POLITICAL HEADLINES – 8/4

Democratic Poll Shows Closer New Jersey Race

Perhaps to counter a poll published earlier today showing Chris Christie (R) expanding his lead in New Jersey’s gubernatorial race to 14 points, an internal Democratic poll was suddenly released that shows Gov. Jon Corzine (D) just seven points behind.

The poll shows Christie leading Corzine, 42% to 35%, with independent Christopher Daggett getting 6%.

Update: DailyKos/Research 2000 is also polling the race this week.


The Enthusiasm Gap 2009

Polls today in Virginia and New Jersey apparently show Republicans are significantly more motivated right now than Democrats, especially when it comes to voting in their state’s gubernatorial elections this fall.

The samples from each poll show higher percentages of Republican voters expecting to vote than voted in last year’s elections.

Nate Silver puts it this way: “The depth of Republican support is starting to rival the breadth of Democratic support. Sometimes, American politics resembles a screaming contest, and Republicans — though fewer in number — are screaming a little louder right now.”


Sotomayor Has the Votes

C-SPAN confirms Judge Sotomayor now has enough Senators’ commitments to ensure U.S. Supreme Court confirmation. 


McDonnell Pulling Away in Virginia

The latest Public Policy Polling survey in Virginia finds Bob McDonnell (R) has opened up a 14 point lead, 51% to 37%, over Creigh Deeds (D) in the race for governor.

Just a month ago, McDonnell led by just six points.

Key finding: “The biggest problem hampering Deeds right now is a lack of enthusiasm among Democrats for coming out to vote this fall. Although Barack Obama took Virginia 52-46 last November, those planning to vote in this year’s election report having voted for John McCain by a margin of 52-41. Put another way, roughly 60% of people who voted for McCain last fall are planning to come out while only 42% of those who voted for Obama are. He probably needs to generate enough excitement around his candidacy to get out closer to 55% of those Obama voters if he’s going to win.”


Quote of the Day

“The votes you’re going to have to cast, whether it’s guns or whether it’s abortion or whether it’s any one of the hot-button items, finishes you as a national political leader in this country. You just can’t do it. It’s not possible.”

— Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA), quoted in The Battle for America 2008, advising then Sen. Barack Obama to run for president sooner rather than later.


Sestak Makes it Official

After months of hinting, Rep. Joe Sestak (D-PA) formally announced this morning he would challenge Sen. Arlen Specter (D-PA) in the Pennsylvania Democratic primary, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports.

Update: Specter tweets: “His months of indecisiveness on his candidacy raises a real question as to his competency to handle the tough rapid-fire decisions required of a Senator.”


Christie’s Lead Grows in New Jersey

The latest Monmouth/Gannett New Jersey Poll finds Chris Christie leading Gov. Jon Corzine by 14 points, 50% to 36%, among likely voters. Independent Chris Daggett drew 4% of voters.

Key finding: Nearly three in five likely voters said they disapprove of the job Corzine has done. 

Christie was up by 8 points in the same poll last month.


Early Obama Interview Found

A 1993 interview with President Obama “shows he had a budding interest in elective office and an awareness of the media’s importance in achieving political goals,”Bloomberg reports.

“The recently discovered, unaired interview is part of a new documentary on Obama’s early career in Chicago, where he worked as a community organizer and led a voter-registration project. In it, he alluded to his future electoral aspirations.”

Said Obama: “If you end up being fortunate enough to have the opportunity to serve, it’s because you’ve got a track record of service in the community. Right now, I’m still building up that track record.”

The interview is included on the new DVD, Becoming Barack: Evolution of a Leader.


A Polling Pandemic?

Walter Shapiro writes about how “the first flicker of Obama’s vulnerabilities in the national polls invited an over-reaction from Pollyanna to piranha.”

“A strong case can be made that these pile-on polls by themselves cause growing unease. Since the 1930s, polls have been part of the national political debate eagerly parsed by presidents and pundits alike. But never has their influence loomed larger. The rabid fascination with the 2008 election turned America into a nation of polling junkies with everyone from high-school students to elderly shut-ins loudly opining about sampling techniques and margins of error.”


White House Counsel Could Be Pushed Out

“Obama administration officials are holding discussions that could result in White House counsel Gregory Craig leaving his post, following a rocky tenure,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

“Mr. Craig, the top lawyer at the White House and a close aide to President Barack Obama, has helped lead the administration’s efforts on several national-security issues that once enjoyed popularity but have since become become political liabilities for Mr. Obama.”

“These include the closure of the prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, the release of Bush administration-era national-security documents, and efforts to find legal ways to indefinitely hold some detainees who can’t be put on trial.”

First Read: “However, the article doesn’t really offer a reason why he would be ushered out, the White House is pushing back HARD on this rumor, and the piece really doesn’t seem to characterize its sourcing.”


Tax Trial Balloon Pops

The Obama administration “quickly shot down a trial balloon it floated over the weekend that opened the possibility of new taxes on the middle class after the idea came under heavy fire from labor unions, liberal leaders and Republicans,” The Hillreports.

The reason: The Senate Finance Committee has a proposal to tax employer-provided health benefits to pay for an overall reform package, which would affect Americans who earn less than $250,000.

However, as this video from the presidential campaign shows, Obama clearly pledged not to raise any taxes on Americans earning below $250,000 a year.

Read more…

Clinton Heads to North Korea

Former President Bill Clinton “is on his way to North Korea to try to negotiate the release of two American journalists convicted by the communist state of ‘grave crimes,'” reports Reuters.

Said a source: “As soon as he arrives, he will be entering negotiations with the North for the release of the female journalists.”

The news was first reported by South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency.


Emails Show GOP Staffers Knew of Ensign Affair

Jon Ralston reports that emails between staffers at the National Republican Senatorial Committee indicate they knew about the extramarital affair of their chairman, Sen. John Ensign (R-NV), more than a year ago.

The previous implication had been they did not know of Ensign’s missteps until his June 16 news conference.

The emails are between Mike Slanker and Doug Hampton and from Lindsey Slanker to Cindy Hampton.

Quote of the Day

“If we cannot produce a bipartisan solution by then, you have to wonder if the Republicans would ever be willing to agree to anything. We will enact health-care reform by the end of the year. If the Republicans are not able to produce an agreement, we will have contingencies in play.”

— Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY), quoted by Bloomberg, saying Republicans have until mid-September to agree to a bipartisan health care reform bill.

Ten Letters a Day

The White House released a very interesting video documenting how President Obama reads ten letters from average citizens every day.

Read more…

Tax Revenues Plummet

Federal tax revenues are expected to drop 18% this year — the biggest single-year decline since the Great Depression — causing the federal deficit to grow to a record $1.8 trillion.

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

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