Friday, August 28, 2015

Public Opinion on Iran Agreement Appears to Turn Against President

Just as President Obama closes in on veto-proof Senate to achieve his top foreign policy goal of a nuclear agreement with Iran, he appears to be losing public support for the agreement. Both sides in the debate are using television advertising as the mid-September deadline for a vote approaches.

Two new polls conducted by Fox News and CNN/ORC show that a majority of the public now oppose the deal. Fox News also reports people believe Obama’s handling of it is poor.

Only 50 percent of Democrats support it according to the Fox News poll whereas 83 percent Republicans and 60 percent of independents oppose the agreement. Distrust of Iran to honor the agreement is nearly universal, with 75 percent of Americans saying Iran can’t be trusted and no major demographic category getting near 40 percent (only 37% of liberals). Also, 60 percent of Americans disapprove of Obama’s handling of U.S. relations with Iran.

CNN/ORC found 56 percent of Americans calling to reject the deal. However, Democratic support had increased to 70 percent (up from 61% in July), but Republican opposition increased since July from 66 percent to 83 percent today, and similar to the Fox News poll, independents opposed it (58% to 39%).
Fox News: Poll: Iran deal and Clinton emails
CNN: Poll: Most Americans want Congress to reject Iran deal

Whip Count: Bennet Among Undecided Votes Republicans Need to Defeat Iran Agreement

The Hill newspaper’s Whip List has twelve Democrats identified as undecided on the Iran nuclear agreement as of August 26. Senator Michael Bennet is one of them.

The Senate has until September 17 to vote on the agreement. President Obama, from his summer retreat on the Vineyard, worked hard to rally support for the agreement. He assumes the vote will go against the treaty with a unanimous Republican bloc, so he needs thirteen Democrats to sustain his veto. Only two Democratic senators have declared opposition.

Fifty-four Republicans are declared against the agreement (41) or leaning against (13), including Senator Cory Gardner, a definite opponent.

As one looks down the Democratic list of twelve undecided, it is difficult to identify many other “no” votes to join Schumer and Menendez. There are many Democratic leaders or dependable liberals. Hence, it is unlikely a veto will be overridden. It is also unlikely Bennet will join a futile cause. Senator Chris Coons, a possible “no” vote, claims he thinks there could be three more in the group.

Bennet voted for the Corker-Menendez bill, which set up the review process, and was opposed by liberals, such as Move-on and DailyKos.

Republicans have a threshold to meet to even the vote on the agreement. They must find six Democrats to join them to get to a 60-vote closure. It was assumed they can find those votes, although they don’t as of yet have six Democratic votes. Obama and Minority Leader Harry Reid are fighting to shut down the debate with the filibuster rule.

The Hill: The Hill's Whip List: 30 Dem senators backing Iran deal
Politico: Red-state Democrats back Obama on Iran
Politico: White House pushes for Iran filibuster

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Brauchler for Senate

Although South Metro District Attorney George Brauchler hasn’t indicated he’s running for the U.S. Senate, Democrats have been assailing him regularly for weeks from his courtroom tweets (he apologized) to not winning a death penalty in the James Holmes trial (he explained his strategy). Earlier in the year, Democrats’ fire was aimed at Mike Coffman, but after he left the field in June and the Holmes trial gained in visibility, Brauchler became the target.

