October 31, 2012

Mason-Dixon Ceasing Florida Polling Operations; Declares Romney Has Florida “Locked Down”

Mason-Dixon on Tuesday became the second major polling organization to cease operations in Florida. Why? I’ll let them explain:

“Romney has pretty much nailed down Florida,” said Brad Coker of Mason-Dixon Polling and Research, which conducted the poll for the media partners. “Unless something dramatically changes — an October surprise, a major gaffe — Romney’s going to win Florida.”

Mason-Dixon is not the first major polling group to pull out of Florida. Suffolk University pollster David Paleologos, whose polls are aggregated into mainstream averages to show where the presidential race stands in the swing states, said he’s finished polling in Florida, North Carolina and Virginia because President Obama has no shot at winning those states.

President Obama currently has no campaign events planned in Florida, and the same is true for Governor Romney after he completes a swing through three Florida cities today. With six days left until the election it appears that Florida will see no love from the candidates because it is now firmly in the Romney column.

by @ 7:00 am. Filed under Uncategorized

October 13, 2012

Poll Watch: Nielson Brothers South Dakota 2012 Presidential Survey

NBP South Dakota 2012 Presidential Poll

  • Mitt Romney 51.6% {53.9%} [49%] (48%)
  • Barack Obama 41.1% {38.7%} [43%] (29%)

Do you approve or disapprove of President Barack Obama’s job performance?

  • Strongly approve 26.4% {25.8%} [27%]
  • Somewhat approve 16.8% {17.1%} [18%]
  • Somewhat disapprove 10.0% {12.1%} [13%]
  • Strongly disapprove 46.8% {45.0%} [42%]

Survey of 762 likely voters was conducted October 1-5, 2012.  The margin of error is +/- 3.55 percentage points.  Results from the poll conducted August 29 – September 6, 2012 are in curly brackets. Results from the poll conducted July 19-23, 2012 are in square brackets. Results from the poll conducted December 6-9, 2011 are in parentheses.

-Data compilation and analysis courtesy of The Argo Journal

by @ 7:20 pm. Filed under Uncategorized

Poll Watch: Gallup Daily Tracking Poll

Likely Voter Presidential Tracking Poll

  • Romney: 49% (–)
  • Obama: 47% (–)

Registered Voter Presidential Tracking Poll

  • Obama 49% (+1)
  • Romney 46% (–)

Each seven-day rolling average is based on telephone interviews with approximately 3,050 registered voters; Margin of error is ±2 percentage points.

(*Note: Only one out of the seven datapoints in this poll are post-VP-debate.)

Obama Job Approval Tracking Poll

  • Approve: 48% (-2)
  • Disapprove: 46% (+2)

Daily results are based on telephone interviews with approximately 1,500 national adults over a period of three days; Margin of error is ±3 percentage points.

by @ 1:30 pm. Filed under Poll Watch, Uncategorized

October 5, 2012

Poll Watch: Gravis Marketing Nevada 2012 Presidential Survey

Gravis Marketing Nevada 2012 Presidential Poll

  • Barack Obama 48.9%
  • Mitt Romney 47.8%
  • Other/Undecided 3.3%

Among Democrats

  • Barack Obama 85.7%
  • Mitt Romney 12.7%
  • Other/Undecided 1.6%

Among Republicans

  • Mitt Romney 88.2%
  • Barack Obama 10.3%
  • Other/Undecided 1.4%

Among Independents

  • Barack Obama 48.9%
  • Mitt Romney 43.6%
  • Other/Undecided 7.4%

Among Men

  • Mitt Romney 50.3%
  • Barack Obama 46.8%
  • Other/Undecided 2.8%

Among Women

  • Barack Obama 50.8%
  • Mitt Romney 45.4%
  • Other/Undecided 3.8%

Survey of 1,006 likely voters was conducted October 3, 2012. The margin of error is +/- 3.1 percentage points.

-Data compilation and analysis courtesy of The Argo Journal

by @ 4:40 pm. Filed under Uncategorized

September 24, 2012

Poll Watch: POLITICO/George Washington University 2012 Battleground Poll

POLITICO/GWU 2012 Battleground Poll

  • Barack Obama 50% [48%] (47%) {53%} [49%]
  • Mitt Romney 47% [47%] (48%) {43%} [43%] 

(Among Obama VotersWould you say that your vote for Barack Obama is more of a vote for Barack Obama, or a vote against Mitt Romney?

  • For Obama 75% [77%]
  • Against Romney 19% [18%]

(Among Romney VotersWould you say that your vote for Mitt Romney is more of a vote for Mitt Romney, or a vote against Barack Obama?

  • For Romney 47% [39%]
  • Against Obama 42% [52%]

Favorable / Unfavorable {Net} 

  • Barack Obama 53% [50%] / 45% [47%] {+8%}
  • Paul Ryan 41% / 36% {+5%}
  • Joe Biden 43% / 45% {-2%}
  • Mitt Romney 46% [46%] / 49% [46%] {-3%}

How would you rate the job Barack Obama has been doing as President? Do you approve or disapprove of the job he is doing?

  • Approve 50% [49%]
  • Disapprove 47% [50%]

I am going to read you several issues. For each one, please tell me if you approve or disapprove of the job that President Obama is doing on this issue.

The Economy

  • Approve 48% [44%]
  • Disapprove 51% [54%]

Foreign Policy

  • Approve 50% [52%]
  • Disapprove 45% [43%]

The Federal Budget and Spending 

  • Approve 40% [37%]
  • Disapprove 57% [61%]

Taxes

  • Approve 51% [46%]
  • Disapprove 46% [50%]

Medicare

  • Approve 50%
  • Disapprove 44%

Standing Up for the Middle Class

  • Approve 58%
  • Disapprove 39%

I would like to read you a list of issues that some people have said are important to them. Please tell me, for each one, who will better handle this issue — Mitt Romney or Barack Obama.

Jobs

  • Barack Obama 48% [44%]
  • Mitt Romney 48% [50%]

The Economy

  • Barack Obama 49% [44%]
  • Mitt Romney 48% [49%]

Standing Up for the Middle Class 

  • Barack Obama 57% [54%]  
  • Mitt Romney 38% [40%]

Taxes

  • Barack Obama 50% [47%]  
  • Mitt Romney 46% [47%]

Medicare

  • Barack Obama 52%  
  • Mitt Romney 43%

Foreign Policy

  • Barack Obama 52% [54%]  
  • Mitt Romney 43% [39%]

The Federal Budget and Spending

  • Mitt Romney 50%
  • Barack Obama 45%

Regardless of who you intend to vote for – which candidate for President do you think is going to win the election?

