George Bush leads John Kerry 48-46 percent among nation-wide LV’s, with 3 percent for Nader, 2 percent for none of these and 2 percent not sure/refused, according to a Harris Interactive Poll conducted 9/20-26.
TDS Strategy Memos
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By Ed Kilgore
March 29: Here Comes the Tea Party Strategy on Retirement Programs Again
If you are feeling a sense of deja vu about where the current budget debate in Congress is headed, you aren’t alone, and I offered an explanation at New York:
In the partisan messaging battle over the federal budget, Joe Biden seems to have Republicans right where he wants them. Beginning with his State of the Union Address in early February, the president has hammered away at GOP lawmakers for plotting to gut wildly popular Social Security and Medicare benefits. This has driven Republicans into a defensive crouch; they can either pretend their proposed cuts aren’t really cuts or forswear them altogether. It’s a message that Democrats would love to highlight every day until the next election, or at least until Republicans figure out a better response than lies, evasions, and blustery denials.
But as Ron Brownstein points out in The Atlantic, there is a logical path Republicans could take to counter Democrats’ claims that GOP policies threaten popular retirement programs. It’s based on pitting every other form of federal domestic spending against Social Security and Medicare, and on making Democratic support for Big Government and its beneficiaries a political problem among seniors:
“Republicans hope that exempting Social Security and Medicare [from cutbacks they are demanding for raising the federal debt limit] will dampen any backlash to their deficit-reduction plans in economically vulnerable districts. But protecting those programs, as well as defense, from cuts—while also precluding tax increases—will force the House Republicans to propose severe reductions in other domestic programs … potentially including Medicaid, the ACA, and food and housing assistance.
“Will a Republican push for severe reductions in those programs provide Democrats with an opening in such places? Robert J. Blendon, a professor emeritus at the Harvard School of Public Health, is dubious. Although these areas have extensive needs, he told me, the residents voting Republican in them are generally skeptical of social-welfare spending apart from Social Security and Medicare. ‘We are dealing with a set of values here, which has a distrust of government and a sense that anyone should have to work to get any sort of low-income benefit,’ Blendon said. ‘The people voting Republican in those districts don’t see it as important [that] government provides those benefits.’”
And so Republicans will very likely return to the messaging they embraced during the Obama administration. Back then, self-identified Tea Party conservatives constantly tried to convince elderly voters that the real threat to their retirement programs stemmed not from GOP budget cutting, but from Democratic-backed Big Government spending on younger people and minorities, with whom many conservative voters did not identify. Then as now, a partisan budget fight — and the threat of a debt default of government shutdown — let Republicans frame funding decisions as a competition between groups of beneficiaries, rather than a debate over abstract levels of taxing or spending.
The big opening shot in the anti-Obama campaign was Sarah Palin’s wildly mendacious but highly effective September 2009 Facebook post claiming that the Affordable Care Act would create “death panels” that would eliminate Medicare coverage for seniors or disabled children deemed socially superfluous (the barely legitimate basis for the attack was an Affordable Care Act provision to allow Medicare payments to physicians discussing end-of-life treatments with patients).
Soon Republicans would come up with slightly more substantive claims that Obamacare threatened Medicare. In 2011, House GOP budget maven Paul Ryan, whom Democrats hammered for his proposals to partially privatize both Social Security and Medicare, claimed that Obama administration projections of health cost savings in Medicare represented a shift of resources from Medicare to Obamacare. By 2012, when Ryan became Mitt Romney’s running mate, Ryan was campaigning with his mother in tow, claiming that Republicans wanted to protect her from raids on her retirement benefits by the redistributionist Democrats.
Romney and Ryan didn’t win, of course, but they did win the over-65 vote by a robust 56-44 margin, a better performance in that demographic than Trump registered in 2016 or 2020. As Thomas Edsall explained in The New Republic in 2010, the Tea Party–era Republicans understood they had to mobilize their federal spending constituents against alleged competitors:
“Republicans understand that one axis of the resource war will be generational. All of their vows to defend Medicare are coupled with attacks on Obama’s health care reform. They implicitly portray Democrats as waging an age war—creating a massive new government program that transfers dollars to the young at the expense of the elderly. Republicans have cleverly stoked the fear that Obama is rewarding all his exuberant, youthful, idealistic supporters by redistributing resources that are badly needed by the old.”
In a 2024 campaign in which Democrats are going for the jugular with seniors, a reprise of the GOP’s 2012 Medicare counterattack, dishonest as it was, might make sense.
During this year’s budget skirmish in Congress, House Republicans are expected to take a claw hammer to domestic spending outside Social Security and Medicare, as the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities reports:
“This spring, House Republicans are expected to release an annual budget resolution that calls for large health care cuts, and Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) marketplace coverage are likely to be prime targets. House Republican leaders are calling for cutting the deficit and making the Trump tax cuts permanent, while saying they will shield certain areas of the budget (Medicare, Social Security, and military spending) from cuts. To do all these things at once, it is highly likely they will propose cuts in health programs that provide coverage to millions of people.”