Valerie Richardson addresses the Brauchler boomlet and the death penalty issue in the April 20 Colorado Statesman, ‘All eyes’ on rising GOP star Brauchler as speculation swirls over his next move.
Even before the trial began, however, Brauchler had put himself on the political radar by denouncing Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper’s May 2013 decision to grant an indefinite stay of execution for Chuck E. Cheese’s killer Nathan Dunlap.
The line that resonated most with Republicans was Brauchler’s comment to the Denver Post’s Lynn Bartels: “[A]t the end of the day, no one elected him to be the state bartender. They elected him to be governor.”
Dick Wadhams and other conservatives praised him:
“I think that all eyes are on District Attorney Brauchler at this point,” said Republican strategist Dick Wadhams. “He hasn’t been DA very long, but he had one of those defining moments when he was the lead Republican voice of opposition when Gov. Hickenlooper basically punted on whether to carry out the execution of the Chuck E. Cheese killer.”
“I think across the state, Republicans were so impressed by how he [Brauchler] conducted himself, the way he framed the issue and why it was so irresponsible of the governor to do what he did,” Wadhams said.
I weighed in with the view that he is likely the frontrunner to recruit as of today and that the death penalty decision is not a great handicap. It won him state and national visibility and his decision to pursue it was in alignment with public opinion. Needless to say, Democrats and the ACLU disagree.
Those who disagree with that analysis include Ciruli, who pointed to Colorado voters surveyed support sentencing Holmes to death by 63 to 32 percent, according to a July 27 Quinnipiac University Poll.
“The fact that he wasn’t able to get the death penalty because of one juror who was sympathetic to the mental-illness argument — I just don’t think that hurts him,” Ciruli said. “I think the net benefit is that, number one, he got tremendous visibility. This is one of the nation’s top mass-murder trials, and it was nationally covered. And that accrues to him on both the death penalty and the guilty verdict.”
Colorado Statesman: 'All eyes' on rising GOP star Brauchler as speculation swirls over his next move

Colorado Statesman: Death penalty for George Brauchler’s senate candidacy! shout Democrat wonks

Politicians are Dummies

Donald Trump has a general theory that is propelling his candidacy. America is being beaten at the negotiating table from China to Mexico to Iran. He’s a successful businessman and negotiator and the politicians in Washington are dummies and pinheads. The American people think he’s right. In general, politicians in Washington are not considered smart.

Most people don’t have trouble answering the question. They don’t believe (57%) “leaders in Washington” are smart. Even Democrats are divided on the issue, with nearly as many believing D.C. politicians are not smart (46%) vs. smart (44%).

Fox News Poll: Iran deal and Clinton emails

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Biden Handicap: Four More Years

Vice President Joe Biden has many handicaps in a race for the Democratic nomination against Hillary Clinton (see The Buzz: Biden for President Only if Clinton Catches on Fire, July 23), but the primary argument in his favor is electability. If the Clinton e-mail slide continues, is Biden the Democrats only safe choice?

Vice President Joe Biden
Being the vice president is Biden’s major asset, but unfortunately, it is also his major handicap. As most observers have pointed out, extending a party’s control of the White House beyond two presidential terms has been historically difficult (Eisenhower, Kennedy/Johnson, Nixon/Ford, Clinton; an exception, Reagan/Bush).

Confirming that observation, but not overwhelmingly, is the latest Fox News poll that shows that a majority of the public believes it would be a “bad thing” for the country to continue Barack Obama’s policies.

Democrats and Republicans are polarized on the issue, although 20 percent of Democrats are ready for a change as are 52 percent of independents.

McConnell Comes to Denver Looking for a Senate Candidate

Rumor has it, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was in Denver recently, no doubt, trying to recruit a Republican candidate who could help save his job. As of today, it is assumed Republicans will lose some seats of their Senate majority. If Democrats win four seats and the presidency, Chuck Schumer, could be the new majority leader (they need 5 seats if they don’t win presidency).

There are only two seats the Republicans believe they have a chance to win: Harry Reid’s open Nevada seat and Michael Bennet’s.

Bennet appears well-positioned to survive his 2016 re-election. Turnout will be up, and President Obama won the state twice in 2008 and 2012 with a healthy majority. In the 2008 election, recently defeated Mark Udall won with a 240,000 vote difference, slightly larger than Obama’s win over Senator John McCain.

Bennet is a prodigious fundraiser and ran a vigorous, technically smart campaign to hang onto a 29,000 vote victory in the 2010 Republican off-year election sweep (Republicans retook the House, but missed the Senate mostly due to fringe candidates).

