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Tags: Mike Huckabee

Obama Trails Romney, Huckabee, Gingrich, Ties Palin. No, Really.



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Yes, I began the week by noting PPP’s lack of disclosure of past clients and questioning the partisan breakdown in their polls, but this result is just too bizarrely fascinating to ignore:

With his approval numbers hitting new lows it’s no surprise that Barack Obama’s numbers in our monthly look ahead to the 2012 Presidential race are their worst ever this month. He trails Mitt Romney 46-43, Mike Huckabee 47-45, Newt Gingrich 46-45, and is even tied with Sarah Palin at 46. The only person tested he leads is Jan Brewer, who doesn’t have particularly high name recognition on the national level at this point.

It’s not that any of the Republican candidates are particularly well liked. Only Huckabee has positive favorability numbers at 37/28. Romney’s at 32/33, Gingrich at 32/42, Palin at 37/52, and Brewer at 17/20. But with a majority of Americans now disapproving of Obama it’s no surprise that a large chunk of them would replace him as President if they had that choice today.

I think the sudden reversal of fortune for Obama and the various Republicans is a good excuse to dust off one of the all-time great Jonah Goldberg columns:

Recall, if you will, the episode of the Simpsons when Homer is selected to be a space shuttle astronaut. News anchor Kent Brockman is scheduled to interview the shuttle crew while they are in orbit.

But just before they “switch live” to the crew of the corvair craft, there’s a mishap on board. Homer, unaccustomed to weightlessness, is veering, out of control, straight toward the ant farm the crew brought along for study.

When news anchor Kent Brockman cuts to the live feed from the shuttle, the ants float by the camera lens — momentarily appearing gigantic. Then they lose the picture. Brockman instantaneously reports:

“Ladies and gentlemen, er, we’ve just lost the picture, but, uh, what we’ve seen speaks for itself. The Corvair spacecraft has been taken over — ‘conquered’, if you will — by a master race of giant space ants. It’s difficult to tell from this vantage point whether they will consume the captive earth men or merely enslave them. One thing is for certain, there is no stopping them; the ants will soon be here. And I, for one, welcome our new insect overlords. I’d like to remind them that as a trusted TV personality, I can be helpful in rounding up others to . . . toil in their underground sugar caves.”

When it becomes clear that the bugs are in fact not a “master race of giant space ants”, Brockman quickly removes his “Hail Ants” sign hanging just behind him, covering the station logo.

The moral of the story is that journalists (and party hacks) love power. Whether it’s a new insect overlord or a candidate suddenly surging at the polls, the chattering class works under the assumption that whoever has power now will have it for a long time.

When Obama’s presidency was beginning and his job approval and favorable ratings were high, the press deemed opposition to him and his agenda foolish and doomed. Charlie Crist looked wise for embracing him and holding a rally for the stimulus. Arlen Specter’s party switch was considered a shrewd and winning maneuver. Since 2008, most polls that put Obama against Palin head-to-head showed Obama winning, and any interest she had in running was largely deemed folly.

By 2012, these numbers may look different again, and Obama may lead his potential GOP opponents.

However, I suspect Obama’s 2012 standing will be more similar to his standing in 2010 than to 2008′s euphoria. Obama’s 2008 bid and his early popularity were based on what he would do, on promises, on a vision, on potential. His standing today is based on what he has done as president. The perception of Obama won’t change until the reality of what Obama is delivering changes.

In light of this, if Obama delivers a circumstance where Americans feel good about the state of the country, he’ll probably beat any of the above names. If he doesn’t, he’ll probably lose to any of them, even Jan Brewer.

Tags: Barack Obama , Mike Huckabee , Mitt Romney , Newt Gingrich , Sarah Palin

Huckabee’s Numbers Really Surprise After the Clemmons Controversy



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I am surprised. Rejoice, Huckabee fans.

With Barack Obama’s approval rating hitting new lows in most polling it should come as no surprise that his leads over potential 2012 Republican opponents are as well. Mike Huckabee, Sarah Palin, and Tim Pawlenty all have their best performances relative to Obama in this month’s poll and Mitt Romney matches his strongest standing yet.

Huckabee comes the closest, trailing Obama 46-45. It’s interesting to note that Huckabee’s share of the Democratic vote is up from 11% a month ago to now 16%, but his share of the Republican vote is down from 87% to 83% . . . Mitt Romney comes next closest to Obama, trailing 47-42, matching his five point deficit from a month ago.

