Archive for April, 2011.
British newspapers are slowly but surely coming out with details on what happened at the two royal wedding receptions. First up was Queen Elizabeth’s afternoon luncheon for 650 people at Buckingham Palace where canapes and champagne were served. Prince Charles’ speech seemingly stole the show. According to the Daily Mail , he emotionally described Kate Middleton as the daughter he never had and got some laughs after mentioning Prince William’s hairline. Charles spoke while standing up on some sort of platform and supposedly remarked, “The thing about growing older is that your children get taller than you so they can see your bald spots. Now in my case, I can see his.” A group of 300 returned to the palace in the evening for a second celebration. Take a look at Duchess Catherine’s evening look here . An attendee described the scene for the Telegraph : Read More… More on Royal Wedding
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Royal Wedding Receptions: All The Details
Public Policy Polling (PDF) (4/21-24, Nevada voters, January results in parentheses) Mitt Romney (R): 46 (46) Barack Obama (D): 43 (47) Barack Obama (D): 45 (51) Mike Huckabee (R): 43 (41) Barack Obama (D): 46 (51) Newt Gingrich (R): 42 (40) Barack Obama (D): 47 (–) Donald Trump (R): 41 (–) Barack Obama (D): 50 (52) Sarah Palin (R): 39 (39) Critics will quibble with the sample a bit–the sample voted for Obama by just five points in 2008, when in actuality, he won by a dozen points. Having said that, however, the D/R split actually looks pretty fair (D 45, R 35), and having a sample that is 24% African American and Hispanic is almost identical to the 2008 exit polls from the Silver State. So, what gives? Well, as it relates to Romney, it might be the notion of all the batshit crazy on the GOP side presenting him as the “sane alternative.” Romney has an almost unbelievable 58-27 lead over Obama among Independent voters, a group that Obama carried in Nevada in 2008. Romney actually garners approval from 27% of Democrats (Obama, by comparison, nabs just 9% support from Nevada Republicans). Another point of concern for Obama has to be support among Hispanic voters. The fastest-growing demographic group in America, Hispanics padded Obama’s margin of victory in 2008 by giving him an overwhelming mandate in Nevada over John McCain (76-22). In this PPP poll, Obama’s support among Hispanics is considerably lower, ranging from just 52-59%, even when paired with sideshow acts like Trump and Palin. Furthermore, this isn’t a case of a raft of undecided voters–every single Republican exceeds the 22% threshold set by McCain in 2008 among Hispanic voters. Obama’s standing has slid pretty hard in the state (his job approval is underwater at 45/52), and that slide has been across the board. More than one in five voters that self-identified as very liberal disapprove of the President, and his numbers with moderates are well below his national numbers (55/42). If there is a saving grace for Obama in Nevada, it may well be Trump. If he actually pulled the trigger on an independent candidacy, the advantage shifts back to the incumbent. Obama would lead Romney by eight under that scenario (42-34), with Trump snagging 20%. Against Huckabee, the margin balloons to double digits (44-30-21). Meanwhile, while Obama seems to have fallen well off his 2008 pace in Nevada, there is good news for the President this week in another Obama ‘08 state: Public Policy Polling (PDF) (4/14-17, North Carolina voters, March results in parentheses) Barack Obama (D): 48 (45) Mike Huckabee (R): 47 (45) Barack Obama (D): 47 (44) Mitt Romney (R): 44 (42) Barack Obama (D): 49 (47) Newt Gingrich (R): 45 (42) Barack Obama (D): 51 (–) Donald Trump (R): 39 (–) Barack Obama (D): 52 (51) Sarah Palin (R): 40 (40) Not only do Obama’s general election numbers hold up better in the Tar Heel State, his job approval numbers are also better (49/48). Whereas Obama’s approval spread is nearly 20 points worse than his 2008 vote totals in Nevada, here in North Carolina we see an identical spread (+1). So, how does one account for the difference? It isn’t in the sample–this poll hews closely to the 2008 exit poll data in North Carolina, just like the Nevada poll. A closer look under the hood, however, gives us some answers. Obama is doing a much better job of holding onto his 2008 vote in North Carolina. Even in his toughest match-up (Huckabee), Obama is keeping nearly 90% of his 2008 supporters. In Nevada, it was down to 78% when paired with Romney. Also, the rapid growth of the Tar Heel state seems to be working in Obama’s favor. Among the fairly sizeable number of people who have moved in-state in the past decade (roughly one-fifth of the electorate), Obama is quite popular (59/38 job approval). As a result, he holds double-digit leads with this corps of voters against all GOP comers. Ideologically, liberals in North Carolina are about five to eight points happier with Obama than those in Nevada, but North Carolina might also have some liberals masquerading as moderates. Obama’s job approval here is considerably higher (65/29) than the +13 net approval he sees with moderates in Nevada. He also scores north of 20% approval from “somewhat conservative” voters, which is a rare match to his 2008 numbers among center-right voters. Obama, of course, could easily win both states. He could also, presuming the GOP can unify around a candidate that is not anathema to 70% of the nation, lose both states. But the fact that he is politically in better position in the state he barely won in 2008, as opposed to a state he won going away in 2008, underscores that the political terrain continues to shift beneath our feet.
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PPP: Two Obama ‘08 states heading in different directions
WASHINGTON — Sarah Palin’s support among Republicans has shrunk and there’s no evidence she’s close to saying whether she will run for president in 2012. But it’s clear she wants to be part of the conversation. Read More… More on Sarah Palin
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Palin Making Noise Again; Will She Run In 2012?
The Center for American Progress issued a fascinating and important PolicyLink paper early in April 2011: Prosperity 2050: Is Equity the Superior Growth Model? Written by Sarah Treuhaft and David Madland, both its content and its title raised a central question of our time: whether it is “possible that the traditional assumption that there is a tradeoff between growth and equity is wrong, and that broadly shared growth is ultimately better for the economy?” The tentative Treuhaft/Madland answer to this question was that shared growth might indeed be the preferable way forward: so that at the very least, “as a first step, we need to change our collective understanding about what, why and how economic and social inclusion matters.” They are quite right. We do need that change, and we need it now. Read More…
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David Coates: The Strengths and Weaknesses of American Exceptionalism
There’s growing evidence that the Republican establishment is increasingly concerned about the heat members, particularly freshmen, are feeling back home over the Republican budget. Speaker John Boehner himself has inched away from it , saying “I’m not wedded to one single idea.” Perennial presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich took a page from Sarah Palin, and posted on his Facebook page his own idea for the plan which would make privatization voluntary. So that’s establishment Republicans. You know that there’s a serious problem with this plan when Rep. Michele Bachmann, of all people, starts to back off . In a blog post at RedState.com, potential 2012 candidate Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) explained that she supported Ryan’s budget despite concerns about the Medicare scheme. “We must keep our promises to those who receive Medicare benefits,” she wrote, “and those who are nearing the age of Medicare eligibility.” The House of Representatives recently signified their support of the Republican’s 2012 budget proposal which will reduce the federal budget by $4.4 trillion. It does so by cutting out unnecessary spending. It would defund ObamaCare of its unspent pre-appropriated funds which are an astonishing tens of billions of dollars that were buried in the bill by Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid. Plus, it would make the tax code flatter and simpler, making Tax Day a less dreaded time of the year. I supported that budget blueprint, though I’ve expressed caution about how we approach the issue of Medicare. We must keep our promises to those who receive Medicare benefits, and those who are nearing the age of Medicare eligibility. Our challenge is to reduce the soaring amounts that government spends on health care, without burdening those who are most vulnerable. Although other Republicans maintain that the Ryan plan will ” save “Medicare, the reality is that it would make life much more expensive for future seniors, while potentially raising costs for current retirees as well. As Bachmann hinted toward, it does not “keep our promises” to those nearing the age of retirement, not to mention their children and grandchildren . Of course, she already voted for the thing that she now calls “a blueprint.” That Bachmann is now trying to sound like a voice of reason is kind of scary—there’s far loonier than her now in elected office in the United States. But it’s also encouraging, seeing that the loony branch of the party might be cluing in to just how far they’ve overreached. Either way, using this vote to show the contrast between the two parties is going to be key for Democrats in 2012. But that will also have to mean protecting Medicare—and Social Security—against the rising tide of austerity fever.
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Bachmann backs up: Now vows to ‘keep our promise’ to current and future seniors
Sarah Palin is the mastermind of a dark conspiracy to punish an Alaskan citizen who dared to speak out against her over the traffic situation in Juneau — this according to a lawsuit obtained by TMZ. Read More… More on Sarah Palin
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Sarah Palin Sued For $100,000 Over Alleged Traffic Conspiracy
Scroll down for pictures. It’s Sarah Burton! The Alexander McQueen designer made Kate Middleton’s wedding dress. Read More… More on Royal Wedding
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Sarah Burton: Kate Middleton Wedding Dress Designer
Official portrait of Barack Obama Two new polls, in South Carolina and West Virginia, reveal Mike Huckabee leading the Republican field should he choose to enter the race. And for the first time, Donald Trump is running first in a state, tied for the lead with Huckabee in West Virginia. First, the critical primary state of South Carolina: Winthrop University . South Carolina “Republicans and Republican leaners”: Mike Huckabee (R) : 18 Mitt Romney (R) 16 Donald Trump (R) : 10 Sarah Palin (R) : 9 Newt Gingrich (R) : 8 Chris Christie (R) : 6 Michele Bachmann (R) : 4 Ron Paul (R) : 3 Tim Pawlenty (R) : 2 Herman Cain (R) : 2 Haley Barbour (R) : 2 Jon Huntsman (R) : 1 Mitch Daniels (R) : 1 Gary Johnson (R) : 0 Huckabee has a small lead, but with the leader at 19% there’s no clear favorite in South Carolina. Trump actually does pretty well, Sarah Palin seems to be fading, and evidently voters aren’t very familiar with the media darlings du jour (Huntsman, Daniels, and Tim Pawlenty’s video editor). Now we know why Haley Barbour dropped out, I guess. Even in South Carolina, where one might expect the Mississippi native to perform well, Barbour was underperforming Herman Cain. Bonus: President Barack Obama’s approval rating is not all that bad in South Carolina considering the conservative bent of the state. 43% of respondents approve of the President’s job performance while 47% disapprove. On to West Virginia, where the President is certainly not quite so popular: Public Policy Polling . West Virginia (Republican primary)”: Donald Trump: 24 Mike Huckabee: 24 Sarah Palin: 13 Mitt Romney: 11 Newt Gingrich: 9 Tim Pawlenty: 4 Michele Bachmann: 3 Ron Paul: 3 Well, that was easy for The Donald. It’ll be interesting to see PPP’s Presidential head-to-heads against Barack Obama; this may well be the first state where Trump actually leads the President. Trump has jumped pretty quickly to a serious frontrunner. The fact that the President has now legitimized the birther movement ought only to help him. And birthers are popular among WV Republicans, per pollster Tom Jensen: Trump is riding the birther train to his lead in West Virginia. Only 22% of Republican voters there think Barack Obama was born in the country to 53% who think he was not and 26% who are unsure. With the voters who think Obama was born in the US Trump gets just 15%, putting him in third place behind Huckabee and Romney. But with the folks who think Obama was not Trump gets 30% putting him 8 points ahead of Huckabee and allowing him the overall tie. Frightening.
