Tag Archives: mid-term elections

Americans Didn’t Reject Obama’s Policies, They Rejected The Economy

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Mr. Obama has made up his mind. The voters did not reject him or his policies on Tuesday. They just rejected the economy. Never mind that it is his policies that have made things worse.

We’ve heard this now since last Wednesday. Mr. Obama has taken it as his mantra that “it’s the economy stupid” and also that people are too stupid to understand what awesome things he has been doing for them.

More significantly, Mr. Obama has taken to repeating that he was just responding to a crisis. He thinks there was no “overreach” just a “perception” of an overreach.

It was, therefore, the message not the policy.

Let’s be clear here — this is the administration with the internal mantra of “never let a crisis go to waste.”

Mr. Obama may believe he was just responding to a crisis, but much of what he did was not part of the crisis. Bailing out and expanding unions was not part of the crisis. Propping up Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac was not part of the crisis — heck, they caused the crisis.

Attacking American job creators with language harsher than that used to attack Al Qaeda, Iran, and North Korea was not part of the crisis.

And, most obviously, taking over the American health care system was not part of the crisis. That was part of not letting the crisis go to waste.

For two years now, the Democrats have told us that Barack Obama is the best communicator since God first said “Let there be light.”

Today, they and Mr. Obama himself, would have you believe was a communications problem, not a policy repudiation.

According to Tuesday’s exit polls, a majority of Americans blame Wall Street Bankers for causing the economic collapse. It looks like they got Barack Obama’s message. The problem for Barack Obama is that those people voted overwhelmingly for the Republicans.

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Mid-Terms Cause Obama To Adjust To New Political Climate

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Voters threw a bucket of cold water on Democrats in this week’s midterm elections. As the chief Democrat and commander in chief, President Obama must dry off and adjust to a new political climate.

It will be tempting for the White House to feign a course correction and bipartisanship, but not really change course.

The president, for instance, might refuse to see the elections as a referendum on his leadership, justifying that outlook by exit polls that showed equal dissatisfaction with both parties. And, after all, these were races for congressional, state, and local offices, not for the Oval Office.

Mr. Obama might also see the country as more disappointed by the economy, than by his stewardship, though he said today he took responsibility for failure to grow jobs more quickly. He might also view the House turnover to the GOP as a distorted public statement – the result of a Republican base that was simply more fired up than his own party.

There’s an element of truth in all of these conclusions. But if the president focuses on them, he’ll miss the larger truth that this “shellacking,” as he put it, was also a referendum on Obama Part I.

A majority of voters, 54 percent, disapproved of the job he’s doing, and a similar percent said his policies will harm the country, according to exit polls. And voters who sided with Obama two years ago – independents and women – sidestepped to the GOP this time.

With Republican John Boehner as the presumptive House speaker and with substantial GOP gains in the Senate, Obama will have to take a lesson from Bill Clinton, who moved to the middle after the Democrats lost both houses in the midterms of 1994.

President Clinton was often ridiculed for his small steps in governing – remember his push for school uniforms? But divided government has a way of forcing a president to reduce his stride.

Obama campaigned as a big-ideas, transformational president. Now he’ll have to take another approach. He acknowledged today that there’s more than one way of “skinning the cat” on climate-change legislation. He’ll need to focus more on energy and less on climate; rely more on the states and private industry, and less on the federal government.

He’s also unlikely to make headway with sweeping immigration reform, another campaign promise. But two more years to prove his credentials as an enforcer of immigration law could make reform easier in the long run.

Big ideas are still possible under divided government; they just require compromise. Clinton and Republicans worked together for welfare reform and a balanced budget agreement. George W. Bush worked with Democrats on the landmark No Child Left Behind Act.
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How Will Mid-Term Elections Effect The Attempts To Repeal Health-Care?

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Even with a broad and historic majority, House Republicans have formidable roadblocks to delivering on a top campaign promise: to repeal or dismantle comprehensive health-care reform.

An outright repeal would have to get past a Democrat-controlled Senate and, more formidably, the Democratic president, who made health-care reform his No. 1 domestic priority earlier this year. Republicans don’t have the two-thirds majority required in both Houses to override a presidential veto.

Yet outright repeal is likely to be the first floor vote – after the vote for speaker – when the new Congress convenes in January.

