POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 2/2

Passing Health Care Reform Will Not Hurt Democrats

A new Public Policy Polling survey finds Democratic candidates this fall “will fare about the same whether health care passes or not.”

“The GOP leads 43-40 on the generic Congressional ballot. When you ask people how they’ll vote if the Democrats don’t pass their health care plan the GOP leads 43-38. That’s because the level of support from Democratic voters for their own party drops from 80% to 76% if there is no health care bill. The GOP level of support remains unchanged at this point whether it passes or not.”

Bottom line: “The political damage for Democrats has been done. It doesn’t matter whether it actually passes- it has had the effect of getting Republican voters really fired up and along with the economy continuing to struggle it has turned independents toward the GOP as well. Those voters aren’t going to come back at this point because health care doesn’t pass. Would Democrats be in a better position right now if they hadn’t even touched the issue? Probably. But what’s the point of being in power if you don’t deal with things like health care?”

Most Republicans Think Obama is a Socialist

A new Daily Kos/Research 2000 poll of Republicans finds that 63% believe that President Obama is a socialist, compared to 21% who say he is not and 16% that are not sure.

The survey also found that 53% believe that Sarah Palin is more qualified to be president than Obama, with 14% who believe Obama is more qualified and 33% who said they were not sure.

Boozman Way Ahead of Lincoln in Arkansas

A new Public Policy Polling survey in Arkansas finds Rep. John Boozman (R) leading Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D) by a shockingly wide margin, 56% to 33%.

“Lincoln’s approval rating has sunk to just 27%, with 62% of voters in the state disapproving of her. She’s at a middling 51% even within her own party and just 17% of independents and 9% of Republicans are happy with how she’s doing.”

Palin Wants Rahm Fired

In a Facebook post, Sarah Palin calls on President Obama to fire Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel for reportedly describing the strategy of Senate liberals as “f@#$%g retarded.”

“Yes, Rahm is known for his caustic, crude references about those with whom he disagrees, but his recent tirade against participants in a strategy session was such a strong slap in many American faces that our president is doing himself a disservice by seeming to condone Rahm’s recent sick and offensive tactic.”

Meanwhile, an interesting new poll of Republicans finds that a majority think Palin is more qualified than Barack Obama to be president.

Durbin, Schumer Lay Groundwork for a Fight

Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) — the second- and third-ranking Senate Democratic leaders — “are doling out huge sums of cash, laying the groundwork for a leadership race should Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) ose reelection,” reports The Hill.

“The leaders gave money to newcomers and candidates facing tough races. But they also contributed to those whose reelection prospects seem solid, such as Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), who last won in liberal Vermont with 71% of the vote. While Leahy probably does not need the money for reelection, Durbin and Schumer may feel they need to contribute to his campaign to cement his loyalty.”

Negative Ad of the Year?

I suspect we’ll see many more negative political ads this year, but this one in the Illinois gubernatorial race currently leads as the toughest.

Read more…

White House Seeks to Engage Republicans

White House political adviser David Axelrod tells Mike Allen the White House is looking for more opportunities to involve Republicans in the tough choices necessary in governing, like President Obama did last Friday taking questions at the House Republican retreat.

Said Axelrod: “You can’t have a situation where we’re governing and they’re simply running an election campaign. Everybody’s got to pick up an oar here and row, if we’re going to get to where we need to go. Those guys were kind of free riders in the first year. The boat’s got a lot of freight.”

Also interesting: “There was not one minute of prep here — I guarantee it. He left here for Baltimore on the helicopter, and we didn’t have any discussion about Q-and-A. It was thoroughly spontaneous, at least from our end.”

Democrats Have Big Cash Advantage

“Democratic Party committees entered an off-year election with more money in the bank than their Republican counterparts for the first time in at least 18 years, giving the party a financial boost as it tries to stave off a surge by the opposition,”Bloomberg reports.

Colbert Takes on Ford

Harold Ford Jr. (D) took his U.S. Senate exploratory bid to the Colbert Report last night.

After watching the video clip, it’s still unclear why he thought that was a good idea.

Read more…

Reid Says He’s Staying in Race

In an interview with Jon Ralston, Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) insisted he was running for re-election, despite some very bad polling data in recent months.

