Giving the GOP enough rope

All good Republicans have to vote against extending unemployment insurance. That’s an unpopular position. More like this, please.

The advantage of controlling the House and the Senate is that you get to decide what comes up for a vote. In the run-up to an election, that means crafting issues where the internal dynamics of the other party will force it into taking losing positions.

Financial services regulation was such an issue. Looks as if extending unemployment insurance is another.

Maybe it’s just a coincidental outlier, but the latest Gallup poll finds the Democrats with their biggest edge of the year on the generic ballot question.

I hope that David Axelrod, Harry Reid, and Nancy Pelosi are earning their pay by assembling a list of “spoiler” issues for upcoming votes. How about a vote on a flat-out repeal of the Affordable Care Act?

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact:

7 thoughts on “Giving the GOP enough rope”

  1. 'Hey those last two times you voted for us? Well do that just one more time, and THIS time we'll figure out how to enact that thing we claim to support."

  2. Unfair, yoyo. HCR alone is worth it. We didn't get exactly the financial reform we wanted, but it's not nothing, either. It's been a pretty successful two years, I'd say.

  3. "Maybe it’s just a coincidental outlier, but the latest Gallup poll finds the Democrats with their biggest edge of the year on the generic ballot question. "

    From the Gallup organization:

    "In terms of analyzing the generic ballot for clues as to which party has the advantage well before an election, the size of the lead among registered voters offers arguably more insight than the simple fact of which party is ahead. Given the usual Democratic advantages in party identification among the general public, it is rare for Republicans to lead on the generic ballot among registered voters. This was the case even when Republicans were the majority congressional party from the mid-1990s to the mid-2000s.

    But the reason the Republican Party is competitive in congressional elections is that Republicans generally turn out to vote at higher rates than Democrats. Turnout is crucial in midterm elections, and with at least 80% of Americans registered to vote but only about half that number likely to vote in the midterm elections, registered voter and actual voter preferences can differ by a lot.

    As a starting point, if Democrats have close to a double-digit lead among registered voters, they are virtually ensured of also having a lead among actual voters — whatever turnout happens to be on Election Day.

    From that point, things become a little less clear-cut. Smaller Democratic leads do not necessarily mean the party is losing, but rather that the eventual election outcome will be more dependent on turnout. In general, the closer the registered-voter results get to an even split, the better Republicans can expect to do, given usual turnout patterns.

    Gallup analyzes turnout patterns in a given election by applying its "likely voter" model to midterm results. However, since it is unclear how reliable likely voter models are in identifying likely voters in a low-turnout election long before Election Day, Gallup usually does not begin to estimate likely voter preferences until September or October of a midterm election year."

    IOW, Gallup, at this point, is not adjusting for who is likely to vote, and by their own admission, their polling results are not a good guide to the outcome of the fall election until they bother doing so.

    The poll you cite has a 49-43 lead for Democrats. In 1994, about this time, Gallup was reporting Democrats having a 50-44 lead.

    You're their market, and they're selling you what you want to buy. When it gets closer to the election they'll change their procedures to produce polling results that are more accurate, and almost certainly less to your liking.

  4. The "Health Care Reform" legislation has nothing to do with "health care" and the "Financial Reform" legislation has nothing to do with "finances", unless one were to take into consideration the plan of TOTAL CONTROL OF THE CITIZENS by the socialist-in-chief Obama. Socialism, by it's very (Webster's) definition is state run, state controlled, state owned EVERYTHING! The issue of race has nothing to do with the issue of freedom and liberty, again unless one were to take into consideration that the Constitution and equality should be applied to ALL CITIZENS regardless of race. There is absolutely no argument under the sun that can convince the majority of Americans, those who know the truth about Obama and his fellow thug globalists, that he and they are not socialists. Save your breath. They are intentionally dividing the nation with false issues to distract us, all the while furthering their agenda, as Obama said himself, of FUNDAMENTALLY TRANSFORMING AMERICA. Transforming her into what he conveniently left out. Again, save your breath, you're preaching to the choir…and their are millions of us.

  5. So let me get this straight, the politics of a vote DO matter. (except if it's Prop 19 where the only thing that matters is the "big picture" because not even Kleiman will argue that Prop 19 will have zero effect.)

  6. Kevin Drum has a piece today — actually one today and on from yesterday — that suggest that the enthusiasm of Republican voters correlates strongly with a tendency for independents to say they will vote Democratic

    Political scientists refer to this as 'running away from the scary people'.

  7. Yes, that would be why Democrats did so well in '94; All the independents running away from enthusiastic Republicans.

    Look, the problem with this analysis is exactly the one I quoted from Gallup itself: Gallup's generic vote isn't adjusted for who's likely to actually vote until shortly before the election. They themselves warn that the number is fairly useless unless totally lopsided, until they start doing that in the last few months before the election.

    Gigo. Garbage in, garbage out. The numbers Gallup is putting out right now are pretty much worthless for serious analysis related to how actual elections are going to turn out. Tells you a lot about how people who aren't going to vote would vote, if it weren't that they aren't going to vote, though.

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