Associated Press/http://xfinity.comcast.netPresident Barack Obama heads toward Election Day with an apparent lead over Republican Mitt Romney among early voters in key states that could decide the election. Obama's advantage, however, isn't as big as the one he had over John McCain four years ago, giving Romney's campaign hope that the former Massachusetts governor can erase the gap when people vote on Tuesday. More than 27 million people already have voted in 34 states and the District of Columbia. No votes will be counted until Election Day but several battleground states are releasing the party affiliation of people who have voted early. So far, Democratic voters outnumber Republicans in Florida, Iowa, Nevada, North Carolina and Ohio — five states that could decide the election, if they voted the same way. Republicans have the edge in Colorado, which Obama won in 2008. Obama dominated early voting in 2008, building up such big leads in Colorado, Florida, Iowa and North Carolina that he won each state despite losing the Election Day vote, according to voting data compiled by The Associated Press. "In 2008, the McCain campaign didn't have any mobilization in place to really do early voting," said Michael McDonald, an early voting expert at George Mason University who tallies voting statistics for the United States Elections Project. "This time around the Romney campaign is not making the same mistake as the McCain campaign did." McDonald said he sees a shift toward Republicans among early voters, which could make a difference in North Carolina, which Obama won by the slimmest of margins in 2008, only 14,000 votes. The Republican shift, however, might not be enough to wipe out Obama's advantage in Iowa and Nevada, which Obama won more comfortably in 2008. In Colorado, Florida and Ohio, get ready for a long night of vote counting on Tuesday. Romney's campaign aides say they are doing so much better than McCain did four years ago that Romney is in great shape to overtake Obama in many of the most competitive states. "They are underperforming what their 2008 numbers were and we are overperforming where we were in 2008," said Rich Beeson, Romney's political director. "We feel very good heading into the Tuesday election." Obama's campaign counters that Romney can't win the presidency simply by doing better than McCain. "It's not about whether or not they're doing better than John McCain did," said Jeremy Bird, Obama's national field director. "It's about whether or not they're doing better than us." About 35 percent of voters are expected to cast ballots before Tuesday, either by mail or in person. Voters always can cross party lines when they vote for any office, and there are enough independent voters in many states to swing the election, if enough of them vote the same way. Still, both campaigns are following the early voting numbers closely, using them to gauge their progress and plan their Election Day strategies. A look at early voting in the tightest states: ___ Colorado About 1.6 million people have voted, and Republicans outnumber Democrats 37 percent to 35 percent. Those numbers are a reversal from four years ago at this time. Inevitably, Obama won the early vote by 9 percentage points in 2008, giving him a big enough cushion to win the state, despite narrowly losing the Election Day vote. Early voting in Colorado is expected to account for about 80 percent of all votes cast, giving it more weight than in other states. ___ Florida About 3.9 million people have voted, and 43 percent were Democrats and 40 percent were Republicans. For years ago at this time, Democratic early voters had a 9 percentage point lead over Republicans. Obama won Florida's early vote by 10 percentage points in 2008, getting 400,000 more early votes than McCain, enough to offset McCain's advantage on Election Day. In Florida, Republicans have historically done better among people who vote by mail, while Democrats have done better among people who vote early in person. For 2012, Florida's Republican-led Legislature reduced the number of in-person early voting days from 14 to eight. The Obama campaign responded by encouraging more supporters to vote by mail, and Democrats were able to narrow the gap among mail ballots. Democrats quickly took the lead among all early voters, once in-person early voting started. But the margins are slim. The Obama campaign acknowledges it must do better among Florida's Election Day voters than Obama did on 2008, when McCain won the Election Day vote by 5 percentage points. ___ Iowa About 614,000 people have voted, already exceeding Iowa's total number of early votes in 2008. So far this year, 43 percent of early voters were Democrats and 32 percent were Republicans. Four years ago, Obama won the early vote in Iowa by a whopping 27 percentage points, 63 percent to 36 percent. McCain, meanwhile, won the Election Day vote by about 1,800 votes — less than a percentage point. Together, they added up to a 10-point victory for Obama. Romney's campaign argues that Democrats always do better among early voters in Iowa while Republicans do better among Election Day voters, even when President George W. Bush narrowly carried the state in 2004. Obama's campaign counters that with early voting on the rise, Romney will be left with fewer Election Day voters to make up the difference. ___ Nevada About 628,000 people have voted, and 44 percent were Democrats and 37 percent were Republicans. Four years ago, Obama won Nevada's early vote big, 59 percent to 39 percent. Obama also won Nevada's Election Day vote on his way to a comfortable 13-point win over McCain. The Romney campaign argues that Obama isn't doing nearly as well among early voters in Nevada as he did in 2008. The Obama