Friday, February 22, 2008

SurveyUSA's released a bunch of new state presidential polls for Ohio, New Mexico, Missouri, Minnesota, California, Alabama, Kansas, and Massachusetts. There's some rough news for the GOP in Ohio and Missouri: McCain trails both Obama and Clinton in states that Bush won in 2000 and 2004. No Republican has won the presidency without Ohio. Hillary Clinton is polling stronger in Ohio: she leads McCain by 10, but Obama only leads him by 3. McCain leads Clinton strongly in Kansas, but his lead over Obama is smaller. Massachusetts has a very interesting result. Clinton leads McCain by nine there, but Obama only leads McCain by two points: 48-46. So Obama seems at the moment to be more competitive in some states, but, in states like Ohio and Massachusetts (despite the backing of MA governor Deval Patrick and both MA senators Kerry and Kennedy), he seems to lag behind Clinton. For the moment at least....

UPDATE: A reader wonders if the SurveyUSA poll for Missouri might be weighting Democrats too much, claiming that a 14-point gap in Democrat-Republican identification (41-27) to be unusual for polling in Missouri. And, if you check SurveyUSA's last presidential head-to-head polling for Missouri, on January 14, you see only a 7-point identification gap (38D-31R). Under those conditions, McCain wins against both Clinton and Obama (winning by 10 points over the latter). Of course, a seven-point swing in five weeks could happen, but those numbers could swing back, too. Just a detail to keep in mind....
Huckabee, at least, is still talking about a brokered Republican convention. Guess whom he thinks that convention would nominate....
Clinton and Obama laid out their positions on immigration (video here) in yesterday's debate. Both reiterated their support for "comprehensive immigration reform," and Obama again says that he finds some of the tone in the immigration debate "racist." Debate transcript here. Mickey Kaus parses some of Obama's and Clinton's statements on a border fence: "Is voting for a fence and then denying you were actually voting for a fence the old politics of Washington or the new politics of hope? I get confused."

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

The Audacity of the Usual: Jim Geraghty transcribes part of a recent speech in which Michelle Obama assures us that her husband will force us to work:
Barack Obama will require you to work. He is going to demand that you shed your cynicism. That you put down your divisions. That you come out of your isolation, that you move out of your comfort zones. That you push yourselves to be better. And that you engage. Barack will never allow you to go back to your lives as usual, uninvolved, uninformed.
Geraghty (ever the opponent of change) wonders where the president has the Constitutional authority to prohibit "your lives as usual." Though Michelle Obama seems in that speech (more transcription and analysis here) to be attacking the politics of "fear," she herself seems to be trying to make the usual lives of citizens (whatever those "usual lives" are) objects of fear and loathing. She also emphasizes the rhetoric of compulsion in this address. Obama will "require," "demand," and "never allow you" to do certain things or even to feel certain ways.
The UK offers plans to make the citizenship process more rigorous.
Utah considers a new bill to punish the employers of "illegal immigrants," and, in Indiana, another employer-enforcement bill moves forward.
Barack Obama tries to clarify what his wife said about her feelings for the United States:

"What she meant was, this is the first time that she's been proud of the politics of America," he said. "Because she's pretty cynical about the political process, and with good reason, and she's not alone. But she has seen large numbers of people get involved in the process, and she's encouraged."

In Milwaukee on Monday, Michelle Obama said: "Let me tell you, for the first time in my adult life, I am really proud of my country. Not just because Barack is doing well, but I think people are hungry for change."

Some aren't persuaded.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Exit poll confusion: Geraghty's hearing reports that Wisconsin, based on two rounds of exit polling, could be a big Obama win of 60-40. But some exit poll data also show the woman vote to be very close: either Clinton winning by 1 or Obama by 2. For Obama to gain an overall victory of 60-40, he'd have to achieve something maybe like 70%-75% of the men's vote (assuming that women do really make up 57% of Democratic voters today)--a gender gap recent polls have not found. Will this data stand up? There's almost two hours left for voting in Wisconsin, too, so things are certainly in flux....other exit poll data here.

UPDATE: Full exits here. Obama seems to have dominated among many demographic groups. He tied women with Clinton and won men 67-31.
David Bernstein finds some Obama quotes from the 1990s. One is about economics, and the other is about gun control. Obama's had an unclear past on gun rights (at one point, in 1996, his campaign said he favored the banning of handguns, but Obama's campaign now says that he never believed that--he now says that the ban on handguns would not be "politically practicable" at the moment). He now says that he believes in the individual right to bear arms but also says that he believes in the "commonsense regulation" of this right. What does Obama think to be a "commonsense regulation"? He supports the Washington, DC gun ban, and the quote Bernstein's found from 1999 offers some other policies that Obama apparently thinks are "common sense" (e.a.):

Obama outlined his anti-gun plan that includes increased penalties for the interstate transportation of firearms. The maximum penalty now for bringing a gun across the border is 10 years in prison. Obama is proposing to make it a felony for a gun owner whose firearm was stolen from his residence which causes harm to another person if that weapon was not securely stored in that home.

He's proposing restricting gun purchases to one weapon a month and banning the sale of firearms at gun shows except for "antique" weapons. Obama is also proposing increasing the licensing fee to obtain a federal firearms license.

He's also seeking a ban on police agencies from reselling their used weapons even if those funds are used to buy more state-of-the-art weapons for their agencies. Obama wants only those over 21 who've passed a basic course to be able to buy or own a firearm.

He's proposing that all federally licensed gun dealers sell firearms in a storefront and not from their homes while banning their business from being within five miles of a school or a park.
So if a burglar steals a gun from your home (unless, perhaps, the gun is secured in a gun safe) and injures someone with it, Barack Obama thinks that you should be charged with a felony? And the five-mile anti-gun-store school-and-park radius would effectively ban the sale of guns in all urban areas, many, if not all or most, suburban areas (a single school zone would, after all, mean at least seventy-five square miles of anti-gun territory), and, I would guess, a great number of rural areas. Obama's "commonsense regulations" (at least circa 1999) would significantly restrict the ability of the vast majority US citizen to buy guns legally. Indeed, for some, it would effectively be a gun ban.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Enforcement wave continues: New Jersey Senate Majority Leader Stephen Sweeney (D) is proposing a law that would punish employers who employ the "undocumented":

A top state Democrat plans to introduce legislation that would penalize New Jersey businesses that knowingly hire illegal immigrants.

Senate Majority Leader Stephen Sweeney said his proposal is aimed at companies that provide opportunities for illegal immigrants to "undermine family, educational and health care support systems."

"Companies that knowingly hire illegals are destroying job opportunities for the working men and women of New Jersey," said Sweeney, D-Gloucester. "The practice has to be stopped."

The law would require New Jersey businesses to verify the legal status of their employees. Businesses in violation of the law would face a 10-day suspension of their business license for the first offense and permanent revocation for the second.