But Bennet does have two problems that are likely to put Colorado in play if Republicans can find a candidate.

Senate races are closely tied to presidential contests, and Hillary Clinton looks very vulnerable today, especially in Colorado. And secondly, the Trump factor. Substantial swaths of the electorate are passionately unhappy with Washington and its political class. And Senator Bennet, for all his effort to localize his race and offer reaching across the isle rhetoric and solutions, is a leading member of the D.C. establishment.

Hillary Clinton’s Five-Month E-mail Struggle

It has been five months of political pummeling, starting when Hillary Clinton first addressed the e-mail controversy at the UN press conference on March 10 until August 11 when she turned over her personal e-mail server and thumb drives with copies of e-mails.

Clinton has been in response mode for weeks, and the problem became even more aggravated on August 18 at a press conference when asked about servers being wiped clean, she said “with a cloth or something?” in a flippant attempt to highlight her lack of knowledge of servers and removing data.

Photo: Kevin Lamarque/Reuters
Fifty-eight percent of the public and two-thirds of independent voters believe she is lying about having classified material on her personal server. Not surprising, 87 percent of Republicans believe she lied and 27 percent of Democrats. A majority of women (51%) believe she lied and two-thirds of men (66%). Numerous polls have shown the decline of her trust and favorability ratings.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Hickenlooper Hits the Water a Little Quick

Governor Hickenlooper, true to his style and issue of economic development, gulped a glass of Animas River water as soon as it cleared and declared it safe and the area open for business.

Gov. Hickenlooper taking a gulp
of the Animas River water
Photo: Shaun Stanley, Durango Herald
Already having established his strong stomach for questionable fluids, Hickenlooper wasn’t going to let the dramatic pictures that went international of an orange river leave southwest Colorado with a reputation of being a toxic site. It was too close to the “all of Colorado is burning today” image the state received during the 2002 Hayman fire.

However, Hickenlooper was probably a little early on the river health endorsement, given the need for further study of the longer-term impact on streambeds and groundwater. It also will be poorly thought out theatrics if it lets the EPA off the hook for its share of responsibility and slow response or caused a loss of focus on the many other equally hazardous mining sites in the West.

John Frank and Joey Bunch covered the political aspects of the pollution spill in, “Animas River spill's political fallout defies expectations.”
Floyd Ciruli, a Denver-based pollster and political consultant, said the coloring of the river was so dramatic “that I think people are going to be naturally concerned about the long-term residual impact.”

Monday, August 24, 2015

Colorado Republicans Picked the Second-Place Candidates in 2008 and 2012 Nomination Contests

Colorado has been an important state in recent presidential contests, but not had much influence in the nomination contests. In the Democrats’ last contest, Barack Obama’s caucus strategy worked in Colorado, but among Republicans, the state’s timing, size and choice hadn’t had much impact.

In the last two Republican nomination contests, Colorado Republicans gave their top caucus position to the eventual second-place and more conservative candidates.

Mitt Romney won the caucus in 2008, but ran second to eventual winner, John McCain. Rick Santorum came in a close first-place over Mitt Romney in 2012. Santorum dropped out in early April to frontrunner Romney.

Friday, August 21, 2015

America’s Not Alone Disliking Iran

Part of President Obama’s and the administration’s challenge is Americans do not like and do not trust Iran. They are not alone. Pew Research released one of its global polls on July 18 and, with a few exceptions, the people of most countries around the world, and including the Middle East, have a highly unfavorable view of Iran. In 31 of the 40 countries polled, either a majority or plurality (“don’t know” was a factor) judged the Islamic Republic unfavorably.

This was in spite of a change in direction of the elected government to reposition the country as interested in joining the world community and negotiate the end of the sanctions.

With the exception of Pakistan, none of Iran’s neighbors who were polled from March 25 to May 27, 2015 had a favorable view of it. Israel, not surprising, saw Iran the least favorably at 92 percent, but it was joined by Jordan (89%), Turkey (64%), Lebanon (58%) and even the Palestinian Territories (57%).

