Bomb shakes Damascus as opposition begins unity talkshttp://reut.rs/U1E5Ce
11:06 AM - 4 Nov 12 · Details
Bomb shakes Damascus as opposition begins unity talks
By Khaled Yacoub Oweis
AMMAN | Sun Nov 4, 2012 9:37am EST
(Reuters) - A bomb exploded near army and security compounds in Damascus on Sunday, Syrian television said, and fractured opposition groups seeking to topple President Bashar al-Assad began unity talks abroad to win international respect and arms supplies.
The 50-kilogram (110-pound) bomb, near a large hotel in a heavily guarded district, was described by state media as an attack by "terrorists" - the government's term for insurgents in the 19-month-old uprising against Assad.
Opposition activists said the blast appeared to be the work of the Ahfad al-Rasoul (Grandsons of the Prophet) Brigade, an Islamist militant unit that attacked military and intelligence targets several times in the last two months.
"The terrorist explosion caused several injuries. One of (the injured) is in critical condition," state television said.
Video from state media and posted online by activists showed shattered windows and battered cars but little other damage.
Rebels have carried out a series of bombings targeting government and military buildings in Damascus this year, extending the civil war into the seat of Assad's power.
The Syrian Network for Human Rights, an activist monitoring group, said government forces had killed 57 people in bloodshed elsewhere in Syriaon Sunday. It said most of the dead were civilians and the rest rebels in battles that continued around Damascus and in the northern provinces of Idlib and Aleppo.
In northern Idlib, opposition sources said rebels were forced to halt an offensive to take a big air base because of a shortage of ammunition, a problem that has dogged their campaign to cement a hold on the north by eliminating Assad's devastating edge in firepower, especially warplanes and helicopter gunships.
Islamist insurgents had launched the attack on the Taftanaz military airport at dawn on Saturday, using rocket launchers and at least three tanks captured from the military, disrupting government air strikes on nearby rebel-held towns and villages.
10:18 AM - 29 Oct 12 · Details
New Projection of Election Results: Romney 52, Obama 47
5:00 AM, OCT 29, 2012 • BY FRED BARNES
The bipartisan Battleground Poll, in its “vote election model,” is projecting that Mitt Romney will defeat President Obama 52 percent to 47 percent. The poll also found that Romney has an even greater advantage among middle class voters, 52 percent to 45 percent.
While Obama can close the gap with a strong voter turnout effort, “reports from the field would indicate that not to be the case, and Mitt Romney may well be heading to a decisive victory,” says pollster Ed Goeas.
Should Romney win by 5 percentage points, it would increase Republican chances of gaining control of the Senate. His coattails would help elect GOP Senate candidates in Virginia, Wisconsin, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Florida. “Republicans are now certain to hold the House,” Goeas said, “regardless of how the presidential race turns out.”
The poll’s election model takes into account variables including voter intensity, age, and education, and voters who are certain in their vote. The race “remains very close in the surface,” Goeas said, “but the political environment and the composition of the likely electorate favor Governor Romney.”
The projected outcome by the Battleground Poll is close to that of the Gallup Poll. Last week, Gallup said Romney leads Obama 49 percent to 46 percent in its model of the electorate’s composition on November 6.
The Battleground Poll is conducted by Goeas of the Tarrance Group and Celinda Lake of Lake Research Partners. Goeas is a Republican, Lake a Democrat. The survey is affiliated with Politico and George Washington University.Taken last week, the poll found that only 37 percent of voters believe the country is headed in the right direction. For an incumbent president to win reelection, that number normally must exceed 40 percent. “Everyone but the core Democratic constituencies holds the strongly held feeling that the country is off on the wrong track,” Goeas said.
For the first time this year, Romney has a majority favorable image. His favorability rating is 52 percent, Obama’s is 51 percent. According to the poll, Romney is viewed favorably by a majority of independents (59 percent), seniors (57), married voters (61), moms (56), college graduates (54), middle class voters (56), and middle class families (61).
UPDATE: Politico reports on the poll's top-line: Obama 49, Romney 48 percent. But it is the noteworthy last paragraph from Goeas's memo that we're referring to: "In sum, this data indicates this election remains very close on the surface, but the political environment and the composition of the likely electorate favor Governor Romney. These factors come into play with our “vote election model” – which takes into account variables like vote intensity, voters who say they are definite in their vote, and demographics like age and education. In that snapshot of today’s vote model, Mitt Romney leads Barack Obama by five-points – 52% to 47%. While that gap can certainly be closed by the ground game of the Democrats, reports from the field would indicate that not to be the case, and Mitt Romney may well be heading to a decisive victory."