Palin has her top showing against Obama, trailing 50-44. That’s quite an improvement from March when we first tested the Obama-Palin contest and found her trailing 55-35 . . . Finally Tim Pawlenty, who 64% of voters have no opinion about, trails 48-35.

Tags: Barack Obama , Bill Richardson , Chris Dodd , Hillary Clinton , Horserace , Joe Biden , John Edwards , John McCain , Mike Huckabee , Mitt Romney , Rudy Giuliani , Sarah Palin , Something Lighter , Tommy Thompson

Is Rubio Flip-Flopping on the Stimulus?



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The backers of Florida’s governor and aspiring senator, Charlie Crist, think their rival Marco Rubio has stepped in it, suggesting he would have taken part of the stimulus.

I think they’re making a bit much out of Rubio’s comment, but perhaps Floridians will see it differently.

Reporter: If you had been in his shoes, if you were the governor at that time, would you have avoided that presidential visit from Barack Obama, and secondly, would not have accepted stimulus money?

Rubio: Two different questions. If I had been governor, I would have studied that plan a lot more carefully before I embraced it.

Reporter: Would you have gone to that rally?

Rubio: No, of course not. That rally was a rally in support of a specific plan.

Reporter: And you would not have accepted that money?

Rubio: Accepting the money is different . . . Ultimately, I would have accepted those portions of the money that would not have put Florida worse off in the future than it is right now.

The stimulus backers, on both sides of the aisle, are engaging in the same rhetorical trick. If you think $6 million to the firm of Hillary Clinton’s campaign pollster, Mark Penn, for some digital-television PSAs stinks to high heaven, are you opposed to the concept of stimulus entirely? Of course not. The gargantuan stimulus bill was the usual congressional method of lumping together the indefensible and embarrassing with the justified and necessary, and hoping the good helps obscure the bad.

Video below:

If Florida Republicans think the stimulus was mostly wasteful, I’m not sure that Rubio’s hedged answer really helps the guy who did attend the stimulus rally, but hey, it’s their campaign . . .

Tags: Barack Obama , Bill Richardson , Chris Dodd , Hillary Clinton , Horserace , Joe Biden , John Edwards , John McCain , Mike Huckabee , Mitt Romney , Rudy Giuliani , Sarah Palin , Something Lighter , Tommy Thompson

The Toomsday Clock Is Ticking Louder



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Rasmussen puts Pat Toomey ahead by four, whether his opponent is Arlen Specter or Joe Sestak. The pollster puts Specter ahead by 13 in the Democratic primary.

The favorable/unfavorable split is interesting, too:

Favorable / Unfavorable
Arlen Specter (D): 44 / 50 (chart)
Pat Toomey (R): 51 / 29
Joe Sestak (D): 36 / 38

Tags: Barack Obama , Bill Richardson , Chris Dodd , Hillary Clinton , Horserace , Joe Biden , John Edwards , John McCain , Mike Huckabee , Mitt Romney , Rudy Giuliani , Sarah Palin , Something Lighter , Tommy Thompson

Republican State Legislators, 33 for 50 Since November 2008 in Special Elections



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The shift to the right goes well beyond the federal level of government . . .

With his special-election victory Tuesday night, Republican state representative Jimmy Higdon will take a seat in the Kentucky state senate for the 14th district.  Higdon’s victory is the 33rd win for Republicans in state legislative special elections across the country since November 2008, out of “about 50,” I am told by the Republican State Leadership Committee.

Tags: Barack Obama , Bill Richardson , Chris Dodd , Hillary Clinton , Horserace , Joe Biden , John Edwards , John McCain , Mike Huckabee , Mitt Romney , Rudy Giuliani , Sarah Palin , Something Lighter , Tommy Thompson

State and Local Governments, Taxing Your Patience This Morning



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Today’s piece over on the homepage is a buffet table of outrage. While you’ve been going through tough economic times, state and local governments have responded to those same tough economic times by hiking taxes left and right.

Have some cut their budgets? Sure, after many, many years of increases, spending hikes that almost always outpaced inflation. But the cuts are pretty small, considering the crux of the problem: For much of the past decade, state legislatures bought more government than their tax base could afford.

