Two staunch pro-life Republicans, Mark Waller and Bob Gardner, both from Colorado Springs, joined seven Democrats on the committee to oppose the bill. They applauded Humphrey for staking out high ground with his bill, but said they unfortunately would vote against it, given that federal law as it stands today made the bill unconstitutional.
“It may be the right moral position, and yet I have to live within the holdings we have and what can be done,” said Gardner. “That’s why I have to respectfully vote no on the bill.”
It’s another intense election year in swing-state Colorado, made more intense by the fact that it’s a midterm election year, where lower voter turnout will give the state’s minority Republican Party a better shot at winning back control of at least one of the legislative chambers.
But Colorado is a pro-choice state. Voters here have defeated proposed personhood amendments in landslides twice at the polls since 2008. In key swing-districts, where registered women outnumber registered men and the number of independent voters essentially matches the numbers of Republican and Democratic voters, a bill like Humphrey’s is a political liability. The bill, HB 1133, would have granted legal status to fertilized human eggs, outlawed abortion in almost all cases — including cases of rape and incest — ended much fertility research and treatment in the state and put doctors at risk of felony convictions for treating myriad complications of pregnancy and childbirth.
Gov. Rick Scott would lose handily to former Gov. Charlie Crist in a hypothetical 2014 matchup for governor, according to a new Quinnipiac University poll.
Crist, a recent convert to the Democratic Party who is considering running, would defeat Scott by 50 percent to 34 percent, the poll found. By a 50 percent to 40 percent margin, voters also support Crist’s decision to switch to the Democratic Party.
Scott’s woeful poll numbers persist: Only 32 percent of voters say he deserves a second term in office, including 28 percent of independent voters. In addition, 36 percent of voters say he is doing a good job compared to 49 perent who say he’s doing a bad job, including 26 percent of Republicans in Florida.
The Ecstasy and Agonies of a Permanent Democratic Majority: Why the Obama Coalition Might Still Flop.
BARACK OBAMA’S REELECTION is evidence of a Democratic realignment that dates back almost two decades. This might seem like a bold claim. After all, President Obama won by 3 percentage points—certainly no landslide. And many Republicans insist that his victory was a passing phenomenon. “There is no realignment, just a loss after a rain delay killed our starter’s momentum,” the radio talk-show host Hugh Hewitt wrote. Political scientists, too, were skeptical about the election’s significance. George Washington University’s John Sides insisted that a realignment cannot occur without “an extended period of party control,” and “a notable shift in policy.” Even those who discussed the election as marking a major change in U.S. politics generally confined themselves to one idea: namely, a growing Hispanic population finally displayed its power at the polls.
But the Republicans are in denial, and the political scientists are clinging to an outdated model. Due to the decline in party organization and the rise of independent voters, realignments have become more gradual and less comprehensive. They go by fits and starts. The conservative Republican realignment began in 1968, was waylaid by Watergate, and only resumed in 1980. At its height, during Ronald Reagan’s presidency, Republicans did not even control the House. The current Democratic realignment began in the Bill Clinton years, hit speed bumps during the 2002 and 2004 elections (thanks largely to September 11), and hit another bump in 2010, when voters blamed Obama for the flagging recovery. It resumed in earnest this year and is going strong.
By the same token, realignments don’t necessarily result in dramatic policy shifts. California went deeply blue in the mid-’90s but has been paralyzed on the policy front for years. Nationally, both Bill Clinton and Obama have had trouble getting things done even as public opinion was shifting their way. The reason for this is that U.S. politics consists of not one but two systems—a visible electoral process that supplies officeholders and a less visible machinery of interest groups and lobbies that influences both elections and governing.
In the wake of Obama’s reelection, the crucial question is whether the political realignment taking place will lead to an equally dramatic breakthrough for his agenda, which includes increasing spending on education and infrastructure and counteracting global warming. At the polling booth, Democrats have gained the upper hand. But outside the electoral arena, powerful forces will continue to encourage Republican intransigence. Only by taming and defeating them can Obama and his party deliver on the promise of realignment.
Political scientists argue Americans have all the information we need to make our voting decisions long before the campaign begins. So, we can—almost—call presidential elections while its still summertime. Why then do we have to endure long fall months of endless political rhetoric? Turns out, there is one simple reason.
