Missouri Senate Exit Poll: Akin’s Comments Did Him In, Missourians Still Worried About Economy
November 7, 2012

Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill won a second term, defeating embattled GOP challenger Todd Akin. Here’s a look at voters’ views of Tuesday’s elections, according to an exit poll conducted in Missouri for The Associated Press:


There’s no doubt about it: Akin’s remark that women’s bodies have a way of preventing pregnancy after “legitimate rape” turned off many Missourians, bolstering the case that it sunk the Republican’s chances. Nearly two-thirds of voters said that, at the very least, they gave the comment some consideration in the voting booth – and those who did overwhelmingly sided with McCaskill by a rate of almost three to one. Close to 70 percent of women said Akin’s remark on rape and abortion in an August television interview was important to their decision, and Akin couldn’t get the majority of men to look past that race-turning moment, either.


Women didn’t carry McCaskill to victory on their own, but they did the heavy lifting. McCaskill outperformed Akin nearly three to two among women, who supported her in slightly higher numbers than in 2006. The Democrat’s comfortable edge among women was propelled by those 18-44 who overwhelmingly lined up behind the first-term incumbent, as did a clear majority of middle-aged women who made up the bulk of female voters. Akin offset some of these losses by holding his ground among women 65 and older and white women overall. Black women, however, backed McCaskill almost exclusively – 97 percent, according to polling data.


Aside from being more likely to look past Akin’s comment, men backed Akin in stronger numbers than women, especially those 65 and older. Still, the best Akin could muster was essentially a draw with McCaskill for the entire male vote.


The biggest inroads McCaskill made since her first run six years ago? Young voters. She benefited from a nearly 20-point swing among voters 29 and under who turned out for her this time after fighting for an even share of that voting bloc in 2006.


The “legitimate rape” comment put a spotlight on abortion in Missouri, and voters were almost evenly split between pro-choice and anti-abortion views. Akin predictably fared well among abortion opponents – better than six in 10 broke his way – but not as well as McCaskill did among those who feel abortion should be legal in most or all cases. They lined up better than 70 percent behind McCaskill, who seized on Akin’s comments after once being considered among the most vulnerable members in Congress. Those most unequivocal on the issue – that it should be legal in all instances, or prohibited no matter the circumstance – made up the smallest numbers.


If McCaskill and the Democrats had counted on an anti-Akin vote because of his comments to win this election, that’s not what did it for them. Only about one in eight of McCaskill’s voters said they chose her because they disliked Akin. About half of both McCaskill’s and Akin’s supporters said they strongly backed their candidate without reservations.


Beyond Missouri politics, the economy was weighing most on the minds of voters by far. Health care and the deficit was a distant second when it came to the most pressing issues facing the country. Unemployment in Missouri is just under 7 percent and below the national average. Few gave the economy even adequate marks: nearly half said it wasn’t doing so good, and one-third held an even bleaker view, rating the economy in poor shape.

The exit poll of 2,103 Missouri voters was conducted for AP by Edison Research in a random sample of 35 precincts statewide. Results were subject to sampling error of plus or minus 4 percentage points; it is higher for subgroups.

Jobless Rate at 7.8% in September
October 5, 2012

The economy added 114,000 jobs in September, meeting analysts’ predictions and pushing unemployment down to 7.8 percent, the Labor Department reported Friday.
The better-than-expected unemployment number is a bit of a reprieve for President Barack Obama, as a recent string of disappointing jobs reports — and accompanying criticism from Republicans — had put the president on the defensive. But the economy remains a sticking point for Obama’s reelection efforts, as 12.1 million people remain unemployed.
The Friday figure met most mainstream forecasts for September jobs growth, with most analysts’ predictions hovering around 115,000.
The economy typically requires between 100,000 and 125,000 new jobs per month to keep pace with new workers entering the labor market, but those numbers can fluctuate as people either resume or give up their search for employment.
Labor also revised its August jobs figure to 142,000 up from its initial figure of 96,000 jobs. The department released a final July figure of 181,000 up from its previous estimate of 141,000 jobs.

Read more: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/1012/82068.html#ixzz28Qdvspt9

Unemployment Rate Rises to 8.3%
August 3, 2012

WASHINGTON (AP) – U.S. employers added 163,000 jobs in July, a hopeful sign after three months of sluggish hiring.

