Archive for October, 2012

China defends patrols in waters near disputed East China Sea islands held by Japan

October 31, 2012

BEIJING, China – China on Wednesday defended its increasingly assertive patrolling near disputed East China Sea islands controlled by Japan, as tensions in the area continue to run high.

The actions constitute “routine patrols and law enforcement in China’s territorial waters around the Diaoyu Islands,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said at a regularly scheduled news conference.

“This was a normal official activity intended to exercise jurisdiction. This deserves no criticism,” Hong said.

By The Associated Press

That followed an encounter Wednesday between ships from the Japanese Coast Guard and China Marine Surveillance near the islands, known as Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China. Each side broadcast their claim of sovereignty to the other and the brief incident ended when the ships dispersed, Japan said.

Hong’s statement came as Beijing announced several days of intense naval exercises in the Western Pacific involving seven ships commanded by the missile destroyer Harbin. The co-ordinated actions set several new precedents for the Chinese navy involving anti-submarine warfare, precision attack, and other sophisticated manoeuvring, state broadcaster CCTV reported.

 

China’s missile destroyer Harbin

While apparently unrelated to the feuding with Japan, the drills come as Beijing is flexing its maritime muscle to assert its claims in the South China and East China seas.

China has sent ships into the area on numerous occasions since Japan’s nationalization of some of the islands in September. China also cancelled its scheduled attendance at a defence forum in Tokyo this week along with other exchanges to show its pique.

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Murder of American is Benghazi: Low Point in American History

October 31, 2012

By 

Published October 30, 2012

FoxNews.com

What is it like to spend your last moments on earth fighting for your life?

To have devoted your life, and your life’s work, to a great nation — to serve it well and honorably — and serve for it with courage and distinction, to all come down to a last, frantic few seconds, spent defending you and your fellow Americans and call for the cavalry to come help,  and no cavalry comes–and you die.

This is what the two former Navy SEALs, under the employment of CIA, Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty, faced in their final moments in Benghazi on September 11, 2012.

It is not a question of could we have sent forces in to help.We could. We could have sent forces to help as they were within a few hundred miles.  This battle of Benghazi  was a protracted fight – covering at least six to eight hours (depending on when you start the clock).  And, if the forces were not there, on the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, then there is an additional level of leadership failure that must be examined.  However, the appearance is that there was forces available.

This is what we now stand for now, as a nation?  To have invested billions in intelligence and special operations forces to hang back, play it safe?

To have general officers serve NOT as “Monday morning quarterbacks” but as “Monday morning apologists”  for the WH saying “it was just too hard” or “the uncertainty was a key factor” – are you kidding me?  Conventional thinking obtains you conventional (and in this case tragic) results – four dead Americans.

It is a shame that senior leaders have such little faith in the extraordinary talents of our special operations forces…they are the best and can do extraordinary work – they should have been trusted (and used) in the case of Benghazi.

The request for help was sent by these brave, now dead, men – at least three times.  The answer was “no”.

Someone made the decision to not send help.  Who?

The decision would have been that of one man – the president.

There was a similar decision profile in October 1983, regarding a little place known as Grenada.

The Cubans were making inroads on the island and there was evidence that U.S. students attending a medical school there were endanger and likely to become hostages of the Cubans and Grenadian government.  These Americans were in immediate danger.

There was a tense meeting in the White House situation room of President Reagan’s cabinet.  After a short debate on the issues, Reagan called for a vote to use military force to rescue the Americans.

Only three of his cabinet voted to yes to take action…SecDef Cap Weinberger voted no.  One of the three “yes” votes was Ronald Reagan.

I am told he said something to the effect “Gentlemen, I appreciate your vote – but unfortunately, my vote counts more than yours – we are going”.  And we went.

Operation Urgent Fury was born – and over a six hour (that is right six hour) planning process, the first U.S. forces arrived in Grenada – lead by the US Marine Corps and the Army’s Rangers and  82nd Airborne.

There was huge uncertainty — we had just come off of the 1980 failed attempt to rescue the U.S. hostages in Iran that ended badly at a staging area called “Desert One”.

There was also a lack of intelligence – it came to individuals calling via a phone-booth into the Pentagon to be patched into the Navy to coordinate artillery fire.