The House GOP has also already called for deep cuts in nondefense discretionary spending, including food stamp and nutrition programs. It’s likely the GOP’s state-based crusade against “woke” public education will lead to a renewal of ancient conservative demands to deeply cut or kill the U.S. Department of Education. Maybe those representing energy-producing areas will go hard after EPA or the Department of the Interior’s programs. Almost certainly, the GOP as a whole will embrace across-the-board cuts in federal employment or federal employee benefits under the guise of “draining the swamp.” Any and all such cuts can also be rationalized as necessary to avoid reductions in spending for Social Security, Medicare, and national defense, not to mention tax increases.
Whatever formula they adopt, there’s little doubt Republicans will find ways to present themselves the true defenders of Social Security and Medicare, just as many of them will always keep scheming for ways to damage or destroy these vestiges of the New Deal and Great Society. Biden seems committed to his effort to make seniors fear the GOP, and this is the only way Republicans can counter-punch.
Smooth, the best you can do is point out that Kerry confused Treblinka with Lubyanka? It’s surely no small deal to the parties involved, but (1) most Americans didn’t catch the gaffe and won’t cry wolf over it once it’s explained, and (2) at least Kerry didn’t confuse Osama bin Laden with Saddam Hussein. You tell me which gaffe we’ll still be paying for in years to come.
Gee, our friend Smoothie sounds…almost rattled, all of a sudden:-)
Maybe you will join the distinguished club of Hugh Hewitt , Townhall.com and Lucianne.com now? I’ve just ventured into the Conservative Echo Chambers of Horrors, and virtually all the journalists and bloggers — with the above mentioned exceptions — reluctantly conclude Kerry did better than expected whereas the Chimp wasn’t on top of his game.
by the way, i think a great meme about this debate should be:
“President Bush looked lost, senator Kerry looked President.”
Only watched a few minutes of the debate since it started 2:00 AM GMT. However, it seems virtually all Internet pundits (Instapundit, PoliPundit, Kausfiles, the NRO Corner among the Kerry-bashers; Sullivan, Drezner, Josh Marshall on the center/left) think Kerry won on points!!! Not a perfect performance, but independent voters who thought they “knew” Kerry from the Swift Vets for Truth ads etc. will be pleasantly surprised. And it seems the focus was mostly on “Shrub’s” track record rather than Kerry’s senate votes.
It is way too early for all the gloom-and-doom predictions (or gloating predictions of a “landslide” by the other side) to start. If Kerry does well in the remaining two debates and if the Democrats can focus relentlessly on this Administration’s track record rather than irrelevant issues like who did what in Vietnam, anything can happen. But the real wild card is Iraq and Afghanistan. A dose of bad news may finally sink “Shrub’s” credibility. Or Osama bin Laden might be captured a few weeks before the elections… We just don’t know.
a little off topic, but i need to vent. IT took oreilly about 1 minute to start distorting the truth on his show today. He only sited the battleground polls in his tpm that showed bush winning. he ignored all the polls in pa and mi that show kerry winning. unbelievable.
Folks asked about reactions to Republican efforts to squash new voter registrations. This morning’s NY Times had an editorial condemning Repub Sec. of State in both Ohio and Colorado. Of course, NYT is not the ‘real world’ and folks must get this message to the local areas, but it’s a start. T.J.
Rui Tavares, try Air America http://www.airamericaradio.com/
I know you can listen to it there and also they have good comments. Without broad band you might not be able to watch it….
I suspect that the Michigan poll is an outlier. America Coming Together has pulled its staffers out of Michigan (I am told) and reassigned them to other states where the need is greater. I think that this is a sign that ACT is confident.
euzoius, Coldeye et al,
Some really smart people are virtually guaranteeing major legal battles in both OH and FL after Nov 2.
Gallup isn’t a polling firm, it’s a marketing tool.
Rasmussen Sep 30
National 46 48
FL 49 48
MI 46 45
MN 47 46
OH 47 48
PA 49 45
I’m with Coldeye–where, indeed, is the outrage at these multiplying stories detailing various nefarious activities by these battleground Republican secretaries of state? Inventing out of whole cloth the most preposterous technicalities, technicalities beyond one’s imagining: registration paper being “too thin”, etc. Republican elected officials are operating as openly anti-democratic with no backlash accruing to them whatever. Are there just too many stories out there for these to break through? Is this type of chicanery just “expected” by the public in post 2000 America? One certainly hopes that our Republican friends are sowing the whirlwind with their disdain for democracy.
UT going for K/E? More lawn K/E signs than B/C in UT? Must be heresy there in UT.
I wouldn’t bet the farm on it, but there’s lots of folklore about things like this having predictive value. Ex: So called “barber poll”. Ask barbers around the country what they’re hearing. In 92 they predicted Bush pere, but Clinton won.
Then there’s the groundhog’s shadow and aunt martha’s rheumatism.
Rasmussen just reported Bush-Kerry tied in sixteen battleground states. Bush had been up by two points last week.
