It was somewhat inevitable?we have an ever-thinning pile of presidential polls in front of us. For all intents and purposes, the primary campaign is a done deal. Pollsters have really scaled back on primary polling, since there really are a limited number of ways to write the lede: "Romney kicking Santorum's butt."
And, while one can assume a deluge of Obama v. Romney polling in the future, most media outlets are going to be loath to blow their polling budgets in April.
The net result? Expect a lot of the polling we see over the next couple of months to be of the downballot variety, especially with so many big races in the near future. So, while we have some polling on the presidential front today, our focus today is going to be downballot. Especially since one poll released today might tell us something about what to expect in the battle for control of the House of Representatives this coming year.
With that, on to the numbers:
GOP (PRESIDENTIAL) PRIMARY POLLING:
NATIONAL (Gallup Tracking): Romney 42, Santorum 25, Paul 11, Gingrich 9(PRESIDENTIAL) GENERAL ELECTION TRIAL HEATS:
NATIONAL (Rasmussen Tracking): Obama d. Romney (46-44); Obama d. Santorum (47-41)DOWNBALLOT POLLING:
NATIONAL/INDEPENDENT VOTERS (Third Way/Global Strategy Group): Obama d. Romney (35-29)
MICHIGAN (EPIC/MRA): Obama d. Romney (47-43)
MN-08--D (Lincoln Park Strategies for Anderson): Rick Nolan 19, Jeff Anderson 16, Taryl Clark 16A thought about that PA-17 poll, just beyond the jump.
PA-17--D (Thirty Ninth St. Strategies for Cartwright): Matt Cartwright 42, Tim Holden 36
I know it is hard to believe but for some reason the big banks don’t believe they have enough[...]
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Conservative media figures have been attacking President Obama's economic record by citing the fact that approximately 88 million Americans are not considered part of the labor force. In fact, only a small fraction of those "not in the labor force" actually want to work, and economists say the long-term decline in labor force participation is due to changing demographics -- a trend that is likely to continue over the next decade.
Breitbart.com: "The Number Of Americans Not In The Labor Force Has Hit A Record High 87,897,000." From Breitbart.com:
Amid disappointing unemployment numbers that fell 80,000 jobs short of projections, another number is raising eyebrows: the number of Americans not in the labor force has hit a record high 87,897,000.
This figure explains why overall unemployment dropped from 8.3% to 8.2%, as the Department of Labor's unemployment figure does not include people who have given up hope and are not actively seeking employment. [Breitbart.com, 4/7/12]
Rove: "88 Million People, A Record Number Of People, Are Not In The Workforce." From Fox News' America's Newsroom:
KARL ROVE (Fox News contributor): [Y]ou've got 12.7 million people who are unemployed. You've had 38 months of 8 percent or greater unemployment. You have the so-called U-6 unemployment rate. That's people who are out of work, people who are working part time while looking for full-time work, or are, you know, discouraged -- 14.5 percent, that means one out of every six Americans. And we know these people. They're in our neighborhoods, they're friends, they're family, they're people we socialize with, people we worship with. One out of every six Americans is not where they want to be economically. And 88 million people, a record number of people, are not in the workforce. Eighty-eight million. That's the biggest number in history of people who've not been in the workforce. [Fox News, America's Newsroom, 4/9/12]
National Review's McCarthy: "Millions Have Been Added To The Black-Hole Category Of 'Not In The Labor Force'...That Number Is At All-Time High: 88 Million." From a post by Andrew McCarthy on the National Review blog The Corner:
Through the magic of Washington Math and the Obama Labor Department, the metric "unemployment rate" has become as nonsensical as "jobs created or saved" by the stimulus. The Obamedia creates a free campaign ad out of the purported drop from 8.3% to 8.2% (i.e., from appalling to marginally less appalling), but meantime millions have been added to the black-hole category of "Not In the Labor Force" -- people who are so discouraged that they are not looking for work. That number is at an all-time high: 88 million. Thus the labor force participation rate, at under 64%, is lower than it's been in 30 years. [The Corner, NationalReview.com, 4/9/12]
RedState: "There Are Now 88 Million Americans Who Are 'Not In The Labor Force.'" From RedState.com:
Well, after Friday's jobs numbers came out (the economy added 120,000 jobs) Labor Secretary Hilda Solis promptly proclaimed: "That's a noteworthy achievement."
In fact, for the man who campaigned on the message of "hope" in 2008, the 120,000 jobs added is much fewer (about half) than expected and the edging down of the unemployment to 8.2% is not from job creation but from hopelessness.
