Category: Elections

Check out the latest Purple Poll from Purple Strategies

Purple Strategies’ latest Purple Poll shows the U.S. Presidential race between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney getting closer!

Our latest PurplePoll finds Romney continuing to improve his position, as the race remains extremely tight.  Romney is chipping away at Obama’s lead, but still trails by 2 points across the Purple electorate.

Romney has taken a lead in Ohio and Florida.  Obama now holds leads in the other two Purple Predictor states: Virginia and Colorado.

Obama appears to have a winning hand on private equity, though his arguments fall short of majority support.  It’s clearly a wedge issue, but there are important differences across key states.

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Inside the US Politics: Towards 2012 Conference

By Taylor McGuire, NYU Florence student

How many students can tell you that they shook hands with Bob Shrum and Paul Begala before sitting down to a small friendly breakfast to discuss politics? About fifteen students total, including myself, would supply the answer “Yes.” When I was helping research the biographies of a few political figures, I had no idea I would get to meet and talk to them.  The discussion over breakfast was intriguing and informational about the upcoming election. Unfortunately I had to leave for class, but the next day I attended half of the conference that took place throughout the day. Multiple people in the audience engaged in the dialogue and a few times the panels ran over their scheduled time. There was so much to talk about! I got to meet: Marylouise Oates, Steve McMahon, Bruce Haynes, and Steve Schmidt. Marylouise Oates is officially my new role model! There was a dinner held after the conference that a few students and I had the honor to attend. I snuck in early and stole the seat next to “Oatesy” as she asked me to call her. Throughout the entire dinner, we discussed politics, women’s’ rights, her career as an activist, the classes she teaches, how her and “Shrummy” (as she calls her husband) met, what I can do to handle my college work load, and she gave me a great idea for the La Pietra Dialogues project that I am working on. The girl that was sitting next to me and I also got a chance to chat with Steve Schmidt, who was on the other side of Oatesy, about how to get involved in politics. What really warmed my heart was towards the end of the dinner when Bob Shrum, Paul Begala, Oatesy, and Bruce Haynes all said that it was a pleasure getting to talk with the students since that was the biggest reason why they were present. The food was great and the wine was quite divine. The night ended at a decent time and I almost wish it wouldn’t have.

The Ownership Debate

By Lorenzo Bruscalgli, University of Florence International Relations Student

What I took away from The Obama Administration: An Early Assessment conference is the sense that Americans (and Europeans) have exhaled a sigh of relief for the end of the Bush era. Supporters of President Obama are still riding the tidal wave of enthusiasm from the presidential campaign after his first year in office. However, as Alex Castellanos pointed out, President Obama inherited a host of issues that weigh heavily on the political debate. In order for the U.S. to move forward, Obama needs, according to Stephanie Cutter, to become progressively independent of the stigma of the Bush years and to start to “own” the issues. What does it mean to “own” an issue? In simple terms it means to not point to the past as an excuse for present difficulties. This would be helpful for both the Administration and the Republican Party: allowing the former to stand on its own legs, and releasing the later from responsibility for current problems. But what it means at a deeper level is to take full responsibility for the issues, irrespective of the past. All panelists seemed to agree that the Obama Presidency must act authoritatively, but, I wondered, is it really responsible to ignore the past ? Obama has made bipartisanship a hallmark of his political style. He has demonstrated, with his restraint during the campaign, his health care reform compromises, and the beer summit, that he tries to avoid making divisive choices. But in debates surrounding the economic crisis and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, calling past decisions into question is, in my opinion, the responsible way to assess what has happened and, consequently, what can happen, and this is true regardless of the political consequences for a particular political party. There was a sense of urgency among Democrats on the panel that Obama needs to prove that he can stand on his own merits to voters and that he has not been voted in simply as a negative reaction to Bush. However, he seems to have taken ‘ownership’ of issues like the Iraq War and Guantanamo, rarely if ever mentioning his predecessor, but, surprisingly, has not been more decisive on some of his own signature issues like the repeal of “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” and, especially, health care reform, disappointing many democrats. Stan Greenberg and Adam Nagourney both agreed that in a few years we might look back on 2009 and realize that it was one of the most active first years in history and that the administration’s accomplishments have been underestimated because there were such high expectations. The Dialogue achieved its goal of providing a complex evaluation of this past controversial year. I was most impressed by the gracious manner in which all sides discussed these delicate issues. As an Italian, I can only hope that there could be such civility in the current Italian arena as well.

The U.S. Elections Film and Lecture Series

By La Pietra Dialogues

In the lead up to the 2008 U.S. Presidential Elections, faculty and students gathered every Wednesday evening in the Limonaia of Villa la Pietra to discuss the latest from the campaign trail over food and drinks and to deepen their perspective with a series of guest lectures and screenings of some of the most memorable films dealing with American politics. On September 17, special guest Jo-Ann White in her talk “Notes from the Democratic Convention” spoke about her experience as a delegate for Democrats Abroad at the Democratic Convention in Denver, proving that her enthusiasm for the intricacies of American politics hasn’t dimmed after more than a decade living in Europe. On October 1, a panel of European graduate students from the European University Institute and the University of Florence representing seven European countries engaged in a vibrant and lively discussion – “European Perspectives on the U.S. Elections” – with NYU undergraduates on about how the American election process is viewed in Europe, what Europeans think about the candidates and what the election may mean for Euro-American relations. The discussion spilled over into the garden as students pursued their conversations in small groups after the formal event had ended. Finally, Professor Roberto D’Alimonte gave a talk “Berlusconi: An American Style Prime Minister” on October 8 about the growing similarities in electoral politics between Italy and the U.S. attributed to the introduction of American campaign techniques on the Italian scene by its current Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi and identified features that are specific to Italian politics. The U.S. Elections Film and Lecture Series culminated in the international conference “The U.S. Elections: What Happened? Why? What’s Next?” on November 20-21. Distinguished panels of European and American political analysts, scholars, and media experts discussed the results of the elections and implications for U.S. foreign and domestic policy.