Commentary Magazine


Topic: Brown

You Want a Bellwether?

There is no better predictor of electoral fortunes than Ohio. It is the best microcosm of the electorate we have. In 2008, Ohio told us that Obama had captured the votes of working-class whites and independents. In 2010, Ohio tells us that the president and his party are in very big trouble. The Quinnipiac poll reports:

Republican Rob Portman holds a 55 – 35 percent lead over Democratic Lt. Gov. Lee Fisher among likely voters in the race for Ohio’s U.S. Senate seat, while President Barack Obama has a 60 – 38 percent disapproval rating, according to a new Quinnipiac University poll. By a 58 – 37 percent margin, likely Ohio voters want a U.S. Senator who opposes President Obama’s policies, the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University survey, conducted by live interviewers, finds. And by 49 – 31 percent, voters want Republicans rather than Democrats to control the U.S. Senate.

“Among the likely Ohio electorate for this November, President Barack Obama is not a popular fellow. Independent likely voters disapprove 65 – 31 percent of the job he is doing. With the president such a heavy weight around the neck of Democratic candidates, it will be hard for one to win such a high-profile office this year in Ohio,” Brown said.

One reason for the president’s poor rating, at least in Ohio, is his health care overhaul plan. Likely voters disapprove of it by a 65 – 30 percent margin.

“White House senior advisor David Axelrod says Americans will come to like the health insurance plan, but it sure doesn’t look like that will be the case in Ohio by Nov. 2,” said Brown.

Overall, Ohio voters disapprove of Obama’s performance by a stunning 60 to 38 percent margin. In 2008, Obama carried the state by a 52 to 47 percent margin. That is about as stunning a reversal in political standing as you will find in American politics.

There is no better predictor of electoral fortunes than Ohio. It is the best microcosm of the electorate we have. In 2008, Ohio told us that Obama had captured the votes of working-class whites and independents. In 2010, Ohio tells us that the president and his party are in very big trouble. The Quinnipiac poll reports:

Republican Rob Portman holds a 55 – 35 percent lead over Democratic Lt. Gov. Lee Fisher among likely voters in the race for Ohio’s U.S. Senate seat, while President Barack Obama has a 60 – 38 percent disapproval rating, according to a new Quinnipiac University poll. By a 58 – 37 percent margin, likely Ohio voters want a U.S. Senator who opposes President Obama’s policies, the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University survey, conducted by live interviewers, finds. And by 49 – 31 percent, voters want Republicans rather than Democrats to control the U.S. Senate.

“Among the likely Ohio electorate for this November, President Barack Obama is not a popular fellow. Independent likely voters disapprove 65 – 31 percent of the job he is doing. With the president such a heavy weight around the neck of Democratic candidates, it will be hard for one to win such a high-profile office this year in Ohio,” Brown said.

One reason for the president’s poor rating, at least in Ohio, is his health care overhaul plan. Likely voters disapprove of it by a 65 – 30 percent margin.

“White House senior advisor David Axelrod says Americans will come to like the health insurance plan, but it sure doesn’t look like that will be the case in Ohio by Nov. 2,” said Brown.

Overall, Ohio voters disapprove of Obama’s performance by a stunning 60 to 38 percent margin. In 2008, Obama carried the state by a 52 to 47 percent margin. That is about as stunning a reversal in political standing as you will find in American politics.

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All Tied Up in Pennsylvania

The latest Quinnipiac poll shows the race for the Senate between Joe Sestak and Pat Toomey to be tied at 43 percent approval for each candidate. A large segment of the electorate doesn’t know enough about either one of them to form an opinion. But Toomey has a higher percentage of Republicans (82 percent) backing him than Sestak does Democrats( 77.5 percent) and leads by a considerable 44-35 percent among independents. Most interesting, however, is how badly Obama is doing:

President Barack Obama’s negative 46 – 49 percent job approval rating is essentially unchanged from his negative 45 – 49 percent score April 8 and his negative 46 – 48 percent score May 13. It is, however, a dramatic fall from May of 2009, when it was 66 – 29 percent approve. The President’s current job rating reflects 82 – 16 percent disapproval among Republicans, 76 – 19 percent approval among Democrats and 53 – 40 percent disapproval among independent voters.

