Quinnipiac. 6/9-16. Likely voters. MoE 2.6% (5/13-20 results)
OHIO MoE 2.6%
McCain (R) 42 (44)
Obama (D) 48 (40)
Total Men Wom GOP Dem Other Whi Bla
McCain 42 46 39 87 13 45 47 6
Obama 48 45 51 7 80 43 44 90
Among whites with no college degree, McCain leads by a narrow 46-43 margin. Obama's deficit among whites is also narrow (effectively tied). He still has room to improve among Democrats, which isn't good news for McCain.
Obama is opening up a nice lead in the Pollster.com composite -- Obama 46.2, McCain 41.9.
John posted updates on a number of Senate races below, but we're giving the Maine race its own post. Tom Allen is closing the gap against Susan Collins. In fact, for the first time, Collins has dropped under 50%. That's a danger zone for incumbents.
We've been watching this one for awhile. Susan Collins is especially despicable. She purports to be a moderate in Maine while doing the dirty work for George Bush in the Senate. Back her 2002 Senate race, Susan couldn't attach herself any closer to George Bush. She can't run from him this time. Collins is getting caught up in the anti-GOP wave. Here's an analysis I wrote about this race in March of 2007:
Maine is a blue state. Tom has represented the first Congressional District, which includes Greater Portland, since 1996. Approximately 72% of the media market in Maine comes out of the Portland-Auburn stations, which comprise the southern part of the state. A good chunk of voters in the Second District, including the very blue city of Waterville (hometown of the venerated George J. Mitchell) was in Tom's District until the last re-districting (in 2002). In the 2006 election, Tom got 60% of the vote without running one t.v. ad ? meanwhile, the Democratic Governor was re-elected with only 38% of the vote in a four-way race. Collins best election was in 2002 -- the best GOP year ever, and she got just 58%. A lot has changed since 2002, but not Susan's loyalty to Bush and the GOP. She voted for the war and she can't escape that.I just got off the phone with Tom Allen. He's feeling very upbeat especially about the very sophisticated field operation underway in Maine -- probably the best the state has ever seen. And, keep in mind, this gap has closed without Tom running any t.v. ads. Tom also wanted me to thank everyone for the support he's received from so many of AMERICAblog's readers. Our ActBlue page has already exceeded $10,000. This is real money for a campaign in Maine. Every dollar really helps. So give -- or give again. And, don't forget, McCain's biggest cheerleader, Joe Lieberman, is supporting Collins. It was just a year ago, June 20, 2007, when Lieberman hosted a fundraiser for her.
Senator Susan Collins? lead in her bid for reelection in Maine continues to fade, according to the latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey.The trend is looking very good for Tom Allen. He is going to win this race. Help make that happen.
Two months ago Collins led her Democratic challenger Tom Allen by 16 percentage points, but that spread fell to 10 points in May. Now her lead is down to seven points, 49% to 42%, dropping her below 50% for the first time and putting her among the Republican senators at risk this November. Incumbents who poll less than 50% are generally viewed as potentially vulnerable.
Collins? favorability rating has fallen as well for the third month in a row, but she is still is viewed favorably by a substantial majority of Maine voters (65%), down from 70% last month. By a nearly identical number, the incumbent?s unfavorables have risen from 29% in May to 33% now.
By contrast, Allen, who has served in the House since 1997, is viewed favorably by 56% of voters and unfavorably by 37%, virtually identical to his ratings in May.
Glen Greenwald is launching a major new campaign to target Hoyer and other key members of Congress for their impending sell out to the Telcoms and Bushco. Read about it here.In order to raise as much money as possible for this campaign -- far more than[...]
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As ThinkProgress reported earlier Tuesday, the execrable California Republican Congressman Darrell Issa used the day of Tim Russert’s wake to appropriate the memory of the late Meet the Press host for political purposes. After members of the House offered their condolences and eulogies to Russert while discussing a resolution in his honor, Issa took [...]
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Live interview with newly elected Representative Donna Edwards of Maryland's fourth Congressional district.[...]
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Henry Farrell and I seem to be talking at cross-purposes on the question of power laws and inequality, which I take as a sign that my initial post was muddled. Let me see if I can do better. I entirely agree with the following:
Even if we did know that US income was distributed according to a power law, we still wouldn't know all that much. There is a very wide variety of mechanisms that can produce power laws. Without further investigation as to which mechanism is in play (which can't be discerned just from noodling the observed distribution), we may have a Nature publication, if the editors are dozing off again, but we haven't gotten very much closer to an understanding of what is causing the observed data.
This, indeed, was entirely my point: the skewed distribution of income likely arose from a variety of factors. Some of them are related to past policy decisions. Others are the inevitable consequence of having a complex market economy. My ideologically-colored guess is that the latter factors dominate, but I don't know, and I doubt anyone else does either.
Given this, I found Farrell's framing of his final point puzzling:
Even if all the above objections were wrong, and income inequality in the US did emerge from some 'natural' phenomenon, this does not at all invalidate the case for addressing it.
