Friday, March 30, 2012

Bad News for Republicans

The Republican Party in the United States, which has spent the last three-and-a-half years hoping the country did poorly, so President Obama would look bad, got a cold kick in the jaw today.

The Dow Jones Industrials and Standard & Poor's stock indices concluded the best quarter in 14 years and the Nasdaq average posted its best quarter in 21 years, all signs of a economy poised to surge.

The Dow gained 8.1%, or nearly 1,000 points since January, while the S&P 500 advanced 12% and the Nasdaq rose 19%. The stock market is usually a good indicator of future economic health.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

House Passes GOP Budget Bill

The GOP budget plan calls for lowering taxes on the rich, raising taxes on the poor and dropping the corporation tax from 35% to 25%. The plan would make up for the lower revenue by cutting spending on Medicare.

Republicans Vote to Keep Big Oil Subsidy

At a time when oil companies are raking in billions if not trillions of dollars in profits created by their representatives who have bid up the price of oil on the exchange, Republicans in the United States Senate voted to keep subsidizing those same oil companies.

Continued Strength in Labor Market Fuels Economy

Don't look now, but the economy is beginning to surge. The number of people filing for unemployment benefits once again set a four-year low last week.

The Labor Department reported that, in a country of 300 million, 359,000 people filed for initial claims, down from the previous four-year low of 364,000 set last week.

Many economists see the four-week moving average as a better indicator of the health of the job market.  That average fell to 365,000, also a four-year low, confirming the weekly drop.

There has been a net gain of 245,000 jobs per month for the last three months, the best three-month increase in five years.  The unemployment rate has come down sharply from 9% to 8.3% in just five months.

The Business Roundtable, a group consisting of the CEO's of the nation's major companies, said that 42% expect to add workers in the next six months, another healthy sign of a growing economy.

For those that say, "Yeah, but the jobs are low-paying jobs", it is good that they are finally waking up to the value of Union jobs.  Unions fight for you and against your employer.  Without them, you're on your own and can be laid off merely because your boss doesn't like you.  The truth is if you want a high-paying job with great benefits, you need to form a Union with other like-minded employees.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

D.C., Maryland & Wisconsin Next in GOP Presidential Race

The District of Columbia, Maryland and Wisconsin are next in the Republican race for the White House.  Mitt Romney is expected to win all three and if he does, would make it very tough on challenger Rick Santorum.

Looking more and more like we will have a race between two candidates who think a lot alike.

Obama Leads Republican Candidates By Huge Margin

A brand new CNN poll of registered voters indicates that President Obama would handily defeat either Mitt Romney or Rick Santorum if the election were held today. Obama would receive 54% of the vote compared to 43% for Romney, representing a six-point swing since just last month as voters hear more about the GOP candidates. Santorum fared worse, losing to Obama 55-42%.

Just 35% of independents have a favorable view of Romney, and of course are the key to November's election.  Favorable ratings also show a big advantage for Obama. 48% of Americans have a favorable view of the Democratic party while the Republican party gets 35% favorable ratings and nearly six in ten Americans say they have an unfavorable view of the GOP, one of their lowest ratings since the Great Depression.  In fact, the last time the GOP was as high as the Democrats' current ratings was in 2008, the year Obama was elected President.  The fact that they have dropped 13% in four years does not bode well, either in the race for the president or for this year's Congressional races.

56% of Americans blame George W. Bush and the Republicans for the country's economic problems, compared to 29% that blame Obama and the Democrats.

Expect the Health Care Bill to Be Repealed

Supporters of the American health care law should have no illusions:  The Supreme Court is stacked with people who only think one way--it is "their way or the highway".  The "debate" over the health care reform law is not a debate at all, but a circus.  The Court will either throw out the entire bill or at least the mandate.

Actually it is the mandate that is the fairest part of the entire law.  Americans are under the misconception that the health care bill is socialism when nothing could be farther from the truth.  What we have now in the United States is socialized medicine--those who cannot afford health care can under the existing system that has been in place for decades go to an emergency room and get free health care, while that cost is subsidized by the rest of us in the form of higher costs for health insurance.  That is socialism.  What the new law does is force everyone to pay their fair share rather than being bailed out by the rest of us.  This point for some strange reason isn't being made.

