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Elizabeth Wilner/Cook Political Report has important observations of the future of polling:
Elections have consequences for parties—and now, for polling.

An industry accustomed to unquestioned respect that had struggled quietly against its mounting demons for the previous few election cycles is facing an intervention post-2012. A decades-old method of gauging a person’s likeliness to cast a vote for president failed. The resulting gap between some pre-election ballot tests and the actual outcome shook those pollsters including the oldest brand in the business, Gallup.

A robopoll—an automated survey involving no person-to-person contact—mirrored the final results as closely as any set of live interviews.

And by offering a shortcut through the glut, Nate Silver and other poll aggregators became what pollsters once were, our national tea-leaf readers, while diminishing the value of accurate individual surveys.

Pollsters, meet Jesus.

Polling is integral to everything we do in politics. A must read.

More Willner, different article:

The likely voter models used by many pollsters to ascertain which respondents are probably going to turn out for an election seemed to conk out in 2012. A new study by one of the industry’s most respected professionals, to be accompanied by R&D on a new likely voter model, finds that the mid-20th century vehicle was no match for 21st-century demographics and targeting.
Here's an example from The Fix:
As The Fix’s Aaron Blake noted this morning, polls routinely show that the public is in favor of increasing the minimum wage. A Public Religion Research Institute poll in 2010 showed that two-thirds of Americans would like to see the minimum wage at $10 an hour — including half of Republicans.

The question: Will GOP pay a price for opposing majority's will on pretty much every single major challenge facing nation?
@ThePlumLineGS via TweetDeck

WaPo on the PR agency behind the NRA:
Ackerman McQueen has managed the NRA’s image and helped fight its political wars for more than 30 years. The ad agency played a pivotal role in its transformation from a sportsman’s group to one of Washington’s most powerful lobbying organizations, shaping a message rooted in uncompromising combativeness, securing its influence inside the NRA and reaping millions of dollars in contracts.
Greg Mitchell:
Daryl Hannah (left)  was one of several prominent folks arrested at the big Keystone XL protest at the White House today.  Others includes Robert Kennedy Jr. and Bill McKibben.   They tied themselves to gate.  And dig this:  "Executive director Michael Brune is the first Sierra Club leader in the group's 120-year history to be arrested in an act of civil disobedience. The club's board of directors approved the action as a sign of their opposition to the $7 billion pipeline, which would carry oil derived from tar sands in western Canada to refineries along the Texas Gulf Coast."

Martin Peretz, former editor has a sad about The New Republic... in the WSJ:

There is something strange about Chris Hughes's journalistic vision. He has said in public and to me that he intended for the magazine no longer to be known as a liberal journal, for it not to take up only one side of an issue. Fair enough. An earnest expression of this sentiment is the fact that the magazine has stopped publishing editorials.

But maybe editorials are no longer needed, given the articles themselves. The magazine now seems to live in a space where those "little insurrections of the mind" are unwelcome. It is akin to the atmosphere in many colleges and universities: There are prevailing orthodoxies but they aren't recognized as such. Mr. Obama himself is the main one. The president is an object of fealty at the New Republic in a way that Woodrow Wilson and even Franklin Roosevelt never were.

Charles Blow:
Is this the real Barack Obama? I hope so. I like this one.
Declan Butler/Nature:
When influenza hit early and hard in the United States this year, it quietly claimed an unacknowledged victim: one of the cutting-edge techniques being used to monitor the outbreak. A comparison with traditional surveillance data showed that Google Flu Trends, which estimates prevalence from flu-related Internet searches, had drastically overestimated peak flu levels. The glitch is no more than a temporary setback for a promising strategy, experts say, and Google is sure to refine its algorithms. But as flu-tracking techniques based on mining of web data and on social media proliferate, the episode is a reminder that they will complement, but not substitute for, traditional epidemiological surveillance networks.
Politico:
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid on Wednesday moved to end the Senate debate on whether to confirm Chuck Hagel to become the next secretary of defense. A vote is set for Friday.

The move was necessary, he said, because he could not come to an agreement with Republicans on handling Hagel’s nomination in any other way, leading minority members to opt to use their privilege to try to delay Hagel’s progress through the full chamber.