Said Reid: “I’m running. I have the best campaign organization ever set up in the state of Nevada. I am very comfortable where I am at this time.”

Special House Primary in Florida

There’s a special primary in Florida’s 19th congressional district today to pick Democratic and Republican nominees hoping to succeed former Rep. Robert Wexler (D-FL), who resigned in midterm.

Voters Head to the Polls in Illinois

Nine months ahead of the general election, Illinois voters head to the polls today to pick their party’s candidates for governor, U.S. Senate and various House races across the state.

CQ Politics notes it’s the earliest congressional primary in history — beating by three days the record Illinois established in 2008 when the date was moved up to help then Sen. Barack Obama in the presidential primary.

The weather forecast shows snow in Chicago and clear skies downstate.

The polls open are open from 6 am to 7 pm CT.

Cox Opens Up Lead Over Hoekstra

A new EPIC-MRA poll in Michigan shows Attorney General Mike Cox (R) opening up a 7 point lead on Rep. Pete Hoekstra (R) in the race for the Republican gubernatorial nomination, 32% to 25%.

In head-to-head matchups, both Cox and Hoekstra defeat Denise Ilitch (D), the leading Democrat tested even though she is not officially in the race.

“The poll comes after Lt. Gov. John Cherry’s (D) withdrawal from the Democratic race earlier this month. Cherry had led Democrats, but also fared poorly against Republicans in polls and was having trouble raising money.”

Moran Widens Lead Over Tiahrt

A new SurveyUSA poll in Kansas finds Jerry Moran (R) leading Rep. Todd Tiahrt (R) in the Republican U.S. Senate race, 40% to 33%.

Nelson Paid Off Again?

Americablog discovers the DNC sent nearly $500,000 to the Nebraska Democratic Committee to run advertisements defending Sen. Ben Nelson’s (D-NE) vote for health care reform.

“Nelson announced his support for the much-weakened Senate health care bill on December 19, 2009. He cast his vote for final passage on December 24, 2009. The DNC transferred money to the Nebraska party on December 28, 2009. You do the math.”

Another Bad Poll Coming for Lincoln

Tom Jensen previews tomorrow’s Public Policy Polling survey in Arkansas and notes Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-AR) doesn’t do very well in a match up against Rep. John Boozman (R-AR).

“Because of Lincoln’s increasingly precarious position we tested a bunch of Democratic alternatives to her as well. They do better, but for the most part not by much. Lincoln certainly has a lot of personal blame for the situation she finds herself in, but it would be tough for any Democrat to win a Senate race in Arkansas this year.”

Palin Endorses Paul in Kentucky

Sarah Palin jumped into the Republican U.S. Senate primary in Kentucky by endorsing Rand Paul (R) over Trey Grayson (R).

In a press release, Paul trumpeted her endorsement and financial support calling Palin “a giant in American politics.”

A Very Productive Congress

Norm Ornstein argues that despite poor approval rates “this Democratic Congress is on a path to become one of the most productive since the Great Society 89th Congress in 1965-66, and Obama already has the most legislative success of any modern president — and that includes Ronald Reagan and Lyndon Johnson. The deep dysfunction of our politics may have produced public disdain, but it has also delivered record accomplishment.”

Schumer’s Approval Plunges in New York

A new Marist Poll in New York finds Sen. Chuck Schumer’s (D-NY) “once rock solid approval rating has taken a slide. For the first time in nearly nine years, Schumer’s approval rating has fallen below 50%.”

Just 47% of registered voters statewide report Schumer is doing either an excellent or good job in office, while 31% rate the job he is doing as fair and 17% view him as performing poorly.

Rubio Now Holds Double-Digit Lead Over Crist

A new Rasmussen Reports survey in Florida finds Marco Rubio (R) has now jumped to a 12-point lead over Gov. Charlie Crist (R) in Florida’s Republican primary for the U.S. Senate, 49% to 37%.

UpdateThe Fix reports a new survey by Republican pollster Tony Fabrizio — “for a group not involved in the Senate contest” — shows Rubio leading Crist, 44% to 30%

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