Did Obama endorse Bill Bolling?

August 7, 2009

As just about everyone knows, the president came to Virginia to talk up Creigh Deeds. Interestingly enough, I saw no mention of Deeds’ ticket-mate Jody Wagner.

Now I know why. Take a look at what the president had to say (Charlottesville Newsplex): “I don’t want the folks who created the mess to do a lot of talking. I want them just to get out of the way so we can clean up the mess.”

Well, here in Virginia, the persons most “credited” with the mess would be Governor Tim Kaine and the Finance Secretary whose rosy revenue predictions led to a spending spree that is still being dialed down today (Richmond Times-Dispatch):

Spending in the current Virginia budget for fiscal 2010 will have to be slashed up to $1.5 billion if the most dire economic forecast for state revenue prevails, according to the Governor’s Advisory Board of Economists.

. . .

Even the most optimistic forecast for state revenue during the current fiscal year, which began July 1, still calls for more than $730 million in reductions in state spending to balance the last year of the commonwealth’s 2009-10 budget.

The standard, middle-of-the-road forecast projects a deficit of about $1.1 billion.

. . .

Since April 2007, Kaine has presided over $6 billion in cuts to the $77 billion fiscal 2009-2010 budget.

With the new numbers, the shortfall for this biennium now zooms past the famous $6 billion figure that Mark Warner had made famous.  Congratulations to Governor Kaine, he has even surpassed the Dems’ Jim Gilmore caricature when it comes to revenue shortfalls, well, he and his Finance Secretary who put those numbers forwarded.

Who was that Finance Secretary, you ask?  Why, it was Jody Wagner, Democrat for Lieutenant Governor.

So, by all means, follow the president’s advice, and make sure Jody Wagner stays out of the way.  The easiest way to do that is to re-elect Bill Bolling.

The latest unemployment numbers

August 7, 2009

The new unemployment numbers are out, and the news is better than expected. Job losses were less than 300,000, and the unemployment rate actually fell (although that was due to about 800,000 people giving up on finding a job – as noted by Jim Geraghty).  Even the job loss number itself had a caveat (CNN):

The Labor Department also said that one reason for the declining number of job losses was because cuts had been so deep leading up to July that there were fewer workers to lay off during the seasonal shutdown that happens in some factories, such as those in the auto industry.

In other words, the economy is still very sick; we just saw the symptoms earlier.

So what does this mean over the next few months?  I have some thoughts.

The economy: The more I look at the numbers here, the gloomier I get.  The falling rate appears due to the two factors mentioned above: excessive job reductions in the past that would have shown up now anyhow, and discouraged workers who will probably take the rate reduction as a sign to try getting back into the workforce.  As strange as it sounds, we might actually have the unemployment rate increase next month as a result of the latter.  In other words, this report is hiding the economy’s weakness (unintentionally).

The President: July was easily the worst month of his very young presidency, and arguably the worst month of his political career.  August will be better.  Whatever the reality, the perception of this report will help.  Voters are still upset about health care “reform” – and with more Americans finding out the specifics, economic improvement won’t make the plans look better – but at least some of Obama’s approval rating dive comes from the economy.  Rasmussen and Quinnipac have the president’s approval rating at 50%; expect it to reach 56% in a week or two and stay there for the rest of the month (polls like Gallup, which have the president in the mid-50’s will likely top 60% before cresting).

The president’s agenda: Unclear.  As I said above, the health care issue is being more defined by the various plans’ specifics, rather than the general economic uneasiness that dragged its support down in previous months.  Moreover, the price tag for that and cap-and-trade hasn’t gone away, and will still worry voters.  Congress comes back into session after Labor Day; we really won’t know until then.

The 2009 elections – New Jersey: Forget Corzine.  Voters are angry at him, not Obama.  Every attempt he has made to nationalize his election has fallen flat for that reason.  Down-ticket Democrats may in better shape, depending on how well they can run independent of Corzine.

The 2009 elections – Virginia: Unclear.  McDonnell has tried nationalizing this election as Obama’s approval rating go south in VA, but he has done but by tying Deeds to Obama’s agenda (which is not really popular here) not Obama himself.  So long as Obama’s issues continue to drag (see above), Deeds won’t get much from this.  The only immediate effect will be happier Democrats, which would help Deeds on the campaign trial and in fundraising, but he’ll still need to compete with New Jersey Dems desperate to avoid the Corzine stigma on the latter.

So, in summation, the president will (and should) be happier, but I don’t really think anyone else will benefit, including the American people, who will think things are better than they really are and could be in for a rude shock next month.

Daily Kos: McDonnell +8

August 7, 2009

In their attempt to spin its own poll, Public Policy Polling (a North Carolina polling firm with a Democrat-heavy clientelle), noted the enthusiam gap between Republicans and Democrats in Virginia – hinting strongly that if Deeds could get the 2008 electorate to show up, he’d win.

Well, Daily Kos has answered with a poll that has a nearly exact Party ID match with CNN’s 2008 exit poll (39-D, 33-R, DK has 27-I, CNN has 28-I).

The result?  McDonnell still leads by 8.

“I feel like I’ve been punked”

August 5, 2009

Those were the words of Chris Ann Cleland, real estate broker, homeowners’ association president, Obama voter in 2008, and now, disillusionned and undecided for this fall (Washington Post).

I have repeatedly said that the missing story of 2008 was the 10,000,000 Bush-04 voters who went for Obama last year.  Amidst the talk of re-energizing the first-time voters and younger voters, no one hs focused on the crucial center in the president’s center-left coalition from last year.  That center is unhappy, and the Post found part of its Virginia contingent.

