The Fix Live

Oct 19, 2012

The Fix's Chris Cillizza discussed the latest in political news.

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Hello everyone.  Sorry for the lateness I was on Diane Rehm's show -- name drop alert! -- so got a little late start. 

Let's do this.

WI and IA both saw "right track" numbers go up after the debate. That seems to be virtually a bounce for Obama, right?

Well, those polls -- both conducted by NBC/Marist/WSJ had one day of post-debate samples. I would say generally we have seen an improvement in economic optimism in the last few months.

Right track numbers have bumped up...

Is it whining or conspiratorial to point out, as Ezra Klein did, that Romney is running up the score in the South where he was going to win anyway, that it's not really Obama unraveling as some think?

Well, according to the regional breakdowns provided by Gallup, that's exactly what appears to be happening.

This is a good reminder that national polling should not be relied on as a foolproof indicator of who will win. The election comes down to 7-10 swing states and polling in those is, at this point in the election, what really matters.

What's up with Gallup?

I don't think anything is "up" with it other than they are now using a likely voter screen. That likely voter screen appears to be different than the likely voter screen being used by some other organizations.

Remember: Any one poll is a snapshot in time. The best thing to do is average all of the concurrent polls and see what you get. That probably gets you somewhere close to the right answer.

What time on election night will this be decided? Will it be so close that we will be waiting for Nevada with its 6 electoral votes?

In 2004, Nevada was called at 4 am eastern time.

If you were sitting with me at this Starbucks, you would have heard me audibly sigh just then.

Please explain to me why "binders full of women" is getting so much more coverage by you and your staff than "when four Americans get killed, it’s not optimal.” I'm having trouble seeing ANY coverage by you and your cohorts on the later, but I see lots and lots on the former. I really, really, really would like you to explain this. Thanks.

Binders full of women has received lots and lots of coverage.

But, I saw the "not optimal" comments leading the Drudge Report last night too.

Not sure either story is being ignored.

Hi Chris, I love Catholic University's Women Field Hockey team and I think The Gospel According to Fix is the most insightful political book ever written. OK, really just tired of election and thought this might make your chat.

Well played.

If you had mentioned Friday Night Lights this might qualify as the best question ever asked in a Fix chat.

And speaking of the "Gospel" -- aka my book -- you can buy it here:

Heard you on the DR show this AM , I do not know how you do it :) Obama has stopped ad buys in NC and Romney is putting paid staff in other states, is it over in NC ?

Hadn't heard that Obama had stopped ad buys..

That said, NC was always going to be tough for Obama. In one of the best presidential years ever for a Democrat, Obama won the state by .4%. Combine that with the fact that theNBC unemployment rate has regularly gone above the national average and you see why.

Yankees Lose! YANKEES LOOOOOSSSSEEEE! ....I just had to note that. I wish the Orioles were still in it.

On Twitter last night I compared the Yankees getting swept to Rick Perry's presidential bid.

1. Both came into the race with high expectations

2. Both were well funded

3. Both suffered a catastrophic moment (Perry "oops", Jeter injury)

4. Both totally collapsed un their own weight.

A RNC worker called a friend (who had already cast an absentee ballot) and asked for Amanda (who does not live at this address). Friend, being tired of hectoring calls, said she would go extract Amanda from her binder and bring her to the phone. Caller (highly flustered) swiftly hung up.


I nominate Diane Rehm to moderate a candidates' debate next time, because if anyone could bring civility to such an event, surely she could. (P.S. Always enjoyable to hear you on her NPR show!).

LOVE that DR. Always an honor to be on the show especially when I get to be on with Jerry Seib and Susan Page. I am the Chris Bosh to their LeBron and DWade. Or maybe I am the Mike Miller to their LeBron and DWade...

Who killed? Who Klunked? How did this dinner become a roast in the first place?

I think they both did fine but it reminded me: We need WAY more roasts in politics.

The Boss was here yesterday to support President Obama's campaign. I don't care what the relative status of his celebrity endorsement is, the guy is a true rock god and an American treasure.

Agree. I tweeted out Springsteen's set list in Parma, Ohio yesterday and got lots of angry responses about him being a big liberal.

I don't care about his politics but man oh man do I love his music. Springsteen may not be the god but he is quite clearly a god.

I found it refreshing that a moderator did some fact checking. I mean, when a candidate goes on one of the Sunday talk shows, the moderator will do some factchecking and challenge the candidate. It should be done in the debates also.


Make sure to check out my piece from earlier this week on how moderators can't win in the modern political environment:

When Obama was up in the polls I told people "it feels like he is up" but ignore them. When Romney was up in the polls I told people "I think he has pulled even" but ignore them. What do you feel is the state of the race?

Close race nationally with Obama having a clear but narrowing edge in the electoral college map.

Great work this morning on NPR. My question relates to the wilderness that is current political polling. How do we rectify the disparities between state and national polling, and when considering the information provided, what is the main takeaway when the data seems to be all over the place?

It's impossible. Every poll has its own standards, its own methodology and its own way to determine likely voter screen. While these disparities are rarely huge, trying to compare all polls to one another is impossible.