No legislation more symbolizes what Republicans – and especially the conservative tea party movement – have dubbed the overreach of an out-of-touch majority. It’s a key vote for an insurgent freshman class eager to demonstrate that the 2010 election is producing change Washington.

“The health-care bill that was enacted by the current Congress will kill jobs in America, ruin the best health-care system in the world, and bankrupt our country,” said Rep. John Boehner (R) of Ohio, the presumptive House speaker, at a press briefing with GOP leaders Wednesday morning. “That means that we have to do everything we can to try to repeal this bill and replace it with common-sense reforms that will bring down the cost of health insurance.”

Mr. Boehner, says former GOP majority leader Dick Armey, “will find that the House will repeal it with no less than 20 Democratic votes.” He adds, “Don’t worry about what the Senate does.”

Mr. Armey advised and backed many tea party candidates.

For his part, President Obama is standing firm on the health-care law. “I’m sure this is an issue that will come up in discussions with Republican leadership, but I think we’d be misreading the election if we thought that the American people want to see us for the next two years relitigate arguments that we had over the last two years,” he said at a press briefing Wednesday afternoon.

“If Republicans have ideas for how to improve our health-care system … I’m happy to consider some of those ideas,” he added.

Still, a strong move by Republicans on health care may be essential to sweeten what could be a bitter vote for the new GOP class: raising the national debt limit, now set at $14.9 trillion. Although conservatives campaigned aggressively against a soaring national debt, Mr. Armey predicts that tea party freshmen will back a new debt limit.

“It’s a legacy vote of the irresponsible spending that came before this time. Just in terms of avoiding breakdown, this vote has got to be made,” he adds.

House Democrats may opt to move this item in a lame-duck session, before the new lawmakers arrive.

In their “governing agenda,” House Republican leaders have already committed to repealing the “job killing” health-care law. “Because the new health care law kills jobs, raises taxes, and increases the cost of health care, we will immediately take action to repeal this law,” Republicans promised in their “Pledge to America,” which they released in September.

But they are also proposing that Congress enact elements left out of the Obama health-care law, such as medical liability reforms, the option of purchasing health-care insurance across state lines, and the expansion of health savings accounts.
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Barack Obama Puts Harry Reid In The Spotlight

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LAS VEGAS — Of all the races in the country this year, none is as important to President Barack Obama as Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s reelection campaign.

The race carries unrivaled symbolism for Obama, who would emerge even more politically wounded than anticipated if Republicans defeat his top Democrat in the Senate.

The stakes were in full display Friday night at an outdoor rally in Las Vegas, when Obama — whose name has been chanted over the past three days by crowds at events from Seattle to Los Angeles — made a rare move and led the crowd in a chant of “Har-ry!”“I appreciate everybody saying Obama,” the president said as thousands of supporters screamed “O-bam-a!”

“But I want everybody to say Harry,” Obama yelled, leading them on moments after he stood on the stage with Reid, a former boxer, holding his hand in the air as though he had won a fight.

Reid is locked in a tight race against Republican Sharron Angle, a tea party favorite who has continued to be a force despite several high-profile campaign missteps. Obama made his fourth trip to Nevada Friday for a week-before-the-election rally and fundraiser to help Reid squeak out a victory despite low popularity in his home state and an adverse political climate.

The president vouched for Reid, whose opponent is running ads suggesting he got rich off of his position in the Senate, as an advocate for the middle class.

“Harry has never forgotten what it’s like to grow up in Searchlight, Nev. He knows what it’s like to be poor. He knows what it’s like to work hard. He knows what it’s like to hit some bumps in the road,” Obama said. “Neither Harry and I were born with a silver spoon in our mouths. Our families were working folk.”

For Obama, Reid’s campaign has all the elements that have made this election cycle a tumultuous one for Democrats.

His challenger has tea party backing, and few places in the nation have been as hard hit by the economic crisis than Nevada, where the unemployment rate is more than14 percent and the rate of foreclosures is the highest in the nation.

Reid’s race raises the stakes for Obama because of unique circumstances where all it could take for him to win would be large Democratic turnout — the president’s main 2010 role — and because it’s been cast as referendum on the White House’s big-ticket victories, all of which Reid helped muscle through: health care reform, financial regulatory reform, the economic stimulus package.

