Political Strategy Notes
President Obama's immigration reform initiative has energized Latino voter enthusiasm for his re-election in key 'battleground' states, reports Paul West in Today's L.A. Times: According to a new survey by Latino Decisions, "Forty-nine percent of the Latino voters surveyed said Obama's move made them more enthusiastic about the president, compared with 14% who were less enthusiastic...That "enthusiasm advantage" of 35 percentage points compares with a 19-point deficit in a survey earlier this year, when Latino voters were asked about the high level of deportations of immigrants under the Obama administration."
At Time Swampland Massimo Calabresi reports on Romney's dithering response to the President's immigration reform initiative. "Romney could hardly embrace Obama's new policy without cost. If did he would alienate the nativist base of the GOP already sensitive to the idea that with the nomination secure he will abandon the right and run for the center...Given the carefully choreographed roll-out, there was no way Romney could just ignore the issue. That was part of the cleverness of the Obama move. Not only was it a sharp and targeted wedge aimed at splitting two voting blocs Romney needs in November."
Surf far and wide, but you won't find a more apt capsule description of the GOP response to the President's initiative than the title of a PoliticusUSA article by Jason Easely and Sarah Jones: "Obama's Immigration Surprise Triggers an Epic Blubbering Right Wing Meltdown."
Kenneth T. Walsh reports at U.S. News on a clever Democratic tactic -- pre-shadowing Romney's campaign stops with a "middle-class under the bus" tour --- "with news conferences and media interviews that are severely critical of Romney's record as governor of Massachusetts and as a businessman. The Democrats are planning to shadow Romney in Michigan today with stops in Grand Rapids, Lansing, and Detroit."
Thomas B. Edsall's "Canaries in the Coal Mine" in the NYT takes a look at "highly volatile...shifting loyalties" of white working-class voters revealed in exit poll data provided by political scientists Alan Abramowitz and Sam Best, and notes: "The correlation between support from working class whites and Democratic victory suggests that the party takes a great risk when it downplays the importance of this segment of the electorate, as some strategists are wont to do." However, noted Edsaall, "the white working class is declining steadily as a share of the electorate; and second, Democrats have made huge gains in a previously Republican constituency, well-educated white professionals, many with advanced degrees."
For the definitive critique of Gallup's survey methods, look no further than Mark Blumenthal's post, "Race Matters: Why Gallup Poll Finds Less Support For President Obama " at HuffPo Pollster. A teaser: "...A dramatic fall in response rates has led to what pollsters call "non-response bias" in their raw data. Partly because survey response rates are typically lowest in urban areas, unweighted samples routinely under-represent black and Hispanic Americans."
Paul Waldman sums it up nicely in his post on 'Economic hearts and Minds" at The American Prospect: "It would be electoral malpractice of the highest order for the Obama campaign not to stir up at least some populist resentment at a figure like Romney, particularly when his policy proposals, like those of all Republicans, are such a pure expression of trickle-down economics."
Gary Hart argues in his New York Times article, "The Democratic Road Not Taken" that "The Democratic response of triangulation and centrism, essentially splitting the difference between reactionary liberalism and increasingly virulent conservatism, cost the party its identity...As Todd S. Purdum described this phenomenon recently in Vanity Fair, "the Democrats came across more and more as the crouched consolidators and defenders of past gains." Thomas E. Mann and Norman J. Ornstein echoed this conclusion in their new book, "It's Even Worse Than It Looks." The Democrats, they write, "have become the more status-quo oriented, centrist protectors of government."
FiveThirtyEight's new series on "Presidential Geography" looks like a must-read for political junkies. Micah Cohen launches the series with an insightful demographic and political profile of New Mexico.