The Gallup organization has become the bearer of worrisome mathematics for President Barack Obama:
Barack Obama is receiving less support in the 2012 presidential election from some of the white subgroups that gave him the strongest support in 2008. These include non-Hispanic white registered voters who are 18 to 29 years old, female postgrads, and the nonreligious, among others.
The 46% of registered voters supporting Obama today is five percentage points below the 51% supporting him in final weeks of the 2008 election campaign. Similarly, whites’ support for Obama is six points lower than it was in October/November 2008 (38% vs. 44%), and blacks’ is down four points (87% vs. 91%). At the same time, Hispanics’ support, at 67%, is essentially unchanged….
Even if Obama were to regain his 2008 level of support among blacks and improve his support somewhat among Hispanics, he could still lose if his support among whites slips any further. By the same token, even a slight increase in whites’ support could secure his re-election.
My AJC colleague Daniel Malloy says Georgia members of Congress – and many others – have found ways around a ban on outings financed by lobbyists. The trips are now financed by education and charity organizations, set up by those same lobbyists. Two paragraphs:
The pace of trips has only accelerated in 2012, including Tifton Rep. Austin Scott’s January excursion to Taiwan with his wife and two staff members. They flew first class and stayed in the $200-per-night Far Eastern Plaza Hotel, with the total tab of nearly $45,000 picked up by Fu Jen Catholic University, an elite school on the island that has hosted several members of Congress.
Scott said in a statement that the trip was valuable to his work on the Armed Services and Agriculture committees, and he used a meeting with Taiwan’s president to talk about the contentious issue of U.S. beef exports.
U.S. Rep. Tom Price of Roswell is the star of a piece in The Hill that examines House Republican ambitions in the health care field that will be unveiled only after the U.S. Supreme Court hands down its ruling:
Planning for the GOP got a little easier this week when three large insurers said they would voluntarily leave in place certain parts of the healthcare law even if the statute is struck down. UnitedHealth, Humana and Aetna said they would continue to let young people stay on their parents’ plans through age 26 — a popular piece of the health law that Republicans had said they planned to replace.
The rest of the “transition” won’t be as easy. Drug companies might not be able to voluntarily continue providing discounts on prescription drugs, and some items just can’t be done by the private sector. Part of the law simply reauthorized existing programs, some of which had been in place for decades before the healthcare law was signed.
When asked whether the GOP would move first to replace the law’s reauthorizations and other small-bore, generally agreed-upon items, Price said such speculation was “premature.”
Buzzfeed reports that the price of a Newt Gingrich speech inside the D.C. Beltway has risen to $25,000. Ocean crossings push his ticket beyond $100,000:
That puts his speaking fees below James Carville’s and Mike Huckabee’s….but Gingrich — who is trying to reassemble his private sector empire after a presidential bid that left it in ruins — may be able to make up on volume what he loses on sticker price.
While many candidates are embracing that $100 (per day) cap on gifts from lobbyists to state lawmakers, three of four candidates in the race for Senate District 6 – including Democratic incumbent Doug Stoner – say they won’t sign a pledge to that effect.
Stoner says he prefers to make his campaign promises only to his constituents. Three Republican candidates — eager to grab a redrawn district that stretches from Smyrna through Buckhead — explained themselves last night at a forum sponsored by the Cobb County Republican Women’s Club. From the Marietta Daily Journal:
[Attorney Josh] Belinfante said while he didn’t believe in signing pledges, he had imposed a $100 lobbyist gift cap on himself.
[Furniture businessman Drew] Ellenburg said he had agreed to sign the pledge inked by Common Cause Georgia, Georgia Tea Party Patriots and Georgia Conservatives in Action, which states that lawmakers will not accept lobbyist gifts worth more than $100.
“Frankly, I have a job, and I run a business and I don’t want anybody buying my lunch and giving me presents,” Ellenburg said. “It’s pretty simple.”
[Hunter] Hill said ethics rules should be reformed to put more of an onus on lawmakers.
“Currently lobbyists can give to legislators an unlimited amount of gifts that only they report,” Hill said. “I am for proposing that legislators also have to report any sort of gifts they’re given, who gave it to them and what is the value of that gift is. … Whether the gift ban is $100 — which I’ll support — or if it’s $50 or $25, it’s irrelevant. … you can hold us accountable. You’ve elected us.”
We often talk about the gap between Republican officeholders and the state GOP, but a similar chasm exists on the Democratic side. This is from a fund-raising missive sent out by the progressive group Better Georgia, featuring former Gov. Roy Barnes:
Party-driven partisan politics is holding Georgia back. Political parties are no longer the most effective or the most efficient way to support progressive values, ballot issues or candidates.
All you have to do is look at the laws passed in last session to know that progressive values are being ignored, sometimes by politicians from BOTH parties: like the importance of investing in high quality public education, protecting the HOPE Scholarship, making sure we care for our precious natural resources and making sure every citizen has access to an adequately funded judiciary.
Walter Jones of Morris News Service says business and community leaders across the state are meeting in Albany today “to plot defensive strategies for fending off action by Washington to cut or close the state’s military installations.”
While no new round of base closings has been announced, military leaders expect one in the next few years based on previous rounds that came about every four years. The last, in 2005, resulted in Georgia losing the Navy Supply Corps School in Athens, the Naval Air Station in Marietta and the Army’s Fort Gillem/Fort McPherson headquarters/supply complex in Atlanta.
- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider