The election has begun: 40 days until it ends.

Now a lot of this news will seem pro-Obama. There are two reasons for that. First, it’s all coming from my Twitter stream made up mostly of liberal thought leaders, political insiders, and news people, which will make the news be center-left (more center than left). I do have a few conservatives, but one of them is nothing but a hilarious paid propagandist that worked for and got fired from the Cain campaign. If you know of any *good* conservatives to follow on Twitter, please let me know. Second, well, most news about the general election is good news for Obama lately. That’s just thew ay things are today.

Here’s what’s happening with 40 days until the 2012 general election:

General Election

* The general election has already begun, with early voting in Iowa today and 29 other states. If the election were held today in Iowa, Barack Obama would win the state 48.6-43.6. CNN and Real Clear Politics both consider Iowa a tossup, but Obama has been widening his lead there in recent weeks.

* The three latest national polls: Obama +6 (Gallup tracking), Tie (Rasmussen tracking), Obama +5 (FOX News).

* 37: The number of days since Mitt Romney has lead in a non-tracking national poll.

* 21: The number of consecutive polls Barack Obama has lead or tied in.

* 4: Barack Obama’s average lead in national polling since September 13th.

* It’s now an official Republican commandment that polls are rigged, which is funny coming from FOX News when FOX News put out a poll *today* showing Obama leading by 6 points.

* Nate Silver on where things are today. Takeaways: Rasmussen — the least accurate major pollster in 2010 — seems to be getting more biased towards Republicans lately than it already was; Obama now a 81.9% favorite to win in November (97.8% to win if things look the same on Nov 7 as they look today); if the election were held today, it would end up being very similar to 2008, which hasn’t always been the case.

Biggest takeaway: Mitt Romney’s chances of winning (20%) are roughly equal to Barack Obama’s chance of improving on his 2008 victory to “win in a borderline landslide”. Note, that’s all from the math. It’s not partisan or even non-partisan analysis. Very complex, very impressive models are projecting that.

* We’re getting close enough to the Romney will lose inevitability feeling in the press that you’re going to see a lot more stories like this from non-liberal sources: How a Romney Loss Would Impact the GOP.

* Economic Policy Institute: Romney’s budget would destroy jobs.

* A silver lining: Obama not getting much of his money from SuperPACs that can’t legally coordinate with the campaigns means he can get advertising discounts by better managing his spending in specific places.

* Despite the contraception mandate “controversy”, Barack Obama is improving his standing amongst Catholic voters, and now leads that demographic over Mitt Romney.

* Romney continues to go after Obama on China. Does anybody care?

* @daveweigl: Why the “Obama’s got this locked” stuff is stupid RT @jpodhoretz: Oh God. Q2 GDP revised downward from 1.7 to 1.3 — a 40 percent drop

* Romney supporters in Ohio aren’t responding well to their candidate’s softening attempt to appeal to moderates and independents.

* A poll finds Obama is leading Romney with American Jews, 65-24.

* Romney, running perhaps the most dishonest campaign in modern history, says he plans to fact-check Barack Obama during their first October debate.

(Editors note: why that’s not stupid: the poor jobs report in August didn’t hurt Obama or help Romney in polls at all. And honestly, how many voters know what the GDP is, much less keep track of it, much less will take into account a 0.4 point drop in a revised report? Especially when the non-partisan CBO and Moodys are both predicting an increase in GDP heading into the next four years? “Oh God” doesn’t mean what it used to mean.)

* From NBC political chief Chuck Todd: Obama campaign invested very heavily in early voting, Romney presumably did not. (no link)

* Two high finance stories: Wall Street is spending 60% on Mitt Romney this year, and financial insiders now appear to expect Barack Obama to win reelection.

* NBC News’s Mark Murray says 4 of the 10 hottest advertising markets this week are in Virginia, and 3 are in Ohio. Barack Obama leads Mitt Romney by 6.3 points in Ohio, and 4.9 points in Virginia. The hottest market: Madison, Wisconsin, where Obama leads by 7.4 points.