Most of us who are interested in politics are relieved. Whether or not we liked the outcome of the election, we are simply happy not to have to read and hear endless news about the two campaigns anymore. But we probably could have tuned out altogether while it was still beach season—well before either of the nominating conventions.
We all know that most voters decide who to vote for well before the campaigns begin. In political science research, this is called the “minimal effects” thesis. Basically the vast majority of the voters vote how we would expect them to long before the election. The first study to investigate this phenomenon focused on voters during the 1940 election. Researchers found that only 8 percent of voters changed their preference over the course of the campaign. In 70 years, not much has changed.
As voters, we are not as foolish as political pundits seem to think we are. The parties are fairly clear and consistent about their positions on issues that the public cares about. While people decry the institutional problems caused by polarization, it does have some positive consequences for a voter’s ability to decipher which candidate/party is closer to their issue positions. So all voters need to do to pick a party (or candidate) is figure out what issue motivates them most (abortion, taxes) and which party is closest to their beliefs on that issue—once they’ve done that, they can stop paying attention and still vote as if they had been.
But about 33 percent of the public identifies as “independent.”
The final polls are out and behind the national horserace is a fascinating dynamic – Mitt Romney is narrowly winning independent voters while President Obama is winning centrist voters by a nearly 20-point margin.
For example, here in the must-win battleground state of Ohio, the final CNN/ORC poll showed Romney edging Obama among independent voters by two points, 48% to 46%. But among moderate voters, Obama is crushing Romney by 21 points – 57% to 36%.
This is significant because in past elections independents and centrist voters have been largely synonymous–overlapping cohorts, reflecting the belief of many independents that the two parties are too polarized and disproportionately dominated by their respective special interests. But what I think we’re seeing this year is the extended impact of the tea party – a growth in the number of independent conservatives that has moved the overall independent voting block slightly to the right. In turn, centrist voters are more likely to vote for Obama precisely because of the polarizing impact of the tea party and the intransigence of many conservative congressmen when it came to working in a good faith spirit of principled compromise with the Obama administration.
President Obama and Mitt Romney are plunging into the final nine days of a multibillion-dollar presidential race focused not only on the seven most competitive states, but also on battleground counties within them that could tip the balance of an exceedingly close contest.
The Romney campaign office in Abingdon, Va. Virginia is particularly vital to Mitt Romney, particularly if he does not win Ohio.
They include the suburbs here in Franklin County, Ohio, where many young married women turned to Mr. Obama in 2008 out of frustration with the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan but could turn against him now for perceived failures on his campaign promises and a slow-to-recover economy.
In Colorado, it is Arapahoe County, where Mr. Romney’s campaign is courting Hispanic business owners who are frustrated with the national health care law. It is Hillsborough County in Florida, where both sides agree that whoever wins the independent voters is likely to be president.
At this late stage of the race, the fight for the White House is being waged on intensely local terrain, in places whose voting histories and demographics have been studied in minute detail by both sides. Mr. Obama is intent on replicating an electorate that swept him into office four years ago and is heavily dependent on younger, female and minority voters. Mr. Romney is relying on an older, whiter and more conservative voting group, along the lines of the ones that turned out in 2004 and 2010.
The Romney campaign, worried about its options in the seven top battleground states, opened a fund-raising drive on Saturday to try and expand the playing field into Pennsylvania and Minnesota, two states that Mr. Obama has considered safe. Mr. Romney is also making a deeper push this week into Wisconsin, which he will visit for the first time in two months.
“The switch that went on after that first debate is still on,” said Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin, a Republican. “I still think people are undecided, they are still listening.”
Ahead of Thursday’s vice presidential debate, more voters view Joe Biden unfavorably than favorably, while opinions about Paul Ryan are more evenly divided. Biden’s image is far less positive than it was shortly before his 2008 debate with Sarah Palin; Ryan is viewed less favorably than Palin was just prior to the last vice-presidential debate.
The national survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, conducted Oct. 4-7 among 1,511 adults, including 1,201 registered voters, finds that 39% of voters view Biden favorably, while 51% offer an unfavorable impression of the vice president. Just more than four-in-ten (44%) view Ryan favorably, while about as many (40%) have an unfavorable view.
A separate survey, also conducted Oct. 4-7, among 1,006 adults and 812 registered voters, finds that voters are divided over who will do better in Thursday’s vice presidential debate. Four-in-ten (40%) say Ryan will do a better job while 34% expect Biden to do better.
Biden’s image is little changed since September, but he is viewed less favorably than before his faceoff against Palin four years ago. In late September 2008, 53% of voters viewed Biden favorably and just 31% expressed an unfavorable opinion. At the time, Palin’s favorable rating was higher than Ryan’s is today (51% vs. 44%).
Surveys conducted by the Pew Research Center and the Washington Post before the party conventions this summer found that people have very different one-word impressions of the vice presidential candidates. More people used negative words than positive ones to describe Biden, while one-word impressions of Ryan were mixed.
The current survey finds that just 35% of independent voters have a favorable opinion of Biden, while 52% view him unfavorably. As many independent voters view Ryan favorably (42%) as unfavorably (42%).
On Thursday night, Mitt Romney, taking something of a victory lap following the first presidential debate, appeared on Fox News (where else?) with Sean Hannity (who else?), and was asked what he would have said had President Barack Obama referred to Romney’s 47 percent rant. The Republican presidential contender replied:
Well, clearly in a campaign with hundreds if not thousands of question and answer sessions, now and then you’re going to say something that doesn’t come out right. In this case I said something that’s just completely wrong. And I absolutely believe however that my life has shown that I care about the 100 percent and that has been demonstrated throughout my life. This whole campaign is about the 100 percent. When I become president it’ll be about helping the 100 percent.
This was quite different than what Romney said in that hastily called press conference after Mother Jones released the 47 percent video. At that point, Romney maintained that his comments had been inelegant, but he embraced the “message” he had been trying to convey at that private $50,000-a-plate fundraising dinner at a Boca Raton mansion. Nothing wrong with these comments, except for a certain clumsiness, said the candidate who wrote a book titled No Apology.
So he’s changed his tune. Big surprise? Not really. This is an indication, though, that he and his strategists believed his 47 percent minute are still an important factor in the race and a profound problem for him. Romney wouldn’t otherwise shift his response at this stage. Focus groups conducted by the Obama and Romney campaigns have indicated that his 47 percent remarks have alienated independent voters and even “weak Republican voters.” Apparently, the 47 percent effect is not fading fast.
Former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell (D) on Sunday advised presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney to pick tea party favorite Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) as his running mate.
During a panel discussion about Romney’s selection for the Republican ticket, CBS host Bob Schieffer asked Rendell if he had a prediction.
‘I just want to go on record, I’m for Michele Bachmann for vice president,’ Rendell laughed. ‘I want everyone to be clear about that.’
‘But I do think that Gov. Romney has chosen the right criteria,’ the former Pennsylvania governor continued. ‘He’s going to pick someone who he believes is ready to be president. Gov. [Bob] McDonnell would fit that bill. So would Sen. [Rob] Portman and some of the others that are being talked about.’
‘People don’t vote for vice president. Although, let me say that I believe that America has a spectacular vice president [in Joe Biden], who’s done just an amazing job. And I think that weighs on President Obama’s side.’
It’s no secret that Rendell believes that Bachmann would scare independent voters away from supporting Romney in the same way former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin may have hurt Sen. John McCain’s chances in 2008.
Too bad Rendell didn’t follow it up with the requisite riposte from Foghorn Leghorn….
President Barack Obama’s support for gay marriage adds a new layer of complexity for voters — especially independents — in battleground states that will decide the race for the White House.
While the economy is certain to dominate the campaign over the next six months, gay marriage could have an impact at the margins in key states from Colorado to Ohio to Virginia by influencing voter turnout among important constituencies, among them minorities, young voters and evangelicals.
“It may cost you as many votes as it wins you,” said Colorado Republican Greg Brophy, a state senator.
Advocates on both sides of the emotional issue agree Obama’s pronouncement will stoke enthusiasm among core Democrats and Republicans, likely boosting turnout in the November election and fundraising ahead of it. The big unknown is where independent voters — and specifically those Obama struggles to win over, such as middle-class whites — land in the fewer than a dozen states expected to make a difference in the quest for the White House.