Pennsylvania voters say 48 – 42 percent that President Obama does not deserve reelection in 2012. In fact, 41 percent of voters say they would vote for an unnamed Republican candidate in 2012, while 40 percent say they would vote for Obama. Independent voters say they would go for a Republican 37 – 33 percent.

“When a politician’s approval rating is down 13 points among independent voters, that is generally a sign of political vulnerability,” said Brown. “The 6-point margin held by those who say President Obama doesn’t deserve a second term over those who think he does also should make the White House nervous, especially since Pennsylvania has not voted Republican for president since 1988. Here too, his weakness is among independents, who say 51 – 35 percent he does not deserve a second term.”

Once the Pennsylvania voters learn the degree to which Sestak has rubber-stamped the Obama agenda, the race may widen. But one thing is certain: as long as Obama’s numbers are this bad, he’s not going to be doing a lot of campaigning in the Keystone state for Sestak. The last thing Sestak needs is to remind the voters that he’s marched in lockstep with the Obama-Pelosi-Reid agenda.

The latest Quinnipiac poll shows the race for the Senate between Joe Sestak and Pat Toomey to be tied at 43 percent approval for each candidate. A large segment of the electorate doesn’t know enough about either one of them to form an opinion. But Toomey has a higher percentage of Republicans (82 percent) backing him than Sestak does Democrats( 77.5 percent) and leads by a considerable 44-35 percent among independents. Most interesting, however, is how badly Obama is doing:

President Barack Obama’s negative 46 – 49 percent job approval rating is essentially unchanged from his negative 45 – 49 percent score April 8 and his negative 46 – 48 percent score May 13. It is, however, a dramatic fall from May of 2009, when it was 66 – 29 percent approve. The President’s current job rating reflects 82 – 16 percent disapproval among Republicans, 76 – 19 percent approval among Democrats and 53 – 40 percent disapproval among independent voters.

Pennsylvania voters say 48 – 42 percent that President Obama does not deserve reelection in 2012. In fact, 41 percent of voters say they would vote for an unnamed Republican candidate in 2012, while 40 percent say they would vote for Obama. Independent voters say they would go for a Republican 37 – 33 percent.

“When a politician’s approval rating is down 13 points among independent voters, that is generally a sign of political vulnerability,” said Brown. “The 6-point margin held by those who say President Obama doesn’t deserve a second term over those who think he does also should make the White House nervous, especially since Pennsylvania has not voted Republican for president since 1988. Here too, his weakness is among independents, who say 51 – 35 percent he does not deserve a second term.”

Once the Pennsylvania voters learn the degree to which Sestak has rubber-stamped the Obama agenda, the race may widen. But one thing is certain: as long as Obama’s numbers are this bad, he’s not going to be doing a lot of campaigning in the Keystone state for Sestak. The last thing Sestak needs is to remind the voters that he’s marched in lockstep with the Obama-Pelosi-Reid agenda.

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Obama Losing Friends

As the Washington Post editors note, if Nick Clegg manages to emerge from the three-way race as Britain’s next prime minster (or force his way into a coalition government) he may manage to trash what is left of the “special relationship” with the U.S. And this would be a telling consequence of Obama’s smart diplomacy, which largely consists of distancing ourselves from allies. The editors remind us:

Intentionally or not, Mr. Obama has offered support for Mr. Clegg’s argument: His relatively chilly relationship with Mr. Brown, including several perceived snubs, has been a persistent theme of British news coverage. Yet the United States can hardly afford a weaker or less friendly Britain at a time when it is still fighting two wars and when diplomacy with states such as Iran, North Korea and Syria is failing. Other longtime American allies, from Brazil to Turkey, have begun opposing the Obama administration on Iran and other issues.

