Thursday, February 28, 2013

Georgia (Polls) on my mind

Public Policy Polling did some of their more fun polls, too, besides the Senate race. We’ll look at those numbers, too.

Georgia (Polls) on my mind

Saxby Chambliss announced that he would not seek re-election in 2014. This has made some people wonder about who might take his Senate seat. Georgia was one of the few states that actually increased its percentage of votes for Barack Obama in 2012 which has led some to speculate if the Senate seat might go to a Democratic candidate.

Predicting Presidential Tickets: Part 3

We've looked at who has ran for the presidency since 1948. We've also looked at who has been nominated for the vice-president spot. So, now we want to look at the combinations to see what is more likely to happen in the future.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Polls from Montana

Public Policy Polling did its polls in Montana and they found some interesting things that might shake up the Senate race there.

Predicting Presidential Tickets: Part 2

So, last time we looked at what vice-presidents were doing before they were nominated as vice-presidents. Now, we're going to take a look to see what presidents were doing before they won the nomination. What we're looking for is patterns to help us predict who might get the nominee in the future.

Now supporting gay marriage

Jon Huntsman and lots of other Republicans.  A lot of which are Republicans no longer in office.  Oh well. I believe it's a step in the right direction.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Predicting presidential tickets: Part 1

There's a popular show on Netflix that is about American politics called House of Cards.  It's quite excellent, even if it's prone to binge-watching.  Don't worry. There will not be any spoilers in this post. 

Friday, February 22, 2013

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Politics and fun in North Carolina

Public Policy Polling does polls on all sorts of things when they do their polls.  It's fun to look at everything. 

The unimportance of Nebraska

Former Nebraska governor Mike Johanns announced Monday that he would not seek re-election in 2014. He will have served one term as Senator.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Quick Hits

Apparently, former Senator Scott Brown is thinking about running for governor. I am not surprised by this, at all. His post at Fox News will give him a pulpit for him to talk about the issues that he thinks are most important. Without a strong Democratic candidate in Massachusetts for the gubernatorial election, Brown would start out, at least, as the heavy favorite.
Apparently, former Senator Scott Brown is thinking about running for governor. I am not surprised by this, at all. His post at Fox News will give him a pulpit for him to talk about the issues that he thinks are most important. Without a strong Democratic candidate in Massachusetts for the gubernatorial election, Brown would start out, at least, as the heavy favorite.

Polling in North Carolina

Public Policy Polling did some polling in its home state.  As usual, they did some Senate polls and some hypothetical matchups to see what 2014 might look like.

Monday, February 18, 2013

What the gun control debate is REALLY about

With the gun control debate heating up, it's important to take a step back and look at what the gun control debate is really about.  Some might claim that it's about safety or others might callously mock them and say that it's about taking rights away from law abiding gun owners.  But that's missing the point. 

Republican Presidential Power Rankings

Finally! The long anticipated return of the Republican Presidential Power Rankings!  How much fun is it going to be?  This should explain it.

Friday, February 15, 2013

More Alaskan Polls

More news from Alaska:

Hillary Clinton could be competitive in Alaska if she decided to run for the presidency in 2016. Her favorability is 47/45. Clinton leads Marco Rubio by a point and trails Chris Christie by a point in a hypothetical matchup. Clinton would destroy Sarah Palin, in the unlikely possibility that it happened, 53/37. Clinton is the most popular politician in the country and makes plenty of states that vote Republican lean to her. According to the polls, if she ran, it could turn out to be a sweep in the United States. She either leads or is trailing within the +/- in almost every state.

Sarah Palin is so unpopular. How unpopular is she? 16% of Alaskans think she run in 2016. Only 18% of Republicans want her to run. Congress has an 8% favorability in Alaska. But when asked if they prefer Congress or Palin, 50% of Alaskans pick Congress over Palin (50/34).

Longtime Republican congressman Don Young has a 50/40 approval rating. He leads a hypothetical matchup against Scott McAdams 54/37. He doesn't appear to have trouble for his seat.

Republican Lisa Murkowski is one of the most popular Senators in the country. Despite having to be a write-in candidate a few years back. She is, strangely, most popular with Democrats (59/25). She has a majority approval among Republicans (51/38) and Independents (52/33), too.

Alaskans don't support same-sex marriage. 43% say it should be legal while 51% think it should be illegal. But 67% of Alaskans think that same sex couples should have legal recognition, such as civil unions, compared to 30% who don't think they should have legal recognition, at all.