campaign argues that it doesn't have to. ___ North Carolina About 2.5 million people have voted, and 48 percent of them were Democrats and 32 percent of them were Republicans. Four years ago at this time, Democrats had a slightly larger lead over Republicans, and Obama won the early vote by 11 percentage points. Obama lost the Election Day Vote by 17 percentage points in 2008. But the early vote was much bigger than the Election Day vote, resulting in Obama's narrow win. Obama's campaign cites the big lead for Democrats among early voters, while Romney's campaign argues that even a small shift toward the Republicans could flip the state to Romney. ___ Ohio More than 1.6 million people have voted, and 29 percent were Democrats and 23 percent were Republicans. Forty-seven percent were unaffiliated, more than enough voters to swing the state to either candidate. Ohio may once again be pivotal in the race for the presidency. Unfortunately, Ohio's early voting data is limited. Party affiliation in Ohio is based on the last primary in which a voter participated, so new voters and those who don't vote in primaries are listed as unaffiliated. In 2008, Obama won Ohio by 5 percentage points. ___
Saturday, November 3, 2012
By CHARLES M. BLOWTime is running out for Mitt Romney. According to the latest polls, the most likely outcome of Tuesday’s election is that Romney will lose. If he does, it will likely be a bitter pill to swallow. He would have come so close only to have fate and circumstances step in at the final hour and give President Obama a boost. How is Romney losing it? Let us count the ways: 1) The economy continues to improve. The argument for electing Romney hinges on a sour economy and his experience as a businessman with the expertise to turn it around. But, on measure after measure, the economy seems to be getting better. A Commerce Department report released last month found that housing starts jumped 15 percent in September — the largest surge in four years. The unemployment rate dropped below 8 percent in September and the October jobs report released on Friday was stronger than expected. Furthermore, according to a Gallup report also released Friday: “The U.S. Payroll to Population employment rate (P2P), as measured by Gallup, was 45.7 percent for the month of October, up from 45.1 percent in September, and reflecting the highest percentage of Americans with good jobs since Gallup began daily tracking of U.S. employment in 2010.” Romney needed gloom and doom on the economy, but Obama got some rays of sunlight. 2) Romney’s momentum is maxing out. There was a moment after the first debate when it appeared as if he might have a legitimate shot at winning. He surged in the polls. His forlorn followers found their faith. There was hope for their candidate. Momentum begot momentum. But it peaked a couple of weeks ago, and evidence amassed that the momentum has evaporated. Even so, the Romney campaign seemed to believe it could stick with the momentum meme even after that momentum had stalled because it had been effective at rallying the troops. As The Times’s Nate Silver wrote Friday about arguments touting Romney’s chances in the election: “A third argument is that Mr. Romney has the momentum in the polls: whether or not he would win an election today, the argument goes, he is on a favorable trajectory that will allow him to win on Tuesday. This may be the worst of the arguments, in my view. It is contradicted by the evidence, simply put.” Silver averaged the national polls of likely voters in his database and found that “there is not much evidence of ‘momentum’ toward Mr. Romney. Instead, the case that the polls have moved slightly toward Mr. Obama is stronger.” That’s right, it is the Obama campaign that has the rightful claim to having momentum. 3) Hurricane Sandy. The hurricane devastated the Northeast, which also happens to be the media center of the country. This diverted people’s attention from the rancor of the campaign trail, and they saw Obama being presidential in his response to the storm. They also saw bipartisanship. Obama was embraced by Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey, who was the Republican National Convention keynote speaker. He won an endorsement from Mayor Michael Bloomberg of New York City, an independent. For his part, Romney transformed an Ohio rally into a “storm relief event.” 4) Truth and lies. Evidence continues to emerge that Romney is one of the most dishonest, duplicitous candidates to ever seek the presidency. He criticized Obama for telling then-President Dmitri Medvedev of Russia that he would have “more flexibility” to deal with sensitive issues between the two countries after he won re-election. Romney said this was particularly troubling given that Russia “is without question our No. 1 geopolitical foe.” However, according to a report on Friday in The New York Times, Romney’s son Matt recently traveled to Russia and delivered a message to President Vladimir Putin: “Mr. Romney told a Russian known to be able to deliver messages to Mr. Putin that despite the campaign rhetoric, his father wants good relations if he becomes president, according to a person informed about the conversation.” It sounds as though he was signaling that Mitt would do exactly what he had castigated Obama for: operate with “more flexibility” after the election. This is the kind of hypocrisy that just makes you shake your head in disbelief. According to a Gallup poll released on Wednesday, Americans expect Obama to be re-elected by 54 percent to 34 percent. Among those believing that Obama will win were most independents and almost a fifth of Republicans. I cast my lot with those folks unless there is a seismic shift in the next few days.
