Motley Moose – Archive

Since 2008 – Progress Through Politics


Cruzmentum! A bump in the polls for extremism.

Yesterday’s PPP report showed that Ted Cruz’s entry into the presidential race has shaken up the polls.

Republican Primary voters, March 26 through March 31st (PDF):

– Scott Walker 20% (down from 25%)

– Jeb Bush 17% (steady)

– Ted Cruz 16% (up from 5%)

– Ben Carson and Rand Paul 10%

– Marco Rubio and Mike Huckabee 6%

– Chris Christie 4%

– Rick Perry 3%

From PPP:

Cruz has really caught fire with voters identifying themselves as ‘very conservative’ since his announcement. After polling at only 11% with them a month ago, he now leads the GOP field with 33% to 25% for Walker and 12% for Carson with no one else in double digits.

Now that the “severely conservative” wing of the party has a standard bearer, the 2016 nominating contest is starting to shape up as a race between the establishment, the true believers, and those who have not yet figured out that when Scott Walker says “you don’t have to move to the center to win the center” he means that he lies to the center to get them to vote for him. The Wall Street Journal is making it their business to point out every Walker flip-and-flop because Jeb(!).

From Ed Kilgore:

We’ll soon see if Carson or Huckabee can get some of this support back, or if it’s leeched away by Scott Walker, or if Rick Perry or Bobby Jindal or Rick Santorum or some combination of them can poach on it with their own announcement events. All I’ll say at this point is that it sure looks like a different nominating contest dynamic with someone clearly on top of the hard-core conservative pile than without it. A more divided right-wing vote keeps Jeb Bush at or near the top.

As the Republican Party moves further and further away from the mainstream, with their anti-immigration, anti-gay agenda, Ted Cruz will become the face of the Republican Party. Purdy, ain’t it?

More …

SCOTUS Watch for Thursday, June 19th plus Open News Thread

SCOTUS Watch …

All eyes turn to the court


Until the term ends on June 30, the Supreme Court will be releasing opinions on Monday and Thursday mornings. SCOTUSblog will liveblog here today starting at 9:45 Eastern.

SCOTUSblog: October 2013 Term, major cases pending

McCullen v. Coakley, No. 12-1168 [Arg: 1.15.2014 Trans./Aud.]

Issue(s): (1) Whether the First Circuit erred in upholding Massachusetts’s selective exclusion law – which makes it a crime for speakers other than clinic “employees or agents . . . acting within the scope of their employment” to “enter or remain on a public way or sidewalk” within thirty-five feet of an entrance, exit, or driveway of “a reproductive health care facility” – under the First and Fourteenth Amendments, on its face and as applied to petitioners; (2) whether, if Hill v. Colorado permits enforcement of this law, Hill should be limited or overruled.


National Labor Relations Board v. Noel Canning, No. 12-1281 [Arg: 1.13.2014 Trans./Aud.]

Issue(s): (1) Whether the President’s recess-appointment power may be exercised during a recess that occurs within a session of the Senate, or is instead limited to recesses that occur between enumerated sessions of the Senate; (2) whether the President’s recess-appointment power may be exercised to fill vacancies that exist during a recess, or is instead limited to vacancies that first arose during that recess; and (3) whether the President’s recess-appointment power may be exercised when the Senate is convening every three days in pro forma sessions.


Conestoga Wood Specialties Corp. v. Sebelius, No. 13-356 [Arg: 3.25.2014 Trans./Aud.]

Issue(s): Whether the religious owners of a family business, or their closely held, for-profit corporation, have free exercise rights that are violated by the application of the contraceptive-coverage mandate of the Affordable Care Act.

Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby Stores, No. 13-354 [Arg: 3.25.2014 Trans.]

Issue(s): Whether the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 (RFRA), 42 U.S.C. ยงยง 2000bb et seq., which provides that the government “shall not substantially burden a person’s exercise of religion” unless that burden is the least restrictive means to further a compelling governmental interest, allows a for-profit corporation to deny its employees the health coverage of contraceptives to which the employees are otherwise entitled by federal law, based on the religious objections of the corporation’s owners.


Riley v. California, No. 13-132 [Arg: 4.29.2014 Trans.]

Issue(s): Whether evidence admitted at petitioner’s trial was obtained in a search of petitioner’s cell phone that violated petitioner’s Fourth Amendment rights.


More news …

Open Thread: A House Divided

Since Obama’s victory in 2008 our politics seems more polarised and contentious than any time in recent memory.  The 2010 midterm elections amplified the divisions and created the context for a bitterly fought presidential election on perilously narrow margins:

Americans aren’t just evenly divided in the 2012 election; they’re practically fleeing the political middle.