There are now 88 million American who are "Not In Labor Force," according to Department of Labor statistics, which the St. Louis Federal Reserve put into this pretty chart:
Obviously, others are seeing past Obama's cheerleaders. [RedState.com, 4/7/12 (emphasis original)]
BLS: Participation In The Labor Force Peaked In 2000 And Has Been Decreasing Since Then. From an article by economist Mitra Toossi in the Bureau of Labor Statistics publication Monthly Labor Review:
The slower growth of the labor force is primarily the result of a slower rate of growth in the U.S. population and a noticeable decrease in the labor force participation rate. The civilian noninstitutional population 16 years and older had an annual growth rate of 1.1 percent from 2000 to 2010, but is projected to grow by a lesser 1.0 percent during 2010-2020. (See table 2.) In addition, the labor force participation rate started a downward trend in 2000, and the decrease accelerated during the 2007-2009 recession and its aftermath. As a result, the labor force participation rate declined by 2.4 percentage points over the 2000-2010 period and is projected to drop by another 2.2 percentage points between 2010 and 2020. These two declining factors lead to a projected annual growth rate of only 0.7 percent for the labor force from 2010 to 2020, a 0.1-percent drop from the annual growth rate exhibited in the 2000-2010 timeframe. [BLS.gov, January 2012 (emphasis added)]
From BLS data, via the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis:
[StLouisFed.org, accessed 4/9/12]
Chicago Fed Economists: "Shifting Demographics" Are Responsible For "Just Under Half Of The Decline." From Daniel Aaronson, Jonathan Davis, and Luojia Hu, writing in the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago's Chicago Fed Letter:
Labor force participation has fallen significantly over the past decade. At least some of this decline is due to the recent deep recession and lackluster recovery. Additionally, for quite some time, economists have forecasted that shifting demographics, particularly in the age structure of the population, would put downward pressure on labor force activity. We estimate that just under half of the decline in LFPR since 2000 is due to such factors. We expect these demographic patterns to continue for at least the next decade, and likely far beyond, as the large baby boom cohort continues the transition into retirement. Therefore, standard labor market measures used to compute gaps in resource utilization, such as the employment-to-population ratio and the LFPR, should reflect these long-running patterns. [ChicagoFed.org, March 2012]
Federal Reserve Economists, In 2006: "Structural Factors Will Continue To Put Downward Pressure On The Participation Rate For Some Time." Stephanie Aaronson, Bruce Fallick, Andrew Figura, Jonathan Pingle, and William Wascher of the Federal Reserve Board of Governors wrote:
[S]tructural factors will continue to put downward pressure on the participation rate for some time, so that any future cyclical fluctuations in participation will take place around a declining trend. This continued downtrend, coupled with slower projected population growth and an apparent downtrend in the average workweek, suggests that trend growth of aggregate hours will slow further in coming years. [Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, 2006, No. 1, accessed 4/9/12]
Fed Economists Cite "Important Structural And Demographic Developments" Such As "The Aging Of The Baby-Boom Cohort" As Partially Explaining Declining Participation Rate. From the Fed economists:
[I]mportant structural and demographic developments appear to have been at work as well. First, the aging of the baby-boom cohort has been raising the share of the population in older age groups, for which participation rates have historically been much lower than for younger groups, and this compositional change has been putting downward pressure on the aggregate participation rate. Second, participation rates for newer cohorts of adult women appear to have flattened out after more than three decades of steady rise, while new cohorts of men continue to be less inclined to participate in the labor market than their predecessors. Third, we find that teenagers and young adults are remaining in school longer and are reducing their labor force attachment whether in or out of school. Finally, and partly offsetting these other influences, older workers are increasingly delaying retirement or reentering the labor force following retirement, a development that seems to reflect better health, longer life spans, and changes to Social Security rules. [Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, 2006, No. 1, accessed 4/9/12]
CBO: "Demographic Effect Has Already Reduced [Labor Force Participation] By About 0.5 Percentage Points Since 2007." From a March Congressional Budget Office background paper titled "CBO's Labor Force Projections Through 2021":
CBO estimates that the demographic effect has already reduced the overall rate of participation by about 0.5 percentage points since 2007 and that it will do so by an additional 1.2 points by 2016 and by another 1.4 points between 2016 and 2021 (see Figure 3). Thus, demographics account for slightly more than the entire projected decline of 3.0 percentage points in the aggregate participation rate between 2007 and 2021. [CBO.gov, 3/2011]
BLS: Number Of Americans Who Are Not In The Labor Force And "Currently Want A Job" Is 6.2 Million -- 7.2 Percent Of The Total. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics' March 2012 Employment Situation news release, approximately 6.25 million workers are counted as being both "Not in the labor force" and as "Persons who currently want a job." This represents approximately 7.2 percent of the total number of Americans who are counted as not being in the labor force. [Table A-16, BLS.gov, 4/6/12]
Wash. Post: 65 Percent Of Those Who've Left The Labor Force Since 2007 "Don't Want A Job." Citing survey data from Barclays, Brad Plumer of The Washington Post's Wonkblog wrote:
About 35 percent of the people who have dropped out of the labor force since the recession began in 2007 do want a job, but they've become too discouraged to fire off resumes. That's not good. The other 65 percent are people who have left the labor force and don't want a job. Some of them are young and perhaps decided to go back to school. But the biggest chunk, by far, seems to be composed of Baby Boomers who have decided to retire early. [Washington Post, 4/8/12]
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Newt Gingrich is continuing his campaign but increasingly sounds like likes he's already thrown in the towel, which begs the question of why he's even bothering anymore. Today on Fox he admitted his campaign is "slightly less" than $4.5 million in the red, but said that was not a big deal as all campaigns can overspend at times, citing Hillary Clinton's 2008 campaign when she went $25 million in debt. The actual number was slightly over $20 million but let's compare the two.