Immigration reform: Addressing labor needs

Addressing labor needs:
Barack Obama: He would eliminate the backlog for employment-sponsored immigration by eliminating annual country caps and adding more visas to the system. He would streamline visa and foreign visitor processing to bolster tourism. He would want to facilitate more efficient travel with the Visa Waivers Program. The State Department could waive interviews for low-risk visa applications and instead focus on high-risk applicants. He would offer a green card to foreign students who earn doctorate and master’s degrees in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics fields (STEM). Employers would also pay a fee to help grow the next generation of American workers in STEM careers. He would create a “start-up visa” for job-creating entrepreneurs. They can become permanent citizens if their businesses continue to grow and create jobs for American workers. He would also create a new visa category for employees of national-security science and technology laboratories.
Gang of Eight: Offers green cards to STEM graduates but they also address temporary workers. This would allow more lower-skilled workers in the country when the economy demands it. They also want to create a program for the agricultural industry, which has had problems filling jobs with American workers.
General notes: Barack Obama is having a hard time leaving phrases from the campaign trail on the campaign trail. He talks about the start-up visa for someone who creates jobs. Doesn’t this run the risk of determining what the right ratio of growth and employment for American workers? Creating jobs is just another empty phrase. I don’t like that phrase. The Gang of Eight’s proposal here about creating a program for the agricultural industry is interesting, I wonder what’s involved with that.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Immigration reform: Reuniting families

Reuniting families:
Barack Obama: He would eliminate the existing backlog in the family-sponsored immigration system. He would do this by recapturing unused visas and temporarily increasing visa numbers. He would increase the annual country caps from 7 to 15 percent for the family sponsored immigration system. He would also treat same-sex families as families. He would do this by giving U.S. citizens and permanent lawful residents the ability to seek a visa on the basis of a permanent relationship with a same-sex partner.
Gang of Eight: Calls for reduced backlogs in family visas but doesn’t set a percentage cap. Doesn’t address same-sex couples.
General notes: While I’m glad that Barack Obama is addressing the issues of same-sex couples with regards to immigration reform, I am not surprised or bothered by the fact that the Gang of Eight is not addressing them yet. Politically speaking, Senators have a lot to lose by talking about same-sex couples, in general. Coupled with immigration reform and it would make no sense politically to address both of these issues at the same time. Apparently, family immigration is the biggest reason for immigration. So, there’s that.

Alaskan Polls

Public Policy Polling did some polls in Alaska, too. Here is some information and comments. Enjoy.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Immigration reform: Getting a green card and DREAMers

Getting a green card:
Barack Obama: You must pay your taxes, pass additional criminal background and national security checks, pay fines, and learn English, among other requirements. Five years after receiving your green card, you may apply to become a citizen.
Gang of Eight: Only once everyone goes through the legal lines that are waiting for a green card receive one then you can apply for one. Also the border has to be secure by the metrics from the border commission.
General notes: Same comments about learning English. I will not shut up about this. In all seriousness, are there tests that people need to pass, in order to receive a green card? Can we teach those who are English as a FIRST language English? I’m tired of hearing about how people are totes going to a party. But whatever. Those who are undocumented immigrants might be waiting a long time to be able to apply for a green card.
Barack Obama: Children brought here illegally will be eligible for expedited citizenship if they attend college or serve honorably in the Armed Forces for at least two years.
Gang of Eight: Makes a distinction for children brought here illegally. They would face a different set of requirements but they do not list them.
General notes: Oh, those DREAMers. I kind of expected that we would have a detailed list of requirements from the Gang of Eight but that was too much. It’s probably a lot smarter for them, politically, to announce that they have different requirements and allow the rest of the legislature to determine what those requirements might be. If they propose something wildly unpopular, with regards to the DREAMers, than it’s probable that they will get hurt by this come election time.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Immigration reform: Handling the 11 million