And this is not only understandable but inevitable. As the U.S. proves to be a less reliable ally, other nations will go looking for more reliable one. As the U.S. proves to be hostile or, at best, indifferent, leaders will cultivate relations with heads of state that don’t ignore or insult them.

The irony is great that Obama had pledged to restore our standing in the world and repair supposedly frayed ties with allies. Frankly, our relationship with key allies hasn’t been this bad in decades and our disloyalty to friends has only whetted the appetite of foes. We are therefore more isolated and the world is quickly becoming more dangerous. One longs for the days of “cowboy diplomacy.”

As the Washington Post editors note, if Nick Clegg manages to emerge from the three-way race as Britain’s next prime minster (or force his way into a coalition government) he may manage to trash what is left of the “special relationship” with the U.S. And this would be a telling consequence of Obama’s smart diplomacy, which largely consists of distancing ourselves from allies. The editors remind us:

Intentionally or not, Mr. Obama has offered support for Mr. Clegg’s argument: His relatively chilly relationship with Mr. Brown, including several perceived snubs, has been a persistent theme of British news coverage. Yet the United States can hardly afford a weaker or less friendly Britain at a time when it is still fighting two wars and when diplomacy with states such as Iran, North Korea and Syria is failing. Other longtime American allies, from Brazil to Turkey, have begun opposing the Obama administration on Iran and other issues.

And this is not only understandable but inevitable. As the U.S. proves to be a less reliable ally, other nations will go looking for more reliable one. As the U.S. proves to be hostile or, at best, indifferent, leaders will cultivate relations with heads of state that don’t ignore or insult them.

The irony is great that Obama had pledged to restore our standing in the world and repair supposedly frayed ties with allies. Frankly, our relationship with key allies hasn’t been this bad in decades and our disloyalty to friends has only whetted the appetite of foes. We are therefore more isolated and the world is quickly becoming more dangerous. One longs for the days of “cowboy diplomacy.”

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Americans Reject “Not Bush” Approach to Fighting Terrorism

The latest Quinnipiac poll reports:

American voters say 59 – 35 percent that 9/11 terrorism suspects should be tried in military courts rather than in civilian courts, as currently planned. Voters say 68 – 25 percent that terrorism suspects should not receive all of the constitutional protections afforded by a civilian trial. Democrats prefer civilian courts 48 – 45 percent. Support for military courts is 73 – 23 percent among Republicans and 61 – 33 percent among independent voters.

The suspect who allegedly tried to blow up an airliner on Christmas Day should be tried as an enemy combatant rather than as an ordinary criminal, voters say 76 – 19 percent. But voters approve 52 – 42 percent of the FBI’s advice to the suspect of his right to remain silent.

“When it comes to how suspected terrorists should be treated by the American judicial system there is a significant gap between the American people and President Barack Obama,” said Brown. “Although they give the President a 49 – 44 percent approval rating on handling terrorism, the devil is in the details. When it comes to his decision to treat suspected terrorists as common criminals deserving of civilian trials rather than as enemy combatants judged by military tribunals they are strongly in the other corner. There is a similar disconnect on the basic question of whether suspected terrorists should have the same rights as ordinary criminals.

At the same time, voters are pleased with Obama’s Afghanistan troop-surge decision – – by a large 56 to 37 percent margin.

This should tell the Obami something. At a time when their domestic policies are cratering in public polling and their approach to the war against Islamic fascists (whom they dare not refer to in such candid terms) is hugely unpopular, they would do well to note that a robust strategy in Afghanistan does, in fact, engender widespread support. In this case, smart policy meets good politics. The Obami have been pursuing a not-Bush approach on terrorism that is neither sound on the merits nor politically sustainable.

The question remains how to reverse course and shed the flawed and unsustainable policies they have adopted. They might start, of course, with canning two principal advisers — Eric Holder and John Brennan — who show particular contempt for the facts and disdain for the bipartisan opposition. But that would require Obama to admit error. And honestly, what do we think the chances of that are?