* The New York Times token conservative op-ed writer: “My gut says we’re headed for ’76 scenario w/incumbent/challenger roles reversed: Romney closes hard, long election night … narrow Dem win.

* Obama has put out his third “47%” ad against Romney, this one airing in 7 swing states.

* More from the campaign that can’t shoot straight, and increasingly, the party with the wrong priorities: “Romney running “war on coal” ads in VA. Coal country is 9% of vote; NoVa is 28%

* Obama has pulled ahead of Mitt Romney in North Carolina, leaving him just one state away from repeating his 2008 victory: Indiana.

* Florida is getting sued (again) over voter purges 40 days before an election (still illegal).


* The Center for Politics has changed their ratings for the general election for Iowa, Nevada, Ohio, Virginia, and Wisconsin from tossup to “leans Democratic”, and Michigan and Pennsylvania from “leans Democratic” to “likely Democratic”.

They’ve also changed their Senate ratings. Old seats held by Democrats: Connecticut, Hawaii, and New Mexico from “leans Dem” to tossup, “likely Dem”, and “likely Dem” respectively. New Mexico from “leans Dem” to “likely Dem”. North Dakota and Wisconsin from “leans Republican” to tossup. And Missouri from tossup to “likely Dem” (good job, Todd Akin), and Montana from tossup to “leans Republican”.

Old seats held by Republicans: Indiana and Nevada from “leans Repub” to tossup, and Maine from “likely Dem” to “leans Dem”.

Result if you split the tossups: 48 Republicans, 52 Democrats.

* A picture of Mitt Romney in 1968 serves as a nice reminder that not everything about a person has to do with politics.

* 60% of people in Pennsylvania support the state’s controversial voter ID law, even as it appears likely that the courts will block it before the election due to questions over disenfranchisement, and the inability of Pennsylvania Republicans to show any evidence of vote fraud that would justify the possible disenfranchisement of American citizens.

* The Wisconsin state Supreme Court won’t hear appeals to cases finding the state’s voter ID laws unconstitutional this year, so it’s dead for this election. Voter ID laws are falling all over the nation just like this.

* And now the Republican National Committee is cutting ties with a consulting firm hired to do get-out-the-vote work over allegations of voter registration fraud (e.g. what the GOP went after ACORN for.)

* New Jersey poll for no particular reason: Carrying a dog in a safety crate strapped to the top of your car is unacceptable, 86-7.

* A federal court rejected a lawsuit by lobbyists against President Obama’s prohibition on lobbyists serving on government boards. But there are still loopholes, and there are still lobbyists working in government.

* UC Davis students who were sprayed directly in the face for the crime of sitting on a sidewalk and refusing to move, as part of and at the height of Occupy Wall Street, are getting $30,000 each in a settlement.

* Why Democrats (probably) can’t win back the House of Representatives.

* John McCain wants you to know he’s not dead yet.

* Federal judges hearing an appeal on the Defense of Marriage Act, which has been struck down by multiple courts, appear to be getting somewhat activist instead of just deciding the case on the merits.

* The Kaiser Family Foundation finds a plurality of Americans hold a favorable view of Obamacare, 45-40. (Disclaimer: Kaiser has always shown more friendly results than other pollsters, but even Kaiser hasn’t shown a plurality of support since December of 2010.)

The same poll showed that the government should guarantee health benefits (55%), or a fixed sum of money for coverage (37%). The two positions represent the positions of Obama/Democrats, and Paul Ryan fairly well.

* Showing how the economy is growing slowly, but bouncing around, applications for unemployment are now at a two month low. Nothing to celebrate, bot it’s also not ammunition for nay-sayers.

* The right has gone from denying evolution, to climate change, to science generally, to denying polls. Like or not, the right is increasingly living in their own delusional world where anything that doesn’t match up with what they want, simply isn’t real.

Note: A lot of links may go to HuffingtonPost, but note who wrote them. Many come from the AP/Reuters, and one of them, about Catholic voters, was syndicated from the Religion News Service.

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