Oh, yeah- and President Reagan did not even inform our closest ally, Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, of the invasion.  Grenada was a British protectorate.  He apologized later.

The students were rescued, preventing another hostage crisis similar to the one that had hobbled the Carter Administration.

Lives were saved.  Leadership was shown.

So, thirty years later, are we that diminished as a global power that we cannot defend our own citizens?

Are we that risk adverse we would sooner see our men and women we put in harm’s way made to be sacrificial lambs to political correctness and political optics?  Is this what we’ve become?

So, do we want four more years of “it is too hard to do”? Can we afford four more years of leading from behind, or worse, failure to lead at all? This failure has cost four US lives, a burned out consulate, damage and diminished respect. What is next?

We need clear answers — real leadership. Hope and change is not a strategy, it is a tragedy.

Lt. Col. Tony Shaffer (ret.) is a former senior intelligence officer and the New York Times bestselling author of Operation “DARK HEART: Spycraft an Special Operations on the Frontlines of Afghanistan – And The Path to Victory.”  He is the Director of External Communications for the Center for Advanced Defense Studies (CADS) and Senior Advisor on the Congressional Task Force on National and Homeland Security. The opinions reflected here are those solely of Lt. Col. Shaffer — and are not the opinion of the Center for Advanced Defense Studies (CADS) or of any other group or organization with which Lt. Col. Shaffer is affiliated.

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2012/10/30/to-live-and-die-in-benghazi-libya-without-leadership-from-america/
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In Large and Small Ways: China Playing Bigger Role in World

October 31, 2012

Lakhdar Brahimi, left, shakes hands with Yang Jiechi before their meeting in Beijing on Wednesday.

Lakhdar Brahimi, left, shakes hands with Yang Jiechi before their meeting in Beijing on Wednesday

Lakhdar Brahimi, the U.N- Arab League special envoy on Syria, visits China

(CNN) — Syrian warplanes pounded rebel fighters and car bombs went off in the Damascus suburbs Wednesday as the architect of a failed cease-fire huddled with Chinese officials in Beijing.

At least 67 people died in the 19-month-old conflict on Wednesday, opposition activists reported. Russian-built MiG jets and artillery targeted neighborhoods in and around Damascus, the commercial capital of Aleppo and the southern city of Daraa, according to the Local Coordination Committees of Syria, a network of opposition activists.

Rebel groups accuse Syria’s longtime ally, Iran, of supplying surveillance drones to help direct the airstrikes, displaying what they say are captured aircraft and operating manuals. Iran says it’s not providing military aid to Syria.

A rebel group, meanwhile, claimed responsibility for a bombing that Syria’s state news agency SANA said killed 11 people in the Damascus suburb of Saida Zaynab. The group said the blast killed eight Syrian troops and no civilians, but another rebel faction said three children were among the dead.

Brahimi in Beijing

Lakhdar Brahimi, the U.N- Arab League special envoy tasked with finding an end to the long-running conflict, was in Beijing on Wednesday for talks with Chinese officials. China has offered a four-point plan to end the war, calling for a cease-fire, plans for political settlement and transition and international humanitarian aid.

Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi said China wants to work with world powers to reach a “fair, peaceful and appropriate” resolution, the state news agency Xinhua reported. But he said Syria’s future should be determined by its citizens, and its sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity should be respected.

“A political resolution is the only pragmatic option in Syria,” Yang said.

Brahimi worked for a cease-fire during the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha, which ended Monday, but the truce never took hold. On Wednesday, he said a political resolution to the conflict is the only realistic approach to the “complicated and sensitive situation in Syria,”

“All parties involved should cease fire and violence so as to create conditions for a political resolution,” Brahimi said.

Both China and Russia, where Brahimi held talks Monday, have blocked tough U.N. Security Council initiatives against the Syrians.

Rebels target ‘nerve center’ in Aleppo

Rebel fighters in Aleppo, the scene of heavy fighting since August, focused their efforts Wednesday on a military headquarters compound they say houses political prisoners.

“The air force intelligence building is the nerve center for the regime operation in Aleppo,” Abdulla Yasin, a spokesman for the rebel Free Syrian Army, told CNN. Syrian troops surround the building and have moved the prisoners held there to upper-story offices, “to prevent the FSA from firing rockets or artillery rounds into the building,” Yasin said.