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SC-Pres, WV-Pres: Republican primary numbers
London newspapers were abuzz on Thursday after Alexander McQueen designer Sarah Burton was supposedly spotted rushing into The Goring Hotel, where Kate Middleton is spending her last night as a single lady . Rumors swirled in March that Burton had been tapped to design Kate’s wedding dress, but Burton quickly squelched speculation, telling Vogue UK at the time , “I am not doing it.” However, onlookers insisted that the woman hidden under the fur hat was indeed Burton, with one telling the Daily Mail , “She ducked right down and ran in as quick as you like. The whole thing was in under half a second. It was very odd. If that’s not Sarah Burton, I’ll eat my hat.” The Telegraph ’s Hilary Alexander came up with more evidence: Read More… More on Royal Wedding
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Sarah Burton Seen At Kate Middleton’s Hotel On Thursday? (PHOTOS, POLL)
Since the release of President Obama’s long form birth certificate earlier today, we’ve had Donald Trump bragging about promoting racism, Sarah Palin pretending it was a White House created issue, and the various players on the birther circuit saying it didn’t change a thing. So in the interest of fair and balanced coverage, let’s get the official Republican leadership’s take on today’s events. First, from House Majority Leader Eric Cantor : HEMMER: So, you think the White House is actually giving it more credence than it should? CANTOR: Absolutely. Again, I’ve said all along, this is an issue that does not belong in the debate. There are much more important issues for us to be dealing with, obviously. So, Cantor goes with the Palin approach of blaming the White House for the racism coming from his own Party. Replace that “obviously” with an “also” and it would have sounded like it was coming from Palin’s own lips. Speaker of the House John Boehner went with a statement delivered by his spokesman: This has long been a settled issue. The Speaker’s focus is on cutting spending, lowering gas prices, and creating American jobs. Dignified. Above the fray. And completely full of shit given that the only thing the GOP has been focused on since taking power has been union-busting and abortion … and passing spending cuts that don’t really cut spending, and voting unanimously to keep taxpayer-funded subsidies for big oil. As for job creation, if you count the $520 an hour lawyer Boehner hired to defend discrimination, the Republican controlled House has created exactly one job. Of course both reactions are an effort to distance themselves from the birther movement that neither Boehner nor Cantor embraced—but one that they never denounced for being the race-based smear that it was. So they’re looking to be above the birther nonsense without offending their birther base. Neat trick. Both reactions are pathetic.
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Boehner and Cantor on Obama’s release of long form birth certificate
Donald Trump (Photo: Gage Skidmore) and Sarah Palin (Photo: David Shankbone) On the day that President Obama released his long form birth certificate, it would be criminal not to include deep thoughts from Sarah Palin in our coverage, so … “More power to him [Trump]. He’s not just throwing stones from the sidelines, he’s digging in, he’s paying for researchers to find out why President Obama would have spent $2 million to not show his birth certificate.” Oh, wait. That quote was actually from April 9, when Palin was embracing Trump’s race-based birther jihad against the President, and cheerfully peddling the $2 million lie. A lie that: … has been promoted by World Net Daily, a conservative Web site that has tried its best to fan the flames of the birther movement. In a number of articles, it has speculated that all of the legal fees spent by the Obama campaign since the election have been devoted to defending the president against a series of lawsuits concerning the certificate — all of which have been ultimately dismissed as frivolous. Speculation that was, what a shock, wrong . So, what does Palin have to say today , now that the long form birth certificate has been released? Admit she was wrong? Recant the $2 million birther lie? Of course not: Who knew that birtherism was a White House-created distraction? Watch for more of the same from the establishment GOP as they scramble to distance themselves from the birther garbage they’ve embraced for more than two years.
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Sarah Palin on the release of Obama’s long form birth certificate
Sarah Palin will go down in the history books as having done substantial damage to her party not in one election, but in two. There is not much glory in being the only woman who had two bites of the political apple and failed both times. Read More… More on Sarah Palin 2012
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Jerry Kremer: Sarah Palin Has Already Decided the GOP’s Fate in 2012
Most of us were taught that creativity comes from the thoughts and emotions of the mind. The greatest singers, dancers, painters, writers, and filmmakers recognize that the most original, and even transformative, ideas actually come from the core of our being, which is accessed through an “open-mind consciousness.” In ancient traditions, open-mind consciousness was considered to be a spiritual awakening, the great enlightenment that dissolves the darkness of confusion and fear, and ushers in peace, happiness, clarity, and contentment. Today the notion that there’s one formulaic way to achieve this spiritual awakening and creative vibrancy has been blown apart. You don’t have to run off to a monastery or practice meditation for thirty years before attaining a breakthrough. A few years ago, I had a client, named Sarah who’d completely given up on psychotherapy until a failed suicide attempt convinced her to try it one more time. I urged her to begin a mindfulness practice, and she agreed. After several months–not years, but months–she had an extremely powerful experience while meditating. As she described it, she felt a rush of light and energy infuse her body, and experienced an ineffable sense of the presence of the divine, the cosmos, and a collective consciousness. After this transcendent experience, Sarah who’d been overweight to an unhealthy degree, lost several pounds, became more engaged by her work and closer to her friends, and was no longer suicidal. It was a major turning point for her. What Sarah described has been called not only “open-mind awareness” but also, in the West, a “peak experience,” “being in the flow,” or “being in the zone.” I call it accessing your “core creativity,” because I believe that deep inside every person lies this potential for connecting to a universal flow of knowledge and creativity that’s boundless and expansive. Our individual thoughts and memories are a part of this greater, larger resource. Read More… More on Creative Minds
Ronald Alexander, Ph.D.: 6 Techniques to Ignite Your Inner Creativity and Passion
ANCHORAGE, Alaska — Levi Johnston is promising to set the record straight about the Palin family. Touchstone Publishing has a fall publication date for Johnston’s book, “Deer in the Headlights: My Life in Sarah Palin’s Crosshairs.” Read More… More on Sarah Palin
Levi Johnston Book About Palin Family Set For Publication
Donald Trump (Photo: Gage Skidmore) and Sarah Palin (Photo: David Shankbone) Nothwithstanding psychobabble from David Brooks (who thinks Donald Trump is the expression of a “deep public fantasy” for a charismatic blowhard), the only place Donald Trump is really soaring to extraordinary heights is in the media, where according to a new analysis by Nate Silver, Trump has overtaken Sarah Palin as the flavor du jour in the media establishment (my emphasis): The search includes all sources on NewsLibrary.com — a combination of about 4,000 newspapers, blogs and television and radio stations — other than press releases, which I’ve excluded. I’ve tracked citations for the 23 Republican candidates who have been mentioned in at least one poll since the midterm elections in November. During the month of November 2010, Ms. Palin’s name retrieved 777 hits, according to this technique. That represented just over half of the 1,533 citations for all 23 candidates combined. So far this month, however, Ms. Palin has accounted for just 124 hits out of 1,090 total, or roughly 11 percent. Instead, her place has been taken by Mr. Trump, who has accounted for about 40 percent of the coverage. Obviously, Palin is the big loser here, but given that she’s probably not running for president, that’s only interesting as a gossip item. It would also be tempting to say the other big losers are all of the serious Republican candidates—the Tim Pawlentys, the Mitt Romneys, etc. After all, Trump is sucking all the oxygen out of the room, or more precisely, the media is hoarding all the oxygen for Trump. But I’m not so sure this will ultimately be a bad thing for the GOP field. Sure, they are getting overshadowed by Trump’s buffoonery. But when his star fades, they’ll inherit a GOP base that is completely fired up with insane ideas about President Obama, but they won’t be held accountable for those ideas. In fact, compared to Trump, they’ll seem downright reasonable. So for sure right now at this moment, Trump is blocking the sun. But the first primary votes don’t get cast for nearly nine months, and election day is more than a year-and-a-half away. By the time Trump is forgotten, they won’t regret his presence at all.
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Palin, Trumped: The Donald gets 40% of media coverage
Trump at CPAC 2/10/11. Photo by Gage Skidmore Well, it helps when your daddy banks almost half a billion dollars and gives it to the kids: By the time of his death, [Fred] Trump had amassed a $400 million estate, left largely to his children, contributing a significant amount to Donald Trump’s fortune. What’s bizarre is even with daddy’s millions, the best business education money can buy, and income and capital gains taxes slashed to the bone, somehow, Donald J. Trump still managed to declare bankruptcy several times , and was accused of turning of millions of investment dollars into a pile of junk along the way. Of course these days, on the right anyway, making truckloads of other people’s money disappear in risky schemes is essential for any self-proclaimed smart guy to be officially crowned Wizard of Finance. Nevertheless, this is one hell of an entertaining train wreck. Trump helped himself to the entire grassroots GOP apparatus and there’s not a damn thing they can do about it. In conservative circles, super-rich equals untouchable, he’s well known in pop culture, and he has absolutely nothing to lose or fear from increased visibility of any kind. One second the professional right had tea party numbskulls whipped into a usable frenzy, waving guns around, making racists jokes and snickering, and the next second this cartoon figure comes out of nowhere grinning ear to ear, deftly steals the stage, and proceeds to out-clown even the dimwitted Palin/Bachmann twins. Sure, it’s a long shot he actually runs. But if there’s anything we can do to prolong the right’s paralysis, we should do it. The longer Trump stays in the spotlight the worse it is for Republicans.
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How did Trump become so dang successful?
Elizabeth Warren (Mike Theiler/REUTERS) Lase week, the Wall Street Journal reported that the administration was having a hard time finding anyone who wanted to take over the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau that Elizabeth Warren has been spearheading since passage of Wall Street reform last year. They may stop looking. Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner now says that Warren could be the permanent choice . “Oh, absolutely, and she is doing an excellent job of bringing clear disclosure to Americans so they can make a better choice about how to borrow to finance a home, or how to make sure they can responsibly borrow on a credit card,” Geithner said when asked in an interview on Bloomberg TV on whether she remains on the president’s list of candidates to run the agency…. Senator Christopher Dodd, one of the chief authors of financial reform legislation, questioned last year whether Warren could win enough support to overcome her Republican critics. Dodd retired from the Senate in the fall. The Obama administration has approached other candidates about the job, including Federal Reserve Governor Sarah Raskin, who has been a former state bank regulator and Senate aide. The reality is Republicans will probably oppose any candidate the administration proposes. They are particularly hostile to Warren, an extremely effective leader for the agency, but they are nearly equally opposed to the very existence of this agency and have a number of legislative efforts to completely neuter it. Apparently the Republicans are opposed to the agency’s mission of “preventing abusive or exploitative practices in home loans, credit cards, and other typical consumer financial transactions.”
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Geithner: Warren still a candidate for CFPB head post
This graphic from the NY Times about their most recent CBS/NYT poll sums up the problem for Republicans: since the GOP is all tea party all the time (see the media attention given to Eric Cantor , the Donald and the junior and senior Pauls), the candidates whom the GOP really gets excited about can’t win the general. In fact, Mike Huckabee (who has never shown himself either an overly hard worker or a good fund raiser) has the best “all voter” favorable minus his unfavorable at an anemic +7, while Republican tea party stalwarts like Palin (-29) and Gingrich (-14), liked well enough by GOP primary voters, do abysmally with “all voters”. The Donald, the current GOP heart throb and Clown Caucus chairman , comes in at an all-voter -21, so he’s in Palin territory but without the love from the GOP. In fact, he barely breaks even there, despite the media attention from the pack animals in the press. The other Clown Caucus members, including Bachmann and Santorum, aren’t well known enough to dislike by the general public and even within the GOP don’t spark any recognition. And the Very Serious (But Very Flawed) Candidates? That would be Pawlenty, Barbour, Daniels and Huntsman. It’s pretty clear from the polls that no one even knows who they are, and that’s even with GOP voters. Conclusions? It’s very hard to find data to support a case that: • T-Paw has caught fire (or has any chance to do so) • Romney will be any better liked in the fall than he is in the spring • Trump is a serious candidate • Daniels and Huntsman can ride an enthusiasm wave out of obscurity • Anyone is ahead, and this somehow helps Romney, the likely nominee I’ve made an argument elsewhere that Huckabee is the real front runner, but that may be only because he’s not running. Oh, and one more thing: drop the nonsense about birthers being a “small subset” of Republican voters (see Top Republicans try to scotch birther theories .) The data : Over all, it showed that Republicans who are considering making presidential bids will have to woo a party that largely identifies with the Tea Party movement — more than half of Republican voters said they considered themselves Tea Party supporters — and has questions about President Obama’s origin of birth. A plurality of Republican voters, 47 percent, said they believed Mr. Obama, who was born in Hawaii, was born in another country; 22 percent said they did not know where he was born, and 32 percent said they believed he was born in the United States. Welcome to the 21st C Republican Party. Two parts ignorance, three parts insanity. And that’s just their economic plan.
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CBS/NYT Poll: Who are the Republican candidates (and can anyone who GOP voters like actually win)?
