Photo of the day

From Alan Taylor’s (yet another awesome) WWI Gallery, WWI At Sea:

A German U-boat stranded on the South Coast of England, after surrender. (Keystone View Company)

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Who’s following the World Cup

Enjoyed this from Pew about what major events Americans are paying attention to.  Somewhat surprisingly, Democrats and Republicans are equally interested in the World Cup:

Republicans interested in IRS scandal

Where there is a big difference is age:

Young Adults interested in World Cup 2014

Forget about talking to your parents/grandparents about the World Cup.

Hillary’s popularity fall

After seeing the latest Gallup data on Hillary Clinton’s falling popularity I was going to write a blog post on the matter.  Short version: she’s increasingly seen as Hillary Clinton Democratic presidential candidate, rather than Hillary Clinton, Secretary of State.  I never did write it, but Brendan Nyhan has done a fine job, and importantly brings in the subject of messaging from the media and the opposition party, so…

Hillary Clinton’s artificially inflated poll numbers have made her seem like an especially strong presidential candidate, but the Clinton bubble is quickly coming to an end.

Earlier in June, Ross Douthat of The New York Times noted that she has been “leading every potential Republican candidate by around 10 points” and “running far ahead of President Obama’s job approval numbers.” Carl Cannon, the Real Clear Politics Washington bureau chief, cited her standing as the most admired woman in America, a contest in which she easily topped Oprah in 2013.

But Ms. Clinton’s re-entry on the political stage over the last few weeks is turning her back into what she was before her stint as Secretary of State: an intensely polarizing political figure. Politico’s most recent poll, conducted in June amid the initial publicity for her book “Hard Choices,” found that her favorability ratings have already dropped by 20 points since 2012 among Republicans…

As Jonathan Chait at New York Magazine and Alex Seitz-Wald at National Journal have pointed out, Ms. Clinton was due for a fall — her previously impressive poll numbers were an artifact of serving as Secretary of State, which kept her largely out of domestic politics. During her tenure as the nation’s chief diplomat, Republicans for the most part refrained from criticizing her (at least before the attack on the United States mission in Benghazi, Libya).

As a result, the flow of negative information about her to the public largely stopped. In those circumstances, politicians’ images almost invariably improve. (Remember President Bush after the 9/11 attacks?) Now that Republicans are on the offensive, people are being reminded of what they didn’t like about Ms. Clinton, moving her poll numbers back toward their previous levels…

The most relevant comparison for Hillary Clinton might be Senator John McCain. In the post-2004 period, Mr. McCain seemed like a formidable general election candidate who could help Republicans hold on to the White House despite President Bush’s declining approval ratings…

Predictably, once Mr. McCain ran for president again in 2008 and Democrats started sending negative messages about him, the public quickly came to see him as a conventional partisan…

As both cases illustrate, we tend to overrate the importance of candidate image, which is largely a function of the flow of partisan messages. When opposition elites withhold criticism during, say, a presidential honeymoon or a foreign policy crisis, politicians can seem unstoppable, but when normal politics resume, their images — and their poll numbers — quickly return to earth. The same will be true for Ms. Clinton.

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