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Political Strategy Notes

Richard Wolf of USA Today reports a new poll by the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation shows that 58% of Americans "trust Obama to make the right decisions on the 2010 health care law and on Medicare. By contrast, only 43% trust his closest Republican rivals on those issues."

Robynn Tysver 's "Kerrey's entry raises stakes" in the Omaha World-Herald preview's the former Democratic Senator's prospects, which may not be a cakewalk. MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell has an excellent report on what Kerry's candidacy can do for Democrats, with interviews with Robert Reich and E. J. Dionne, Jr.

Meanwhile, Nate Silver makes the case that "Democrats Favored to Pick Up Snowe Seat.": Silver says "The retirement of Senator Olympia J. Snowe of Maine is about as damaging to a party's electoral prospects as these things get, turning a seat that Republicans were very likely to retain into one they will probably lose. Despite the possibility of a "nasty primary fight," Silver argues that "Conceived as a two-candidate race, however, Democrats are heavily favored in Maine, perhaps having an 80 percent chance of picking up the seat in a head-to-head race against one of the Republicans."

Former Secretary of Education William Bennett has a CNN post making a credible case that Santorum's not toast just yet, despite Romney's big wins this week. It has to do with early voting in MI and Santorum's edge in upcoming Ohio.

At The Daily Beast Amy Sullivan makes a compelling argument that "Rick Santorum Would Use Presidency to Help Forge an American Theocracy." Sullivan says "Unlike George W. Bush, Santorum is a frightening theocrat who does not believe in the separation of church and state and who would use the White House to protect his ideal of a Christian America...That Santorum has largely escaped questioning on his theocratic beliefs so far suggests that we still can't tell the difference between a religious politician and a truly frightening one."

WaPo's Amy Gardner reports on the unusually high stakes on the Ohio GOP primary: "No Republican has ever won the presidency without winning Ohio. Thus, the challenge for the GOP candidates is to win the primary next week without turning off voters who they'll need to carry the state in the fall...Ohio's economy relies heavily on the auto industry, and Romney's high-profile opposition of the government bailout of the industry is not likely to be received warmly by many voters. He supported an effort last year by Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) to restrict public unions' collective-bargaining rights -- an effort that was overwhelmingly overturned in the fall by voters in this union-heavy state."

Demos has an interesting post on "Federal Appeals Court Ruling Finding NM Officials in Violation of National Voter Registration Act." The "motor voter" bill requires public assistance agencies, not merely to provide voter registration forms to citizens, but to offer them the forms. Up till now, the law has been poorly enforced across the nation.

Aaron Gould Sheinin explains why "Candidates pile up endorsements, but their impact is questionable" in the Atlanta Journal Constitution.

In the Wall St. Journal, Andy Kessler ponders "When Will Social Media Elect a President?" Kessler says "This viral marketing is what corporate and political campaigns increasingly thrive on, and today it's mostly free. By the 2016 election, it'll surely steal some of the $3 billion in TV ad money...For years Google has ranked Web pages according to an algorithm called PageRank. Now there's a new field of study around ranking users in social networks--PeopleRank--according to their influence: how many of their tweets are read, re-tweeted, include links that others click on, etc...Those with social-media "influence" are most likely to help campaigns convert interest into votes. Finding them in the haystack of the real world is tedious and expensive. But harnessing fast servers and constantly upgraded algorithms to find them on social networks is already happening--and it'll definitely sway who becomes our next president."

California's independent redistricting commission bags the House Rules Committee Chairman.