  • Barack Obama 60% [56%]  
  • Mitt Romney 30% [33%]

Survey of 1,000 likely voters was conducted September 16-20, 2012 by The Tarrance Group (R) and Lake Research Partners (D). The margin of error is +/- 3.1 percentage points. Party ID: 43% [44%] Democrat; 40% [40%] Republican; 15% [15%] Independent.  Ideology: 21% [24%] Very conservative; 36% [33%] Somewhat conservative; 26% [26%] Somewhat liberal; 12% [11%] Very liberal.  Click here to view crosstabs. Results from the poll conducted August 5-9, 2012 are in square brackets.  Results from the poll conducted April 29 – May 3, 2012 are in parentheses.  Results from the poll conducted February 19-22, 2012 are in curly brackets.  Results from the poll conductedNovember 6-9, 2011 are in square brackets.

-Data compilation and analysis courtesy of The Argo Journal

by @ 4:30 pm. Filed under Uncategorized

September 22, 2012

Poll Watch: Rasmussen (R) Wisconsin 2012 Senatorial Survey

Rasmussen (R) Wisconsin 2012 Senate Poll

  • Tammy Baldwin (D) 49% (43%) {48%} [36%] (38%) {44%} [36%] (42%)
  • Tommy Thompson (R) 46% (54%) {41%} [52%] (50%) {48%} [50%] (49%)
  • Some other candidate 2% (1%) {5%} [6%] (5%) {4%} [4%] (4%)
  • Not sure 4% (3%) {6%} [6%] (7%) {4%} [10%] (6%)

I’m going to read you a short list of people in the news. For each, please let me know if you have a very favorable, somewhat favorable, somewhat unfavorable, or very unfavorable impression.

Tammy Baldwin 

  • Very favorable 32% (22%)
  • Somewhat favorable 17% (21%)
  • Somewhat unfavorable 13% (16%)
  • Very unfavorable 31% (33%)

Tommy Thompson 

  • Very favorable 22% (23%)
  • Somewhat favorable 27% (36%)
  • Somewhat unfavorable 18% (20%)
  • Very unfavorable 28% (17%)

Favorable / Unfavorable {Net}

  • Tammy Baldwin 49% (43%) / 44% (49%) {+5%}
  • Tommy Thompson 49% (59%) / 46% (37%) {+3%}

Survey of 500 likely voters was conducted September 17, 2012. The margin of error is +/- 4.5 percentage points.  Results from the poll conducted August 15, 2012 are in parentheses.  Results from the poll conducted July 25, 2012 are in curly brackets.  Results from the poll conducted June 12, 2012 are in square brackets.  Results from the poll conducted May 9, 2012 are in parentheses.  Results from the poll conducted March 27, 2012 are in curly brackets.  Results from the poll conducted February 27, 2012 are in square brackets.  Results from the poll conducted October 26, 2011 are in parentheses.

Inside the numbers:

Both candidates earn more than 90% support from voters in their respective parties. Baldwin leads by seven points among voters not affiliated with either the Republicans or the Democrats.

Male voters prefer Thompson by six points, while Baldwin has an 11-point lead among female voters. Married voters are essentially tied, while those who are not married prefer the Democrat by 13 points.

-Data compilation and analysis courtesy of The Argo Journal

by @ 2:00 am. Filed under Uncategorized

September 2, 2012

Axelrod, Plouffe Can’t Answer “Better Off” Question

Barack Obama’s senior advisors David Plouffe and David Axelrod both struggled to answer the most straightforward question any President seeking reelection must answer: are you better off than you were four years ago?

If you’re an Obama supporter, these answers are disconcerting to say the least:

by @ 8:57 am. Filed under Uncategorized

August 22, 2012

For Some Reason, I Don’t See Ann Romney Doing This

Michele Obama is serving as a ‘guest editor’ this week on a website that features, among other things, sex tips from … ah … um … “professional sex workers”, shall we say? CNSNews has the story:

(CNSNews.com) – First Lady Michelle Obama this week is serving as guest editor for iVillage.com, NBC’s “community of online women” that offers sexually explicit material, including graphic sex tips from prostitutes, “20  kinky things you SO can do,” and a list of “naughty” apps for mobile devices.

Michelle Obama is identified as a “Guest Editor” on all of the website’s pages, including several titled “Love & Sex.”  Video clips of iVillage interviews with Mrs. Obama appear on some of those sexually-oriented pages, although the first lady herself does not discuss sex.

I am guessing this makes her “cool”?

 

by @ 1:01 pm. Filed under Uncategorized

August 17, 2012

RNC Ad: “This Is Not A Parody”

Pretty funny, and it continues to growing narrative of Obama ducking both the serious issues and the press.

by @ 3:27 pm. Filed under Uncategorized

July 31, 2012

A Happy 100th Birthday to Milton Friedman

Today, July 31, marks the Centennial birthday of the legendary free market economist Milton Friedman.  Along with fellow Nobel Laureate Friedrich Hayek, Milton Friedman was the leading economic mentor and advisor to the Republican conservative-libertarian movement during the second half of the twentieth century as characterized by the likes of Barry Goldwater and Ronald Reagan.  He was, of course, a leading economic advisor to candidate and President Reagan.  His 1980 book and PBS mini-series Free to Choose played a not-insignificant role in the 1980 election campaign as it was an important element in the intellectual infrastructure supporting the Republican campaign that year.  [In more recent years, the role of Republican economic "mentor and advisor" fell to political action czar Grover Norquist along with "Joe the Plumber"---but that's another story].

Today’s Wall Street Journal carries a nice tribute to Friedman written by Stephen Moore of the Journal’s Editorial Board.  Entitled “The Man Who Saved Capitalism,” Moore’s tribute includes a few points worth highlighting:

It’s a tragedy that Milton Friedman—born 100 years ago on July 31—did not live long enough to combat the big-government ideas that have formed the core of Obamanomics. It’s perhaps more tragic that our current president, who attended the University of Chicago where Friedman taught for decades, never fell under the influence of the world’s greatest champion of the free market. Imagine how much better things would have turned out, for Mr. Obama and the country….In the 1960s, Friedman famously explained that “there’s no such thing as a free lunch.” If the government spends a dollar, that dollar has to come from producers and workers in the private economy. There is no magical “multiplier effect” by taking from productive Peter and giving to unproductive Paul. As obvious as that insight seems, it keeps being put to the test. Obamanomics may be the most expensive failed experiment in free-lunch economics in American history.

Next to Ronald Reagan, in the second half of the 20th century there was no more influential voice for economic freedom world-wide than Milton Friedman. Small in stature but a giant intellect, he was the economist who saved capitalism by dismembering the ideas of central planning when most of academia was mesmerized by the creed of government as savior….More influential than Friedman’s scholarly writings was his singular talent for communicating the virtues of the free market to a mass audience. His two best-selling books, “Capitalism and Freedom” (1962) and “Free to Choose” (1980), are still wildly popular. His videos on YouTube on issues like the morality of capitalism are brilliant and timeless.