In any case, the Court will overturn this law and we'll be back in the mess we were in before.  If they only throw out the mandate, which of course is the key part in ending socialized medicine, then the deficit will go up even higher as a result of the Court's decision.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Santorum Wins Big in Louisiana

Rick Santorum won a convincing win over Mitt Romney in Louisiana tonight, earning nearly 50% of the vote.  Just one in four voters (26%) supported Romney.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Santorum Says to Pick Obama Over Romney

GOP presidential hopeful Rick Santorum has given the word to his supporters.  If Mitt Romney wins the Republican primary, Santorum says, they should vote for Obama.  You heard it from Rick!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Jobless Claims Hit Four-Year Low

Jobless claims in the United States hit a four-year low.

There are serious implications of this morning's data.  In simple terms, it means the last time jobless claims were higher than this, it was during the George W. Bush presidency.  In fact, employers have now added more than 200,000 jobs every month since December.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Obama Widens Lead Over Romney

President Obama's edge over Mitt Romney has increased to 4.5 points, according to an average of national polls.  That's the good news for Romney.

The bad news is that a couple of skewed polls taken by Republican pollsters makes the race seem closer than it is.  If you take out those two polls, the margin increased to 6.5 points.  One poll has the margin at 12. 

And, while Romney and all his mates in the race have taken shots at Obama 24/7, the criticism of Romney hasn't begun.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Abortion Wins in Illinois

Abortion rights were the big winner in Illinois, as voters supported Mitt Romney 47-35% over Rick Santorum.  Ron Paul garnered just 9% and Newt Gingrich 8% as the GOP seems to have collectively decided that this is a two-person race.

The real winner, though, is President Obama.  Given that Romney feels the same way that Obama does on abortion and health care, why should the voters go with someone different?  No-brainer.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Attention Turns to Illinois

The GOP race for the presidential nomination makes its next stop at Illinois tomorrow.  Rick Santorum has the momentum, and if Mitt Romney has any hope of coming out of the nomination process with anything resembling support from his own party, he needs to win Illinois. Why?

Because the next state up is Louisiana, one that almost assuredly will go to Santorum.

As usual, Politics Simplified will have complete coverage of the results tomorrow.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Romney Wins Hawai'i

Mitt Romney was able to win Hawai'i last night, taking some of the sting out of the two losses in the South.  He received 45% to slaughter Rick Santorum, who had just 25%.  Ron Paul gathered 18% while Newt Gingrich finished last with 11%.

Santorum, who got a late start in terms of winning support, has been dominating as of late, but still trails in the delegate hunt.  Romney has 466 delegates to 234 for Santorum.  Romney has won some states by narrow margins but received all the delegates due to the mixed-up system for Republican delegates.  1,144 delegates are needed to clinch the nomination.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

NASDAQ has highest finish since 2000

The Nasdaq average joined the Dow Jones and S&P, which both had achieved this, the highest finish since Bill Clinton was president.  The Nasdaq finished at 3099.88 today.  Boy, if you're not in the stock market this year, what were you thinking?

Santorum Wins Both Alabama and Mississippi

Mitt Romney's presidential hopes were dealt a big blow today when the GOP front-runner lost both big Southern states today.  He may win the nomination, but he doesn't have conservative support (likely because of his support for abortion and Obama's health care plan) and he doesn't have the Southern vote, a prerequisite if a Republican is going to win office.

Rick Santorum won 35% in Alabama, a decisive victory over both Newt Gingrich (who is, of course, from the South) and Romney, both whom garnered 29%.

Romney was further embarrassed in Mississippi, where not only Santorum (33%) but also Gingrich (31%) beat him.  Romney had just 30% support in Mississippi.

Hawai'i and American Samoa are still to come, places in which Democrats dominate but nevertheless still have a voice in deciding which Republican will get the nod.  

Santorum Leading Mississippi

It's a close race in Mississippi, and in this one, we have 35% of the vote in already.  

Rick Santorum has 33% to 31% for Newt Gingrich and 30% for Mitt Romney.  

Shocker: Mitt Romney in Third in Alabama

We heard that "beating Obama" was one of the key factors to voters in Alabama.  And yet the one who has the best chance, Mitt Romney, is in third, at least at the moment.

Rick Santorum has 34% to 29% for Newt Gingrich and just 28% for Mitt Romney.  

Just 6% reporting so we'll see where it goes from here.