The Labor Department said Friday that the unemployment rate rose to 8.3 percent from 8.2 percent in June.

July’s hiring was the best since February. Still, the economy has added an average of 151,000 jobs a month this year – enough to keep up with population growth but not enough to drive down the unemployment rate.

“After a string of disappointing economic reports … we’ll certainly take it,” said James Marple, senior economist at TD Economics.

Stocks rose sharply in early trading. The Dow Jones industrial average added 165 points to 13,044, while the broader Standard & Poor’s 500 index rose 18 points to 1,383.

The government uses two surveys to measure employment. A survey of businesses showed job gains. The unemployment rate comes from a survey of households and is calculated by dividing the number of unemployed people by the size of the labor force. In July, more people said they were unemployed, while the size of the labor force shrank even more.

Economists say the business survey is more reliable.

Investors appeared pleased with the report. Futures tracking the Standard & Poor’s 500 index and the Dow Jones industrial average gained about 1 percent. The stock market is coming off four days of losses. Yields on government bonds also rose as investors moved money out of low-risk assets.

Stronger job creation could help President Barack Obama’s re-election hopes. Still, the unemployment rate has been above 8 percent since his first month in office – the longest stretch on record. No president since World War II has faced re-election with unemployment over 8 percent.

A better outlook on hiring could make the Federal Reserve reluctant to take more action to spur growth. The Fed, which ended a two-day policy meeting Wednesday, signaled in a statement a growing inclination to take further steps if hiring doesn’t pick up.

But some economists say the job gains need to be greater.

Paul Ashworth, senior U.S. economist for Capital Economics, said July’s job gains were a “vast improvement” over the past four months. Still, they were well below the average 252,000 jobs a month added from December through February.

“It also isn’t strong enough to drive the unemployment rate lower, which is what the Fed really wants to see. So, on balance, we doubt this would be enough to persuade the Fed to hold fire in September,” Ashworth said.

The job gains were broad-based. Manufacturing added 25,000 jobs, the most since March. Restaurants and bars added 29,000. Retailers hired 7,000 more workers. Education and health services gained 38,000. Governments cut 9,000 positions.

Average hourly wages also increased by 2 cents. Over the past year wages have increased 1.7 percent – matching the rate of inflation.

Despite July’s gains, the economy remains weak more than three years after economists declared the recession had ended in June 2009. Growth slowed to an annual rate of 1.5 percent in the April-June quarter, down from 2 percent in the first quarter and 4.1 percent in the final three months of 2011.

Manufacturing activity shrank for the second straight month in July, a private survey said Wednesday. Consumer confidence improved slightly last month but remains weak.

Rising pessimism about the future is taking a toll on businesses and consumers, many economists say. Europe’s financial crisis has weakened that region’s economy, hurting U.S. exports. Worries have also intensified that the U.S. economy will fall off a “fiscal cliff” at the end of the year. That’s when tax increases and deep spending cuts will take effect unless Congress reaches a budget deal. A recession could follow, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke has warned.

Americans are responding by spending less and saving more. A big reason growth slowed in the second quarter was that consumer spending, which accounts for roughly 70 percent of economic activity, slowed to an annual growth rate of 1.5 percent. That was down from 2.4 percent in the first quarter.

AP Mobile

Super Tuesday, 10 States, 10 Things to Watch For
March 6, 2012

Politico’s 10 things to watch for as the Super Tuesday vote rolls in:
“1) Who wins Ohio?
With its big delegate pile, Rust Belt character and general election significance, this is the major prize of the night — and it’s coming down to the wire, with four polls heading into today showing the state essentially tied.
In terms of delegates, Mitt Romney won’t be badly hurt by a loss since Rick Santorum is essentially forfeiting as many as 18 delegates in Ohio, thanks to incomplete slates in various congressional districts. But Santorum badly needs a win there to regain the momentum he lost when Romney won Michigan last week.
The momentum trend in most Ohio polls has appeared to be in Romney’s favor, and he has an edge in early voting — though not as huge an edge as he had in states like Florida and Arizona.
It’s also an open primary, and one in which Democrats and unions have been trying to put their thumbs on the scale, as they did in Michigan.