Reid is counting on minor-party candidates, including a Tea Party ballot line, and Nevada’s unique “none of the above” voting option to siphon votes from Angle, who also has low popularity in Nevada. Political strategists, including those working on Reid’s campaign, believe the dynamic would allow Reid to win with substantially less than 50 percent of the vote. Democrats have a registration edge of 60,000 more voters than Republicans, a 5-point advantage that’s decreased from more than 100,000 two years ago.

To get there, Reid is counting on Democratic turnout, powered by his statewide campaign organization, which he largely built in 2008 and thought would pay off for him in 2010. Indeed, the Obama organizational juggernaut was kept in place as Reid’s reelection geared up.

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Why Tea Party Elections Will Ultimately Make No Difference

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For OpEdNews: John Dean – Writer

From FindLaw

With just over two weeks to go until Election Day, the biggest issue to emerge this election cycle is the potential impact that the rowdy and radical-right national movement that calls itself “The Tea Party” will have on the November 2, 2010 mid-term elections: win, lose or draw. That will be the big story this Election Day.

In truth, it is remarkable that this grassroots populist uprising is viewed as a new phenomenon, when these types of movements occur regularly in our system, on both the left and the right. It is equally noteworthy that anyone should either worry or believe — depending on whether they agree or disagree with the Tea Party movement’s agenda — that this populist insurgency will, in the long run, make any real difference in Washington. It will not.

While I have no skills for prognostication, I can read history. And I understand how Washington works. Regardless of whether it is good or bad, the fact is that modern populist outrages follow a pattern, and all suffer similar fates. It will be the same for the Tea Party Movement — just wait a few years.

The Tea Party Movement

 The Tea Party Movement emerged from the mood-catching rant delivered on February 19, 2009 by CNBC reporter Rick Santelli, who held forth on the floor of the Chicago Board of Trade, with the camera getting it all. Santelli was unhappy with the bank bailout: “How many of you people want to pay for your neighbor’s mortgage that has an extra bathroom and can’t pay their bills?” he shouted, before calling for a ” Chicago tea party.” The Drudge Report, along with other bloggers and cable television, and then talk radio, picked up the Santelli rant and drew attention to it. Soon “tea party” websites began popping up on the Internet, and a movement was underway.

 

The Tea Party movement is and always has been leaderless and largely unorganized, although politicians like Sarah Palin and former Republican House leader Dick Armey have sought to exploit it, and guide it, for their own purposes. Fox News Channel has profited by becoming its principal broadcast outlet, if not its voice. Glenn Beck is its leading “intellectual” light. During the healthcare debate, Tea Party supporters and promoters distinguished themselves by disruptive and dishonest tactics. The movement has defined itself by what it opposes: the bailout of Wall Street, healthcare reform, taxes, big government, the Democratic Party’s agenda, and President Obama. The ranks of the movement are dominated by far-right political activists, “birthers,” libertarians, and authoritarian and religious conservatives. Almost all are card-carrying Republicans.

According to Gallup’s polling data, about 28 percent of Americans support the Tea Party Movement; Almost half of these are Republicans and 43 percent are Independents, but 70 percent call themselves conservatives. Dressing up in Eighteenth Century Sons of Liberty costumes, carrying loaded weapons to political rallies, interrupting speeches with shouting, taking outrageous positions on issues, and possessing wacky backgrounds (no longer practicing witchcraft, running for office while refusing to talk to the news media, scorning science, and so on) have all given this movement far more media attention than it deserves. And this attention, in turn, has given the movement the appearance of enjoying a degree of clout that it may, in fact, not really wield — which is not to say that conservative activists acting badly cannot influence political primaries, or state and local conventions, where the turnout is predictably small and highly partisan.

Writing for the New York Times, historian Alan Brinkley noted that describing the Tea Party movement is ” a bit like a blind man trying to describe the elephant.” Accordingly, there has been little agreement among the analysts — inside and outside the movement — as to the precise nature of this creature. Nonetheless, there is widespread agreement that this movement is a populist undertaking, so commentators use terms like “populist uprising,” “populist backlash,” ” populist movement,” ” populist sentiment,” and “populist revolt” — to offer a few examples. Progressives, however, find the Tea Party’s populism to be faux: “Tea Party populism is driven by anger at our government and at our country. Real populism fights for all Americans, while Tea Party populism divides us,” Senator Sherrod Brown told USA Today. As a populist movement — the full consequences of which I will examine in a moment — the Tea Party has already had an impact.

