And again…

I’m sorry, but you just don’t get this kind of absurdity out of Democratic members of Congress (this is not just some nobody state legislator, but a member of the Damn US House of Representatives):

Representative Roscoe Bartlett, a Maryland Republican running for re-election, said in a recent town hall meeting that student loans — while potentially doing good — may be unconstitutional, The Washington Post reported. Bartlett said that he had searched the U.S. Constitution and found no justification for a federal role in education, including student loans. “Not that it’s not a good idea to give students loans, it certainly is a good idea to give them loans,” Bartlett said. “But if you can ignore the Constitution to do something good today, tomorrow you will be ignoring the Constitution to do something bad. You could. There are more people in our, in America today of German ancestry than any other [inaudible]. The Holocaust that occurred in Germany — how in the heck could that happen? And when you start down the wrong road, it can be a very slippery slope.”

Riiiiiiiight.  Student loans pave the way to a Nazi-like, murderous, totalitarian state.  How can people be this stupid?!  Ugghhh, the Tea Party and their completely asinine understand of the Constitution.  I guess maybe student loans aren’t part of the “general welfare.”

More on the Bounce

More nice Bounce analysis from Nate Cohn (what is it with guys named “Nate” anyway?):

 The critical question is whether it’s possible to learn any lessons from the bounces themselves, even before we learn whether they endure. In my view, the answer is “yes.”

In contests involving an incumbent president, the candidate with a higher share of the vote following his convention in Gallup polling has won every election since 1964. We can go further: no modern candidate has won the presidency without taking a lead after his own convention. And there is a strong relationship between the incumbent’s share of the vote and their eventual finish in November.* To take a recent example, Bush peaked at 50.4 percent in the RealClearPolitics average after the RNC, and eventually won 50.7 percent of the vote…

But even right now, the other three empirical findings suggest Romney’s chances are in jeopardy. Although the race is close by historical standards, it has been remarkably stable and remarkably clear: Romney has never led in the RealClearPolitics average and, no, a candidate has not won the presidency without holding a lead in the polls by early September. If Obama approaches fifty percent of the vote, as Gallup and Rasmussen suggest, that would clearly repudiate the view that a majority of voters are unwilling to reelect the president, which is the entire basis for Romney’s case for a come-from-behind, Reagan-esque sweep of undecided voters.

In that sense, 2008 is very different than 1980. Yes, Carter took a lead after his convention. But Carter never strayed far from 40 percent, which should have been a sign that he wasn’t even close to commanding the support necessary to win reelection. In contrast, Reagan surged to fifty percent of the vote following his convention, mirroring his eventual finish…

This election’s unusual stability makes Obama’s potential movement even more significant. For two years, Obama’s approval ratings hewed within just a few points of 47 percent and the entire summer elapsed without any discernible movement toward either candidate. Romney wasn’t able to secure any post-RNC bounce, and Obama’s gains represent the first decided movement toward either candidate since Romney won the Republican nomination. Put differently, we now know there are voters open to voting for the president beyond the initial 47 percent he held in summer polls, but Romney has not demonstrated similar upside.

The fact that a president facing this economy seems to be in the driver’s seat (though, far from a sure thing) really is pretty amazing.  And, to stick with the driving metaphor, suggests to me that the Tea Party and friends are basically driving the Republican Party off a cliff in an election year that should’ve been theirs for the taking.

Chart of the day

I and many others have discussed plenty the fact that minorities overwhelmingly support Obama and that whites strongly lean towards Romney.  The general take these days, is that Romney needs win roughly 60% of the white vote to be president.  Another way of thinking about this is, what percentage of each candidate’s coalition comes from what racial groups.  Looked at this way, the difference is especially stark (not that you could not have noticed by just observing convention delegates), via TPM:

Yowza!  That chart makes incredibly clear just how much the Republican part is the white people’s party.  There’s just no way that’s a good thing.

Photo of the day

Recent National Geographic Photo of the day.  Amazing:

Picture of a tornado in North Dakota

Tornado, North Dakota

Photograph by Mitch Dobrowner

Regan, North Dakota

Do the conventions really matter?

One thing this clear Democratic advantage in Convention bounce suggests to me is that, hey, maybe, all this PR, speechifying, and political pomp and circumstance really matters.  By any objective metric the Democratic convention was more successful than the Republican convention.  On the penultimate night Clinton gave a speech that won raves, while Paul Ryan gave a speech that gave endless fact-checks.  Michelle Obama at her best out-classes Ann Romney.  Barack Obama on his B game outclasses Romney on his A game.  An empty chair that says nothing is much better than having everybody talk about Clint Eastwood the next day.  You get the picture.  Pretty much all the “neutral” pundits agreed that the Democrats had a tighter, better-scripted, better speeches, convention.  And, the evidence seems pretty clear that the party benefited from this.

At this point, I think the debates offer far and away the biggest potential to shake up the race.  If I were Obama or Romney I’d preparing like my political life depended upon it, because it very well may.

We’re bouncing…

Wow– to the surprise of pretty much all the professional poll watchers, Obama seems to be getting a very clear and sizeable bounce.  Much more so than Romney.  Obviously, I support Obama, so I’m pleased, but I was certainly of the view that there just was not enough uncertainty left among voters to lead to a bounce of the size we seem to be seeing.


Nate Cohn has a nice summary of the bounce issues:

… But no matter how you look at it, Obama looks like he has a bounce of at least 3 or 4 points, and potentially more. Rasmussen and Reuters, two trackers including a more recent window of responses than Gallup, could point to a bounce as high as six points. And Obama’s approval rating surged to 52 percent in yesterday’s Gallup approval tracker, which has a shorter three day window than the Gallup head to head poll. On balance, these factors suggest that Obama led by seven points–or even more–over the last few nights of polling, which would give Obama a bounce of about six points if it held over an entire polling sample. If any additional confirmation was necessary, PPP is trumpeting the results of their polling in Ohio, which apparently shows Obama winning by a larger margin than he did in 2008.

Of course, Obama’s bounce is  hardly assured to last, since memories of the primetime speakers are fading as we speak. Historically, a candidate’s lead in post-convention polling tends to overstate their advantage, so it would be best to wait a couple weeks before concluding that Obama has opened up a decisive lead.  But while it isn’t yet prudent to definitely judge the effects of the DNC, the post-convention period is one of the few instances when it’s worth scouring early returns. Analysts spend most of their time overstating the importance of campaign events, but conventions really can live up to the “game change” billing. In 2004, Bush led in just 9 of the 47 national polls conducted after July 1st and prior to the RNC. He trailed in just 7 of the 87 polls conducted after the RNC. Bill Clinton trailed before the DNC, but he never relinquished the lead afterward. It turns out that there is a decent relationship between the polls the incumbent’s share of the vote following their convention and the outcome (if someone with a better database of ancient polling is out there, it’d be interesting to see this tested on a more comprehensive data set than the Gallup poll).

And, of course, Nate Silver hits the same issue in his usual thorough manner.  Now, there’s plenty of caveats, and I’m on record of saying I really want to see where the polls have settled a couple weeks after the convention, but I think to say the Obama campaign has got to be feeling really good about this right now.

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