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Luntz: Collapse in Confidence in Government, Media

GOP polling guru Frank Luntz says the American people have lost confidence in all government institutions, including those designed to keep us healthy, as well as the media who report what those institutions are doing.

Ironically, he finds that confidence in government was at its highest under a president who was trying to get government to do less: Ronald Reagan.

Reagan was also a strong and decisive leader, of course.

No doubt some in Washington will find all this mysterious, but it’s not very complicated. The government has lied to us repeatedly, and the mainstream media are biased toward the left and too cozy with the people they cover.

And, the American people aren’t stupid, to the surprise of those who govern them and inform them from Washington, and they’ve figured all this out.

Todd: Obama Could Do “Jimmy Carter-Like Damage” to Democrats

NBC Meet the Press host Chuck Todd today suggested President Obama is on the cusp of throwing Democrats right back in the foreign policy disaster zone where they existed for at least a dozen years following Jimmy Carter’s feckless presidency.

“He’s on the precipice of doing Jimmy Carter-like damage to the Democratic brand on foreign policy – if he’s not careful,” Todd said.

Todd indicated though that he thinks Obama’s damaging effects are probably temporary.

Todd was talking on MSNBC’s Morning Joe about a new NBC/Wall Street Journal poll that puts Republican up by 38 points over Democrats on on the question of which Party will ensure a strong national defense. The poll shows strong support for aggressive action against ISIS.

A few other points from Todd’s conversation with Joe Scarborough:

  • Obama isn’t trying to rally the nation on ISIS. The nation is trying to rally Obama.
  • The single most followed story of the last five years is the beheading by ISIS of Americans Steven Sotloff and James Foley.
  • Democrats’ internal polls showed their candidates dropping 6-9 percentage points when Obama went golfing after speaking about Foley’s murder.

Twice as Many Say Obamacare has Hurt Them Than Helped

Thirty five percent of Americans believe that Obamacare has made them and their families worse off, while only 18 percent think they are better off, a new CNN poll finds. Forty six percent think the law has made no difference for them.

Incredibly, this demonstrates not only that twice as many think the Affordable Care Act has hurt them compared to those who feel helped, but that a whopping total of 81 percent believe the biggest piece of social legislation since the 1960s – and the centerpiece of Obama’s presidency – are of the opinion the law has either hurt them or made no difference to them at all.

Some 35 percent say “other families in this country are better off now that the major provisions of the health care law have taken effect,” a statistic that says very little, since someone somewhere must have benefited.

The poll continued to show an incredible degree of negativity about the law, with 59 percent disapproving, the second highest reading by CNN polling since March 2010. This, remember, at the moment we now know more that ever about what the law entails. Only 40 percent say they favor Obamacare.

The survey was conducted July 18-20.

Poll: Unemployment the Nation’s Top Problem

Five years into President Obama’s administration and more than six years after the recession began, unemployment is the biggest concern troubling the minds of Americans, according to a new Gallup poll.

Americans, it appears, are not buying the rosy White House line about all the jobs being created and all the “consecutive months” of job growth. They get that the unemployment rate is going down because people are giving up the search. And most of all . . .


Here are the top ten concerns:

Gallup unemploymentThe second biggest concern is the economy, which begs the question:


Notice the disconnect between what Americans care about and where Obama’s head is at.

Health issues are fourth on the list, viewed as the biggest problem by only 15 percent. Immigration, Obama’s top second term policy priority, is the top concern of just six percent of his subjects. And Obama’s overriding second term focus, “income inequality” – as represented by the category “poverty/hunger/homelessness” – comes in tenth at three percent. Gun control didn’t even make the top ten.

We have a president pursuing his own ideological agenda while the nation continues to suffer. And nothing will change for the next three years. So let’s learn to love it!

Nate Silver: Political Fallout May be Overhyped

Nate Silver, the respected poll data cruncher who accurately predicted the 2012 election results, wrote a piece today for his blog FiveThirtyEight cautioning against all the heated analysis predicting doom for Republicans as a result of the shutdown.

Silver notes that any given issue tends to be fleeting, and that the last shutdown in 1995 didn’t noticeably hurt Republicans at all.

Republicans certainly need such assurances, as yet another poll – this one by NBC/Wall Street Journal – finds them at their lowest approval rating ever, with only 24 percent giving them having a favorable rating. Meanwhile, the gap in blame between President Obama and the GOP has opened up, with 53 percent blaming Republicans for the shutdown and only 31 percent blaming Obama.