“We must be very careful to prevent harm to the innocent civilians and political prisoners trapped inside, because it appears they are being used as some type of human shields,” he said.

Fighting extended into the countryside around the city, with artillery fire and airstrikes targeting the town of Atarib. At least 10 people were killed and 20 wounded there, Yasin said, while three more died in the nearby town of Kafr Hamr.

CNN cannot independently confirm accounts of fighting or death tolls from Syria as the government has severely restricted the access of international journalists. The numbers reported by the LCC do not include deaths from security forces or the military.

More than 35,000 people have died in the Syrian conflict, according to the Center for Documentation of Violations in Syria, a group that tracks fatalities.

Supporters of Bashar al-Assad welcome onslaught of Sandy

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The 2012 conference of the International Council on Monuments and Sites is being held in Beijing from Oct 27 to Nov 1 with 112 representatives from 56 countries attending the event.

The theme of this year’s discussion is “Reducing the harm on cultural relics caused by natural and man-made disasters”. Experts from China, Japan, Italy and Australia are sharing their experiences and ideas.
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By Zhang Yue (chinadaily.com.cn)

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Guo Zhan from the State Administration of Cultural Heritage and also the secretary general of ICOMOS China said during the conference that China is playing an increasingly important role in the world arena.
“We used to have limited experience and ideas in heritage protection and are inclined to learn from other countries,” Guo said. “But in recent years, China is stepping on an equal position in communicating ideas and methods in heritage protection, especially when many important conferences and seminars on heritage protection are being held in China.”
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Guo also pointed out that traditional cultural values and philosophy are now increasingly contributing to worldwide heritage protection.
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ICOMOS was set up in Poland in Warsaw, Poland, in 1965 and is the only international non-governmental organization protecting and repairing cultural heritage and relics. The organization plays a vital role in approving nominations for UNESCO’s World Heritage List.
China joined ICOMOS in 1993 and has remained closely connection with the organization ever since. Forty-three items from China are enlisted on the World Heritage List.
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“China is such a large country with a deep history as well as huge global impact,” Gustavo F. Araoz, president of ICOMOS, said. “The impact of China’s cultural heritage protection is immense. Regarding heritage protection, China is working in a different circumstance because you have a huge urbanization process. You have huge demographic shifts bringing people in the countryside to the cities. I was amazed by how China is able to save so many places.”

Gallup: Americans Still Give Obama Better Odds to Win Election

October 31, 2012

54% of Americans think Obama will win; 34% predict Romney

by Andrew Dugan and Frank Newport

WASHINGTON, D.C. — A majority of Americans continue to believe that Democratic President Barack Obama will win re-election Tuesday over Republican challenger Mitt Romney, by 54% to 34%. These views are roughly similar to where they were in May and August, although slightly more Americans now do not have an opinion either way.

who will win the election.gif

These results are based on interviews conducted from Oct. 27-28 as part of the Gallup Daily election tracking survey, conducted before Hurricane Sandy hit the East Coast. It is unknown what effect the storm will have on Americans’ voting preferences or the impact of the storm on Americans’ perceptions of who is most likely to win the election.

The majority of Americans continue to project an Obama win on Nov. 6. This is the case even though the general perception is the race is highly competitive and the outcome still very much in doubt. National polls generally show a tight race with many, including Gallup, giving Romney an edge. State-level polls suggest Obama doing slightly better in key battleground states that will decide the Electoral College winner.

Track the 2012 race and compare it to past elections >

More generally, Americans may believe the incumbent has a natural advantage when competing for a new term. In three separate polls conducted over the 2004 presidential election, voters twice viewed incumbent George W. Bush as the probable winner, including 56% who said so the final time Gallup asked the question before the election. In 1996, an overwhelming majority (69%) saw incumbent Bill Clinton as more likely to prevail than his opponent Robert Dole (24%).Democrats Most Likely to Predict Obama Victory; Republicans Least Likely