How/why GOP senators are trying to filibuster Hagel (for a week) while claiming they're not filibustering him http://t.co/...
@daveweigel via TweetDeck

Andrew Rosenthal:
The rise of the Tea Party, which burst into national politics in 2009 and scored its first major electoral victories in 2010, set off a struggle within the Republican Party over just how far to the right the G.O.P. was willing to go. With that question settled — really, really far — we are now seeing the outlines of a struggle for control of the far right.

The lines of battle were visible on Tuesday night in the dueling responses to President Obama’s State of the Union address.

Greg Sargent:
Having reached a similar conclusion about the GOP’s refusal to rethink its actual policy agenda, I’m still struggling with a question: Is it really possible that the smartest strategists in the Republican Party have decided that they don’t need to change a substantive thing aside perhaps from the party’s stance on immigration?
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Comment Preferences

  •  Charles Blow: "The Real Obama" (11+ / 0-)

    I examine & explain why I can only partially agree with Blow's assessment of the State of the Union in this post to which I invite your attention

    "We didn't set out to save the world; we set out to wonder how other people are doing and to reflect on how our actions affect other people's hearts." - Pema Chodron

    by teacherken on Thu Feb 14, 2013 at 04:33:42 AM PST

  •  problem for GOP and minimum wage (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SueDe, a2nite, rl en france, Amber6541

    is that half of their diminishing base makes less than minimum wage and it does take a genius to figure out $16K- $25K annually is not going to make you the next Romneys, no matter how well your investments do  

    •  I deal with many small businesses, (12+ / 0-)

      and it's interesting to listen to their discussions of the minimum wage.  Some of them think it should be higher (those who understand that with more disposable income their customers will frequent their business more often); some think there shouldn't be any minimum wage at all, and often use the reasoning either that it will cause them to raise prices for their goods and services or cause them to hire fewer employees.  In between these two perspectives there are a hundred variations, including "raising the minimum wage to $9 is too much" to "this means every one of my employees will work less than 30 hours a week or the work will be contracted out."

      "In this world of sin and sorrow there is always something to be thankful for; as for me, I rejoice that I am not a Republican." - H. L. Mencken

      by SueDe on Thu Feb 14, 2013 at 05:03:16 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  We must convince americans it is in their best (11+ / 0-)

        interest to slave away at a thankless shitty job for nothing.

        it is a core feature of the Republican Agenda.

        Once Americans are happily working for $2.50 a day, then we can bring manufacturing back to America.

        To paraphrase George HW Bush, if Americans truly understood the republican agenda - which they clearly do not - republicans would not be safe in public.

        The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men.

        by xxdr zombiexx on Thu Feb 14, 2013 at 05:22:09 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  AND lower crime rates (0+ / 0-)

          After all, wouldn't crime go down if no one had enough to steal?

          New meaning for "middle class" would be those squeezed in the middle!

          The Democrats create jobs. The Republicans create recessions.

          by Tuba Les on Thu Feb 14, 2013 at 08:45:46 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  Most of those small businesses are full of shit (5+ / 0-)

        Because if the minimum wage was increased and all wages from the bottom up rose along with them, those small businesses would have more business.  More business because people would have more money to spend means more hours for part time worker and/or more workers.  It would mean those small businesses would grow and make more profit which would enrich those small business owners and maybe they could expand to make more money which would mean more jobs and a healthier economy which would in turn mean more business for them.

        None of them would want to eliminate the minimum wage except for the fucking stupid ones.  If the wages were lowered and we continue down the spiral towards a low wage country nobody but a select few rich people will be able to afford to do business with those small business owners.  It's very unlikely that Charles Koch will be frequenting some podunk business in south bumblefuck Kentucky which means those stupid fucks will be OUT of business.

        This is your world These are your people You can live for yourself today Or help build tomorrow for everyone -8.75, -8.00

        by DisNoir36 on Thu Feb 14, 2013 at 05:25:46 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  before the 2007 crash de facto minimum (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          salmo

          here was already $9.  There was no one who would work for less and that created a demand for workers.  On our Main Street, I would guess since 2007 there has been a 25% loss of small businesses

          •  Do you think the Main Street businesses' (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            skohayes

            failing are a result of the $9 minimum wage?