Senate : • IN-Sen : Chris “Count” Chocola, head of the Club for Growth and himself a Hoosier, says his organization may step in to help oust apostate Sen. Dick Lugar. The CFG has already talked to Treasurer Richard Mourdock, and if they get involved, they could make up for his lackluster fundraising so far. • MA-Sen : Remember when ThinkProgress busted Scott Brown for sucking up to David Koch for donations while he was publicly saying he wasn’t even thinking about 2012? His pitch worked, I guess: Koch Industries coughed up a $2,500 donation to Brown’s campaign last quarter. In other MA-Sen news, why does Barney Frank keep doing this ? On Monday, he repeated his remarks that he thinks Newton Mayor Setti Warren shouldn’t run for Senate, this time to local blog Newton TAB. I honestly think this is a bit embarrassing for Frank, and makes him look like a jackass. It’s an admission that his private suggestions to Warren haven’t been well-received, and that he’s had to take to the press to accomplish what he apparently doesn’t have the power to do on his own. It’s ugly, and what’s more, I don’t even see the percentage in it. Why does Frank care so much whether Warren runs? Really, just enough. • MN-Sen : Former state Sen. and unsuccessful 2010 SoS candidate Dan Severson says he might seek the Republican nod to challenge Amy Klobuchar, who so far has drawn no opponents. Severson says he’ll decide by May. Also, attorney Chris Barden, another unsuccessful statewide candidate last year (he ran for AG), says he may attempt a Senate race, too. • MO-Sen : It’s getting’ mighty crowded in here… well, maybe. Wealthy businessman John Brunner (who can at least partially self-fund) says he might join the GOP field to take on Sen. Claire McCaskill. Reps. Todd Akin and Blaine Leutekemeyer are also still weighing bids, while former Treasurer Sarah Steelman and teabagger fave Ed Martin are already in the race. • VA-Sen : Teabagger Jamie Radtke raised just $55K in Q1 and has only $47K on hand. I’m betting that if George Allen does wind up dealing with a serious speed bump on his way to the GOP nomination, it’s going to take the form of Del. Bob Marshall, not Radtke. Still a big if. • VT-Sen, VT-AL : Sen. Bernie Sanders raised $770K in Q1 (not bad for the 49th-largest state in the nation) and has over a million in the bank. The Burlington Free Press pegs an uptick in donations to Sanders after his now-famous eight-hour speech on the Senate floor in which he blasted tax cuts for the wealthy. Meanwhile, Rep. Peter Welch now has a million on hand. Gubernatorial : • NJ-Gov, NJ-Sen : Chris Christie’s starting to smell like a plate of scungilli left out in the sun after a July picnic. His job approval has dropped to 47-46, according to Quinnipiac, from 52-40 just a couple of months ago. Sen. Bob Menendez isn’t doing so hot either, 42-40, but those sorts of numbers are nothing new for him (and are actually better than what he was getting last year). In news of more immediate importance, Dems improved to 47-39 on the generic legislative ballot, up from 43-41. (Thanks to andgarden for spotting that question, tucked away at the very end of the poll.) Also fun: Q asked respondents for an unprompted, open-ended one-word description of Christie. The number one response, by far? “Bully,” with 140 mentions. House : • AL-05 : This is just odd. Freshman Republican Mo Brooks cancelled a town hall and replaced it with one-on-one meetings with constituents—by appointment only. What makes this extra-weird is that these meetings are scheduled to take place across the state line in… Tennessee. Reminds me of this infamous incident from the classic MS-01 special back in 2008. • IA-04 : Some great number-crunching from G-squared: The new 4th CD went for Terry Branstad 59-37 in 2010, 50-48 for GOP gubernatorial candidate Jim Nussle in 2006, and 49-48 for Tom Vilsack in 2002. I’ll go one further and tell you that Vilsack lost the new 4th in 1998, 47-52. Greg also says that Rep. Steve King currently represents 47% of new CD. • IL-03 : Politico has a profile of John Atkinson, the Democratic businessman who may challenge Rep. Dan Lipinski from the left. Atkinson, who has already raised a boatload, hasn’t formally declared yet (and may be waiting on redistricting), but a main theme for him is Lipinski’s vote against healthcare reform. • NY-13 : Ex-Rep. Mike McMahon, recently speaking to the Bay Ridge Democratic Club, definitely sounds like he’s leaning toward a comeback. The linked piece from the Brooklyn Eagle contains McMahon’s ruminations on why he lost last year, but I’m not sure I understand what he thinks the reasons are. On the one hand, he says “[t]here was a drop-off in progressive voters.” On the other hand, he cited a memo from Third Way (ugh, but what do you expect) which polled Obama “switchers” and “dropouts.” The memo claims that “[s]witchers were eager to vote in this election, whereas droppers didn’t come out for a multitude of reasons, none of them being they were upset with Democrats.” What this misses out on, of course, is that Democratic organizations who were pissed with McMahon’s vote against healthcare reform were less inclined to bust their asses for him and drag apathetic voters to the polls on his behalf—something members and officials of the Bay Ridge club made plain to him. (The article says some attendees used “harsher language,” so since this is Brooklyn we’re talking about, enjoy a moment or two imagining what this sounded like.) I’m not sure what McMahon thinks the solution is for next year, if he runs again, but it doesn’t sound like he’s ready to take back his anti-HCR vote. I think he’d be wise to do so. • RI-01 : Former Republican state Rep. John Loughlin, who lost by six points to now-Rep. David Cicilline last year, says he’s considering a rematch, but first he’s serving another tour of duty in Iraq. I wonder if Cicilline’s self-inflicted wounds regarding the financial woes of Providence (the city of which he used to be mayor) will make him vulnerable—if not next year (which of course is a presidential year), then at some point in the near future… or in a primary. • TX-Sen : This is just weird. Ashwin Madia (who you may remember as the Dem candidate in MN-03 back in 2008) is also chair of the progressive veterans group VoteVets. His organization put out a statement the other day in which he said it was “encouraging” to see Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez considering the Texas Senate race as a Dem. It’s strange, as Adam Serwer points out, because Sanchez had a very suspect record on torture during his tenure as US commander in Iraq, while VoteVets has been very critical of torture. Another spokesman for the group hurried to say that VoteVets was not issuing a formal statement of endorsement, just an attaboy for a fellow servicemember. Other Races : • WI Recall : Republicans say they will file recall petitions against three Democrats today: Dave Hansen, Jim Holperin, and Robert Wirch. Meanwhile, Greg Sargent says that Dems will file petitions against a fifth Republican , Alberta Darling, also today. • WI Sup. Ct. : Yesterday, JoAnne Kloppenburg asked for a recount, which will come at state expense since the final margin of 7,316 votes was less than 0.5%. I’m pretty surprised at the decision, since overturning that kind of result seems almost inconceivable. Grab Bag : • Alaska (PDF): Dave Dittman, a pollster and former aide to the late Sen. Ted Stevens, tested Alaskans’ feelings about local pols last month. Sen. Mark Begich, up for re-election in 2014, has a 57-33 job approval rating, while Sen. Lisa Murkowski is at 71-27 and Rep. Don Young is at 63-32. Joe Miller, who says he might run against Young next year or against Begich next cycle, has a hilariously awful favorability rating of 18-73. (FWIW, Sarah Palin is at 36-61.) Note that the poll had oddly long field dates: March 3 through March 17. • Demographics : Aaron Blake has another good piece looking at the changing demographics of majority-black districts. • House Majority PAC : The new Dem “super PAC” is out with its first-ever media buy (which they claim is “substantial”—you better be telling the truth), hitting ten GOP freshmen who voted for Paul Ryan’s budget plan with radio ad. You can listen to a sample spot against Sean Duffy here . Click the first link for the other nine names. • DCCC : Speaking of ad buys, props to Dave Catanese for busting what turned out to be a comically bullshit media “blitz” by the DCCC. I groused about this one yesterday, complaining that the size of the buy was sure to be “quite small,” but I had no idea that it would be this comically small: The total purchase was just $6,000 across twenty-five districts, with just $40 (yes, $40!) spent against Larry Buchson in IN-08. Of course, it was the NRCC which provided this info to Catanese, which I’m not sure is such a smart move, since they play this stupid game, too. But my bigger concern is whether local reporters who wrote about these ads will be insulted by the joke dollar values and ignore the D-Trip in the future. I sure as hell would. Redistricting Roundup : • Colorado : After instantly descending into a whole bunch of acrimony (mostly, it seemed to me, from the GOP side) after the first batch of maps were produced, both parties agreed to go back to the drawing board and start with a clean slate. Republicans sound a lot more excited about the prospect than Dems, but we’ll see if this actually produces any kind of agreement… or if a stalemate eventually leads to court-drawn maps. • Pennsylvania : No surprise here: The Republican majority on the PA Supreme Court picked a Republican superior court judge to serve as a tiebreaker on the panel which will re-draw Pennsylvania’s state legislative maps. This is a direct consequence of a shameful loss of an open Dem-held seat on the court in 2009. • Texas : A new plan for the Texas state House passed a House committee yesterday. The map increases the number of Latino districts from 28 to 30, but Democrats seem convinced that there are serious VRA issues with it.
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DK Elections Daily Digest: 4/21
As a practicing Catholic living in Virginia, I have to confess that going to church was getting to be kind of boring with the same old, same old post-Vatican II liturgy. Until last week, that is, when it became downright exciting. Read More… More on Sarah Palin
Al Eisele: Virginia’s Rite to Bear Arms
This morning, the Republican-controlled Arizona State Legislature sent Governor Jan Brewer legislation that would create a Tea Party license plate. It’s an unabashed Tea Party political pay-off. Read More… More on Sarah Palin
Rep. Gary Ackerman: The GOP’s License Plate Slush Fund Agenda
Charlie Sheen brought his violent torpedo of craziness to Washington, D.C. on Tuesday, adding political controversy to his derided stage show. In addition to his usual rants about porn stars, his ex-wife, “Two and a Half Men” creator Chuck Lorre and #winning, Sheen addressed his beating Sarah Palin , or, as he called her, “that lunatic from Alaska,” in polls with political independents, as well as the ongoing Tea Party fascination with President Obama’s Hawaiian birth certificate. Talking about a possible presidential run — Sheen defeated Obama amongst GOP voters in the same polls as his victories of Palin — he mused about the idea and then hit the birther sweet spot. Read More… More on Elections 2012
Charlie Sheen A Birther: Doubts President Obama’s Birth Certificate
• HI-Sen : Both Rep. Mazie Hirono and Rep. Colleen Hanabusa have confirmed to Roll Call that they are looking at the Dem primary to replace retiring Sen. Dan Akaka, and Hanabusa says she’s meeting with the DSCC, presumably soon. She also says that the DS “has made it known it wants to speak with anyone interested in running, but it is not actively recruiting any one candidate” (Roll Call’s phrasing). • IN-Sen : So GOPer Richard Mourdock raised $157K, not much better than the $125K or so he predicted (in an obvious attempt to ensure he “exceeded analysts’ estimates,” as they might say after a Wall Street earnings call). But I flag this item because Roll Call says Mourdock plans to “raise money from a national donor base starting next year.” Does this mean he’s going the Sharron Angle/Michele Bachmann/Allen West BMW Direct-type direct mail scammery? (See related bullets below.) If so, then perhaps Dick Lugar is in better shape than he might have hoped. • MO-Sen : This is news to me: Sophomore GOP Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer is apparently thinking about a Senate bid, and has reportedly even met with the NRSC about his intentions. Dave Catanese says that “uncertainty about redistricting” is spurring Luetkemeyer to consider other options, but I’m not sure I buy that, seeing as the new maps being considered by the Republican-held legislature offer him a very comfy seat. The real puzzler is why he’s doing this when six-term Rep. Todd Akin seems to be gearing up for a Senate run, since there’s almost no way the two would want to fight it out in a primary. Maybe Lute thinks he can be Plan B if Akin demurs. Another reason cited by Catanese (which applies equally well to both congressmen) is ex-Treasurer Sarah Steelman’s crappy fundraising . She pulled in just $186K in Q1, which would be unimpressive for a supposedly serious candidate in almost any state. If Akin gets in, I think there’s a non-zero chance that she’d drop out. • MT-Sen : Nice: Sen. Jon Tester (D) raised $1.2 million in Q1 and has $1.5m on hand. His Republican opponent, Rep. Denny Rehberg, raised less than half that, $580K, but has $932K in the bank. • NE-Sen : Sen. Ben Nelson raised $1 million in Q1 and has $2.3 mil on hand. His chief Republican rival, AG Jon Bruning, raised $1.5 million and has $1.2 in the bank, but Nelson pointed out that $600K was transferred from Bruning’s 2008 Senate account (when he briefly sought to primary Chuck Hagel; after Hagel announced his retirement, Bruning was squeezed out by former Gov. Mike Johanns). • OH-Sen : Former state Sen. Kevin Coughlin, whom we’d mentioned previously as a possible candidate, has filed paperwork for an exploratory committee, joining Treasurer Josh Mandel in this in-limbo category in the GOP primary. • TN-Sen : I feel like there’s an alternate universe not too dissimilar from our own where a Republican dude named Bob Corker is also freshman in the U.S. Senate, and he’s also up for re-election, except Corker Prime is actually vulnerable. Here on Earth, though, it really seems like Corker is well out of reach for us. He raised an impressive $1.9 million in Q1 and has over $4 million in the bank—and there are no Democratic candidates on the horizon. Gubernatorial : • MO-Gov : Gov. Jay Nixon lapped his likely Republican opponent, Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder, on the fundraising circuit, pulling in over twice as much money over the last six months, $1.7 million to $770K. Nixon also has a big cash-on-hand edge, $2.1 mil to $900K. But other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how was the show? Well, pretty terrible, actually—Kinder’s had just an awful few weeks in the press. After the St. Louis Post-Dispatch revealed his penchant for spending taxpayer money to stay in luxury hotels to attend baseball games and society balls, Kinder promised to reimburse the state $35K… but two weeks later, he still hasn’t . That nimbus definitely isn’t moving anywhere just yet, and it’s his own damn fault. Let’s hope he runs the rest of his campaign the same way. • NC-Gov : This just doesn’t seem good. Gov. Bev Perdue, whose public image has already suffered enough damage, was out-of-state Saturday afternoon when a series of deadly tornadoes touched down in North Carolina. She was attending a horse race in Kentucky and didn’t make a public appearance back home until 11pm that night. I’m not going to predict what this will mean for Perdue, but it can’t be helpful. • WV-Gov : SoS Natalie Tennant’s first ad is a hokey spot set on a farm, in which she decries politicians wasting money… and a cow can be heard to moo. (Or a bull. I don’t know. It has horns. But small ones. So maybe still a cow? Do bulls moo? I’m from the city—sue me.) Tennant is generally seen as the candidate with the greatest appeal to liberals (yes, there are some in West Virginia), so she’s clearly trying to play against type here. House : • AZ-08 : Rep. Gabby Giffords raised $358K in Q1 and has $556K in the bank. • CA-19 : Freshman GOP Rep. Jeff Denham (I admit it—I had already forgotten who he was and had to Google him) is already making a name for himself. That name is “idiot.” He staged a mega-lavish DC fundraiser in January when he was sworn in which featured singer Leann Rimes and spent an amazing $212,250 on the event. Total raised? $212,900—which means he netted exactly $650. That’s quite the feat. It’s even more amazing when you consider it was all supposed to benefit a joint fundraising committee for 11 GOP frosh. To rub it in, Michael Doyle of the Modesto Bee archly observes: “If the $650 netted from outside contributors were to be divvied up evenly, each of the 11 GOP lawmakers would receive $59.” • CA-36 : Janice Hahn outraised Debra Bowen in Q1, $273K to $195K, and has about double the cash-on-hand, $171K to $93K. Surprisingly, Marcy Winograd managed to raise $50K. (And if you care, Republican Craig Hughey lent his campaign $250K.) Bowen also put out an internal from the Feldman Group. In a test of apparently all the candidates who have filed, she and Hahn tie for 20, with Republican Mike Gin the next-closest at 8 and Winograd at 6. The memo also says that in a two-way runoff, Bowen leads 40-36 with 16% undecided. The poll also claims that Hahn’s unfavorability rating is “double that of Bowen,” but a self-respecting pollster really shouldn’t include such tripe, because the refusal to release actual numbers means we’re talking about something like a 12-to-6 comparison (i.e., meaningless). As mi hermano G.O.B. Bluth would say, “COME ON!” • FL-08 : Hah! Does Daniel Webster want to lose? The GOP freshman raised just $30K in Q1, but the really funny part is that the guy he defeated, Alan Grayson, raised more! Grayson took in $38K, apparently from small donors who hope he’ll make a comeback bid. • FL-22 : Allen West raised a seemingly-impressive $434K in Q1, but as you know, he’s a major practitioner of the churn-and-burn style of shady direct-mail fundraising, and it really shows in his burn rate. He spent an amazing $266K last quarter, which both as a raw total and a percentage rate is exceedingly high… but see the MN-06 and NV-02 items below. • IA-04 : Interesting, though not surprising: Politico says that DCCC chair Steve Israel warned Christie Vilsack off of challenging Dave Loebsack in the new 2nd CD, assuring her that the D-Trip would back the incumbent. He also apparently promised to support her if she took on Rep. Steve King (as she supposedly might do), though who knows what kind of $ that might translate into. • IL-03 : Insurance exec John Atkinson , who is apparently challenging Rep. Dan Lipinski in the Democratic primary, raised $535K in Q1, including $312K from his own pockets. Lipinski raised just $138K but has $637K on hand. • MN-08 : Freshman GOPer Chip Cravaack raised just $121K in Q1—so why are we having such a hard time finding a Dem willing to take this guy on? • MN-06 : Michele Bachmann raised a MIND-OBLITERATING $1.7 million in the first quarter… and yes, I’m being sarcastic, because she also managed to spent $756K. Of course, netting a million bucks ain’t bad (and she has $2.8 mil on hand), and if she truly pulls the trigger on a presidential run, I’ll bet the spigots will open even wider. But that’s still quite the burn rate. • NV-02 : Sharron Angle makes Allen West look as parsimonious as Scrooge by comparison. Everyone’s favorite nutter (okay, it’s a multi-way tie, but you know you love her) raised an amaaaaaaaaazing $700K in Q1, but spent an actually amazing $550K, mostly to BaseConnect, the scam artists formerly known as BMW Direct. She has only $176K in the bank. • NY-26 : Republican Jane Corwin is not fucking around: She raised just $102K in Q1, but gave her own campaign a whopping million dollars. Yow. Meanwhile, Crazy Jack Davis has raised zilch , but has loaned himself $1.5 mil and already spent $1.4 mil. Other Races : • Denver Mayor : SSP commenter Kretzy has a really good run-down on the May 3rd Denver mayor’s race, necessitated by John Hickenlooper’s ascension to the governor’s mansion. I won’t try to summarize it—you should just click through. Timely, too, because SUSA has a poll out on the race, showing James Mejia and Chris Romer tied at 22, with Michael Hancock next at 18. Again, read Kretzy’s summary if you want to know more about these people. • Wisconsin Recall : Signatures were filed yesterday to force a recall election for a third Republican state senator, Luther Olsen, and Dems expect to file petitions for Sheila Harsdorf today. (Number of Dem state sens who’ve had petitions filed against them so far: 0.) Also, the state’s Government Accountability Board says it will try to consolidate the recalls into as few elections as possible. Grab Bag : • DSCC : In an item about Herb Kohl raising $0 last quarter (he can cut himself a fat check any time he pleases, so this isn’t meaningful), Dave Catanese says that DSCC chair Patty Murray said “she was confident all of the remaining incumbents were running for reelection.” Kohl is the most obvious candidate for retirement, and of course Murray could be wrong, but maybe this is it. • Fundraising : The NYT has a list of fundraising by freshman Republicans, and also notes that IN-08 Rep. Larry Bucshon took in just $45K. Not really wise for a guy whose district is likely to be made at least a bit more competitive. The Fix also has a fundraising roundup. • LCV : The League of Conservation Voters is launching a $250K radio ad campaign targeted at four members of the House who voted in favor of a bill that would bar the EPA from regulating greenhouse gas emissions. The ads are hitting two Republicans running for Senate, Denny Rehberg and Dean Heller, as well as Energy Cmte Chair Fred Upton (R) and Jason Altmire (D). Here’s a sample ad (targeted at Heller), which I actually find kinda weird and confusing. • Passings : Former Rep. Harold Volkmer , who represented mostly rural northeastern Missouri’s 9th CD for ten terms, passed away at the age of 80. Redistricting Roundup : • Colorado : Now this at least is a fight that makes sense: Republicans control the Colorado House, while Dems control the Senate—and tempers have already exploded with the release of proposed redistricting plans from both sides. (See yesterday’s digest for the maps.) Speaker of the House Frank McNulty flipped out, accusing Democrats of drawing districts that would benefit two legislators in particular: Senate President Brandon Shaffer and Sen. Morgan Carroll. However, Carroll said she has no plans to run for Congress, while the Dem point-man on redistricting, Sen. Rollie Heath, pointed out that the new 4th CD (which McNulty thinks Shaffer wants to run in) has a 10 percent GOP registration edge… in other words, not the kind of seat you’d drawn for yourself if you were an ambitious Democrat. So either McNulty is just a garden-variety moran, or he’s just trying to cast fact-free aspersions against the other side. We’ve seen a lot of this kind of crap from Colorado Republicans already, so door number two is a definite possibility (but of course, it’s not mutually exclusive of door number 1). • Missouri : Trying to unlock a stalemate that seems remarkably picayune to outsiders such as myself, Republican power brokers in Missouri met yesterday to talk things over. Among the participants were most of the Republicans in the state’s congressional delegation, the heads of the state House and Senate, and the chair of the MO GOP. No sort of deal has been announced as yet. • Virginia : Hah—so much for lawmakers racing back to work to deal with Gov. Bob McDonnell’s veto of their redistricting plans. Legislators had planned to be off this week, so rank-and-file members declined leadership’s entreaties to show up.
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DK Elections Daily Digest: 4/19
GOP Action Hero Chris Christie (Reuters/Jonathan Ernst) This isn’t exactly new, but it is a noteworthy detail in today’s New York Times story about the social conservatism of New Jersey Governor Chris Christie: In September, he vetoed state support for family planning clinics, a move strongly backed by anti-abortion groups because some of the clinics performed abortions. In February, after the Democratic-controlled Legislature approved a much smaller appropriation for family planning, backed mostly by federal dollars, he vetoed that, too. Mr. Christie also applied for federal money for abstinence-only education, something that the Democrat he unseated, Gov. Jon S. Corzine, had not done. And how will banning family planning funding, going the way of Bristol Palin with abstinence education, and becoming an anti-abortion activist play in in New Jersey? Well, for a hint, last month, The Eagleton Institute of Politics at Rutgers released a poll showing that 87% of New Jerseyans support abortion rights—just 10% believed it should be illegal in all circumstances. Chris Christie’s extremism on social issues might play well with national conservatives who want him to run for president, but it won’t sell in New Jersey, and it needs to be a key part of the case against him.
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Chris Christie vs. Family planning funding
Union supporters at Saturday’s Sarah Palin rally (Allen Fredrickson/Reuters) John Nichols notes that Sarah Palin’s anti-union tea party rally was overwhelmed by union supporters on Saturday: Madison’s ABC News affiliate reported that “pro-union labor supporters surrounded smaller groups of tea party members waiting for former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin to appear outside the Wisconsin Capitol” while the NBC affiliate reported : “A solid core of tea partiers were near the stage, but they were flanked on all sides by union protesters who have dominated protests at the Capitol for months. The tea party folks had the microphone, but the crowd had the volume, literally and figuratively.” … When Palin got to the frontlines, she was greeted not with a warm embrace but with a throngs of Wisconsinites holding signs that read: “Grizzlies Are Not a Native Species,” “The Mad Hatter Called… He Wants His Tea Party Back,” “I Can See Stupid From My Condo” and “Wisconsin Loves Tina Fey!”—a reference to the comic who famously parodied Palin on NBC’s Saturday Night Live. To be clear, there were Palinites present. What was surprising—in a state where the political climate is charged, and where there are genuine divisions—was that there were not more of them. The New York Times reported that even even Scott Walker skipped the rally, adding that it was “uncertain” how many of the 6,500 in the crowd were actually supportive of Palin’s message. Whatever the exact numbers, the fact that the pro-union presence rivaled or even outnumbered those who showed up to support Palin’s teahadist message is yet another reminder that all the energy in this debate is on the progressive side.
