POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 3/4

Most Republicans Don’t See Limbaugh as Leader

A new Rasmussen Reports survey finds that just 11% of Republican voters say Rush Limbaugh is their party’s leader.

However, 44% of Democrats believe Limbaugh is the Republican leader.

Good News for Johanns

Doctors for Sen. Mike Johanns (R-NE) indicated that they did not find any cancer during a surgical procedure to investigate a suspicious spot on the senator’s left lung, CQ Politics reports.

Behind the Limbaugh Strategy

Now, we know what they’ve been talking about on their morning phone call.

Politico reports that Democratic strategists Stanley Greenberg and James Carville included Rush Limbaugh’s name in an October poll “and learned their longtime tormentor was deeply unpopular with many Americans, especially younger voters… Soon it clicked: Democrats realized they could roll out a new GOP bogeyman for the post-Bush era by turning to an old one in Limbaugh, a polarizing figure since he rose to prominence in the 1990s.”

James Carville and Paul Begala began pounding on Limbaugh frequently in their appearances on CNN and White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel elevated the strategy last weekend “by bringing up the conservative talker, unprompted, on CBS’sFace the Nation and calling him the ‘the voice and the intellectual force and energy behind the Republican Party.'” 

Says Carville: “It’s great for us, great for him, great for the press. The only people he’s not good for are the actual Republicans in Congress.”

Corzine Slumps in New Jersey

A new Fairleigh Dickinson poll in New Jersey shows leading GOP challenger Chris Christie (R) defeating Gov. Jon Corzine (D), 41% to 32%, in a likely fall gubernatorial match up.

Key finding: Just 40% of voters approve of the job Corzine is doing while 46% disapprove — a reversal from January when 46% approved and 40% disapproved.

In addition, Christie’s name recognition continues to climb, from 40% in September to 44% in January and to 57% this month.

Obama Honeymoon Still Strong

Though they don’t believe the federal government can solve the nation’s economic crisis, a new Quinnipiac poll finds that voters still overwhelmingly approve 59% to 25% of the job President Obama is doing.

Said pollster Peter Brown: “President Barack Obama’s approval rating is solid, compared to the historical record of new presidents, but the lofty numbers he enjoyed after his election are leveling off, largely because of declining support from Republicans.”

The poll also shows that by an impressive 56% to 26% margin, voters trust President Obama over Congressional Republicans “to do a better job handling the economy.”

Quigley Wins in IL-5 Primary

Mike Quigley (D) won a Democratic special House primary that makes him the near-certain successor to Rahm Emanuel, CQ Politics reports.

Republicans Worried About Steele

“A month after Michael Steele became the first African-American chairman of the Republican National Committee, key party leaders are worried that the GOP has made a costly mistake — one that will make it even harder for them to take back power from the dominant Democratic Party,” Politico reports.

Meanwhile, a top GOP strategist told Washington Whispers, “If his implosion continues, RNC members are likely to call a special session to dump him for an effective chairman. There is not much patience for failure.”

Bonus Quote of the Day

“I’m not going to name individual Republicans, but I think it’s very clear, as a result of the actions, since Obama was elected, that people want him to fail. Some have said so; others have just acted accordingly.”

— Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), quoted by NBC News.

Apologize to Rush

Mocking RNC Chairman Michael Steele, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee put up a web site that makes it easy for you to issue your own apology to Rush Limbaugh.

Democrats Viewed as Better to Fix Economy

A preview of the latest Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll: By a 48% to 20% margin, Americans believe the Democratic Party would do a better job of getting the U.S. out of recession than the Republican Party. When this same question was asked back in 1990, the public was essentially split.

Update: The poll shows that “despite the country’s struggling economy and vocal opposition to some of his policies, President Obama’s favorability rating is at an all-time high. Two-thirds feel hopeful about his leadership and six in 10 approve of the job he’s doing in the White House.”

“By comparison, the Republican Party — which resisted Obama’s recently passed stimulus plan and has criticized the spending in his budget — finds its favorability at an all-time low.”

Watts Considers Return to Politics

Former Rep. J.C. Watts (R-OK) is considering a run for Oklahoma governor, theOklahoman reports.

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