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Romney Says He Paid 13.6% or More for the Last 10 Years

Bowing very slightly to increasing pressure from both Democrats and Republicans, Mitt Romney stated that he paid at least 13.6% of his income in federal taxes for each of the past 10 years. However, he offered no proof and no tax returns, just a statement. This is unlikely to satisfy his critics, however. Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) responded to Romney's statement by saying essentially: "Prove it."

Romney has steadfastly refused to release any more tax returns, saying they contain ammunition for the Democrats. That is an interesting choice of words. Ammunition is explosive material so Romney has effectively said there is something explosive in those returns. Even if he is telling the truth about the 13.6%, there could be other things in there that would give him bad publicity, for example, if most of his money were stored off shore where it wasn't creating any jobs in America.

Often forgotten in the tax fight is that Romney did promise to release his full 2011 tax returns when they were finished. Assuming he got a standard 6-month extension, they will have to be filed by Oct. 15, 2012. As soon as they are out there, it will bring up the subject again, and just 3 weeks before the election. Of course, he might renege on his promise and take the heat.

Romney Started a Trend: Thompson Won't Release Tax Returns Either

The new Republican nominee for the open Senate seat in Wisconsin, former governor Tommy Thompson, has now said that, like Romney, he is not going to release any more tax returns. His opponent, Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) has released 10 years' worth. No doubt this is going to become an issue as she starts to accuse him of hiding things.

Only 3-5% of Voters Are Truly Undecided

Pollsters now believe that only 3-5% of the voters are undecided about who to vote for in the presidential election. Yesterday we estimated this at 6%. Other sources have given similar figures. Americans love independence, so when pollsters come to call, many people say they are an independent when in reality they almost always vote for the same party. So 5% of the people in about a dozen swing states will decide the election. It is a tiny number, which is why the polls have been remarkably stable for months. Nearly everybody else is either in a state whose outcome is not in doubt or has already made a choice and is not budging.

As we have pointed out before, the election may ultimately be about which side gets its voters to the polls better rather than convincing the tiny group still sitting on the fence to hop off it.

Romney's Biggest (Political) Assets and Liabilities Listed

The Christian Science Monitor has put together a nice list of Mitt Romney's biggest (political) assets and liabilities. They are as follows.

  1. Success in business.
  2. The 2002 Winter Olympic games
  3. Executive experience in government as governor of Massachusetts
  4. Ann Romney and his five sons
  5. Romneycare

  1. What does he really believe?
  2. Image of being an out-of-touch rich guy
  3. Mormonism
  4. Romneycare
  5. Problems with women and Latinos

Medicare Now More Important with Voters Than Obamacare

A new poll from the nonprofit Kaiser Family Foundation shows that the selection of Paul Ryan for the Republican ticket has had an unexpected side effect: people now see Medicare as a higher-priority issue than Obamacare. A Kaiser poll a week earlier showed that 58% of adults want to keep Medicare as it is and only 36% want the Republican plan. Clearly, with numbers like these, the Democrats are going to keep Medicare in the spotlight until the election.

For the Republicans, the reason for wanting to have vouchers replace the current Medicare system goes something like this (in the long term). First, the size of the voucher could easily be reduced over time, making it less and less valuable which would de facto phase out the program. Also, a future Congress could means test the vouchers to save money. But if at some point everyone had to pay taxes to support Medicare but only the poor got vouchers, the Republicans would be able to attack the program as a welfare scheme and argue it should be abolished.

Ryan's Presence on Ticket Will Restart Social Security Debate

The Democrats are certain to hammer Paul Ryan on Medicare, but they are also likely to attack him on Social Security as well. His budget ignores Social Security, but in the past he was a strong proponent of at least partially privatizing the system by letting people put part of their required contributions into a personal account. This is not likely to go over well with seniors. Being on the defensive on both Medicare and Social Security could potentially be a big problem in Florida.

iPhone App Also Works on iPad

Some people have asked if there is an app for this site for the iPad. The answer is yes. The little iPhone icon below the map legend links to an app that also works perfectly on the iPad.

Today's Presidential Polls

State Obama Romney   Start End Pollster
Florida 43% 45%   Aug 15 Aug 15 Rasmussen
Michigan 49% 44%   Aug 13 Aug 13 Mitchell Research
Pennsylvania 47% 42%   Aug 07 Aug 12 Franklin+Marshall Coll.
Wisconsin 47% 48%   Aug 15 Aug 15 Rasmussen
Wisconsin 49% 45%   Aug 13 Aug 14 ORC International

Today's Senate Polls

State Democrat D % Republican R % I I % Start End Pollster
Indiana Joe Donnelly 39% Richard Mourdock 41%     Aug 06 Aug 09 Market Research
Indiana Joe Donnelly 41% Richard Mourdock 39%     Aug 06 Aug 09 Market Research
Pennsylvania Bob Casey* 43% Tom Smith 28%     Aug 07 Aug 12 Franklin+Marshall Coll.

* Denotes incumbent