The Fix Live

Oct 26, 2012

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

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Good morning everyone. The election is in 11 days!  Let's do this.

How can one poll show almost no gender gap (AP) and others show a very large gender gap...both male and female.

Because polling is equal parts art and science. What the end result is depends heavily on how you screen for likely voters.  Some people simply use past voter performance while others add in things like how enthusiastic people say they are about the election.

Because none of these are exactly the same likely voter model, the numbers can vary.

In 2004, the Kentucky Senate race ended up being a nailbiter. In 2006, Jim Webb pulled off an improbable victory. In 2008, Mitch McConnell narrowly won, while comedian Al Franken actually won a Senate race. And in 2010, Harry Reid pulled off a big win when most pundits had long ago written him off (besides Jon Ralston). What Senate race in 2012 do you think will have us up all night?

I am starting to think Arizona is going to be pretty darn close. And, since it's on the west coast (or close) it is more likely to keep us up all night.

I assume you and your deputies will each make predictions for the races. And I also assume before you tell them this, you give them the Glengarry Glen Ross speech. "As you all know first prize is a Cadillac Eldorado. Anyone wanna see second prize? Second prize is a set of steak knives. Third prize is you're fired."

I just gave that speech to them.  Also, I am competing in the Post's "Crystal Ball" prediction contest that will post in the Outlook section next weekend.

I am really hoping for the set of steak knives.

I still think Mourdock wins this thing, and I say that as a Domer who really wants Joe Donnelly to win.

Noted.  Mourdock's campaign put out a poll that showed the race tied -- and it was a poll that had been in the field for the two days after his rape comments.

If he had been ahead by the margin he should have been in Republican Indiana, Mourdock's debate flub wouldn't likely have been a death blow. But, with the race tied, almost anything can change the equation.

Are you going to make calls on individual Senate races before election day?

Nope. But we do rate races. In fact, we just moved the Massachusetts Senate race to lean Democratic yesterday.

A few weeks ago, you put out a video outlining which candidate had the greater path to 270 electoral votes. Your consensus was that the president had far more roads to 270 than Mitt Romney. Given Romney's recent surge, do you still believe this is the case (where the president will have an easier time getting to 270, close race notwithstanding)?

Yes, president Obama does still have more paths tp 270 electoral votes than Mitt Romney -- particularly if he maintains his lead in Ohio.

We broke down the electoral math -- and why Romney badly needs Ohio -- in a blog post earlier this week.

We're a little less than two weeks from the start of the 2016 presidential election cycle. Who do you have as the favorites?

If Romney wins, obviously we have no R race.

On the D side, Hillary Clinton gets the nomination if she wants it (I don't think she does.) Then Cuomo, O'Malley and some one of Gillibrand, Elizabeth Warren, Amy Klobuchar.

On the R side in either 2016 or 2010: Rubio, Jindal, Ryan looks like the top tier to me. With Jeb Bush perhaps trumping them all if he runs.

Do endorsements really matter?

Thanks for asking.

I answer you with the Fix Endorsement Hierarchy:

At what point do we know if this had an impact on the Presidential race?

We don't. My guess is it won't. It's clearly a bad thing for Richard Mourdock and something the Romney campaign would rather not deal with.

But, the idea that Mitt Romney is going to lose because of something Richard Mourdock said in a debate to me seems farfetched.

Do you see the Democrats holding onto the Senate?

Read our latest Senate rankings. That will answer the question:

Part of me is rooting for a 269-269 result, so that we could have a Romney-Biden Administration

Or that we as a country finally recognize Dr. Ron Paul as our one true leader.

Will there be an election night party at the Cillizza household, where all are invited?

Not joking: We are setting a camera up in the Fix workspace on election night so you can watch us.  Like animals in a zoo.

Predicted viewership: -15.

Wondering what, if any, effect a hard hit from Sandy along the East coast might have on the election. Thinking a stellar performance from FEMA in response could help Obama and enhance the narrative of "we're all in this together", or open him up to charges of politicizing disaster. Also pondering possible effects on voter turnout if communities are still engaged in cleanup, restoring power etc. Sure, this is all total speculation. Your thoughts?


Chris, how do political reporters react in private to criticism that their coverage is biased? ps I haven't figured you out yet, except that you like your Starbucks some

You accept the fact that partisans will see things through the lens they choose to see things through no matter what you say or do.

And, yes. I am hopelessly partisan about expensive coffee drinks at Starbucks, Catholic field hockey and people who wear flip flops in the winter.

On politics though, I don't have a dog in the fight.