The Tea Party’s Accomplishments — and Failures

The Tea Party’s effort to kill healthcare reform failed, although they certainly contributed to watering down the Obama Administration’s efforts on this score to a bare minimum. Indeed, they continue to fight the mandate provisions of the law that passed, which require everyone have heath insurance with a private carrier — a proposal that ironically originated with the conservative Heritage Foundation. But in Massachusetts, they elected Sen. Scott Brown, which gave them a key vote in the Senate to filibuster Obama’s agenda.

In addition to failing to defeat healthcare reform, the Tea Party movement failed to stop the efforts to prevent the American economy from collapsing by blocking the rescue of Wall Street. Nor has the movement forced President Obama to produce another copy of his birth certificate. Yet the movement has been surprisingly successful in the state primary contests, one after another, where candidates have sought and received the support of this decentralized movement. In addition, Tea Party candidates knocked off two sitting U.S. Senators along the way — Senators Robert Bennett of Utah and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska — as well as Republican-Party-endorsed candidates for the Senate in Kentucky, Nevada, and Delaware.

ABC News has catalogued the candidates for the House, Senate and Governor claiming Tea Party credentials. With 11 candidates running for the U.S. Senate, six candidates running for governorships, and 18 candidates running for the U.S. House of Representatives, the Tea Party is certainly in play, big-time. More specifically, the Tea Party candidates include the following:

U.S. Senate candidates: Sharron Angle (Nevada), Ken Buck (Colorado), Sen. Jim DeMint (South Carolina], Ron Johnson (Wisconsin), Mike Lee (Utah), Joe Miller (Alaska), Christine O’Donnell (Delaware), Rand Paul (Kentucky), Dino Rossi (Washington), Marco Rubio (Florida), and Pat Toomey (Pennsylvania).

Gubernatorial candidates: Tom Emmer ( Minnesota), Nikki Haley ( South Carolina), Paul LePage ( Maine), Dan Maes ( Colorado), Carl Paladino ( New York), and Gov. Rick Perry ( Texas).

U.S. House candidates: Rep. Michele Bachmann (Minnesota), Rep. Marsha Blackburn (Tennessee), Renee Ellmers (North Carolina), Michael Grimm (New York), Vicky Hartzler (Missouri), Jesse Kelly (Arizona), Adam Kinzinger (Illinois), Charles Lollar (Maryland), Rep. Tom McClintock (California), Rep. Walt Minnick (Idaho), Star Parker (California), Rep. Mike Pence (Indiana), Rep. Tom Price (Georgia), Tim Scott (South Carolina), Scott Tipton (Colorado), Glen Urquhart (Delaware), Jackie Walorski (Indiana), Allen West (Florida) and Rep. Joe Wilson (South Carolina).
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Young People Not Voting In Mid-Term Elections

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A new Harvard Institute of Politics poll of America’s 18-29 year-olds finds waning enthusiasm for participation in the midterm elections as less just 27% say they will definitely be voting in November, a drop of nine points from eleven months ago when 36% expected to vote.

A solid majority of young Americans, by a 53% to 42% margin, said they would prefer a Democrat-controlled Congress as an outcome of the November election.+
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Mid-Term Snapshot

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The past 24 hours have been a mixed blessing for the Democrats, as far as electoral prognostications are concerned. While FiveThirtyEight’s Nate Silver slightly lowered the likelihood of a GOP takeover of the Senate, from 24 percent to 18 percent, as far as the House goes, the Cook Political Report calculates that “Democrats’ chances of losing at least 50 seats are now greater than their chances of holding losses under 45 seats.” In other words, a landslide. Nothing, however, is set in stone. With that in mind, here’s a look at what’s happening in races around the country today: Raul Grivalja’s mustache, Meg Whitman’s alleged whorishness, and Alaska’s exciting three-way tie.

In Arizona, a cartoonish depiction of Democratic congressman Raul Grijalva’s mustache is the centerpiece of a state GOP mailer. “It’s certainly not about the fact that he’s Hispanic,” a spokesperson for his Republican opponent, Ruth McClung, says. “His campaign signs feature that exact same mustache.” Well, no, not the exact same. “It’s exaggerated and meant to create an image of evil and something sinister,” Grijalva insists.