Lots of state governments are borrowing from the stimulus allocation set aside for next year, ensuring that unless we see a huge jump in the economy and state tax revenues in the next 12 months or so, they’ll be in the same jam they’re in now.

Perhaps most gallingly, a bunch of state legislators have gotten their usual pay increases this year; in Hawaii, they went forward with an astonishing $12,000 pay raise this year, from $36,700 to $48,708.

I mentioned this yesterday on Ed Morrissey’s show, and said that the plethora of tax hikes at the state and local levels amounted to a de facto inflation. A commenter or two took me to task, and so I’ll emphasize, it’s the psychological equivalent of inflation, not an increase in the money supply; the average family’s take-home pay is shrinking from hgher state income taxes, and its purchasing power is shrinking from hikes in state and local sales taxes.

Tags: Barack Obama , Bill Richardson , Chris Dodd , Hillary Clinton , Horserace , Joe Biden , John Edwards , John McCain , Mike Huckabee , Mitt Romney , Rudy Giuliani , Sarah Palin , Something Lighter , Tommy Thompson

That’s Three Surprise Retirements in Three Weeks



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Another House Democrat chooses retirement: Brian Baird of Washington state.

His district’s score on the Cook Political Index is even; Obama carried it by eight percent last year.

He’s at the ripe old age of . . . 53.

The challenge before Baird’s likely GOP challenger, David Castillo, just got much easier.

Tags: Barack Obama , Bill Richardson , Chris Dodd , Hillary Clinton , Horserace , Joe Biden , John Edwards , John McCain , Mike Huckabee , Mitt Romney , Rudy Giuliani , Sarah Palin , Something Lighter , Tommy Thompson

Did 13 Percent of Americans Just Notice Something?



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Somehow, since mid-October, the percentage of Americans telling CNN that Barack Obama has not done enough to earn the Nobel Peace Prize has increased from 67 percent to 80 percent.

Did people have really big expectations for global peace breaking out in November?

Tags: Barack Obama , Bill Richardson , Chris Dodd , Hillary Clinton , Horserace , Joe Biden , John Edwards , John McCain , Mike Huckabee , Mitt Romney , Rudy Giuliani , Sarah Palin , Something Lighter , Tommy Thompson

We’re Yearning for the Good Old Days of Mark Foley and Jack Abramoff



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Back in 2006, during the bad old days of a Republican-run House and Senate, 40 percent of Americans told Gallup that the honesty and ethical standards of members of Congress was “low” or “very low.” Only 15 percent said “high” or “very high.”

Today, under House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Sen. Harry Reid, 55 percent score Congress’s standards as “low” or “very low.”

The “high” and “very high” percentages amount to 9 percent.

Tags: Barack Obama , Bill Richardson , Chris Dodd , Hillary Clinton , Horserace , Joe Biden , John Edwards , John McCain , Mike Huckabee , Mitt Romney , Rudy Giuliani , Sarah Palin , Something Lighter , Tommy Thompson

Tell Me How North Carolina’s Turning Blue Again



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She’s not up for reelection until 2012, but right now, North Carolina governor Bev Perdue – a Democrat – enjoys a healthy approval rating of 32 percent.

Tags: Barack Obama , Bill Richardson , Chris Dodd , Hillary Clinton , Horserace , Joe Biden , John Edwards , John McCain , Mike Huckabee , Mitt Romney , Rudy Giuliani , Sarah Palin , Something Lighter , Tommy Thompson

Man, Life Is Tough When You’re an Incumbent Governor of a State With 10.5 Percent Unemployment



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Earlier in the year, I wondered why Ohio Republicans Rob Portman (running for Senate) and John Kasich (running for governor) had such low name ID.

That concern appears to be increasingly moot:

The latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey in Ohio shows Republican John Kasich getting 48 percent of the vote while Strickland picks up just 39 percent.

The streams are crossing.

Tags: Barack Obama , Bill Richardson , Chris Dodd , Hillary Clinton , Horserace , Joe Biden , John Edwards , John McCain , Mike Huckabee , Mitt Romney , Rudy Giuliani , Sarah Palin , Something Lighter , Tommy Thompson

Opposition to Health-Care Plan Above 50, Again



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PPP:

Do you support or oppose President Obama’s health care plan, or do you not have an opinion?