Key Contests Today in Mississippi and Alabama

We don't know if today will make the race any clearer, or cause one or more of the candidates to withdraw from the Grand Oil Party race for president.  But today, Republican voters vote in primaries in American Samoa, Hawai'i, Mississippi and Alabama.  

If Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul do not win today but stay in the race, supporters of Rick Santorum will be upset.  They could be the only reason Santorum hasn't won majorities in recent states and the two men keeping Santorum from a clear shot at the nomination.  If Mitt Romney wins one or both, he will continue on the road to the nomination.  Romney looks better in a hypothetical race against President Obama, but all polls show that he too would lose.

We'll have results tonight.  

Federal Reserve Upbeat on U.S. Economy

This month's Federal Reserve report is a rosy one for the United States.  The Fed says the job market has improved, the economy is on an uptick and inflation is under control despite rising gas prices.  As we have stated several times on this site, everyone knew the gas prices would rise as Republican oil speculators would bid the price up in the hopes of hurting Obama.  What would be really funny is that, after purchasing oil, the speculators get stuck with it as it takes a nose dive.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Up to Date Presidential Polls

President Obama continues to lead the top two Republican challengers.  Obama leads Romney 49-45 before he will get a chance to blast his record once the General Election gets underway.  Obama leads Rick Santorum 50-44.  Those two have had three-and-a-half years to criticize Obama and generally these early polls tend to favor the challenger.

Rick Santorum Slaughters Romney in Kansas

Yet another state rejected Mitt Romney yesterday as Kansas threw its support behind Rick Santorum. The former Pennsylvania Senator garnered a whopping 51% of the votes in the Kansas primary, dwarfing Romney, who had 21%. Newt Gingrich weighed in at 14% support while Ron Paul had 13%.

Santorum received 51% of the votes, according to a Kansas Republican Party initial count. Romney was second with 21%, followed by Newt Gingrich at 14% and Ron Paul at 13%. The vote came on the heels of big Santorum wins on Super Tuesday and set him up well for Tuesday's primaries in Mississippi and Alabama.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

16 Million Jobs Have Been Saved Under Obama

President Obama went from having job losses of 10 million a year (800,000 jobs lost per month) to job gains of 1 million per year as a result of the job stimulus bill, to now 2-3 million jobs created per year.  That is a net gain of 11 million jobs after the stimulus bill and 16 million total while Republicans did not participate in any bill to help the jobs situation in America.  

That no doubt is a bitter pill for Republicans to swallow.  They thought the job stimulus bill would not help the economy and thus voted against it.  Now they have to run this November on the slogan "We did nothing to help".  Not an easy sell.

More Good Economic News in the United States

It wasn't that long ago we had net job losses in the United States.  In February, a short month, 216,000 jobs were created and not lost.

Summary of Super Tuesday

Mitt Romney won six states on Super Tuesday but in answer to Politics Simplified's question "Can Romney Seal the Deal?", the answer was clearly no.

Romney was able to win Ohio, a state of over 11 million people, by a grand total of 12,000 votes, with 96% of the precincts reporting.  Even more telling, with approximately five million Republicans, 3.8 million of those voters chose not to vote for any of the four candidates.  That was a theme common to all ten states--very low turnout for the GOP primary.

Romney was also able to win Alaska, Idaho, Massachusetts (where he was Governor), Vermont and Virginia, but Santorum's strength in the South and among conservative voters indicated this will be a long race and not a short one.  With most of the votes counted, it is estimated that Romney picked up 197 delegates to 59 for Santorum.  That in and of itself is a bone of contention.

In a race in which the two candidates were nearly even, the ridiculous "winner take all" format in some states and lopsided distribution of delegates in others, means that Santorum wound up with the short end of the stick.  With vast differences between the two candidates' positions on emotional issues such as abortion (as evidenced by the conservative vote), that is no doubt going to make Santorum's supporters furious.

Newt Gingrich was able to win his home state of Georgia with Romney finishing second and Santorum a disappointing third.  Gingrich earned 67 delegates while Ron Paul received 32 delegates yesterday.  Thus Romney won over half of the delegates even though there were only two states (Massachusetts and Vermont) in which he captured over 50% of the vote.  