2) Can Romney win a clear majority of states?
Some states are a given for Romney — Massachusetts, Vermont and Virginia among them. Idaho also is viewed as likely to go Romney’s way, thanks in part to a large Mormon population, and also his campaign’s superior organization.
If he takes Ohio, that would make five states. Tennessee is another possibility, albeit much more remote. North Dakota and Alaska are up in the air.
Romney’s campaign has made clear it’s playing for delegates, and Santorum and Newt Gingrich start out at a deficit because they’re not on the ballot in every state that goes to the polls Tuesday.

3) Where can Newt Gingrich come in second?
The polls all show Gingrich cruising toward a victory in Georgia, the state he represented for decades in Congress and the place he has repeatedly singled out as a test of his candidacy.
So the question for the former House speaker is, assuming he doesn’t score surprise victories in either Tennessee or Oklahoma, where he can come in second, and by how close a margin?
Oklahoma and Tennessee give him a shot.

4) Can Santorum win the Catholic vote?
Of the four candidates left in the GOP field, Santorum is the best known for talking about his faith, even as he chides the media for trying to pigeonhole him as a narrow candidate.
Yet identity politics have not appeared to boost Santorum, who has talked frequently about his Catholic upbringing but — according to exit polls — has lost the Catholic vote in every primary.

5) Can Romney make inroads with lower-than-$50,000 income earners?
This has been a problem for Romney in a number of races — a class divide between his supporters and those backing Santorum and Gingrich.
Romney has struggled with lower-income earners and working-class voters, people whose support he will need in the fall in a tight race against President Obama if he is the nominee.

6) How will women vote?
The culture wars have been on full display over the past two weeks, and Santorum has found himself wandering away from his economic message and into some rhetorically charged discussions about faith, contraception and other issues.
This is not a debate that the GOP establishment generally wants to have right now, and it has pulled Romney further to the right.
How either man fares with women voters will be important to watch.

7) Will Ron Paul finally win a state?
For all the hoopla about his delegate-slog strategy, and how he was playing a different game than the rest of the field, it’s safe to say that Paul’s caucus-centric strategy has not yet yielded the results he’d hoped for.
Tuesday gives him a few chances — Idaho, Alaska and North Dakota offer him some of his best opportunities. The latter seems like his best shot, since it’s open to all voters and it’s the state where the Texas congressman is holding his election night party.
But with minimal delegates amassed and a public perception that he’s sticking around to land some punches on the Romney rivals vying to emerge as the conservative alternative, how much longer will Paul be able to capture attention if he can’t score a win?

8) How many states produce a winner by majority, instead of plurality?
The fractured, multi-candidate GOP field has produced a string of plurality victories this cycle, with 40 percent tending to serve as the magic number given the divide among conservatives.
That is likely to change tonight in Massachusetts, where Romney is dominating in his home state, and in Virginia, where neither Gingrich nor Santorum is on the ballot and polls show Romney beating Paul by almost 50 points.

9) Where do evangelical voters go?
Oklahoma and Tennessee are both conservative states with large evangelical populations, making them the likeliest to favor Santorum.
Yet Romney is going to have to start performing better with evangelical voters, or questions will persist about whether that important swath of the electorate will turn out in the fall. Many of these voters are deeply conservative, and they remain wary of Romney over issues like abortion..

10) Will the turnout beat 2008 levels?
This is a lingering narrative, one that began in Iowa and has continued through much of the cycle so far— the reduced number of voters in some of the primaries and caucuses. A number of analysts have suggested it’s clear evidence of an enthusiasm gap — an idea that seems true in some states but not in others.

Cleaver Invites Gates and Other Black Business Leaders to White House Meeting with Obama
December 16, 2011

Kansas City Congressman and Chairman of the Black Congressional Caucus, Emanuel Cleaver, brought a group of black business leaders to the White House this week to talk about jobs.
Kansas City businessman Ollie Gates of the Gates barbeque restaurant chain and a long-time Cleaver supporter, was in the group.

He suggested changes to bring new interests and incentives for businesses and customers to come back into the urban core.

“The meeting went very well and the President seemed interested in what we all had to say,” Mr. Gates said according to the release.
“While other people in Washington are arguing about what to do concerning this economy and jobs, I appreciate that Congressman Cleaver is going out and trying to get it done.”

Cleaver’s office called the meeting “a first-of-its kind”, to talk about jobs and the economy.
Cleaver’s office says the meeting with the president lasted about 45 minutes.