by Deb Cupples | The good news: house foreclosures were down nearly 10% in January, compared to December. The bad news: more than 315,000 homeowners got foreclosure-related notices in January.
The good news: the nation's unemployment rate fell about one-third of 1%. The bad news: the unemployment rate is still 9.7%, and more than 14 million people are out of work.
The good news: a recent Washington Post/ABC poll indicates that 71% of Americans see Sarah Palin as not fit to be president. The bad news: ABC and the Washington Post are still doin polls about Ms. Palin.
by Bill Kavanagh: How out of touch was Martha Coakley's Massachusetts Senate campaign? Here's a stunning bit of information, dated well after polling began to show that the Brown campaign and the stealth effort by Tea Party activists had chipped away at Coakley's lead:
Last Thursday, after the White House awoke to the danger, Mr, Axelrod called Mr. Newman, a senior advisor to Ms. Coakley, to ask what the White House could do to help; he was assured, as Mr. Axelrod later related the conversation to associates, that things were well in place and that Ms. Coakley was wary about getting any more operatives from Washington.
Today's piece by a team of NY Times reporters tells the tale of how the Coakley campaign was caught napping in a sort of reverse battle of Lexington and Concord. Everything we've been saying here about the witlessness of her strategy is confirmed in interviews with insiders from both sides in a good postmortem of the Massachusetts Senate slaughter.
Two other interesting election notes that should be pointed out:
1) Several bloggers have made mention of the message Rep. Michael Capuano took back to the House Democratic Caucus in December, after losing the primary to Ms. Coakley in a beauty contest that was all about name recognition. Capuano told incumbents that "You're screwed," referring to the deep anger he had encountered among Democrats over unemployment and the escalation in Afghanistan during the primary campaign.
To this point, it can't be overstated how important lower turnout among Democrats was in the Massachusetts special election— and how a lack of enthusiasm among them essentially made the difference.
To amplify the message about jobs, Capuano related an episode from a meeting he had in one Massachusetts town, where local officials urged Congress to provide funding on the basis that it be used to employ people:
He asked one crowd if it thought that a town could start hiring people within a month if it was given a million dollars on the condition that it begin employing people-- the crowd was certain it could.
After the event, a top finance official from the town approached him. "Not only could I do it in 30 days, I could do it in a week," she said.
2) A great map of town-by-town results in Massachusetts shows how vital Capuano's observation was (check it out at this link), but also points out a wierd phenomenon. The western part of the state went heavily for Coakley. Across the board. This was true in the rural areas, as well as in the lefty Pioneer Valley towns of Amherst and Northhampton, which one would have expected to go Democratic. Someone in the Coakley campaign was doing their job— and it would be great to understand this data better.
by Deb Cupples | For what it's worth, Rasmussen states:
"Seventy-four percent (74%) of Republican voters say their party’s
representatives in Congress have lost touch with GOP voters nationwide
over the past several years. The latest Rasmussen Reports national
telephone survey finds that just 18% of GOP voters believe their
elected officials have done a good job representing the base."
That's likely because most Republican congressmen are busy promoting agendas of the corporate heads and wealthy individuals who pay said congressmen. Meanwhile, most Republican voters are likely middle- or working-class.
Yes, Rush Limbaugh and the folks at Fox have managed to fool tons of Republican voters into believing that their interests are the same as those of your average corporate head or multi-millionaire (apparently, they're still fooling about 18% of the GOP's base).
But, borrowing from the great GOP politician Abe Lincoln, you can't fool all the people all the time. Memeorandum has commentary.
by Deb Cupples | A new Washington Post/ABC poll suggests that confidence in President Obama has dropped significantly. The Washington Post ambiguously states:
"Public confidence in President Obama's leadership has declined sharply
over the summer, amid intensifying opposition to health-care reform
that threatens to undercut his attempt to enact major changes to the
I say "ambiguously," because that sentence could mean that Obama's numbers dropped because he is trying to push health-care reforms or because he is failing to do so. I don't know which was intended, but the implications are vastly different.
Greg Sargent looked at individual questions from the poll and comments:
"More than three out of every four Americans feel it is important to
have a "choice" between a government-run health care insurance option
and private coverage, according to a public opinion poll released on
"A new study by Survey USA puts support for a public option at a robust 77 percent, one percentage point higher than where it stood in June.
