EVERYBODY PANIC!!! Well, not really. Today should be just another day. But unfortunately, the rhetoric over the sequester — $44 billion in spending cuts in the current fiscal year (not the $85 billion that has been reported) — has been pushed into overdrive. Who would’ve thought that a 1% cut in the rate of spending increases would cause this much fuss? It’s not even a real budget cut, when it all comes down to it.
While President Obama is depending on the American public to side with him on forgoing the sequester, polls don’t seem to bear that out, according to Aaron Blake and Sean Sullivan at the Washington Post:
In Washington, Republicans and Democrats have been at loggerheads over how best to avert sequestration. In the rest of the country, a remarkably high percentage of Americans take a different view: Bring it on.
Thirty-seven percent of Americans said they would tell their member of Congress to let the deep federal spending cuts known as sequestration go into effect as scheduled, according to a Gallup poll released on Wednesday, while nearly one in five had no opinion. A plurality (45 percent) said they would like to see Congress pass a measure to avert the cuts, but that’s hardly a decisive figure that reflects the alarm bells the Obama administration has been sounding the last couple of weeks.
While the White House is touting support in the polls for its gun control proposal, including renewal of the Assault Weapons Ban, Jacob Sullum notes a new poll conducted by Reason-Rupe that shows that Americans don’t really know what an “assault weapons” is:
A Reason-Rupe Public Opinion Survey conducted this month suggests such misconceptions are common. After asking the 1,000 respondents if they thought people should be “prohibited from owning assault weapons,” the survey (which is sponsored by my employer, the Reason Foundation) asked half of the sample to “describe an assault weapon.” The answers are illuminating.
About two-thirds of the respondents described “assault weapons” as guns that fire rapidly, guns that can fire a large number of rounds without reloading, guns with a lot of “power,” or guns used by the military. More than a quarter described them as “machine guns,” “automatics,” or the equivalent (e.g., “multiple rounds with just one pull of the trigger”).
Overall support for banning “assault weapons” was only 44 percent, considerably lower than the 60 percent or so in recent Gallup and ABC News polls. But there was majority support—53 percent and 59 percent, respectively—among people whose descriptions of “assault weapons” emphasized rate of fire (including those who mistakenly described them as machine guns) or ammunition capacity.
After the last assault weapon ban was passed, the Democrats suffered a complete blood bath in Congress during the midterm elections that year. Why? Simple. Most Americans didn’t like the of Uncle Sam telling them they couldn’t have certain kinds of weapons apparently.
Well, it looks like that’s still the case:
A slight majority of Americans do not want assault weapons banned in the aftermath of the Newtown, Conn., elementary school shooting, though a clear majority said they support stricter gun laws in general, according to a USA Today/Gallup poll out Wednesday.
Specifically on an assault weapons ban, 51 percent of respondents were against the measure, while 44 percent said they support it, the poll said. That remains largely unchanged from an October 2011 poll that had 43 percent for and 51 percent against a ban.
This comes as more Americans say they want stricter gun control in general.
Now, it must be pointed out that 51 percent isn’t a huge margin, but this is also in the aftermath of Sandy Hook when people are more likely to be reactionary about the issue. Expect the numbers to reach higher as people begin to calm down from the tragedy.
While the media has been focusing on polls that show increased support for gun control in the wake of the Sandy Hook shooting, the latest from Gallup shows that more Americans believe that a school official having a gun would be more effective at preventing these tragedies than banning so-called “assault weapons”:
Americans are most likely to say that an increased police presence at schools, increased government spending on mental health screening and treatment, and decreased depiction of gun violence in entertainment venues would be effective in preventing mass shootings at schools. Americans rate the potential effectiveness of a ban on assault and semi-automatic guns as fourth on a list of six actions Gallup asked about.
During a press conference yesterday at the White House, President Barack Obama announced the creation of a commission, headed by Vice President Joe Biden, that would address the “epidemic of gun violence.” President Obama said that the commission would “come up with a set of concrete proposals no later than January, which he “intend[s] to push without delay.”
Among the major talking points from President Barack Obama and Democrats that are often repeated in the media has been that the public agrees with his calls for higher taxes on the wealthy as part of any “fiscal cliff” deal.
In their story on a new poll conducted with George Washington University, Politico ran with the headline, “Battleground Poll: Hike taxes on rich.” The poll showed that “60 percent of respondents support raising taxes on households that earn more than $250,000 a year and 64 percent want to raise taxes on large corporations.” Again, not surprising. It fits the narrative that we’ve constantly heard, even though it’s a myth.
But buried deep inside the story — seven paragraphs down — was this gem:
According to the poll — taken from from Dec. 2 to Dec. 6 — 69 percent of respondents oppose raising taxes on small businesses that earn more than $250,000 — a group that the GOP is trying to protect with its push to extend the Bush tax cuts.
Republicans have argued thoughout the course of the “fiscal cliff” negoitiations that they want to protect small businesses — entities employing less than 500 people — in a “fiscal cliff” deal. They’re getting hammered by the White House and Democrats for not wanting to raise taxes, but here is their affirmation on the issue as nearly 70% of respondents agree with the GOP’s position. The headline should have been “Battleground Poll: Don’t raise taxes on small businesses” or something along similar lines.
There is no question that South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley has an important decision to make in who will succeed and finish the remainder of Jim DeMint’s term. However, there is an aspect to the appointment that hasn’t gotten much, if any, attention.
