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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Political Strategy Notes

Now that the chicken littles have all had their say about the one outlier poll that had President Obama’s approval ratings down 8 points, along come top polling analysts Mark Blumenthal and Ariel Edwards-Levy to set the record straight at HuffPo: “A new Pew Research Center survey finds President Barack Obama’s job approval rating remains “fairly steady” despite recent controversies: “Currently, 49% approve of the way Obama is handling his job as president while 43% disapprove. That is little changed from a month ago, before the NSA surveillance controversy and the revelations that the IRS targeted conservative groups for extra scrutiny.”
Tom Curry’s “Liberals brace for Supreme Court decision on voting rights” at NBC Politics considers possible strategies if the Supreme Court ruling on section 5 of the Voting Rights Act goes the wrong way.
What we call stuff matters in shaping public opinion. As Sandhya Somashekhar reports at Wonkblog: “According to the poll, overall favorability of the law jumps from 35 percent to 42 percent when the term “Obamacare” is used. That’s almost entirely due to the enthusiastic reception it gets from Democrats, 58 percent of whom responded favorably to “health reform law,” compared with 73 percent for “Obamacare.”…Independents in the poll reacted about the same to both descriptors (about a third responded favorably while around a half responded unfavorably). Among Republicans, 76 percent responded unfavorably to “the health reform law.” That number jumped to 86 percent when “Obamacare” was used.”
For the definitive down-to-cases update on the 2014 governors’ races, look no further than “Governors 2014: The Incumbent Avalanche” by Larry J. Sabato, Kyle Kondik and Geoffrey Skelley at the Crystal Ball.
Thomas B. Edsall’s ruminations on “Our Broken Social Contract” at the New York Times Opinionator are worth a read. But the “social disintegration, inequality and rising self-preoccupation” he cites is more a reflection of Republican party obstructionism than the Obama Administration’s “legacy.”
At CNN.com Wendy Weiser, director of the Democracy Program at the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law, makes the case for digital modernization of voting in America: “We need to change the way we think about voter registration and move our system into the digital age. If citizens take the responsibility to register to vote, the government has the responsibility to ensure they can…We can also enable citizens to register online and stay registered if they move or change their address. This would add 50 million eligible Americans to the rolls, cost less and curb the potential for fraud.”
RMuse’s “Republicans Are Passing ALEC Written Laws Banning Paid Sick Leave” at PoliticusUSA has an update on the GOP’s assault on worker benefits and protections at the state and federal level.
Here’s an interesting email pitch from the cell phone service, Credo: “Just in 2012, working through the CREDO SuperPAC, we defeated five of the worst Tea Party Republicans in Congress. And we launched more than 500 campaigns on issues like marriage equality, the environment and human rights…AT&T and Verizon Wireless have given $1,047,500 and $179,600 respectively to House and Senate Tea Party Caucus members since 2009–including Representatives Michele Bachmann, Steve King and Allen West (whom the CREDO SuperPAC helped defeat in November)…”
R. J. Eskow’s “9 Ways the Right’s Ayn Randian Experiment Screws Over the Young” provides an antidote to the facile Libertarianism Sen. Rand Paul is hoping to sell to young voters.
I do hope the Republican party regains some sanity, at least enough to negotiate like grown-ups. But this is just… nuts.

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