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Political Strategy Notes

Nia Malika-Henderson presents compelling evidence in a new Washington Post-ABC News poll that "Democrats' 'war on women' strategy still works. For now." Her most encouraging sentence: "In August of 2012, on the eve of a presidential election, 69 percent of women said that they were absolutely certain to vote. Now, that figure stands at 77 percent."

At CNBC.com John Harwood encapsulates the challenge facing Democrats: "Democrats have begun efforts to mitigate the damage, with their House and Senate campaign committees tripling investments in voter mobilization since the last election. With its sophisticated voter identification and mobilization programs, the 2012 Obama presidential campaign produced a more Democratic-leaning electorate than many Republicans had thought possible. In 2014 battlegrounds such North Carolina and Colorado, vulnerable Senate Democratic incumbents hope to capitalize on the results of those efforts the way Terry McAuliffe did in winning the Virginia governorship last year...Obama's party can try to motivate Latinos by blaming Republicans for blocking immigration legislation, and women by blaming Republicans for blocking equal-pay and early childhood education legislation. Although Republicans attack the new health-care law to motivate their base, Democrats can warn young voters that repealing it would kick young adults under 26 off their parents' insurance plans."

Conservative columnist Byron York laments the GOP's lack of a coherent/appealing message strategy for 2014.

At The Monkey Cage John Sides's "Can turnout save the Democrats in 2014?" crunches stats and observes "Turnout is not going to explain a 63-seat gain for Republicans in 2010...The question is how much turnout matters. My sense is that commentators still put too much emphasis on it. That is, there is not enough grappling with what changes in the electorate do not explain -- such as, perhaps, the majority of Republican seat gains in 2010. There is not enough grappling with how Democrats did so well in 2006 despite a midterm electorate, as political scientist Michael McDonald has noted. For more, see Mark Mellman's four excellent columns on this, and especially political scientist Seth Hill's research."

Public opinion on the Bergdahl swap is a near-washout. Obama did the right thing and brought an American P.O.W. home. It appears that the GOP wingnut gallery will get no real traction on this one.

The VA dust-up was more damaging, at least in the short run, according to the latest CNN/ORC poll. But the same poll indicates Obama has some offsetting gains with respect to his policies re terrorism and the environment -- continuing concerns which may have more shelf life.

David Firestone's NYT blog post "Joni Ernst Fights for Dirty Water in Iowa" -- provides a solid meme for Dems to work. As Firestone elaborates, "That a Senate nominee could take this position, even more than the others, shows how far Republican candidates have drifted from the party's old moorings. In 1972, the Clean Water Act passed with full bipartisan support, and is widely regarded as one of the most successful environmental acts ever passed. It doubled the number of rivers, streams and lakes suitable for fishing and swimming. It drastically reduced the amount of chemicals in drinking water, and substantially increased the size of protected wetlands. Rivers no longer catch fire...The law's value is so obvious that it shouldn't even be necessary to defend it. But in Iowa, it remains a divisive issue, and Ms. Ernst's offhand remark was a clear signal to the state's big agricultural interests of which side she is on." Dems should smell blood on this one, and make Ernst explain it at every opportunity.

At The Upshot Nate Cohn makes a so-so case that Thad Cochran's senate seat may be out of reach for Dems. But McDaniel isn't all that, and whether Cohn is right or wrong, making the GOP spend some dough there might be a worthwhile project.

The Crystal Ball's Kyle Kondik and Geoffrey Skelley are less skeptical than Cohn: "Former Rep. Travis Childers, the Democratic nominee in Mississippi, decided to run because of the possibility of a McDaniel win. His gamble looks likelier and likelier to pay off, and this could actually be a race in the fall, particularly if McDaniel stumbles and the runoff is bloody."