In Alaska, GOP Senate nominee Joe Miller may want to spend less time picking out office furniture for his Senate office and more time worrying about the write-in campaign of Lisa Murkowski, the Republican incumbent whom he vanquished in the primary, and Scott McAdams, the Democrat who hasn’t really been getting a lot of attention. A new poll out today shows the race is really anyone’s to win, with Miller at 33 percent, Murkowski at 31 percent, and McAdams at 27 percent. Granted, the poll only measured 400 likely voters, but then again, Alaska doesn’t have that many people.

In California, the president of the state’s chapter of NOW, the National Organization for Women, does not seem to have a problem with Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jerry Brown (and his wife) calling Republican candidate Meg Whitman a “whore.” “Meg Whitman could be described as ‘a political whore.’ Yes, that’s an accurate statement,” she tells TPM. For its part, NOW has backed off a demand that Brown fire whomever used the word “whore.”

In West Virginia, the National Republican Senatorial Committee has fired the vendor that it determined was responsible for a casting call for a campaign ad that sought “hicky”-looking actors. DNC chairman Tim Kaine, meanwhile, is “not wild” about Democrat Joe Manchin’s ad, in which the Senate candidate criticizes “Obamacare” and literally shoots cap-and-trade with a gun. And an environmental advocate from the Mountain Party might act as a Democratic spoiler.

And in Nevada, tea partier Sharron Angle and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid face off in a debate on C-SPAN at 9 p.m, tonight. In what is essentially the closest Senate race in the country, any slip-up or gaffe could be a deciding factor
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POLL: GOP leads widely, Dems in danger but race for House tight

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In a poll of 12 hotly contested races that could decide who controls the House in the 112th Congress, Republican challengers are beating freshman Democrats in 11 — and in the last one, the race is tied.

But The Hill/America’s Natural Gas Alliance (ANGA) poll also detected a glimmer of light for Democrats; not one of the 12 Republican challengers has reached 50 percent, and half of them have leads so small that they are within the margin of error.

The 12 districts this week are the first of 42 in The Hill/ANGA polls that will be conducted in the next four weeks. The first week’s focus is on freshmen, next week’s is on open seats, the following week’s is on two-term incumbents, and finally, in the week before the election, the polls will be in districts of long-term incumbents thought to be in trouble.

“This is a particularly volatile set of districts,” said pollster Mark Penn. “Overall, we see a strong Republican trend in these districts, but given where these numbers are, the races haven’t broken yet.”

Republicans need to pick up a net 39 seats to win control of the House.

Despite leads for Republican challengers, the large number of undecided voters in most of these contests suggests they are still up for grabs. Meanwhile, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has millions more dollars on hand than its Republican counterpart.

Still, capturing a majority of voters appears easier for the challengers than the incumbents in these districts, given high disapproval ratings for President Obama and Congress among likely voters.

Overall, just 20 percent approve of the job Congress is doing, while 76 percent of likely voters disapprove. Fifty-five percent of likely voters fall into the “strongly disapprove” category. Among independents, that number is even more drastic — 83 percent disapprove of Congress, with 61 percent strongly disapproving.

The poll found that independent voters are breaking heavily for Republican challengers and that the GOP has a big “voter intensity” edge over Democrats.

In several of these districts, Obama was likely the difference-maker in 2008, helping then-Democratic challengers such as Mary Jo Kilroy (Ohio) and Tom Perriello (Va.) edge their GOP opponents.

Kilroy and Perriello won the two tightest congressional races in the country in 2008, Kilroy by fewer than 3,000 votes and Perriello by fewer than 1,000.

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) beat Obama in half of th 12 polled districts, sometimes by a fairly wide margin. In Maryland’s 1st district, for example, where Rep. Frank Kratovil (D) trails Andy Harris by three percentage points, McCain routed Obama two years ago, winning by 19 points.

Kratovil’s ability to hang in the race despite the political winds and makeup of his district is attributable to his strong support among independents.

Kratovil is one of just two Democrats in the 12 districts who leads among independents — 38 percent to 35 over Harris.