The latest Quinnipiac poll reports:

American voters say 59 – 35 percent that 9/11 terrorism suspects should be tried in military courts rather than in civilian courts, as currently planned. Voters say 68 – 25 percent that terrorism suspects should not receive all of the constitutional protections afforded by a civilian trial. Democrats prefer civilian courts 48 – 45 percent. Support for military courts is 73 – 23 percent among Republicans and 61 – 33 percent among independent voters.

The suspect who allegedly tried to blow up an airliner on Christmas Day should be tried as an enemy combatant rather than as an ordinary criminal, voters say 76 – 19 percent. But voters approve 52 – 42 percent of the FBI’s advice to the suspect of his right to remain silent.

“When it comes to how suspected terrorists should be treated by the American judicial system there is a significant gap between the American people and President Barack Obama,” said Brown. “Although they give the President a 49 – 44 percent approval rating on handling terrorism, the devil is in the details. When it comes to his decision to treat suspected terrorists as common criminals deserving of civilian trials rather than as enemy combatants judged by military tribunals they are strongly in the other corner. There is a similar disconnect on the basic question of whether suspected terrorists should have the same rights as ordinary criminals.

At the same time, voters are pleased with Obama’s Afghanistan troop-surge decision – – by a large 56 to 37 percent margin.

This should tell the Obami something. At a time when their domestic policies are cratering in public polling and their approach to the war against Islamic fascists (whom they dare not refer to in such candid terms) is hugely unpopular, they would do well to note that a robust strategy in Afghanistan does, in fact, engender widespread support. In this case, smart policy meets good politics. The Obami have been pursuing a not-Bush approach on terrorism that is neither sound on the merits nor politically sustainable.

The question remains how to reverse course and shed the flawed and unsustainable policies they have adopted. They might start, of course, with canning two principal advisers — Eric Holder and John Brennan — who show particular contempt for the facts and disdain for the bipartisan opposition. But that would require Obama to admit error. And honestly, what do we think the chances of that are?

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Flotsam and Jetsam

The mayor of Las Vegas, despite numbers from helpful (or is it desperate?) Democratic polling outfits showing he would do better against Republican challengers to Harry Reid, says he won’t run. Recruitment is hard for the side facing rather than riding the wave.

Surveying the Democratic retirements and opt-outs, it sure does seem that “Democrats are spooked at all levels. Beau Biden’s Delaware bid has always had a Coakleyesque Democratic entitlement aroma to it, and Massachusetts has now sensitized the noses of the rest of the nation. Much more so than Republicans, Democratic congressional candidates are often products of their urban party machines, but I sure wouldn’t want to be a machine candidate running for Congress anywhere in the country next fall.”

Speaking of machines, the Illinois Senate primary race has heated up. The Democratic front-runner, Alexi Giannoulias, is being attacked for his ties to Tony Rezko. You sort of see how that would be a problem in the general election.

Democrats in Illinois seem awfully jumpy: “A televised forum among the three leading Democrats for the Senate last week seemed to transform into a scuffle over which one would be least likely, come November, to repeat what happened in Massachusetts. (Along the way, they struck notes that sounded not so unlike Mr. Brown.)”

Meanwhile, the White House doesn’t exactly inspire confidence. Politico reports: “White House advisers appearing on the Sunday talk shows gave three different estimates of how many jobs could be credited to President Obama’s Recovery Act.”

Liberals can barely disguise their disdain for the Obami’s muddled health-care stance. TNR complains: “The White House seems to agree that passing the Senate bill and fixing it with reconciliation would be the best way to proceed. But that doesn’t mean they’re pushing hard for that option. According to the same sources, the Obama administration sent vague, sometimes conflicting signals about its intentions for much of last week–making the task for reform advocates even harder.” (And he could have been such a fine editor for them!) Perhaps the Obami just want the whole health-care thing to go away. That they might finally accomplish.

