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Barack Obama is back across the border in northeastern Ohio today, less than a month since his post-Independence Day bus tour of Ohio and Pittsburgh, which ended at CMU.

Jackie Calmes at the NYT notes he's flying into a controversy around Mansfield and Akron that should sound familiar to Pittsburghers worried about the 911th in Moon:

But Mr. Obama was flying, literally, into a controversy in Mansfield that Republicans, led by Senator Rob Portman of Ohio, a potential running mate for Mr. Romney, were only too happy to fan. According to local media, Air Force One was landing at an air base that is home to the 179th Air National Guard Wing, which would be mothballed under the Obama administration’s proposed postwar reductions in Pentagon spending.

Allegheny County voter/no ID list

Andrew McGill and I have a story today looking at the list of nearly 100,000 voters in Allegheny County identified by the state as possibly not having PennDOT IDs, a list that includes late Pittsburgh Mayor Bob O'Connor's wife Judy (a longtime judge of elections at her local precinct) and a bunch of other recognizable Democratic names. The state issued the list knowing many of those listed probably had ID of some kind but wanted to blanket as many as possible with letters reminding them to check their ID status.

Confused yet? Even the state's top election official admitted in court yesterday that she's not entirely familiar with the state's new law, Karen Langley reports. The ACLU is set to finish its case against the legislation at Commonwealth Court today.

Andrew created this search function for residents of Pennsylvania's second-biggest county to check their status.

The list confirms fears from Democrats and other Voter ID opponents that minority, elderly and youth voters look to be most affected. From the story:

Others on the list of 99,115 voters in Allegheny County who don't match with PennDOT records include county councilman and United Steelworkers official John DeFazio, county Executive Rich Fitzgerald's wife, Cathy, county Judge Michael Della Vecchia and city Councilman William Peduto.

All those political names have ID and will be able to vote in November, and all are Democrats.

The requirements "are a sure case of voter suppression that 10 years from now we'll look back on and change," said Mr. Peduto, of Point Breeze. "Anybody arguing the case this [legislation] is to go after fraud and abuse is fooling themselves. This a measure to intimidate people not to show up to vote."

"This kind of mistake is likely a drop in the bucket, but it makes it clear that we really have no clue how many people these misguided voter suppression laws will affect," USW International President Leo Gerard said of Mr. DeFazio being on the list. "If the records are wrong for an elected official who has served for years, then what about the thousands of others who could lose their rights? Who belongs on this list? Who does not? We really don't know."

An analysis of the Allegheny County data shows nearly a third of listed voters are 60 or older, and many are clustered in a series of ZIP codes that make up some of Pittsburgh's poorest neighborhoods -- East Liberty/Lincoln-Lemington, East Hills and the Hill District.

Women are nearly twice as likely to be without ID in Allegheny County. Voters in their 20s -- an important subset for Democrats -- are the second-most impacted age group, after those 80 and older. Democrats dominate the list, accounting for 66 percent of all voters suspected to lack ID. (Democrats make up 61 percent of all registered voters in the county.)

Barack Obama holds an 11-point lead over Mitt Romney in Pennsylvania in the new Quinnipiac/New York Times swing state poll, leading him 53-42%. The incumbent leads by smaller margins in Ohio and Florida.

Here's Q's breakdown of Pa numbers

Pennsylvania women voters back Obama 59 – 35 percent, while men go 50 percent for Romney and 47 percent for Obama. Independent voters back Obama 58 – 36 percent.

Among Obama voters, 59 percent strongly favor him while 33 percent like him with reservations and 7 percent say their vote is against Romney.

Among Romney voters, 41 percent strongly favor him while 37 percent like him with reservations and 22 percent say they are voting against Obama.

Obama has a 53 – 42 percent favorability rating, while Romney has a negative 39 – 47 percent favorability rating.

The economy is the most important issue in the election for 54 percent of Pennsylvania voters, with 20 percent who pick health care and 8 percent who cite the budget deficit. Obama would do a better job on the economy than Romney, Pennsylvania likely voters say 48 – 44 percent. The president is better on health care, voters say 51 – 41 percent.

Obama's policies would hurt rather than help them, Pennsylvania voters say 37 – 23 percent, while 37 percent see no difference. Romney would hurt rather than help, voters say 32 – 26 percent, while 37 percent see no difference.

Presidential candidates should release several years of tax returns, 54 percent of voters say; 17 percent want to see one or two years of returns and 25 percent say don't release returns.

The poll also looks at numbers in the Casey-Smith Senate race, and Tom Corbett's approval rating:

In Pennsylvania's U.S. Senate race, Democratic incumbent Sen. Robert Casey Jr. leads coal mine owner Tom Smith, the Republican challenger, 55 – 37 percent, with a 61 – 33 percent lead among independent voters.

Pennsylvania voters disapprove 45 – 38 percent of the job Gov. Tom Corbett is doing.


Tom Smith, the GOP's pick to face U.S. Sen. Bob Casey this fall, is holding a fundraiser in D.C. tomorrow among recent gains in a Democratic-leaning poll.

Smith's campaign is feeling good these days with PPP showing him drawing to within 10 points of Casey (46-36%; it was a 16-point difference in May), and his first general election TV spots introducing the newcomer to voters statewide this week. (The campaign recently made a new buy to keep the spots on air for at least two weeks.) He'll hold a fundraiser Wednesday at NRSC headquarters with the committee's head John Cornyn and Pa's Pat Toomey.

Republicans in DC are trying to make the case that Smith's self-funding ability (he's a former coal company owner) matched with Casey's numbers remaining below 50%, and Obama possibly dragging him down, should further help the challenger's bid. Outside observers such as Cook Political Report call it a likely hold for Casey, and his approval numbers, while low for an incumbent, have been the best of any statewide office-holder. The latest poll from GOP-leaning Rasmussen Reports had Casey widening his lead to 11 points. New National Journal Senate rankings out today leave the race unchanged and say "Casey isn't feeling any heat yet."

Quinnipiac/NYT will be out with a new swing state presidential poll including Pa tomorrow, so we'll see if they did any fresh polling on the Senate race as well. (UPDATE: Q says Casey has an 18-point lead.)

Things could get pretty hairy on election day due to the state's new Voter ID law. Pittsburgh is bracing for long lines. Poll watchers from both parties will likely be on hand in big districts, stepping up the anxiety. And what if some Democratic poll workers refuse to follow the new GOP-approved rules?

The state has already warned they could be prosecuted, according to Daniel Denvir at Philadelphia City Paper:

The voter ID law does not set out any new and specific penalties for non-compliance. Violators could, however, be charged under five catch-all state elections code provisions, according to information provided by the Secretary of State to the Philadelphia City Commissioners and obtained by City Paper. That includes two felonies carrying prison sentences of up to seven years. Anyone convicted of such a crime would also be barred from voting for four years.

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