Towards the end of the Wisconsin recall election this year, we saw something striking happen: Not only were there very few undecided voters in the weeks before Election Day, but the vast majority of people were strongly for or strongly against Gov. Scott Walker (R), with very few people lukewarm on either side.

The same thing is happening in the presidential race.

Aaron Blake – The Incredibly Polarized American Electorate Washington Post 30 Oct 12

Click through on Mark Newman’s excellent county map of 2008 above to see that Obama was right, we aren’t a nation of red states and blue states.  However we are divided throughout the nation into increasingly inflexible and adamant local bastions with little apparent common ground and discrete sources of inspiration and information.  What little dialogue we have has largely devolved to polemics and issue-baiting as if two divergent, incompatible cultures are emerging; yet we share legislatures and infrastructure almost everywhere.

Open Thread: The Race is On

Five days to go and after a week of nail-biting, media horse-racing and a deadly storm which it seems we weathered as best we could there are some good signs for the Obama campaign.

Florida and Virginia, all but out of the game a week ago by consistent but narrow margins, are back on the menu:

Florida, North Carolina and Virginia, which once looked like they were slipping more into the Romney orbit, have pulled back to essentially even-money contests.

The seven jump ball states with a total of 94 electoral votes are Colorado (9), Florida (29), Iowa (6), New Hampshire (4), North Carolina (15), Ohio (18), and Virginia (13).

Charlie Cook – Chance of Split Electoral-Popular Vote Very Real National Journal 30 Oct 12

Recent polling in both states, while marginal, shows an occasional Obama lead:

Quinnipiac University, on behalf of CBS and the NY Times, stuck a dagger in Romney’s Ohio hopes by showing President Barack Obama up 50-45, as well as a one-point lead in Florida and two-point lead in Virginia.

Kos – Obama’s crazy good polling day Daily Kos 31 Oct 12

This is an improvement, though well within the margin of error.  Keep the faith Mooses, this is close but Romney has failed to move the needle in the past ten days and time is running out.  He’s in Florida tomorrow if that is any indication of the state of his internal polling.

Open Thread: Statistical Tie, Advantage Obama

We have no idea what internal polling is showing the respective campaigns but we can try to guess.  Chait suggests the GOP has been conning the media with Romney’s momentum and it seems it was working in spite of a small pre-debate lift for Obama.  The substance of the debate isn’t the issue at this point but thank goodness its behind us with a tailwind:

Romney only has two weeks left to move the needle two points in Ohio, Nevada and Iowa, or Wisconsin and any other tilt-Obama state, and relitigating the facts and memes from last night’s debate are assured to take up at least a couple of critical days. If Romney’s deficit in Ohio is larger than one or two points, then that’s a real lost opportunity. Of course, if the Romney campaign believes they have already brought the race back to a dead-heat in Ohio, losing three days worth of lost comeback isn’t terrible – so long as the president doesn’t outright make gains as a result of the debate.

Nate Cohn – Extraordinarily Tight Race With Fourteen Days To Go New Republic 23 Oct 12

Besides agonising over the next Ohio or other state poll guessing the internals is the only game in town.

Open Thread: Late Night Grab Bag

According to Congressional Quarterly, in terms of winning Congressional votes on issues he took a stand on, Obama had the most successful Presidential first year in generations (based upon more than five decades of CQ keeping records).

“His success was 96.7 percent on all the votes where we said he had a clear position in both the House and the Senate. That’s an extraordinary number,” Cranford says.

The previous high scores were held by Lyndon Johnson in 1965, with 93 percent, and Dwight Eisenhower, who scored 89 percent in 1953. Cranford notes that George W. Bush’s score hit the high 80s in 2001, the year of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center. But Obama surpassed them all, Cranford says.


While the road gets tougher moving forward (due to members of Congress preparing for their own campaigns/re-election efforts in the 2010 mid-terms and the likely subsequent loss of seats in both House and Senate), Obama has made his first year historic by yet another measure.


Is Obama Underachieving?

Crossposted on Reapers Playground MYDD

I probably don’t need to tell many readers here that there’s a new and potentially divisive argument being mooted – that Obama is underachieving, and that ANY democratic candidate would be doing as well as him at this stage, if not better.

So you’ve heard this meme on other sites? It was actually first mooted by none other than Karl Rove on Face the Nation in early August:

With a restive electorate, with an economy that’s sort of chugging around, with a war in the background, at the end of eight years of Republican rule in the White House, Obama should be way ahead.

Well, people can have their motives to agree or disagree with the statement. But let’s not just rely on partisan pundits on the blogosphere. What does a noted polling expert have to say..?