POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 4/19

Crist Pulls Ads

Adam Smith notes that the U.S. Senate campaign of Florida Gov. Charlie Crist (R) has “halted all its TV advertising in the Orlando and Tampa Bay markets,” where it had been airing attack ads on primary opponent Marco Rubio.

Meanwhile, The Hotline reports that top DC Republicans believe it is a “virtual certainty” that Crist will now run as an independent or drop out from the race entirely.

The costs of switching: “As GOP leaders have replaced idle gossip that Crist may switch parties with near certainty that a public announcement is imminent, the party has sought to illustrate the severity of the consequences.”

Romney Holds Lead Among GOP Hopefuls

The latest Public Policy Polling survey shows Mitt Romney continues to lead among the top Republicans likely to run for President in 2012 with 33%, followed by Mike Huckabee at 27% and Sarah Palin at 23%.

Key takeaway: “The big story in 2012 polling continues to be Palin’s surprisingly poor performance. She hasn’t led in a single one of the dozen individual states we’ve taken a look at, and runs ten points behind Romney nationally. She is actually the most well liked of the GOP front runners with 66% viewing her favorably to 55% for Huckabee and 54% for Romney, but there’s a disconnect between how much voters like Palin and how willing they are to support her for President.”

Perry Holds Small Lead in Texas

A new Rasmussen survey of likely Texas voters finds Gov. Rick Perry (R) edging challenger Bill White (D), 48% to 44%.

Bonus Quote of the Day

“She might have three husbands after me. You know, she’s going to live forever.”

— Bill Clinton, in an interview with NBC News, noting that though President Obama might want to appoint someone younger than Hillary Clinton to the Supreme Court she could still be a great Supreme Court judge.

Palin Gave No Money to Her Target Races

Sarah Palin targeted 20 House races on her Facebook page last month, “but didn’t donate to favored candidates in those districts during the first quarter of the year,”Politics Daily reports.

“Although her SarahPAC took in $400,000 in the first quarter and had more than $900,000 in the bank, it gave only $7,500 to candidates between January and the end of March, plus an additional $2,000 to two other PACs. None went to Republicans in the races she targeted.”

Patrick Still Ahead in Three-Way Race

A new Western New England College poll in Massachusetts finds Deval Patrick (D) leading the race for governor with 34%, followed by Tim Cahill (I) at 29% and Charlie Baker (R) at 27%.

Obama vs. Roberts

The New York Times suggests that President Obama and Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts have emerged “as the intellectual gladiators in a great struggle over the role of government in American society. In this moment of churning uncertainty and ideological ferment, it is a struggle that is already defining the selection of the next Supreme Court justice and could easily help shape the course of the nation for years to come.”

“Much more so than last year, when he made his first nomination to the court, Mr. Obama has Chief Justice Roberts on his mind as he mulls his second, according to Democrats close to the White House. For an activist president, the chief justice has emerged clearly in recent months as a potentially formidable obstacle, and Mr. Obama has signaled that he plans to use the political arena and his appointment power to counter the direction of the Roberts court.”

The big question: Does this mean Obama is more likely to pick a politician to fill his second Supreme Court vacancy — such as Janet Napolitano or Jennifer Granholm — to help him spar with Roberts?

Cuomo Holds Huge Leads in New York

A new Siena Research poll in New York finds Andrew Cuomo (D) currently leads Rick Lazio in the race for governor, 61% to 24%.

Cuomo also crushes Steve Levy (R), 58% to 23%, and stomps Carl Paladino (R), 64% to 19%.

Said pollster Steven Greenberg: “When it comes to the general election, voters make Cuomo the early — and prohibitive — favorite against any of the Republicans. While none of the three Republican candidates is currently getting more than 12 percent support among Democrats, Cuomo has the support of at least 28 percent of Republicans, and a better than two-to-one lead among independent voters.”

Obama Ratchets Up Push for Wall Street Reform

The White House hasn’t announced it yet, but the Washington Post says to look for President Obama to make a new push for reform of financial markets regulation this week.

“Two insiders suggest that the president will travel domestically to make his latest pitch, though just where he will go has not yet been announced.”

“Republicans last week launched an all-out effort to convince Americans that the Democratic proposals to regulate financial firms would represent a big ‘bailout’ for the banks. Obama’s first, off-the-cuff response appeared to suggest little concern. But the White House quickly changed gears and the president’s later comments — including his weekend radio address — were far more aggressive.”

This expected push comes, of course, in the wake of the SEC accusing Goldman Sachs of securities fraud and, as the Wall Street Journal reports, the SEC has expanded their investigation into other major Wall Street banks.

The situation “has emboldened Democrats to ratchet up pressure on Republicans who oppose the Obama administration’s proposal,” the New York Times reports.

But Goldman Sachs is pushing back and as one senior executive at the firm told me over the weekend, “This is all out war.”

Dodd’s Final Push

Politico has a must-read profile of Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT) and his efforts to push a financial regulation bill seen as the capstone to his 36 years in Congress.

