Free Markets, Free People
Apparently the voters (likely voters) believe, according to this poll, that the economy is bad and, despite all his finger pointing to the contrary, it’s Obama’s fault:
Two-thirds of likely voters say the weak economy is Washington’s fault, and more blame President Obama than anybody else, according to a new poll for The Hill.
It found that 66 percent believe paltry job growth and slow economic recovery is the result of bad policy. Thirty-four percent say Obama is the most to blame, followed by 23 percent who say Congress is the culprit. Twenty percent point the finger at Wall Street, and 18 percent cite former President George W. Bush.
That’s a pretty significant split between those blamed, with GW Bush down to a low of 18%. And note the reason cited: bad policy.
This is another of those indicator polls. I point them out because they are a temperature check for the moment. But what this particular poll indicates is all of the finger pointing, blame shifting and distraction aren’t working. Voters, and again, I want to emphasize these are likely voters, aren’t or haven’t bought into that nonsense.
If indeed these likely voters actually believe the economy to be suffering from bad policy choices by Obama, it means his chance of winning, with 66% believing he’s the reason we’re suffering economically, are not good.
Again, an indicator – one in a long list of indicators to be considered with all the others.
This one, like many of the others, aren’t at all favorable for the incumbent President.
I continue to hear the left bravely or blindly asserting that Obama’s fine and will pull off re-election with relative ease. I even hear that on the right from some.
My political gut says no. It’ll be close. No one is really that enamored with Mitt Romney. However, in the end, it will be Romney.
Why do I speak with such apparent certainty? Well, as I’ve mentioned in the past, there are certain types of polls I keep an eye on. They could be characterized as “temperature” polls I guess as in taking the temperature of the nation. Direction of the country is one I like to watch. Here’s another for example:
Two-thirds of likely voters say President Obama has kept his 2008 campaign promise to change America — but it’s changed for the worse, according to a sizable majority.
A new poll for The Hill found 56 percent of likely voters believe Obama’s first term has transformed the nation in a negative way, compared to 35 percent who believe the country has changed for the better under his leadership.
The results signal broad voter unease with the direction the nation has taken under Obama’s leadership and present a major challenge for the incumbent Democrat as he seeks reelection this fall.
Two points. One the poll is of “likely voters” which is a much stronger and accurate demographic than “registered voters”. Secondly, the 35% of satisfied likely voters pretty much mirrors the percentage of Democrats in the US. What that says to me is independents are overwhelmingly dissatisfied with the president.
That’s not good news for the Obama campaign.
Then there is enthusiasm, something we talk about because it is an intangible that is critical to any election. It is critical to any GOTV effort. Those that are more enthusiastic about the election for whatever reason (love their candidate, don’t like the other candidate, etc.) are more likely to make the effort to vote and be receptive to a GOTV effort.
That too seems to be running against Obama:
Independent of voter opinions about how the country has changed, The Hill Poll found an overwhelming majority of voters — 89 percent — view the choice between Obama and Romney as important in terms of the future impact on the country.
Almost half (47 percent) say they are paying more attention to this year’s election than the 2008 vote. Republicans are generally paying more attention than Democrats — 56 percent to 44 percent — to the 2012 campaign compared to 2008.
The Hill, which conducted the poll, wants you to believe that independents, which they also identify as “centrists”, are pretty evenly split over the two candidates. But their 56/35 finding doesn’t support that assertion.
People are not happy with the current situation in the country (with good reason) and for the most part think 4 years is enough time to change it if a president is capable of doing so. It hasn’t happened. In fact, for at least 14.9% of the working population it has gotten worse (as reflected in the U6 unemployment/underemployment number).
That’s a huge number.
What Obama doesn’t have going for him this time is a ground swell of naiveté that bought into the nebulous “hope and change” mantra. He most likely won’t have the youth turnout he had (enthusiasm down badly). He very likely won’t have the squishy Republican vote (the Peggy Noonan vote) he had last time. The “white guilt” vote has, for the most part, been assuaged. A black president was elected and got his chance. Add those in with his loss of the independent or swing voters, and the margins become very thin.
Obviously the swing states, as usual, will determine the outcome. But even in the swing states, the margins are razor thin (with Romney leading in many), and that, again, is not a good sign for an incumbent four months out.
This particular temperature check seems to bolster the political gut feeling (a collection of such temperature checks and other rumblings here and there) that this is an incumbent in deep trouble and probably doesn’t yet know the extent of it.
When emphasis is turned on to his record, my guess is the numbers get worse … for him.
I know, I know, you’re asking “how in the world can that be”?
Uh, where were you during the last presidential election cycle?
Seriously, I think, as I mentioned in a recent post, that’s when it became obvious to even the most unaware. And it hasn’t gotten any better if you’ve been following any of the recent political debate/theater:
Likely voters hold a dismal view of the news media, generally regarding reporters as biased, unethical and too close to the politicians they purport to cover, according to a new poll for The Hill.