Unsurprisingly, the vast majority of partisans predict their respective candidates will win the election. Democrats are relatively more confident in their party’s nominee, with 86% predicting an Obama victory and 8% projecting Romney. By contrast, 71% of Republicans predict Romney will win, while nearly a fifth of Republicans see their candidate losing to Obama. Despite evenly divided presidential vote preferences, independents predict Obama to win, 52% to 32%.

who will win the election, by party.gif

Americans Generally Have Been Accurate at Predicting the Winner

Americans have a good track record regarding their collective prediction of the outcome of presidential elections, correctly predicting the winner of the popular vote in final Gallup surveys taken in 1996, 2000, 2004, and 2008. Although Americans are not as optimistic on Obama’s odds as various “prediction markets,” such as Intrade.com, where the president has often been projected as having a probability of winning of more than 60%, the prediction markets and the American public in general find Obama the favorite against Romney. The 2012 presidential election outcome will help determine how accurate Americans are in their personal predictions.

past election predictions.gif

Implications

Though it has been a long campaign season with various twists and turns, Americans by a clear margin still predict that Obama will win re-election. This in the face of presidential preference polling that has consistently demonstrated a close race. The apparent inconsistency may be the result of Obama’s status as the incumbent and reflects a somewhat lower level of confidence among Republicans that their candidate will win.

Track every angle of the presidential race on Gallup.com’s Election 2012 page.

Sign up to get Election 2012 news stories from Gallup as soon as they are published.

In Last Hours Of Election 2012: Romney Trying to Buy Last Remaining Ad Time

October 31, 2012

Why are GOP outside groups and the Romney campaign starting to spend money and time moving into blue territory such as Minnesota, Pennsylvania and Michigan?

Get more pure politics at ABCNews.com/Politics and a lighter take on the news atOTUSNews.com .

By Amy Walter | ABC News Blogs

ABC News Blogs

Here are some theories:

1. Ohio is a lost cause so Team Romney needs another path to 270: Despite the plethora of media polls showing Obama ahead in the Buckeye state, GOPers not affiliated with the Romney campaign say they have polling showing a dead heat or Romney slightly ahead. In that vein, we are left to wonder whether Romney’s decision to run a blatantly false ad in Toledo – re: Jeep factory moving to China – is a hail Mary or a way to try and tip this very tight contest?

2. Better Bang for the Buck: Campaigns and the outside groups have lots of money to spend and not a lot of places to spend it.

Not only is it prohibitively expensive to try to buy last-minute ad time in places such as Ohio and Virginia, there simply might not be any ad time to buy. TV stations have to make ad time available to campaigns, but not to outside groups. Moreover, the TV stations aren’t required to provide the most-highly desired times (like prime time or morning time) to candidates.

If an outside group wants to get the biggest bang for its buck, states such as Minnesota, Pennsylvania and Michigan is where they’ll get it.

3. Trying to Make Something Out of Demographics: What do Pennsylvania, Minnesota and Michigan have in common?

Vote in 2008:

National = 74 percent white

Pa. = 81 percent white;

Minn. = 90 percent white

Mich. = 82 percent white

Latest ABC News-Washington Post tracker, Romney gets 57 percent of the white vote, including 60 percent of white men

4. Trying to Keep Momentum Storyline Going Even Though Momentum Is Gone:

As our tracking poll has shown, whatever momentum Romney had last week has stalled. So, what better way to keep the “momentum” storyline going than to show a campaign confident enough to expand the map.

Joe Biden: Calls Cleveland Plain Dealer the Most Important Newspaper In The State (While He’s In Florida) — Says He’ll Run in 2016

October 31, 2012

ABCNews.com

Joe Biden’s attempt to convince a Republican to vote for Barack Obama Nov. 6 ended with the vice president jokingly referring to his own potential run for the top job in 2016.

At a restaurant called 400 Station in Sarasota, Florida on Wednesday, Biden spoke on the phone with the brother of a voter who wanted him to chat with her Republican relative, according to a pool report.

Get more pure politics at ABCNews.com/Politics and a lighter take on the news at OTUSNews.com

After chatting about the health insurance law, Biden concluded, “Well look, I’m not trying to talk you into voting for me, I just wanted to say hi to you, okay?  And after it’s all over when your insurance rates go down then you’ll vote for me in 2016. I’ll talk to you later.”

