Republican nominee Mitt Romney leads President Barack Obama in Iowa by 47 percent to 46 percent, according to a Rasmussen Reports poll of 500 "Likely Iowa Voters" conducted on June 11. Romney's lead is within the poll's margin of error of plus or minus 4.5 percent. Click here for survey questions; full results and cross-tabs are available only to Rasmussen subscribers.
The Obama campaign's relentless stream of television advertising in Iowa is another sign that this state could go either way in November. Follow me after the jump for the latest commercial, which went on the air yesterday. It's the second Obama ad this month that casts a negative light on Romney's record as governor of Massachusetts. According to the Obama campaign, "Number One" is running in Colorado, Florida, Iowa, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Virginia. Obama carried all of those states in 2008 and needs to win at least half of them in order to be re-elected.
Obama's voice: I'm Barack Obama, and I approved this message. [Footage of Obama walking outside next to the White House, Obama/Biden campaign logo on screen]
Male voice-over: When Mitt Romney was governor, Massachusetts was number one. Number one in state debt. [camera pans over bar graph showing per capita debt for each state; stops on numeral 1, then pulls back to show Massachusetts number 1 in 2007 state debt per capita, $4,153 per person. An image of Romney appears next to the top of this graph, and "Source: Moody's 2007" is on screen]
18 billion dollars in debt. [view zooms in to Romney's image next to words $18 BILLION IN STATE DEBT]
More debt per person than any other state in the country. [View shifts to same image of Romney next to words MITT ROMNEY MORE DEBT PER PERSON THAN ANY OTHER STATE]
At the same time, Massachusetts fell to 47th in job creation [bar graph shifts sideways, view pans down to other end, showing Massachusetts 47th IN JOB CREATION Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics]
One of the worst economic records in the country [different photo of Romney next to excerpt from The Boston Globe, Sum & McLaughlin op-ed, 7/29/07, "ROMNEY'S ECONOMIC RECORD" "ONE OF THE WORST IN THE COUNTRY"]
First in debt, 47th in job creation. That's Romney Economics. [View zooms from MASSACHUSETTS 1ST IN DEBT at top of bar graph, with photo of smiling Romney holding up one index finger, to MASSACHUSETTS 47TH IN JOB CREATION next to different Romney photo; words on screen Get the Facts at RomneyEconomics.com ]
It didn't work then, and it won't work now. [View pulls back so that the whole bar graph is visible on screen. Above the graph, the viewer sees Get the Facts at RomneyEconomics.com. Below the graph are the words "It didn't work then. It won't work now."
This commercial has some of the same problems as last week's version from the Obama campaign. Massachusetts had a relatively high debt load and poor rate of job growth before Romney took office. Excerpt from Robert Farley's analysis of the previous ad for FactCheck.org:
The ad puts a new twist on a well-worn statistic used by Democrats (and by Republican rivals during the primary) that when Romney was governor, Massachusetts "fell to 47th in job creation." It's true that over Romney's four years as governor, the state ranked 47th out of 50 states in percentage of job growth. It had ranked 37th in the four years prior. And it's also true that Massachusetts added only 49,100 net jobs for an increase of about 1.5 percent, which was far slower than the national average of 5.3 percent, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. But there's another way to look at the numbers.
We looked at BLS figures for each year of Romney's tenure. (This is tricky business. State rankings can shift depending on which start and stop dates one selects. We looked at January to January, seasonally adjusted figures to coincide most closely to when Romney took office Jan. 2, 2003 and left office Jan. 4, 2007). In the 12 months before he took office, the state ranked 50th in job creation, and for his first 12 months in office, that remained 50th. But by his final year the state ranked 28th. That's still mediocre, but an improvement, and not a decline, as the ad would lead viewers to believe. [...]
It's true that the long-term debt went from $16 billion on Jan. 1, 2003, just before Romney took office, to $18.7 billion on Oct. 1, 2006, three months before he left. That's an increase of $2.7 billion. But that's nothing out of the ordinary. From June 30, 1999, to Jan. 1, 2003 (a comparable length of time), the long-term debt in Massachusetts went from nearly $12 billion to $16 billion, a $4 billion increase.
So, the increase under Romney isn't exactly startling news. If anything, it could be argued that the state debt grew by less than it did in a similar time period before Romney was sworn in.
"It's pretty much standard operating procedure that the amount of debt we issue grows at a reasonable rate from year to year," for roads, bridges, prisons, etc., said Widmer, of the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation. "One would expect that."
Widmer said the state has always had a high debt load, and a governor would have to cut - or stop - capital spending in order to address it. As for Romney, Widmer told us that his approach was typical of other governors. "He didn't put his foot on the accelerator any more, or really take it off."
I wonder whether the Obama campaign is going to keep releasing one or two new television commercials every week between now and November. My hunch is that most viewers just tune this kind of message out.
Any comments about the presidential race are welcome in this thread.