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Political Strategy Notes

According to Brian Beutler's Talking Points Memo post "Dems Plot Payroll Tax Cut End Game," Dems will amend the GOP proposal to include extended unemployment insurance and Medicare physician reimbursements. Expect tricky parliamentary chess moves ahead.

In a video released by the White House this morning, President Obama is urging supporters to pressure Congress to extend the payroll tax cut before it expires. Noting that wage earners will have to shell out $40 more per paycheck if the tax cut lapses after February, Obama called on supporters to post at Twitter and Facebook, explaining what they could do with $40 more per paycheck.

Rick Santorum is the only Republican presidential candidate who has ever won a swing state, as he recently bragged. But he is also the only one who lost one by 18 points, and it seems like a good time for Dems to better understand why. Julie Hirschfeld Davis has the skinny at Bloomberg Businessweek. It had to do with a little too much emphasis on "cultural issues" and alienating women, as well as Santorum "moving his family to suburban Virginia, yet still claiming a property tax deduction and tuition reimbursement in Pennsylvania."

At The Daily Green Jim Dipeso, policy director for Republicans for Environmental Protection, has a post, "Swing Voters Want Renewable Energy." Apparently there are a few Republican environmentalists, who are not just industry puppets providing cover. Dipeso cites a State of the Rockies Project poll of voters in six states indicating agreement that "renewable energy would create jobs in their states" and 80 percent believed "it's possible to have both a strong economy and to protect land and water." Dipeso also discusses an encouraging Third Way focus group of mid-western and southern swing voters who support moderate government regulation to protect the environment.

Speaking of swing voters, Ryan Lizza's "Obama's Swing Voters" in The New Yorker flags five interesting links. which are "far more informative than much of the horse-race analysis..."

Despite polls indicating most Catholics are not opposed to government funding for birth control, the Republicans continue to parrot the meme that President Obama is somehow dissing their faith. They are also trying to generalize it more broadly with repetition of terms like "Obama's war on religion." Unfortunately, memes don't have to be true to be effective. "Since winning 54 percent of the Catholic vote in 2008, the president's approval rating among Catholics had fallen to 39 percent in the latest Rasmussen Reports poll. And Republicans are eagerly trying to drive that wedge between Obama and Catholics even deeper," reports Hayley Peterson in the Washington Examiner. it appears that the Obama campaign might benefit from more creative outreach to Catholics and other religious groups.

Craig Gilbert reports in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on the impact of the Catholic vote in key battleground states. Gilbert notes that "New Hampshire (38%) and New Mexico (36%) had a higher percentage of Catholic voters than Wisconsin (33%) in 2008, according to exit polls." Other battlegound states in which Catholics were a quarter or more of the electorate include PA, FL, MI, IA and CO.

Good to see that the Obama campaign is alert to the importance of the high-turnout senior vote, as evidenced by this excellent YouTube clip, which should be sent to all your senior relatives and friends. Actually there are quite a few YouTube video clips about Obama and seniors here.

Douglas Schoen warns at The Daily Beast that it's "Not Too Late for Americans Elect to Win 2012 Presidential Election," noting that "A recently completed Americans Elect survey found that and voters favor, 58 percent to 13 percent, having an alternative presidential ticket that is independent of the Democratic and Republican parties on the ballot in 2012." Schoen also cites a Washington Post/ABC News poll in November showing even stronger support for an Independent ticket.