Handling the 11 million undocumented immigrants currently in America:
Barack Obama: He would require undocumented immigrants to register, submit biometric data, pass criminal and national-security background checks, and pay fees/penalties to become eligible for provisional legal status. They would have to wait until the legal immigration backlog is cleared before they can apply for their green card. As it stands with current law, those under provisional legal status are not eligible for welfare or other federal benefits.
Gang of Eight: They would require them to register and undergo background checks to gain provisional legal status. Undocumented immigrants would, likewise, have to wait until the legal immigration backlog is completed and would not receive federal benefits during that time. They would have to pass an additional background check, pay a fine, learn English, and other requirements before becoming a permanent resident.
General notes: Submit biometric data? That sounds intense. The ACLU and other civil rights groups are fighting the provision that undocumented immigrants would have to submit DNA to become a citizen. It’s no wonder that they are making sure that undocumented immigrants cannot be eligible for federal benefits. With all the welfare queens and everyone out there. I’m glad the Gang of Eight requires that they learn English to become a permanent resident. I mean, obviously, just like, at least one, Republican said while running for office, we need to make English the official language of the United States. The official language of a country really matters to people who are coming here illegally. I am quite certain that they will stop once they realize that the official language is English.

Public Policy Polling: National Poll

I'm behind on a few polls. I'm also behind on presidential power rankings. The Republican presidential power rankings will be up on Monday of next week. I'm running a week long series on immigration reform with a series of short posts comparing Obama's plans to the Gang of Eight's plans. There will be a few longer pieces running, too.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Eyes on Iowa

Public Policy Polling did some more polls in Iowa. Quick hits.

Immigration reform: Verifying employment and preventing fraud

Verifying employment:
Barack Obama: Increase the penalties for hiring undocumented workers and new penalties for committing fraud or identity theft. Electronic employment verification will be phased in over the next five years with exemptions for certain small businesses. Also creates a labor-law enforcement fund to help ensure that industries that employ lots of immigrants comply with labor laws.
Gang of Eight: Also calls for a mandatory employment verification system. Employers that knowingly hire undocumented immigrants would face stiff fines and criminal penalties for egregious offenses.
General notes: I’m reminded of something Wayne LaPierre likes to say. No, not that. But he does like to say that we should enforce the laws we already have before we create new laws. Additionally, I enjoy how small businesses are brought up. Americans love small businesses. It’s a very popular empty phrase. It doesn’t mean much, I’m sorry.
Preventing fraud:
Barack Obama: Mandates a new social security card that is fraud-resistant and tamper-resistant. He would also require workers to use fraud and tamper resistant documents to prove that they are eligible to work in the United States. He would also establish a new pilot program which would evaluate new methods of authenticating identity and combating identity theft.
Gang of Eight: Also would require workers to prove eligibility through electronic non-forgeable means but would not require a new social security card.
General notes: Sounds fairly similar. I wonder how ridiculous the new social security cards would be. They sound amazing.

Subprime kind of life

Subprime lending came into the national spotlight during the financial crisis. If you've heard of subprime lending, you're probably already thinking about subprime mortgages and not lending itself. There was a crackdown on subprime mortgages after the financial crisis. But, subprime lending, in general, has not gone away. In fact, when we look to subprime lending for auto loans, we're looking at a fairly lucrative and growing industry.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Immigration reform: Combating crime

Barack Obama: Pretty specific here. He wants to establish community liasons along the border to improve communication and collaboration with border communities. He wants to increase funding o help reduce illegal activity on tribal lands. He wants to strengthen the civil-rights training for immigration officers. There are a few more things. He wants to crack down on criminal networks that engage in passport and visa fraud. He wants to create new penalties for transnational crime organizations that traffic people, drugs, weapons, and money. He wants to expand enforcement efforts that target convicted criminals in federal or state correctional facilities. He wants to remove them from the United States at the end of their sentence without allowing them to return to their communities. He wants to create a streamlined administrative removal process for those who have overstayed their visas and have been determined to be a threat to national or public safety. He also wants to increase the number of immigration judges and staff, invest in training for court personnel, and improve access to legal information for immigrants. He also wants to expand alternatives to detention and drive down detention costs.
Gang of Eight: Doesn’t offer specifics. Instead wants to create a commission of border state governors, attorney generals, and community leaders to determine security metrics and when they have been met.
General notes: This isn’t all that surprising. The political idea behind this portion of the Gang of Eight’s proposal is federalism. It’s not the federal government’s responsibility to determine what is right for every state and what is the best way to combat such an issue in each state. The type of immigrant who goes through Texas might be very different compared to the one who goes to California. But if each state can decide how they want to do it, perhaps they can come up with a solution that is missed at the federal level.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Common Facebook postings: Liberal Logic 101

I always love the Liberal Logic 101 things.  Always. They're always full of logical fallacies and strawman arguments that I always want to comment when people share them.  Warning in advance: I am a dick. I'm sorry.