And so the campaign marches on.  Here are the estimated vote totals from yesterday:

Romney 4,285 (32%)  8 delegates
Santorum 3,860 (29%) 7 delegates
Paul 3,175 (24%) 6 delegates
Gingrich 1,865 (14% 3 delegates

(99% reporting)

Gingrich 417,364 (47%) 42 delegates
Romney 225, 926 (26%) 10 delegates
Santorum 172, (20%) 0 delegates
Paul 57, 125 (6%) 0 delegates

(98% reporting)

Romney 27, 514 (62%) 32 delegates
Santorum 8,115 (18%)
Paul 8,086 (8,086) 18 delegates
Gingrich 940 (2%) 0 delegates

(89% reporting)

Romney 260,509 (72%) 38 delegates
Santorum 43, 614 (12%) 0 delegates
Paul 34, 575 (10%) 0 delegates
Gingrich 16,756 (5%) 0 delegates

(99% reporting)

North Dakota:
Santorum 4,510 (40%) 11 delegates
Paul 3,186 (28%) 8 delegates
Romney 2,691 (24%) 7 delegates
Gingrich 962 (8%) 2 delegates

(76% reporting)

Romney 453,927 (38%) 26 delegates
Santorum 441,908 (37%) 19 delegates
Gingrich 174, 606 (15%) 0 delegates
Paul 110, 633 (9%) 0 delegates

(96% reporting)

Santorum 96,759 (34%) 14 delegates
Romney 80,291 (28%) 13 delegates
Gingrich 78,686 (27%) 13 delegates
Paul 27,572 (10%) 0 delegates

(99% reporting)

Santorum 204,978 (37%) 25 delegates
Romney 153,889 (28%) 12 delegates
Gingrich 132,142 (24%) 7 delegates
Paul 49,782 (9%) 0 delegates

(96% reporting)

Romney 22,533 (40%) 8 delegates
Paul 14,407 (25%) 3 delegates
Santorum 13,401 (24%) 3 delegates
Gingrich 4,608 (8%) 0 delegates

(99% reporting)

Romney 158,050 (60%) 43 delegates
Paul 107,470 (40%) 3 delegates

(99% reporting)

Romney Wins Alaska, but Just Barely

Mitt Romney won Alaska's caucuses, but by the slim margin of 32-29% over Rick Santorum, whose campaign is clearly gaining momentum.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Romney Wins Ohio by 12,000 Votes

In a state of over 11 million people, Mitt Romney, the GOP front-runner to this point, has defeated Rick Santorum by about 12,000 votes.

Romney Pulls 5,000 Ahead in Ohio

The late vote is going the way I thought it would.  Many Democrats are voting in the GOP primary to try to extend the Santorum can call today "a wash".  He had hoped to make big inroads but the states he has won aren't going to give him a lot of delegates.  It appears the Republican party leaders are getting their way rather than the voters.

Low Turnout for Republicans

One common theme among the 10 states having primaries or caucuses tonight on Super Tuesday:  low turnout.

This no doubt reflects the voters' frustration with the Republican candidates.  They don't feel like they connect with any of them and would rather stay home than go and vote for them.  In Oklahoma for example, usually a big Republican state, just over 260,000 of them voted.

In Ohio, a state that has over 11 million people, the four Republican candidates will get just over one million combined votes.  If Republicans make up half of the state, that means that nearly four million of them voted not to vote for any of the four.

Santorum Lead Down to 2,000 in Ohio

Romney is catching up, as I predicted.  Will it be enough?  He now trails Rick Santorum by 2,000 in Ohio.  Neither candidate is getting a ringing endorsement.

Romney Closing in Ohio

Mitt Romney could save himself if he can rally to win Ohio.  Knowing the way the state is spread out and how the votes come in, if I had to guess I would say Romney wins.  It will at least be very tight.  He is 5,500 votes behind with 80% counted.

Santorum Wins North Dakota

Don't look now, but Democrats could win in a landslide.  If the GOP picks Santorum, as it is looking more and more like they will, the Democrats could score huge advantages in the House, the Senate and Obama could win easily.

Santorum Leads Romney 38-36% in Ohio

Now the count is up to 60%.  Still way too close to call, especially considering the importance of the state.  The loser's camp is not going to be happy.  The GOP seems to be split about right down the middle.

Neck and Neck in Ohio

Santorum leads Romney 39 to 36% in Ohio with 45% of the vote counted.  This will likely go late in the night, but the winner will have the favorite's role attached to them, especially since Romney only has 3 of the 10 states so far.