Over his nearly three decades as NBA commissioner, David Stern has often been polarizing and controversial, reviled by many an NBA fan (yours truly included at times). But he has also presided over arguably the greatest period in the sport's history. What's your take on Stern's tenure and the fact that he's stepping down in 2014? More importantly -- how do feel about the fact that a Duke Blue Devil is taking over for him?

1. Dook sucks.

2. Stern has been the greatest villain/commissioner of all time. Here's 5 minutes of him being booed at last year's draft:

You wrote that the 3rd debate was a modest win for Obama and meant little or nothing. Today, Gallup's poll finds viewers viewed Obama as the winner by a 56% to 33%. What's 'modest' about that?

Not sure how you mean. I wrote that Obama won "by a lot" and made him a winner and Romney a loser in my post-debate analysis.


Will Fix Jr. be attired in a politically themed costume? Or will he trick or treat as a field hockey player?


Chris, I've played with the electoral map a few times this week and it seems as though Obama can win the election without Ohio (or FL), VA, and NC by winning Wisconsin Colorado, New Hampshire and Nevada. Do you think that is the most likely scenario (in which case its 272 electoral votes and likely a lost popular vote for Obama) or do you think the president can win Ohio and Virginia? Basically is keeping colorado more important to Obama's campaign or winning Ohio?

That is absolutely a plausible scenario but if it happens Obama would almost certainly lose the popular vote.

I do think he remains ahead in OH and tied in VA.

How do you assess the candidates path to 270 electoral votes now?

I made a video about it!


Does Sununu's bad choice of words affect Romney?

It' an unwanted distraction for sure but don't think it changes anything fundamental (or even close) in the race.

Are you getting ready for the downpour of rain this weekend?

I am solely focused on 4:30 pm today. Catholic University vs Drew University in a field hockey game likely to decide the regular season champion in the Landfmark Conference.

I'll worry about Sandy once Catholic wins.

Given that the electoral math does not seem to be shifting in Romney's favor, isn't this still essentially Obama's race to lose?

I would say Obama retains a slight edge because of his electoral map advantage.

That said, Florida appears to be going the wrong way for him and CO and VA are straight toss ups. The best thing Obama has going for him at this point is Ohio.

Thanks for the music suggestion last week. Great band. And does Romney still have momentum or is it stoping?

He had momentum. Latest polls would suggest it has settled into a dead heat race.

Here's my piece on Romn-mentum (or not):

Is really Pennsylvania in play?

Not yet. Watch the money. If Romney dumps a ton of cash in there and travels to the state in the final 11 days, that means they have data suggesting they can win.

Chris--- Virginia or Colorado? Which is an easier lift for POTUS?

I say Colorado. Remember that prior to 2008 NO Democrat had won VA at the presidential level since Lyndon Johnson in 1964!

It doesnt seem like Colin Powell's endorsement has had the same impact that it did 4 years ago?

It did not.

I explained why here:


Hi, chatters. Heads up: Editorial Page Editor Fred Hiatt just started chatting about why the Post chose to officially endorse President Obama for another four years in office. You can join here:

Put odds on winning the presidential election for both sides....based on nothing more than expertise and gut. Where would you put your money today?

Obama 55% chance

Romney 45% chance

If you showed me a credible OH poll that shows Romney leading Obama there, flip those odds.

Does Romney spend any of his upcoming TV Ad moneybomb on the Keystone State?

I have been wondering the same thing...

I would already put Florida, North Carolina and Colorado in Romney's count, Do you agree?

Yes to NC. I think Florida is headed that way. CO seems like a straight toss up.

You often say that you don't (and have never) voted. Is this just to maintain neutrality, or is the implication that you don't believe it's important?

I think it's critically important. I just choose not to.

I'd add Schweitzer and Hickenlooper as possible Democratic candidates in 2016. I think Hickenlooper has a lot of potential, especially as a New Economy kind of guy. Other than Gillibrand, just don't see a Democratic Senator taking the nomination. Also, any reason for Cuomo as front-runner (sans Hillary), other than name rec and being Governor of a big state?

Good names to add.

On Cuomo: Huge name in the party, hero to gay community, comes from a large D state, massive fundraising capacity.

Do you think we will know the winner on Nov 7th or will there be at lease one demand for a recount?

I am rooting for a clean win one way or the other. I think dragged out results -- particularly at the presidential level -- aren't great for the country.

How's the team doing?

Win today and Scranton loses Sunday we  win the Landmark Conference and host the entire tournament.

Hm, no Chris Christie as a 2016/2020 R favorite? Interesting....

Crud. I knew I would leave someone out. Yes, he belongs. Top tier. Of course, he is going to need to win re-election in New Jersey in 2013 first...

Chelsea is looking good in the EPL so far

VERY. Tottenham without Bale is just not very dangerous.

