electoral College and eke out a bare win in the popular vote.

As the final battleground map shows, out of the nine identified battleground states, Romney only wins three (red).

And, polling shows his effort to expand into Pennsylvania, Michigan and Minnesota does not, as of Friday before the election, show success in moving the numbers (light blue).

If Obama carries all the states he’s ahead in as of November 2, he will win with 290 electoral votes to Romney’s 248 votes.

Latest Colorado Polls Lean Toward Obama

The latest polls, both automated and multi-day live interviewers, appear to show Barack Obama has recovered from the month-long post-debate slump and is now one to three points ahead of Mitt Romney in Colorado.

The latest polls are:

Real Clear Politics places the average at 0.9 percent for Obama. 
As of Friday, Nov. 2, more than 1.5 million, or 70 percent, of the mail-back absentee vote has been returned.  The final push is on.  More than 750,000 voters can be expected on Election Day.

Romney and Obama Tied Across Country; Colorado’s Nine Electorate Votes in Play

As the campaign enters the last weekend, Mitt Romney surrendered his slight national lead to a tie with President Obama (0.3 for Obama in Real Clear Politics average), according to tracking and stand-alone polls.  The President continues to have leads in sufficient states to pass 270 electoral votes, but not by much.

The current Real Clear Politics battleground state average has Obama winning Colorado, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.  Romney wins Florida, North Carolina and Virginia.  Real Clear Politics awards Obama 290 electoral votes as of November 2.

At the moment, the polling average has Obama ahead by 0.9 of a point in Colorado.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

NBC News Poll Shows Colorado Race Tied; Gender Gap and Independent Voters

Most recent NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Marist poll has Colorado tied between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney.  There is a 15-point difference on gender, but Romney wins the gap by one point.  He has 8 percentage points more support among men to Obama’s 7 point-advantage among women.

Romney is winning independent voters by 5 points and White voters by 9.  Obama’s two large pockets of support are voters under 30 years old, he win by 22 points, and he sweeps Hispanic voters by 31 percentage points.

Romney Wins Popular Vote; Obama Wins Electoral College

Although the national popular vote is now tied, during the last few weeks the polling results available have shown Mitt Romney would win the popular vote by about one percent, or approximately one million votes.  But, state-by-state polls would award the Electoral College majority to President Barack Obama.

As shown in the chart below, Romney would win the popular vote by 1,350,000, but Obama would win the electoral vote with 290, or 20 more than needed.

Hence, twelve years after the disputed and still controversial 2000 election that put Texas Governor George Bush in the White House with 271 electoral votes after Vice President Al Gore won the popular vote by 540,000, a U.S. election would be in a similar position.

Of course, the current polls, either national or at the state-by-state level, may not be accurately capturing the voters’ actions (early vote) or intentions (voting Nov. 6) or the popular vote may line up over the next five days with a sufficient number of states to award a unified victory to either Romney or Obama.  But if it doesn’t, it will produce a political crisis with significant short-and long-term impacts, including:
  • Electoral College.  A crisis of legitimacy for the Electoral College, which has little public support.  Liberals don’t support it and conservatives would be unlikely to defend it.
  • Presidency.  A weakened Barack Obama who with barely 50 percent approval going into the election comes out even weaker.
  • Polarization.  An electorate that is polarized on every aspect of its choice for national leaders and approach to top issues; i.e., robust government vs. austere government.
  • Gridlock.  Washington remaining in the gridlock that has characterized much of the last four years, especially on national financial decisions.

Sandy’s Impact Significant, But Uncertain

Hurricane Sandy definitely affected the presidential election, but who it’s helping or hurting is uncertain.

Turnout:  The storm delayed and discouraged some voting in eastern states.  It’s not clear which candidate will be most affected.  There are concentrations of Republicans in Virginia that could be discouraged and Democrats in Philadelphia.

Both campaigns have powerful turnout machines that will no doubt be back in operation by the weekend – and, of course, they are working non-stop outside the northeast.

Topics:  Sandy now dominates conversation and the news.  Romney would prefer to talk about the economy, but he is doing rallies dedicated to raising funds for victims and offering comfort. Both candidates have dropped the attacks in their stump speeches, but the ads continue.

Schedules:  The schedules of both campaigns have been diverted. Coastal visits were moved to the Midwest and the President is staying in the East.

Bill Clinton represented the President in Colorado, which may be a win for Obama.  Clinton is a new face, the most popular Democrat in the country and is less polarizing than the President.

President:  In general, there is a rally affect in support of political executives in crises.  The storm allows the President to be presidential by directing relief efforts, offering aid and afterwards thanking brave first responders.

He’s able to be bi-partisan and work with Republican governors and mayors coordinating aid.  Republican Governor Chris Christie praised the President and toured damaged areas in New Jersey with him.

See 9News: Nature slams presidential campaigns into real world