Based on what I’m hearing from the other side (and, of course, they don’t tell me much), I don’t think they get it.  They still think the president has the aura from 2008, and that they can rev up the bandwagon and bring back Sweet November.  If they still think this three months from now, they’re in for a rude shock.

PPP: all GOP candidates up by double-digits

August 4, 2009

Confirming that the Survey USA poll was no fluke, Public Policy Polling has the entire state Republican ticket ahead by more than a dozen points:

Bob McDonnell has opened up a 51-37 lead over Creigh Deeds in the race to be Virginia’s next Governor, up from a 49-43 advantage four weeks ago . . . In the other statewide races Bill Bolling is up 48-34 against Jody Wagner for Lieutenant Governor, and Ken Cuccinelli has a 45-32 advantage over Steve Shannon for Attorney General.

Now, the Dems can’t spin this as a GOP-heavy poll, PPP blew that one up last night.  Odds are they’ll focus on the heavy undecided vote – and truth be told, they do have a point – except that the GOP is the “out” party in Virginia, and usually the “out” party has the better shot at undecideds come E-Day.

However, you look at it, the Republicans could have a banner year in Virginia.

PPP says Survey USA actually underestimated the enthusiasm gap

August 3, 2009

When Survey USA released its poll showing Bob McDonnell ahead by 15 points, the lefties looked at the 2008 vote response (McCain 52 – Obama 43) and screamed foul.  I looked at the same numbers and saw a serious enthusiasm gap for Deeds.

Well, as I was battling insomnia tonight, Public Policy Polling (they of the myriad North Carolina Democrats for clients) gave a teaser of its own poll for tomorrow morning (emphasis added):

The problem is all in who’s motivated and planning to turn out- McCain supporters are at a considerably higher rate than Obama’s, and that means a healthy McDonnell lead.

Last week I was skeptical of SurveyUSA’s poll showing an electorate that voted for John McCain 52-43…but we actually found it at a 52-41 McCain advantage.

h/t Riley at VV

Now, we still don’t know what the poll will actually reveal, and in any event we still have three months to go.  Still, the “healthy McDonnell lead” is clear, and as my dad always says, it beats the alternative.

Who said that Creigh?

August 3, 2009

So Pat Mullins tells a story about an insurance office that shuts down in Wise County because it can’t get anyone to work there. Mullins concludes that welfare is more popular than work in that situation.

So, of course, Creigh “What’s in Your Wallet?” Deeds decides to pounce  – but he aims for the wrong target (Washington Post): “When Bob McDonnell says people in this part of the state would rather have welfare than jobs, it’s not only offensive, it shows he just doesn’t get Virginia.”

Nice line, except that Bob McDonnell never said it.  Mullins did.

With all due respect, when Creigh Deeds starting shoving words in a person’s mouth, it’s not only offensive, it shows that he just doesn’t get reality.

Cross-posted to Virginia Virtucon

Meanwhile, in New Jersey, “It’s over”

August 3, 2009

That’s what an unnamed Democrat in the Garden State told Stuart Rothenberg (Real Clear Politics).  Now, as it happens, I don’t agree with that assessment, as much as I would like to do so.  Elections this year are on November 3, and today is August 3.

Still, it’s been obvious for months that the Republicans have the edge in the NJ Governor’s race, and Rothenberg notes that the switcheroo option is far less likely this year, because  . . .

Corzine, who didn’t come up through the state Democratic machine and now has a running mate, insists that he is in the race until November. Unlike Torricelli, who, one Garden State Democrat observed, needed to find work after the election and knew that he couldn’t afford to just blow up the party, Corzine is financially secure and can afford to ignore the consequences of remaining in the contest.

The comeback by then-Gov. Brendan Byrne (D), who trailed his GOP opponent by an even bigger margin in 1977 than Corzine now trails Christie, is certain to give Corzine at least a faint hope of victory. That hope and the governor’s stubbornness argue against a quick exit. Most insiders see only about a 1-in-5 chance that the governor will end his re-election bid.

If anything, the 1977 race (which I was too young to remember but is practically legendary in NJ political circles) is why I refuse to believe the race is over.  However, if insider Democrats believe it, they will act accordingly – as in, fall back to the next line: the Assembly (that’s NJ’s name for its lower house).

Democratic strategists aren’t yet certain what kind of a year their party will have in November, though they think a 5-point loss by Corzine and modest losses downballot is the most likely scenario. But they acknowledge that a much bigger Corzine defeat (in the order of 10 or 12 points) is possible, along with correspondingly larger losses in the Assembly and in local races.

Given that Corzine already trails by double-digits, odds are Assembly Democrats will start begging and screaming for help (to say nothing of county, town, township, and city Democrats).  Corzine will be too busy trying to rescue himself, so these local Dems will look elsewhere for aid.  Furthermore, I suspect that (1) folks close to the president will quickly come to the conclusion that as bad as a Republican governor is in New Jersey (for them), it can be blamed on just Corzine a lot easier than a Republican Assembly Speaker would, and (2) the big fundraisers for the Democrats will be more likely to hear the clarion call of unabashed northeastern liberals than the twang (to them) of a rural Democrat running for governor in Virginia by trying to outdo his GOP opponent on gun-rights.

In other words, the Democrats’ weakness in New Jersey could make it a lot harder for their Virginia counterparts.

Ya think?

August 3, 2009

The Washington Post continues its long, strange trip to being a reasonable editorial page with an excellent analysis of Hugo Chavez’s continued support for the terrorist FARC in Colombia:

At the moment, the State Department is busy applying sanctions to members of Honduras’s de facto government, which is guilty of deposing one of Mr. Chávez’s clients and would-be emulators. Perhaps soon it can turn its attention to those in the hemisphere who have been caught trying to overturn a democratic government by supplying terrorists with advanced weapons.

We can only hope.


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