Megan McArdle explains how to do precisely that: “We want to pass health care, but we just have a few things to do first. … Once it goes on the back burner, it’s over. As time goes by, voters will be thinking less and less about the health care bill they hated, and more and more about other things in the news. There is not going to be any appetite among Democrats for returning to this toxic process and refreshing those bad memories. They’re going to want to spend the time between now and the election talking about things that voters, y’know, like.”

Victor Davis Hanson takes us down memory lane: “After Van Jones, Anita Dunn, the Skip Gates mess, the ‘tea-bagger’ slurs, the attacks on Fox News, the Copenhagen dashes, the bowing, the apologizing, the reordering of creditors, the NEA obsequiousness, the lackluster overseas-contingency-operation front, the deer-in-the-headlights pause on Afghanistan, the pseudo-deadlines on Iran, Guantanamo, and health care, the transparency and bipartisanship fraud, and dozens of other things, Obama simply does not have the popularity to carry unpopular legislation forward.”

It shouldn’t surprise anyone that “a new report warns that al-Qaeda has not abandoned its goal of attacking the United States with a chemical, biological or even nuclear weapon. The report, by a former senior CIA official who led the agency’s hunt for terrorists’ weapons of mass destruction, portrays al-Qaeda’s leaders as determined and patient, willing to wait for years to acquire the kinds of weapons that could inflict widespread casualties.” (Not even if we close Guantanamo? Give KSM his trial? No.) Seems like a good reminder that whenever we grab an al-Qaeda operative, we should be doing everything within our power to get every bit of data we can in order to prevent an attack with “widespread casualties.”

The mayor of Las Vegas, despite numbers from helpful (or is it desperate?) Democratic polling outfits showing he would do better against Republican challengers to Harry Reid, says he won’t run. Recruitment is hard for the side facing rather than riding the wave.

Surveying the Democratic retirements and opt-outs, it sure does seem that “Democrats are spooked at all levels. Beau Biden’s Delaware bid has always had a Coakleyesque Democratic entitlement aroma to it, and Massachusetts has now sensitized the noses of the rest of the nation. Much more so than Republicans, Democratic congressional candidates are often products of their urban party machines, but I sure wouldn’t want to be a machine candidate running for Congress anywhere in the country next fall.”

Speaking of machines, the Illinois Senate primary race has heated up. The Democratic front-runner, Alexi Giannoulias, is being attacked for his ties to Tony Rezko. You sort of see how that would be a problem in the general election.

Democrats in Illinois seem awfully jumpy: “A televised forum among the three leading Democrats for the Senate last week seemed to transform into a scuffle over which one would be least likely, come November, to repeat what happened in Massachusetts. (Along the way, they struck notes that sounded not so unlike Mr. Brown.)”

Meanwhile, the White House doesn’t exactly inspire confidence. Politico reports: “White House advisers appearing on the Sunday talk shows gave three different estimates of how many jobs could be credited to President Obama’s Recovery Act.”

Liberals can barely disguise their disdain for the Obami’s muddled health-care stance. TNR complains: “The White House seems to agree that passing the Senate bill and fixing it with reconciliation would be the best way to proceed. But that doesn’t mean they’re pushing hard for that option. According to the same sources, the Obama administration sent vague, sometimes conflicting signals about its intentions for much of last week–making the task for reform advocates even harder.” (And he could have been such a fine editor for them!) Perhaps the Obami just want the whole health-care thing to go away. That they might finally accomplish.

Megan McArdle explains how to do precisely that: “We want to pass health care, but we just have a few things to do first. … Once it goes on the back burner, it’s over. As time goes by, voters will be thinking less and less about the health care bill they hated, and more and more about other things in the news. There is not going to be any appetite among Democrats for returning to this toxic process and refreshing those bad memories. They’re going to want to spend the time between now and the election talking about things that voters, y’know, like.”