Among the world’s larger economic/military powers, Iran had a high negative image.

Also, Latin American countries were more negative than positive, with the average median 61 percent unfavorable.

Not surprisingly, religion provides much of the framework for people’s views. In Israel, 97 percent of Israeli Jews see Iran unfavorably and 63 percent of Israeli Arabs. In Africa, with a much lower level of reported opinions, 39 percent have unfavorable views and 32 percent favorable, but Christians had only 23 percent favorable views versus 43 percent of African Muslims. Notice, however, that even among Muslim populations, Iran’s favorable ratings are low and unfavorability rating high. Also, Iran’s favorability ratings have decreased during the last five years among Sunni Muslim populations.

U.S. Flag Flies in Cuba

John Kerry presided over the raising of the American flag at the re-opened U.S. Embassy on the
Photo: Reuters
Malecon seafront. On this dedication day, there were three Chevrolets parked out front – the ‘59 Impala, ‘57 Bel Air convertible and a ‘55 Bel Air hardtop coupe – the likely start of a love affair of car enthusiasts with Cuba.

A new Pew Research poll reinforces what we already know about the new Cuban policy. It’s popular in the U.S. and Latin America.

Three-quarters (73%) of the American public support the U.S. reestablishing diplomatic relations with Cuba, and a mean 77 percent of five Latin American countries surveyed agreed (Argentina (78%), Brazil (67%), Chile (79%), Mexico (54%) and Venezuela (77%).

But, the public in both hemispheres are skeptical that Cuba will embrace democracy over the next several years (43% of Americans more democratic, 47% of Latin America’s median five countries).

New York Times: Kerry strikes delicate balance in Havana trip for embassy flag-raising
Washington Post: In historic Cuba visit, Kerry presides over raising of U.S. flag over embassy in Havana
Wall Street Journal: American flag raised at U.S. Embassy in Havana
The Guardian: American flag raised as U.S. embassy reopens in Cuba - live

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Abortion Politics – Republicans Get Off in Tall Weeds

At the start of the Fox News debate, Republicans appeared to have the advantage on the abortion issue due to Planned Parenthood fighting off charges of selling body parts, to the overused meme of the “war on women” losing more male voters than winning women, and due to Republican candidates in 2014 appearing to manage the language of women’s social issues. But during the debate, the top three Republican candidates for president appeared to move to the fringes on abortion.

Marco Rubio, Scott Walker and Mike Huckabee all offered the no exception rule of abortion politics; that is, a total ban, no exception for the life of the mother.

That position reflects a quarter or less of the population, depending on how the question is worded in polls, with three-quarters of the population supporting some, if restricted, legal rights to an abortion.

CBS News
Question: Abortion should be generally available to those who want it or abortion should be available but under stricter limits than it is now or abortion should not be permitted.

Question: Do you think abortion should be legal in all cases, legal in most cases, illegal in most case or illegal in all cases?

Three Reasons Trump Won’t Go Away

The Washington commentariat is absorbed with speculating on the lifespan of the Trump phenomena. Given the dynamics of the Republican race and the general unhappiness with Washington, Donald Trump is well-positioned to be a force for the foreseeable future. Three reasons are polls, the Republican bench and contempt.
Donald Trump

Polls and Debates
Trump is a man of the marketplace and his career and success are largely products of marketing and brand management. Today, polls are the currency of politics and are dominating the media coverage and conversation of this race. Hence, Trump represents an ideal union of a marketing champion and a poll-driven nomination.

The Fox News debate jumpstarted the 2016 campaign and polls determined who was on the stage and where they stood. Trump was at the keystone of the pack. He received the most coveted position and used it. Polls are now providing evidence that all the post-debate controversy has actually improved his position. The newest Iowa and New Hampshire polls show Trump leading in both states, with the next strongest candidate in Iowa, Ben Carson. He is two-to-one over Jeb Bush in New Hampshire.

