Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Debt Deal Tests Increasingly Independent Electorate

  • Obama’s Unhealthy Obsession With Independents (Ruy Teixeira, The New Republic) To understand how very unlikely it is that Obama’s long sought-after deal is going to magically turn around his numbers, we must visit one of the most robust but amazingly underappreciated findings in American political science: independents are not independent. That is, the overwhelming majority of Americans who say there are “independent” lean toward one party or the other. Call them IINOs (Independents In Name Only). IINOs who say they lean toward the Republicans think and vote just like regular Republicans. IINOs who say they lean toward the Democrats think and vote just like regular Democrats.
  • Will Debt Dance Be a Disaster for Incumbents? (By Stuart Rothenberg, Roll Call) While the public has displayed a general frustration with Congress, it’s probably a mistake to assume its feelings will be “anti-incumbent” next November. Instead, it is much easier to imagine Democratic voters blaming Republicans and Republican voters blaming Democrats, with independents much more conflicted than they have been during the past three elections.
  • Pelosi's Gutsy Stand (By Eleanor Clift, The Daily Beast) The sidelined ex-speaker is as disgusted as fellow liberals by what they see as an Obama sellout—but dutifully voted for the debt deal for the good of the country.
  • America's big shift right (By Liz Marlantes, MinnPost.com) Yet it isn't just Republicans who are becoming more conservative about Washington's role. In its most recent biannual survey of political values and core attitudes, the Pew Research Center found that the most notable shift of late is that independent voters have taken "a turn to the right" on broader economic issues, including views of the social safety net and the government's effectiveness and scope. Pew found that the number of people who believe the government "should help more needy people even if it means going deeper into debt" has fallen to 48 percent overall, while among independents, it's down to 43 percent – a drop of 14 points since 2007.
  • They've Lost That Lovin' Feeling - Obama still has supporters, but theirs is a grim support. (By PEGGY NOONAN, Wall Street Journal) The fact is, he's good at dismantling. He's good at critiquing. He's good at not being the last guy, the one you didn't like. But he's not good at building, creating, calling into being. He was good at summoning hope, but he's not good at directing it and turning it into something concrete that answers a broad public desire.
  • Analysis: Debt mess shows Washington's awful side (By BEN FELLER, AP White House Correspondent, Associated Press) Polls show people's trust in government is at one of its worst levels in decades. An ABC/Washington Post survey this month found that a whopping 80 percent of people were angry or dissatisfied with the federal government. About a decade ago, it wasn't half that high. Pleading for the parties to work together for the American people, Obama said, "That's the least that they should expect of us, not the most that they should expect of us." Achieving the least is proving nearly impossible.
  • Obama’s Crucible Moment at Intersection of Politics and the Economy (By JOHN HARWOOD, NY Times) Mr. Obama was hardly alone in facing potential political peril. Speaker John A. Boehner scrambled through the day to quell a Tea Party rebellion that called into question Republican priorities and the party’s ability to govern.  Polls have shown independent voters siding with Mr. Obama’s approach to deficit reduction and crediting his party with greater willingness to compromise.

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