Sens. Obama and Clinton Support DC Voting Rights

This week Joe Lieberman introduced S. 1257, the Senate version of the DC voting rights bill (the House version, H.R. 1905, passed last month). So far he's got seven cosponsors, and it's good to see that they include two of the Democratic presidential candidates, along with other Democrats from across the political spectrum, and the two senators from Utah (both Republican):

  • Robert Bennett (R-UT)
  • Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY)
  • Orrin Hatch (R-UT)
  • Edward Kennedy (D-MA)
  • Mary Landrieu (D-LA)
  • Patrick Leahy (D-VT)
  • Barack Obama (D-IL)

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Republicans Hemorrhaging Support... in Utah?

By almost any mark, Republicans are at record low levels of support in recent memory. A Hotline/Diageo poll (.pdf) released this month showed that voters generally support a Democrat for the White House in 2008 over a Republican by a stunning 47 percent to 29 percent margin and that voters support the current crop of Democrats running over the Republicans now in the race by a similarly overwhelming 40 percent to 22 percent margin. And the current Republican morass is not limited to the upcoming presidential race. Polling from The Pew Research Center finds that Republican self-identification within the electorate is at a two-decade low, with Democrats holding a 15-point advantage when partisans and leaners are included. But might the situation be even worse than these nationwide numbers indicate? Check out this data relayed by The New York Times' Martin Stolz from what has long been one of the most -- if not the most -- Republican states in the country.

Currently, 49 percent of voters in Utah are Republican and 18 percent Democrats, with the rest independents or divided among minor parties. That represents a six-percentage-point decline for Republicans since January, based on telephone surveys conducted by Dan Jones, a political science professor at the University of Utah and president of a polling firm that began measuring public opinion in Utah in 1960. [emphasis added]

To set out a few caveats about these numbers, one should not read too much into the mere description of polling in an article without seeing the actual results and methodology. One should not read too much into the results of one poll or even necessarily on set of polls from a single pollster. One should not read too much into the results of polling where margins of error are not listed -- particularly when the changes likely fall in or near to those margins of error.

This all said, it is stunning to see an indication that the Republicans may have lost more than 10 percent of their supporters in some of the reddest country in America -- and just since the beginning of the year. True, the poll does not indicate that these Republicans are becoming Democrats (though it's also not clear from The Times article that they are not becoming Democrats, either). What's more, with a 49 percent to 18 percent edge in voter registration Republicans would still likely be strong enough to dominate most elections in Utah. Yet this trend cannot make Republicans nationally confident about the loyalty of their base going into the 2008 election. If so many voters in a traditional GOP stronghold like Utah are shredding their ties to the Republican Party -- or even if they are not willing to admit to a pollster that they are Republicans -- GOP strategists and activists will have their work cut out for them trying to turn out their base for the general election.

The 2008 presidential election might not be decided just on the basis of which side's base turns out (or, at the least, Republicans won't likely be able to swamp the Democrats merely by turning out their base). But if the Republicans are unable to activate their core supporters -- and those who in recent cycles have voted for them regularly -- it is going to be awfully difficult for whomever the GOP nominates for the presidency is to even come close to getting the support necessary to be elected next November.

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BREAKING: Utah-DC bill killed in lame duck

Both the Salt Lake Tribune and the Deseret News are reporting that U.S. House Republicans just killed the Davis bill.

Earlier Tuesday, a spokesman for House Majority Leader John Boehner reaffirmed that the bill is not coming up. "That hasn't changed," spokesman Kevin Madden said.

I am glad they waited until after Utah spent all that money and effort to create a map before they nixed it.

Maybe they didn't like the map. Or maybe they believed what I wrote and worried about Utah Democrats picking up a seat.

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Final Utah 4-seat map passed

Utah and DC's seat deal remains valid in theory.  The New York Times picked up the story, which makes it seem more likely this is going to happen after all.  But the local papers are the ones with the actual news.   Buried in the first couple paragraphs of the Deseret News' article yesterday was this gem on the "bipartisan" bill, which I will show you on the flip

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Utah's 2006 Congressional Redistricting Committee Review

The Utah Legislature organized a whirlwind redistricting committee these past two weeks. The final approval by a special session is pending for next week. On the assumption that we'll be facing a vote on Map L, let's take a look at who won and lost so far.

Check out lots more news about Utah and redistricting on Brian's Utah Weblog.

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