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Union supporters outflank Sarah Palin’s tea party crowd in Wisconsin
A study published this week in the journal, Environmental Health Perspectives is further evidence that California children are the most highly exposed to flame retardant chemicals. Based on the results of this and previous studies, it is likely these high levels of exposure to flame retardant chemicals are due to the unique furniture flammability standards in the state. The study done by UC Berkeley researchers measured a group of flame retardants, called PBDEs, in 264 Mexican-American children born and raised in California and compared their levels to 283 children born and raised in the same areas of Mexico from where their mothers had emigrated. What they found was startling and disturbing: the California children’s levels of PBDEs were seven times higher, on average, than levels in the Mexican children. The California children, who were 7 years old, had three times higher levels of PBDEs than their mothers. And most disturbing, the California children had the highest PBDE levels ever measured in a U.S. study of children. The only study which has ever reported higher levels of PBDE exposure was in children living and working in hazardous waste sites in Nicaragua. Read More… More on Health
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Sarah Janssen: California’s Flammability Standard Puts Children at Risk
The ‘Black Swan’ ballet battle rages on. Sarah Lane, American Ballet Theatre star and dance double to Natalie Portman in “Black Swan,” has again gone public with her accusations that she did most of the dancing for the part that won Portman an Oscar. Lane alleges that, after she spoke to Glamour Magazine about her part in the movie, she got a phone call from one of the film’s producers ordering that she stay quiet. Read More… More on Movies
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Sarah Lane, Natalie Portman’s ‘Black Swan’ Ballet Controversy Continues
MADISON, Wis. — Sarah Palin defended Wisconsin’s governor at a tea party tax day rally Saturday, telling hundreds of supporters that his polarizing union rights law is designed to save public jobs. Braving snow showers and a frigid wind outside the state Capitol building, the former Alaska governor and GOP vice presidential candidate told tea partyers she’s glad to stand with Gov. Scott Walker. Hundreds of labor supporters surrounded the rally, trying to drown Palin out with chants of “Hey-hey, ho-ho, Scott Walker has got to go!” and “Recall Walker!” Read More… More on Sarah Palin
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Sarah Palin Defends Scott Walker At Wisconsin Tea Party Rally
Official portrait of Barack Obama Barack Obama just endured a round of mixed polling in Florida, and one more poll indicates he could have a tough race there. While PPP showed him with mediocre approvals but a decent lead over non-Romney opponents, Mason-Dixon and Quinnipiac were substantially more pessimistic on his approvals. Now Suffolk University joins the fray. Their numbers are overall fairly similar to PPP’s, except they show Romney edging Obama by a point instead of PPP’s two-point Obama lead. Suffolk University : Mitt Romney (R) : 43 Barack Obama (D-inc) : 42 Barack Obama (D-inc) : 44 Mike Huckabee (R) : 41 Barack Obama (D-inc) : 52 Sarah Palin (R) : 34 Barack Obama (D-inc) : 49 Donald Trump (R) : 34 Barack Obama (D-inc) : 41 Tim Pawlenty (R) : 28 Barack Obama (D-inc) : 45 Michele Bachmann (R) : 30 Barack Obama (D-inc) : 45 Newt Gingrich (R) : 36 Barack Obama (D-inc) : 45 Michele Bachmann (R) : 30 Barack Obama (D-inc) : 47 Haley Barbour (R) : 26 Barack Obama (D-inc) : 48 Ron Paul (R) : 30 Suffolk gives him 48/44 favorables, but underwater 41/48 job approval. Not awful numbers, but not great, either. Leading the Pawlentys and Barbours of the world is cold comfort given that they’re still largely unknown. Being essentially tied with Romney, actually trailing a point, ought to indicate that a better-known GOP candidate could take Florida next fall, with a little luck. Florida is always a tossup state and Obama can win without it, but of substantial concern to the President should be PPP’s recent poll of Pennsylvania, where he is actually down a single point to Mitt Romney: Public Policy Polling (4/7-10, Pennsylvania voters): Mitt Romney (R) : 43 Barack Obama (D-inc) : 42 Barack Obama (D-inc) : 45 Mike Huckabee (R) : 44 Barack Obama (D-inc) : 50 Sarah Palin (R) : 39 Barack Obama (D-inc) : 45 Rick Santorum (R) : 43 Barack Obama (D-inc) : 47 Newt Gingrich (R) : 39 PPP pegs his job approval at 42/52 in the Keystone State. Again, not good. Obama doesn’t need Florida to win, but he could sure use Pennsylvania, a 20-electoral-vote bedrock of the Democratic electoral strategy. Are things as bad as all that? Probably not quite. The poll reveals an electorate more like 2010 (which reported voting for Obama by four points) than the last Presidential election of 2008 (when he won Pennsylvania by 10 points). The poll also has 21% of black voters going for Sarah Palin and Mitt Romney and at least 11% of black voters going to all of the Republicans, which seems unlikely to say the least. Still, it’s clear that President Obama has a lot of work to do in both of these key states - especially in the Keystone State, where he cruised in 2008.
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FL-Pres, PA-Pres: middling numbers for Obama in two more states
(Josh Roberts, Reuters) Public Policy Polling (PDF) (4/4-7, Republican primary voters, no trendlines): Donald Trump (R) : 26 Mike Huckabee (R) : 17 Mitt Romney (R) : 15 Newt Gingrich (R) : 11 Sarah Palin (R) : 8 Ron Paul (R) : 5 Michele Bachmann (R) : 4 Tim Pawlenty (R) : 4 Someone else/Undecided : 10 (MoE: ±4.9%) It’s an embarrassing time to be a Republican—well, more embarrassing than usual. An abrasive reality-show host and real-estate “faux-gul” with one of the worst comb-overs in American history is now soaring to the top of the GOP’s contender list, and it’s all for one reason: the “b” word. Trump’s fetish for just about every wild birther conspiracy theory might make supposedly civilized beltway Republicans (if there even is such a thing) wince with chagrin, but it’s rather endeared him to the party’s base. So maybe you’re saying, Trump won’t run—this is just a stunt, none of this is going to matter. I disagree. First off, every day that birtherism is in the news just makes the Republican Party look more ridiculous, fires up Democratic partisans, and alienates independents. Republican leaders know this, with Karl Rove going so far as to blame Obama himself for propagating this mind-virus . If The Donald is simply the host organism, then it’s a role he should understand well, since he’s spent his whole life as a parasite. But there’s another, deeper problem for the Republicans which pollster Tom Jensen identifies. Tom says that if Trump doesn’t run, there will be a vacuum to fill : [S]omeone who taps into the same sort of hard, hard right sentiment he’s appealing to right now will get their votes—it’s hard to imagine these folks voting for a more centrist candidate like Romney or Pawlenty. And that means there’s a very serious contingent within the Republican Party that’s less concerned with beating Barack Obama than having a nominee who gets them fired up. That suggests many GOP voters have not learned the lessons of Nevada and Delaware and that Obama may survive despite his weak approval numbers because the Republicans end up defeating themselves. This isn’t idle speculation. Tom included another clever question with this poll which shows just how diseased the Republican base really is: Q : Would you be willing or unwilling to support a candidate for the Republican Presidential nomination who firmly stated they believed Barack Obama was born in the United States? Willing to support non-birther : 38 Unwilling to : 23 Unsure : 39 A quarter of the GOP electorate simply won’t support a candidate who is not a birther, and two-fifths aren’t sure. If they can’t vote for Trump, these people will need to go somewhere. They could gravitate to Michele Bachmann, they could inspire another candidate go full-birther to suck up their votes, or they could stay home. Whatever happens, every outcome only hurts the Republican Party. I never, ever thought I’d say something like this, but ya know, we really should be grateful to Donald Trump.
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Donald Trump soars to top of GOP field
PPP: Obama lead ranges from 5-18 pts Public Policy Polling (PDF) (4/7-10, Registered Voters, March results in parentheses) Barack Obama (D) 48 (48) Mike Huckabee (R) 43 (43) Barack Obama (D) 47 (47) Mitt Romney (R) 41 (42) Barack Obama (D) 48 (–) Chris Christie (R) 39 (–) Barack Obama (D) 48 (–) Rand Paul (R) 38 (–) Barack Obama (D) 52 (50) Newt Gingrich (R) 38 (39) Barack Obama (D) 54 (53) Sarah Palin (R) 36 (38) On first blush, these numbers aren’t bad. The President leads all the major players in the GOP field, despite still having very middling job approval numbers (this incarnation of PPP’s poll has the President languishing at a 47/48 spread). The margins are steady or incrementally increasing. Add to that the fact that the closest Republican challenger to Obama lay five points behind, which is only a couple of points beneath the margin Obama enjoyed in his landslide maiden voyage in 2008. So, given that, why does PPP’s Tom Jensen think that these numbers might actually be cause for alarm? Consider who is still on the fence : Here’s the catch though: in every one of those match ups the vast majority of undecided voters disapprove of Obama…they just either don’t yet know or not yet completely sold on the potential Republican candidates so they go into the undecided column. Chances are when push comes to shove those folks are going to vote against Obama if they don’t think he’s doing a good job. So we also calculated the numbers allocating the undecideds based on their approval or disapproval of Obama- when you do that Obama only leads Romney and Huckabee 51-49, is just up 52-48 on Paul and Christie, has a 54-46 advantage over Gingrich, and still wallops Palin if only by a 56-44 margin. In many ways, this result is the wholly understandable by-product of a very undefined multicandidate GOP field. Consider the independent voters: Obama has a slightly postive net approval with this group (49/42), but smokes the entire GOP field among Indies. Only Chris Christie keeps Obama within single digits with that swing voting corps. It is a reasonable assumption that Christie does the best with Independent voters simply because he is the least well-known with that group (he has a mediocre 27/28 fav/unfav with Indies). The peril for Obama lies in the fact that Republican voters, unless the primary devolves into total fratricide, will eventually coalesce around someone . When that happens, his job approval has to head north of the breakeven point. If it doesn’t, it is hard to imagine him holding onto a lead of 5+ points, as PPP’s allocation of the undecided votes already attests. As flawed and fractured as the GOP field seems to be, perhaps Obama can continue to rely on his success being aided by the weakness of his enemies. But it is probably not wise to simply presume that his good fortune will hold out for another 19 months. It is going to be essential for Obama to create a bit of luck for himself by regaining those critical few extra points of public goodwill that are the difference between victory and defeat.
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PPP National poll: Obama leads, but…
Last month, my husband Andy and I celebrated our seventeenth wedding anniversary. You might be wondering why you’re reading this in the HuffPo Divorce section. Just because I am married with kids doesn’t mean I think everyone should get married and have kids. And just because I am not divorced doesn’t mean I think people shouldn’t divorce. Bear with me: I’m not here to gloat. Seventeen years is a relatively long time for a marriage to endure, but I suspect it’s an average lifespan for a marriage if the couple has children. That’s about how long you can use them as a reason to stay together, the single reason most unhappy couples cite for not divorcing (that and more recently, to avoid foreclosure). Read More…
Sarah Thyre: Married Longer than My Parents Were: Now What?
(Reuters) - In a slow-starting 2012 Republican presidential field that lacks star power, Michele Bachmann is carving out a role as the polarizing Tea Party favorite with a dynamic, take-no-prisoners style. Often compared to Sarah Palin, a woman with a similar political style, the three-term congresswoman is still the longest of White House longshots. But her hard-right views and heated rhetoric have won fans among the conservative activists who can influence early Republican nominating contests. Read More… More on Michele Bachmann
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Michele Bachmann Carving Tea Party Role In Potential GOP Presidential Pack
Donald Trump is becoming an increasingly serious contender for the 2012 Republican nomination. A new poll from CNN shows him nearly doubling his national support in the past month, moving into a first-place tie with Mike Huckabee. CNN, 4/9-10, 385 Republicans, MoE 5 (3/11-13 numbers in parenthesis) Huckabee: 19 (19) Tump: : 19 (10) Palin: : 12 (12) Gingrich: : 11 (14) Romney: : 11 (18) Paul: : 7 (8) Bachmann: : 5 (NA) Daniels: :3 (3) Pawlenty: : 2 (3) Santorum: : 2 (3) Barbour: : * (1) Someone else (vol): : 3 (4) None / no one (vol): 4 (3) No opinion: : 1 (2) There are big limits to what a national presidential nomination poll can tell us, but this poll is still newsworthy: Trump’s improvement is outside the margin of error; Trump’s improvement comes at the expense of Romney, who is the only Republican to see a decline outside the margin of error; Trump can perform at levels equal to or better than potential Republican candidates with roughly equal name recognition. All in all, clownish as the Trump media surge may so far seems, any potential Republican candidate who can improve his numbers at the expense of Mitt Romney can’t be dismissed out of hand. Trump isn’t necessarily limiting himself to a run as a Republican, either. He’s threatening to run as a third-party candidate if he doesn’t win the GOP nomination: Real estate mogul Donald Trump said Tuesday he could run for president as an Independent if he’s unable to win the Republican nomination in 2012. Trump, the reality TV star who has been flirting with a run for president, suggested that other Republicans vying for the party’s nomination are concerned he might wage a third-party campaign, which Trump said he thought was a viable path to the White House. “The concern is, if I don’t win, will I run as an Independent? And the answer is probably yes,” Trump said in a video interview with The Wall Street Journal. Also in that Wall Street Journal interview, Trump says he will make an announcement on whether he is running “sometime prior to June,” and hasn’t made an announcement to this point because his television show is airing new episodes.
