Since 1993, CNN has regularly asked a pair of questions that touch on libertarian views of the economy and society:
Some people think the government is trying to do too many things that should be left to individuals and businesses. Others think that government should do more to solve our country’s problems. Which comes closer to your own view?
Some people think the government should promote traditional values in our society. Others think the government should not favor any particular set of values. Which comes closer to your own view?
A libertarian, someone who believes that the government is best when it governs least, would typically choose the first view in the first question and the second view in the second.
[I]n CNN’s latest version of the poll, conducted earlier this month, the libertarian response to both questions reached all-time highs. Some 63 percent of respondents said government was doing too much — up from 61 percent in 2010 and 52 percent in 2008 — while 50 percent said government should not favor any particular set of values, up from 44 percent in 2010 and 41 percent in 2008. (It was the first time that answer won a plurality in CNN’s poll.)
Admittedly, I read Nate Silver, author of FiveThirtyEight, pretty often. His commentary on polling and trends has always been insightful. Unfortunately, Silver was unfairly slammed by conservative pundits who thought that he had a bias against Mitt Romney, especially after a story broke that he had received internal polling from Barack Obama’s campaign in 2008.
Silver was a winner on Tuesday night, whether you want to admit it or not. I hope Republicans realize that, while he may have his own opinions, Silver does a good job of providing factual information to those who want a better understanding of polling and predicting electoral results.
According to a study released yesterday, Public Policy Polling, a North Carolina-based Democratic firm, was the nation’s most accurate pollster. They may ask some ridiculous questions to Republicans from time to time in their polling, but they got it right. Like Silver, they also deserve credit.
The White House Press Secretary had an interesting day yesterday. He was asked several times about President Obama’s debt-ceiling plan. Well, there isn’t one, and the folks on the right are chomping at the bit. I can certainly understand why. Oh sure, Press Secretary Jay Carney gave hints about the plan, but wouldn’t go into detail. He said, “We’re showing a lot of leg.” When pressed for more, he mockingly said, “You need it written down?”
Well, yeah. It would help.
A couple of years ago, the White House derided the GOP because they didn’t have it written down. Republicans were supposedly “unserious” because they didn’t have a budget. So, the Republicans produced a framework. They “showed a lot of leg”, if you will. Then Press Secretary Robert Gibbs mocked it because it didn’t have the specifics he felt it should have. Sort of like how Obama’s plan seems to lack a lot of specifics.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a fan of that “if you don’t have a plan, you shouldn’t be part of the conversation” crap. I don’t think Obama should just shut up because he doesn’t have a plan all his own. However, I do believe that the President probably should have a plan of his own to put forth.
Over at Hot Air, Allahpundit proposes that the reason there isn’t a specific plan is because Obama knows that he’ll get hammered with it in the General Election. I can’t say he’s wrong on that one.
On Tuesday it looked like conservatives in the House Republican Conference were prepared to kill Speaker John Boehner’s proposal to end the budget ceiling stalemate. But it looks like he is building enough support to move it through the House, though it has taken some arm twisting that is most assuredly going to set off grassroots conservatives and the tea party movement:
Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said he ordered GOP lawmakers to “get your ass in line” behind his debt proposal during an interview Wednesday on a conservative radio show.
“My goal is to continue to work with all our members so we get them to the point where they say ‘yes,’ ” Boehner said on Laura Ingraham’s radio show.
A large number of conservative Republicans are opposing Boehner’s proposal, arguing it does not go far enough in reducing government spending.
But Boehner said he couldn’t understand why any Republicans would position themselves with Democrats opposing his plan.
“Barack Obama hates it, [Sen.] Harry Reid hates it, [Rep.] Nancy Pelosi hates it,” he said, naming off the Democratic leadership.
Boehner would have a lot of leverage ahead of the Aug. 2 deadline for lifting the debt ceiling if the House approves his bill.
“We’ll see,” Boehner said in response to the veto threat. “In the absence of any other plan, your plan becomes the plan.”
Boehner outlined his strategy to box the president into having “no choice but to sign it into law.” He said a rival proposal from Reid (D-Nev.), the Senate majority leader, did not have the support to pass Congress.
Tomorrow is election day. As has been well documented here and elsewhere, Republicans are expected to pull off a huge electoral victory and take control of the House of Representatives, while the Senate will likely remain out of their grasp, a point conceded by Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) over the weekend.