No matter who wins next Tuesday – President Obama or Mitt Romney – Democrats are likely to be searching for a new candidate in 2016, either because he will have met his two consecutive term limit or because there will be a primary. Biden has run for president twice before – in 1988 and in 2008, but never received his party’s nomination.

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The fact that Biden’s thinking about 2016 often enough to have it creep into his half-jokey banter with members of the public? Or the fact that he seems to believe, contra available evidence, that insurance rates post-ObamaCare will go down instead of up? Either way, the guy’s prospects remain marginally higher than that of the Quayle ’00 campaign. Quick check of the Hot Air “Election 2016″ Crystal Ball reveals the forecast unchanged: “No way, no chance, no how, unless nobody else runs.”

http://hotair.com/archives/2012/10/31/biden-to-gop-voter-youll-vote-for-me-in-2016-when-your-insurance-rates-go-down/

China Unveils New “Fifth Generation” Stealth Fighter

October 31, 2012

China tested the new J-31 fighter on Wednesday morning, becoming only the second country after the US to have two fifth-generation stealth fighters.

The test of the J-31 was a success, according to mil.huanqiu.com, the mainland’s leading military website, which also posted pictures of the aircraft.

South China Morning Post

China tested its first fifth-generation stealth fighter J-20 on January 11, 2011, the day when the visiting former US Defence Secretary Dr Robert Gates met President Hu Jintao in Beijing.

The J-20 was designed and produced by Chengdu’s Aircraft Design Institute. Its successful test surprised the world, with many asking how ADI could have developped a sophisticated plane so secretly.

Andrei Chang, editor-in-chief of the Canadian-based

China tested the new J-31 fighter on Wednesday morning, becoming only the second country after the US to have two fifth-generation stealth fighters.

The test of the J-31 was a success, according to mil.huanqiu.com, the mainland’s leading military website, which also posted pictures of the aircraft.

China tested its first fifth-generation stealth fighter J-20 on January 11, 2011, the day when the visiting former US Defence Secretary Dr Robert Gates met President Hu Jintao in Beijing.

The J-20 was designed and produced by Chengdu’s Aircraft Design Institute. Its successful test surprised the world, with many asking how ADI could have developped a sophisticated plane so secretly.

Andrei Chang, editor-in-chief of the Canadian-based Kanwa Asian Defence Monthly, said the new J-31 was a hybrid model of the US stealth fighters F-22 and F-35. It was manufactured by the Shenyang Aircraft Industry Corporation, a subsidiary of Aviation Industry Corporation of China.

Military experts said the test flight on Wednesday was only the beginning of an intentional display of advanced military technology by Beijing.

 

J-20

By Asian Defence News

The J-20 #2001 prototype was photographed when it was preparing for high-speed taxi trial at the CAC airfield in late December 2010, wearing a distinctive dark green color scheme (RAM coating applied?). The prototype features a pair of all-moving tailfins and Russian 1.44 style ventral stabilizing fins, which shield the engine nozzles but might increase RCS.

It also features an F-22 style forward fuselage, including Caret intakes but with DSI bumps installed at the upper inner corners, as well as a one-piece frameless canopy. However the canards appear to extend slightly above the plane of the main wings and there are four large underwing actuator fairings which might not be stealth optimized. First disclosed by US Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI) in 1997 as XXJ, J-20 is the 4th generation multi-role fighter to enter the service between 2015 and 2018. Since 90s both CAC/611 Institute and SAC/601 Institute had been working their own designs for a twin-engine multi-role heavy fighter with stealth capability and maneuverability comparable to American F-22.

Turnout will tell the tale in Ohio

October 31, 2012
If you live here in Ohio and you’re somehow still undecided about your vote next week, congratulations. You get to pick the next president of the United States.And even if you have decided, but haven’t cast your ballot yet, be prepared. For six more days, you’re one of the popular kids. Expect mail, phone calls and visits from people who want to make sure you do vote.

The stakes are that high. The race is that close.

By Joe Frolik, The Plain Dealer

Cleveland Plain Dealer Logo

Pew Research Center Monday pegged the presidential contest nationally as a tie: 47 percent for Barack Obama, 47 percent for Mitt Romney. The RealClearPolitics average of national polls, as of midday Tuesday, had Romney up by less than a percentage point — and that includes a Gallup tracking poll, with a 5-point Romney edge, that is out of line with every other survey.

