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The Campaign Spot

Election-driven news and views . . . by Jim Geraghty.

A Surge of Optimism for Republicans?



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The Tuesday edition of the Morning Jolt features more discussion of parenting and modern society, the mysterious ailment of Jesse Jackson Jr., and bits of good polling news:

A Surge of Optimism for Republicans

I’ll let Ace set the stage with the two polling results out Monday that suggests that things may look better for the GOP than a couple of gloomy days would suggest:

56% agree that Obama has changed the country, but for the worse.

A new poll for The Hill found 56 percent of likely voters believe Obama’s first term has transformed the nation in a negative way, compared to 35 percent who believe the country has changed for the better under his leadership.

The results signal broad voter unease with the direction the nation has taken under Obama’s leadership and present a major challenge for the incumbent Democrat as he seeks reelection this fall.

In addition, 53% of the country approves of the contempt vote against Eric Holder.

According to a CNN/ORC International survey released Monday morning, 53% of people questioned say they approve of the House vote a week and a half ago to hold the attorney general in contempt of Congress for refusing to turn over documents related to a controversial program called Operation Fast and Furious, with one in three saying they disapprove of the move and 13% unsure.

Note that last poll isn’t of likely voters, or even registered voters, but simply breathing adults.

I think both polls are very predictive of November’s vote. My theory (which I’ve written about a lot) is that late-deciding voters actually are not so late deciding. They are simply very late about admitting they’ve decided. Because they tend to be disinterested in politics, they know they haven’t done their homework, and thus hold off on making an acknowledged decision until they get all the “facts” — until they’ve done their homework — which they never actually do.

Recently it seems a lot of conservatives have expressed a sense of deep trepidation if not depression; it probably should be expected when one of our funniest and most jovial voices, Mark Steyn, writes things like:

Last week’s power outages are more relevant to where the U.S. is headed than what passes for John Roberts’s thinking in his Obamacare opinion. It was a reminder, as if you needed one, that in the American twilight the lights will be going out literally. Last week, as the East Coast was fading to black, the West Coast was sinking deeper into the red: Stockton, Calif., became the largest U.S. city to date to file for bankruptcy. America is seizing up before our eyes, and the action necessary to reverse the sclerosis is stymied at every turn by rapacious unions, government micro-regulators, dependency-spreading social engineers, and crony capitalists who know how to weave their way through the bureaucracy . . .

No advanced society has ever attempted Big Government for a third of a billion people — for the simple reason that it cannot be done without creating a nation with the black-hole finances of Stockton, Calif., and the Black-Hole-of-Calcutta fetid, airless, sweatbox utility services of Rockville, Md. Thanks to Obamacare, in matters of health provision, whether you’re in favor of socialized medicine or truly private health care, Swedes and Italians are now freer than Americans: They have a state system and a private system, and both are relatively simple. What’s simple in micro-regulated America? In health care, we now have what’s nominally a private system encrusted with so many statist barnacles that it no longer functions as either a private or a state system. Thus, Obamacare embodies the strange no-man’s-land of statism American-style: The U.S. is no longer a land of republican virtue and self-reliant citizens but it’s not headed for the sunlit uplands of Scandinavia, either.

On the Amazon page for Mark’s book, it says “customers who bought this product also bought hemlock, razor blades, sturdy rope, and firearms.”

It’s not that the causes of the Right are never winning; it’s that the wins and losses are coming in such unexpected places. Think back to, say, five years ago . . .

  • Would you have predicted that a tough law reducing the political power of public-sector unions would withstand all challenges in Wisconsin . . . but falter in Ohio?
  • Would you have expected that Katrina-devastated Louisiana would have a tough, smart governor implementing one groundbreaking reform after another, while the mayor of New York obsesses about banning large sodas?
  • Would you have predicted that Anthony Kennedy would vote with Scalia and Thomas on one of the biggest Supreme Court cases in a generation . . . while John Roberts voted with Ginsberg and Breyer?
  • Would you have predicted a domestic energy-production revival that brings unemployment rates to 4.3 percent or less in North Dakota, South Dakota, and Nebraska . . . while Nevada limps along with the highest unemployment rate in the country?
  • Would you have predicted Republican senators representing states like Pennsylvania (Pat Toomey), Illinois (Mark Kirk), Massachusetts (Scott Brown), or Wisconsin (Ron Johnson) but not states like Virginia, Colorado, Montana, or West Virginia?
  • The Occupy movement is gone, while swing state and swing-district Democrats are avoiding their convention like it’s got Ebola.

The Right has gotten some wins in recent months and years . . . just not necessarily the ones we expected.


Tags: Barack Obama , Polling , Republicans


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