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Political Strategy Notes

Nate Silver crunches some numbers relating presidential election prospects to average job growth per month, and reports at FiveThirtyEight that "...if 150,000 jobs are created in an average month from now through October, the regression equation projects a very close result, showing a victory for Mr. Obama in the popular vote by about 1 percentage point...Mr. Obama's breakeven number on job creation is now slightly lower than when we had calculated it a few months ago -- about 125,000 jobs per month rather than 150,000."

A new USA Today/Gallup poll of swing states has some welcome news for Dems, according to Susan Page's USA Today report: "For the first time, Democrats are more likely than Republicans to say they are extremely or very enthusiastic about voting -- a shift from a 14-percentage-point GOP advantage at the end of last year to an 11-point deficit now....By a yawning 27 points, those surveyed describe Obama as more likable than Romney -- not a frivolous asset. The candidate viewed as more likable has prevailed in every election since 1980. Even among Romney's supporters, one in four call Obama more likable...By 10 points, voters say Obama is more likely to care about the needs of people like themselves. By 7 points, they call Obama a stronger and more decisive leader."

Brian C. Mooney's Boston Globe article "Democrats doubling down on Swing States" has this interesting spending strategy note: "A Globe analysis of Democratic National Committee disbursements in recent months shows that the party is investing more money per electoral vote in New Hampshire than in any other state."

At The Fix, WaPo's Chris Cillizza does a good job of explaining why Arizona really is in play for Dems this year: "According to the 2010 Census, three in 10 Arizonans are Latino, up from roughly 25 percent of the state's population 10 years ago. In both 2004 and 2008, the Democratic presidential nominee won the Hispanic vote convincingly -- Kerry by 18 points, Obama by 15 -- but there simply weren't enough Latinos to counter the strong margins the Republican nominee enjoyed among white voters...The growth among the Latino population -- along with the presence of [Democratic senatorial candidate Richard] Carmona, who is Hispanic, and outrage within the community over Brewer's immigration law -- makes Democrats optimistic that 2012 will be different...Democrats are also banking on moderate white Republicans -- particularly women -- being turned off by the conservative direction Brewer has taken the state, highlighted most recently by her signing a bill that would effectively defund Planned Parenthood."

Adam C. Smith of the Tampa Bay Times (via Politico) has an update with some state-by-state stats on why the Latino vote is shaping up as the pivotal force in the 2012 presidential elections. "...If Romney can't narrow Obama's considerable lead among Latino voters, key battlegrounds including Nevada, New Mexico, Colorado and Florida could be out of reach for the Republican nominee."

Virgil Dickson reports at PR Week that "Republicans are launching a door-to door outreach campaign targeting Latinos in the coming weeks to raise support for Mitt Romney in the general election," but "Romney and the Republican National Committee have virtually ignored Hispanic media outlets, according to NBC/Smart Media Delta."

Krugman riffs on the failure of austerity in the French and Greek elections, which indicate a popular preference for expansionary policies. Krugman doesn't get into it here, but the end of "Merkozy" as a viable economic strategy for recovery in the real world makes austerity a little tougher for the GOP to sell.

David Gauthier-Villars's "Voter Anger Sweeps Europe " in the Wall St. Journal notes that the anti-austerity wave was also reflected in local elections in Germany: "...Ms. Merkel's coalition of Christian Democrats and pro-business Free Democrats suffered defeat in a closely watched state election in the northern state of Schleswig-Holstein Sunday, suggesting Ms. Merkel's options for ruling beyond 2013 are narrowing. "

In The New York Times, Thomas B. Edsall takes a sobering look at the GOP's Super PAC edge, and he quotes David Axelrod to underscore the point: "No president has ever faced the kind of onslaught we are about to see. We expect the super Pacs, and their more insidious, non-disclosing cousins - the 501c4 front groups - to spend as much as a billion dollars. They will act as a tag-team with Romney, allowing his team to carry a positive message as the super Pacs rain negative ads down on the president. To date, they have dwarfed Priorities and other Democrat-leaning efforts, so we've had to spend millions of dollars responding to super Pac attacks."