The Morning Jolt

Carly’s In: CNN Makes the Right Decision

A new Washington Post/ABC poll finds 45 percent of all adult respondents have a favorable view of Hillary Clinton, and 53 percent have an unfavorable view. The survey also finds that almost twice as many having a “strongly unfavorable” view of her (39 percent) as “strongly favorable” (21 percent).

Note that traditionally Democratic groups aren’t so fond of her, either: “Her ratings are 48 percent favorable to 51 percent unfavorable among women . . . Among adults aged 18-to-39, Clinton splits 47 percent favorable to 50 percent unfavorable.”

Donald Trump is at a 37–59 split — but note that at the end of May, it was a 16–71 split. And while we shouldn’t be surprised to see Trump having high negative numbers among minorities . . . yeesh:

Trump’s strong unfavorable marks spike in groups the Republican Party has been hoping to reach out to in presidential elections — Hispanic and African Americans. More than eight in 10 in each group rate him unfavorably, and 68 percent of each group says they have a “strongly unfavorable” impression of the businessman.

Jeb Bush is at a pretty sad 38 percent favorable, 55 percent unfavorable.

Carly’s In: CNN Makes the Right Decision

Lets give credit to CNN. They realized their criteria for a September debate was going to use a lot of polls conducted in July, and that simply didn’t make much sense. So they revised the rules.

In May, we announced criteria for our September 16th Republican debates at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library. We said that we would use the average of approved national polls from July 16th through September 10th to determine the makeup of the debates. At the time, we expected there to be many more national polls following the first Republican debate, in August, than there appears there will be. In fact, in 2007 and 2011, there were 16 and 15 approved national polls in the comparable August-September time frame. This year, there have been only three such national polls released. We learned this week that there will likely be only two more polls by the deadline of September 10th.

In a world where we expected there to be at least 15 national polls, based on historic precedent, it appears there will be only five. As a result, we now believe we should adjust the criteria to ensure the next debate best reflects the most current state of the national race. In the event that any candidate is polling in the top 10 in an average of approved national polls released between August 7th and September 10th, we will add those candidates to our top tier debate, even if those candidates did not poll in the top 10 in an average of approved national polls between July 16th and September 10th. We have discussed these changes with the Republican National Committee and the Reagan Library and they are fully supportive.

In short, barring some dramatic turn of events in those next few polls, Carly Fiorina will probably be up on that stage.

If the eligibility window closed today, CNN’s analysis of polls conducted from July 16 shows that Donald Trump, Jeb Bush, Scott Walker, Ben Carson, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Mike Huckabee, Rand Paul, John Kasich and Chris Christie would qualify for the top-tier debate. With today’s change, Fiorina would also qualify for the top-tier debate.

You may notice that’s . . . eleven participants.

Pollster: Americans Don’t Actually Pay Attention to Policie

Oh, come on, America. Come on! This shows you’re not even paying attention to the questions!

Republicans are more likely to oppose repealing the 1975 Public Affairs Act — which doesn’t actually exist — when they’re told that President Barack Obama wants to do so, while Democrats object when they’re told it’s a Republican proposal.  But even when it comes to real issues, reactions to polls can vary greatly, depending on the wording.

How much can namedropping a politician matter? Conveniently, Republican front-runner Donald Trump shares a couple of policy positions with Obama and other leading Democrats. In a new HuffPost/YouGov poll, we randomly assigned one half of the 1,000 Americans surveyed to say whether they agreed with positions Trump held. The rest were asked whether they agreed with positions held by Obama, Secretary of State John Kerry or current Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. The trick: the positions were actually the same.

Yet respondents’ reactions were decidedly different. Hearing that Trump supported a certain policy was enough to cause Democrats to reconsider ideas they’d otherwise support, and for Republicans to endorse positions they’d usually avoid.

Although most Republicans say they strongly disagree with Democrats on health care, Iran and affirmative action, fewer than a quarter of Republicans strongly disagreed when those positions were presented as Trump’s. Democrats, a majority of whom said they strongly agreed with their party on health care, were less supportive when Trump was the one endorsing the policy.

As you may have sensed, Charlie Cooke is more than a little irked that so many self-identified conservatives don’t actually care whether the nominee has a record of consistent conservatism.

An array of self-described “true conservatives” have put themselves in the awkward position of supposing that an “assault weapons” ban isn’t that big a deal after all. Thus have the pioneers of litmus testing lined up obediently behind a guy whose position on Planned Parenthood is identical to Hillary Clinton’s. Thus have the Scalia-citing “constitutional conservatives” taken to lionizing a man whose primary criticism of the liberty-shredding Kelo v. New London ruling was that it didn’t go far enough. Thus have the screaming eagles of Twitter and beyond taken to contending that the class-conscious tax hikes that the America-hating Communist Bernie Sanders proposes are akin to apple-pie-and-motherhood when they’re floated by Donald Trump.

Yeah, we’re the Republicans, and we’re the party that wants to raise your taxes:

In recent weeks, Mr. Trump has threatened to impose tariffs on American companies that put their factories in other countries. He has suggested he would increase taxes on the compensation of hedge fund managers. And he has vowed to change laws that allow American companies to benefit from cheaper tax rates by using mergers to base their operations outside the United States.

Then again, maybe the Trump agenda on taxes is pretty incoherent:

As with many of Mr. Trump’s policy ideas, confusion seems to be keeping interested parties from knowing exactly how to respond. In an interview with Fox News last week, Mr. Trump said a flat tax would be a viable improvement to America’s tax system. Moments later, he suggested that a flat tax would be unfair because the rich would be taxed at the same rate as the poor.

“The one problem I have with the flat tax is that rich people are paying the same as people that are making very little money,” Mr. Trump said. “And I think there should be a graduation of some kind.”

So he wants a flat tax, as long as not everyone is paying the same percentage . . . which makes it no longer a flat tax.

Michael Brendan Dougherty makes the argument that the Republican base is now one of the forces defending the entitlement state now:

The party’s base is older white voters who rely on Social Security and Medicare. Many of these people are not in the wealth-creating phase of their lives. According to the elite Republican consensus, they are part of the “47 percent” that Mitt Romney so cavalierly dismissed as takers. But these voters say a cut to their “earned” benefits is an insult to their honor, and their willingness to work hard and play by the rules. We are a long way from the time that George W. Bush claimed a mandate to create privatized Social Security accounts.

If Trump’s poll numbers ride high into Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina, he may prove that perhaps one-third or more of the party’s primary voters are no friends of conservative economic views. He may knock out several of the non-Bush conservatives this way. His duel will show that there are alternative routes to the nomination for men of means. And the aggrieved reaction of party elites to the insult given them by Trump and his voters will also prove toxic in a general election and beyond.

How many Republicans who never stopped supporting tax cuts and entitlement reform will have that Reagan-esque feeling, “I didn’t leave the party, the party left me?”

ADDENDA: AEI’s Charles Murray is sick of politics. For some reason, I don’t think he’s alone. 

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