Republicans Have a Funny Way of Allocating Delegates

As of now, Mitt Romney has 266 delegates, more than half the amount awarded.  Yet, by all measures, Rick Santorum is even with him in national polls.  So not only does Santorum not get the same number of delegates as Romney, but Romney gets over 50%.  This winner-take-all stuff is a great disservice to Santorum and if I'm a Santorum backer, I'd be pissed.

Republican Oil Companies Trying to Sway Election, As Usual

It's pretty much a given that Republican-backed oil companies will do their darndest to influence presidential elections.  Like clockwork, if a Republican is in the White House, prices will come down before the election and conversely, if a Democrat is in power, prices will go up.

So they think that by having their people speculate the price of oil up that Obama will lose.  What they don't realize is that everyone knows their game by now and certainly aren't going to make changes in who they vote for based on what the price of oil does.  We know the price is going up and the economy is going to suffer.

We also know that it is the oil companies to blame for the bad economy, and not the president.  Now if the price of oil went down and we still had a bad economy, then the oil companies might have a case.  But it's not and thus they don't.

Santorum Has Won Oklahoma

Rick Santorum has won Oklahoma, with 34% of the vote to 27% for Romney.  They're still counting, but Santorum has pulled far enough ahead to move it to his column.  And now Gingrich has pulled even with Romney, pretty embarrassing for Mitt.

Santorum Wins Tennessee

A lopsided win for Santorum here with 44% to 28% for Romney.  

The GOP is in a quandary here--Romney is the candidate that gives them the best chance to beat Obama, but they aren't exactly endorsing him.

Romney and Santorum tied in Ohio

38-38 with 14% reporting.  This is a state that Romney has to win to keep the "front-runner" label.

Tennessee GOP Primary

Rick Santorum is the surprising leader in Tennessee as voters continue to reject Mitt Romney.

Just 7% counted so far, but that's enough to give us an indication of how the vote is going to go.  Santorum with 44% to 29% for Romney, and Gingrich is closer to Romney than Romney is to Santorum with 18%.

Gingrich Has Won Georgia

In a blow to front-runner Mitt Romney and challenger Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich has won his home state of Georgia, something he pretty much had to do to stay in the race.  But that causes more headaches for the top two. 

Gingrich received 47% of the vote in Georgia and more importantly, Santorum finished ahead of Romney with 24% to 23%.  GOP voters still struggling with Romney's support of abortion and Obama's health care plan.  

Romney has won his state of Massachusetts as well as Virginia and Vermont.  

Six states are still up for grabs.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Can Romney Close the Deal?

Republican voters in ten states will decide their choice for the GOP nominee tomorrow, the so-called "Super Tuesday".  Generally, Super Tuesday has gone a long way towards deciding the nominee; hence the reason states try to schedule their primaries on that day.

This year, it isn't expected to decide the race and may complicate it.  Front-runner Mitt Romney has had trouble winning over conservatives, whose support is vital to strong turnout on Election Day.  Romney has been struggling in Southern states, especially.  Meanwhile, Newt Gingrich, the former Speaker of the House, is just hoping for a win.  He has all but said if he doesn't win his home state of Georgia, his campaign is in trouble.

There are 437 delegates at stake Tuesday, a significant portion of the 2,286 total.  Ohio, Tennessee, Oklahoma, Virginia, Massachusetts, Georgia, Idaho, Vermont, North Dakota and Alaska are the 10 states where all the attention will be.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Positive Economic Data Fueling Stock Market Rally

As the stock market rises to levels not seen in 4-5 years, good economic news continues to fuel the rally.

Today, initial job claims fell to 351,000, lower than expected, incomes of the average American rose .3% last month, the auto industry is reporting its best sales since 2008 and same-store sales at retailers grew 4.7%.

If that doesn't apply to you, better change 1)  your resume, 2) your job, 3) your car and 4) your manager.

Romney Wins Wyoming

What's good to see is the trend towards Romney, exposing all the hullaballoo over President Obama's health care plan to be the farce that it was.

The architect of most of the measures behind Obama's health care plan, Mitt Romney, has now won three states in a row in the GOP primaries for president. The Wyoming caucuses concluded last night and Romney won 39% of the vote to 33% for Rick Santorum, 20% for Ron Paul and Newt Gingrich registered with 8% support.

Romney will win an estimated 10 delegates from the state to nine for Santorum, six for Paul and one for Gingrich.