March, 2014

Support for Obamacare Surges Among Democrats

A new Washington Post-ABC News poll finds Democrats “are rallying back behind the 2010 health reform law and boosting President Obama’s ratings for handling the law’s rollout.”

“But most Republicans and independents remain stubbornly opposed to Obama’s signature first-term achievement, making the law a continued liability for Democratic candidates as this year’s midterm elections get underway.”

“Overall, 49% support and 48% oppose the health reform law in the new poll, hardly changed from January but clearly better than November, when 40% expressed support and 57% were opposed. The growth in support has been concentrated among those who ‘somewhat’ support the law, with strong opponents still outnumbering strong supporters by a 36% to 25% margin.”

Wonk Wire: Is repealing Obamacare now impossible?

Hopes for Immigration Reform Fading Fast

Greg Sargent reports that “there’s a rising sense that if House Republicans don’t act by summer on immigration reform, the window for action could close for good. If nothing happens by August recess, the pressure on Obama to act unilaterally could become overwhelming, and any executive action will likely make legislative reform even less likely, perhaps postponing it until at least 2017.”

A Very Weak Imperial President

New York Times: “Republicans, poised for strong gains in the midterm elections, are offering starkly conflicting messages about President Obama to rally their voters. In one moment, they say the president is feckless and weak. But in the next, they say Mr. Obama is presiding over an ‘imperial presidency’ that is exercising power that verges on dictatorial.”

“So far, they are succeeding in having it both ways.”

Obama Will Endorse Schatz in Hawaii

President Obama is planning to endorse Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI) over his challenger, Rep. Colleen Hanabusa (D-HI), in the state’s competitive Senate Democratic primary, the Huffington Post reports.

“The president’s endorsement will come later Monday, according to a source familiar with the plan who was not authorized to speak publicly before the announcement.”

The Fix: “Rarely do endorsements move the needle in the campaigns. They are often overhyped and mean far less than the campaigns who tout them would lead you to believe. But this one matters. Big time.”

Christie Wins the Adelson Primary

“There were many candidates at the Republican Jewish Coalition’s annual spring meeting Saturday at The Venetian. But there was only one real contender,” the Las Vegas Review Journal reports.

“If there can be said to be a winner of what the Washington Post dubbed the ‘Adelson primary,’ for Las Vegas Sands Chairman Sheldon Adelson, it was New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. Apart from almost every other speaker, Christie showed a pragmatic understanding of the real nature of politics — winning comes first — without seeming as if he was ready to sell his soul to move from Trenton to Washington, D.C.”

Obamacare Enrollment Surge Continues

Wonk Wire: Obamacare enrollment could top 7 million

The Morning Line: “Monday is the last day to sign up for health insurance through the Affordable Care Act without incurring a penalty. At least that’s what’s supposed to happen. In reality, if you have a mild sense of engagement, you can figure out a way to get an extension until at least mid-April and beyond.”

Wonk Wire: Why Obamacare enrollment numbers are higher than forecast

GOP Odds of Taking Senate Increase

The Monkey Cage: “As we have begun to incorporate candidate experience into the model, our initial sense is this: Republicans may have a far better chance of winning control of the Senate than we or other analysts previously thought. Here is a preliminary estimate: The GOP could have as much as a 4 in 5 chance of controlling the chamber.”

The Week: 5 key insights in the GOP’s political strategy

Why the GOP Has a Built-In Midterm Edge

“Even if Democrats recruit great candidates, raise gobs of money and run smart campaigns, they face an uphill fight to retake control of the House in this year’s congressional elections, regardless of the political climate in November,” the AP reports.

“The reason? Republican strategists spent years developing a plan to take advantage of the 2010 census, first by winning state legislatures and then redrawing House districts to tilt the playing field in their favor. Their success was unprecedented.”

“In states like Ohio, Michigan and North Carolina, Republicans were able to shape congressional maps to pack as many Democratic voters as possible into the fewest House districts. The practice is called gerrymandering, and it left fertile ground elsewhere in each state to spread Republican voters among more districts, increasing the GOP’s chances of winning more seats.”