According to her FEC report, Hillary Clinton raised $224 million including $13.2 million of her own money, which she later wrote off. By contrast (to the end of Feb 2012), Newt Gingrich had raised only $20.7 million which didn't include even 5¢ from him. Hillary Clinton finished narrowly behind Barack Obama in delegates. Newt Gingrich has won only two states and last Tuesday finished fourth in Wisconsin behind Ron Paul.
Ann Coulter was right about one thing: the GOP does have a problem with "con men and charlatans", people who use the conservative movement to bilk money from their gullible followers. Coulter was referring to the Wasilla Grifter herself, Sarah Palin, but she could just as easily have been talking about Newt Gingrich.
via Fox News:
Newt Gingrich acknowledged Sunday that his campaign is "operating on a shoestring," as he signaled he is preparing to transition from candidate to surrogate in anticipation of Mitt Romney winning the nomination.
While not throwing in the towel just yet, the former House speaker spoke frequently in past tense about his presidential bid in an interview on "Fox News Sunday."
Gingrich spoke openly about his campaign's money troubles. He said the campaign has had to dip into personal funds -- "a little bit, but not dramatically" -- and that the campaign is "slightly less" than $4.5 million in debt.
"We owe much more than we wanted to," Gingrich said. He explained that the Florida primary in late January "got to be a real brawl" and that his campaign "tried to match Romney."
Gingrich said his campaign won't "go broke" and that he'll raise money after the election in order to pay off his debt.
GINGRICH: I'm glad I did this. For me, it was important as a citizen to try to do some very hard things, to try to bring ideas and new approaches. It turned out to be much harder than I thought it would, but it was right thing for me to do at that both in my life and for where I though the country was. I have no regrets.
But it's clear that Governor Romney has done a very good of building a very substantial machine. And I think Santorum is discovering in Pennsylvania right now, it's a challenge.
HUME: Do you think -- for his own good, do you think Santorum should get out?
GINGRICH: No, I think he has to make that decision.
And let me say, I hope everybody watching will have that family in their prayers. Their daughter I think is back in the hospital in a difficult situation.
Now, what is the situation regarding money? You've gotten broke doing it.
GINGRICH: It's hard. No, we are not going to go broke. But --
HUME: -- personal funds.
GINGRICH: No, not -- well, a little bit. But not dramatically. But we'll probably --
HUME: Carl Cameron, our Carl Cameron, reported this that you were something like $4.5 million in debt. Is that a fact?
GINGRICH: I think slightly less than that. But we owe much more than we wanted to. Florida got to be a real brawl. And I think -- unfortunately, our guys tried to match Romney. It turned out we didn't have anything like his capacity to raise money.
HUME: And also tell me how you could pass that.
GINGRICH: Well, we didn't see -- I mean, Hillary came out of the 2008 campaign owing $25 million. I mean, you go out and you do fundraisers and you work things out with people and spend a fair amount for a couple of years raising money.
Jon Shenk's award-winning documentary The Island President is ostensibly and foremost a film about global warming's effects on one nation, the Maldives, a chain of islands in the Indian Ocean, best known until recently as a enclave for wealthy tourists[...]
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The Gold Report: Your grandfather was a mining engineer. Your father founded a coal company. You are a geologist, worked with Cliffs and ASARCO and are on the boards of several mining companies. How much of your success at Geologic Resource Partners do you attribute to your business acumen and how much to your relationships in the industry?