            "In this world of sin and sorrow there is always something to be thankful for; as for me, I rejoice that I am not a Republican." - H. L. Mencken

            by SueDe on Thu Feb 14, 2013 at 05:59:30 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I did not say that or at least don't think I said (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              gritsngumbo, salmo, sfbob

              that; in general, support staff should be about 12%-15% of your total expenses with total staff costs running no higher than 23%.  If you assume a minimum wage of $7.25, a de facto salary of $9 is an increase of $1.75 or about 19% increase which should represent roughly 1.65% of your revenues.  While some vendors operate on a 3% margin, if your revenue stream is so depleted that 1.65% change can put you out of business, you probably are going to tank and probably due to other cost factors

              •  I ran a business (4+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                salmo, Tuba Les, sfbob, BusyinCA

                and my payroll and benefits was NEVER more than 20% of total gross income.  I kept losses down under 3% and made a profit of over 20% a year.  Usually had about a staff of 10-12 people of which a good half of them were full time and made significantly higher than minimum wage and I carried a few part timers who were mostly 18 or under and would work 20 or so hours on nights and weekends.  They made the minimum wage, but in CT our minimum wages are significantly higher than the federal minimum.  The way I was able to do it was by increasing sales.  I took the business over from someone who was losing money and was getting robbed left and right by her employees.  I fired the employees, hired new ones I trained myself, kept close tabs of my inventory, worked the customers for sales and voila! the sales doubled and profits soared even with higher wages.  I was willing to pay a bit more for good employees and the results spoke for themselves.

                So when any small business person bitches about wages and not making a profit I call bullshit.

                This is your world These are your people You can live for yourself today Or help build tomorrow for everyone -8.75, -8.00

                by DisNoir36 on Thu Feb 14, 2013 at 06:44:51 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  it depends on your industry but for a medical (0+ / 0-)

                  clinic, physician compensation is 50% of gross.  The numbers I cited was for a restaurant or retail outlet.  The 3% markup was for grocery stores but the general numbers hold from industry to industry.  When staffing costs exceed 25% you have problems which could shutter your windows

                  •  Retail (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    entlord, sfbob

                    Medical is a bit different.  I guess when I was saying small business I was referring to restaurant or retail.  Your classic mom and pop shop.  Restaurant is a bit different in that most of the staff don't have benefits and the wages are super low because most of the waitstaff income comes from tips.  However, you have more people working at one time from cooking, prepping, hostessing, waiting and cleaning.  But I agree with you on the 25%.  If you're paying out 25% in wages and benefits something is wrong and usually it's not that you pay too much but that  you just bring in too little income.  Of course unless you're the typical GOoPer who rewards themselves (embezzles), their family and friends handsomely and in the process drive the business into the ground.

                    This is your world These are your people You can live for yourself today Or help build tomorrow for everyone -8.75, -8.00

                    by DisNoir36 on Thu Feb 14, 2013 at 07:51:15 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Market dynamics shift? (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      entlord

                      How would a change in the minimum wage change the market balance between Main Street and WalMart/MacDonalds?  In our very rural end of the country, it seems to me that forcing the outfits that depend on low wage workers to take market share from local business people who mostly staff the stores themselves and with family would tip the balance a bit towards those Main Street businesses.  But, most Americans don't live and shop in small towns and rural areas.  

      •  My perspective is that many small... (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        GayHillbilly, shaso, SueDe, sfbob

        ...business owners over internalize the impact of minimum wage. In other words they seem to analyze it as if it is only going to happen to them and no one else.

        I used to work at an opinion research call center for a number of years and I observed that perspective in hundreds of open ended responses in our business/professional surveys.

        When you are right you cannot be too radical; when you are wrong, you cannot be too conservative. --Martin Luther King Jr.

        by Egalitare on Thu Feb 14, 2013 at 06:03:06 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  As for the empty "raise prices" threat... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        SueDe, sfbob

        If small businesses thought they could maintain current demand with higher prices for their goods and services (thereby increasing revenue dramatically), they would charge higher prices now, regardless of the going wage rate or minimum wage laws. Without an increase in demand, facing competition elsewhere, they cannot raise prices without potentially losing customers. Higher incomes in the area from the higher wages may raise demand, which will, in turn, allow SOME businesses to raise prices marginally, but make no mistake, it's demand for a businesses goods and services that dictates price caps, not marginal changes in variable costs.

  •  Joe Scarborough on Obama during the 2008 (5+ / 0-)

    campaign....'Hillary Clinton is going to clean his clock'.....missed it by that much Joe.....now let's talk about guns again.