Victor Davis Hanson takes us down memory lane: “After Van Jones, Anita Dunn, the Skip Gates mess, the ‘tea-bagger’ slurs, the attacks on Fox News, the Copenhagen dashes, the bowing, the apologizing, the reordering of creditors, the NEA obsequiousness, the lackluster overseas-contingency-operation front, the deer-in-the-headlights pause on Afghanistan, the pseudo-deadlines on Iran, Guantanamo, and health care, the transparency and bipartisanship fraud, and dozens of other things, Obama simply does not have the popularity to carry unpopular legislation forward.”

It shouldn’t surprise anyone that “a new report warns that al-Qaeda has not abandoned its goal of attacking the United States with a chemical, biological or even nuclear weapon. The report, by a former senior CIA official who led the agency’s hunt for terrorists’ weapons of mass destruction, portrays al-Qaeda’s leaders as determined and patient, willing to wait for years to acquire the kinds of weapons that could inflict widespread casualties.” (Not even if we close Guantanamo? Give KSM his trial? No.) Seems like a good reminder that whenever we grab an al-Qaeda operative, we should be doing everything within our power to get every bit of data we can in order to prevent an attack with “widespread casualties.”

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The Undervalued Commodity

In the Washington Post today we read this:

[Scott] Brown has called his effort “the politics of hope” and, like candidate Obama did, admonished campaign workers to maintain courtesies — at a Saturday stop in a call center in Worcester, he even complimented the “very respectful” behavior of the Democratic “trackers,” the fixtures of modern campaigning who record a candidate’s every move on video.Brown has called his effort “the politics of hope” and, like candidate Obama did, admonished campaign workers to maintain courtesies — at a Saturday stop in a call center in Worcester, he even complimented the “very respectful” behavior of the Democratic “trackers,” the fixtures of modern campaigning who record a candidate’s every move on video.

This is both impressive and wise. I have argued before that tone is an undervalued commodity in American politics; voters want candidates to be principled in their convictions, civil in their presentation, and likable in their demeanor.

Bob McDonnell ran a similar campaign in Virginia: he was focused on issues the voters care about, free of distracting side battles, strong in his views but not off-putting in his style.

Let the Left devour itself in its animosities and anger. In the current political environment, Republicans and conservatives can prevail by combining good policies with good manners. Our greatest political leaders have shown that convictions and civility can co-exist very easily together. (h/t: Rich Lowry, NRO)

In the Washington Post today we read this:

[Scott] Brown has called his effort “the politics of hope” and, like candidate Obama did, admonished campaign workers to maintain courtesies — at a Saturday stop in a call center in Worcester, he even complimented the “very respectful” behavior of the Democratic “trackers,” the fixtures of modern campaigning who record a candidate’s every move on video.Brown has called his effort “the politics of hope” and, like candidate Obama did, admonished campaign workers to maintain courtesies — at a Saturday stop in a call center in Worcester, he even complimented the “very respectful” behavior of the Democratic “trackers,” the fixtures of modern campaigning who record a candidate’s every move on video.

This is both impressive and wise. I have argued before that tone is an undervalued commodity in American politics; voters want candidates to be principled in their convictions, civil in their presentation, and likable in their demeanor.

Bob McDonnell ran a similar campaign in Virginia: he was focused on issues the voters care about, free of distracting side battles, strong in his views but not off-putting in his style.

Let the Left devour itself in its animosities and anger. In the current political environment, Republicans and conservatives can prevail by combining good policies with good manners. Our greatest political leaders have shown that convictions and civility can co-exist very easily together. (h/t: Rich Lowry, NRO)

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Brown in the Lead?

A new poll shows Scott Brown up by 4 points in Massachusetts. The Boston Herald reports:

Although Brown’s 4-point lead over Democrat Martha Coakley is within the Suffolk University/7News survey’s margin of error, the underdog’s position at the top of the results stunned even pollster David Paleologos. “It’s a Brown-out,” said Paleologos, director of Suffolk’s Political Research Center. “It’s a massive change in the political landscape.” …

Paleologos said bellweather [sic] models show high numbers of independent voters turning out on election day, which benefits Brown, who has 65 percent of that bloc compared to Coakley’s 30 percent. Kennedy earns just 3 percent of the independent vote, and 1 percent are undecided.

