POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 2/16

Poll Shows Rahm Likely to Avoid Runoff

A new Chicago Retail Merchants Association survey finds Rahm Emanuel leading the Chicago mayoral race with 58% of likely voters, followed by Gery Chico at 24%, Miguel Del Valle at 10% and Carol Moseley Braun at just 6%.

The election is next Tuesday.

Majority Oppose Cutting Funding for Health Care Law

A new CBS News poll finds 55% of the public disapproves of the Republican idea to cut off funding for health care reform, while just 35% approve.

However, Americans are still wary of the new health care reform laws: 21% think the new law will make the system better, but 23% think the law will make the system worse. Another 44% say they don’t know enough to say what the law’s impact will be. Uncertainty has increased since the law was first passed last year.

Greene Gets Little Support

An Edison Research Exit Poll of Democratic primary voters in today’s special election for a state legialative seat in South Carolina shows that surprise 2010 U.S. Senate nominee Alvin Greene (D) attracted only about 1% support in the four-way race.

 

Will Iowa be Less Important?

The AP wonders if the Iowa Republican party’s “shift to the right is scaring off some hopefuls and making the Iowa caucuses less competitive — and less important.”

“Some strategists wonder whether the more moderate of the approximately dozen contenders may now be adopting the lesson of John McCain, who largely skipped the Iowa caucuses in 2008 and still was able to lock up the Republican Party’s nomination in other states.”

Boehner Not Concerned Cuts Could Cost Jobs

House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) bristled at criticisms that there might be job losses resulting from the his party’s promise of $100 billion in spending cuts this year, ABC News reports.

Said Boehner: “Over the last two years since President Obama has taken office, the federal government has added 200,000 new federal jobs and if some of those jobs are lost in this, so be it. We’re broke!”

The Wall Street Journal notes Boehner’s reaction “marks a course reversal” from his more sympathetic “Where are the jobs?” mantra from the last election.

Extra Bonus Quote of the Day

“People change their positions all the time, the way they change their wives.”

— Michael Cohen, special counsel to Donald Trump, quoted by the National Journal, saying the celebrity businessman was entitled to change his mind on various social issues.

Ten Letters

Here’s the book President Obama mentioned at his news conference today: Ten Letters: The Stories Americans Tell Their President by Eli Saslow.

Gore Never Recovered in Tennessee

A new Public Policy Polling survey in Tennessee finds Al Gore was not very successful at fence mending with voters as he promised after losing the state in the 2000 presidential election. Just 40% of voters have a favorable opinion of him while 51% have a negative one.

Scandal is Main Reason New York Politicians Leave

A new report finds that one of every 11 New York legislators who left office since 1999 “has done so on account of ethical or criminal charges, making it more common reason than being voted out of office as a impetus for legislative turnover,” the New York Observer reports.

The report also found that the trend appears to be accelerating — between 2005 and 2010, the number of officials who left office in disgrace more than tripled from the previous six-year period.

Corker Safe Unless Bredesen Runs

A new Public Policy Polling survey shows that Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) would handily defeat all but one hypothetical Democratic challengers in 2012, former Gov. Phil Bredesen (D).

Corker crushes former Rep. Harold Ford (D), 55% to 32%, Rep. Jim Cooper (D), 50% to 32%, and former Rep. Bart Gordon (D), 52% to 29%. But Bredesen leads Corker, 46% to 41%.

Iowa Debates Planned

The Iowa Republican Party and Fox News plan to sponsor a presidential candidates’ debate the week before the Iowa caucuses, the Des Moines Register reports.

They will also host a debate in on Aug. 11, two days prior to the Iowa GOP’s presidential straw poll, which “has become a closely-watched early test of organizing strength and support in the leadoff caucus state.”

Arpaio Leads in New Arizona Poll

Summit Consulting Group poll in Arizona finds Joe Arpaio (R), who calls himself “America’s Toughest Sheriff,” to be the leading Republican candidate to replace Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ).

Arpaio leads with 21%, followed by Rep. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) at 17%, former Rep. J.D. Hayworth at 17% percent, former Rep. John Shadegg at 12% and Rep. Ben Quayle (R-AZ) at 6%.

Huge caveat: The poll was conducted by a company that is raising money for Arpaio’s re-election campaign.

Tea Partiers Can’t Agree on Spending Cuts

A new Dakota Poll of registered South Dakota voters who identify themselves as Tea Party supporters, reveals a group that is “heavily Republican, but far more pragmatic and less anti-government or anti-tax than recent mainstream media portrayals have indicated.”

In fact, much like the American public at large, a majority do not agree to reduce government spending on any single budget item but a majority were in favor of raising income taxes on those making over $1 million per year.

Birtherism Alive in the Republican Party

A new poll helps explain why House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) refuses to challenge people who insist President Obama is not a natural born citizen.