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Trump moves into first-place tie for Republican nomination
The simultaneous rise and fall of Beck and Palin stand as remarkable tales of Fox News failures, as well as for the radical, Obama-hating media movement they’ve helped champion on cable TV. Read More… More on Sarah Palin
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Eric Boehlert: For Beck and Palin, Two Fox News Stars Fade
Official portrait of Barack Obama Three polls are out in the last two weeks testing President Barack Obama’s popularity in the Sunshine State, a prize worth 29 electoral votes in 2010 and one the Republican nominee probably cannot live without. The results are…well, it depends on the poll. First, let’s check approvals: Do you approve or disapprove of the job Barack Obama is doing as President? Public Policy Polling : Approve : 48 Disapprove : 47 (MoE: ±4.4%) Quinnipiac : Approve : 44 Disapprove : 52 (MoE: ±2.9%) Mason-Dixon : Approve : 43 Disapprove : 56 (MoE: ±3.5%) One instructive difference in these three polls are Obama’s numbers with independents. While PPP shows him with narrowly positive approval among independents at 48/44, Quinnipiac has him well under water at 38/55, while Mason-Dixon shows him cratering at 34/56 approval. Naturally, the three pollsters show somewhat different results with Obama pitted against a Republican opponent, too. Quinnipiac polled only against a generic Republican, which is too bad: Generic Republican (R) : 41 Barack Obama (D-inc) : 38 Generic Republicans are pretty different from actual Republicans, so that’s only sort of instructive. Some silver lining for Obama is that 70% of those polled like him personally. Meanwhile, both PPP and Mason-Dixon tested Obama against live opponents. From Mason-Dixon: Mike Huckabee (R) : 49 Barack Obama (D-inc) : 44 Mitt Romney (R) : 48 Barack Obama (D-inc) : 43 Barack Obama (D-inc) : 51 Sarah Palin (R) : 39 Barack Obama (D-inc) : 48 Donald Trump (R) : 40 PPP, meanwhile, has Obama beating all comers, including Huck and Romney: Barack Obama (D-inc) : 46 Mitt Romney (R) : 44 Barack Obama (D-inc) : 48 Mike Huckabee (R) : 43 Barack Obama (D-inc) : 48 Jeb Bush (R) : 45 Barack Obama (D-inc) : 48 Rudy Giuliani (R) : 42 Barack Obama (D-inc) : 52 Sarah Palin (R) : 39 Barack Obama (D-inc) : 50 Newt Gingrich (R) : 42 So Obama’s either in decent shape or in a moderate amount of trouble, depending on which poll you like. Huckabee looks less likely to run with each passing day, so the big story is probably Romney’s toplines. And the one thing PPP and Mason-Dixon can agree on is that Romney is a serious contender in Florida, while Palin and the more extreme Republicans like Gingrich and Trump are not, at least not yet. So take this as further evidence that the GOP’s best bet is probably to nominate Mitt Romney. On that note, let’s all remember that Tuesday marks the 5th anniversary of Romney’s Massachusetts health care legislation . Thanks, Mitt, for helping make health-care reform a reality!
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FL-Pres: three polls show differing results for Obama
Democrats, no doubt, are enjoying the spectacle of Donald Trump and Sarah Palin. But even if it enhances Barack Obama’s prospects for reelection, we should all worry about the celebrification and trivialization of politics. Read More… More on Tim Pawlenty
Robert J. Spitzer: "I’m Not a Candidate, But I Play One on TV"
Sarah Jessica Parker took her twin girls Marion and Tabitha to a New York City playground over the weekend, and Bauer Griffin has photos. The girls will be 2 in June. The actress and her husband, Matthew Broderick, recently bought a home on East 10th Street for a reported $18.995 million. Here’s one pic, see the whole gallery here . Read More… More on Sarah Jessica Parker
Sarah Jessica Parker Out With The Twins (PHOTOS)
Sarah Ferguson sat down with Australia’s New Idea to talk about her updated views on body image. The 51-year-old Duchess of York apparently posed in a swimsuit and told the magazine , “I love my hands and wrists and ankles and hair and eyes. I’ve got a really good waist and a great pair of bosoms. Plus the pins aren’t bad!” The Telegraph adds that Fergie revealed she’s now a comfortable size 12, however she wasn’t always at ease with her weight. Read More… More on Body Image
Sarah Ferguson: I’ve Got A Great Pair Of Bosoms
After receiving a standing ovation for her poems ‘If I Should Have a Daughter’ and ‘Hiroshima,’ 22-year-old spoken word poet Sarah Kay went on to give a TED talk that is both inspiring and cathartic. Reminding us of the role of the arts in this society, Kay’s talk provides us with a fresh and positive perspective that seems crucial in light of recent catastrophic events. Since the age of 14, Kay has been a spoken word poet, performing in poetry clubs around New York City. At age 22 Kay is the founder of Project V.O.I.C.E , teaching poetry and self-expression at schools across the United States. Check out her engaging TED talk below — chances are you will be impressed, inspired and moved. Read More… More on Long Island Serial Killer
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Spoken Word Poet Sarah Kay’s Inspiring TED Talk
Public Policy Polling has done a long series of state polls since Election Day 2010 in various states around the country. They’ve polled potential 2011 and 2012 gubernatorial and Senate matchups, Republican Presidential primary results, and several other issues, even including rematches of 2010 races. One of the most interesting nuggets in their polling, however, is that they’ve polled President Barack Obama’s reelection against four Republican candidates—Mike Huckabee, Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, and Sarah Palin—in all of these states (except Wyoming, which I think we can safely agree would have been a waste of time). They have now gone through enough states that we can get a baseline idea of how President Obama would fare in virtually every potential swing state against each of these four candidates…and consequently, the chances of his winning reelection. I’ve compiled the results in a Google spreadsheet which is publicly available; you can view the results here , and I’ve made a few electoral maps for illustration. I’ve split the maps into two categories: 1) with “tossup” states—any state where the candidates are separated by five points or less—in yellow, and assigned to neither candidate. 2) With all states assigned according to whoever is in the lead, whether it’s by 1 point or 21, and with the only tossups being states where candidates are actually tied. The obvious conclusions are as follows: President Obama isn’t overwhelmingly popular and he could lose under the right circumstances (especially if the economic recovery stalls). But he’s favored for reelection anyway because he’s a lot more popular than even the best of the Republican candidates tested (Romney and Huckabee), and if the Republicans want to beat him they’ll have to find a candidate with more appeal to moderates than anyone they’ve got right now. It’s possible, of course, that someone flying under the radar right now could fit the bill, like Mitch Daniels. Romney and Huckabee would be underdogs but at least competitive; Sarah Palin and Newt Gingrich would be wiped out. It’s going to be very difficult for any Republican to beat Obama if the economy continues its slow but steady improvement through next fall, but if the GOP winds up nominating a Palin/Bachmann/Gingrich type candidate they could be in for the biggest Democratic landslide since 1964. They make Obama competitive in places like Georgia, South Carolina and South Dakota. Which is probably why the Republicans will come to their senses and pick someone less offensive. The Republican path to victory basically involves nominating one of the less offensive candidates (Huckabee and Romney in this polling; people like Tim Pawlenty, Jon Huntsman and Mitch Daniels probably also fit the profile), and secretly hope the economic recovery stalls badly. Without the latter, they’ll lose; without the latter or the former, they probably won’t come close. PPP hasn’t polled 2012 head-to-heads in all 50 states, so projecting electoral maps requires a few assumptions. They have polled pretty much every state that could conceivably be competitive except for Indiana, North Dakota, Washington state, and if you want to stretch, Alaska. I have assumed that all these states will vote as they did in 2008, except for Indiana, which I assume will go Republican barring a Palin or Gingrich nomination (or similar GOP disaster). Why did I make that assumption regarding Indiana? Because I’m the decider. So there. North Dakota could be competitive or even go Democratic under the right (Palin, Bachmann) circumstances, but let’s leave it alone for now. A couple caveats about reading too much into this polling: 1) It would be nice to call this a snapshot in time, but we can’t even really do that. Not all these polls were done at the same time! Some were done shortly after the 2010 election; others were done at a time when Democrats were enjoying a brief surge (Ohio was polled right after John Kasich’s numbers tanked). Since the polls weren’t all done at the same time, some may have 2) It’s just four people polled. We don’t really know how Trump or Bachmann or Pawlenty would do. We can guess, but we don’t know. They have been polled in some states though (Trump in NH, Pawlenty in MN, Jeb Bush in FL, Chris Christie in NJ) and there’s no reason to think they would definitely do better than Mittens or Huck. Usually they do worse. Finally, I’ve used an arbitrary distinction to determine what states are “toss-ups”, that arbitrary distinction being “both candidates within five points of each other”. That doesn’t mean all tossups are created equal. I certainly think Mitt Romney has a better chance at New Hampshire than Obama does at Georgia, for example. Against Huckabee Huckabee was considered Obama’s strongest opponent a few months ago. He still might be. But he’s lost ground to Obama in the key states of Florida, Ohio and Wisconsin. He’s compensated somewhat by picking up ground in North Carolina, and being within three in Pennsylvania (putting it in tossup status). Obama has 307 electoral votes against Huckabee per PPP, with 163 for Huck and 68 up for grabs. (Ignore the EV counts at the bottom of the electoral maps. Those are using pre-census data). Huckabee with tossups Assigning toss-up states according to which candidate enjoys slight leads in PPP’s polling, Obama pulls in 333 electoral votes, to 189 for Huckabee and 16 deadlocked in North Carolina. Huckabee, tossups assigned That’s closer than 2008 (actually, if you give Obama North Carolina, it’s the same map minus Indiana for the Democrats, and with Democrats losing a couple electoral votes because of the census), but it’s a few big swing states shy of victory for Huckabee. Against Romney Arizona is more solid with Romney (he’s up six), and Florida is a tossup, as is Pennsylvania. Like all the other Republicans, Romney can’t quite pull away with Georgia (though he’s ahead). Romney is now clearly the strongest potential GOP opponent for Obama, at least in PPP’s amalgamated state polling. He is within the margin of error in six states Obama carried—Florida, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania. Those states are worth 81 electoral votes all told. Further, he’s the only of the four Republicans who is keeping it relatively close in places like Maine and Massachusetts (not that he can realistically hope to win either). Finally, he’s got the best shot of any Republican at picking off Michigan, which is worth 14 electoral votes. On the other hand, he’s quite weak in places Republicans shouldn’t be weak. He’s up only one point in Missouri and three in Georgia, and most surprisingly of all, he leads by only seven in Texas, the state which is obviously the sine qua non of Republican electoral strategy. He’s even within single digits (seven points) in Tennessee, which was a bloodbath in 2008. With tossups excluded, Romney holds Obama to 267 electoral votes, meaning he could win if everything breaks right. Romney with tossups The problem for Romney is that if everything doesn’t break right, he’ll lose as badly as Huck will—or worse. With all states allocated according to leader, the map is exactly the same as the McCain map (except again, we’ve assigned Indiana to Romney without the polling data to back it up). That’s 348 electoral votes for Obama, a pretty solid victory. Romney, tossups assigned Romney’s better than any of the other Republicans at making inroads into Democratic-leaning states. His problem is that he isn’t actually carrying any of them—yet. Against Gingrich A Gingrich nomination would be a disaster for Republicans. In this scenario Obama would have 334 electoral votes locked down, with the potential for many more—states like Tennessee, South Carolina and even Texas would be tossups in this scenario. Gingrich would have only 78 electoral votes he could reliably count on—perhaps even less, if North Dakota or Alaska were competitive. Gingrich with tossups Assigning tossup states to leaders, it gets really ugly for Gingrich. Obama picks up 398 electoral votes, and that’s without assigning Arizona and Missouri (both of which are tied in PPP’s last poll). Gingrich, tossups assigned Against Palin Well, we can only hope. Palin turns South Carolina blue. And South Dakota, and Georgia, and…hell, Obama’s up a point in Nebraska. That pretty much says it. With tossups: Palin with tossups With tossups assigned: Palin, tossups assigned As even a Fox News poll this week shows, the Republican field is not well liked, not even among Republicans (only Tea Party members count themselves “impressed” by the Republican field.) That being the case, President Obama is in good shape for reelection despite middling numbers with independents. He’s not likely to lose to a more charismatic or compelling candidate, because no such candidate appears to be running for President. But he could lose if his own numbers take a dive—which will probably only happen with a major economic reversal. It would be nice to have a Palin or Bachmann nomination—it would be great for party building in states where Democrats haven’t won lately—but it doesn’t appear to be necessary for President Obama’s reelection. That should depend far more on the state of the economy, and little else.