If Farrell's point is simply that the natural-ness of skewed income distributions isn't, by itself, an argument against progressive income taxes or welfare programs, I agree. Indeed, I said as much in the final paragraph of my post, when I wrote that I didn't mean to deny "that there are good arguments for taxing the wealthy in order to provide government services to the non-wealthy." My beef is with the assumption, implicit in Farrell's post, that inequality as such is an issue that needs to be "addressed."
If we lived in a society in which taxes fell primarily on the wealthy, and in which the resulting revenue were sufficient to provide a reasonable basket of government service to non-wealthy people (however you want to define "reasonable") then it seems to me that there would be no reason to be concerned about inequality, as such. Yet media coverage of inequality seems to focus a great deal on meaningless statistics such as the share of national income going to the wealthiest 1 percent of income earners. We can certainly object about those members of the 1 percent who obtained their wealth through political favoritism or other morally suspect means.
But the raw size of the inequality isn't evidence by itself of a problem. If Wall Street is being unjustly enriched by taxpayer bailouts, the problem is the bailouts, not "inequality" per se. Conversely if a single mother is having trouble making ends meet because of regressive taxes, the problem is the taxes, not "inequality" as such. Reducing inequality, in and of itself, isn't a worthwhile goal. Burning down Warren Buffett's house would reduce income inequality in America, but that doesn't make it a good idea.
I think the reason people regard inequality, as such, as a problem is that they've got a deep intuition that such an unequal distribution of wealth could not have arisen without wealth being taken from the poor and given to the rich. My point is simply that this intuition is mistaken. A skewed distribution of income may be a symptom of systematic injustices in the economic system. But the ubiquity of long tail distributions online suggests that it isn't necessarily the case. Clearly, nobody is robbing from me and giving eyeballs to Cory Doctorow. It's at least possible that the economy works the same way.
Jon Stewart did a great bit the other day about how criticism of Israeli policies is considered beyond the pale in Washington. He concluded by saying "but you know where it's okay to criticize Israel. Israel." Then he showed a raucous (and typical) scream fest at the Knesset.
Of course, he's right. The only problem is that it is at least as important to freely examine Israeli policies (and American policies toward Israel) here as it is in Israel. And here, despite movement in the right direction, debate is constrained, to say the least.
Democrats are no better than Republicans.
Some of the loudest liberal Democratic critics of the Iraq war, uberdoves on US policy, are hawks when it comes to Israel. The House of Representatives, in particular, is full of people who see no inconsistency about being utterly skeptical about Bush/Cheney foreign policy but utterly credulous when it comes to Sharon/Olmert/Barak/Netanyahu or whoever. Not only that, these same legislators try to keep everybody else in line.
Pretty hypocritical but standard. (You don't believe me? Check and see what your favorite Congressional liberal has to say about the occupation, the settlements, Gaza, etc. Suddenly Jane Fonda is Dick Cheney).
It's different in Israel.
Remember the brouhaha about the Walt-Mearsheimer book here? The two authors were banned in Boston, condemned in Cleveland and defamed in Detroit. Not since Salman Rushdie have we seen so much fear and trembling about a book.
Then the authors went to Israel. And, guess what, the Israelis proved to be friendly and receptive. This is not to say that W&M were given the keys to Tel Aviv. But they were received without the rancor and terror that characterized their reception in major American cities and universities, where there was an all out campaign to shut them up.
The Israeli peace group, Gush Shalom, put together a digest of the press coverage of their Israel tour. It's very telling. When will Americans be able to discuss American policy with the freedom that Israelis do?
I spent some time with Kansas Senate candidate Jim Slattery last night, who is running against the[...]
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Now that I've wasted my morning watching the vapid View, I'm going to work. I feel like I need to do penance, like write a slew of motions or go to two jails instead of one.
In a story reported by the Associated Press, which apparently doesn't like bloggers using or linking to their stories (so I won't), it seems the Senate tried to bring up the unemployment benefits extension bill passed by the House last week, but Sen. John Kyl (R-AZ) blocked the move by objecting to Majority Leader Harry Reid's unanimous consent request.
Jobless numbers came in last month showing increases at a 20-year high, but Republicans, true to form, are blocking a bill that offers a 13-week extension of benefits for states with unemployment rates over 6%. At issue: $11.7 billion in benefits for some 3.2 million unemployed workers, according to the Congressional Budget Office. That's a whopping $3656.25 per beneficiary.
The GOP complaint? They view the Democratic plan as a giveaway. A spending spree for people who don't deserve it.
Democrats are likely to respond by demonstrating some of the irony of this newfound Republican parsimony, by attaching the unemployment extension to the $150 billion-plus Iraq emergency supplemental expected on the floor in the coming days.
Should be an interesting showdown, though perhaps we've already seen this movie. The president will have his pick of out-of-touch reasons for vetoing even the Iraq funding bill. He's already said he'd veto a free-standing unemployment bill, and the Iraq appropriations too, if they didn't meet his specifications -- i.e., no withdrawal language and a cap of $108 billion. (Seems a bit ridiculous to use the words "cap" and "one hundred eight billion dollars" in the same sentence, but there it is.)
Looks like this could get pushed into July, with the Congress set to recess at the end of next week.