"An analysis of Gallup Poll Daily tracking data from the first six
months of 2009 finds Massachusetts to be the most Democratic state in
the nation, along with the District of Columbia. Utah and Wyoming are
the most Republican states, as they were in 2008. Only four states show
a sizeable Republican advantage in party identification, the same
number as in 2008. That compares to 29 states plus the District of
Columbia with sizeable Democratic advantages, also unchanged from last
I say "for what it's worth," because we all know that polling is an inexact art. Even conscientious pollsters (i.e., pollsters who don't have agendas or biases) may have trouble getting samples that truly reflect the greater population.
"A FOX News poll released
Monday shows that 30 percent of voters say they approve of the job Congress is doing, while twice as many -- 60 percent --
disapprove. In May, 41 percent approved and 49 percent disapproved."
The implication is that Americans disapprove of Democrats -- not surprising, given that Fox reported the results.
Then again, a lot of Americans aren't happy with Congress -- especially progressives who feel that the solidly Democratic-controlled House is failing to come through on progressive goals. I'm not happy with Congress for just that reason, but I still think we have a better shot at getting good things done for taxpayers, consumers and investors than we did back when the Republican controlled Congress steadily deregulated everything it could -- one result being the collapse of our nation's financial system and economy.
Still, the 60% disapproval of Congress that Fox reports isn't all that bad when you look back over time (I mean more than a couple months). In a July 2007, for example, W60% disapproved of Congress and 37% approved.
In July 2008, 71% disapproved of Congress and only 23% approved. That looks like improvement to me.
Incidentally, you can't read congressional approval ratings the same way one reads a president's approval ratings, because Congress usually has lower ratings than a president. Perhaps that's so, in part, because there's only one president -- while congress
has 535 people to get mad at.
by Damozel | While his overall job approval ratings remain high, a substantial number of Americans want Obama to do something about the deficit. What? They haven't a clue. But something. The poll reflects faith in Obama as a leader, but severe reservations about specific measures he's adopted, according to The New York Times.
A distinct gulf exists between Mr. Obama’s overall standing and how
some of his key initiatives are viewed, with fewer than half of
Americans saying they approve of how he has handled health care and the
effort to save General Motors and Chrysler.
A majority of people said his policies have had either no effect yet on
improving the economy or had made it worse, underscoring how his
political strength still rests on faith in his leadership rather than
by Deb Cupples | A recent Gallup poll tells us that only 34% of Americans favorably view the Republican Party (GOP), compared to 53% of Americans who favorably view of the Democratic Party. Even more telling: 38% of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents have an unfavorable view of the GOP.
Plummeting support for the modern version of the GOP should come as no surprise -- given what a very different type of Republican (i.e., Abe Lincoln) once said:
"You can fool all the people some of the time, and
some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all
And let's call a spade a spade: the modern-day GOP -- led by folks like Karl Rove, Dick Cheney, George Bush, Rush Limbaugh, and the folks at Fox -- have spent vast resources and at leat 10 years trying to fool the American people through spin, omissions, and outright lies.
by Damozel | Mirabile dictu,a CNN poll shows that Americans generally much prefer Powell to Limbaugh and Cheney. "The numbers, among all Americans: Powell is viewed favorably by 70%, compared to only 37% for Cheney and 30% for Limbaugh." (TPMDC)
Interestingly, Republicans like all of them, but even Republicans prefer Powell to Limbaugh.
The poll suggests that 66 percent of Republicans have a favorable view
of Cheney, 64 percent give Powell a thumbs up, and 62 view Limbaugh in
a favorable way. (CNN)
Good: they can have them all, including Powell. Powell, still "skirmishing" with Limbaugh and Cheney, said:
"Even as the debate over the treatment of terrorism suspects during the
Bush administration continues to roil political Washington, a new poll
conducted for Resurgent Republic suggests that the American people --
including politically critical independent voters -- by and large
support the use of "enhanced interrogation techniques" on suspected
"Asked whether such tactics were justified, 53 percent of the overall sample said they were and 34 percent said they were not...."
For starters, whether or not some hundreds of people answering a telephone survey think torture was justified is not the issue: torture is illegal. Period. [See 18 U.S. Code 2340(a) and 2340.]
Either our taxpayer-funded government officials respect and follow our nation's laws, or they don't. If they intentionally break laws without being held accountable, why should us ordinary folks face consequences for breaking laws?
by Deb Cupples | Over the past couple weeks, debate has raged over whether radio personality Rush Limbaugh is the real leader of the Republican Party. We know that he was a few years ago, when President Bush referred to him as a "national treasure" -- but not anymore.