  •  To Reduce Suicide Rates, New Focus Turns to Guns (15+ / 0-)

    http://www.nytimes.com/...

    The gun debate has focused on mass shootings and assault weapons since the schoolhouse massacre in Newtown, Conn., but far more Americans die by turning guns on themselves. Nearly 20,000 of the 30,000 deaths from guns in the United States in 2010 were suicides, according to the most recent figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The national suicide rate has climbed by 12 percent since 2003, and suicide is the third-leading cause of death for teenagers.

    Guns are particularly lethal. Suicidal acts with guns are fatal in 85 percent of cases, while those with pills are fatal in just 2 percent of cases, according to the Harvard Injury Control Research Center.

    The national map of suicide lights up in states with the highest gun ownership rates. Wyoming, Montana and Alaska, the states with the three highest suicide rates, are also the top gun-owning states, according to the Harvard center. The state-level data are too broad to tell whether the deaths were in homes with guns, but a series of individual-level studies since the early 1990s found a direct link. Most researchers say the weight of evidence from multiple studies is that guns in the home increase the risk of suicide.

    “The literature suggests that having a gun in your home to protect your family is like bringing a time bomb into your house,” said Dr. Mark Rosenberg, an epidemiologist who helped establish the C.D.C.’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. “Instead of protecting you, it’s more likely to blow up.”

    "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

    by Greg Dworkin on Thu Feb 14, 2013 at 04:44:41 AM PST

    •  Something else has been shown to lower suicide (7+ / 0-)

      rates.

      Unpopular issue often prompting some whining from some kossacks but studies show decreased incidence of suicide and attempts. All this is about saving lives, yes?

      Researchers at Montana State University, the University of Colorado, and San Diego State University assessed rates of suicide in the years before and after the passage of statewide medical marijuana laws.

      Authors found, “The total suicide rate falls smoothly during the pre-legalization period in both MML (medical marijuana law) and non-MML states. However, beginning in year zero, the trends diverge: the suicide rate in MML states continues to fall, while the suicide rate in states that never legalized medical marijuana begins to climb gradually.”

      They reported that this downward trend in suicides in states post-legalization was especially pronounced in males. “Our results suggest that the passage of a medical marijuana law is associated with an almost 5 percent reduction in the total suicide rate, an 11 percent reduction in the suicide rate of 20- through 29-year-old males, and a 9 percent reduction in the suicide rate of 30- through 39-year-old males,” they determined.

      Authors theorized that the limited legalization of cannabis may “lead to an improvement in the psychological well-being of young adult males, an improvement that is reflected in fewer suicides.” They further speculated, “The strong association between alcohol consumption and suicide-related outcomes found by previous researchers raises the possibility that medical marijuana laws reduce the risk of suicide by decreasing alcohol consumption.”

      A lot of people strongly agree that ending the 'war on drugs - which is mostly a war on marijuana and minorities' would reduce a LOT of 'gun violence' and related crime.

      Or continue the war on people and lament the fallout. We call that "the status quo" and it is very popular, politically.

      The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men.

      by xxdr zombiexx on Thu Feb 14, 2013 at 05:29:25 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I believe this (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Amber6541

        I have a friend who had a drinking problem and after a day and night of heavy drinking, was laying in bed with his shotgun. His girlfriend walked into the bedroom and startled him (we think), and the shotgun went off and killed him. Of course, he had to have been laying there with his finger on the trigger, so obviously he was considering suicide, but it was caused by the alcoholic depression he was and nothing else.

        “We are not a nation that says ‘don’t ask, don’t tell.’ We are a nation that says ‘out of many, we are one.’” -Barack Obama

        by skohayes on Thu Feb 14, 2013 at 06:06:34 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  In order to prove causation, though, (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        GayHillbilly, Amber6541, sfbob

        these scientists are going to have to provide more than speculation.  Unfortunately the powers working to keep marijuana classified as a Schedule 1 drug are powerful enough to keep any serious R&D from being conducted, so damn near every finding on the impact either on society or individuals has to be done with limited resources and invariably ends up as "speculation."