Public Policy Polling finds that 51% of Republican voters who plan to vote for president next year say they don’t think President Obama was born in the United States. Another 28% firmly believe that he was and 21% are unsure.

Bonus Quote of the Day

“I am who I am. To the extent that people are finding any type of attraction to what I’m doing, it’s mostly because it’s because I’m being straight with them. It’s not a bunch of prepared hooey, read off a teleprompter.”

— New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R), quoted by Politico.

Ron Paul Headed to Iowa

Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) told supporters that he “will be making two trips to Iowa in the coming weeks, stoking speculation that the libertarian favorite is poised to mount another presidential bid,” according to Roll Call.

Criminal Charges Against Edwards Near?

In what could be “an ominous development” in a criminal investigation, NBC Newshas learned that prosecutors “are preparing to record the testimony of a key witness for use in any future trial. Sources close to the investigation say prosecutors now believe they have a strong case, but they have not yet gotten the green light from Washington to charge Edwards with a crime.”

Standing in the Way of a Budget Deal

First Read: “The biggest obstacle right now to a grand compromise in tackling the deficit/debt might be the Republican Party. If the past two years have taught us anything, it’s that Obama has not hesitated to poke his finger in the eye of his liberal base (examples: the public option, the tax-cut deal, parts of his FY 2012 budget). But Republican leaders so far have been unwilling to stand up to their base; in fact, it’s the base that’s been standing up to the GOP leaders. As most budget experts have noted — including the folks on the deficit commission — the only way to reduce the deficit/debt is to BOTH raise some taxes and cut some entitlement spending. Yet right now, there are few Republican elected leaders willing to stand up to the Grover Norquists and Club for Growths and do something Ronald Reagan did multiple times: raise taxes.”

Hatch Leads Chaffetz in Potential Primary

A new Deseret News/KSL poll in Utah shows Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) leading Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) in a potential Senate primary, 44% to 34%, with another 13% undecided and 9% preferring neither candidate.

Dave Catanese: “It’s worth noting that Utah Republicans use a hybrid convention/primary system to nominate their candidates. A candidate can win the party’s nomination outright at the convention if he or she can attain 60 percent of delegate votes. If after three ballots at the convention, no candidate reaches the 60 percent threshold, the top two contenders advance to a primary.”

Internal Poll Shows Heller Crushing Ensign

Rep. Dean Heller (R-NV) “all but telegraphed his intention” to challenge Sen. John Ensign (R-NV) in a GOP primary by giving Jon Ralston a poll he commissioned showing he leads the incumbent senator by double-digits, 53% to 38%.

“The survey, taken last month, is the strongest indication yet that Heller will take on Ensign — otherwise, I would not have these results because if he were not running, these numbers would never have seen the light of day. He took a poll to gauge his competitiveness, and these results have to have thrilled him.”

Huckabee Waiting for Someone Else to Catch Fire?

Bob Vander Plaats, an Iowa conservative and confidant to Mike Huckabee, gives theWall Street Journal the clearest indication the former Arkansas governor may sit out the 2012 presidential race.

Said Vander Plaats: “I have told many of these candidates that they may make Huckabee’s decision for him. If a Pawlenty or Thune or Bachmann catch fire among the base, I could see Huckabee saying, ‘I think I will sit this one out’.”

Trump Recently Switched Affiliation to the GOP

Donald Trump switched his party affiliation from Democrat to Republican in 2009, theNew York Daily News reports. But he denied it’s because he might compete for the Republican presidential nomination in 2012.”

Said Trump: “I’m very conservative, and the Democrats just don’t offer that option.”

In an interview on Fox News, he said he was a conservative — even on social issues such as gay marriage.

Said Trump: “No, you know, I’m just not in favor of gay marriage. I live in New York. New York is a place with lots of gays, and I think it’s great, but I’m not in favor of gay marriage.”

Alvin Greene On Ballot Again

Alvin Greene (D), the failed U.S. Senate candidate, is on today’s special election ballot for South Carolina House of Representatives, according to Politico.

“The other three Democratic candidates in the race have said that they haven’t seen Greene campaigning, and he skipped a January debate. He told The Associated Press he had ‘no comment’ on his strategy in the race and said he was feeling OK about the election.”

Nelson Vulnerable for Re-Election

A new Mason-Dixon poll in Florida finds Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) trailing former Gov. Jeb Bush (R) in a possible match up for U.S. Senate, 49% to 41%.

The good news for Nelson: Bush is not considered likely to run.

Nelson leads in other match ups but doesn’t break 50% support. He would beat Rep. Connie Mack (R-FL) by five points, 45% to 40%, and would top former Sen. George LeMieux (R-FL), 49% to 35%.

 

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