REUTERS.COM President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney remain essentially tied in the race for the White House three days before the November 6 election, according to a Reuters/Ipsos daily tracking poll released on Saturday. Of likely voters polled nationally, 47 percent said they would back Obama, the Democratic incumbent, while 46 percent said they would back Romney, the former Massachusetts governor. The results fall within the poll's credibility interval, a tool used to account for statistical variation in Internet-based polls. The two men have been locked in a tight race for weeks. Both are doing final swings in battleground states over the weekend, trying to sway a small group of remaining undecided voters and to encourage their supporters to get to the polls. The precision of the Reuters/Ipsos online polls is measured using a credibility interval, which in this case is plus or minus 3.4 percentage points for likely voters.
CCTV.comU.S. employers stepped up hiring in October, creating more than 170-thousands jobs according to the latest data released by the Labor Department. And there was only a small increase in the jobless rate due to more workers restarting their job hunts. The data is seen as a hopeful sign for a lackluster US economy that has been a drag on President Barack Obama’s re-election bid. With the economy at the center of the campaign, the latest jobs figures were crucial for many who were still undecided. On Friday, the US Labor Department announced that the US added 171,000 jobs in October. The jobless rate at one time had peaked at 10 percent. Now it has edged up a tenth of a point to 7.9 percent, though that was due to workers surging back into the labor force, as only people who are looking for a job count as unemployed. The employment data issued on Friday is considered as the last major report card on the economy before Tuesday’s presidential election. Polls show US President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney locked in a dead heat in a race that has centered on one major issue, job creation. President Obama said the report showed the US economy was moving in the right direction. Calling it "real progress", he talked to a rally in Hilliard, Ohio during the final days of his presidential campaign. Barack Obama, US President, said, "In 2008, we were in the middle of two wars and the worst economic crisis since the great depression. And today our businesses have created nearly five and a half million new jobs and this morning we learned that companies hired more workers in October than at any time in the last eight months." However, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney says the slight increase in the unemployment rate to 7.9 percent shows the economy continues to struggle. He argues that Obama’s policies have crushed the American economy and that the nation could have done better. Mitt Romney, Republican presidential candidate, said, "Four years ago candidate Obama promised to do so very much but he’s fallen so very short. He said he was going to lower the unemployment rate down to 5.2 percent right now. Today we learned that it’s actually 7.9 percent and that’s nine million jobs short of what he promised. Unemployment is higher today than when Barack Obama took office. " Romney made the comments in a statement while campaigning in Wisconsin, one of the key battleground states. But some argue that the impact of the report on the Nov. 6 election could be muted as most voters’ perceptions on the economy are likely mostly fixed by now. With the stepped-up pace of job creation, the U.S. economy is still facing the real threat of a renewed recession probably next year. In front of the next US president, there is still a long way to go before a booming economy returns.
In this week's address, President Obama thanks the brave first responders and National Guardsmen for their tireless work following one of the worst storms in our nation's history, and reassures the millions of Americans affected by Hurricane Sandy that their country will be there for them during the long road to recovery.
