Third Way

Scroll to Info & Navigation

Footnoting the debate!

Romney’s deductions cap would raise $730 billion. His tax plan costs $5 trillion.

When asked what tax breaks he’d get rid of to pay for his rate cuts, Romney suggested that “everybody gets $25,000 of deductions or credits.” That is, rather than get rid of individual deductions or exclusions, he’d have a total cap. 

The problem is, a deduction cap at a $25,000 level wouldn’t come close to paying for the $5 trillion in rate cuts. Third Way calculates that it would only generate $730 billion in revenue.Lowering the cap would raise more money, but it would risk hitting middle-class taxpayers, which Romney has also sworn not to do. So doesn’t resolve the central conundrum of Romney’s plan.

Graphic: Favorability Among All Independents

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.

Read the full report here

Biden: Romney ‘out of touch’ with the middle class

Vice President Joe  Biden called Mitt Romney "out of touch" with the concerns of the middle class, the latest signal of how the Obama reelection campaign plans to target the leading Republican hopeful in November.

"This is about the middle class. And none of what he’s offering does anything. It’s just returning to the same policies," Biden said in an interview for CBS’ "Face The Nation" that aired Sunday morning.

"I can’t remember a presidential candidate in the recent past who seems not to understand by what he says what ordinary middle-class people are thinking about and are concerned about."

It’s a similar line of attack that Joel Benenson, lead pollster for the Obama campaign, previewed to reporters in Washington this week at a breakfast meeting hosted by the centrist Democratic think tank Third Way.

Read the full article via the Los Angles Times.

Republican Class Warfare

You know how Republicans accuse Democrats of running a class warfare campaign?  Well, guess what? Republicans have their very own class war going on. Inside the party.

A striking income pattern has emerged. Look at the exit poll from the Illinois primary:

Mitt Romney’s support went up sharply with income. He’s the candidate of the rich. Santorum led in the low-income categories but dropped way behind Romney among upper-income voters. It’s a class split. Romney gets “country-club conservatives.”

Santorum gets self-described “values voters” who are moved more by social issues like abortion and contraception.

The class division in the GOP mirrors the class split among Democrats in 2008, when Hillary Clinton carried white and Latino working class voters and Barack Obama carried educated upper middle-class liberals (plus African-Americans).

Among Democrats, the voting issues are reversed. White working-class Democrats are economic populists. The educated elite—“NPR liberals”—respond more to social issues and disdain those who “cling to guns and religion.”  That’s why Romney calls President Obama a “law professor” and Santorum calls him a “snob” who wants everyone to go to college. 

It’s a contest between two elitists—the country club conservative versus the liberal college professor. 

Take your pick.

This In Focus is from Bill Schneider’s March 2012 Inside Politics Newsletter 

Etch Two Sketches: Romney 2008 and 2012

Mitt Romney 2012 is not the same candidate as Mitt Romney 2008. How do we know? Because Romney 2012 is not getting the Romney 2008 vote.

In 2008, Romney captured the staunchly conservative vote against John McCain. This year, Romney is losing the staunchly conservative vote to Rick Santorum. Which means that Romney is defined more by who he’s running against than by who he is.

Look at Romney’s vote in the 2008 and 2012 Florida Republican primaries:

In 2008, the more conservative you were, the more you voted for Romney. In 2012, the more conservative you were, the less you voted for Romney. In 2008, Romney got the conservatives who didn’t trust McCain.

In 2012, Santorum is getting the conservatives who don’t trust Romney. That suggests the Republican electorate has moved even father to the right. 

But keep this in mind: In 2008, Republicans nominated McCain over objections from staunch conservatives. In 2012, Republicans are likely to nominate Romney over objections from staunch conservatives.

The more moderate candidate still wins.

This In Focus is from Bill Schneider’s March 2012 Inside Politics Newsletter