In New Mexico’s 2nd District, Rep. Harry Teague (D) holds a two-point edge among independents over Republican Steve Pearce.

Teague, Kratovil and Rep. Glenn Nye (Va.) are the only Democrats of the 12 who voted no on healthcare reform. Nye is losing his race by 6 points.

Despite some ominous signs for Democrats in Perriello’s district, he’s one of the incumbents in this group who shows clear signs of strength. Perriello is one of the only freshman Democrats who leads his Republican challenger among male voters — 46 percent to 45.

Perriello is also within striking distance among independents, trailing by 9 points. That’s a smaller margin than some other freshmen, several of whom trail by double digits in that category.

The freshman Democrat in the worst shape in the Week 1 polls is from Obama’s home state of Illinois. Rep. Debbie Halvorson is losing to Adam Kinzinger by 18 points, 49 percent to 31. Kinzinger is ahead among most major demographic groups. He leads by 26 points among male voters, 11 among female voters; he leads all three age groups by 10 points or more.

The tightest race among the 12 is in Michigan’s 7th Congressional District, a contest that has been a focal point for both national party committees. The National Republican Congressional Committee has already spent more than $650,000 running independent-expenditure ads against Rep. Mark Schauer (D-Mich.), but he remains tied with ex-Rep. Tim Walberg (R) at 41 percent in The Hill/ANGA poll.

Independents are largely split, with 37 percent preferring Walberg to 35 percent for the incumbent, Schauer.

“Very few of these races are really put away one way or the other,” concludes Penn, who said the outcome in these districts lies in whether undecided voters will stick to historical trends and break largely for challengers or support their lawmakers.

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The Bias Of The Generic Ballot

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Henry Olsen at National Review Online has a smart critique up on my observation that the generic Congressional ballot may underestimate Democrats’ standing in House races this year. Let me warn you up front: this post is going to get into some fairly technical issues.

The most important question raised by Mr. Olsen’s article actually doesn’t have to do with the generic ballot per se, but rather boils down to whether polls of individual races tend to underestimate the standing of candidates who have relatively poor name recognition (as is often the case when, for instance, a non-incumbent is matched up against an incumbent in a U.S. House race). This is a real effect, and Mr. Olsen is right that it is something to be mindful of. Early in an election cycle, in fact, it’s something to be very cognizant of — candidates who are poorly known to voters generally have some upside in their numbers. By the time we reach Election Day, however, the bias against these candidates pretty much disappears — if nobody knows who you are by the morning of the election, well then, it’s probably too late.

Our House forecasting model has some ways to account for this: for instance, it tends not to look very much at polls of individual districts early in the election cycle, but tends to place more emphasis on them (at the expense of the generic ballot) as Election Day draws nearer. Also, looking at the number of undecideds in a poll can sometimes be informative: a 40-30 lead in the polls is not as solid as a 50-40 lead.

I owe Mr. Olsen a longer response on some of these points (I actually don’t think we disagree on very much). Perhaps more important, I owe FiveThirtyEight readers a more comprehensive overview of our House model in general.

But, for the time being, I want to focus on one particular comment that Mr. Olsen made. He writes:

But, as one noted prognosticator observed earlier this year, “On average the generic ballot has overestimated the Democrats’ performance in the popular vote by 3.4 points since 1992.” When this is applied to the AAF data Nate cites, it appears that the Democratic problem is not better than it appears; it’s worse.

The “noted prognosticator” that Mr. Olsen refers to is yours truly! As I wrote in April, there’s some history of the generic ballot overestimating the Democrats’ performance in the national House popular vote.

The House popular vote is what you get if you simply add up the votes for the Democratic and Republican candidates, respectively, across all 435 congressional districts. For instance, in 1998, Democratic candidates received a total of 31,490,298 votes for the House, while Republicans received 32,233,067, and candidates from other political parties, 2,154,221 votes. That translates into a Republican win of about 1 percentage point in the national popular vote. Most of the generic ballot polls that year, by contrast, had shown Democrats with a slight advantage, so this was one of those years in which it somewhat overestimated their performance.