By: Faheem YounusAfter watching the presidential debates, now watch the 2007 biographical drama, "Charlie Wilson’s War." It’s about the period when the United States was leaving Afghanistan after wrapping up its covert anti-Soviet operation there. Tom Hanks, who played the role of Congressman Charlie Wilson in the movie, pleaded with lawmakers, “One million dollars for school reconstruction….Did you hear me say? It was a million, not a billion, for a school construction?” This is what he got in return: “Nobody gives a [darn] about a school in Pakistan.” Or Afghanistan. Caution: A quarter century later, America is about to make the same mistake. President Obama and Mitt Romney have both pledged to leave Afghanistan by 2014. But neither discussed the importance of establishing schools for the children of a war torn nation where nearly half the population is under the age of 15. The recent Taliban assassination attempt on Malala Yousafzai, the 15-year-old Pakistani champion of girls' education, shows: The Taliban are most scared of books, not bombs. Establishing an educational infrastructure in Afghanistan is the most cost effective long-term strategy for grassroots change. The cost effectiveness could be shown in multiple ways. “For the cost of just one soldier in Afghanistan for one year, we could start about 20 schools,” said Nicholas Kristoff in a July 2010 column in The New York Times. Mr. Kristoff says Greg Mortenson, the author of “Three Cups of Tea,” told him that “for the cost of just 246 American soldiers in Afghanistan for a year, we could pay for a higher education plan for all Afghanistan.” Can you imagine the global impact of educating a tribal society over the next decade, all for less than 0.1 percent of our annual military spending? To be fair, the US government has made some strides. In December 2011, an Afghan version of “Sesame Street” – a program funded by the US State Department and produced in consultation with Afghanistan's Ministry of Education – was launched. Afghanistan has one of the highest proportions of school-age children in the world, yet less than half are in school. This leaves millions of young Afghans, mostly girls and women, vulnerable to poverty and Taliban influence. As the US withdraws its troops and the Taliban regain control – which they will in varying degrees – they are likely to enforce misogynistic policies with impunity and recruit 14-year olds for suicide bombings. Some will blame Islam itself for this inhumanity. But their reasoning doesn’t hold up. Why don’t American Muslims blow themselves up? Because they are educated. They have a good life. They have plans for tomorrow. For an Afghan kid, it’s different. About 12,000 Afghan civilians were killed just between 2007 and 2011. Their children are put in a position where they may be more easily recruited by the Taliban to fight in “God’s army against the infidel.” This army is funded in part by Saudi oil money to nurture the extremist Wahhabi and anti-western mindset in the religious madrassahs. In the 1980s, the Saudis matched America’s anti-communism budget of $500 million to uproot the Soviets in Afghanistan. Now, their motivations for funding the Taliban are different.Taliban have other help as well – notably from the Pakistani Army and many Pakistani politicians and religious parties. Recently, an ex-cricketer-turn-Pakistani-politician, Imran Khan, publicly gave legitimacy to their cause by declaring the Afghan conflict “a holy war” justified by Islamic law. Ignore this paradigm of support, and America’s decade-long gains will be washed away within a year. Before America leaves Afghanistan, Washington should pledge at least $1 billion to establish secular schools for boys and girls in Afghanistan. And policymakers should work with Islamabad to help fund and establish schools in the tribal areas of Pakistan. The funds should go toward hiring qualified teachers, developing standardized curricula, and constructing a robust infrastructure to support these schools, their staff, and their students. If armed protection for such schools is required, it should come from locally hired forces. Spent right, these dollars could achieve what counterinsurgency missions, bombers, and drones could not.
Pakistani students of Farooqi Girls' High School wave placards as they stage a protest in Lahore on November 3, demanding the reopening of their school after it was set on fire by an angry mob.The mob was angry at a homework assignment that Arfa Iftikhar assigned that allegedly contained derogatory references to the Prophet Muhammad. Her school management denied all responsibility for the "dirty act" and called for her to be punished. The school said Iftikhar had been fired, despite telling the principal she had copied the offending passage by mistake. However, school headmaster Asim Farooqi has been remanded in custody for 14 days on charges of blasphemy, which can result in the death penalty. Blasphemy is an extremely sensitive issue in Pakistan, where 97 percent of the population is Muslim.
Ms Sonia Amjad, a regular blind girl student of Islamic Studies Department Punjab University, despite availability, is being denied the facility of room hostel. While talking to APP here Friday, she alleged that she personally met girls hostel No 4 Superintendent Ms Nabila Rehman who kept her allotment application dully strongly recommended by the head of the department for more than two weeks without any justification. The aggrieved blind student further alleged that she met Chairman Hall Council Prof Dr. Muhamamd Akhtar before Eid Ul Azha who directed the hostel Superintendent and even then she is not ready to accommodate her. Sonia who hails from Okara said that VC PU Prof Mujahid Kamran on February, 9 last in an epoch making decision, notified same day waived of all admission dues,exam fees and hostel dues for all special students upto PhD besides special scholarships. She said that \"I do not know why despite clear cut notification of PU,she is being deprived of room\" and made an impassioned appeal to Chief Minister Punjab and VC PU to intervene into the matter and help redress her genuine grievance on priority.
Supreme Court has said‚ the foreigners living in Karachi without documents should immediately be expelledThe Supreme Court in its interim order on the law and order situation in Karachi has directed the concerned authorities to take serious notice of the presence of the Taliban in the city. It said that the foreigners living in Karachi without documents should immediately be expelled. The interim order said that those who had been released on parole should be arrested and presented to the courts. The interim order directed the Police to take immediate action against the illegal foreigners living in the city. The Supreme Court directed that all the weapons should be taken back from the armed groups. The interim order said that traffic problem has turned serious in Karachi and action should be taken against the owners plying vehicles without number plates. It also directed that the armed license system should be computerized.