The latest Fox News national poll (8-13) has Trump (25%) ahead two-to-one over Ben Carson (12%) and Ted Cruz (10%) – that is to say, Trump and two super conservatives are in the lead, with previous frontrunners, Bush (9%) and Scott Walker (6%), fading. A new CNN/ORC poll (8-16) places Trump at 24 percent, with Bush (11%) and Carson (10%) trailing.

Republican Bench
The Republicans have been congratulated for the apparent strength and depth of their bench, especially as compared to the Democrats, but, in fact, no Republican is effectively countering Trump on the stump or in the polls and certainly not in the first debate.

The general rule is that many popular governors do not translate well to the national stage. Jeb Bush does not appear passionate enough and doesn’t have his brother’s swagger. Scott Walker is being eclipsed due to a lack of a TV personality. Christie, Perry, Pataky and Jindal are wasting time.

Hence, Trump, with the exception of a few conservatives like Carson and Cruz or a couple of emerging but still untested personalities in Carly Fiorina and John Kasich, is unique and on top of the field.

Contempt for Political Class
The primary issue driving the election at this moment is hostility to Washington and contempt for the political class. Congress’ and its leadership’s ratings have been in the teens for years and over two-thirds of the public believe the country is moving in the wrong direction. Trump owns the issue as a high-profile outsider who expresses his own contempt for the political class, calling them pinheads, dumb and easily bought.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Does Democratic Convention Look More like 1968 or 2000?

Democrats have had trouble in the modern era winning the presidency after holding the White House for two terms.

Al Gore (L) and Hubert Humphrey (R)
Hubert Humphrey, nominated in the riotous Chicago Convention of 1968, lost to Richard Nixon by approximately 500,000 votes. Al Gore still lost the election after a Supreme Court decision (12-12-2000), even though he had a smooth nomination when his only competition, Bill Bradley, released his delegates at the start and the protestors outside downtown LA were mostly contained to a “protest zone.” Of course, Gore won the popular vote (he won by approximately 500,000).

Humphrey and Gore both struggled with the reputations of their predecessors, Presidents Johnson and Clinton, and faced effective campaigns by Republicans advocating it was time for a change.

Up to this point, much of the analysis has focused on the factions within the Republican Party reflected in the 17 candidates who showed up for the first debate. But, there is growing reason to believe the Democratic Convention, which will likely nominate Hillary Clinton will be at least as raucous as the Republicans. The economic left, currently backing Bernie Sanders, advocating massive expansion of spending and government and using the rhetoric of socialism now appears to represent at least a third of the party and produces rallies of tens of thousands of passionate supporters. A growing civil rights faction is demanding high-profile attention and solutions for so-called historic, institutional and structural racism in America. They are prepared to disrupt the party’s nominating process and leading candidates.

Will the Philadelphia Convention see mass protests and even riots? This election is likely to be a lot more like 1968 in terms of the level of division and the extreme rhetoric being tossed around within both parties. Democrats won’t be exempt.

Monday, August 17, 2015

The Republican Debate – Waiting for Results

Source: Fox News
Polls and physical positioning (also decided by the polls) provided the framework of the Fox News debate because they selected the top ten candidates and then lined them up on the stage. The average from the first few post-debate polls will shake up the top ten.

There tends to be four stages of candidates, their handlers and the pundits’ effecting public opinion related to debates: managing expectations, spin room reaction, the early commentary and the secondary analyses.

Managing expectations: Pundits and pollsters weigh in with who they believe are the best debaters and best-positioned candidates. Candidates tend to claim they aren’t as good as or as practiced as their opponents. For this debate, Donald Trump claimed he wasn’t a good debater and he wasn’t preparing.

Spin room reaction: The post-debate instant analysis identifies some key moments and winners and losers. In the Fox News debate, the small amount of candidate interaction, such as the Rand Paul and Chris Christie exchange on privacy and security, was dissected repeatedly. But moderators’ questioning dominated this debate with a focus on candidate controversies and weaknesses. Marco Rubio and John Kasich were seen as early winners, with Carly Fiorina emerging from the undercard debate. Also, Trump dominated this session with his controversial answers to questions related to party loyalty, attitude toward women and business bankruptcy.