“Am I the only one who is just getting sick and tired of these games the Republicans are playing to supress voter registration or turnout, in places like Florida, Ohio, and Colorado? Look, I understand the need to prevent fraud but these little games don’t have any connection to that. They are more like the old poll taxes and literacy tests – the real purpose is to keep legitimate voters for the other side out of the process, and that’s just wrong.”
Those are some valid areas of concern for Dems; However, if newspaper reports are to be believed, Dems are putting themselves in a position to commit massive fraud unlike we’ve never seen before. Already fraudulent voter registrations have been uncovered in:
1. FLA, where NY voters, up to 20,000, were found to be registered in NY & FLA
2. WIS, The found a few dead Dems registered to vote
3. NEV, More dead Dems registered
4. OH, absentee Dems voting twice
5. IA, More Dem absentees voting twice
There have been other reports, but I can’t recall them off the top of my head. These alleged frauds appear to be committed by certain Dem leading organs in these states.
Alternatively, I have seen reports of Rep Secy of State discarding legitimate Dem voters cards. Who
knows if they are just throwing out forged ballots or what the truth is.
I just get the impression we may have 15 Floridas this year with all the lawsuits and recounts, if all these reports of fraud are to be believed.
First it’s Gallup, second it’s not a person, it’s a polling firm.
Given that all these polls are either tie or Bush +3, Bush probably has a one or two point lead. Given the DNC’s superior registration efforts, even one of the top guy working for the Bush campaign says that he’ll need a 5 point lead on election day to win.
Also of interest is that Rasmussen’s tracking poll has shown no pro-Bush drift at all in the weeks leading up to the debates. He has Bush consistently up on average of +2. Even the pollsters will tell you that tracking polls are much better indicators than 3-day snapshot polls. So Bush is leading by 2-3 heading into the debates. This is bad for an incumbent, horrible for a war-time incumbent, and beyond dismal for a war-time incumbent with no major domestic initiatives and a lackluster economy under his belt. Add in that many more would swing to Kerry if he would just show more clarity and leadership (Rasmussen reports today that 17% of voters are still persuadable, LA Times puts the number at 20%).
The stage is set for Kerry to swing things back his way during the debates. One thing he’s got to do is explain clearly his vote to authorize presidential authority for war. It’s simple, really -just say “Look, I think the president should have big stick when negotiating with tyrants to disarm. But I NEVER would have authorized such an incompetant rush to actual war, without good intelligence and a plan for keeping the peace. And I never would have administered the occupation with such pathetic incompetene.” Bush will reply with a smirk and some sound bite like “Well I’m glad he cleared that up”, but it won’t stick because it really does clear the issue up once and for all.
By the way, there is a transcript of Edward’s Imus interview on MSNBC.COM. It’s fun reading – he really is a charming person. Almost makes one whimsical for a switch in the ticket – or an Edward’s run in four or eight years.
I think the lead in Gallop’s OH poll showing RV for Kerry by 4 pts vs. down in LV reflects all the new registrations in OH. Our registration deadline is monday, October 4th at 9 am, so we are putting forth one more great push this weekend to get people registered. After that, its get out the vote.
polling results from ogden, salt lake, provo
K/E yard signs and bumper stickers 4 to 1 over B/C
Democrats are outregistering new voters in Ohio by margins of 10-1. These new registered voters may be a reason Kerry leads among registered but not likely (you can’t be a likely voter if you’ve never voted, in most polling models). However, the Ohio Republican Secretary of State has for weeks tried to disqualify most of the new registrations, on the grounds that they are on paper that is too thin and might get mangled in the mail. On this bizaare basis, he even tried to disqualify registrations contained in an envelope, or those that were hand delivered. And he’s trying to disqualify voters who don’t vote in the precinct in which they live. This makes no sense at all, because absentee ballots are allowed, and they are received and recorded in the state capital, far from where people live.
Am I the only one who is just getting sick and tired of these games the Republicans are playing to supress voter registration or turnout, in places like Florida, Ohio, and Colorado? Look, I understand the need to prevent fraud but these little games don’t have any connection to that. They are more like the old poll taxes and literacy tests – the real purpose is to keep legitimate voters for the other side out of the process, and that’s just wrong.
Interesting that Gallop has Kerry leading in OH in RVs. Someone here suggested he might be throwing a bone to his critics. Awful that we have to speculate like this, but that’s what he gets for putting his own credibiltiy in doubt with specious methodology. If that lead however, reflects something real and measurable in the real world, then it could spell real trouble for Bush.
Kerry has been up in every single non-artisan poll conducted in michigan for the last 3 months. Every single poll. Even before that, there are only 1 or 2 polls where he was behind by a point or 2. Even During the Republiucan convention.
The DFP poll is probably an outlier. My guess is that Kerry is up by 2-3 points. Given the Arab American vote aainst Bush and the huge union strength in Michigan. Kerry should carry it by 5-6 points.
This was Harris’ online poll, remember. They weight demographically and also use “propensity weighting”, which adjusts the results for likelihood to be online vs. offline.
Todays Det free press poll for michigan has kerry’s once comfortable lead down to 2 points, within the moe. DFP claims that as discussion has shifted to iraq over last 10 days, support for kerry has DECREASED among woman.