        "In this world of sin and sorrow there is always something to be thankful for; as for me, I rejoice that I am not a Republican." - H. L. Mencken

        by SueDe on Thu Feb 14, 2013 at 06:12:25 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Doesn't surprise me at all (0+ / 0-)

        I always remind people that as a recovering addict I cannot personally use marijuana but I don't see that as a valid reason for denying it to others any more than my own inability to drink responsibility ought to deprive others of the pleasures of liquor. I do in fact see that apart from the pleasures it might provide marijuana has discernible medical benefits. And even if the thought that there is a less problematic way to manage pain is the only thing keeping people from committing suicide that is a good enough justification for legalizing marijuana.

        As for the remainder of the 'war on drugs' don't even get me started. Addiction is a disease; it should not be treated as a crime nor should we countenance a situation where addicts are exploited by a criminal class that is in fact little more than the creature of the attitude that has led to the war on drugs. In reality the only people who benefit from our continued policy are the illicit manufacturers and transporters of banned substances and the builders and operators of prisons. If the liquor industry were smart they'd realize it would benefit them far more to participate in legalized drug sales than does their opposition to the legality of anything besides alcohol.

  •  Thanks for this excellent roundup, Greg! (6+ / 0-)

    Looking forward to reading these articles in depth after breakfast.  Thanks for the look at the headlines too.

    Wonder how long it's going to take for Dumbfuckistan to acknowledge that Wayne LaPierre is crazy?

    "Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich."--Napoleon

    by Diana in NoVa on Thu Feb 14, 2013 at 04:49:32 AM PST

    •  so long as they continue to rack up members (8+ / 0-)

      what do they care?

      Remember, the demographics of the NRA matches that of the GOP. Did Rience Priebus resign? Ted Cruz? James Inhofe?

      "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

      by Greg Dworkin on Thu Feb 14, 2013 at 04:55:38 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  The Republicans we know are in a real bind. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        GayHillbilly, Amber6541

        They grew up in Republican households at a time when the party adherents ranged from conservative to moderate to liberal.  The Democratic Party was not a great choice in many areas because they were allied with strident racists and/or crooked urban political machines.  True where I lived.

        At a recent social gathering, every little conversation group drifted towards the topic of guns.  Across the board, regardless of political leanings or affiliation, people were appalled with the NRA's current pronouncements and the hysteria that surrounds gun ownership.  They are also very upset with the party's anti-woman stance and our rush to war in Iraq, among other things.

        So, I wonder what it will take for these people to abandon the Republican Party, at least at the ballot box, if not in registration.

      •  I suspect their numbers are declining (0+ / 0-)

        and that's why they are ratcheting up the "crazy" to attract more "crazy" members as the sane and reasonable ones are leaving or not joining.

        "I'm totally pro-choice in the matter of abortion. But of course I'm also so radically pro-life that I think every person from birth onward must have full and affordable access to healthcare." - Gail Collins

        by gritsngumbo on Thu Feb 14, 2013 at 07:59:25 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  WE should join the NRA (0+ / 0-)

          A few million of us could vote out the existing board and officers, and get sensible support for control of guns.

          The Democrats create jobs. The Republicans create recessions.

          by Tuba Les on Thu Feb 14, 2013 at 08:36:29 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I'm not sure of the details, but I don't think (0+ / 0-)

            the "members" have that much to do with electing the leadership.

            "I'm totally pro-choice in the matter of abortion. But of course I'm also so radically pro-life that I think every person from birth onward must have full and affordable access to healthcare." - Gail Collins

            by gritsngumbo on Thu Feb 14, 2013 at 05:19:18 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  The only poll the Republicans care about (8+ / 0-)

    is the one their campaign donors take. John Boehner will continue to go to the microphone and claim he's doing "what the American people want" - and it seems like it's more often than not the opposite of what the polling says.

    I'm pretty tired of being told what I care about.

    by hulibow on Thu Feb 14, 2013 at 04:52:52 AM PST

  •  So a filibuster is not a filibuster, this is Alice (4+ / 0-)

    in Wonderland territory, but then that is hardly new for us. Looks like Harry will need cooperation from the Mad Hatter tomorrow and only John knows what he will do.

    Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a Republican. But I repeat myself. Harry Truman

    by ratcityreprobate on Thu Feb 14, 2013 at 04:54:57 AM PST

  •  Gun nuts don't represent Americans (7+ / 0-)

    These gun nuts are dangerous and simply not aware of reality. Their plan for universal gun ownership in America is stunning. Only in the bizarro dual reality of the right wing mob does the National Rifle Association and the various collection of gun nuts that have been drawn out by this debate speak for any large percentage of Americans. The country has made it abundantly clear in poll after election after public demonstration that they want common sense gun regulations that will save lives. George Washington and Thomas Jefferson did not bestow upon us a divine right to own machine guns and ammo clips with ore than 100 armor-piercing bullets. The media and our lawmakers must stop giving attention to the idiots at the NRA. Ignore themand listen to real Americans.  -  progressive

  •  Redstate....bible thumping Erick for Sanford.... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DRo, skohayes
    •  I have only read one comment (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      skillet, GayHillbilly

      so far that agrees with EricksonofErick.

      Here's a guy who abandoned his state (and lied about it), his wife, and his FOUR BOYS, all for a little action on side of a mountain. He should be treated with grace on the street, and as a political pariah. Let him run for town council or something.

      Seriously, if Sarah Palin had done what he did, would you be endorsing her ? I doubt it.

      “We are not a nation that says ‘don’t ask, don’t tell.’ We are a nation that says ‘out of many, we are one.’” -Barack Obama

      by skohayes on Thu Feb 14, 2013 at 06:23:05 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  The best one was (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        skillet, skohayes
        No, this is nothing like Clinton. Sanford fell in love with another woman and now wants to marry her. Clinton was a serial adulterer, abuser, maybe a rapist. Clinton was about lust, Sanford was about love.
        Sanford did it out of LOVE.  I guess he just didn't LOVE his wife or his four kids.  The hell with them.  

        LOVE?  More like he just loved getting laid by a Latina.

        This is your world These are your people You can live for yourself today Or help build tomorrow for everyone -8.75, -8.00

        by DisNoir36 on Thu Feb 14, 2013 at 06:58:57 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Fournier (4+ / 0-)
    Inside the cozy enclaves of GOP bonhomie—hunkered at the tables of see-and-be-seen Washington restaurants—Republican leaders are sourly predicting a party-busting independent presidential bid by a tea-party challenger, like Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., in 2016.

    To them, the GOP apocalypse looms larger than most realize. Dueling State of the Union rebuttals and Karl Rove’s assault on right-wing candidates are mere symptoms of an existential crisis that is giving the sturdiest Republicans heartburn.
    And yet, the heart of the matter extends beyond the GOP. My conversations this week with two Republican officials, along with a Democratic strategist's timely memo, reflect a growing school of thought in Washington that social change and a disillusioned electorate threaten the entire two-party system.

    Seem like a lot to swallow? Allow me to describe my last few days at work.

    http://www.nationaljournal.com/...

    "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

    by Greg Dworkin on Thu Feb 14, 2013 at 05:07:07 AM PST

  •  Probably NOT (6+ / 0-)
    Will GOP pay a price for opposing majority's will on pretty much every single major challenge facing nation?
    Approximately 40% of Americans are just plain stupid. Nothing else really comes close to explaining it.

    We still have birtherism making news.

    Brighter heads have prevailed recently, but only by thin margins.

    Stupid has a tremendous amount of clout in this country.

    The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men.

    by xxdr zombiexx on Thu Feb 14, 2013 at 05:14:57 AM PST

    •  but it is not a majority (3+ / 0-)

      remember that. ;-)

      "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

      by Greg Dworkin on Thu Feb 14, 2013 at 05:17:43 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Fear is the Mindkiller...and is being dolloped out (5+ / 0-)

      in buckets. eg, LaPierre will be telling us to arm against Martians next.

    •  Many Republicans I know are not stupid. (7+ / 0-)

      They're also not engaged in politics on a full-time basis or even as a hobby.  They don't work on campaigns or elections.  Every time there is an election they have to look up where to vote.  They are Republicans - that is, they vote Republican - because they have always voted Republican (at least since Reagan), or their daddies voted Republican, or the community in which they live is majority Republican.  For the most part their votes are based on emotion, because they haven't been engaged enough to gather facts.

      They're not stupid, but they are unthinking when it comes to politics.  Even some of those people, though, are slowly coming to realize that Republican policies would not be good for them personally.  Whether they will remain Republican voters will have a lot to do with how the Democrats attract their attention and talk to them, and how the Democrats can show them that policies of the Democratic party will help them personally - or at least not hurt them.

      "In this world of sin and sorrow there is always something to be thankful for; as for me, I rejoice that I am not a Republican." - H. L. Mencken

      by SueDe on Thu Feb 14, 2013 at 05:54:14 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Right on the money (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        SueDe

        That describes Lee County, FL perfectly.