39% Support, 52% Oppose (chart)

Are you opposed because it gets government too involved in health care or because it would not involve government enough?

90% Too much government involvement
6% Not enough government involvement

That pollster puts Obama’s approval rating at 49 percent, disapproval at 47 percent.

Tags: Barack Obama , Bill Richardson , Chris Dodd , Hillary Clinton , Horserace , Joe Biden , John Edwards , John McCain , Mike Huckabee , Mitt Romney , Rudy Giuliani , Sarah Palin , Something Lighter , Tommy Thompson

The NRCC Gets Its Man: Barletta in PA-11



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Republicans get one of their top-tier candidates, a strong contender who had been on the fence:

Republican Hazleton Mayor Lou Barletta will announce today that he will mount a third run for Congress next year, two party sources familiar with his plans said.

An e-mail from his campaign said he will announce his decision at 10 a.m. through an Internet webcast on his campaign Web site, www.loubarletta.com.

Efforts to reach the mayor the past two weeks were unsuccessful. Vince Galko, who managed Mr. Barletta’s campaign last year, declined to comment, but sent the e-mail announcing the webcast. The e-mail only said Mr. Barletta would announce whether he would run.

Last month, Mr. Barletta sent a letter to supporters asking for contributions to reduce the debt left over from his unsuccessful runs for Congress in 2002 and 2008 against U.S. Rep. Paul E. Kanjorski.

This is pretty big, because Barletta actually led Kanjorski in several polls in 2008; Kanjorski’s bacon was saved by Obama’s big win in the district (by a 15-percentage-point margin).

UPDATE: Lou Barletta would like a few moments of your time:

Tags: Barack Obama , Bill Richardson , Chris Dodd , Hillary Clinton , Horserace , Joe Biden , John Edwards , John McCain , Mike Huckabee , Mitt Romney , Rudy Giuliani , Sarah Palin , Something Lighter , Tommy Thompson

Repeat After Me: The Health-Care Bill Is Not Popular.



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Quinnipiac’s finding that Obama’s approval rating has hit a new low is getting a lot of headlines, but perhaps even more interesting is this result: “Voters disapprove 52 - 38 percent of the health care reform proposal under consideration in Congress.”

Tags: Barack Obama , Bill Richardson , Chris Dodd , Hillary Clinton , Horserace , Joe Biden , John Edwards , John McCain , Mike Huckabee , Mitt Romney , Rudy Giuliani , Sarah Palin , Something Lighter , Tommy Thompson

One of These Is the House District That Includes Smallville, Right?



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Which Kansas Republicans are thinking of running for the seat of retiring Democrat Dennis Moore? Er, almost all of them, it seems:

[Olathe] Mayor Michael Copeland has a lot to consider in the next few weeks as he decides whether to join a list of Republicans running for office in the U.S. 3rd congressional district . . .

Former state Rep. Patricia Lightner of Olathe, who ran unsuccessfully for the Republican nomination in 2004, announced her candidacy even before Moore decided to retire.

Former state Sen. Nick Jordan, who lost to Moore in 2008, is considering running and State Sen. Jeff Colyer and attorney Kevin Yoder, who also ran unsuccessfully against Moore, filed an exploratory committee on the day of Moore’s announcement. Rep. Pat Colloton and former state Sen. Mark Gilstrap also have filed and former Johnson County Commissioner Chair candidate Charlotte O’Hara is considering a run.

So far, Democrats don’t have a declared candidate; state house minority leader Paul Davis is reportedly thinking it over.

Meanwhile, elsewhere in Kansas:

Sen. Dennis Pyle, R-Hiawatha, announced Tuesday that he is “strongly considering” entering the race for U.S. Congress in Kansas’ 2nd District. That would mean a primary for incumbent Lynn Jenkins.

Tags: Barack Obama , Bill Richardson , Chris Dodd , Hillary Clinton , Horserace , Joe Biden , John Edwards , John McCain , Mike Huckabee , Mitt Romney , Rudy Giuliani , Sarah Palin , Something Lighter , Tommy Thompson

Look, Sarah, The Inaugural Address Was a Speech, It’s Not Like He Meant It



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Sarah Palin, writing on the op-ed page of the Washington Post, urges President Obama to skip Copenhagen:

In his inaugural address, President Obama declared his intention to “restore science to its rightful place.” But instead of staying home from Copenhagen and sending a message that the United States will not be a party to fraudulent scientific practices, the president has upped the ante. He plans to fly in at the climax of the conference in hopes of sealing a “deal.” Whatever deal he gets, it will be no deal for the American people. What Obama really hopes to bring home from Copenhagen is more pressure to pass the Democrats’ cap-and-tax proposal. This is a political move. The last thing America needs is misguided legislation that will raise taxes and cost jobs — particularly when the push for such legislation rests on agenda-driven science.