Is the poll an outlier or simply the first to pick up that Brown has moved into the lead? Well, that’s why polling gurus like Charlie Cook and Stuart Rothenberg call it a “toss-up.” Think about that: there is no longer a clear advantage in Massachusetts for the Democrat.

Chalk it up to a weak Democratic candidate or to a lame campaign. Blame the Democrats for arrogance in assuming that this was a safe seat. But frankly, who could have blamed them? In September, Coakley was ahead in the polls by 30 points.

Since then, however, something has fundamentally changed. Since September, the country has witnessed the visible battle over ObamaCare — late-night votes, Cash for Cloture deals, and a bill that offends a wide array of groups. Democrats have never looked up or paused to consider the public’s views on the matter. They tell us they will “sell it” to us later. That arrogant defiance of public opinion and the unseemly legislative process that produced a grossly unpopular bill have fueled a resurgence of anger and determination among conservatives and even usually apathetic independents. They now are anxious to send a message to Washington: stop ignoring the voters. We saw it in New Jersey and Virginia. Now we learn that even Massachusetts may not be immune.

The Democrats’ agenda, specifically a hugely unpopular health-care bill, has unified and energized not the proponents of big government but the opposition, which now is itching for the chance to exact revenge. We’ll see on Tuesday if that wave of resentment is so powerful as to extend even to a state so Blue that a little over a year ago, Obama carried it by more than 25 points. My how things change.

A new poll shows Scott Brown up by 4 points in Massachusetts. The Boston Herald reports:

Although Brown’s 4-point lead over Democrat Martha Coakley is within the Suffolk University/7News survey’s margin of error, the underdog’s position at the top of the results stunned even pollster David Paleologos. “It’s a Brown-out,” said Paleologos, director of Suffolk’s Political Research Center. “It’s a massive change in the political landscape.” …

Paleologos said bellweather [sic] models show high numbers of independent voters turning out on election day, which benefits Brown, who has 65 percent of that bloc compared to Coakley’s 30 percent. Kennedy earns just 3 percent of the independent vote, and 1 percent are undecided.

Is the poll an outlier or simply the first to pick up that Brown has moved into the lead? Well, that’s why polling gurus like Charlie Cook and Stuart Rothenberg call it a “toss-up.” Think about that: there is no longer a clear advantage in Massachusetts for the Democrat.

Chalk it up to a weak Democratic candidate or to a lame campaign. Blame the Democrats for arrogance in assuming that this was a safe seat. But frankly, who could have blamed them? In September, Coakley was ahead in the polls by 30 points.

Since then, however, something has fundamentally changed. Since September, the country has witnessed the visible battle over ObamaCare — late-night votes, Cash for Cloture deals, and a bill that offends a wide array of groups. Democrats have never looked up or paused to consider the public’s views on the matter. They tell us they will “sell it” to us later. That arrogant defiance of public opinion and the unseemly legislative process that produced a grossly unpopular bill have fueled a resurgence of anger and determination among conservatives and even usually apathetic independents. They now are anxious to send a message to Washington: stop ignoring the voters. We saw it in New Jersey and Virginia. Now we learn that even Massachusetts may not be immune.

The Democrats’ agenda, specifically a hugely unpopular health-care bill, has unified and energized not the proponents of big government but the opposition, which now is itching for the chance to exact revenge. We’ll see on Tuesday if that wave of resentment is so powerful as to extend even to a state so Blue that a little over a year ago, Obama carried it by more than 25 points. My how things change.

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Persuadable but Not Silly

The American people have a deep reservoir of common sense. It’s a good thing, given that common sense is often is short in supply among the chattering class. The latest Quinnipiac poll makes this clear.

