“Barack Obama is facing the most dangerous period of his presidency. The danger is that he will not appear to be in control of events. If that perception takes hold, voters will conclude that the president is not up to the job. And they will abandon him.”
If Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker loses the election to recall him from office Tuesday, the political press will declare the arrival of Big Labor’s comeback. If Walker wins, it will be seen as yet another sign of labor’s demise.
The election to recall the Republican governor, sparked by Walker’s successful 2011 effort to end collective bargaining for public employees, has drawn participation from many different groups, including the tea party. But unions, which have long been fighting stories of their demise, have much of what’s left of their reputation as powerful political organizers riding on the race.
Union membership in 2011 fell to a record low for the second straight year, according to the Department of Labor, but that’s not the only avenue in which unions have been struggling.
MODERATES MATTER: During the past 9 presidential elections—since 1976—moderates have composed an average 48% of the electorate. Clearly, the influence of moderate voters cannot be overstated, especially for Democratic candidates, who start with a smaller liberal base.
For Democrats in the Senate battleground states, winning a moderate majority is necessary for victory, and for many, a mere majority isn’t sufficient to carry the day.
Perhaps the biggest myth about independents is that they are closet partisans or “leaners” who are independent in name only but regularly vote with one party. True, about half of independents do fit into this category, but the rest are truly independent; their allegiance swings from election to election. They are persuadable, not polarized partisans. A recent Pew Research Center poll puts the number of swing voters this year at 23 percent — almost a quarter of the electorate.
In a study that could annoy Democrats and perturb proponents of the “base election” theory, a centrist Democratic think tank is arguing that its party’s hold on the Senate hinges on political “moderates.”
Third Way, in a report set for release today, asserts not only that ideological moderates will determine control of the Senate in November, but that Democrats need to win more of these voters in 10 states with tossup Senate contests than do the Republicans. The think tank crunched exit polling data from recent presidential and midterm elections and concluded that Democrats face a significant challenge in their bid to retain their thin, four-seat Senate majority.
“Crucially for Democrats, they must garner a majority of moderates in nine of 10 toss-ups to win, and in seven of those the bar is even higher — Democrats must clear 60 percent [of moderates] to win,” Third Way policy advisers Michelle Diggles and Lanae Erickson write in the think tank’s report.
Predicting a vice presidential choice is a mug’s game. How many people predicted Sen. John McCain’s choice of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin in 2008? Who predicted that George H.W. Bush would pick Dan Quayle in 1988? Or that his son would pick Dick Cheney — the man he put in charge of the selection process — in 2000?
There are 10 reasons why you pick a running mate. Reason No. 1: Pick someone who will help you win. The other nine don’t matter.
“Irrelevant.” With one word, Sen. John McCain dismissed Rick Santorum’s role in the Republican presidential race.
Santorum’s response? “I’ve endured about eight months of people saying that,” he told The New York Times. “I’ve never been the party establishment’s candidate, and that holds true today and that’s nothing new.”
In a new poll released today, we found that while there were some Independents who had already formed strong views for or against the President or the two political parties, there was a significant group in the center who remained torn: Swing Independents.
Interestingly, they liked the President more than his likely Republican opponent, but, they also saw themselves as closer to Romney ideologically.
Many who advocate the use of populist fairness messages argue that they can use it to tap into a hidden anger bubbling under the surface with the American electorate. But our poll disputes that notion when it comes to Swing Independents.
Swing Independents are less preoccupied with day-to-day finances, believing they are doing better than the average American, and they are confident they can pay their bills. Yet nearly six-in-ten aren’t confident that the next generation will be able to find good jobs, and only 8% are strongly confident. Swing Independents are searching for leaders who will articulate a positive vision for the future—one where the American economy is back on top and the next generation can achieve the American Dream. While the airness framework does not feed this need, an economic opportunity message answers these deep concerns about the future.
While analysts have often looked at Independents who lean one way or the other in a single election and concluded they are simply “closet” partisans, in reality, those who label themselves Independent are much more likely to switch parties—and their votes—over time, from election to election.
Our new findings reveal that Independents are distinct even from those who say they weakly identify with the Republican or Democratic parties. While some Independents may lean toward a certain party and vote for that party’s candidate in that same electoral cycle, if you follow the same people across multiple elections, a very different pattern emerges: these leaners don’t fall with their partisan friends.