Without trustworthy science and with so much at stake, Americans should be wary about what comes out of this politicized conference. The president should boycott Copenhagen.

Come on. That line about “restoring science to its rightful place” reached its expiration date a while ago . . .

Tags: Barack Obama , Bill Richardson , Chris Dodd , Hillary Clinton , Horserace , Joe Biden , John Edwards , John McCain , Mike Huckabee , Mitt Romney , Rudy Giuliani , Sarah Palin , Something Lighter , Tommy Thompson

Dick Cheney’s Not-So-Big Prediction



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CNN headlines its story “Cheney makes big 2010 prediction,” and I waited to see whether he was willing to predict the GOP winning the House next year, or any upset special in any particular race. But Cheney merely said, “I think we’ll pick up a lot of seats . . . Prospects for the Republicans in 2010 are very good.”

That’s a big prediction? I think at this point, it’s conventional wisdom. Obviously, it’s still early, but folks in the know think that the “winnable” House seats come in bunches of 10 to 12; an “average” year would mean the GOP picks up 10-12 of the lowest-hanging fruit; a good year puts it up to 20-24 seats, a really good year puts it around 30 to 36 seats, and the wild, look-out-here-comes-the-tsunami scenario is 40 to 48 seats. Keep in mind Republicans need 41 seats to retake the House.

In the Senate, Republicans have a lot of good candidates up against incumbents or appointees with relatively weak numbers in places like Delaware, Illinois, Colorado, and Connecticut. They’ve got a good shot at keeping their seat in Ohio and a near-lock at keeping Florida. Incumbents in North Carolina and Louisiana look pretty solid, surprisingly solid in the case of Vitter. I don’t know if I would bet the house on the GOP challengers quite yet, but the approval numbers for Reid in Nevada and Boxer in California look pretty miserable.

Could things have gone better for GOP recruiting this cycle? I’m sure they would have liked to get Giuliani to make one of New York’s races a real race. But overall, the GOP is getting good candidates against Democrats with vulnerabilities, in an environment that, for the moment, is good for challengers and good for conservatives. If anything, Cheney’s being cautious . . .

Tags: Barack Obama , Bill Richardson , Chris Dodd , Hillary Clinton , Horserace , Joe Biden , John Edwards , John McCain , Mike Huckabee , Mitt Romney , Rudy Giuliani , Sarah Palin , Something Lighter , Tommy Thompson

Jon Corzine Saw This News and Said, ‘Man, That Guy’s In Trouble.’



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Matched up against three possible GOP challengers, Connecticut senator Chris Dodd tops out at 40 percent.

A lot can happen in eleven months or so, but that’s a tough spot to be in . . .

Tags: Barack Obama , Bill Richardson , Chris Dodd , Hillary Clinton , Horserace , Joe Biden , John Edwards , John McCain , Mike Huckabee , Mitt Romney , Rudy Giuliani , Sarah Palin , Something Lighter , Tommy Thompson

Hey, Could We Ask a Governor or Mayor in a Low-Unemployment Area?



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On Chris Matthews right now, Michigan governor Jennifer Granholm and Philadelphia mayor Michael Nutter are singing the praises of Obama’s speech on creating jobs today.

Michigan’s unemployment rate is 15.1 percent; Philadelphia’s unemployment rate is 11 percent. You would have to look pretty hard to find two local officials who have presided over steeper or more dramatic losses of jobs; I’m not sure that praise from either of them should be all that reassuring.

Tags: Barack Obama , Bill Richardson , Chris Dodd , Hillary Clinton , Horserace , Joe Biden , John Edwards , John McCain , Mike Huckabee , Mitt Romney , Rudy Giuliani , Sarah Palin , Something Lighter , Tommy Thompson

‘I’m certain Gibbs didn’t intend to impugn the value of presidential job approval polls in general.’



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