POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 12/17
A Fox News/Opinion Dynamics poll finds that just 29% of the registered voters said they believed President Obama would win re-election in 2012 while 64% said they expected him to lose.
Of course, this result doesn’t square with yesterday’s NBC/WSJ poll that found Obama beating a generic Republican candidate, 42% to 39%.
The Fix notes that of the last 12 party-switchers in the House of Representatives, just six won their next elections. Of the last four party-switchers in the Senate, only Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) won re-election.
“The problem with party-switching is twofold: the party you leave takes it personal affront and does everything it can to beat you AND the party you join is skeptical about your real motives with doubts lingering about whether you are a wolf in sheep’s clothing.”
“More than a half-dozen defeated House Democrats are considering running again for the seats they lost in the November elections,” Politico reports.
“Some members — including Reps. Carol Shea-Porter of New Hampshire, Phil Hare of Illinois, Dina Titus of Nevada, Frank Kratovil Jr. of Maryland, Alan Mollohan of West Virginia and Glenn Nye of Virginia — have said publicly that they are mulling over rematches. Others have been more private in their deliberations or more measured in discussing their intentions.”
“We are in session, if necessary, up to January 5th. That is the clock our Republican colleagues need to run out. It’s a long clock.”
— Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV), on the lame duck session.
“I’m saying to the tea partiers this morning, ‘Grab your pitchforks. Let’s stand up against this. It can be stopped.'”
— Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), in an interview on Fox News, crusading against earmarks included in the Senate spending bill.
Fox News notes that the John P. Murtha Foundation — created after the congressman’s death earlier this year — is in line to get a $10 million earmark for the Murtha Center for Public Service at the University of Pittsburgh.
First Read notes Sarah Palin’s negative rating has climbed to 50% in the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll.
“That’s the highest negative rating for anyone measured in this poll (and it’s two points lower than Nancy Pelosi’s negative rating from last month). And get this: The only major subgroups that Palin wins in a head-to-head match-up with Obama are Republicans, conservatives, and FOX viewers. That’s it, folks.”
First Read notes that one of the main forces benefiting President Obama is that “an overwhelming number of Americans find him likeable.”
“He gets his highest marks in the poll for having a strong family and family values (74% give him a high rating here), being easygoing and likeable (68%), being inspirational and exciting (51%), and having strong leadership qualities (49%). His lowest marks come on the professional side: being a good commander-in-chief (41%), achieving his goals (33%), uniting the country (30%), and changing Washington (24%). Bottom line: The jury’s still out on whether the president is going to be successful or not, as over 40% tell us it’s STILL too soon to judge what kind of president Obama is going to be.”
A new Quinnipiac poll in Pennsylvania finds President Obama in decent shape heading into the 2012 campaign, with improving approval numbers and strong support for his recent deal with Republicans on tax cuts.
Pennsylvanians now narrowly approve of President Obama’s job performance 44% to 43%, the first time since March 2009 that he has had positive net approval in the state. There is also overwhelming support for the tax cut deal, 69% to 24%, with independents providing a stronger level of support than Republicans or Democrats, 72% to 20%.
With the House scheduled to vote on the tax cut package today — which adds $858 billion to the federal debt — President Obama has pledged next year to “engage in a conversation with the American people about the hard choices we’re going to have to make.”
John Dickerson: “As a rule, if someone promises a painful conversation requiring a safe place, it’s time to run (or get a room, if you’re into that kind of thing). But there is nowhere to run. The current level of deficit spending is unsustainable. The American people know this, and they want the president to do something. Yet they show no interest in supporting the hard choices that are required. This poses two challenges for Obama: Can he really have a conversation about sacrifice in a political system that seems capable of only minting short-term delights? And how does the president convince the country to sign on to so much pain while trying to get re-elected?”
Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR) told CNN that President Obama put pressure on Democrats to vote for his tax cut package saying that if it failed it would be politically devastating.
Said Fazio: “The White House is putting on tremendous pressure, making phone calls; the president’s making phone calls saying that’s the end of his presidency if he doesn’t get this bad deal.”
Of course, as Greg Sargent notes, DeFazio “is basing this claim on what a single other House member told him. And he won’t even name that member.”
Thune dips his feet in New Hampshire: The Rapid City Journal notes that Sen. John Thune (R-SD) is giving a radio interview with New Hampshire radio station WKXL. “While Iowa is nearby South Dakota and shares many of the same issues, New Hampshire is another ballgame entirely, and it’s hard to see why else Thune would be doing in an interview with a New Hampshire radio station other than to get himself in front of an important primary state.”
Gingrich talks up Haley before visit: In an interview with Spartanburg Herald-Journal, Newt Gingrich (R) had very positive words for South Carolina Gov.-elect Nikki Haley (R), calling her a “real reformer: her success story, the way she won the primary, the way she came back to win the general (election), the fact that — in many ways — she is building on Gov. Sanford’s efforts to reform the state, but doing so in a more inclusive way.” Gingrich is in South Carolina to speak at a Christmas fundraiser for the Spartanburg County Republican Party.
Daniels reveals timeline: Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels (R) told WANE-TV that he will make a decision about a presidential bid “at the end of this General Assembly session, if not before… In fairness to people from all over the place — many of whom I’ve only read about before — who like this idea, I owe them some kind of an answer.” The General Assembly must end its session by April 30.
Barbour to decide by spring: The Mississippi Clarion-Ledger asked home-state Gov. Haley Barbour (R) about running for president. Barbour noted that “The idea that ‘Boy, anybody would want to be president’ is said by people who don’t know much about being president. It’s a big, big decision. I’m not in any hurry to make the decision. I’ve got time. But I feel like I need to make a decision by this spring, and that’s what I intend to do.”
With Bloomberg L.P. planning to run editorials across its many media properties, the New York Times suggests its primary shareholder, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, is trying to expand his political influence.
“The notion of media barons using editorials to shape public opinion and policy according to their personal views is an old one in American journalism. William Randolph Hearst, for example, often wrote front-page editorials for his newspapers. Mr. Bloomberg, it would seem, is casting himself in that mold, though there are no plans for him to begin writing signed editorials. For now, he is content letting his trusted deputies speak for him.”
Roll Call has a nifty interactive timeline looking back at the events of the 111th Congress.
A new Quinnipiac poll in Pennsylvania voters finds Sen. Robert Casey (D-PA) with a 39% to 29% job approval rating.
In a match up with a generic Republican challenger, voters prefer Casey by a 43% to 35% margin.
Said pollster Peter Brown: “Half of Pennsylvania voters say Sen. Robert Casey generally shares the same views as President Obama, while 16% say he does not. A third, 34%, are not sure. Depending on how popular the president is in Pennsylvania in 2012, and how Sen. Casey conducts himself during the next 23 months, that could be a plus or a minus for Casey’s re-election prospects.”
A new ABC News-Washington Post poll finds a record 60% of Americans “say the war in Afghanistan has not been worth fighting, a grim assessment — and a politically hazardous one — in advance of the Obama administration’s one-year review of its revised strategy.”
Key finding: “Negative views of the war for the first time are at the level of those recorded for the war in Iraq, whose unpopularity dragged George W. Bush to historic lows in approval across his second term. On average from 2005 through 2009, 60 percent called that war not worth fighting, the same number who say so about Afghanistan now.”
“The bill is loaded up with pork projects, and it shouldn’t get a vote.”
— Sen. John Thune (R-SD), quoted by ABC News, on the omibus spending bill that also happens to include his own earmarks.