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PPP state polls show Obama in fairly good position for reelection
Senior White House adviser David Plouffe weighed in on the presidential ambitions of Donald Trump on ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday. “I saw Donald Trump kind of rising in some polls and given his behavior and spectacle the last couple of weeks, I hope he keeps on rising,” said Plouffe. “There is zero chance that Donald Trump would ever be hired by the American people to do this job.” In recent weeks, Trump has captured headlines and sparked controversy by repeatedly raising skepticism over whether President Barack Obama is a citizen of the United States. He has released his own official birth certificate and has called on Obama to do the same despite the fact that the president’s birth records have been available online for over three years. Last week, Trump signaled that he has investigators on the ground in Hawaii in search of more details on the president’s birthplace. Read More… More on Donald Trump
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Donald Trump For President? David Plouffe Says There’s No Chance He’d ‘Ever Be Hired’
Former Alaska governor Sarah Palin may have peaked, politically speaking. Read More… More on Sarah Palin 2012
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Sarah Palin May Have Peaked, Politically Speaking
Meghan McCain is concerned that quite a bit more than what appeared about her in Game Change will find its way into the HBO film. Where might they find such dirt? Ironically, in McCain’s own book, Dirty Sexy Politics . Read More… More on Sarah Palin
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Geoffrey Dunn: F-Bomb Confidential: Meghan McCain, Sarah Palin and HBO’s ‘Game Change’
In the new NBC/WSJ poll , Mitt (yawn) Romney cleans up in a weak field, but look who comes in second. Among Republican primary voters, Mr. Romney captured the support of 21% in a broad, nine-candidate field. Mr. Trump was tied for second with former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, with 17%. House Speaker Newt Gingrich got 11%, just ahead of former Republican Vice Presidential nominee Sarah Palin’s 10%. Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, considered a strong contender by political handicappers, remains largely unknown, with just 6% support. Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota had 5%, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum 3%, and Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour with just 1%. Very Serious People in DC just know that Barbour is a contender. Well, it seems he’s a contender like Phil Gramm was. He can raise a boatload of money but in the end he’s a regional candidate with retail skills and nothing like what a modern national candidate requires. And Pawlenty? Not exactly catching fire. Still, Very Serious People say he’s a Very Serious Candidate. Of course, presidential primaries are state level contests, and in IA, Bachmann and Huckabee (who likely won’t run) will do well, Romney not so much. And others of the early contests will favor the social conservatives over the Very Serious Candidates like T-Paw. In other polling tidbits, the Republican pollster Bill McInturff warns the country is not prepared for a shutdown : Bill McInturff, the poll’s Republican co-director, said public opinion is fluid now and is likely to fluctuate dramatically if and when the government shuts down, which would lead to furloughs for hundreds of thousands of federal workers, to National Parks being shuttered, and some federal services suspending. “If it happens, it will feel out of the blue,” said Mr. McInturff, who did daily polling for House Speaker Newt Gingrich when the government shut down in 1995 and 1996. “This is a country that is not ready.” Or, put another way : With Congress staring at a possible government shutdown, Republican lawmakers are caught between their tea-party base insisting they hold their ground on deep budget cuts and a broader electorate pressing for compromise, a new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll finds. As Gallup notes today: The difficulty for House Speaker John Boehner and other Republican leaders is that rank-and-file Republicans’ views on this [budget negotiation] question are starkly different from those of the public at large. The slight majority of Republicans nationwide, 51%, want the people in government who share their views to hold out for a budget they agree with rather than compromise. This compares with 27% of Democrats and 29% of independents who say the same. And as we noted earlier today , and as Gallup and NBC/WSJ confirm, a shutdown does not favor Republicans. Hey, so how about that tea party ? The Journal/NBC poll suggests there are limits to the tea party movement’s popularity. In the new survey, 29% felt very positive or somewhat positive about the tea party, the same level of positive feeling registered in January. But 44% felt negatively toward the movement, and the percentage of Americans who feel very negatively jumped six percentage points from January, to 30%. Some 25% of those polled said they supported the tea party, down from 29% in February and 30% in November. The highest percentage on record, 67%, said they were not supporters. What’s it all mean? The nutcases are running the asylum, with the “hot” candidates being birther Trump and Bachmann. But what good is it to be beloved by the tea party when no one loves the tea party? Just as in the CNN poll , this represents a low water mark for them. And as for the seriousness of Trump’s candidacy (aka America’s Top Birther ), see this post from David Nir and PPP earlier this week: Q: Do you have a favorable or unfavorable opinion of Donald Trump? Favorable : 28 Unfavorable : 46 Not sure : 26 Q: If the candidates for President next year were Democrat Barack Obama and Republican Donald Trump, who would you vote for? Barack Obama : 47 Donald Trump : 38 Undecided : 14 Hey, Republicans! You want Trump? Bring. It. On. Every mention of him highlights how weak your field is, how nutty your base is, and how far from the mainstream the GOP is . It really looks like the Scott Walker effect is everywhere.
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NBC/WSJ Poll: Trump trumps T-Paw and Barbour, country ‘not ready’ for shutdown
Neighborhood Research (R) 3/29-4/1/11; 319 likely Republican primary voters, 5.5% margin of error Mode: Live telephone interviews Read More… More on Pollster
IA-2012 Primary: 21% Huckabee, 14% Romney, 9% Trump, 8% Gingrich, 7% Palin (Neighborhood 3/29-4/1)
This should come as something of a surprise: President Barack Obama’s approval rating is near even in Georgia, with 47% of voters approving of his job performance to 48% who disapprove. Moreover, he stands a decent chance of becoming the first Democrat to carry the Peach State since Bill Clinton in 1992. He trails the two Republican front-runners by just three points apiece, and he’s ahead of Sarah Palin and Georgia native sons Herman Cain and Newt Gingrich. Public Policy Polling (3/31-4/3, Georgia voters): Mitt Romney (R) : 46 Barack Obama (D-inc) : 43 Mike Huckabee (R) : 48 Barack Obama (D-inc) : 45 Barack Obama (D-inc) : 46 Newt Gingrich (R) : 45 Barack Obama (D-inc) : 48 Sarah Palin (R) : 43 Barack Obama (D-inc) : 44 Herman Cain (R) : 39 (MoE: ±4.1%) It’s quite damning for Gingrich’s candidacy that he might not be able to carry his own state. Now, that wouldn’t be a problem for a guy like Tim Pawlenty as Republicans don’t need or expect Minnesota to win the presidency. But Georgia—a state worth 16 electoral votes in 2012—is a bedrock of the Republican electoral strategy and a state they should be expecting to win by 10 points or more. John McCain took the state by six points in 2008 even as Obama soundly defeated him nationwide. As for Palin, it’s no longer really news that her numbers are terrible and she’s losing states Republicans haven’t lost in decades. Cain, the CEO of Godfather’s Pizza, is not well-known even in his home state, but those who do know him give him an underwater 28/36 favorable/unfavorable evaluation, suggesting that Georgians are well aware that Godfather’s Pizza sucks. (You don’t see the CEO of Domino’s running for office, do you? There’s a reason for that). Perhaps the most significant numbers, then, are the slim leads posted by the two nominally “acceptable” GOP candidates, Mike Huckabee and Mitt Romney. Even the Republican frontrunners aren’t getting the numbers they need in Georgia—a three-point lead in a state Republicans usually win going away is peanuts for them. Perhaps scariest for the Republicans is that it might only get worse for them over time in the Peach State: Even if Obama doesn’t end up winning in Georgia next year the vast differences in his support along age lines suggest Democrats should be competitive in the state in the years to come. Among voters under 65 Obama’s approval rating is a 52/42 spread. It’s only his horrid numbers with senior citizens at 27/68 that put his numbers in negative territory overall. As whites who grew up in the segregation era die out over the next decade or two this state should start looking a lot ‘purpler’ than its red tinge in recent election cycles would suggest. Maybe the Republican numbers will surge after the GOP rallies around a nominee. And maybe that nominee won’t be any of these people, but rather someone that voters actually, you know, like. But as for now, it’s a sad day in Republicanville if they’re running within the margin of error, at best, in conservative Georgia.
GA-Pres: Obama within striking distance in Georgia
In 2009, Sarah Palin’s daughter Bristol joined a teen pregnancy prevention nonprofit called the Candie’s Foundation. Today, the Associated Press reported that the Candie’s Foundation released its 2009 tax information, revealing that Bristol was paid a salary of $262,500. Read More… More on Bristol Palin
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Bristol Palin’s Nonprofit Paid Her Seven Times What It Spent On Actual Teen Pregnancy Prevention
April 6, 2011 1:39:49 AM WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The White House is considering Federal Reserve Governor Sarah Raskin and former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm to head a new agency charged with protecting consumers of financial products, a source aware of the process said Tuesday. Read More… More on Barack Obama
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White House Considers Sarah Raskin, Jennifer Granholm To Head Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
Bristol Palin and Dancing with the Stars partner Mark Ballas (Fred Prouser/Reuters) Think Progress : In 2009, Sarah Palin’s daughter Bristol joined a teen pregnancy prevention nonprofit called the Candie’s Foundation. Today, the Associated Press reported that the Candie’s Foundation released its 2009 tax information, revealing that Bristol was paid a salary of $262,500. But a closer examination of the tax form by ThinkProgress shows that the group disbursed only $35,000 in grants to actual teen pregnancy health and counseling clinics: Thus, the nonprofit paid Bristol over seven times what it paid to teen pregnancy prevention groups. Holy hell, Bristol Palin got a quarter million bucks in salary to talk about teen pregnancy? I think the takeaway message here is that baby out of wedlock = BEST. DECISION. EVER.