Ohio’s just as tight. Sunday’s University of Cincinnati poll for a consortium of Ohio newspapers, including The Plain Dealer, also found a dead heat at 49 percent each. Subsequent polls range from a 5-point lead for Obama to a 2-point edge for Romney. The RealClearPolitics average: Obama up in Ohio by a statistically insignificant 1.9 points.

Given the critical importance of Ohio’s 18 electoral votes to each side’s Electoral College arithmetic, the pressure will be on until the polls in Ohio close at 7:30 p.m. next Tuesday. Now it’s all about turnout — and the possibility that control of the White House could turn on an issue that is off the national radar but matters intensely to a small group of voters in Ohio and the handful of other closely contested states.

“The closer the election, the more issues on the margin matter,” said University of Akron political scientist John Green. “In Ohio, if things stay as close as they are, it’s possible that a secondary issue like abortion or the environment or foreign policy could make a difference.”

For months now, the two parties and their allies have been using sophisticated software and old-school feet on the street to figure out who’s on their side and what matters most to those who might be wooed into the fold.

The GOP pioneered micro-targeting in 2004, using mounds of data — including the value of a voter’s home, make of car and magazine subscriptions — to decide who was most likely to lean Republican. Then they barraged those voters with phone calls — ideally from people they knew and trusted — and sent them mailings tailored to the issues they said were most important. When the polls closed that November, Democrats saw the turnout totals and thought their own relentless door-to-door canvassing had carried John Kerry to victory. But Republicans had identified and mobilized so many conservative-leaning voters that George W. Bush eked out a 118,000-vote victory in Ohio.

One key group that fall was evangelical Christians, many of whom sat out the 2000 election because they weren’t sold on Bush. Though social issues have taken a back seat to economics this year, those voters remain vital to GOP success. So when the Rev. Billy Graham purchased full-page ads in The Plain Dealer and other swing-state papers this month to all but formally anoint Romney, it was a huge “get” for Republicans.

Clevelander Bob Bennett was GOP state chairman in 2004, and he’s back in the saddle this fall. He says the Republican turnout effort is more sophisticated this time: “We’ve added 60 million pieces of information to our voter files.”

But he adds that volunteers are still critical because so many voters screen their calls, especially during the endgame. “You have to go out and knock on doors,” Bennett said.

Democrats — who dramatically upped their tech savvy when Obama grabbed the party machinery in 2008 — agree, and it’s why they think they’re prepped to win a nail-biter in Ohio. They have been perfecting a ground game for four years now, and they tested it during last November’s Issue 2 contest with spectacular success.

Democrats have been running their turnout effort full-bore since early voting opened in Ohio on Oct. 2. Obama national campaign manager Jim Messina told reporters last week that the focus so far has been on “sporadic voters,” people who don’t vote every two years or even every four. Obama does better in polls of registered voters than of likely voters, and so Messina’s task is to get the lackadaisical to the polls. That’s why Democrats fought so hard to extend early-voting hours in Ohio — and why Republicans fought so hard against it.

But how about that handful of truly undecided voters? How will they break? Republicans point to 1980 when late-deciders flowed to challenger Ronald Reagan and turned a close race into a rout. Democrats cite 2004 when the undecideds fell into place just as the early-deciders had; thus, embattled incumbent Bush’s 2.3-point lead six days out became a 2.4-point victory margin on Election Day.

We’ll find out next week who was right.

Rasmussen Daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Wednesday October 31: Romney 49% – Obama 47%

October 31, 2012

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Wednesday shows Mitt Romney attracting support from 49% of voters nationwide, while President Obama earns the vote from 47%. Two percent (2%) prefer some other candidate, and three percent (3%) remain undecided. See daily tracking history.

Sixteen percent (16%) of white Democrats now support Romney.

Matchup results are updated daily at 9:30 a.m. Eastern (sign up for free daily e-mail update).

NOTE: Rasmussen Reports is based in Asbury Park, New Jersey and we were hit hard by Hurricane Sandy. However, our survey interview calls are placed from a different location, so data gathering was able to continue. Today, however, we will release only a limited amount of data. We hope to resume a more complete schedule tomorrow.  The Rasmussen Challenge is also on hold until next week due to the weather.