George Ireland: Having grown up in a mining-oriented family, the dinner table conversations from an early age steeped me in the lore and intrigue of business. Based on that early interest, I have built up quite a book of relationships and a broad knowledge over the years, but I attribute a lot of the opportunities that have come my way to . . . → Read More: Never Mistake Intelligence for a Bull Market: George Ireland
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In the years since Florida enacted its “stand your ground” gun law, so-called “justifiable homicides” in the state have tripled, according to data from the FBI and Florida law enforcement officials, the Washington Post reports. In the five years before the law?s passage, just 12 killings per year, on average, were declared justifiable by Florida prosecutors — that number spiked to an average of 36 since the law passed. At least 32 states have copied Florida’s statute, thanks to a campaign by the National Rifle Association and the conservative, corporate-backed American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), and the “other states have seen similar increases” in justifiable homicides. The law has been thrust into the national spotlight due to concerns that the law may wrongly shield Trayvon Martin’s shooter.
Hmm, no lightning yet.
(Tami Chappell/Reuters)Because it was Easter, the Sunday talk show circuit was filled with conservative religious figures telling us the meaning of the season; apparently, it mostly revolves around how religious freedom is being curtailed by not giving old cranks the proper deference in meddling with other people's sexytimes. Saddleback Church's megapastor Rick Warren's contribution to the discourse is being especially noted, as he tells us what Jesus meant by all that, you know, communist-sounding stuff.
OBAMA: And I believe in God's command to love thy neighbor as thyself. And when I talk about shared responsibility, it's because I genuinely believe that in a time when many folks are struggling, at a time when we have enormous deficits, it's hard for me to ask seniors on a fixed income or young people with student loans or middle-class families who can barely pay the bills, to shoulder the burden alone."The 2,000 verses in the Bible dealing with the poor are, of course, outshadowed by the nearly 10,000 verses outlining how employers shouldn't have to pay for medical insurance for their employees if that insurance might cover medical needs that those employers have personal moral objections to. But the rest of it is pretty interesting. Apparently we're supposed to care about the poor, but not care for them?that seems to be the distinction, because as long as their souls get saved, hey, screw 'em. Sorry we're cutting your food stamps, little Timmy, but if it's any consolation it looks like you'll be getting to meet Jesus a lot sooner than the rest of us!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: So, is he -- is he right?
R. WARREN: Well certainly the Bible says we are to care about the poor. There's over 2,000 versus in the Bible about the poor. And God says that those who care about the poor, God will care about them and God will bless them. But there's a fundamental question on the meaning of "fairness." Does fairness mean everybody makes the same amount of money? Or does fairness mean everybody gets the opportunity to make the same amount of money? I do not believe in wealth redistribution, I believe in wealth creation.
The only way to get people out of poverty is J-O-B-S. Create jobs. To create wealth, not to subsidize wealth. When you subsidize people, you create the dependency. You -- you rob them of dignity. The primary purpose of government is to keep the peace, protect the citizens, provide opportunity. And when we start getting into all kinds of other things, I think we -- we invite greater control. And I'm fundamentally about freedom. You know the -- the first freedom in America is actually the freedom of religion. It's not the second, third, fourth or fifth.
It's puzzling how an Obama reference to loving thy neighbor and, rather more specifically, not asking poorer Americans to shoulder the burden of our suddenly-scary deficits "alone" morphs so quickly into tsking about fairness and wealth redistribution and, in the end, "freedom of religion." What the hell does "freedom of religion" have to do with poor people "shouldering the burden alone" unless your religious viewpoint is that they should, yes, shoulder the damn burden alone? How do you get from one part of that discussion to the other?
I get it already; giving poor people food or medical care creates a "dependency." Screw little Timmy, if we let him eat tonight, we're gonna rob him of his dignity, and injure the feelings of all those deeply religious folks who think Timmy can eat a rock and die already. But it's not even that usual Prosperity Gospel drivel at work here?Rick Warren is pushing back against the notion, expressed by Obama, that those poorer people should not "share the burden alone." As far as I can determine, the opinion being expressed here is that rich people shouldn't have to pay more taxes and government shouldn't meddle in God's plan for sick people to get bent because "religious freedom" says "wealth distribution" is bad.
I think, anyway. That's as close to an actual complete thought I can parse out of Warren's dismissals. Or to paraphrase, feed a person a fish and you feed them for a day; don't do a damn thing for them and you get to keep more fish. Oh, because Jesus said so. Happy Easter!
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When people are involved in civil disobedience or other direct actions its often hard to know what sort of effect one has had. Protests movements are the sum of countless actions. Occasionally though, there are actions that in and of themselves can[...]
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