 Read the full op-ed here.

 

by @ 9:18 pm. Filed under 2012 Misc., Conservatism, Republican Party, Uncategorized

July 26, 2012

Poll Watch: Quinnipiac New York Survey on Governor Andrew Cuomo

Quinnipiac New York Poll on Gov. Andrew Cuomo

Do you approve or disapprove of the way Andrew Cuomo is handling his job as Governor?

  • Approve 73% [71%] (68%) {69%} [68%] (65%) {66%} [62%] (64%) {61%} [64%] (56%)
  • Disapprove 16% [16%] (19%) {19%} [17%] (19%) {17%} [22%] (19%) {18%} [16%] (15%)

Among Democrats

  • Approve 80% [76%] (67%) {75%} [71%] (70%) {72%} [69%] (75%) {66%} [66%] (56%)
  • Disapprove 10% [11%] (20%) {16%} [12%] (17%) {14%} [16%] (13%) {18%} [15%] (14%)

Among Republicans

  • Approve 69% [68%] (67%) {64%} [63%] (66%) {61%} [53%] (53%) {59%} [58%] (57%)
  • Disapprove 19% [20%] (24%) {21%} [25%] (19%) {20%} [33%] (26%) {22%} [18%] (14%)

Among Independents

  • Approve 72% [69%] (73%) {71%} [69%] (64%) {61%} [63%] (61%) {57%} [66%] (59%)
  • Disapprove 17% [19%] (14%) {15%} [17%] (18%) {21%} [20%] (19%) {15%} [15%] (14%)

Do you think Andrew Cuomo would make a good President or not? 

  • Yes 40%
  • No 30%

Among Democrats

  • Yes 48%
  • No 22%

Among Republicans

  • Yes 34%
  • No 41%

Among Independents

  • Yes 38%
  • No 31%

Do you want Andrew Cuomo to run for President in 2016 or not? 

  • Yes 36%
  • No 39%

Among Democrats

  • Yes 44%
  • No 29%

Among Republicans

  • Yes 26%
  • No 52%

Among Independents

  • Yes 35%
  • No 41%

Do you think Hillary Clinton would make a good President or not? 

  • Yes 61%
  • No 34%

Among Democrats

  • Yes 78%
  • No 18%

Among Republicans

  • Yes 38%
  • No 59%

Among Independents

  • Yes 60%
  • No 35%

Who do you think would make a better President, Andrew Cuomo or Hillary Clinton? 

  • Hillary Clinton 54%
  • Andrew Cuomo 30%

Among Democrats

  • Hillary Clinton 67%
  • Andrew Cuomo 21%

Among Republicans

  • Andrew Cuomo 47%
  • Hillary Clinton 37%

Among Independents

  • Hillary Clinton 52%
  • Andrew Cuomo 30%

Survey of 1,779 registered voters was conducted July 17-23, 2012. The margin of error is +/- 2.4 percentage points. Party ID: 40% [42%] (41%) {40%} [41%] (39%) {41%} [40%] Democrat; 21% [22%] (20%) {25%} [21%] (20%) {18%} [22%] Republican; 30% [29%] (31%) {25%} [32%] (33%) {33%} [31%] Independent.  Results from the poll conducted May 22-28, 2012 are in square brackets.  Results from the poll conducted March 28 – April 2, 2012 are in parentheses.  Results from the poll conducted February 8-13, 2012 are in curly brackets. Results from the poll conducted December 12-18, 2011 are in square brackets.  Results from the poll conducted October 18-24, 2011 are in parentheses. Results from the poll conducted September 13-18, 2011are in curly brackets.  Results from the poll conducted August 3-8, 2011are in square brackets.  Results from the poll conducted June 20-26, 2011 are in parentheses. Results from the poll conducted May 24-30, 2011 are in curly brackets. Results from the poll conducted April 5-11, 2011 are in square brackets. Results from the poll conducted February 15-21, 2011 are in parentheses.

Data compilation and analysis courtesy of The Argo Journal

by @ 5:00 am. Filed under Uncategorized

July 23, 2012

Obama’s “tax return” graph is half-true

On July 18, the Obama campaign’s “Truth Team” released a Facebook table comparing the number of “years for which President Obama and Mitt Romney have released their tax returns.” According to the table, which is directly below, the President has released for all of the last 12 years, and Romney for only one, 2010.

This graph is factually inaccurate. As reported by ABC News and practically every other political and news organization in the country in January, Romney released both his full 2010 and preliminary 2011 taxes for public viewing. While a preliminary release is not a full release, it still counts as a release of tax returns.

The President may yet win public approval with his class warfare attacks against Romney (he’s certainly not going to win by focusing on the most important issues to voters, the economy), but he should stick to the facts. I think PolitiFact would rank this as half-true.

by @ 2:43 pm. Filed under Barack Obama, Uncategorized

July 19, 2012

Poll Watch: Latino Decisions 2012 Hispanic Presidential Survey

Latino Decisions 2012 Hispanic Presidential Poll

  • Barack Obama 70% [66%] (67%)
  • Mitt Romney 22% [23%] (24%)

Among U.S.-Born Latinos

  • Barack Obama 69% [63%] (70%)
  • Mitt Romney 25% [28%] (22%)

Among Foreign-Born Latinos

  • Barack Obama 72% [69%] (63%)
  • Mitt Romney 19% [17%] (26%)

Survey of 504 registered Hispanic/Latino voters, commissioned by the Center for American Progress Action Fund and America’s Voice, was conducted July 7-16, 2012. The margin of error is +/- 4.4 percentage points. Results from the poll conducted October 21 – November 1, 2011are in square brackets.  Results from the poll conducted October 21 – November 1, 2011 are in parentheses.

Data compilation and analysis courtesy of The Argo Journal

by @ 2:00 am. Filed under Poll Watch, Uncategorized

July 3, 2012

Senator Rand Paul: Bringing Sanity to Congress’ Voting Process

Last week, Congress passed a flawed transportation/flood insurance/student loan bill that became law soon thereafter. The bill’s issues, which I outlined at the above link, include the following:

  1. The conference report combined three unrelated bills into one, a too-common practice on Capitol Hill to offset costs and garner votes by putting “must-pass” legislation around bills of lower priority. TARP and the PPACA are examples of bills that followed this pattern.
  2. Further student loan subsidization is a bad thing for college costs and quality. The lower rate was put into place as a “temporary” policy in 2007, but like many so-called temporary measures it has now been extended. Apparently elections are more important than the quality of higher education in Washington – a shocking concept, I know.
  3.  Procedurally, the legislation was passed with a waiver so Members didn’t have to stay in Washington until Saturday. While I’m usually all in favor of Congress leaving town, it’s yet another small indication of where priorities are for many Members – on their own agendas, not on the promises of transparency or putting their constituents first.
  4. As Heritage notes, it simply spends too much.

