POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 4/29

Democrats Preemptively Attack Crist

While Florida Gov. Charlie Crist (R) hasn’t even announced whether he’ll run for U.S. Senate next year, the DSCC isn’t taking any chances and released its firstadvertisement of the 2010 cycle blasting Crist’s tenure as governor.

Huntsman Warns GOP Leaders

In an interview with ABC News, Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman (R) blasted Republicans in Congress for not engaging with President Obama.

Said Huntsman: “You can’t just say no. You can’t just obstruct or obfuscate. Instead of just kind of grousing and complaining, it would do us all a whole lot of good if we actually started engaging directly in finding compromises and common ground and shared solutions… When you are devoid of the ideas, or the content that would allow you to articulate or paint a better future, you have no choice other than to fall back on ‘no, we are not going support it, it cannot be done.”

It seems Huntsman is intent on positioning himself as a possible moderate Republican candidate for president in 2012.

The Shrinking Republican Party

Greg Sargent digs around in the latest Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll and finds that just 20% of voters self-identified themselves as Republicans.

Earlier this week, a Washington Post poll found a similar result: Only 21% see themselves as Republicans.

Quote of the Day

“In some ways it’s liberating, though, in the sense that whether I’m a one-termer or a two-termer, the problems are big enough and fundamental enough that I can’t sort of game it out… so in some ways you just kind of set aside the politics.”

— President Obama, in an interview with the New York Times Magazine, on how the size of the economic crisis has freed him politically.

Madigan is Wildcard in Illinois Senate Race

A new Public Policy Polling survey in Illinois finds Alex Giannoulias (D) leading the Democratic race for U.S. Senate with 38%, followed by Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) at 26%, and Sen. Roland Burris at 16%.

However, in a four way race with Attorney General Lisa Madigan (D), Madigan leads the pack with 44%, followed by Giannoulias at 19%, Burris at 13% and Schakowsky at 11%.

Key finding: “Only 27% of folks who say they’re likely to vote in the Democratic primary next year in Illinois approve of Roland Burris’ job performance. 49% disapprove and 24% aren’t sure.”

Steele Losing Control of RNC Purse Strings

“A battle over control of the party’s purse strings has erupted at the troubled Republican National Committee, with defenders of Chairman Michael S. Steele accusing dissident RNC members of trying to ’embarrass and neuter’ the party’s new leader,” the Washington Times reports. 

Top party officials have called “for a new set of checks and balances on the chairman’s power to dole out money. The powers include new controls on awarding contracts and spending money on outside legal and other services.”

Reid Tweaks McConnell Over Specter

Politico: “Specter informed McConnell on Tuesday morning of his final decision to leave the GOP but not before some last-minute gamesmanship by Reid. Reid called McConnell on Tuesday morning to tell his GOP counterpart that Specter had asked for a meeting, and he asked McConnell what it was about. At that time, Reid already knew that Specter was ready to change parties.”

The Last Jewish Republican in Congress

“It’s looking likely that there won’t be any Jewish Republicans left in the Senate — unless Norm Coleman can rise from the political dead in Minnesota,” reports Politico.

“Between Arlen Specter’s party switch and Coleman’s likely loss in Minnesota, the only Jewish Republican member of Congress left is House Minority Whip Eric Cantor.”

Corzine Still Trails Christie

A new Monmouth/Gannett poll in New Jersey finds Chris Christie (R) continuing to lead Gov. Jon Corzine (D), 39% to 35%, with 18% still undecided. 

In another match up, Corzine barely leads Steve Lonegan (R), 37% to 33%, with 20% undecided. 

Key finding: Corzine has a net-negative job approval: 40% to 49%.

Bush Keeps Sinking

Though former President Bush has been out of office for 100 days — and made a point to stay out of the headlines — his approval numbers sunk even further in the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, from 31% positive just before he left office to just 26% now. 

Not surprisingly, Dick Cheney’s approval numbers also went down, from 21% positive in January to 18% now. 

Obama’s Gift

First Read: “Make no mistake about it: Specter’s defection is a huge gift to Obama — for the sole reason that it creates the perception to the American public that he not only wants to work with the other side; he’s also willing to expand his tent to take them in. Remember, most folks don’t ‘know’ Specter that well outside of Pennsylvania and Washington. And all it looks like to the average citizen in Denver or in Raleigh or in Orlando is that a Republican decided that Obama’s Democratic Party was a good home for him.”
[Read more…]

Obama Approval Stays High

One hundred days in office, President Obama has a 58% to 30% job approval rating from American voters, including 53% to 35% among white voters, millions more than voted for him in November, according to a new Quinnipiac poll.

Interesting: There is a big religious split as white Catholics approve of the President 57% to 33% while white Protestants split 44% to 42%. Jewish voters back Obama 76% to 12%.

The Last Moderate Republican?

Olympia Snowe: “It is true that being a Republican moderate sometimes feels like being a cast member of Survivor — you are presented with multiple challenges, and you often get the distinct feeling that you’re no longer welcome in the tribe. But it is truly a dangerous signal that a Republican senator of nearly three decades no longer felt able to remain in the party.”

Support for Gay Marriage Grows

The latest New York Times/CBS News poll finds that 42% of Americans now say same sex couples should be allowed to legally marry. That’s up nine points from just last month, when 33% supported legalizing same sex marriage.

In addition, there is a widening divide on gay marriage depending on the age of the voter with 31% of respondents over the age of 40 saying they supported gay marriage. By contrast, 57% under age 40 said they supported it, a 26-point difference.

Specter Now Favored for Re-Election

As a result of Sen. Arlen Specter’s decision to run for re-election as a Democrat, CQ Politics is changing its rating of the Pennsylvania U.S. Senate race to “Leans Democratic” from the tossup category, “No Clear Favorite.”

Similarly, the Cook Political Report changed its rating to Leans Democratic and theRothenberg Political Report now rates the race as Clear Advantage for the Incumbent Party.

Biden Lobbied Specter to Switch for Five Years

Vice President Biden has been lobbying Sen. Arlen Specter to switch parties since 2004, according to ABC News.

“That conversation has continued since, the source says — in the Senate, on the Judiciary Committee (which both men have chaired), and on Amtrak. Biden’s Wilmington stop is 30 minutes before Specter’s in Philly.”

Greg Sargent notes the topic came up in 14 conversations this year : six in-person meetings and at least eight phone calls with Specter.

Obama Gets High Marks for First 100 Days

As he enters his 100th day in office, President Obama “enjoys higher marks from the American public than his most recent predecessors did at similar points in their presidencies,” according to the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll.

“More than six in 10 approve of Obama’s job, nearly two-thirds view him favorably, and a majority believe he has gotten off to a solid start during his first three months on the job… More than 80% in the poll say they personally like Obama, even if they don’t agree with all of his policies. And respondents give him high scores on his personality, demeanor and leadership qualities.”

McAuliffe Grabs Big Lead in Virginia

A new SurveyUSA poll in Virginia finds Terry McAuliffe leading his rivals for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination with 38%, followed by Creigh Deeds and Brian Moran each with 22%. 

Key finding: 64% of likely primary voters say they may change their mind — making any outcome possible.

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Explore posts in the same categories: Candidates, National, Politics, Virginia

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