Charlie Cook updated his projections over the weekend, seeing greater gains for Republicans in the House than forecast in the lead up to the election (emphasis mine):
The Cook Political Report’s pre-election House outlook is a Democratic net loss of 50 to 60 seats, with higher losses possible. A turnover of just 39 seats would tip majority status into Republican hands. The midterm maelstrom pulling House Democrats under shows no signs of abating, if anything it has intensified. Whereas fewer than a third of Democratic Senate seats are up for election, House Democrats are suffering the full violence of this national undertow. Over a quarter of the entire 255-member House Democratic caucus have trailed GOP opponents in at least one public or private survey, and nearly half have tested under 50 percent of the vote in at least one poll. At this point, only 185 House seats are Solid, Likely or Lean Democratic, while 200 seats are Solid, Likely or Lean Republican, and 50 seats are in the Toss Up column. While there are certain to be at least 43 new members of the House thanks to 41 open seats and two vacancies, between 40 and 50 incumbents (over 95 percent of them Democrats) are likely to lose their seats, making for possibly the largest freshman class since 1992.
Cook also gives us some things to look for tomorrow:
Charlie Cook, a political analyst and founder of the Cook Political Report, was on Morning Joe yesterday to discuss the mid-terms, which are now just five days away (it’s almost over!). Cook explained that if Republicans don’t take back the House of Representatives, he’ll be “sacking groceries”:
Nate Silver writes that a GOP takeover isn’t inevitable, but it is likely. His model is still showing a net pick-up of 52 seats in the House for Republicans.
Something tells me Cook doesn’t have anything to worry about:
The latest picture of what to expect on November 2nd in the House of Representatives appears to be a worst-case scenario for Democrats as Gallup’s latest polling shows a huge lead for Republicans among likely voters, though there was a slight gain for the majority party. And to make matters worse for Democrats, it’s supposed to rain on election day in 20 states.
Before we dive into what the analysts are saying, Politico offers us 35 House races to keep our eyes on as returns come in.
Here is what Charlie Cook says about the mid-term:
With just eight days left to go until election day, it is looking more likely that Republicans will ride into the House of Representatives in a wave. Here is an assessment from Stu Rothenberg, who sees 97 seats in play (emphasis mine):
The number of Democratic incumbents who are sitting in the middle or low 40s in ballot tests is mind-boggling, creating a stunning number of opportunities for the GOP. Democrats dispute that assessment, arguing that their incumbents are much better off. But Republican polling finds eight or nine dozen Democratic seats are at some risk, and national polls suggest that the Republican numbers are on the mark. We now believe that Republicans gains of 45-55 seats are most likely, though GOP gains in excess of 60 seats are quite possible.
In an average simulation, the model projected that the Republicans will control 230 seats when the new Congress convenes in January; that would reflect a 51-seat gain from their current standing and would be close to the 54-seat gain that they achieved in 1994. This is the first time we have published a forecast putting the Republican over-under line at a number higher than 50 seats.
With two weeks to go more prognosticators are making their predictions for November 2nd and they’re pretty much saying the same thing…Republicans will take the House, but Democratics will hold majority in the Senate, though it will be much slimmer.
Charlie Cook notes that races for both chambers are tightening, but the momentum is still in Republicans’ corner:
Republicans are still headed for a big year. My hunch is that GOP gains will be roughly comparable to 1994, when the party picked up 52 House seats and eight Senate seats. Over the past two weeks, Democratic performance has improved in some places and deteriorated in others, making any sweeping generalizations difficult.
Though Republicans have recently downplayed a takeover the House of Representative and Democrats are trying to sell the idea that losing less than the expected number of seats is somehow a victory, analysts are starting to see a clearer picture of what will happen on November 2nd:
The latest Cook Political Report House forecast says “the chances of Republican gains in excess of 45 seats are now better than their chances of falling short of 40 seats. We currently rate 74 Democratic incumbents as vulnerable, including 28 in the Lean Democratic column, 34 in the Toss Up column, and 12 in the Lean Republican column. Just four Republican incumbents are in real jeopardy.”
“Longtime readers will observe that while we rarely rate unindicted incumbents worse than a Toss Up to win reelection, today we are moving 13 incumbents, 12 Democrats and one Republican, into the opposite party’s column to reflect their underdog status. It’s not that these endangered members’ prospects have suddenly taken a turn for the worse, or even deteriorated gradually over the last several months. Most of these members have trailed all year, and it’s simply exceedingly rare to see a candidate in their position in October come back to win reelection, especially now that early voting will be underway in many states very soon.”