This is only relevant, however, to the extent that you care about the aggregate House popular vote — which you might, for instance, if you were using the popular vote to back into an estimate of the number of seats that a particular party might gain or lose. (That’s what I was trying to do back in April.) If you’re working with this type of model, you have a decision to make about whether to apply a correction for the fact that the generic ballot has tended to overestimate the Democrats’ popular vote performance in the past. (For a variety of reasons — like the fact that the effect seems to have become less profound in recent elections, and that other types of polls haven’t shown a systematic bias toward one or the other party — it’s not quite so straightforward a decision as it seems, but it’s certainly something a forecaster has to wrestle with.)

That is, however, not the type of model we’re working with now, mainly because it isn’t very precise. Instead, we’re working from the ground up, trying to make calls on each of the 435 individual House races, and then aggregating those projections in a careful way to figure out how many seats each party is likely to control overall. So what we’re really concerned with is

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This Week in Politics – September 20, 2010

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by Brian Darling

The House has 39 suspension votes scheduled for Wednesday and possible work final passage of TARP, Jr. (H.R. 5297 – the Small Business Lending Fund Act of 2010), as amended by the Senate for this week. The Senate will debate and vote on the motion to proceed to S.3454, the Department of Defense Authorization bill. There will be no roll call votes during Monday’s session of the Senate, but a vote on cloture is expected on Tuesday.


The big controversy in the Senate this week is over the Defense Authorization Bill. There are the numerous controversial issues that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) is seeking to tack on to the measure. The hot button issues of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, the DREAM Act and non defense related matters may be added to the legislation during the Amendment process. Expect a critical vote Tuesday on the question of whether the Senate will even proceed to debate on the bill

Extension of the ‘01/’03 Tax Cuts is another issue expected for debate this week, but there is no clarity on whether the Democrats roll out of town to campaign for re-election.

Does President Obama know that he is the best thing to happen to the conservative movement since Ronald Reagan? The New York Times reports that the Obama Administration is considering a campaign against the Tea Party. So much for the lefty talking point that all politics is local in the ‘10 Elections.

President Obama’s political advisers, looking for ways to help Democrats and alter the course of the midterm elections in the final weeks, are considering a range of ideas, including national advertisements, to cast the Republican Party as all but taken over by Tea Party extremists, people involved in the discussion said.

There is no rational explanation for this. It is as if the President is part of the Republican get out the vote effort. This year has proven to be the largest turnout of Republicans in the primary season since the early 70s and Democrats have depressed turn out numbers. This effort on the part of the Obama Administration seems ill conceived.

Then you pick up the Wall Street Journal and the story line gets more surreal. The Wall Street Journal reports that President Obama has decided, mere weeks before the election, that this is a great time to attempt a re-education campaign to convince the American people that ObamaCare is good for them. Has he looked at any recent polling on ObamaCare?

From the WSJ:

The Obama administration this week plans to revive its pitch for the health-care overhaul, hoping that a slate of consumer-friendly provisions will boost public support before midterm elections. Starting Thursday, insurers officially must adhere to about a half-dozen key changes under the law, including eliminating co-payments for preventive services and allowing children to stay on their parents’ insurance policy until their 26th birthday. Democrats structured the provisions so they would kick in right before the elections, thinking incumbents would have a tangible achievement to promote on the campaign trail.

First of all, the polling for ObamaCare is bad for liberals. The WSJ reports that taxes and jobs are the most important issue for voters. These issues are far more important than a education campaign on the merits of ObamaCare.

But public support for the law continues to lag, with Americans split roughly in half over whether they support it, and the debate over jobs and taxes is squeezing the health law out of Democrats’ election narrative.

Furthermore, Democrats are more likely to campaign against ObamaCare rather than support it. More from the WSJ story:

In recent weeks, insurance companies have started mailing consumers letters informing them of double-digit rate increases starting this month, partially attributing them to the mandates that begin Thursday. That is sowing confusion among consumers, and muddying the Democrats’ contention that the law will rein in sharply rising premiums. The administration is chiding insurers for such increases, saying the new benefits only minimally increase insurers’ costs.

The Obama Administration really does not get it. They are going to attack the Tea Party and campaign in support of ObamaCare. It is as if the Republican National Committee is writing the strategy for the Democrats. Are they sitting in a room and saying, “how can we make this worse?”

As Americans are receiving notices that the rates on insurance is going sky high as a result of ObamaCare, this is the time to push for the idea of repeal of ObamaCare. The law is a disaster for the economy and average Americans.

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