New surveying Monday night finds Romney ahead of the president 50% to 47% in the key swing state of Colorado. That marks little change from a week ago, and the state remains a Toss-Up in the Rasmussen Reports Electoral College Projections.

In Wisconsin, surveying from Monday night finds the race remains tied at 49%, just like last week.  Wisconsin, too, is still a Toss-Up and is critical to Romney’s fortunes if he loses Ohio.

Massachusetts remains about as blue as a state can be, with the president nearly 20 points ahead of Romney there.

For most of the year, Rasmussen Reports has conducted 500 survey interviews per night and reported the results on a three-day rolling average basis. For the final week of the campaign, we will conduct 1,000 survey interviews per night.

In the Ohio Senate race,  incumbent Democrat Sherrod Brown has a 50% to 48% lead over Republican challenger Josh Mandel, shifting that race back to a Toss-Up in the Rasmussen Reports Senate Balance of Power rankings. In addition to Ohio, Rasmussen Reports currently rates six other Senate races as Toss-Ups: ConnecticutFloridaMontana,  Pennsylvania,Virginia and Wisconsin.

In the battle for the White House, the Rasmussen Reports Electoral College projections now show the president with 237 Electoral Votes and Romney 206. The magic number needed to win the White House is 270. Eight states with 95 Electoral College votes remain Toss-ups:Colorado,  Florida,Iowa,NevadaNew HampshireOhioVirginia and Wisconsin.

If you’d like Scott to speak to your organization, meeting or conference, please contact Premiere Speakers.

(Presidential Job Approval Data Below)

 

A president’s job approval rating is one of the best indicators for assessing his chances of reelection. Typically, the president’s job approval rating on Election Day will be close to the share of the vote he receives. Currently, 49% of voters say they at least somewhat approve of the president’s job performance. Another 49% at least somewhat disapprove (see trends).

Platinum Members can review demographic crosstabs and additional information from the tracking poll on a daily basis.

Most Americans continue to feel their fellow citizens are becoming ruder and less civilized, and half say they have actually confronted someone over their behavior.  

Only 43% of American Adults think Halloween is just for kids. 

Republicans now lead Democrats by three points on the Generic Congressional Ballot. 

The economy, the debates and the Electoral College were the topics on this week’s edition ofWhat America Thinks , Scott Rasmussen’s new weekly television show.  Joining Scott to discuss the foreign policy issues of Election 2012 are Terra Lawson-Remer of the Council on Foreign Relations and Michael Balboni, the former head of homeland security for New York. The show is seen on more than 60 stations nationwide.

Rasmussen Reports is a media company whose work is followed by millions on a wide variety of platforms. In addition to the new TV show, we regularly release our work at RasmussenReports.com, through a daily email newsletter, a nationally syndicated radio news service, an online video service and a weekly newspaper column distributed by Creators Syndicate.

Rasmussen Reports polling tends to show less volatility than other polls for a variety of reasons. In 2008, we showed virtually no change during the final 40 days of the campaign.  Then-candidate Obama was between 50% and 52% in our polling every single day. He generally held a five- or six-point lead, occasionally bouncing up to an eight-point advantage and only once falling below a four point-lead. This stable assessment of the race is consistent with the reality of what we know about voter behavior. Obama won the election by a 53% to 46% margin.

To get a sense of longer-term Job Approval trends for the president, Rasmussen Reports compiles our tracking data on a full month-by-month basis.

(Approval Index data below)

Intensity of support or opposition can have an impact on campaigns. Currently, 30% of the nation’s voters Strongly Approve of the way Obama is performing as president. Forty-one percent (41%) Strongly Disapprove, giving him a Presidential Approval Index rating of -11 (see trends).

During midterm elections, intensity of support can have a tremendous impact on turnout. That was demonstrated in 2010 when Republicans and unaffiliated voters turned out in large numbers to express opposition to the Obama administration’s policies. However, in presidential election years, there is a smaller impact on turnout. Still, all indications so far for Election 2012 suggest that Republicans are more engaged and more likely to turn out.

