President Barack Obama is to accept the Democratic Party’s nomination for President of the United States during tonight’s Democratic National Convention, to be held in Charlotte, N.C.
Although he’ll address the party faithful, it also will be his chance to speak again to the American people as a whole. Will he repeat his 2008 message of hope and change?
Hopefully, he’ll have something substantive to say that goes beyond promises that are hard to keep.
Mitt Romney got a small bump in the polls after the Republican Nation Convention last week, so tonight will be the president’s chance.
According to the Tuesday, Sept. 4, Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll
Romney has garnered support from 47 percent of voters nationwide. President Obama earned 45 percent support in the same poll, which questions likely voters. Two percent told Rasmussen Reports they prefer some other candidate, and five percent still are undecided.
There’s plenty of substance to support or criticize in any of the national conventions, but it seems the focus can and does wander.
Clint Eastwood seemed to have made almost everyone’s day with his convention speech in advance of Sen. Marko Rubio’s introduction of Romney.
The speech was an ad lib conversation with an empty chair, occupied by an invisible President Obama. One Democratic analyst likened the speech to the Western star’s motion picture, “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly,” only without the good.
Rasmussen Reports conducted a national telephone survey after the convention and found that Democrats were evenly divided about the 82-year-old actor’s performance: 42 percent were favorable and 44 percent unfavorable.
Not all Republican officials thought the speech was wise, but Rasmussen found that 78 percent of GOP voters still have a favorable opinion of Eastwood.
Rasmussen notes “among those not affiliated with either major party, 58 percent view Eastwood favorably, and only 21 percent have a negative view.”
Maybe those favorability ratings led to the on-line petition for the DNC to have veteran TV actress Betty White introduce the president tonight. It remains to be seen if the former Golden Girl will take the stage.
For Romney’s part, he made some big promises that could prove hard to keep.
The former Massachusetts governor said, if he’s elected, the U.S. economy would create 12 million jobs in his first four years
That will require quite an effort, according to calculations by Americans for Limited Government. ALG describes itself as a non-partisan, nationwide network for the advancement of free-market reforms, private property rights, school choice, political term limits and limiting the size of government.
ALG says since January 2008, the economy has a net loss of 4.7 million jobs, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics' (BLS) establishment survey.
Of those, “4.3 million of were lost from the private sector: 1.7 million in manufacturing, 1.9 million in construction, 724,000 in private service providing, 811,000 in retail, 378,000 in information, 481,000 in financial activities, and 116,000 in professional and business activities,” ALG says.
Those losses were offset by increases of 95,000 in mining and logging, 342,000 in education and 1.37 million in health.
For Romney’s promise to come to pass in four years, the economy would need to generate a net 3 million jobs a year – that’s 250,000 a month. ALG says BLS' household survey claims that in the past three years, the economy has produced only about 64,000 jobs a month. That doesn’t keep pace with the population growth of about 207,000 a month.
To have full employment, the U.S. must have at least 63 percent of its employable population on the job. So just to keep up with growth, the economy would need to add 130,000 jobs each month.
And the labor force expansion has been stagnant the past two years, ALG says, adding only about 53,000 workers. ALG claims that shows students are staying in school longer or graduates are just not entering the work force.
President Obama’s message tonight may clarify the difference between the two parties and their candidates.
The Democrats seem to believe that only the federal government can provide the leadership to get the economy out of its doldrums, while the Republicans like to repeat Ronald Reagan’s mantra that government isn’t the solution; it’s the problem.
That GOP message may be getting some traction. In the 11 battleground states where Rasmussen Reports says the election will be decided, Romney now has 46 percent of the vote to Obama’s 44 percent.
Obama won those states in 2008 by a combined margin of 53 percent to 46 percent.
But Americans are not happy with how things are going. Rasmussen says only 28 percent of the likely voters say the country is heading in the right direction.
The election, however, isn’t decided by the popular vote. It’s decided by the votes in the Electoral College.
Rasmussen says the president has 247 electoral votes tied up. To win, he needs 270.
It looks like Romney has a minimum of 196 electoral votes. But 95 votes remain a toss-up. Those estimates may shift after tonight’s convention ends and the pollsters take to their telephones.
Both sides seem confident the American people will back them. And while the polling is close, predictions are not. When asked by Rasmussen who will win the 2012 election, 53 percent say President Obama will win, with only 33 percent predicting the challenger.
The majority also expects for the Republicans to keep control of the House of Representatives. But when it comes to the Senate, those questioned were evenly divided over which party would have control.
This year 33 Senate seats are up for grabs. And only 10 of those are held by GOP incumbents. The Rasmussen Reports Senate Balance of Power rankings show Democrats to hold 47 seats. Republicans also will hold onto 47.
The six remaining states where the Senate seats are a toss-up are Montana, Indiana, Ohio, Virginia, Connecticut and Massachusetts
Rasmussen says Republicans and Democrats are running even on its Generic Congressional Ballot, which is not good news for the GOP. Republicans have held a modest lead on the ballot nearly every week since June 2009.
And the number of likely voters nationwide who say Congress is doing a good job continues to lag into the single digits.
When asked whether they would support a candidate who opposes all tax increases or one who would raise taxes only on wealthy Americans, those polled were evenly divided, Rasmussen says.
Yes, the nation is evenly divided and about many things. And apparently, neither of our candidates have any solution to offer about healing that divide.
But that’s the promise that should be made and kept: that whoever is elected president will represent the entire nation and not just the barely over half who elected him.