Fortunately, the taxpayers may actually benefit in the long run from this bill. Yesterday, The Hill reported that Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) introduced two important, and long overdue, bills that coincidentally address two of the issues I tackled above:

After blasting the Senate last week for passing a 600-page bill no one had time to read, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) introduced legislation that would force the Senate to give its members one day to read bills for every 20 pages they contain.

“For goodness sakes, this is a 600-page bill. I got it this morning,” Paul said Friday, just before the Senate approved a massive bill extending highway funding, federal flood insurance and low student loans rates.

“Not one member of the Senate will read this bill before we vote on it,” he added.

Paul also introduced related legislation Friday, S. 3359, that would prohibit the inclusion of more than one subject in a single bill.

Of course, these reforms should have never been up for debate in the first place – having time to read something fully before supporting it and letting ideas succeed or fail on their own merits are basic norms everywhere but in Washington. Let’s hope Paul is successful in his effort, and that conservatives everywhere back him to the hilt. Our country is about to fall off a fiscal cliff, but if these measures are put into place perhaps we can slow the drop long enough to get our footing again.

[Originally posted at LibertyBlog.org.]

by @ 8:35 pm. Filed under Uncategorized

July 1, 2012

Roberts Switched…

Says Jan Crawford:

Chief Justice John Roberts initially sided with the Supreme Court’s four conservative justices to strike down the heart of President Obama’s health care reform law, the Affordable Care Act, but later changed his position and formed an alliance with liberals to uphold the bulk of the law, according to two sources with specific knowledge of the deliberations.

Roberts then withstood a month-long, desperate campaign to bring him back to his original position, the sources said. Ironically, Justice Anthony Kennedy – believed by many conservatives to be the justice most likely to defect and vote for the law – led the effort to try to bring Roberts back to the fold.

“He was relentless,” one source said of Kennedy’s efforts. “He was very engaged in this.”

But this time, Roberts held firm. And so the conservatives handed him their own message which, as one justice put it, essentially translated into, “You’re on your own.”

The conservatives refused to join any aspect of his opinion, including sections with which they agreed, such as his analysis imposing limits on Congress’ power under the Commerce Clause, the sources said.

Instead, the four joined forces and crafted a highly unusual, unsigned joint dissent. They deliberately ignored Roberts’ decision, the sources said, as if they were no longer even willing to engage with him in debate.

Lots more at the link.  If they were that angry it’s no wonder this leaked so soon: probably an attempt to undermine the Peace of Westphalia statesman-like hagiography the press is circulating about Roberts.

by @ 1:44 pm. Filed under Uncategorized

June 21, 2012

Sequestration, thermonuclear war, and the F-35 engine: an interview with SLD Forum’s Ed Timperlake

Ed Timperlake is the Former Principal Director of Mobilization Planning and Requirements for President Ronald Reagan and a former Marine fighter pilot. He is currently the editor of SLD Forum, a website dedicated to a robust discussion of national security issues. We sat down earlier this week to discuss a myriad of pressing national security issues.

 

Dustin Siggins: What are your views on sequestration from a national security standpoint?

Ed Timperlake: Ignore it, it won’t happen. There’s no political will to gut the military. Nor should there be.

 

DS: Many people, including me, have supported some military cuts – mostly in efficiencies, prevention of fraud, etc. Related, the Government Accountability Office has said DoD is ripe for these kinds of wasteful uses of tax dollars. Do you agree with this assessment?

ET: No one can be in favor of corruption and inefficiency, ever. With that said, though, the future of the trend of military weapons and the buildup of enemies against America is murky. Consequently, the military appetite has to be insatiable for more and better. That is their job responsibility. It is up to civilian leaders in the American democratic system to understand and bring balance to the various competing weapon system initiatives. So, understanding full well that a military officer wants as much of the best as they can achieve to fight and win, the system has the legislative process of solid oversight and good judgment and appropriate authorization and appropriation bills to further the goal of always protecting America.

 

DS: When we talked the other day, you said the only real threat to change the American way of life is thermonuclear war. Can you please expound upon this a little?

ET: The number one threat to America which has the only potential to totally destroy or change our way of life is thermonuclear war. We can go bankrupt as a country – the Depression showed us that – and still get up and go about our business, but thermonuclear war is the only threat that can totally destroy America.

What does this mean in practical terms? Deterrence is everything. In order to have credible deterrents, you need the political will in our Commander-in-Chief to understand this; you need the sufficient forces to be real and credible; and below that threshold you need the conventional forces to preclude the only option, which is to have events spiral out of control into a nuclear exchange. So the American military has kept, since WWII, American citizens safe. We have spent national treasure on this, my old boss Ronald Reagan won the Cold War with this philosophy, and in my personal opinion it is still the most valid way to look at national security.

 

DS: Why is it the most valid way to look at national security?

ET: President Carter bequeathed a hollow military to the American people on his watch. President Reagan was elected and reversed that entire trend. President Obama’s administration came into power and took a page from the Ronald Reagan playbook in reverse – they plussed up the domestic side with failed make work jobs, incredible domestic spending…and then put the military and national security on a collision course with budget limitations. That’s what they did, and they did it quite successfully, thank you – because we’re having this debate [about cutting defense spending].

 

DS: Bush I, followed by Clinton, used the “peace dividend” to resize the military to the current challenges. After 9/11, many so-called “neo-cons” said that this resizing never should have happened, because it left us vulnerable to 9/11. Your thoughts on this, and your thoughts as we address the “murky” threats you referenced above?

ET: Osama bin Laden was a Saudi Arabian with a cell of terrorism who decided to take down the World Trade Center. His doing this was not related to the size of our military. It was much more about the size and capabilities of our intelligence agencies.

Related to the other part of your question, we’re coming out of a ten-year cycle of ground combat in Iraq and Afghanistan. The force as it’s currently established is balanced in favor of land/ground combat. The world threat environment has now shifted again, so consequently one of the first focuses, coming out of Afghanistan, is to harvest the best and leave the rest. In other words, take what we learned from that experience and leave the rest behind.

Related to this and your question about cutting defense spending, we do have to spend smartly both dollars and tactics-wise. For example, the MRAP served its purpose in protecting troops from IEDs in Iraq and Afghanistan. However, after spending $45 billion on them and having the military possess 17,000…there is very limited use for the MRAP in the future, especially with the emerging air-sea battle Pacific doctrine [putting the assets afloat to deter China – basically, ships and aircrafts and satellites].

Now, with the rise of the People’s Republic of China, saber-rattling by Iran looking for a nuke and the craziness of North Korea, the focus of military technology is in a transition period, and the American way of war is evolving towards new, innovative systems like the F-35 linked to the Aegis surface ships and SSGNs [cruise missile submarines] and satellites. All are creating a Pacific honeycomb grid in which the American way of war will be “no platform fights alone.” Everything is interconnected.

