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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Political Strategy Notes

Susan Saulny reports on what could be a huge game-changer in her New York Times article,”Centrist Women Tell of Disenchantment With Republicans.” Saulny notes: “From 1992 to 2008, Democrats won the overall women’s vote in every presidential election…But in the 2010 midterm election, women swung to the Republicans. Now there are signs of another shift: in a New York Times/CBS News poll last month, the president finished ahead of Mr. Romney among all women by 57 percent to 37 percent. He held much the same advantage over Mr. Santorum.”
Janet Hook’s Wall St. Journal article, “GOP Loses Sure Grip on Some Senate Seats,” has some good news for Dems regarding the Maine Senate race: “The picture was clouded early last week with the decision of popular former Gov. Angus King, a left-leaning independent, to run. He was widely seen as the instant front-runner…Mr. King, who didn’t respond to requests for comment, hasn’t said whether he would caucus with Democrats or Republicans if he were elected, but no one in either party sees much chance he would opt for the GOP. Although he backed George W. Bush for president in 2000, he supported John Kerry for president in 2004 and Mr. Obama in 2008..”
It might be a good idea for Dems to start breaking down the “it’s the economy, Stupid” thing into its component parts while formulating strategy. At least that’s one conclusion you can draw from an Elon University/Charlotte Observer poll of North Carolinians, reported by McClatchy Tribune News service. The poll found that “Losing my retirement fund” was the top economic fear (25 percent), followed by “losing my health insurance” (25 percent), “losing money in the stock market” (24 percent). “Losing my job,” presumably a top fear during the depths of the recession, was named by 19 percent. as for “which aspects of the economy most concerned them,” 70 percent said the price of gas, followed by the national debt (55 percent), the cost of health care (53 percent), the job market (40 percent) and the ability to retire comfortably (38 percent). On the plus side, 67 percent said the economy will stay the same or get better.
WaPo’s Dan Balz and Jon Cohen report on the adverse impact of rising gas prices on the president’s approval polling, particularly among the working-class. “The downshift is particularly notable…among white people without college degrees, with disapproval among this group now topping approval by a ratio of more than 2 to 1, at 66 versus 28.”
An ABC News/Washington Post poll indicates that 60 percent of Americans say the war in Afghanistan is not worth its costs, and Republicans are evenly divided on whether the war has been worth it. In all, 54 percent of Americans want the U.S. to pull its troops from Afghanistan.
Steven Greenhouse’s “Labor Leaders Plan to Apply New Clout in Effort for Obama” in the Sunday New York Times should put a little zing in the steps of Democratic leaders. Greenhouse explains how the Citizens United ruling gives unions increased political leverage in deploying ground troops, and adds “With unions representing 11.8 percent of all workers, labor volunteers canvassing in previous elections could often just knock on one in 10 doors. They might knock on a door and then have to walk two blocks to the next union household. But now they can knock on every door in a neighborhood.” Greenhouse quotes Stephen J. Law, president of American Crossroads, the GOP super PAC, who says “Their ability to be totally unified and focused on their message will make them ultimately the most decisive single player in the political landscape this year…Groups like us, we don’t have millions of members that we can readily deploy. We tend to be more active on the airwaves and mass communications.”
David Jarman takes a wonky look at “The PVI/Vote Index: Quantifying good Democrats, bad Democrats and ugly Republicans” at Daily Kos and summarizes the utility of the index in a nut graph: “Most congresspersons, in fact, do perform about how you’d expect, but it’s the ones who don’t who are the interesting ones and deserving more of our attention. We can use this method to spot Democrats who are underperforming their districts and might benefit from a primary challenge to straighten up or get out; we can also use it as a means of finding below-the-radar Democrats who are voting more liberally than their districts would warrant, and giving them some encouragement. It can also help us spot potentially vulnerable Republicans, the wingnuts hidden in swing districts whose records provide ample ammunition for a general election attack.”
You probably knew that the GOP primaries and caucuses have been dominated by older white guys. But it’s likely you didn’t know the extent of their domination. For that, you can read Perry Bacon Jr.’s post at Red, Black and Blue, in which he notes: “The Ohio electorate in the GOP primary last week was 96 percent white and a quarter over 65, compared to 83 percent white and 17 percent over 65 in the general election four years ago.”
CNN.com’s Brandon Griggs mulls over a curious phenomenon, the lack of conservative political comedy. It’s not like we Dems aren’t occasionally ridiculous.

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