        Are there no prisons? No workhouses?

        by meatballs on Thu Feb 14, 2013 at 06:35:40 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Or in many cases and places (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        SueDe

        (Louisiana is an example) no Democrat has the guts to run for office so all that's on the ballot is Republicans.

        "I'm totally pro-choice in the matter of abortion. But of course I'm also so radically pro-life that I think every person from birth onward must have full and affordable access to healthcare." - Gail Collins

        by gritsngumbo on Thu Feb 14, 2013 at 08:07:42 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Take heart - things can change. (0+ / 0-)

          Texas used to be the same way - a choice between a Republican or a Libertarian - and some districts are still like that.  Even if there was a Democrat on the ballot, he would rightfully be called a Dixiecrat.  Over the course of the past few elections though, the Democrats have managed to field candidates who are sometimes even progressive

          "In this world of sin and sorrow there is always something to be thankful for; as for me, I rejoice that I am not a Republican." - H. L. Mencken

          by SueDe on Thu Feb 14, 2013 at 08:25:00 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Fingers crossed. Hopefully in my lifetime. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            SueDe

            "I'm totally pro-choice in the matter of abortion. But of course I'm also so radically pro-life that I think every person from birth onward must have full and affordable access to healthcare." - Gail Collins

            by gritsngumbo on Thu Feb 14, 2013 at 05:20:21 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  My father was like that (0+ / 0-)

        when he was growing up (born in 1911.)  He did vote for Roosevelt at least twice, but then went back to voting Republican.  From the early 1950s we lived in a very conservation town and everyone voted Republican.

        I became a Democrat in 1960 at the age of 11 - it took me 8 years but eventually I converted him (my mom was easier - she was always a closet Dem.)  He never voted Republican again after 1968.

    •  There definitely are stupid people (0+ / 0-)

      But 40% is a high estimation...

      I give people a little more credit than that.

      Are there no prisons? No workhouses?

      by meatballs on Thu Feb 14, 2013 at 06:38:59 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Rec'd for: (0+ / 0-)
      Approximately 40% of Americans are just plain stupid. Nothing else really comes close to explaining it.
      Pretty much explains everything.

      "I'm totally pro-choice in the matter of abortion. But of course I'm also so radically pro-life that I think every person from birth onward must have full and affordable access to healthcare." - Gail Collins

      by gritsngumbo on Thu Feb 14, 2013 at 08:05:34 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Univeral Pre-K (8+ / 0-)

    To me, the most important aspect of the SOTU and the one that has probably gotten the least ink is the president's call for universal pre=k. If it were actually implemented, it would have a HUGE impact on education in this country. Every dollar spent on pre-k education saves $7 on remedial programs later in school.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/...

    # A state-federal partnership to guarantee pre-K to all 4-year-olds in families at or below 200 percent of the poverty line, to be provided by school districts and other local partners, and to use instructors with the same level of education and training as K-12 instructions.

    # A massively expanded Early Head Start program — building on the existing program, which has proven very effective in randomized controlled trials — which provides early education, child care, parental education, and health services to vulnerable children ages 0 to 3.

    # Also expanding Nurse Family Partnerships, a program that has also earned top marks in randomized trials, and which provides regular home visits from nurses to families from pregnancy through the child’s second birthday, intended to promote good health and parenting practices.

    •  Absolutely! (0+ / 0-)

      and it saves tons of money over the long term.  Unfortunately long term thinking is not high on the list of Congressional skills.

      My daughter teaches early elementary - the difference between kids who have been to pre-school and kids who have not is striking, especially in terms of social skills.  

  •  The Tea Party only selectively bangs that (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SueDe

    isolationist gong.  They're quite happy to spend vast sums to support a military machine that is beyond huge with military installations and operations all around the world.

    That money needs to be diverted to productive purposes.  I think one reason for the economic decline of the US is this misguided expenditure on empire building.

  •  Implications for pollsters (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    GayHillbilly, salmo

    There are estimates that in some states, most notably Florida, hundreds of thousands of people tried to vote but gave up and left without voting because of the long lines.  This is surely a large enough number to affect pre-election polls of likely voters.

    •  yes, and covered in a different way (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      salmo

      what made some polling (ie R polling) miss is miscalculating who would show up. They got the predicted electorate wrong.