 

DS: You mention the F-35. My old boss Representative Kenny Marchant (R-TX) is part of the “Save the F-35 Caucus,” but it and the F-35 engine get bashed daily in the media, in Congress, etc. as a waste of money. Are these fair criticisms of the fighter jet and engine?

ET: The F-35 has the potential to revolutionize the American strategic and tactical capability of deterring, and then winning, 21st-century war. The Congressman should be re-elected for his vision as long as he wants to serve the American people.

It has a fusioned cockpit that takes input from five independent sensors, which allows the airplane to command a 360-degree bubble that extends to 800 miles of processed information that is actionable intelligence in the pilot’s hand. It networks to every other F-35 at the speed of light.

 

DS: Your website looks to push for a robust discussion of national security and the U.S. military future. What takes place on the site?

ET: It’s not a church; we don’t have a doctrine, per se. Anyone can write for us, as long as their ideas are substantive and valuable. You want to cut defense? Put it up, and we’ll see what people like. Rock ‘em, sock ‘em.

[Originally published at LibertyBlog.org.]

by @ 10:43 pm. Filed under Uncategorized

June 20, 2012

Poll Watch: Gallup 2012 Daily Presidential Tracking Survey

Gallup 2012 Daily Presidential Tracking Poll

  • Mitt Romney 47%
  • Barack Obama 45%  

Survey of approximately 3,050 registered voters was conducted June 13-19, 2012. The margin of error is ±2 percentage points.

-Data compilation and analysis courtesy of The Argo Journal

by @ 11:59 pm. Filed under Uncategorized

The RAISE Act Debate Shows the Desperation of Unions & Their Allies

In recent weeks unions have been making major national news. First it was the failed Wisconsin recall. Next it was micro-unions, which have D.C.-based business interests very concerned about gerrymandering within individual businesses that could end up causing many businesses, including retail and grocery stores, a great deal of financial harm. Most recently, though, it is the Rewarding Achievement and Incentivizing Successful Employees (RAISE) Act, introduced in the Senate, that has caused a great deal of back-and-forth among varied interests this month. Below are four prominent opinions expressed in recent days and weeks.

Yesterday, Florida Republican Senator and RAISE Act sponsor Marco Rubio wrote a blog post for National Review’s main blog, The Corner, promoting the benefits of the RAISE Act, which would allow union employers to encourage better results through pay incentives — essentially eliminating current caps in union bargaining agreements. The legislation is expected to be voted on today.

I contacted Senator Rubio’s office to ask about the post to ask the following questions:

  1. Under what constitutional basis was the Supreme Court case the Senator referenced in his post (NLRB vs. C & C Plywood Corp. (1967)) decided?
  2. Will the RAISE Act be in conflict with the SCOTUS decision? If so, what could be the ramifications of the Act with regards to the original decision?

A Rubio aide responded in a phone call:

  1. The legal basis for the determination in NLRB v. C&C Plywood Corp., which is being used as the case that determined that premiums or bonuses could not be paid to employees based on their merit was that doing so violated the National Labor Relations Act. The NLRA established that workers had a constitutional right to engage in collective action for mutual aid and protection and that includes the right for unions to choose to collectively bargain for favorable contract terms with their employer. The Supreme Court in this case found that under the facts, what the employer did was violate the terms of collective bargaining agreement because they made this change in wage levels for particular “groups” of employees after the collective bargaining agreement was entered into.
  2. The RAISE Act will not run afoul of Supreme Court precedent. The case cited above dealt with a clause in the contract that said the employer could provide pay increases to “specific employees” but what the employer did was promise to pay a higher “wage level,” not a “bonus,” to particular “groups” of employees, in that particular case it was “glue spreader crews.” This was done so following the collective bargaining agreement entered into by the union and the employer. This is used today as the rational for why employers are prohibited from giving any union employee a bonus for a job well done. To that end, our bill only affects future contracts; it will not supersede anyone’s contract rights.

I was first made aware of this issue by Heritage Foundation Senior Labor Fellow James Sherk. Sherk informed me that he was writing a paper on the RAISE Act. In the paper, he wrote the following:

Should Congress pass the RAISE Act, the average union member’s salary could rise between $2,700 and $4,500 a year. The RAISE Act would restore union members’ freedom to earn individual merit-based raises — a freedom that federal labor law currently denies. With many American families struggling financially in the aftermath of the recession, Congress should lift the seniority ceiling on workers’ wages.

I called Sherk to ask him about this section of the paper, since we are in tough economic times and thus potential pay increases may simply not be available due to a lack of available monies. He responded with the following:

The increased pay comes from the productivity that the employees’ increased efforts produces, so the company can pay higher wages because it also has higher profits. The beauty of performance pay is that it’s not a zero-sum game. Companies can lead employees to be more productive via performance pay, so both parties are better off.

One opponent of the RAISE Act has been Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL), a long-time union supporter. I contacted the Senator’s office for this post to ask his press staff why the Senator said the following on the Senate floor (via a non-official transcript on June 05, 2012):

[Senator Rubio's] BILL IS A VERY BAD IDEA. IT IS CALLED “THE RAISE ACT,” AND JUST SIMPLY STATED, IT INNOCENTLY SAYS AN EMPLOYER WHO IS PARTY TO A COLLECTIVE BARGAINING AGREEMENT WITH A UNION WOULD BE ALLOWED TO GIVE A UNILATERAL PAY RAISE TO SELECTED EMPLOYEES OF THAT EMPLOYER’S CHOICE. WELL, WHO’S AGAINST A PAY RAISE? UNTIL YOU TAKE A CLOSER LOOK AT IT AND WHAT IT ALLOWS THE MANAGERS AND EMPLOYERS TO DO IS TO PICK AND CHOOSE AMONG EMPLOYEES FOR THESE PAY RAISES AND, SADLY, WITHOUT ANY BASIS OTHER THAN THEIR PERSONAL DECISION. I’M AFRAID I KNOW WHERE THAT LEADS. IT LEADS, UNFORTUNATELY, TO THE SAME KIND OF WAGE DISCRIMINATION WE SEE TODAY BETWEEN MEN AND WOMEN. MAY LEAD TO NEPOTISM. IT MAY LEAD TO KIND OF FAVORABLE TREATMENT FOR SOME EMPLOYEES FOR REASONS THAT MIGHT HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH THE WORKPLACE. THIS SOUNDS SO INNOCENT BUT IT’S NOT. UNDER CURRENT LAW, UNIONS AND EMPLOYERS CAN AGREE TO LINK PAY INCREASES AND BONUSES TO PERFORMANCE AND THAT’S THE WAY IT SHOULD BE. IN FACT, MANY COLLECTIVE BARGAINING AGREEMENTS ALREADY PROVIDE FOR MERIT-BASED PAY INCREASES.

