Quick Hits

Here are some other news items making the rounds today.

The White House is announcing that Christina D. Romer, the chairwoman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, will step down from the post next month. Ms. Romer is to return to California and her post as a professor at the University of California at Berkeley. The move seems more personal than a departure over policy differences. Ms. Romer has a son entering his freshman year of high school. The New York Times has more.

The Hill interviews California Congressman Henry Waxman, the chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee. Waxman, looking on the sunny side of the street as the Democrats face an tough electoral environment, believes the November elections will likely weed out some of the “most difficult Democrats” that leadership lawmakers have dealt with this Congress.

A conservative in Colorado asks Gay Marriage, Forgive Me But What is the Problem Here?

Mother Jones has an important article looking at how the Federal housing agencies—and some of the biggest bailed-out banks—are helping shady lawyers make millions by pushing families out of their homes.

Brian Beutler has an update over at Talking Points Memo on the infighting amongst the members of the White House's National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform. Beulter writes that "a source familiar with the proceedings of the working group on discretionary spending tells TPM that some commissioners, including one military contractor, would prefer to save money by freezing military pay and scaling back benefits, rather than by eliminating waste in defense contracting.

The editorial of the day is from the Denver Post. Entitled GOP's Big Tent is a Real Circus, the editorial board writes that the "Republicans are without a credible candidate in the governor's race - but one candidate is even less credible than the other" adding that Dan Maes' "grand bike conspiracy, however, takes the cake. This man must not be governor." Meanwhile Business Week reports that Dan Maes told the Denver Petroleum Club he would cut at least 2,000 workers "just like that" from the state budget, with projected savings of $200 million as well as force a showdown with the Federal government over drilling for gas and oil.

Stand and Deliver

The premise is simple. Good governance is rewarded. Stand for something and deliver public goods and you'll earn points with voters. In this case, passing a major financial reform bill has earned the Democrats a six point lead on a generic ballot in the latest Gallup poll. The reversal in Democratic fortunes is primarily due to winning back independent voters.

 

The Democrats' six-point advantage in Gallup Daily interviewing from July 12-18 represents the first statistically significant lead for that party's candidates since Gallup began weekly tracking of this measure in March.

Whether the Democrats' edge is sustainable remains to be seen. Republicans held a four-point or better lead over Democrats in three Gallup weekly averages thus far this year, but in each case, the gap narrowed or collapsed to a tie the following week.

With Republicans' and Democrats' support for their own party's candidates holding steady in the low 90s this past week, independents are primarily responsible for Democrats' improved positioning. Thirty-nine percent of independents favor the Democratic candidate in their district, up from 34% -- although slightly more, 43%, still favor the Republican.

However, an enthusiasm gap still remains. Gallup reports that 51 percent of Republicans are saying they are "very enthusiastic" about voting this fall is up from 40 percent the prior week. The 51 percent marks the highest level since April. On the other hand, Democratic enthusiasm remains mired at 28 percent.

In other polling news, Public Policy Polling is set to release their latest poll of the Nevada Senate race. The PPP poll is likely to show Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid with a comfortable lead over the Tea Party darling Sharron Angle. The problem for Angle is that she is seen as the extremist that she is among moderate independent voters.

Sharron Angle is getting 9% with liberals and 80% with conservatives, down just slightly from the 12% and 82% Lowden was getting with those groups. But where Lowden trailed Reid only 51-41 with moderate voters, Angle is facing a 64-28 deficit. The price of nominating Angle for Nevada Republicans appears to be 26 points with moderate voters.

We asked poll respondents whether they considered Angle's views to be 'mainstream' or 'extremist.' 68% of moderates put Angle in the 'extremist' category to just 22% who called her 'mainstream.' That goes a long way toward explaining the drastically changed state of this race.

Neither Senator Reid nor the Democrats are out of the woods as yet and much work needs to be done to re-energize the base, if not re-assemble the tattered Obama coalition but continued progress on economic issues and calling the Republicans out on their obstructionism and come the Fall we may have the November surprise that Vice President Biden is predicting. At the very least, the odds of retaining both houses of Congress are improving.

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