Bristol Palin made over $250k as abstinence advocate
Senate : • CT-Sen : Former SoS Susan Bysiewicz said that she raised over half a mil in Q1. She also continued a theme of attacking Chris Murphy as some kind of skeezy Washington insider, saying “I’m sure the corporate PACs and DC lobbyists are lining up to support other candidates.” Murphy is the only other announced candidate. • FL-Sen : Adam Smith of the St. Petersburg Times tweeted last Wednesday he expects George LeMieux (R) to announce “next week”… which means this week. • IN-Sen : Rep. Dan Burton, one of the most disliked Republicans in the state of Indiana, channels his inner Tobias Fünke ( the man inside him ?) and says, “I’m supporting Dick—there’s two Dicks in the race.” That’d be Richard “Dick” Lugar and Richard “Dick” Mourdock. Oh Burton, you blowhard! • KY-Sen : I can’t really believe Rand Paul is serious about a presidential bid, but then again, I thought the same thing about Michele Bachmann and was clearly wrong about that. Still, I’m mostly amused by the fact that he met with Iowa Republicans (including Gov. Terry Branstad) in Des Moines this past weekend. Rand might be trying to set himself up for a run in 2016… or he could also be doing a good job of inviting a primary challenge if he seeks re-election. • MA-Sen : Teabaggers being pissed at Scott Brown are nothing new—though I do find their naivety endearing. (What did they think they were going to get?) What’s sad is that one of their self-anointed leaders, some guy named Judson Phillips, can only muster up this in response to Brown’s latest outrage (calling to reduce budget cuts): “Perhaps the Massachusetts Tea Party will step up with someone to challenge him in 2012.” A resounding call to arms this ain’t. • ME-Sen : Freshman Sen. Pat Toomey says he won’t endorse Olympia Snowe in her bid for re-election. Toomey, don’t forget, has some residual teabagger cred, given that he was president of the Club for Growth. • MO-Sen : Citizens United (yes, that Citizens United ) just gave GOP Rep. Todd Akin $10K in the hopes of luring him into the Senate race. I was wrong about Trent Franks, but I really do feel like Akin will get in here. • MT-Sen : Republicans think they get lots of mileage out of attacking “welfare,” but Denny Rehberg took this trope several steps further, declaring that Pell Grants are “turning out to be the welfare of the 21st century.” • NV-Sen : Rep. Shelley Berkley says she’s heartened by the internal poll numbers she put out last week (42-38 over Republican Dean Heller), she still hasn’t made up her mind, though now says she’ll decide “fairly soon,” whatever that means. • NY-Sen : Kirsten Gillibrand set a personal record with her 1Q fundraising, taking in over $3 million. Gubernatorial : • KY-Gov : Despite opposing the expansion of gambling in the state—a very big and very contentious issue—State Senate President (and GOP gubernatorial nominee) lost over $36,000 in casinos from 1999 to 2002, according to court documents related to his divorce. • MO-Gov : Did GOP Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder just neutralize the whole “Air Claire” business? It turns out that Kinder, widely expected to run for governor, has spent an average of two months a year staying at St. Louis luxury hotels, all at taxpayer expense, including trips for society balls and baseball games.. You really need to read the whole piece to get the full flavor of Kinder’s abuse of his office. Kind also told a reporter for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch “I’m not talking to you,” then hung up the phone. This story’s going to get worse, not better. • UT-Gov, UT-Sen : As we’ve noted previously, the teabaggers are gunning for Gov. Gary Herbert, thanks to his support for immigration bills that are insufficiently punitive, in their view. Now the name of another potential primary challenger has surfaced: state Rep. Stephen Sandstrom. The linked article also says that David Kirkham, a key teabagger who helped oust Bob Bennett last year, is suggesting that Herbert, rather than Orrin Hatch, may be his compatriots’ number one target this cycle. Hatch previously refused to take a position on his home state’s legislation, but let’s see if he turns on Herbert in the hopes of re-directing the teabaggers. • WV-Gov : Julie Sobel at the Hotline has a complete wrapup of fundraising numbers for all the major candidates, both Dem and Republican, in the WV gubernatorial race. Other Races : • Wisconsin Sup. Ct. : On Twitter, when Sarah Palin announced she was backing David Prosser, I called it the kiss of death. J. Pilmanis said no, she kissed a corpse. We’ll find out for sure tomorrow! Anyhow, the ad wars have, of course, gone full-tilt in the final days of the campaign. Here’s a roundup of some that we’ve seen: WMC attacks JoAnne Kloppenburg for not being “tough on crime” in one spot, and praises Prosser for his supposed law-and-order credentials in another GWC has another ad hitting the Prosser=Walker theme once more; they also whack him hard for his “total bitch” outburst in a 15-second spot Citizens for a Strong America has Troy Merryfield talking to the camera on behalf of Prosser; he excoriates the GWC’s ad which attacked Prosser for failing to prosecute the priest who abused Merryfield TPX hits the usual mouth-breather themes ; amusingly, they tout “Democrat” Gov. Patrick Lucey’s endorsement of Prosser, which he withdrew just the other day
DK Elections Daily Digest: 4/4
MILWAUKEE (AP) — Pro-labor organizations and one of the country’s largest tea party groups are pouring money into Tuesday’s Wisconsin Supreme Court election in an effort to turn the normally sleepy race into a referendum on the national fight over labor rights. The attention from conservative and liberal groups has energized voters and set the election on pace to be the most expensive high court race in Wisconsin’s history. Sarah Palin even weighed in via Twitter on Friday, throwing her support behind the incumbent conservative justice. Read More… More on Tea Party
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Tea Party, Labor Spend big in Wisconsin High Court Race
Senate : • AZ-Sen : The NYT has a piece about Dems tip-toeing around the Senate race as they wait for Gabby Giffords to recover (and make a decision), but I think it adds very little to the conversation. There isn’t really any new information in the piece, so you can probably skip it. • MA-Sen : Wow, the DSCC is doing a bang-up job on MA-Sen this week. A couple of days ago, they conned Roll Call into writing a piece which argued that the lack of a Democratic candidate was actually a good thing and all part of some devious plan. Now comes word that they’ve managed to leak a poll that shows Scott Brown with a ridiculous 73% approval rating and supposedly beating all comers by double digits. Aren’t they supposed to only leak polls when they’ve got good news to share? Sheesh. This is just so sloppy. (Also, 73% approval? Really? Might want to think about hiring a new pollster for this race.) Anyhow, another Dem is feeling out the race : Gerry Kavanaugh, who was once Ted Kennedy’s chief of staff and is now a political consultant, says he’s “thinking about” a run. Kavanaugh has never run for office before. • MO-Sen : This is pretty weird. Tons of documents, including a lot of emails, generated during GOPer Sarah Steelman’s tenure as state treasurer have disappeared, and the new treasurer (who is a Dem) is saying in response to freedom of information requests that they simply can’t be found. As Catanese says, this ought to give Steelman’s primary opponents some good fodder… especially if any of the missing docs ever turn up. • NV-Sen : Rep. Shelley Berkley’s leaked a poll (taken for her by the Mellman Group) which shows her up 42-38 over Republican Rep. Dean Heller in a hypothetical Senate race. The more I think about it, the more I feel this really is Berkley’s moment and that she should definitely go for it. I think Obama’s going to run a very strong campaign here, and I just think the timing is right. Gubernatorial : • MI-Gov : Republican-linked pollster Marketing Research Group gives Gov. Rick Snyder the best numbers he’s seen so far, with a 42-38 job approval rating. But spiderdem shows just how implausibly favorable to Snyder the sample composition is. • UT-Gov, UT-01 : Interesting: GOP Rep. Rob Bishop refused to answer a question about whether he plans to challenge Gov. Gary Herbert, instead seeming to make some crack about ex-Gov. John Huntsman’s run for president. Herbert has raised some teabagger ire for signing an immigration reform package that would, among other things, allow for guest workers (the nutters call it “amnesty”)—basically, the opposite approach from Arizona. I’m not sure if Bishop’s expressed his views on this legislation, but he’s definitely a hard-core anti-immigrant zealot. • WV-Gov : Treasurer John Perdue is out with his first ad—and it’s a two-minute long (!!) behemoth. House : • AZ-01 : This is an old (May 2010) but interesting article on ex-Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick’s relationship with Apache Indians in her former district, who constitute an important voting bloc. I highlight it because, of course, she just announced her intention to seek a rematch against Republican Paul Gosar. Apache leaders, who supported her first election bid in 2008, felt betrayed over her support of a controversial copper mine on what they consider to be sacred land and walked away from her last year. However, as sacman701 points out , Kirkpatrick’s vote drop-off in Apache County in 2010 was very minimal. • MN-08 : Here’s something else interesting (okay, every bullet in the digest is an unparalleled gem and I love them all equally): Dem Lt. Gov. Yvonne Prettner Solon, who used to be a state Senator, is supposedly considering a run against freshman GOPer Chip Cravaack, according to a Politics in Minnesota source. One problem, as the piece notes, is that if she won, Republican Senate President Michelle Fischbach would become the new Lieutenant Governor. As someone who lived through the near-death experience of having Pedro Espada half-a-heartbeat away from the governor’s mansion, I wouldn’t blame Minnesota Dems if they wanted Prettner Solon to stay put! • NY-01 : I think a key reason why Dem Rep. Tim Bishop was able to hang on by the skin of his political teeth last year was because of the exceptionally nasty three-way GOP primary on the other side of the aisle—one which took place very late (September) to boot, giving eventual winner Randy Altschuler little time to recover. So it’s very heartwarming to see that another 2010 candidate, George Demos, is already slagging Altschuler for failing to win “in a year Republicans couldn’t lose.” Both men are considering rematches, and according to Dave Catanese, are meeting with the NRCC. Cat fud comin’! • PA-03 : This is also interesting (there I go again!): Ex-Rep. Kathy Dahlkemper is considering a rematch against GOP frosh Mike Kelly. I say “interesting” because I wouldn’t have considered her among the likeliest batch of people to seek a comeback, and I don’t think I’d really heard her name since last November. Anyhow, Dahlkemper says she’s spoken with the DCCC, and while she wouldn’t announce a timetable for a decision, she doesn’t want to wait until the fall (as she did in 2007 when she first ran). The same article also mentions another potential Dem candidate whose name has come up in recent days but apparently hasn’t ruled anything out: Erie Mayor Joe Sinnott. • WI-07 : Sean Duffy’s handlers seem to have a very 19th century understanding of the Internet: They’ve demanded the already-infamous video of him moaning about getting by on $174K a year get removed on copyright grounds. This is sure to make the story go away. Actually, I’ve changed my mind: They have a decidedly 21st century appreciation of the ‘net: After they sent a takedown letter to Talking Points Memo, TPM re-posted a shorter version of the video—which now, in a reverse Breitbart claim, Duffy’s people are saying was selectively edited. Of course, this is bullshit, but they’ve succeeded in getting CNN to repeat it as fact. Other Races : • Wisconsin Sup. Ct. : This is really interesting (wow, I just can’t help myself today): Craig Gilbert of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel points out that there are two key special elections in the state’s two biggest Democratic counties on Tuesday, which of course coincide with the Supreme Court race. One we’ve mentioned before: In Milwaukee, voters will replace their former County Exec, who was none other than Scott Walker. The Dem there, Chris Abele, has devoted his campaign to linking his Republican opponent with Walker. Meanwhile, in Dane County (home of Madison), the exec decided last year to leave in the middle of her term, prompting a new election. While Dane is reliably liberal, Milwaukee isn’t always, but given the contours of this year, Gilbert thinks the voter surge in Milwaukee is more likely to be left-leaning. But you should really read the whole piece, as there’s a lot of interesting data (and a cool chart) that I can’t convey in one short bullet. Remainders : • PPP : Politico has a feature-type piece about our buddies at Public Policy Polling, with some details about the deal with DK/SEIU, and a longer discussion of how PPP really has not becomes viewed as a left-leaning Rasmussen… mostly because their numbers are actually, ya know, good. Redistricting Roundup : • Arkansas : Despite strenuous GOP opposition, Arkansas Dems are moving ahead with their so-called “Fayetteville finger” plan that moves the city into Dem Rep. Mike Ross’s 4th CD. They did pass a new, somewhat modified plan (you can see a map at the link), but it still preserves the extension into Fayetteville. (Several Republicans plans have gotten voted down as well.) • Indiana : State Senate Democrats have released a couple of proposed maps, including one for their own body (PDF) and one for Congress (PDF). • Louisiana : Hah! Remember that fucker Michael Jackson, who ran as an independent in 2008 and cost Dem Rep. Don Cazayoux his hard-won seat in Congress? Well, in his role as state Rep., he’s put out a propose congressional map that would create two majority-minority districts in Louisiana. I assume they have no chance of seeing the light of day, though. You can find it here . • Missouri : The first proposed congressional redistricting plan has emerged from the Missouri state House, and it looks pretty much exactly like what you’d expect: Russ Carnahan’s district has been flushed down the oubliette. (Map at link.) The state Senate plans to release a map soon, too. • Mississippi : Mississippi has a serious redistricting logjam, and with the end of the legislative session fast approaching, no one seems inclined to give in. The article I’ve linked says that Gov. Haley Barbour could call a special session, but Lt. Gov. Phil Bryant (who after a big initial setback seems to have reasserted himself as the GOP’s point man on redistricting) seems almost eager for the impasse to continue. If it does, that would mean two sets of elections: one this year under the old maps, and one next year under new maps. Bryant is really starting to warm to this, because Republicans would very likely take control of the state House this November under the existing lines, which would then give them a free a hand. But if a new plan (with a Dem gerrymander in the House) goes into place this year, it gives Democrats at least something of a chance of holding the House—which is why House Speaker Billy McCoy’s over-reach was really so stupid. • New Jersey : Things are coming to a head in the Garden State, with the final vote on a redistricting plan by the members of the state’s bipartisan commission scheduled for noon on Sunday. What the maps actually will look like is anybody’s guess, as the panel’s leader/tiebreaker, Alan Rosenthal, has ordered repeated revampings. ( Chris Christie has also been seen leaning heavily on the panel members.) Leaked maps (we haven’t actually seen copies of them, but apparently everyone is willing to describe them to reporters) seem rife with intra-party intrigue, with several Dem state legislators who’ve fallen out of favor (including ex-acting Gov. Richard Codey) getting the short end of the redistricting stick. At the Congressional level, the same dynamic is playing out, with rumors that Rep. Frank Pallone of NJ-06 is the House member likeliest to get dealt the worst hand. Apparently he’s also out of favor with the currently ruling Dem power brokers, who’d like to derail him from an anticipated statewide run. (The whole story is worth a read, for a guided tour of the byzantine behind-the-scenes working of New Jersey politics.) • Virginia : The Virginia Public Access Project has some cool interactive charts you can play around with which show how the various redistricting proposals would affect the state legislature.
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DK Elections Daily Digest: 4/1