A full 68 percent of voters consider the news media biased, the poll found. Most, 46 percent, believe the media generally favor Democrats, while 22 percent said they believe Republicans are favored, with 28 percent saying the media is reasonably balanced.
“Dismal view”. Pretty descriptive, no? The only thing the numbers in the cite make you wonder is where the 28% who think it is reasonably balanced get their news.
The share of voters who believe the media are too friendly with politicians is almost twice as large as those who find their coverage of politicians appropriate. Forty-four percent of voters assert the former; only 24 percent believe the latter.
I think those who believe the media are too friendly with politicians is absolutely correct. It’s hard to maintain objectivity and ask hard questions when a reporter who does so suddenly finds access more and more limited. The “go along to get along” syndrome is certainly at work. After all, no access, no job.
More importantly though:
The picture is not much brighter on the general question of ethics. Fifty-seven percent of voters think of the news media as either somewhat or very unethical, while only 39 percent see them as somewhat or very ethical.
This comes from all sorts of things the media has done over the years. From fraudulent stories to flat ignoring them. Puff pieces and the refusal to hold different politicians to the same standard have taken their toll. For instance is there anything we don’t know about Sarah Palin v. asking what do we really know about the President of the US? Certainly not his college grades or much else about his academic accomplishments. Yet the press descended on Alaska like a swarm of locust when Palin’s emails as governor were released.
Given the results of the poll it’s clear the public thinks the media has earned this reputation. And while I expect the media to reject the poll as an example of public ignorance (after all you can’t be a “journalist” until you go to J-school. So how could you understand the intricacies of journalism ignorant peasant?).
Anyway, some other interesting trends emerge from this poll:
Self-described centrists and liberals, for example, tend to hold a less unremittingly harsh view than conservatives.
The proportion of moderates who believe the news media generally report on politicians in an appropriate way is, at 33 percent, almost twice as large as the 17 percent of conservatives who take the same view.
At the same time, however, centrists tend to think the news media favor one side in their reporting. Thirty-nine percent of centrists endorse the idea that the media favor Democrats while 19 percent think they favor Republicans.
There is some evidence of a gender divide in terms of the media’s overall stance toward politicians. Men are significantly more likely than women to see the news media as too friendly with politicians. Fifty percent of men think the media are too friendly; 38 percent of women take the same view. Twenty-two percent of women think the news media are too hostile toward politicians — a view that is shared by only 12 percent of men.
I’m sure none of those particular numbers would surprise most observers. They track pretty much as I’d figure they would. The media needs to pay attention. More and more people are turning to other sources, especially in the new media, to try to get the real story on incidents. The establishment media continues to try to ignore that. They do so at their own peril. It is obvious that the public wants objective news reporting. It is going to continue to seek sources for that. In the area of opinion, they’ll seek those whose opinions they respect. But what they don’t want, as this poll seems to indicate, is opinion disguised as news or some lackey posing as a reporter lobbing softball questions at a politician while ignoring the hard ones.
Between screaming birthers, edited Constitutions and not-yet members of the House voting, the House of Representatives under GOP rule got off with some fits and starts.
However, there was something of note besides the mostly symbolic attempt to repeal ObamaCare (something that the CBO says would “cost” us about 230 billion – well at least until they further revise it down to nothing after it fails), something of actual importance seems to be emerging:
Dozens of Republicans used the opening day of the new Congress on Wednesday to introduce legislation that would bar the Environmental Protection Agency from regulating greenhouse-gas emissions.
48 Republicans and one Democrat (Boren- OK) are co-sponsoring the effort (that one Democrat makes it a “bi-partisan” effort under the definition of the term last Congressional session /sarc). Read the next part carefully:
The bill would amend the Clean Air Act to declare that greenhouse gases are not subject to the law, according to a brief description in the Congressional Record.
What that’s not saying is “greenhouse gases are not subject to the law” – it is saying greenhouse gases are not something that the Clean Air act has the jurisdiction to legislate. What Congress is trying to say to the EPA is “you stay out of the greenhouse gas business until we pass a law authorizing you to be in it”.
This is actually good news for the taxpayer. If passed it will prevent EPA from unilaterally imposing emissions standards and defacto taxes on emitters via fines and fees. The EPA’s primary targets would have been large emitters like power companies. And any “fees” charged would have gone directly to power customers. Effect? It would have hit those who can afford it least the hardest.
Of course, the other good news is the incoming GOP majority is less enthralled with the pseudo-science of climate change and thus less likely to impose economic penalties than was the former Congress. So we should see some backing away from the former trend of trying to tie energy and climate change together. Or as the Hill notes:
While GOP leadership’s specific legislative approach to attacking EPA remains to be seen, the quick introduction signals that blocking climate rules is plainly on the agenda for the new GOP majority.
That gets a hearty “good” from me.
This also signals – or at least I hope it does – some intent on the part of the House to do some regulatory oversight. You know, actually make the bureaucrats justify their regulations and their existence. If you want an area that is fat for reduction, many of the bureaucracies are a wonderful place to start.