If President Obama is narrowly re-elected, will we see the same sort of gridlock in Congress we have seen the last four years? How will the President be able to get anything done with the same Republican-led House?

That's the question I keep asking myself. I wrote a piece on how it could be worse next year than it has been the last 2 years.

Do you ever scan the comments sections of The Fix posts? The string of comments on FixAaron's initial post about the Gallup poll that showed Romney ahead by 6-7 points was uniformly vicious and hate-filled. The moderator had his/her hands full deleting the worst of the lot. What was strange was that more of the vitriolic comments were violently anti-Obama than anti-Gallup. Left me feeling sick about the state of public discourse in our country.

It is truly depressing. I feel as though the online commenting community has as its mayor the angry guy who just yells stuff at people who walk by his house.

Do you think the race has settled to be what it is or do you think one of the campaigns has something secret they will pull out at the last minute.

Settled. And has been close to settled for months. Electorate is so polarized and nothing does much to move them in any major way.

Do you think the jobs number report for October will decide the election?

No. The last 2 jobs reports -- one good for Obama, one not -- haven't moved the numbers appreciably. I think people have largely made up their minds about the election.

Was it smart for Romeny to start pulling staff out of NC?

We'll find out. My guess is they wouldn't do it if they weren't confident. But, we;ll know in 18 days if they were right.

How do you handle the let-down after the election when the excitement is over and you're not on radio shows for another four years? Lots of Oreos?

Long. Dark. Teatime. Of. Soul.

Bob Schieffer is the final Debate Moderator. Unless he makes a switch to cut off a participant's mike, can he really enforce any of the rules that the campaigns themselves made?

It's very very tough.  The candidates know that there is no real penalty for breaking the rules and, therefore, do it regularly.

Is the talking point of Gov. Romney's "binders" an actual issue or mostly media fodder? Consensus on Morning Joe yesterday seemed to suggest, outside of Mika, that it wasn't an issue. However, do developments showing that Gov. Romney's statement was entirely factual make it more of an issue?

I think it allows an opening for President Obama to talk about Romney's record with women.  I don't think it, in and of itself, is a decisive voting issue but it opens the door to a broader conversation that Obama and Democrats are hoping to have.

My favorite moment of the debate? The icy cold "Please proceed, Governor". What are your bets on how Debate # 3 will go? Will as many people even tune in since it is going to be about "Foreign Parts"?

Obama sensed Romney was walking into a trap there... opposed to, say, polling heavily in Chicago and NYC and LA, which have larger populations than anywhere else in states that are automatically blue.

The answer!

In your expert opinion, do you personally feel that the latest polls are correct and do you think that the race is as close as it seems to be from these polls?

I do think the race is close. I have said for a while now that i think the closest analog for this election is 2004, which was decided by 110K votes in Ohio.

Is Bruce Springsteen the one entertainer who might actually influence a few undecided voters to go for Obama, based on his endorsement?


I broke down the Springsteen endorsement here:

Chris, what is your learned opinion on where Ohio stands? Also, I understand that Chuck Todd said that he believes that the early voting is "scewing" the state polls. Do you agree with Chuck, and if so, whose poll numbers are being affected?

I think Obama is ahead in Ohio by 3-5 points but that margin has closed from a 5-8 point lead before the firsty debate.

Stewart used "optimal" in his question. Also, it's not optimal for Americans to do. Sorry, no gaffe there.

Thanks for noting.

I'm hearing commentary that VA/FL/NC have dropped off Obama's radar and are sure bets for Romney. Do ad buys--or any other key indicators--support this claim?

I think FL and NC are going to be tough for him.  I think they will fight in VA hard and it is genuinely a toss up at the moment.

You seem to be remarkably even-tempered and I'm sure some of the questions you receive are not polite (or accurate). What keeps you from taking a field hockey stick to your computer?

Oh, I get worked up sometimes. But I try to remember that every day I get to write about what I want to write about in a field -- politics -- that I find endlessly fascinating. It's a pretty awesome gig so keeping a positive attitude really isn't tough.

Isn't your FNL girl now starring in a new show, Nashville? Watching?

Conne Britton! Yes. Tivoing. We don't want much during field hockey/election season.

Where are you? What are you drinking? What's the Soundtrack? and who is Coach Fix playing next?

Starbucks in Tenleytown (DC)

Venti black tea lemonade unsweetened

The sweet sound of me loudly typing on my computer

Scranton. Tomorrow.

I know that it's around 2% in Obama's favor right now (on RCP, at least). Based on what you're hearing on and off the record from both campaigns, how confident are the two sides respectively that it will end up in their column on the 6th?

Obama team feels good, Romney team knows they have work to do. But they also understand how bad they need Ohio so they will do everything possible to turn it.

I need an editor , I read in the Raleigh N&O that Obama was not making NEW ad buys as opposed to canceling current buys alredy in place . Is that better ?

Well, they already have bought lots and lots of ad time so I am not sure it's all that telling.

In your list of songs you expected him to play at the Ohio rally yesterday, how did you leave off Youngstown. Terrible oversight. If he was only going to play one song in Ohio that would have been it.