I contacted the Senator’s office regarding the following questions, but at press time had not received an answer to two e-mails and a phone call:

  1. I understand Senator Durbin strongly opposed the RAISE Act on the Senate floor earlier this month, for reasons including nepotism. Given that raises, bonus incentives, etc. are given every day by employers across the country for work-related performance, what evidence leads the Senator to believe nepotism and non-performance bonuses and pay incentives will be provided at the expense of union employees?
  2. Does the Senator believe that non-union employers should be allowed to provide performance-based pay for individuals on respective work forces?

Finally, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters sent out a letter on June 7 accusing the RAISE Act of being yet another attack on collective bargaining. The letter made a series of other accusations. I left two voice messages with the Teamsters press office to ask several clarifying questions, but never received a response. The questions I planned to ask are below.

  1. Upon what empirical data does the Teamsters base its accusations of nepotism?
  2. How will increasing the ceiling for wages lead to “a road to lower wages for middle-class families?”
  3. Senator Rubio’s office informs me that contracts will not be allowed to be broken in the RAISE Act, which is consistent with NLRB vs. C & C Plywood Corp. (1967). What is the basis for this concern?

All in all, the debate over the RAISE Act appears to be yet another stage in the fight over employee/employer rights and unions grasping at straws to maintain what was once a solid grip on the American private-sector worker. This Act seems to be pretty straightforward in providing what should be a common-sense right of employers to provide incentive to workers for better results for the company, and the right of employees to be rewarded for quality performance. Unless opponents can provide a better response than “employers will be free to give employees more money for accomplishing duties better,” I think the Teamsters, Senator Durbin, and others are going to find themselves on the other side of yet another decision by the public that, given the economic harm they cause, American unions are simply not worth supporting.

[Originally published at the American Spectator blog.]

by @ 3:50 pm. Filed under Uncategorized

Poll Watch: PPP (D) Washington 2012 Gubernatorial Survey

PPP (D) Washington 2012 Gubernatorial Poll

  • Rob McKenna (R) 43% (42%) [40%]
  • Jay Inslee (D) 40% (42%) [38%]
  • Undecided 17% (16%) [22%]

Favorable / Unfavorable {Net}

  • Rob McKenna 40% (39%) [34%] / 30% (29%) [26%] {+10%}
  • Jay Inslee 33% (36%) [30%] / 29% (28%) [21%] {+4%}

Survey of 1,073 Washington voters was conducted June 14-17, 2012. The margin of error is +/- 3 percentage points. Party ID: 36% (36%) [39%] Democrat; 28% (32%) [30%] Republican; 36% (32%) [31%] Independent. Ideology: 28% (28%) [30%] Moderate; 24% (20%) [22%] Somewhat liberal; 23% (21%) [21%] Somewhat conservative;  12% (17%) [16%] Very conservative; 12% (14%) [11%] Very liberal. Results from the poll conducted February 16-19, 2012 are in parentheses. Results from the poll conducted May 12-15, 2011 are in square brackets.

-Data compilation and analysis courtesy of The Argo Journal

by @ 5:00 am. Filed under Uncategorized

May 7, 2012

Another Liberal Myth Down the Drain

Last week, a New York Times piece by Floyd Norris, Chief Financial Correspondent for the NY Times and The International Herald Tribune, claimed government spending has gone down under President Obama. The claim, which relies on half-truths and incorporates only certain areas of spending in the federal government, has been debunked by others – Morgen Richmond already hit it on the Hot Air main page, for example – but I think it deserves further shredding.

First, this canard has been proven wrong before. Just Facts President Jim Agresti debunked this myth just over 18 months ago, when Paul Krugman and Ezra Klein made the same argument. Jim pointed out that according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, not only had spending not gone down under Obama, but

furthermore, since Krugman’s central premise in these articles is that government spending is a salve that heals unhealthy economies, why does he limit this question to spending “under Obama”? The recession officially began in December 2007, when total combined government spending was $4,637 billion. Thus, from the outset of the recession through the second quarter of 2010, spending has risen 19% in a period with 4% inflation.

On top of this, in the four years leading up to the recession, total combined government expenditures grew by 21% with 13% inflation.

2. As Richmond aptly noted, The New York Times piece did not include transfer payments in its analysis of the federal budget, which includes – but is not limited to – Social Security and welfare payments. Since when do Social Security and welfare not count in federal spending? In reality, total federal spending has grown significantly over the last three years (See Chart 2), and the totality of local, state and federal spending combined has gone up as well. (See Chart 1)

CHART 1                      CHART 2

[Credit for the creation of both graphs goes to Agresti]

3. When I mentioned this myth to an economist friend, he guessed the argument from the left would be that tax revenues are too low. Liberals are correct that tax revenues are low by historical standards – according to the Tax Policy Center (TPC), revenues are near record lows as compared to Gross Domestic Product, and have been at these low levels for longer than any three-year period since just after World War II. However, this argument only goes so far. Consider:

A. According to TPC, last year’s revenues were 15.4% of GDP. If revenues hit 20% of GDP in 2011 (a percentage surpassed only three times since 1934, which is as far back as the TPC chart goes), this means revenues would be up by 30%.

B. 30% greater revenues is a significant amount of money – about $690 billion.

C. However, $690 billion is barely more than half of the $1.3 trillion deficit the nation boasted in 2011.

D. To recap: if revenues hit near-record levels in 2011, we would still have had a deficit in 2011 of $610 billion.

High spending didn’t start with President Obama or even President Bush, but both of these men have been the Executives who let the problem get out of control. Few in either party are willing to step up and prevent the coming fiscal collapse that people like Senator Coburn (R-OK) are predicting, yet it must be done. If we don’t start slashing spending, eliminating federal bureaucracies, eviscerating fraud/waste/abuse/duplication, aggressively reforming entitlements and starting over on the tax code, my generation (the “Debt-Paying Generation”) will suffer greatly. Unfortunately, people like Norris who should know better are willing to create cheap (no pun intended) talking points instead of informing Americans of this reality.

[This post was originally published in the Hot Air Green Room.]

Dustin Siggins is an associate producer with The Laura Ingraham Show and co-author with William Beach of The Heritage Foundation on a forthcoming book about the national debt. The opinions expressed are his own.

by @ 9:25 pm. Filed under Uncategorized

May 2, 2012

A Word from Professor Ronald Reagan

This is amusing….so enjoy!

 

by @ 8:45 pm. Filed under 2012 Misc., Conservatism, Culture, Uncategorized

April 30, 2012

Obama Uses Taxpayer Dollars to Campaign Yet Again

This time it was next to the Japanese Prime Minister, where President Obama launched a snide, silly attack on Mitt Romney regarding the killing of Osama bin Laden. This attack has been proven wrong for almost five years, and even PolitiFact has to stretch to call the President’s claim a half truth.

