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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Political Strategy Notes

At pbs.org, Judy Woodruff interviewed political analysts Susan MacManus and Stuart Rothenberg about the FL-13 election. Rothenberg noted: “Democrats do have — often have trouble with low-turnout elections. Remember, elections are not about what Americans think. They’re about what the particular voters think…So there’s no doubt here. But there is a problem for Democrats. The fact that the electorate was so Republican suggests Republican enthusiasm and maybe lack of Democratic enthusiasm. And Democrats are going to have to deal with this in November in the midterms as well.” MacManus added, “Democrats do well in Florida and elsewhere when they get a large share of younger voters. It’s exactly who helped Obama win in the last hours, were the younger voters that turned out higher than people ever anticipated in Florida…She wasn’t able to really engage them. And I think some of the fault comes with these national ads which featured just about 100 percent older people in there. There was nothing that really drew younger people to the polls at all, and it’s spring break time in Florida.”
The Fix’s Sean Sullivan argues that “Jolly’s win belongs more to the outside groups that rallied to his side than it does to him…the Republican groups spent money smartly, hitting the airwaves with complementary messages and avoiding stepping on each other’s toes or doubling up unnecessarily…The Republican organizations “actually talked to one another and spaced out their buys so there was coverage the whole campaign. Not everyone was up at the same time. “It’s a page from our playbook,” said one Democrat with an eye on the race, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to provide a candid assessment.”
At The Plum Line Greg Sargent probes the insights of Democratic strategist Stan Greenberg for lessons from the FL-13 election: “Greenberg said the Dem failure to turn out their voters in FL-13 – and not opinion on the health law — was the decisive factor. (The First Read crew noted today that turnout in the district was barely more than half that in 2012, and that Dem voters “didn’t show up.”) Greenberg said, if anything, that the closeness of the race (given GOP turnout superiority) indicated that Dem Alex Sink had mostly neutralized Obamacare as an issue, given all the outside GOP ads hammering her over it.”
In Zachary Roth’s MSNBC.com post, “Are Americans souring on voting restrictions?,” he writes: “A Des Moines Register poll released Monday found that 71% of Iowa voters–including two out of three Republicans–think it’s more important that every eligible registered voter has the chance to vote than that no ineligible voter is allowed to cast a ballot. Just 25% said the reverse…And focus groups involving swing voters in Columbus, Ohio found strong support for making voting easier…Both Iowans’ and Ohioans’ views on the issue might be shaped by recent high-profile investigation into voter fraud conducted by the secretaries of state in both places. Both probes were lengthy and costly, but neither turned up evidence of large-scale fraud or illegal voting.”
From Jack Craver’s report, “Rasmussen poll has Mary Burke, Scott Walker tied in Wisconsin governor’s race” at The Cap Times: “A new poll shows the race for Wisconsin governor in a dead heat, with Gov. Scott Walker and Democratic challenger Mary Burke tied with 45 percent apiece.
And it might have something to do with a anger at a new Republican voter suppression bill that has just passed the Wisconsin state senate. “The bill ends early/absentee voting on weekends. Early voting on weekends is something that has been popular in the state’s larger cities — like Madison and Milwaukee,” reports Mike Lowe.
The Hill’s A.B. Stoddard explores Rand Paul’s 2016 strategy and prospects, and concludes that he will be influential, win or lose. But “anarchist and racist voices within the libertarian movement” may present a significant problem for him.
As the Libertarian influence grows inside the GOP, Dems should read “3 inconvenient facts that make libertarians’ heads explode” by Lynn Stuart Parramore (Alternet, via Salon). It’s a good read, but Parramore doesn’t address what may be the Libertartian movement’s Achilles’ heel with young voters — their failure to offer any measures to protect the environment from pollution.
President Obama’s approval ratings are up 6 points from December in a new Bloomberg poll, reports Julianna Goldman.

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