1. Aww cute.  The person who put this together decided that the child was a girl.  Or she decided to use "she" instead of "he" or "he/she".  Either way, I approve.  Also, I like that her face is shown sucking what appears to be her thumb.  She's so cute.  Do unborn children really look like this?  I need to stop killing all of them.  Maybe I would realize how cute they are.

2. I'm not 100% sure what the author of this is referring to when she pust on there that "Liberals want to force taxpayers to pay for her to be killed."  Perhaps she is referring to Planned Parenthood?  Planned Parenthood has received funding since 1970 when Liberal President Richard Nixon signed into law Family Planning Services and Research Act.  There has been an increase in Republican support for defunding Planned Parenthood because all they is kill little children like Sally up there on the picture (I named her now we're attached).  Except, abortion services account for about 3% of their services.  And, oh yeah, they cannot provide abortions with federal funding.  This is due to the Hyde Amendment.

3.  Oh...I think she's talking about evil Obamacare.  Of which every Conservative has read every page of it but still somehow gets everything wrong.  I wonder how that works.  Anyway.  The law does not provide direct federal funding for abortions, except in the case of rape, incest, or to save the life of the mother.  I'll just let FactCheck take over. "In fact, the new law states specifically that federal funds are not to be used for coverage of any other kinds of abortions, and that only premium dollars paid by individuals out of their own pockets may be used to pay for coverage of other kinds of abortions."  In fact, NARAL refused to endorse the bill because of what they assumed were "egregious" restrictions on abortion coverage.

4.  But this doesn't satisfy pro-life people.  What about people who are using federal subsidies to purchase insurance, aren't they, in fact using federal funding to have abortions?  "To address those concerns, senators adopted a provision saying that any private insurance plans that cover abortion (and are sold through exchanges) must keep federal dollars separate from the private dollars paid by individual policyholders. Those buying plans on the exchange would send in a separate payment to cover abortion services, and coverage for abortions (other than in cases or rape or incest or danger to the mother’s life) would be paid for from a segregated pool of money that contains no federal funds."  Quoting FactCheck, there.  Not only that, but the Senate bill allows states to prohibit policies sold on their exchanges from covering abortions, with the same exceptions (rape, incest, endangerment of themother's life).  AND at least one plan in each state cannot include abortions beyond federal limitations.  President Barack Obama signed an executive order on March 24 (one of his 1000, right chain e-mails) that reaffirimg the federal ban on funding abortions.  It "also says that the secretary of Health and Human Services and the director of the Office of Management and Budget must come up with guidelines for states to use to determine whether insurance companies are properly following those separation-of-money requirements for plans purchased with the help of subsidies."

5. It's true that there might be another bill floating around out there that would actually rescind the Hyde amendment but as far as I can tell, there is not one out there.

6. Of course, what was laid out in the health care law was not enough to win over pro-life advocates.  But, oh well.

7. The first time penalty for the eagle law in question, is actually $100,000 fine or up to a year in prison, or both. 

8. Awww..I didn't know that the bald eagle was no longer an endangered specie.  I'm so excited.

9. Have you ever seen Almost Heroes?  There's a great scene involving an eagle.

10. Come back next time for our ongoing segment of Common Facebook postings.

Immigration reform: Securing the border

When the Gang of Eight released their ideas for immigration reform, you knew for sure that Barack Obama would have to announce his own plans for immigration reform. Some news sources speculated that Obama was announcing his own immigration reform to make it seem like the Democratic party came up with it, thus keeping the Latino vote. Of course, this is based on the belief that immigration reform announced by any Republicans is their way of trying to salvage the Latino vote for years to come. ANYWAY, what I want to do is to compare the two to see how similar the plans are and if they’re not similar to see what the major divergences are.
Securing the border:
Barack Obama: Beefs up infrastructure at the ports of entry and calls for the continued use of technologies that help secure the border.
Gang of Eight: Fairly similar. Specifically, they also call for the increased use of drones and surveillance equipment, as well as more agents between the border and the ports of entry.
General notes: The increased use of drones has been criticized by some fiscal conservatives because they are quite expensive to use. More agents would also increase government jobs which has been a criticism that Republicans have used for years. I would imagine that there is an easy spin for this by fiscal conservatives, in that if you do an actual cost-benefit table, using the drones and the agents would be cost effective. Maybe. The spin would be something similar to that.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Eyes turn to Iowa