This campaigning on public dollars is getting rather ridiculous. Over the last two weeks, my boss Laura Ingraham has on numerous occasions pointed out that President Obama has used tax dollars to campaign across the country. Last week, the Republican National Committee took the initiative of going to the Government Accountability Office with their own complaint, and in between ABC’s Jake Tapper hammered White House Press Secretary Jay Carney on the matter.

Now the President is “attacking but not really attacking” Mitt Romney in front of a foreign dignitary on the public dollar. Is this what the Presidency has sunk to? Or am I just ignorant of what Presidents have done in the past?

 

 

Dustin Siggins is an associate producer with The Laura Ingraham Show and co-author with William Beach of The Heritage Foundation on a forthcoming book about the national debt. The opinions expressed are his own.

by @ 4:48 pm. Filed under Uncategorized

March 25, 2012

A Much Needed Break

Let’s not lose track of what’s really important, which is so easy to do on a website such as ours.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m5TwT69i1lU[/youtube]

Take the time to watch, listen, and ponder this. It is well worth your 2 minutes. It puts things in perspective.

 

by @ 11:48 am. Filed under Uncategorized

March 22, 2012

Poll Watch: Rasmussen Virginia 2012 Presidential Survey

Rasmussen Virginia 2012 Presidential Poll

  • Barack Obama 51% [49%] (45%) 
  • Mitt Romney 42% [43%] (46%)
  • Barack Obama 53% [51%]
  • Rick Santorum 39% [43%]

How would you rate the job Barack Obama has been doing as President?

  • Strongly approve 34% [31%]
  • Somewhat approve 19% [20%]
  • Somewhat disapprove 5% [8%]
  • Strongly disapprove 40% [38%]

Survey of 500 likely voters was conducted March 20, 2012. The margin of error is +/- 4.5 percentage points. Results from the poll conducted February 21, 2012 are in square brackets.  Results from the poll conducted September 28, 2011 are in parentheses.

Inside the numbers:

Both Republicans have a very slight edge among male voters in the state, while Obama leads among women by more than 20 points. The president leads Romney and Santorum by similar margins among voters not affiliated with either major party.

Romney is viewed favorably by 46% of Virginia voters, Santorum by 38%, a six-point drop from a month ago.

-Data compilation and analysis courtesy of The Argo Journal

by @ 5:09 pm. Filed under Uncategorized

March 11, 2012

Public Service Announcement: Daylight Savings Time

Daylight Savings Time began last night. For those of you living in areas affected by it, did you remember to move your clocks forward an hour?

by @ 10:07 am. Filed under Uncategorized

March 8, 2012

Poll Analysis: Rasmussen Daily Presidential Tracking Poll

Kavon has posted Rasmussen’s daily Presidential tracking poll for today. I’ve taken the raw data and produced the following graphical chart:

There is one inescapable conclusion from the above chart; Obama leads all Republican candidates except for brief periods of time. While it is true that Santorum led Obama for a single day a month ago, and Romney managed to lead or tie Obama for three days straight just two weeks ago, the fact of the matter is Obama is nearly always on top.

Am I concerned? No, not really. The nature of this poll is such that a number of supporters of Candidate A will always claim they will vote for Obama against Candidate B, yet in real life very few will. Once we Republicans settle on a candidate, that sort of gamesmanship will end.

Here is the above data viewed as Santorum vs. Romney:

As can been seen above, Santorum spends most of his time below Romney. His glory days were the second week of February when he was the fresh new ABR candidate everyone was excited about. Once vetting started, however,  the public’s enthusiasm for him quickly cooled. Since then, he has struggled to best Romney in these ratings. Romney has led 15 days during that time period, Santorum has led 6 days, and they have tied five times.

by @ 11:58 am. Filed under Poll Analysis, Uncategorized

March 1, 2012

BREAKING: Andrew Breitbart – 1969-2012

Internet publisher and conservative activist Andrew Breitbart has died last night of natural causes. The LA coroner confirmed this morning. He made a huge impact on the world of news world through his various endeavors and will live on as the fight against liberalism and the mainstream media continues. Keep his family in your prayers.

Here’s more from Big Hollywood.

by @ 8:32 am. Filed under Uncategorized

February 22, 2012

Poll Watch: Rasmussen 2012 Daily Presidential Tracking Survey

Rasmussen 2012 Daily Presidential Tracking Poll

  • Barack Obama 46%
  • Rick Santorum 43%
  • Barack Obama 47%
  • Mitt Romney 41%

(more…)

by @ 1:49 pm. Filed under Uncategorized

January 30, 2012

Gingrich’s Ego Vows to Fight for Months Until the Convention

According to the Wall Street Journal, last night at a campaign stop in Lutz, Florida Newt Gingrich had this to say:

A pugnacious Newt Gingrich reiterated his intention to stay in the Republican presidential primary “all the way to the convention,” telling reporters Sunday morning that he believed that “this is going to be a straight-out contest for the next four or five months” between him and Mitt Romney.

Mr. Gingrich said after attending a morning service with 2,000 worshipers at the Exciting Idlewild Baptist Church that he didn’t agree with polls that show him trailing in Florida, and in any case, he’s not bowing out of the race.

“I think that the election will be substantially closer than the two polls that came out this morning,” he said, adding that he was eying support for Rick Santorum as potential source of votes in the coming months. “When you add the two conservatives together we clearly beat Romney,” Mr. Gingich said. “I think Romney’s got a very real challenge trying to get a majority at the convention.”

Mr. Gingrich knocked back suggestions that prolonging the primary campaign could damage the party’s chances in November. “The long campaign of 2008 between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama led them to win the presidency. There’s no reason that a long campaign has to be a bad thing,” he said.

“This is a campaign about the future of America and the future of the Republican party. Do you want an insider who’s part of the city which has been accepting huge amounts of taxpayer money to prop up giant institutions or do you want somebody who’s prepared to challenge our system head on and insist on very dramatic change in Washington? I think that’s worth a serious debate and I think that debate will go all the way to the convention.”

The only thing bigger than Newt Gingrich’s mouth is his ego. Assuming the leads for Romney in Florida hold true for thirty-six more hours, Mitt Romney will be our nominee. It will be all over but the shouting.

Apparently, Newt Gingrich intends to do a lot of shouting.

Let me count the ways that Newt’s moon-colored glasses are not allowing him to see reality here:

1. “Mr. Gingrich said… he didn’t agree with polls that show him trailing in Florida.”

