State of the Race

7:00 a.m. E.T.

Willie Geist and I break down the macro state of Obama-Romney affairs on MSNBC’s “Way Too Early”:

WILLIE GEIST: The national polls, we know it’s not a national referendum but they all tell the same story; it’s tied. But within all these swing states too, it’s two or three points. The President seems to be leading but all within the margin of error. Where is this race one day out?

MARK HALPERIN: All within the margin of error but the Obama campaign has argued from the beginning, and I think with some logic, that they’re stronger in the swing states. They’ve targeted those states from the beginning. They’ve not tried to run up the score so they don’t look at the national number. In those swing states, like in Ohio, they’ve targeted white working-class voters on the auto bailout. In some of the other battleground states they’ve targeted Hispanics and younger voters and African-Americans and women. So, the President’s team has a logic to what they’ve done and until we see the actual results, there’s reason to believe that they’re stronger in the battleground states than they are nationally. So, a one or two point or even status nationally might not be translating into those battleground states, which is what they care about.

WILLIE GEIST: And is that because Mitt Romney is running up the deficit so high in the states he’s going to win anyway. In other words, the national polls are tighter because he’s winning big in his home states.

MARK HALPERIN: In some of these Southern states, I think the President could get, by modern standards, historically low popular vote totals but remember the President is going to do quite well in New York and California and some of the other blue states. So, that’s part of why the national polls may not be that great of an indicator. But remember also these national states, these non-battleground states, haven’t seen the advertising, haven’t seen the campaigning, haven’t seen the targeted messaging and that is where the President’s team has built the kind of operation that they think will allow them to go from tied nationally to a little bit of an advantage.

WILLIE GEIST: It depends which poll you look at but most of them show that Mitt Romney has a lead among independents. If you’re the Romney campaign, is that your reason for optimism tonight and tomorrow?

MARK HALPERIN: Three reasons to be optimistic. One is, in a lot of polls, even where they’re losing or even, they’re doing better with independents. And in a state like Ohio, the candidate who wins independents usually wins. David Axelrod said as much on the show here on “Morning Joe” last week. Two, in some of these polls the President is not at 50 percent, nationally or in the key states. An incumbent below 50 percent — at 47, 48 — you got to think you might lose. You won’t necessarily lose but you might lose. And third is, every reporter who’s been out in the last week with candidates has seen there’s a lot of enthusiasm on the Republican side. I’m not saying there’s not enthusiasm for the President. There is. It’s not at the level of 2008. And there’s no question that there’s enthusiasm for Mitt Romney above what Senator McCain had four years ago.

Watch the video above.

Related Topics: Barack Obama, Mark Halperin, Mitt Romney, MSNBC, Way Too Early, Willie Geist, 2012 Elections, Analysis, Democratic Party, News, Republican Party, The Page, Video

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