“When the wheels came off the economy in 2007 and 2008, he hurt himself further by being absent: running for president in Iowa in what many saw as a self-indulgent, long-shot venture. Down in Connecticut polls, Dodd finally abandoned after Christmas plans to seek a sixth term in November, but that decision only increased the pressure to finish this job — to put reforms in place — to square himself with history.”

McCollum Holds Small Lead for Florida Governor

A new Quinnipiac poll in Florida shows Bill McCollum (R) just edging Alex Sink (D) in the race for governor, 40% to 36%.

McCollum holds a 38% to 18% favorability rating, with 41% who don’t know enough about him to form an opinion. Sink gets a 22% to 15% favorability rating, with 61% who don’t know enough about her to form an opinion.

Said pollster Peter Brown: “Ms. Sink’s low voter recognition is a double-edged sword: She has an opportunity to introduce herself to a majority of the electorate, while McCollum has the chance to define her in an unflattering way. The next governor is the one who is most successful in selling his or her version.”

Illusions of Power

Some great detail in the Orlando Sentinel on the stunning rise and fall of Florida Republican party chief Jim Greer:

At an out-of-state RNC meeting, “an aide kept walking in and handing notes to Greer.” When a concerned committeewoman asked what was happening back in Florida, she discovered the notes were blank. Greer simply wanted them delivered to make himself look important.

Quote of the Day

“Do they not know that the Yankees have got the atomic bomb now?”

— Former Georgia Gov. Roy Barnes (D), quoted by the Athens Banner-Herald, on Georgia Republicans threatening to secede from the United States.

Massachusetts Republicans Avoid Primary

Massachusetts Republicans “gave an overwhelming endorsement” to Charlie Baker (R) for governor at their state convention over the weekend, giving him “a massive margin that forces GOP rival Christy Mihos out of the race and frees him from what could have been a bitterly divisive primary battle,” the Boston Globe reports.

Baker won 89% of the delegate votes, while Mihos got just 11%, falling well short of the 15% threshold needed to qualify for the September primary ballot.

April 18, 2010

Liberal Democrats Take Lead in Britain

The latest YouGov poll in Britain shows the Liberal Democrats surging and now leading among likely voters in next month’s election with 33% of the vote, followed by the Conservatives at 32% and Labour at 25%.

It is the first time that the party has ever been ahead in a poll during a general election.

A new ICM poll puts the Conservatives ahead at 34%, Labour at 29% and the Liberal Democrats at 27%. However, the poll is still bad news for the Conservatives “because, assuming a uniform national swing, Labour would remain the largest party in a hung parliament.”

The Independent: “For the time being at least we are in uncharted waters. Never before have the polls put all three parties so close to each other during the course of an election campaign.”

Record Discontent with Government

A new Pew Research survey shows that just 22% of Americans say they can trust the federal government “almost always or most of the time” and 65% say they have an unfavorable view of Congress. Both measures are among the lowest ever found by Pew.

In addition, the proportion saying they are “angry” with the federal government has doubled over the last decade, increasing from 10% to 21%.

An interactive chart plots trust in government and other data back to 1958.

Key finding: The political implications of this environment overwhelmingly favors Republicans. In fact, among those highly dissatisfied with government, independents say they prefer the Republican candidates in their districts by an overwhelming 66% to 13% margin.

A Very Fast Rise, Fall… and Comeback?

Ben Smith flags this great observation from Peter Elkind’s new book, Rough Justice, about Eliot Spitzer.

“Spitzer is evidence of how modern times have compressed the natural rhythm of everything — even scandal. He leapt on to the national sage overnight — and vanished in a moment. In the period it has taken me to write this book, he has performed what passes for him as penance, and has already begun a comeback.”

Bonus Quote of the Day

“Now that I’m fighting against this administration, then I’m a partisan. But I’m a fighter and that’s what I am… I prefer ‘great American’ myself.”

— Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), in an interview on Fox News Sunday, on whether he has been more of a “maverick” or a “partisan” lately.

Do Republicans Have a 2012 Problem?

While acknowledging a likely Republican takeover of the House this fall, Democratic strategist Ed Kilgore suggests the Republicans have a serious “2012 Problem.”

Wrote Kilgore: “Republicans, like or not, are probably stuck with the presidential field they now have. And it’s not a pretty sight.”

“So let Republicans enjoy their 2010 comeback. It was all but foreordained by the last two cycles, and by the very demographics that threaten the GOP in the long run. Allow them to celebrate their ‘fresh faces’; they’ll have a lot of fine options for the vice-presidential nomination in 2012. But their 2012 prospects will go straight downhill starting on Nov. 3, 2010. That’s when Republicans will have to start to deal with the consequences of their recent bout of self-indulgent destructiveness, when they’ll begin choosing someone to take on Barack Obama not in press conferences or talking points or Tea Party protests, but in a presidential election.”

Quote of the Day

“We had two recent tea party demonstrations in Washington, one a week before the health care vote – drew about 1,000 people.  The tax day rally, by the organizers own estimate was 1,500 people.  If I organized a rally for stronger laws to protect puppies, I would get 100,000 people to Washington.  So, I think the media has blown the tea party themselves out of proportion.”

— Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell (D), in an interview on Meet the Press.

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