If the President wins Florida, Romney will need to win EVERY swing state there is. What are the latest Polls telling us about the Presidential race in Florida?

Trend line is toward Romney. But, you are right: If Romney loses Florida, he needs a clean sweep which, at least at this point, seems unlikely.

You think the Arizona Senate race may be very close and keep us up, yet you are still calling it Lean Republican and not a Toss-Up?

We are constantly re-evaluating our rankings...

Apart from the Post-ABC poll, do you have a go-to polling organisation whose results you have relied on more than others over the years?

Aside from Post-ABC, which rules, I really like NBC-Wall Street Journal.

I've been a follower of Nate Silver of the NYT's FiveThirtyEight column since he was a baseball handicapper. Are you willing to give your assessment of his credibility?

Nate is an incredibly bright guy.  I don't know enough about his models to assess his "credibility" but I think he takes this stuff seriously and works hard to get it right.

Wanted to say how great of a job Fix Sean is doing

Yes, he rules.

-Biggest surprise? -Biggest missed opporutunity? -Favorite moment?

Fav moment: Rick Perry not being able to remember the third department he would cut

Biggest surprise: Rick Santorum being the last man standing against Romney

Biggest missed opportunity: Obama not embracing Simpson-Bowles.

Can you provide a link in your Friday chats? I can never find this thing on my own. Thx.

Worst Week? I linked it above!

Do bloggers make predictions? Since you're sort of a hybrid of reportage and opinions, how do you navigate that path?

I try to avoid predictions -- with the exception of doing it for fun in the Post's Crystal Ball competition.

Also, I am terrible at predictions -- which is all the more reason to avoid making them.

We have not heard from Michelle in a while. How is her race stacking up?

She should win.

Do you still see Todd Akin being defeated in Missouri?


How can you justify calling Ohio a lean Obama, without doing the opposite for VA and Florida, where all the polling suggests it leans Romney. It appears the difference in the states is about the same. PS Gtown students were never good at math- Go Cuse.

Polling in VA shows an absolute dead heat. Polling in FL shows Romney ahead by one point.  Both of those are smaller margins than Obama has in Ohio.

Can't say I am surprised at this lack of wisdom from a Syracuse fan though...

Unlike most people, I take you at your word that you are non-partisan, but I have to ask: aren't there some policies that you favor over others, and doesn't that you lead you, at times, to want one party over the other to win? (You don't have to reveal your policy preferences, even).

Not really. I am drawn to covering politics for the personalities, the history, the stats, the human elements.


If she chooses to run, is the Nomination pretty much hers?

Well, didn't we say that in 2008?

I do think she would be a clear favorite in 2016 if she runs.

I recently went through chemo, and spent part of my time on the couch watching the entire run of Friday Night Lights. Great show--such an authentic portrait of a region and a marriage. I want to be Tami Taylor when I grow up. Thanks much for the repeated recommendations. (Am now making my way through Brother Cadfael.)

It is awesome. I am glad it helped you through what is a tough time.

My motto in life comes from Coach Eric Taylor: "I said you need to strive to better than everyone else. I didn't say you needed to be better than everyone else. But you gotta try. That's what character is. It's in the try."

I think the problem with your statement that you have no dog in the fight is that you work for an employer that explicitly does have a dog in the fight, and that has expressly backed one of the dogs. Doesn't that create the impression that your coverage is biased, no matter how many times you protest to the contrary?

What people don't get: the editorial board and the newsroom do NOT interact at all.

So, when the editorial board endorses Obama, that is their decision and has no input from us. NONE.

I wish more people got that.

Does Linda McMahon show up again in 2016 for a third run at the US senate, or is she out of rematch clauses in her contract after this?

Chances she goes heel and signs on with Dx: 100%.

For or against in the winter?

Vehemently against.

Almost as much as I oppose girls wearing Hunter boots when the forecast has a 20% chance of rain.

Chat followed by special noon tracking poll. Surely you don't need coffee, you are hyped up enough. :-)

And I am hosting Andrea Mitchell's show at 1!

Speaking as an Alumnus of Lehigh University, WE PROVED IT!

BOOM. Take that Dook.

Take a drink every time someone says "Ohio."

You'd be in the ER by 8 pm -- maybe sooner.

Fix Rachel?

She now runs her OWN blog. It's awesome and it's here:

Which of them has a future in politics?


Are you the Ric Flair of MSNBC, with Luke Russert being Barry Windham?

I am printing this out, framing it and hanging it on my desk.


Ok folks, that's it for today. I have to go prep for our new WaPo-ABC tracking poll, which is out at noon!

Keep an eye on the Fix for the latest results!

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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