(More below)

Rasmussen Reports has been a pioneer in the use of automated telephone polling techniques, but many other firms still utilize their own operator-assisted technology (see methodology). Pollsters for Presidents Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton have cited our “unchallenged record for both integrity and accuracy.” During Election 2008, Rasmussen Reports projected that Barack Obama would defeat John McCain by a 52% to 46% margin. Obama was 53% to 46%. In 2004, Rasmussen Reports was the only firm to project the vote totals for both candidates within half a percentage point. Learn more about the Rasmussen Reports track record over the years.

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The real reason China-Japan are locked in a territory dispute

October 31, 2012

As China and Japan spar over control of a group of tiny islets in the sea between them, the deeper issue is really the question of which of Asia’s two biggest economies will gain control first of the valuable oil and natural gas located there.

Since mid-September, a number of Chinese ships have sailed close to the eight uninhabited islands in the East China Sea in order to assert Beijing’s claim there. Japan now controls the islets, known as the Senkaku in Tokyo and the Diaoyu in Beijing. Japan’s announcement in September that it was buying the Senkaku, sparked mass street protests in China and a diplomatic crossfire so intense that US officials have urged calm.

By Ralph Jennings | Christian Science Monitor – Mon, Oct 29, 2012

China National Offshore Oil Corporation’s (CNOOC) oil rig in China’s South Sea is seen in this photograph taken February 2, 2004. REUTERS/China Newsphoto REUTERS

“If they could get it, oil and gas would be hugely important,” says Liu Chia-jen, petrochemicals analyst with KGI Securities in Taipei. “But whoever makes that move will run into trouble,” he says, adding that because of those tensions, the potentially enormous oil and gas fields in the region are likely to stay untapped for a while.

 

China is the second largest net importer of oil after the United States. Heavily-industrialized Japan is the third.

Years of rapid growth has sent China’s fuel consumption soaring, and the country has been quicker than Japan in plumbing the East China Sea. Japan, which has relied heavily on nuclear power, has also seen its oil usage jump since its nuclear power plants went idle after the Fukushima nuclear power plant crisis last year.

HOW MUCH IS UNDER THE SEA?

Just how much oil is at stake in the East China Sea is uncertain.

CNOOC Ltd., a Chinese offshore driller, listed its East China Sea proven oil reserves at 18 million barrels and gas reserves at 300 billion cubic feet last year.

The US Energy Information Administration, meanwhile, estimates that the East China Sea has between 60 and 100 million barrels of oil in “proven and probable reserves” and 1 trillion to 2 trillion cubic feet in natural gas reserves.

“No one really knows how much is there because the disputes have discouraged exploration,” saysJohn Pike, director of the US-based public policy organization GlobalSecurity.org.

And because of the tensions in the region, only 2 to 3 percent of the world’s total oil discoveries have come from the 482,000-square-mile East China Sea spanning from Taiwan to Japan to date, Mr. Liu says.

The Senkaku dispute highlights an unsettled history between Japan and China. China claims that Japan has not adequately apologized for World War II-era aggression, though Japan says it has atoned, for example.

Requests for resources from Japan are stalled because of a “lack of a satisfactory settlement of the historic legacy, that is to say lack of an apology from Japan,” says Joseph Cheng, political science professor at City University of Hong Kong.

China and Japan have been successful at working together to tap large oil fields in the region in the past: China discovered the Pinghu oil and gas field in 1983, and its production there peaked at between 8,000 and 10,000 barrels per day in the late 1990s, according to the US government’s Energy Information Administration. Japan co-financed two pipelines from the Pinghu field to China through a regional development bank and a Japanese lender for international cooperation.

Today’s competitors also signed a deal in 2008 on sharing resources from an East China Sea gas field called Chunxiao by Beijing and Shirakaba by Tokyo. But they couldn’t figure out how to work together on it, and two years later Japan accused China, which had drilled in the field since 2003, of going ahead on its own.

China and Japan could use another agreement, suggests Scott Harold, associate political scientist with the American think tank RAND Corp.

“Until the two sides can reach a deal on exploration or extraction, it’s unlikely anyone will be pulling much of value out of the seabed,” Mr. Harold says. Otherwise, he says, “one missile or one well-armed ship could take out an adversary’s rig.”

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