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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Political Strategy Notes

Charlie Cook notes at The Cook Political Report: “This column last week analyzed an April NBC News national poll conducted by Hart Research and Public Opinion Strategies—top Democratic and Republican survey firms, respectively. The data showed that, since an October poll that the two firms conducted for NBC and The Wall Street Journal, the share of Republicans who identify themselves as more loyal to Trump than to the party had declined from 54 percent to 44 percent; meanwhile, the share of those professing more loyalty to the party than to the personality had increased from 38 percent to 50 percent. Equally importantly, among those who continue to be more loyal to Trump than to the party, the share who rated their feelings for him as “very positive” declined from 91 to 75 percent, reflecting a shift toward somewhat positive or neutral feelings rather than negative. The share among those more loyal to the party than to Trump who still saw him very positively declined from 50 percent to just 31 percent, again shifting more to neutral and, to a lesser extent, to somewhat negative….Sifting through a mountain of recent data measuring the intensity of Republicans’ feelings toward Trump drew me to Economist/YouGov polling (not one of my favorite surveys, but they do ask the question I was looking for more regularly than any other). Among all Republicans and GOP-leaning independents, the share rating him “very favorable” through dozens of polls last year normally landed in the mid-60s to mid-70s, reaching as high as 78 percent. Since late February, however, that number landed in the 50s in seven out of eight polls—with the lowest at 55 percent and the highest at 61 percent. The share of Republicans viewing him negatively increased only a little; the shift was primarily from very favorable to somewhat favorable….The decline of GOP enthusiasm and intensity for Trump, even while Republicans have not totally turned against him, suggests that he is increasingly seen as a quirky personality—a flawed vehicle for a powerful message that is showing no signs of abatement—and that a post-Trump Trumpism is on the horizon….I suspect you will see a party that embraced much of what Trump said but will be looking for a less-flawed candidate to push that agenda, something that Democrats might not want to see. Most Republicans, and even many of Trump’s backers, acknowledge that he was often his own worst enemy….That does not mean that the GOP is going back to what it was. It’s more likely to just go with someone new.”

The Guardian has a reader’s forum on “what do the terms ‘working class’ and ‘middle class’ actually mean?” Some of the responses reference the U.K.’s unique class consciousness; others are more brqodly applicable: “The best description I heard: the middle class shower before work, the working class shower after work. SeedAgnew“….When I see the labels working and middle class in articles, I know it means that we are usually being misled. We are too complicated, too nuanced to be pigeonholed so conveniently. That there is a ruling elite is undeniable, the rest of us are just arguing over the crumbs. WeallneedThneads….Many years ago now, it was notes and queries that provided my favourite definitions of these terms: upper class: your name on the building; middle class: your name on your desk; working class: your name on your uniform. NonDairyCanary….My (working class) husband says whether you have white pepper at home (working class) or black pepper (other) is the dividing line. This was news to me! areyoutheremoriarty….The working class worry about paying for dinner, the middle class worry about paying for the kitchen. HaveYouFedTheFish….Since you asked about coffee: working class pour the coffee; middle class drink the coffee; upper class own the plantation. Teemytooks….Jobs, wealth etc are no longer relevant to the distinction. The closest I can come is that middle class means coming from a background/family home where getting a higher education is the default expectation. HairApparent.”

The Guardian continues, “You’re working class if you get paid weekly, typically in cash. You’re middle class if you get paid monthly, as a salaried employee with benefits and a pension. This simple definition holds true over the decades as people overall, including the working class, get wealthier. You’re working poor if you’re working class but can’t ever seem to save any money for a rainy day or a holiday. MaxineMQ….I was told that working-class people keep their ketchup in the fridge, the middle classes in the larder and the upper classes don’t even know what ketchup is. beckiboo….The defining characteristic of being middle class is the presence of a safety net. You can be a middle-class bin man or van driver if you have friends or family who can help you out when things go wrong or you can be a working-class doctor or lawyer if you have no one behind you to catch you when you fall. The upper class live above a permanent safety net. Losing a job or a failed business makes no difference to your life outcome. The trust fund sees to that. Emma Rhodes….Educational status, job, where you live … all these things matter, but I think what matters most in the 21st century is a group in society defined by Paul Mason and others as the “precariat”. The key question is: if you lose your main source of earned income, are you three months or less away from destitution? If the answer is yes, you are a member of the 21st-century working class. If the answer is no, because you have savings, assets or other resources to fall back upon, you are middle class. James Atkinson.”

At FiveThirtyEight, Dhrumil Mehta shares this guide for assessing the quality of political opinion polls:

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