      "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

      by Greg Dworkin on Thu Feb 14, 2013 at 06:01:40 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I wish I had (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Greg Dworkin

    written something last year about polling that suggested that cell phones were leading pollsters to undercount Democrats, that the biggest name in polling had been awful for 16 years and that Rasmussen's state polling was so bad that it should be ignored.

    Or that in last April I had written this:

    It is quite possible to drive yourself crazy following National Polling.  In particular, the two pollsters that conduct daily tracking are both among the least reliable.  Most here are familiar with Rasmussen.  In 2000 when they went under the name Portrait of America they were over 8 points off the final result.  Their results in 2004 – 2008 were actually pretty good, but there were reasons to be suspicious about some of their numbers in 2010.  Interestingly, though, you can argue Gallup is worse.  In 2000 their polling showed wild swings that no one else saw.  In 2008 they were the only pollster that showed McCain up by more than 3.

    In 1996 I tracked national and state polling.  What I found at the time was curious:  the state polling was not finding leads as large as those for Clinton (National Polling in 1996 overstated Clinton’s margin significantly).   Since then I have found that averages of state polling are less susceptible to wild swings and outliers for a simple reason: they are more of them and there are more pollsters doing state surveys

    The article from the Cook report is important for what it says, but just as important for what it does not say:
    1.  This is the first election cycle since 1980 in which no national pollster OVERSTATED Obama's margin of victory.   There is clear sign of systemic polling bias against Democrats at the national level, and this is the second cycle (2010 was the same) that this has been true.  
    2.  There is a growing gap between state polling and national polling.  This gap exists even with pollsters that conduct both national and state polling.  This isn't new, but it highlights the need to look at state polling before you confirm ANY national trend.  But the other question to ask is why?  Why does this gap exist? Are problems in samples easier to spot at the national than at the state level?  Are respondants more likely to answer calls from pollsters who ask only about their state.    
    3.   Gallup's reputation still hasn't been hit: they are still on the front page here occasionally!

    The bitter truth of deep inequality has been disguised by an era of cheap imported goods and the anyone-can-make-it celebrity myth - Polly Toynbee

    by fladem on Thu Feb 14, 2013 at 06:32:45 AM PST

    •  for issues polling where the MoE doesn't matter (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      salmo

      different use of polling. 90% agree with background checks and even gallup gets it right.

      But no question, this is not new, it's just interesting.

      "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

      by Greg Dworkin on Thu Feb 14, 2013 at 06:45:37 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Polls (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Amber6541

    When they are used to try to manipulate people and shape opinion, instead of just simply revealing what the public consensus is - that's when they lack credibility and not-so-coincidentally accuracy.

    I believe the common polling tactic has evolved into asking questions in a misleading or engendering way that solicits a weighted response.  The data resulting from such methodologies is then offered as a substantiation to unpopular politics - with the idea that people will want to like what other people like so they'll adopt a position they ordinarily would be against.

    This last election proved that this doesn't work.  So pollsters should stick to being pollsters and get out of the propaganda game.

    Are there no prisons? No workhouses?

    by meatballs on Thu Feb 14, 2013 at 06:32:47 AM PST

    •  well, your analysis is just wrong (0+ / 0-)

      that's not what (most reputable) pollsters do or did.

      "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

      by Greg Dworkin on Thu Feb 14, 2013 at 06:46:40 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Rasmussen? Fox News? (0+ / 0-)

        I don't know if you consider these pollsters reputable, but it's clear that's what they were doing.

        Maybe I'm just a cynic, but I think these tactics bled over into the polling done by pollsters who were otherwise normally reputable.

        What made Nate Silver such a genius?  I think it had much to do with his removal of bias.  Certainly, having the insight to know what indicating questions to ask is helpful, but one possible could out-think oneself.  

        I believe that in this world, really since 1980, integrity has increasingly taken a back seat to profit - which seems to a paradoxical effect in the aggregate.

        Are there no prisons? No workhouses?

        by meatballs on Thu Feb 14, 2013 at 06:55:22 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  rasmussen was just wrong (0+ / 0-)

          and iffy on reputable
          fox news POLLING (check the data) was pretty accurate. Different than Fox NEWS.

          "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

          by Greg Dworkin on Thu Feb 14, 2013 at 07:05:43 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

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