Snippets from Around the Battleground States

It’s getting steamy in the battleground states. The Palin Pick, Drill Here – Drill Now, taxes and jobs growth are under heavy scrutiny as election day draws near.

The Todd Palin Factor: MSNBC’s First Read sees Governor Sarah Palin’s husband Todd as “a huge asset with the blue-collar vote in Michigan, Pennsylvania and Ohio.” “First-Dude” as he is affectionately known in Alaska, is a member of the Steel Workers Union and a four-time winner of the 2000 mile Iron Dog snowmobile race.

Michigan is ranked among the three “least successful” states for income and employment growth. A September 13th Wall Street Journal Op-Ed says “If you Like Michigan’s Economy, You’ll Love Obamas.” Comparing the highest-performing states of Texas, Florida and Arizona,” to the worst performance in Michigan, Ohio and Illinois, authors Phil Gramm and Mike Salon layout the not-too-secret methods to keep an economy strong:

The simple answer is that governance, taxes and regulatory policy matter. The playing field among the states was not flat. Business conditions were better in the successful states than in the lagging ones. Capital and labor gravitated to where the burdens were smaller and the opportunities greater.

It costs state taxpayers far less to succeed than to fail. In the three most successful states, state spending averaged $5,519 per capita. In the three least successful states, state spending averaged $6,484 per capita. Per capita taxes were $7,063 versus $8,342.

Michigan’s controversial Democrat Governor, Jennifer Granholm, suggests a Wall Street Journal op-ed offering “friendly advice” TO HER on her proposed tax raises on “banks and thousands of small businesses,” is “treasonous for the state of Michigan.”

More troubling about Ms. Granholm’s recent combustion is that she seems to believe that the problem is that the rest of the world will find out about Michigan’s high taxes, not the high taxes themselves. But Michigan’s inhospitable tax climate is hardly a state secret, especially to the state residents and businesses who have to endure it…

Let us be clear: No one would like to see a robust economic recovery in Michigan more than we would. If Governor Granholm were selling a message of cutting taxes, not raising them, her job would be a lot easier and she’d be in a lot less agitated state of mind.

Michigan’s unemployment rate hit 8.5% for the second time in July 2008.

But bad as those unemployment figures look, the reality is actually worse. The official number is arrived at by surveying households and learning how many family members are unemployed but seeking work. So it does not reflect those who have given up finding a job…

Florida is leaning to McCain – despite the millions spent by Obama ’08. The St. Petersburg Times:

But for all the attention to Florida from the Obama campaign, there’s little tangible evidence it’s paying off.

He is farther behind in the state than John Kerry was at this point in 2004, even though McCain began buying Florida TV ads only last week.

Miami Herald columnists, Beth Reinhard and Lesley Clark get pithy:

Forgive John McCain if he returns to Florida on Monday with a swagger.

As McCain and Florida Governor Charles Crist looked reality square in the face and embraced drilling off our Nation’s coastlines, many Floridians are ready to lower the prices at the pump:

I’ve changed my mind to the point where I’d let them drill in my bathroom if it gets bad enough,” said Oliver, the GOP leader from Orlando. John McCain gets it, and the Democrats look foolish. It may be one of the factors that costs them the election.

Nevermind the will of the people, House Democrats are proposing no drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, and bringing for a vote this week. Rep. Alycee Hastings sees this as a done-deal, even before the vote:

It’s not a win for John McCain and the Republicans because they can’t drill in the Gulf of Mexico…

Democrats like Hastings are always looking out for the best interests of Americans:

When all is said and done, John McCain can’t come down to Florida and say `See, I got you a 13-cent reduction in gas.

What happens when the Senate weighs in:

This week, the Senate is likely to take up its own energy proposals, one of which could bring rigs as close as three miles to South Florida’s coastline

Florida’s Senators are against breaching the 124 mile buffer zone in Gulf, but the GOP, even if it loses expansion of offshore drilling, has likely won a huge PR war.

Pennsylvania is reportedly going purple. The New York Times displays it angst: Troubling Signs for Obama in Pennsylvania.

A raucous rally here Tuesday provided fresh evidence of what Mr. Obama is up against in this state, now that Mr. McCain has apparently revitalized his campaign by adding Gov. Sarah Palin to the ticket.

Remember this famous character assassination of Pennsylvanians by Senator Obama?

And it’s not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.

Rejecting Hillary Clinton on the Democrat ticket gives McCain an unexpected ripe opportunity in Pennyslvania. McCain-Palin plans to bring the GOP to Pennsylvania:

Although Pennsylvania has not voted for a Republican presidential candidate since 1988, President Bush lost the state narrowly in 2004. Now, the McCain-Palin team is laying siege to the narrow lead that Obama enjoys in state polls.

The San Franciso Chronicle, still talking about the “lipstick uproar,” quotes a “50-something,” female, former Bill Clinton voter:

“when I saw he [McCain] had the cojones to pick Palin. She’s got guts. I’m the parent of a handicapped child, and not only that, she’s exposed all that faux feminism.”

A Virginia woman stood in a 2-mile long line to get into a Palin rally:

“The thing I like about Sarah Palin is she is an American woman like the American women I know and associate with.”

A Senior Advisor for the Obama campaign summed up Obama’s quandry:

“People still don’t know what Obama stands for. There’s a perceived elitism and something aloof about him. They just don’t connect with him,” the [Obama] adviser added. “

The September 13th Real Clear Politics Average General Election Poll shows McCain up by 2.3 points over Obama. In every poll but the NBC News/WSJ rankings, and ties showing at Newsweek and the CNN/Opinion Research polls, McCain has increased the gap. Here is Real Clear Politics’ look, specifically, at the battlegrounds:

Battleground States McCain Obama Spread
Michigan 45.2 47.2 Obama +2.0
Ohio 47.8 45.6 McCain +2.2
Pennsylvania 45.0 47.3 Obama +2.3
Virginia 49.3 46.7 McCain +2.6
Colorado 46.0 48.3 Obama +2.3
New Mexico 44.7 47.0 Obama +2.