On Afghanistan,we were told that the support was down for the war, it was going to drag the president under, and since the public was turning against the war it really couldn’t be fought. Well, that’s what many on the Left kept telling us. It turns out that when presented with a plan for victory and a president who seems interested in turning around a lagging effort, the public responds favorably:

Public support for the war in Afghanistan is up nine percentage points in the last three weeks, as American voters say 57 – 35 percent that fighting the war is the right thing to do. Approval of President Barack Obama’s handling of the war is up seven points in the same period, from a 38 – 49 percent negative November 18 to a 45 – 45 percent split, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today.

Let’s be honest: the Left was rooting for the public to give up on the war and for that turn in public option to dissuade the administration from adopting a counterinsurgency strategy. It seems as though what the the public doesn’t like is a losing war or a president adrift.

Then the poll looks at the Nobel Peace Prize:

The jump in public support for Obama’s war policy comes as voters say 66 – 26 percent he does not deserve the Nobel Peace Prize he will be awarded this week, and 41 percent say the Nobel committee’s choice of Obama for the award causes them to think less of it, while 6 percent say it makes them think better of the prize and 49 percent say it makes no difference. . . .

“It’s probably a good thing for President Obama that the time difference from Norway means the Nobel presentation will occur while most Americans are sleeping and might get less coverage in the United States,” [Peter] Brown added. “Two out of three Americans don’t think he deserves it compared to the quarter who do. Even among Democrats, only 49 percent think he deserves it, compared to 8 percent of Republicans and 19 percent of independent voters. As is the case with many questions related to the President there are wide gender and racial gaps.”

Among women, 31 percent think Obama deserves the award, compared to only 19 percent of men. Seventy-three percent of blacks, 29 percent of Hispanics and 18 percent of whites think so.

Well, it’s nice to know that Americans are persuadable by facts, amenable to winning wars, and not blinded by what passes for elite wisdom in the salons of Europe. At least some of the time.

The American people have a deep reservoir of common sense. It’s a good thing, given that common sense is often is short in supply among the chattering class. The latest Quinnipiac poll makes this clear.

On Afghanistan,we were told that the support was down for the war, it was going to drag the president under, and since the public was turning against the war it really couldn’t be fought. Well, that’s what many on the Left kept telling us. It turns out that when presented with a plan for victory and a president who seems interested in turning around a lagging effort, the public responds favorably:

Public support for the war in Afghanistan is up nine percentage points in the last three weeks, as American voters say 57 – 35 percent that fighting the war is the right thing to do. Approval of President Barack Obama’s handling of the war is up seven points in the same period, from a 38 – 49 percent negative November 18 to a 45 – 45 percent split, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today.

Let’s be honest: the Left was rooting for the public to give up on the war and for that turn in public option to dissuade the administration from adopting a counterinsurgency strategy. It seems as though what the the public doesn’t like is a losing war or a president adrift.

Then the poll looks at the Nobel Peace Prize:

The jump in public support for Obama’s war policy comes as voters say 66 – 26 percent he does not deserve the Nobel Peace Prize he will be awarded this week, and 41 percent say the Nobel committee’s choice of Obama for the award causes them to think less of it, while 6 percent say it makes them think better of the prize and 49 percent say it makes no difference. . . .

“It’s probably a good thing for President Obama that the time difference from Norway means the Nobel presentation will occur while most Americans are sleeping and might get less coverage in the United States,” [Peter] Brown added. “Two out of three Americans don’t think he deserves it compared to the quarter who do. Even among Democrats, only 49 percent think he deserves it, compared to 8 percent of Republicans and 19 percent of independent voters. As is the case with many questions related to the President there are wide gender and racial gaps.”

Among women, 31 percent think Obama deserves the award, compared to only 19 percent of men. Seventy-three percent of blacks, 29 percent of Hispanics and 18 percent of whites think so.

Well, it’s nice to know that Americans are persuadable by facts, amenable to winning wars, and not blinded by what passes for elite wisdom in the salons of Europe. At least some of the time.

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