Thursday, October 30, 2014

American Crossroads v. Ami Bera

American Crossroads is up against Rep. Ami Bera:

Polls Do Not Look Good for Democrats

National polls generally look bad for the Democrats.

CBS reports on a new poll:
Republicans continue to hold a lead in the national Congressional ballot test: 47 percent of likely voters say they will support the Republican candidate in their district, while 40 percent support the Democrat.

About nine in ten Republicans, and a similar percentage of Democrats, say they support their party's candidate for the House of Representatives. Independents are supporting the Republican candidate.

Thirty-two percent of voters are paying a lot of attention to the campaign, a figure that has steadily risen since September, and is similar to the percentage who said the same four years ago.
Four in ten voters say they are more enthusiastic about voting this year compared to past elections. Forty-seven percent say they are less enthusiastic, up 13 points from the 34 percent who said that in October 2010. Republican voters (48 percent) are more likely than Democratic voters (42 percent) to say they are more enthusiastic.

Voters continue to choose the economy (38 percent) as the most important issue in their vote for Congress this year, followed by health care (23 percent and terrorism (11 percent).

Americans' party preferences during the third quarter of a midterm election year give a good indication of which party will perform better in that year's election. Democrats' narrow two-percentage-point advantage in party affiliation this year -- 45% to 43% -- shares a greater similarity with strong Republican midterm years, such as 1994, 2002 and 2010, than with the advantage held in better Democratic years like 1998 and 2006.
Democrats typically hold an advantage in party affiliation among the national adult population -- Republicans have held a slight numerical advantage in only three years since 1993. But since Republicans and Republican leaners typically vote at higher rates than Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents, the voting electorate will usually be much less Democratic than the larger adult population. Thus, if Democrats start out with only a slim advantage among all adults, the voting electorate may very well end up being more Republican than Democratic.
Pew reports:
After more than a year of inaction by Congress and President Obama on immigration reform, Democrats maintain a wide, but diminished, advantage among Hispanic registered voters, according to a new nationwide survey of 1,520 Hispanic adults, including 733 registered voters, by the Pew Research Center.
The survey also finds that for  about half of Hispanic registered voters (54%), a candidate’s position on immigration is not a deal-breaker in determining their vote if that candidate shares their views on most other issues.
Overall, 57% of Latino registered voters support the Democratic candidate in their congressional district or lean Democratic, while 28% favor the Republican candidate or lean Republican, a greater than two-to-one advantage for Democrats. But support for congressional Democrats is down from 2010, when 65% of Latino registered voters backed the Democrat in their congressional district and 22% favored the Republican candidate (Lopez, 2010).
The survey reveals in other ways that Latino registered voters are somewhat less supportive of the Democratic Party now than in recent years. On political party identification, 63% today say they identify with or lean toward the Democratic Party, down from 70% who said the same in 2012. And when asked which political party has more concern for Latinos, 50% say the Democrats, down from 61% who said the same in 2012.
Meanwhile, Republicans have made some progress among Hispanic voters. About one-quarter (27%) today say they identify with or lean toward the Republican Party. In 2012, 22% said the same.

A release from the Kennedy School's Institute of Politics:
A new national poll of America’s 18- to 29- year-olds by Harvard’s Institute of Politics (IOP), located at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, finds slightly more than
half (51%) of young Americans who say they will “definitely be voting” in November prefer a Republican-run Congress with 47 percent favoring Democrat control – a significant departure from IOP polling findings before the last midterm elections (Sept. 2010 – 55%: prefer Democrat  control; 43%: prefer Republican control). The cohort – 26% of whom report they will “definitely” vote in the midterms – appear up-for-grabs to both political parties and could be a critical swing vote in many races in November

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Another Spelling Bee

As it has in New Hampshire and Arkansas, Crossroads GPS is running a "spelling bee" ad against Kay Hagan in North Carolina.  Hagan is spelled O-B-A-M-A.


Tuesday, October 28, 2014

The Midterm Culture War

At The Daily Beast, Lloyd Green frames the election with a quotation from former Louisiana Governor Edwin Edwards, felon and congressional candidate:
Edwards crudely framed the state of play in the South as a matter of race, sexual orientation, and class; in other words, culture. Said Edwards, according to the Financial Times, “Some people view the Democratic Party as strictly for gays and blacks and non-productive people,” not exactly the thing that the party faithful want to be reading as Election Day nears.
The Democrats’ challenge of retaining the Senate is compounded by a midterm electorate that is generally more rural, white, married, and churchgoing than in presidential years. For example, in 2012 less than three-quarters of voters were white. In contrast, in the 2010 midterms, that figure was 77 percent, five points higher. As Woody Allen said, 80 percent of life is about showing up.
A recent Pew Poll graphically likewise portrays the stark national divide, and the granular differences are gaping. Republicans hold an 18-point lead among non-Latino whites, while Democrats are ahead by 62 percent among minorities. Pew also gives the GOP a whopping 68 points lead among white evangelicals, but shows Republicans lagging by more than 30 percent among the religiously non-affiliated.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Six Years Ago Today

