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Political Strategy Notes

In the latest Fox news poll, Obama beats Romney 46-42 percent, whips Rick Santorum by 51-39 percent, Ron Paul by 50-38 percent and Gingrich by 53-35 percent. The new Bloomberg poll has Obama and Romney tied at 47 percent, and beating the other GOP presidential candidates. The new Pew Research Center poll has Obama ahead by 12 percent over Romney and 18 percent over Santorum.

The Pew poll has some other findings Republicans should find disturbing, including "Latinos, for example, view the Republican party unfavorably by a 2-1 margin (30% favorable, 60% unfavorable). By contrast, Latinos view the Democrats favorably, 56%-31%...The picture among Americans under 30 is almost as negative, 34% view the GOP favorably, while 53% have an unfavorable view. Their view of Democrats is almost the exact opposite, 54% have a positive view, and 35% negative. Among those with a college degree or more, only 31% said they had a favorable view of the Republicans, while 66% were unfavorable. That group, which was a key to Barack Obama's victory in 2008, views Democrats favorably by 55%-42%."

All well and good, but Nicholas Confessore and Michael Luo report at The New York Times on a serious problem facing the Obama campaign and Democrats in general -- a huge fund-raising gap between Dem and GOP Super-PACs, noting that "few so far have written the kind of six- and seven-figure checks that Republican super PACs are collecting." One notable exception is Bill Maher who gave the pro-Dem Super PAC Priorities USA Action $1 million.

At SLATE.com, Richard L. Hasen has a revealing update on the still growing impact of the Citizens United decision. Hasen notes: "A Center for Responsive Politics study found that in 2010 the percentage of "spending coming from groups that did not disclose their donors rose from 1 percent to 47 percent since the 2006 midterm elections," and "501(c) non-profit spending increased from 0 percent of total spending by outside groups in 2006 to 42 percent in 2010." The same report found that 72 percent "of political advertising spending by outside groups in 2010 came from sources that were prohibited from spending money in 2006."

Jobless benefits claims dip to lowest level in four years.

In addition, "The jobless rate for Iraq and Afghanistan veterans has fallen to 7.6%, well below the overall U.S. unemployment rate of 8.3%, and nearly five percentage points below the 12.5% rate for veterans a year ago."

Looks like Tomasky was right about House Republicans getting ready to break their budget agreement. As Steve Benen notes, "Reuters reports that House GOP leaders are "ready to break a hard-fought budget deal," in large part because rank-and-file Republicans are insisting upon it. House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) are now reportedly seeking a compromise on the compromise, asking Dems to accept an additional $19 billion in cuts, on top of the cuts Democrats already agreed to swallow."

Just in case you thought Republicans were done with making stupid remarks that alienate women voters, GOP front-runner Romney comes up with a dilly -- "Planned Parenthood, we're going to get rid of that."

Senate Republicans are also opposing renewal of the Violence Against Women Act, despite warnings by GOp women leaders.

Meanwhile Allison Yarrow reports at the Daily Beast on legislation being introduced by women state legislators to help males better understand how offensive and burdensome conservative meddling into women's reproductive rights can be. Yarrow discusses bills to require "a rectal exam, celibacy lecture, and waiting period" before providing potency drugs to men. "Ohio joins states like Missouri, Virginia, Illinois, Oklahoma, and Georgia in...the race to concoct the craziest gag on men's sex lives. Georgia state Rep. Yasmin Neal protested a colleague's bill to end late-term abortions without exception by parrying with vasectomy regulations."