Public Policy Polling has released their poll results from Iowa on Tuesday, February 5.  What they found is not all that surprising.  Public Policy Polling found that Steve King is the most likely choice for Republican voters in 2014.  King gets a lot of support from the ‘very conservative’ crowd as GOP primary voters who fall into that category favor him 61/19.  Among moderates, King only leads Tom Latham 37-35.  The real problem for King is when he is matched up against a Democratic opponent. 
The most likely Democratic candidate is Bruce Braley, who starts off at an 11 point lead over King.  The other hypothetical matchups for Public Policy Polling have King trailing each of them by at least 7 points.  They ran 16 hypothetical matchups for the Senate race and found that the Democratic candidate lead in 14 of the 16 matchups.  The only exceptions were Latham over Chet Culver and Latham over Dave Loebsack. 
While King is the favorite among Republican primary voters, it’s clear, at least by this poll, that if he secured the nomination that he would start out behind against any Democratic opponent and would face an uphill battle.  The Iowa GOP needs to decide if they should run their favorite candidate or run a more electable candidate in Latham.  While Latham trails to two of the possible Democratic candidates he is not down by as much as King.  If King or another “very” conservative candidate secures the nomination, they will face a steep uphill battle in becoming the next Senator of Iowa.  A more moderate candidate such as Latham doesn’t face as much struggle.  But at this point, we conclude that Iowa is leaning Democratic in their 2014 Senate race.

Monday, February 4, 2013

June Special Election

Since John Kerry is confirmed as the Secretary of State, there will be a special election in June to determine who will replace his Senate seat.  Scott Brown was mentioned as an early favorite for the Republican party but he declined to run despite the full faith and credit of the GOP.  Former Massachusetts congressional candidate Richard Tisei declined to run, too.  Now another Republican from Massachusetts has declined, as well.  Former Massachusetts governor William Weld has decided not to run.  So, who will run from the Republican party?  It remains to be seen as pretty much every known Republican politician is declining to run left and right.  Even Tagg Romney seems unlikely to run at this time.  Does anyone want to run?  At this point, I would conclude that it would take a small miracle for the open Senate seat to go into Republican hands.

Boring Rhode Island

Rhode Island is so boring.  Their Senator that is up for re-election in 2014 will most likely coast to victory. Democrat Jack Reed is one of the most popular Senators in the country, according to Public Policy Polling.  His favorability is 62/32 and he leads by nearly 30 points, in each of the hypothetical matchups Public Policy Polling does. 
Rhode Islanders support an assault weapons ban 64-27.  38% of the Republicans favor it.  56% of voters have a negative view of the NRA and they seem to trust Obama more on the guns issue (59-30).  Obama’s approval is 59/36 which is fantastic but then again Rhode Island is a blue state.  Having said that, 44% of Rhode Island Republicans want to impeach Barack Obama, as opposed to 37% who are opposed to it.  There should be a follow up question as to why they feel Obama should be impeached.  My assumption is that it’s Fast and Furious related.  Or maybe even Benghazi related.  But then again, the birther controversy never really went away. 

Friday, February 1, 2013

Some Rhode Island Polls

Quick, name a politician from Rhode Island. If you can, congratulations. If you can’t, you’ll understand why this post is not going to be as long as any of the three posts on Texas’s polls.

More Texas thoughts

I know I said that Public Policy Polling had finished its polling adventures in Texas yesterday, but they really did, now. So, now I’ll bore you with a few more takeaways from the Texas polls. The point of doing this is to provide with a sense of what might happen in Texas and other states over the next few years politically. There is value in being able to predict what will happen, even if my girlfriend feels otherwise.

Immigration Reform: Not a gamechanger

Since the “Gang of Eight” revealed their plan for immigration reform, news sources and outlets have beaten us over the head with the idea that immigration reform is what is going to lead the Republican party back to Latino voters and win more elections.  This idea is part of an analysis that usually sets out to prove what you want in the beginning.  This type of talk leads us to believe such things that a woman running for office will do better than a male in the female vote regardless of policies.  So, let’s look at the numbers to see if these type of statements are accurate or if they are just lazy.