On October 27, 2008, Senator Barack Obama spoke in Canton, Ohio:
"We need a better government – a more competent government – a government that upholds the values we hold in common as Americans."
Today, Michael Hirsch writes at Politico:
The Ebola crisis has underscored what many of Obama’s critics—including those in his party—have been saying with increasing urgency in recent months, that the White House’s approach to national security does not instill confidence and seems more questionable than ever in the face of the muscular new challenges on the scene. Tongues wagged in Washington after David Ignatius, who is generally simpatico with Obama’s restrained foreign policy, called gently in an Oct. 7 Washington Post column for “new blood” on the president’s national-security team.
But others are less gentle with their criticism. “It’s a pathetically weak team,” says one retired general who was in a senior command position, and who faults Hagel as much as Rice for some of the problems.

Polls Look Good for the GOP

Democrats weren't exactly singing hallelujahs on Sunday. With a little more than a week before Election Day, new polling of key Senate races showed that if anything, momentum in the midterm election may be tilting—however slightly—toward Republicans.

A joint survey by NBC and Marist College gave GOP candidates an edge in five battleground contests—Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Arkansas and North Carolina—though all of the races were within the margins of error. South Dakota, a contest Democrats hoped was in play, appears far out of reach.
The NBC/Marist College results were released the same day YouGov made public its most fourth and final survey with CBS and the New York Times, also showing signs of a comeback for Senator Pat Roberts in Kansas. The Republican incumbent is now polling ahead of independent candidate Greg Orman, who became the unexpected favorite in that race after Democrats were allowed to drop their candidate from the ballot.
Republicans have expanded their advantage in the final days of the midterm campaign and now hold an 11-point lead among likely voters on the question of which party should control Congress, a new Wall Street Journal/NBC News/Annenberg survey finds.
Some 52% of likely voters in the survey said they wanted the election to produce a Republican-led Congress, while 41% favored Democratic control.
A week earlier, Republicans had held a narrower, 5-point lead on the question in the Journal/NBC/Annenberg survey.
“The Democrats, who badly need some momentum, find little comfort in these results some ten days out from the election,” said pollster Peter D. Hart, who helped conduct the survey. “The thread holding things together for them is both more slender and now even frayed.”
By historical measures, an 11-point lead on the question of which party should control Congress is large. Republicans held a seven-point lead on the question at this point in the 2010 election in a Journal/NBC survey, which used a different method to determine which voters were most likely to cast ballots. Republicans went on that year to make big gains in the Senate and to retake the majority in the House.
In the new survey, Republicans also led on the “congressional control” question among registered voters, a broader group than likely voters, with 46% favoring GOP leadership and 42% favoring Democratic control. The GOP lead had been two percentage points a week earlier.
“The GOP appears to be solidifying its lead,” said Mr. Hart.

McCarthy's Plans

At Politico, Jake Sherman reports that House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) has legislative hopes for the next year:
McCarthy is intently focused on the first few months in session, which he sees as critical for his agenda. He would like to use the lame-duck session to pass a long-term government-funding bill, so Washington can begin focusing on big-picture legislating, instead of just trying to keep government’s doors open. He also is aiming to renew a host of lapsed business-focused tax provisions and renew the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act — two items with bipartisan support.
“If we are fortunate to have both majorities, take away any cliff you can have hanging out there,” McCarthy said, sitting in his SUV fiddling with an iPhone and Blackberry. “If you have a cliff, it takes attention away. Why put cliffs up that hold us back from doing bigger policy?”
The party’s ability to coalesce around large-scale legislation is certainly in doubt, but McCarthy seems willing to pass small-bore bills on issues ranging from energy to health care to taxes. He sees it as a way to draw constant contrasts with President Barack Obama and to split Democrats. Maybe Obama will sign some bills into law, he says. If he doesn’t, it will set up a clean discussion for the 2016 presidential election.
Energy policy will be a priority, in addition to repealing the medical device tax and the independent payment board for Medicare – bills that Democrats have mostly ignored over the past few years. Highway spending will likely come up, McCarthy said, and it could be funded by new drilling on public lands.
One of his chief goals is to rework the federal bureaucracy. In his travel throughout more than 100 congressional districts, McCarthy says he has sensed a great distrust in the federal government. He says voters are frustrated with Obama’s handling of Ebola, the health care law, the IRS and Secret Service scandals. And that’s why he is setting up a congressional mechanism to whittle away at inefficiencies that plague the government. He likens his plans to the commission that shut down underused military bases. He wonders why many city governments operate online, and the federal government still conducts business on paper.