Early commentary: While the early commentary, namely all day Friday and Saturday, tried to look at the full debate and have some reaction for each of the candidates, Trump’s attack on Fox News’ debate performance and specifically Megyn Kelly completely dominated the first wave of analyses with mostly shock at his crude statements and then rounds of speculation as to his survival, tempered with recall of his plowing through previous controversies with little effect.

Secondary analyses: The final wave of analyses is usually the Sunday morning talk shows, which dissect the debate and post-debate events and wait for any early polling results as to what the public verdict is. The snap early polls and those done a week or so later after the public can savor both details and the impact of Trump’s confrontation with Fox News and the Republican establishment will be examined for their auspice.
  • Is Trump in trouble, stalled, receding or surging again?
  • Did Rubio, Kasich or Fiorina move up? Will it hold?
  • Are the most conservative candidates rising – Carson, Cruz?
  • Are Bush or Walker stalled, receding?
  • What can be expected in the next debate? Who’s on stage? Moderator aggressiveness, candidate interaction? 

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Bennet and Udall: A Year Before the Election

Although Senator Michael Bennet is currently enjoying an opponent-free summer, the Colorado election environment continues to suggest the races next year will be closely fought.

Senate races have become more tied to presidential races, and Hillary Clinton’s latest national and local polls have had bad news in favorability, trust and head-to-head tests (The Buzz: Clinton in Trouble in Colorado – 9-KUSA).

When examining former Senator Mark Udall’s approval and re-election numbers 14 months out to Bennet’s, it’s clear that Bennet, even without a Republican challenger, faces an unfriendly political environment. Compared to Udall, he has 6 points less approval; he’s below the President’s (45% national). And, he is underwater in his re-election numbers: 40 percent say “don’t re-elect” to 32 percent “re-elect.” Again, he compares poorly to Udall, who was 8 points up in the summer before the election. Of course, Udall lost by 2 points in November 2014.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Debates Can Change the Contour of a Race

Debates can move polls. In 2012, Newt Gingrich probably won the South Carolina primary on his
Photo: Fox News
debate performance just before the event. But, that was unusual. There were 20 debates in 2012, and most were forgettable.

The Fox News debate may be in the exceptional category. Twenty-four million people watched it – a cable record. It will test some wild behavior (Trump), allow some candidates to be discovered (Fiorina) and shift the media conversation as Labor Day passes and the next debate looms (Sept. 16, CNN).

In an online overnight poll from Friday evening to Saturday using SurveyMonkey participants, Donald Trump was still the frontrunner with 23 percent of the respondents. Carly Fiorina came in fourth with 8 percent, a huge jump up, and she was declared the debate winner by 22 percent.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Democrats Finally Finalize Debate Schedule

The National Democratic Party finally rushed out its debate schedule after criticism from second-tier candidates, Martin O’Malley and Bernie Sanders. Only six dates were listed for debates; only three in 2015 and not starting until October 13.

Democrats also saw that the Republican debate was generating massive amounts of interest and was showcasing a number of credible challengers to frontrunner Hillary Clinton.

Cuban Policy Marches On

Secretary John Kerry will travel to Cuba on August 14 to open the U.S. Embassy. Cubans raised their flag over a re-opened embassy in Washington, D.C., July 20 (Embassy Opens and Obama Wants to Travel, 7-7).

On July 21, Hillary Clinton called on Congress to end the trade embargo in effect since 1962. Clinton believes she will find majority support, even among the Cuban-American community. Recent U.S. polls show the trend is indeed in favor of rapprochement, including an end to the embargo. A new Pew Research poll shows a 10-point increase in support for President Obama reestablishing diplomatic ties with Cuba and a 6-point increase to 72 percent to end the trade embargo since January of this year.