Polling data from Rasmussen suggests that Americans collectively have no clue as to who the GOP's leader really is, and a super-majority of Republican voters feel that their party has no clear leader:
by Damozel | On the eve of Obama's first address to the nation, a New York Times/CBS News survey shows that most Americans -- whatever other worries they may have -- still have a lot of confidence in Barack Obama and believe he can get the job done. Oh, and most aren't fooled by GOP posturing and obstructionism, though -- as ever -- the GOP's motto is: "You can fool some of the people all of the time, and that's good enough for us." The New York Times reports:
is benefiting from remarkably high levels of optimism and confidence
among Americans about his leadership, providing him with substantial
political clout as he confronts the nation’s economic challenges and
opposition from nearly all Republicans in Congress...A majority of people surveyed in both parties said Mr. Obama was
striving to work in a bipartisan way, but most faulted Republicans for
their response to the president, saying the party had objected to the
$787 billion economic stimulus plan for political reasons.
by Damozel | The Politico's Jonathan Martin points that this is a high approval rating for the first three days, and puts him in the category of presidents of presidents who started out with a high approval rating. On the other hand, Martin notes that this is not a record high or anything. It just puts Obama up with war hero Eisenhower and well above all recent others, including JFK.
Gallup’s initial job approval ratings were President John F. Kennedy,
72 percent; Dwight Eisenhower, 68 percent; Jimmy Carter, 66 percent;
Richard Nixon, 59 percent; Bill Clinton, 58 percent; George W. Bush, 57
percent; and Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, 51 percent. (Politico)
What a difference three days in office make! He had an 83% approval rating for his handling of the transition, Jonathan Martin notes, but now that he's in, partisan back-and-forthing is taking its toll.
by Teh Nutroots | Here's a surprise: with the war still carrying on in Iraq even as the global economic collapse continues and California is on the verge of cutting student loans, tax refunds, and welfare checks, only the 22% of the public with sawdust between their ears, their heads up their arses, and imaginary monsters under their beds approve the Bush administration's performance. According to a CBS News/New York Times poll:
When asked about Mr. Bush’s performance over the last eight years,
22 percent of respondents said they approved. That matched Mr. Bush’s
job-approval rating for much of last fall, the lowest of his
presidency. In the current poll, 73 percent disapproved of his
performance over the course of his two terms.
by Damozel |A USA Today/Gallup poll shows that Obama, TIME Magazine's Person of the Year, is the man that most Americans (32%) admire most, while Hillary Clinton---in a more sharply divided poll---is, unsurprisingly--- the woman (20%), beating out Palin (11%), Oprah (8%), Condi (7%), and and Michelle Obama (3%). Obama beat W (5%), the Pope (2%), Bill Graham (2%), and Bill Clinton (2%). You can see longer lists of the contenders here.
In the meantime, in the midst of all this Obama- and Hillary-love,
Chip Saltsman distributed a 41-track CD to committee
members which contained Paul Shanklin's (written for Rush Limbaugh) song, "Barack the Magic Negro" (The Hill). Gosh, it's like a reflex with some Republicans, isn't it? When they want to amuse their GOP friends with a really "funny" "joke," I mean.
I agree with Ta-Nehisi Coates: Saltsman clearly is the right man for the RNC Chair and I hope they give it to him.
by Damozel & Nicholas | If you looked at some of the right-wing blogs we read for laughs you'd never know this, but it seems that a large number of Americans are relieved to find the government in the control of the Democratic party---at least according to a CNN poll. It appears, in fact---to quote Bob Fertik at Democrats.com---that "[t]he Republican mantra that America is a center-right country that doesn't want Obama's agenda to succeed is one more Big Lie."
by Damozel | I thought Joe Gandelman absolutely nailed it:
McCain’s problem: for much of the debate he seemed to be still trying to win over the GOP base and Republicans. And in debate III he sounded far more conservative than in any of his previous national debates. What he needed to do: to win over uncommitted voters and independent voters who are concerned with issues, not character politics. (TMV)
The CNN article I just read it says the same thing in a lot more words. Though it's not as if he didn't win in any category. Look:
by Damozel | Apparently independents are far more moderate than McCain---who was elected by his own party's moderates---seems to have bargained for. While I don't have too much faith in polls, Obama's clearly been pulling ahead during the last couple of weeks. Of course this is just one poll (CBS News/New York Times), but perhaps it does carry a message about how voters are reacting to McCain's recent tactics.
The Obama-Biden ticket now leads the McCain-Palin ticket 53 percent to
39 percent among likely voters, a 14-point margin. One week ago, prior
to the Town Hall debate that uncommitted voters saw as a win for Obama, that margin was just three points.
Among independents who are likely voters - a group that has swung
back and forth between McCain and Obama over the course of the campaign
- the Democratic ticket now leads by 18 points. McCain led among
independents last week. (CBS)