I think The Hill best captures what I’ve been reading in the MSM, on-line and around the blogosphere today as the consensus about the effect of the Obama speech last night:
Still, while the speech once again illustrated the president’s extraordinary oratory skills, it was not a game changer and appears to leave the president with the same quandary: Healthcare has become the pinnacle legislative issue of his first term, but has divided his party in Congress and run into almost universal GOP opposition. Polls suggest Americans are not convinced reform will help their lives and it is unclear whether the legislation Obama seeks will reach his desk.
Obama was expected to take the wheel on healthcare reform after the Democratic-led Congress drove it into a ditch over the summer, but it did not appear he did so.
As he as done throughout 2009, Obama is largely deferring to lawmakers on the details. His address drew laughs from Republicans when he said some details still needed to be worked out.
A Democratic strategist said, “The speech was good, but not transforming,” adding the address “won’t move votes or change what [Obama] called unresolved issues.”
Or, ‘meh’ ….
Interesting that writers, Sam Youngman and Bob Cusak, both point out that Obama had been “expected to take the wheel”, i.e. assume leadership, but didn’t. No real surprise to me.
The Democratic strategist, of course, is pulling his or her punches. The speech, to be good, had to be “transforming”. It wasn’t. Therefore it wasn’t “good.” It was just number 28 in a long line of speeches with unconvincing rhetoric pushing the same stale and discredited programs.
Democrats are back to square one.
UPDATE: Mickey Kaus gives one of the better and more trenchant summaries of the speech out there:
“Obama doesn’t need to get ‘Republicans on board.’ He doesn’t need to get Blue Dog Democrats on board. He needs to get voters on board.” And if there’s any tactic less effective at wooing skeptics than number-fudging insincerity, it’s number-fudging insincerity coupled with attacks on the veracity, motivation, and worldview of the skeptics themselves.
And that is precisely the path Obama took last night.
According to The Hill’s Blog, the Republican National Committee has already screwed up their opposition to Sonia Sotomayor’s nomination:
Whoops. The Republican National Committee (RNC) has apparently inadvertently released its list of talking points on the nomination of Judge Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court.
Included on the released list were a few hundred influential Republicans who were the intended recipients of the talking points. Unfortunately for the RNC, so were members of the media.
Yikes! Sounds bad doesn’t it? There must be some mention of Sotomayor being an “especially dangerous” candidate because of her Hispanic ethnicity or something. Well, let’s have a look-see:
o President Obama’s nomination of Judge Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court is an important decision that will have an impact on the United States long after his administration.
o Republicans are committed to a fair confirmation process and will reserve judgment until more is known about Judge Sotomayor’s legal views, judicial record and qualifications.
o Until we have a full view of the facts and comprehensive understanding of Judge Sotomayor’s record, Republicans will avoid partisanship and knee-jerk judgments – which is in stark contrast to how the Democrats responded to the Judge Roberts and Alito nominations.
o To be clear, Republicans do not view this nomination without concern. Judge Sotomayor has received praise and high ratings from liberal special interest groups. Judge Sotomayor has also said that policy is made on the U.S. Court of Appeals.
o Republicans believe that the confirmation process is the most responsible way to learn more about her views on a number of important issues.
o The confirmation process will help Republicans, and all Americans, understand more about judge Sotomayor’s thoughts on the importance of the Supreme Court’s fidelity to the Constitution and the rule of law.
o Republicans are the minority party, but our belief that judges should interpret rather than make law is shared by a majority of Americans.
o Republicans look forward to learning more about Judge Sotomayor’s legal views and to determining whether her views reflect the values of mainstream America.
Wow. That’s devastating. Republicans want a “fair confirmation process” devoid of “knee-jerk judgments” so that they can take the time to study Sotomayor’s record. Actually that sounds about right. Maybe this is one of those communiques that require a special liberal decoder ring to reveal the “code words” and their obviously racists message.
Pressing on with points about Obama’s motivations in picking a nominee:
o Liberal ideology, not legal qualification, is likely to guide the president’s choice of judicial nominees.
o Obama has said his criterion for nominating judges would be their “heart” and “empathy.”
o Obama said he believes Supreme Court justices should understand the Court’s role “to protect people who may be vulnerable in the political process.”
o Obama has declared: “We need somebody who’s got the heart, the empathy, to recognize what it’s like to be a young teenage mom, the empathy to understand what it’s like to be poor or African-American or gay or disabled or old-and that’s the criterion by which I’ll be selecting my judges.”
For sure, quoting the President in your talking points is a sneaky way to get around the racist message that must be lurking in there … I sure could use that decoder ring.
o Justice Souter’s retirement could move the Court to the left and provide a critical fifth vote for:
o Further eroding the rights of the unborn and property owners;
o Imposing a federal constitutional right to same-sex marriage;
o Stripping “under God” out of the Pledge of Allegiance and completely secularizing the public square;
o Abolishing the death penalty;
o Judicial micromanagement of the government’s war powers.
Ummm … so that’s it? Talking points that reiterate what the GOP has been saying for years? I’m missing where the RNC “fumbled” anything. Instead, it looks like The Hill got pwned.