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Political Strategy Notes

A tough new ad by Priorities USA Action and the League of Conservation Voters, "Mitt Romney -- in the tank for Big Oil" should be emailed to all voters concerned about rising gas prices.

Linda Feldman at The Monitor has an update on the Senate gamesmanship surrounding the re-authorization of the Violence Against Women Act, crediting Democratic leaders with securing 61 co-sponsors -- a comfy super-majority -- in favor of the bill (including 8 Republicans). Remaining Republicans are fretting over whether they should support the bill or not, alienating either women or their conservative base, which opposes the bill's provisions helping gays and lesbians, native American women and women immigrants who need visas. The bill faces a tough sell for Dems in the GOP-controlled House, and, without re-authorization, it will expire inn September.

Sabato has a data-driven discussion about electoral college strategy at this political moment, focusing on MI, PA and WI as key potential swing states.

At the Washington Post, Dan Eggen's revealing report notes that "Most independent ads for 2012 election are from groups that don't disclose donors...Politically active nonprofit groups that do not reveal their funding sources have spent $28.5 million on advertising related to the November presidential matchup, or about 90 percent of the total through Sunday,...Most of the ad spending has come in swing states from conservative groups that criticize President Obama's policies, the data show. Secretive groups have spent tens of millions more targeting congressional races, again mainly in support of Republicans."

According to a new poll by the Public Policy Institute of California, "54 percent of likely voters said they'd vote for Gov. Jerry Brown's ballot measure to temporarily hike the sales tax and income tax on wealthy Californians to help fund education, while Nearly 80 percent oppose $5 billion in 'trigger' cuts to state schools, reports Jill Tucker in the San Francisco Chronicle.

As Democrats struggle to get more help for students facing burdensome tuition and personal debt, you can get up to speed on the political considerations by reading "10 Ways Student Debt Is Blocking the Economic Mobility of Young Americans" by Jack Temple, Heather C. McGhee and Tamara Draut.

it's good that President Obama is putting some energy into turning out youth votes, because there is a problem looming, reflected in a new poll by Public Religion Research Institute and Georgetown University's Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs. As Clare Malone reports at the American Prospect, President Obama still has an edge with young voters, but "...61 percent of college-age Millennials (the futuristic-sounding name given to the generation born in the late 1980s and early 1990s) are registered to vote, but only 46 percent say that they will likely do so in November. By way of comparison, in 2008, 58.5 percent of the same age group was registered to vote, and 48 percent of them actually did."

Romney does have one very firm, unalterable principle, notes E. J. Dionne, Jr in his WaPo column, "Romney's principled, radical view for America." It is that low taxes for the rich are a kind of panacea for all social problems. As Dionne aptly puts it, "...Magical capitalism is the centerpiece of Romney's campaign, and it may prove to be his undoing."

Rachel Weiner's post at The Fixx, "How ALEC became a political liability," could have been re-titled "How the Trayvon Martin Tragedy Crippled ALEC." Weiner gives earlier protests by activists due credit, but adds "The civil rights group Color of Change began pressuring the group's corporate partners late last year over ALEC's support of voter ID laws. Pepsi Co. dropped out in January. But the boycott really gained steam after the Martin case; a dozen groups have now pulled out."

CNN's 'Political Ticker' reports on the latest additions to the DCCC's "Red to Blue" list of House seats Dems hope to take in November. They include: Ann Kirkpatrick (AZ-01); Pete Aguilar (CA-31); Raul Ruiz (CA-36); Joe Miklosi (CO-06); Patrick Murphy (FL-18); David Crooks (IN-08); Gary McDowell (MI-01); John Delaney (MD-06); Shelley Adler (NJ-03); Julian Schreibman (NY-19); Manan Trivedi (PA-06); Pat Kreitlow (WI-07); Arizona's 9th District; New York's 18th District. These districts bring the overall list to 35 potential flips.