In 2010, Haley rode the Tea Party wave all the way to Columbia. Early on in her campaign, Erick Erickson wrote that Haley “gets checks in all the major boxes: life, tax cutting, government cutting, honesty, and uncompromising on the need to reform.”
“She is not afraid, even as an elected official, to criticize her own party for losing its way. That’s the type of candidate the Republicans need,” he added.
Unfortunately, Haley’s record in office has been disappointing. In her first year, Haley proposed the largest spending increase in state history (including federal funds). In its biannual Fiscal Policy Report Card on America’s Governors, which grades state executives on spending and taxes, the Cato Institute noted that Haley oversaw an 11% spending increase in just two fiscal years.
Sen. Taxby Shambliss Saxby Chambliss (R-GA), one of a handful of Republicans who are thought to be facing a tough primary challenge in 2014 due to their willingness to break their no-tax pledge, may want to take a look at a new survey from Public Policy Polling.
While Chambliss leads most of his potential challengers, there is a number here that would scare any incumbent hoping to get past controversy (emphasis mine):
According to a survey from the Democratic-leaning Public Policing Polling (PPP) released Tuesday, just 38 percent of Republican primary voters want Chambliss to win the GOP nomination. Chambliss is up for reelection in 2014.
The biggest challenge to Chambliss, the poll found, would be one by Cain, who has said he would not run for Chambliss’s seat. PPP found Cain leading Chambliss 50 to 36 percent in a head-to-head match-up.
The poll also found Chambliss leads other contenders regularly mentioned as possible challengers. He leads Rep. Paul Broun (R-Ga.) 57 to 14 percent in a head-to-head match-up. Against Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.), Chambliss is also the front-runner, leading 52 to 34 percent. Lastly, Chambliss leads former Georgia Secretary of State Karen Handel 52 to 23 percent.
According to Public Policy Polling, 43% of Republicans wants someone “more conservative.” Another red-flag for Chambliss is the fact that his approval rating is below 50%.
Republicans are still reeling from this year’s election results, which secured President Barack Obama another four years in the White House. And at this point, no one really wants to talk about 2016. That hasn’t stopped at least one pollster, Public Policy Polling, from looking at the prospective field for Republicans.
Last week, Public Policy Polling, which was the most accurate pollster this year, released a survey looking at how some potential Republican presidential candidates shape up in the all important state of Iowa:
The Republican Party has no front-runner for the 2016 Iowa caucuses, with even Jeb Bush and Paul Ryan scarcely drawing double-digit support in a new Public Policy Polling survey of the contest.
The poll, which was shared exclusively with POLITICO, found former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee as the nominal leader of the pack, taking 15 percent of the vote in a nine-candidate field.
But that was only 3 points better than Ryan, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, each of whom took 12 percent. Bush had 11 percent, followed by Rick Santorum at 10 percent and former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice at 9 percent.
Bringing up the rear were Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul at 5 percent and Sarah Palin at 4 percent.
Social conservatives are an important bloc in Iowa, as well as in the South. Rick Santorum carried the state earlier this year, though he was unable to gain enough traction in other primaries across the country to overtake Mitt Romney.
This race was one Republicans were counting on to take back the Senate this year. Things haven’t really worked out as planned in other races, but Rep. Denny Rehberg could knock off Sen. Jon Tester in what is going to be a very close election. According to the latest poll in the race from Mason-Dixon, Rehberg holds a 4-point lead over Tester, though inside the margin of error:
The poll showed 49 percent for Rehberg, who is Montana’s U.S. House representative, and 45 percent for Tester, the first-term incumbent. Only 1 percent said they’re voting for Libertarian Dan Cox and just 5 percent were undecided.
Mason-Dixon Polling & Research of Washington, D.C., conducted the poll early last week for Lee Newspapers, interviewing 625 registered Montana voters who said they are likely to vote in Tuesday’s election.
The poll has an error margin of plus or minus 4 percentage points.
Rehberg’s lead is only a single percentage point different than what he had six weeks ago in a Lee Newspapers poll, which showed him with a 48-45 advantage over Tester.
“Rehberg’s just kind of kept that little lead on Tester,” said Brad Coker, managing director for Mason-Dixon. “The general rule is it’s harder for an incumbent to make up ground with undecided voters. Here, you have two incumbents.”
According to new polling from the Salt Lake Tribune, Mia Love is on her way to becoming the first black Republican woman in Congress. The poll, conducted by Mason-Dixon, shows Love leading Rep. Jim Matheson (D-UT) by a 12-point margin:
Matheson trails Republican challenger Mia Love 52 percent to 40 percent in a new poll conducted for The Salt Lake Tribune, a large margin in a race where, even a few days ago, both campaigns were predicting a tight finish.
The Tribune poll, conducted by Mason-Dixon Polling & Research, found that the coalition of Democrats, independents, moderate Republicans and women that Matheson has united in past elections is failing to coalesce this time around, with just 9 percent of Republicans crossing over to support him.
Matheson’s poll showed him getting 19 percent of GOP support.
Brad Coker, managing director at Mason-Dixon, said that Matheson may be falling victim to the popularity of Mitt Romney.
“Romney is winning [Utah] by such a big margin and Republican voters are coming out because of Romney,” Coker said. “It’s just not a good year to be a Democrat in Utah.”
Love — with the backing of national groups and fundraising help from prominent national Republicans — has also been able to keep pace with Matheson’s spending and has become a popular figure among national Republicans, Coker said.