Of course Newt Gingrich is not losing Florida! How could Newt Gingrich be losing Florida? There must be something inherently wrong with the last eleven polls from the state showing Romney winning now, because everybody knows there can’t be anything wrong with Newt Gingrich. Of course, living in this obtuse state of denial easily reminds one of the well-worn political axiom: everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts. It is also strangely reminiscent of Mike Huckabee’s declaration in 2008: “I believe in miracles, not math.” I’d advise Gingrich to learn Huckabee’s lesson: math is what takes you to the nomination, not denial of reality.

2. “When you add the two conservatives together we clearly beat Romney.”

Well, let’s test this theory of yours, shall we, Newt? Rasmussen Reports – specifically one of the polls Newt mentioned – has Romney at 44% this morning. Gingrich + Santorum combine for 40%. Oops. The other poll, from NBC/Marist, has Mitt sitting at 42%. Gingrich and Santorum account for a total of 43% — technically more, but certainly not “clearly” so, as Newt intoned.

3. “I think Romney’s got a very real challenge trying to get a majority at the convention.”

As much as a brokered convention is a political nerd’s dream, it is simply not going to happen. I’ll cover this more in a post later this week. Suffice it to say Gingrich is dreaming while grasping at straws here.

4. Mr. Gingrich knocked back suggestions that prolonging the primary campaign could damage the party’s chances in November. “The long campaign of 2008 between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama led them to win the presidency.

As noted here on Race before, and at other blogs as well, there is a massively important idea that Gingrich is missing in his assessment here. Although Hillary and Barack were locked in combat for five months, it never got nearly as ugly as the Gingrich/Romney battle has gotten. Hillary had plenty of ammunition with which to attack Obama; she chose not to use most of the damaging attacks at all, and chose to use other attacks sparingly. She refrained from attacking Obama from the right (for instance, on BAIPA) and didn’t use attacks that ended up in RNC television ads. In short, she did not utilize scorched-earth tactics against the eventual party nominee; that is why it didn’t harm Obama’s electoral chances. Obama emerged from the Democratic nomination process as a victor; if Gingrich continues his desperate and deceitful assault on Romney for the next five months Romney may come out as damaged goods.

And that’s not to say there is no value in a bruising primary. There most certainly is, and people can be stronger general election candidates because of it. But when a GOP primary contender consistently has his attacks echoed in DNC talking points and advertisements, five more months of it will only cause harm to our eventual nominee. And if you think Newt’s attacks are desperate now, wait until you see what he’ll be coming up with five months down the road…

5. “This is a campaign about the future of America and the future of the Republican party. Do you want an insider who’s part of the city which has been accepting huge amounts of taxpayer money to prop up giant institutions or do you want somebody…”

I have to admit, I chortled a little bit out loud when I read this part. For Newt Gingrich, the ultimate Washington insider, to try and cast this race as an Insider (Romney) versus an outsider (Gingrich) is simply beyond the pale, and I still have a hard time believing he’s attempting this tact. It’s unbelievable, in a really humorous sort of way.

And so, in a single speech in Florida, Newt Gingrich has managed to illustrate exactly what is wrong with his campaign. Here’s hoping his ego is deflated enough after a slew of losses to do the right thing – for the Republican Party and, ultimately, the country.

by @ 7:00 am. Filed under Uncategorized

January 21, 2012

A Preview of Florida

The race in South Carolina is over and first off, congratulations to Speaker Newt Gingrich on his win. Now, with a different winner in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina it’s up to Florida to break the tie. So, as a courtesy to folks outside of the state, here’s a little preview of the Sunshine State.

First off, there are actually three states in Florida: North Florida, Central Florida and South Florida. Understanding that is very important to understanding Florida. Voters in Pensacola have little in common with voters in Key West or Miami. It’s also big as in really, really big. It takes 10 hours to drive from one tip of Florida to the other. There are 67 counties in this state and 8 media markets, making it a very expensive state to play in. In 2010, our current Governor, Rick Scott spent $70 million on his way to the Governor’s Mansion.

Of the three sections, North Florida is more like South Carolina than any other area of the state. The joke in Florida is that the further north you go in the state, the more like the South it is. Pensacola in the western Panhandle is a very military-oriented area; Escambia County went for John McCain by 9 points over Mitt Romney. Tallahassee is a Democratic stronghold, but 25,000 Republicans voted in Leon County last time around and they went for John McCain by 11 points. Northeastern Florida, centered around Jacksonville was Mitt Romney’s best area overall in 2008. He crushed the rest of the field in Duval County winning 41-27 over John McCain and swept 9 counties in the area. The rest of North Florida is predominantly rural and religiously conservative. Mike Huckabee won 4 counties in Florida, all of them were in the Panhandle.

Heading south you come upon the most important part of Florida; the I-4 Corridor of Tampa to Orlando to Daytona Beach. Roughly 40% of Florida voters reside in this area. Mitt Romney won 4 counties in this area back in 2008. The main prizes are Tampa-St. Petersburg, which are Pinellas and Hillsborough counties. This was Charlie Crist’s political base while he was in politics, so it’s more moderate than other areas of the state. Orange County, which is anchored in Orlando, was very close in 2008; McCain got 32.29% and Romney got 31.89%. The coastal counties of Volusia and Brevard had averages that were very close to the statewide results.

The final section of the state, South Florida, is actually 2 distinct areas; Southeast and Southwest Florida. Southeast Florida is the Miami-Dade, Ft. Lauderdale area. This is where the Cuban vote is so critical. Rudy Giuliani, who assiduously courted the Cuban vote, got some of his best totals in all of Florida down there (he came in 2nd in Miami-Dade). Southwest Florida is a Republican stronghold, especially in Naples, where Governor Scott’s powerbase is. Collier County (Naples), was Romney’s single best county in 2008; he got 44% of the vote here, winning it by almost 20 points.

As has been noted, over 400,000 absentee ballots have already been mailed out to Florida voters and over 100,000 have already been turned in. Early voting starts this week and the polls will close in most of the state at 7:00 pm EST on January 31st. However, as the rest of the country found out in 2000, there are several counties (including Escambia County/Pensacola) that are in Central Standard Time. They will close their polls at 8:00 pm EST.

Just going by county of course doesn’t give a full picture. There are a lot of different groups in this state too; Catholics are much more prominent in Florida than in almost every other Southern state (both white and Cuban Catholics), Cubans who are very different than other Hispanic subgroups, Midwest transplants in Central Florida and Northeastern transplants in South Florida, rural evangelical North Floridian crackers. And of course, senior citizens, the most important and politically active citizens in the state.

As you can see, Florida’s a big, complicated, and frankly hard state to run in. Any candidate that can put together a coalition to win rural North Florida, suburban Central Florida, diverse South Florida and everything in between is to be commended. It’s going to be a wild ride over the next 10 days but here’s just the lay of the land down here in the Sunshine State

by @ 9:00 pm. Filed under Uncategorized

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