Most Don’t Want ‘Religious Freedom’ Laws

“One of the apparent side effects of the religious freedom controversies in Indiana and (to a lesser extent) Arkansas: More Americans now oppose such laws than before,” the Washington Post reports.

“While a Pew Research Center poll conducted in September showed Americans were split on whether businesses with religious objections should be able to refuse service to a gay wedding (with 47 percent in favor), and a January AP-GfK poll showed a clear majority (57 percent) thought they should be able to, a new CNN/Opinion Research poll suggests increasing skepticism of religious freedom laws. The new poll shows just 41 percent think businesses should be able to refuse service to gay weddings, while 57 percent disagree.”

Why Political Parties Don’t Try to Inspire Voters

A new research paper by Alan Abramowitz and Steven Webster looked at a variety of political characteristics to see what best predicts party loyalty.

The key determinant was fear of the other party: “Regardless of the strength of their attachment to their own party, the more voters dislike the opposing party, the greater the probability that they will vote consistently for their own party’s candidates.”

Ezra Klein: “It’s worth saying that a bit more clearly: you’re more likely to vote Democratic if you hate Republicans than if you love Democrats, and vice versa. What parties need to do to keep you loyal isn’t make you inspired. Rather, they need to make you scared.”

Why Marco Rubio Is a Strong Candidate

Harry Enten: “What makes Rubio strong isn’t his polling surge, but that he is well-liked across the party apparatus. He pulls in conservatives with his voting record and moderates with his impressive 2010 Senate victory in Florida, a crucial battleground state… When voters actually start tuning into the race, Rubio will be in a good position to win over Republicans who are currently undecided or tentatively supporting another candidate. (That’s not to say he’ll actually win them over; he’ll just be in a good position to.)”

“Rubio’s current polling uptick may or may not last. But few other candidates look as strong in the underlying data that will ultimately dictate the direction that the 2016 Republican primary takes.”

Foreign Money May Flow to Ballot Measure Elections

Rick Hasen points us to a Bloomberg BNA report:

“The Federal Election Commission has dismissed—on a deadlocked party-line vote—charges that Manwin International, a foreign company producing online pornography, violated the law by bankrolling a campaign committee opposed to a Los Angeles ballot measure requiring the use of condoms in video sex scenes. According to documents released April 23, the FEC’s three Republican commissioners voted to dismiss the case, supporting recommendations from the agency general counsel’s office. An FEC counsel’s report concluded that a broad federal ban on foreign contributions in U.S. elections didn’t apply to ballot measure elections.”

Gun Control Advocates Energized by Clinton Bid

“Gun control advocates have high hopes for Hillary Clinton’s presidential run, viewing her as an ally who can finish the push for tightened background checks that has stalled in President Obama’s second term,” The Hill reports.

“Clinton has been a staunch advocate of gun-control proposals such as expanding background checks and banning assault weapons. Last summer, she ripped groups that oppose those ideas as out of step with public opinion.”

Wonk Wire: Guns make us less safe. That’s a fact.

GOP Candidates Silent on Drone Deaths

“Republican presidential hopefuls, including two prominent critics of the Obama administration’s drone program, held their fire on Thursday after the White House disclosed strikes in which American citizens were killed, instead offering condolences and focusing on the continued threat posed by terror groups,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

First Read: “If you’ve been following American politics over the last six years, President Obama could sneeze, and it would produce a flurry of negative statements and reactions from his political opponents. That’s what makes yesterday’s silence — or backtracking — from Republican 2016 presidential candidates regarding the accidental drone killing of two hostages so striking.”

Nerd Prom

This is a highly-recommended new documentary: Nerd Prom.

“A reporter quits his job covering the White House Correspondents’ Association’s annual dinner to lift the lid on what really goes on behind the scenes during the biggest week in the world’s most important city.”

Bush Said He Wouldn’t Make Same Mistakes as Romney

Jeb Bush said he “would not make the same mistakes as Mitt Romney during a private event in New York on Thursday, saying the 2012 Republican nominee was unable to connect with voters in a genuine way,” the Washington Free Beacon reports.

Said Bush: “He made it about a referendum on the president’s policies rather than about himself. He didn’t show his heart. He didn’t send a signal that he cared about people, when he did.”

Shuster Pushed Bill for Lobbyist Girlfriend

A transportation bill had gone nowhere but once Rep. Bill Shuster (R-PA) became chairman of the Transportation Committee, “it moved at lightning speed: He introduced a revised version of the bill in March of last year, the same day he met with an airline industry group that supported it. A month later, Shuster shepherded the measure through his transportation panel in roughly 10 minutes. It sailed through the full House three months later without a roll call vote,” Politico reports.

“The legislation wasn’t only a priority for Shuster: It was a top issue for Airlines for America, and for Shuster’s girlfriend, Shelley Rubino, the organization’s vice president and a top airline lobbyist… Rubino herself lobbied for the legislation, according to disclosure forms.”

GOP Debates Keeping Obamacare Subsidies Thru 2016

“Congressional Republicans are locked in a debate about whether to temporarily keep in place the Obamacare subsidies that are at risk of being struck down at the Supreme Court,” The Hill reports.

“The stakes are high, as a ruling against the healthcare law could strip federal aid from an estimated 7.5 million people ahead of the 2016 elections, with red states hit particularly hard.”

Wonk Wire: A big jump in Obamacare satisfaction

Cruz Misses Vote on Lynch Nomination

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) “went on the Senate floor early Thursday afternoon to voice his strenuous objection to the nomination of Loretta Lynch as the next U.S. attorney general… A few hours later, however, Cruz missed the final vote on Lynch’s confirmation, making him the only senator recorded as not present,” the Huffington Post reports.

“The senator’s office explained that he had to catch a flight to a fundraiser in Texas.”

Los Angeles Times: “Among the unexpected votes of support: Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY), the majority leader, who was blamed for holding up Lynch’s confirmation longer than all but two attorney general nominees in U.S. history.”

Jeb Bush Is On a Diet

New York Times: “As he prepares to challenge an almost universally younger and svelter field of Republican rivals, Mr. Bush has adopted a drastic weight-loss program that is melting away pounds at a staggering rate even as it inflicts an unhappy toll: regular bouts of dietary crankiness.”

“The monthslong experiment in deprivation — little to no starch, dairy or refined sugar, in adherence to the in-vogue Paleo diet — may seem extreme. But unlike a mountain-biking brother, and his still-trim nonagenarian father, Mr. Bush has long struggled to keep the pounds away, trying everything from climbing 22 flights of stairs a day to joining the low-carb Atkins craze of the early 2000s.”