This is not to be taken lightly, and it was probably inevitable given that the Washington press corps covering the shutdown is convinced conservative Republicans are evil space aliens from the planet Simpleton.

But I think even if there’s grumbling about tactics like shutting down the government, Republicans have the issues are their side, and when the smoke clears will be viewed as the principled Party that believed desperate measures were needed to salvage a desperate situation – that being a nation beset by Obamacare and endless piles of debt.

Silver notes that in 1996, Republicans did just fine.

Nor was Clinton’s victory over Bob Dole in 1996 anything unexpected. Incumbent presidents generally win reelection even under marginal conditions (as Barack Obama did last year) — and they’re overwhelming favorites during peacetime elections when the economy is robust, as it was during 1996. Furthermore, Clinton did not have much in the way of coattails: Democrats gained just two seats in the House that November, and wouldn’t win back the chamber for another decade.

And they’re likely to hold power in 2014 too.

In 2014, likewise, it will require not just a pretty good year for Democrats, but a wave election for them to regain the House. But wave elections in favor of the party that controls the White House are essentially unprecedented in midterm years. Instead, the president’s party has almost always lost seats in the House — or at best gained a handful.

This shutdown is “just one issue,” Silver notes. Given the range of things that inform people’s votes, how much is this going to matter in 12 months?

My view is, it’s three issues. The shutdown, Obamacare, and the debt. And the GOP wins on two out of three.

Polls Moving in Wrong Direction for Republicans

New polling shows disapproval with Republican handling of the government shutdown growing and blame toward Obama for the standoff declining.

According to a poll by the Pew Research Center released Monday, only 30 percent said the Obama administration was to blame for the shutdown, compared to 36 percent two weeks ago. Thirty eight percent blamed Republicans, about the same as the 39 percent who blamed Republicans back in September.

Meanwhile, an ABC/Washington Post poll reveals that 51 percent “disapprove” of Obama’s handling of “negotiations” over the budget, while 45 percent approve, compared to 41 percent who approved and 50 percent who disapproved ten days ago.

But disapproval of Republicans has risen from 63 percent to 70 percent, while approval is at 24 percent, compared to 26 percent previously. But this poll also shows disapproval of Democrats’ handling of the talks rising from 56 percent to 61 percent, with about a third continuing to approve, as before.

Poll: Shutdown Hardly a Catastrophe for GOP

While more people blame Republicans for the federal government shutdown, plenty also blame President Obama and the Democrats, suggesting no one has won the war for public opinion and Republicans are not yet suffering the grievous political consequences commonly predicted.

According to a CBS News poll conducted after the shutdown began October 1, 44 percent of Americans blame Republicans for the shutdown and 35 percent blame Obama and the Democrats, while 17 percent blame both. The numbers are almost the same as before the shutdown.

CBS notes that during the last shutdown in November 1995 – widely said to have harmed the GOP – 51 percent of Americans blamed the Republicans in Congress and 28 blamed Bill Clinton.

At this stage, things could go either way. In calling congressional leaders to a meeting at the White House Wednesday, Obama and the Democrats demonstrated they are not sure their “we don’t talk to terrorists” strategy is working. The meeting was not substantive – merely a photo op designed to portray Obama as reasonable.

The advent of Obamacare – glitches, warts and all – will continue to help Republicans as the program they’re trying to eliminate gets bad press. Republicans have lots of cards in their deck: People don’t like Obamacare; people don’t like Obama; people don’t like the federal government.

The polls will play an important role here. Eventually, public opinion will weaken someone’s spine.

More Americans Would Blame Republicans for Shutdown. But . . .

Washington is erupting in a chorus of “I told you so’s” because of a new CNN poll headlined “Blame on GOP,” asserting congressional Republicans would be held at fault if the government shuts down. Let’s talk about that. First of all, here’s the information in the poll that is not making the headlines: 57 percentContinue Reading

Poll: Strong Opposition to Republican Shutdown Strategy

A new poll finds Americans generally opposed to defunding Obamacare and overwhelmingly opposed if it leads to shutting down the government and defaulting on the debt. From the CNBC article on the poll: The CNBC All-America Economic Survey of 800 people across the country conducted by Hart-McInturff, finds that, in general, Americans oppose defunding ObamacareContinue Reading

Clinton Not Made of Obama’s Teflon

While President Obama’s approval ratings remain relatively scandal-proof at close to 50 percent – mediocre, but it’s been steady –  former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton appears to have incurred some damage from Benghazi, falling from a favorability rating of 64 percent to 58 percent over the past two months, according to Gallup. Meanwhile, theContinue Reading