Nationally, a majority of Republicans (56%) and conservative Republicans (52%) support diplomatic relations and ending the embargo (Republicans favor ending 59% and 55% for conservative Republicans).

Although leading Republican presidential candidates are opposing the new policy and are competing in the Florida primary on March 15, in terms of the general election, Democrats are hopeful Cuban-American opinion is shifting sufficiently to help them win Florida.

And, indeed, two new Florida polls show that Cuban-American opinion is moving toward diplomatic solutions and against embargos due to the increased number of Cubans born in America (not Cuba) and new arrivals since the relaxation of immigration rules in the last decade.

A Florida International University poll showed 52 percent favored ending the embargo. In a related question in 1982 covering increasing economic pressure on Cuba, 87 percent of Cubans in Miami-Dade County favored harsher sanctions.

NPR: Republicans stand against Cuba change despite public opinion shift
AP: Clinton: End Cuba embargo ‘once and for all’

Friday, August 7, 2015

Two Groups Solid for Iran Nuclear Deal: U.S. Jews and Iranian Citizens

While American public opinion appears to waver between support and opposition concerning the U.S.–Iranian nuclear deal, depending how the question is asked, two disparate groups, often appearing as enemies if one listens to respective spokespersons, in fact, strongly back the Iranian nuclear deal.

A recent survey conducted jointly by the University of Maryland and University of Tehran (May 12-28, 2015, N1009) shows 57 percent of Iranians support the agreement. The poll suggests the primary motivation for support is improvement in the economy and availability of scarce goods, such as medicine. Also, Iranians like Americans (52% favorable view) much more than the U.S. government (12% favorable view). They would like more cultural and tourist exchange.

American Jews
In a survey reported in the LA Jewish Journal (July 16-20, 2015, N501), a majority of American Jews (53%) believed Congress should “vote to approve the deal.” A larger majority (59%) believed the idea of conducting negotiations with Iran was a good one rather than a bad one (19%). The analysis points out that the majority of American Jews are Democrats and more liberal than the public at large.

The Hill: Mark Mellman: What’s the deal with Iran deal?

Thursday, August 6, 2015

The Republican Debate

In what was supposed to be an introduction of the Republican candidates to the party and public has become a major event, which has already narrowed the field from seventeen to ten and likely will produce more winners and losers tonight.

Photo: Fox News
Polls have never been so powerful. Not only were they used to select the top ten, but even the Fox News’ placement of the candidates used the polling data to put Donald Trump in the middle with the next two ranking candidates – Jeb Bush and Scott Walker – on each side and the remaining seven in descending order.

See Fox News announces candidate line-up for prime-time debate

Colorado Supports Death Penalty; Country Less So

James Holmes
Photo: Andy Cross/AP
A new poll shows two-thirds (67% Quinnipiac) of Colorado voters support the death penalty, whereas nationally, public support has declined from recent high levels to barely over half (56% Pew) today. Coloradans’ opinion may have been affected by the James Holmes mass murder trial, which has been ongoing for months and his conviction was announced while the poll was in the field. In a specific question concerning Holmes, 63 percent of Coloradans said he should get the death penalty.

The Associated Press ran a long story on the fact that even with the death penalty, few convicted Colorado murderers are sentenced to death, and even when sentenced, almost none are executed.
The sparseness of Colorado’s death-row population is not necessarily due to lack of support for capital punishment. Nonpartisan Denver Pollster Floyd Ciruli says support for the death penalty in Colorado polls has generally tracked those in national ones for decades. In 2013, a Quinnipiac University Poll indicated that 69 percent of Colorado voters backed capital punishment. (AP, July 21, 2015)
Pew Research points out the major shift from 62 percent favoring the death penalty in 2011 to only 56 percent today was among Democrats, who shifted 13 points against, and women, who moved from 33 percent against to 45 percent today, or 12 percent. Although there are significant differences in the Colorado poll between Democrats and Republicans and men and women, all four groups support continuing the death penalty, albeit in the case of Democrats, by only 4 points.