And he did! I thought it might be too depressing for him to play.

I saw Chuck Todd talk for about 30 minutes on how they can tie at 269 EV a piece. Do you political Journalists secretly want this "Doomsday Scenario" where it would go to the House for a tie-breaker?

That was a fascinating segment. And, no, we don't want any outcome. If it comes to pass, however, it would be histori and an amazing story to cover.

I was reading "the Gospel aAccording to Fix" while listening to "Nebraska" when I realized that Coach Fix should teach her young Field Hockey Team that they should watch "Friday Night Lights" together before a big game. Wouldn't that be a good idea?

Ladies and gentleman we have a winner.

Like you, I live in Virginia. I was really disheartened today to read that many pundits have "given" Virginia to Romney, like it's all over here. Does that seem premature to you? And is Kaine in a better place, likely to win? Why would the two men have different results?

Definitely not over. I think VA has moved to Romney of late but Obama had some cushion. I think it is close to tied at the moment.

Worth remembering: Obama was the first Dem since Lyndon Johnson to win VA at the presidential level.

What deeply contested issue shall we focus on after this one is over? Pizza toppings? Best beer? Mountain/beach vacation?

Terry McAuliffe vs Ken Cuccinelli in 2013 VA gov race

Chris Christie vs Cory Booker in 2012 NJ gov race

A special election or two will pop up.

We'll get through this...together.

If Romney is able to win the battlegrounds of OH, FL, and NC (to the extent that is a swing state), that would give him 253 electoral votes. How likely is it that the President would be able to win enough of the rest to prevent Romney from getting 17 more votes?

Ohio -- and its 18 electoral votes -- is the big "if" in that scenario...

Do you see another scenario in this election that we had with Gore vs Bush, and having the Supreme Court decide this election?

Hope not since having a court decide an election isn't great for democracy.

Do you think undecided voters will admire or disrespect Romney's refusal to honor Peter Berg's request not to use FNL's iconic meme?

They aren't even aware of it is my guess.

I started following politics about 4years ago....Has it always been so divisive and hateful? You wouldn't believe some of the names I've been called because I support Obama.

Sadly, yes. It is really bad. Partisans in both parties are remarkably nasty.

Is he the angriest man in Washington?

Have met him on a few occasions and always found him to be really nice and incredibly bright.

Is she favored now vs. Thompson?

Senate speed round!

I think Baldwin is a slight favorite in Wisconsin at the moment -- particularly if Obama can hold on to his 4-5 point lead.

Who is doing better with crossovers in Virginia, Allen or Kaine?

My guess is Kaine. I can imagine a Romney-Kaine voter. I struggle to imagine an Obama-Allen voter.

it looks like a very weak murphy has puleed ahead of the free spending McMahon. She has been forced to talk in 2 debates and she has been confirmed as knowing nothing beyond talking points. How does the FIX see this?

National D party has started to spend money to try and even playing field in the state too, which has helped Murphy. I think the race is still close but Murphy's erosion has probably stopped.

Remember, CT is a very D state in a presidential year. That should help Murphy.

Any chance that AZ is in play at all this year? A few polls had Obama in striking distance (same w/ senate race) but it seems like a long shot. what's the $ situation like there?

Think Obama and Carmona both come up a little short.

Are any of the polls in the 9 Battleground States (if Chuck Todd can make up new words, so can I) really moving, or are we still in "Noise"?

That word is truly scrumtrulescent.

Hey, while you're there you should have breakfast with Biden at that diner he likes.

I am sure he has time in his schedule for that...

In addition to the reliable VA and NJ off-year governor races next year (but you're wrong it will be Terry McAuliffe for the Dems -- I say Mark Warner) I think we can count on this deeply divided country to produce at least one endless recount drama. We'll find something to obsess over! No fears here.

Elections never end. They just transfer their energy.

How do you conclude that the race has been "close to settled for months"? Obviously neither candidate is going to win by a landslide because there is a signficant base for each candidate. But the first debate turned a moderate Obama lead to a tie at best or a deficit at worst. I think this is an election where, as you often say, campaigns matter. Right?

There are a sliver of undecdideds who bounce back and forth. But there are large numbers of people on both sides who made their minds up long agao and won't change under any circumstances.

I've called it the "Low Oxygen Debate" myself.

HA. For Obama, something was wrong. I still look back in wonderment at how bad he was.

Is the momentum going in Romney's favor or is it just me seeing that and What's a good new band i can listen too, since you are also a music expert?


And, I think romney has had a good last 2 weeks. He needs to have a good last 18 days to win.

That's all I have time for folks.  Thanks, as always, for spending the better part of an hour with me.  I'll be back next Friday for even more chat enjoyment.

Enjoy your weekend!


In This Chat
Chris Cillizza
Chris Cillizza is the managing editor of PostPolitics and he writes "The Fix," a politics blog for The Washington Post. He also covers the White House for the newspaper and website. Chris has appeared as a guest on NBC, CBS, ABC, MSNBC, Fox News Channel and CNN to talk politics. He lives in Virginia with his wife and sons.
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