2:45 Michelle Obama visits Georgetown University in Washington
President Barack Obama greets representatives from leading veterans’ service organizations in the Oval Office before delivering remarks on the American Jobs Act in the Rose Garden, Nov. 7, 2011. The President spoke about about tax credits included in the American Jobs Act and new executive actions that will help get veterans back to work. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
Nate Berkus interviews the First Lady – original video here
Steve Kornacki: Maybe you remember the much-discussed map that the New York Times ran in November 2008, just after Barack Obama racked up a bigger share of the national popular vote than any Democrat had in 44 years. It really was the perfect election for Democrats, with just about everything breaking their way, and yet the Times showed that in a few pockets of America, Obama had somehow fared worse than his party’s previous (losing) nominee.
This phenomenon was mostly centered in Appalachia, but there were exceptions – like the Brooklyn/Queens-based 9th District of New York, where Obama performed one point worse than John Kerry had in 2004 and 12 points worse than Al Gore had in 2000.
This may be the most important piece of information to keep in mind now that the voters of that same 9th District have just handed national Republicans a dream talking point… there really isn’t much that’s remarkable about the victory that Republican Bob Turner achieved on Tuesday night.
Mainly, it tells us what a simple look at President Obama’s job approval numbers (or the economic indicators that are largely responsible for them) would tell us: Voters are frustrated and eager to register their displeasure with him and his party. This is true everywhere, but particularly in areas like the 9th District, where voters already had clear reservations about Obama even before he did anything as president – back when his approval ratings were still stratospheric.
…. None of this is to say that Turner’s win is a non-story … President Obama is in serious political trouble and is faced with an electorate that could easily deny him a second term next year. But then, that would have been true even if the Democrats had pulled an upset or two on Tuesday night.
Nate Silver: …. New York’s Ninth Congressional District has highly unusual demographics, with a set of local issues that are unlikely to extrapolate well to the rest of the country.
… First, there are the local issues – Barack Obama’s positioning toward Israel, Mr. Weprin’s endorsement of a plan to build a mosque and Muslim cultural center in Lower Manhattan, and possibly gay marriage – that will resonate more in Queens than they will in the rest of the country.
Roughly 40 percent of voters in the Ninth District are Jewish, 20 times the rate in the country as a whole. Moreover, and perhaps more important, many of those voters are Orthodox Jews, who often have starkly different political viewpoints than Reform or secular Jews, and who are extremely rare in the United States outside a few spots in the New York region.
There’s also the fact that the district was already behaving unusually in 2008. Despite having a 37-point edge in party registration, Mr. Obama won the election by only 11 points there – barely better than the seven-point edge he had nationwide.
I doubt that there was any district in the country (in 2008), perhaps outside a few remnants of the “Solid South,” where so many enrolled Democrats voted against Mr. Obama.
Eric Boehlert, 2010 (a senior fellow with Media Matters, a progressive research center): “I don’t think there are Republican polling firms that get as good a result as Rasmussen does. Their data looks like it all comes out of the RNC [Republican National Committee].”
Nate Silver concluded that Rasmussen’s polls were the least accurate of the major pollsters in 2010, having an average error of 5.8 points and a pro-Republican bias of 3.9 points according to Silver’s model. He singled out as an example the Hawaii Senate Race, which Rasmussen showed the incumbent 13 points ahead, where he in actuality won by 53 – a difference of 40 points, or “the largest error ever recorded in a general election in FiveThirtyEight’s database, which includes all polls conducted since 1998.”
Nate Silver (NYT): Earlier this week, Ezra Klein of The Washington Post published a column titled “Obama Revealed: A Moderate Republican”….he argued that the president’s policy preferences in some key areas, including health care, resemble those of a Republican from the early 1990s….
….I’m a big fan of Mr. Klein’s work, but I don’t find his thesis persuasive in this case … It’s fairly easy to demonstrate that Mr. Obama’s policy preferences resemble those of a typical Democrat in today’s Congress … A system called DW-Nominate rates each member of Congress on a scale from negative 1 (very liberal on economic issues) to positive 1 (very conservative) based on their roll-call votes. The system also creates a score for each president based on cases in which the outcome he desired from a vote in Congress was clearly articulated.
According to the system, the score for the average Democrat in the 111th Congress was -0.382, although there was a fairly significant range, from very liberal Democrats like Dennis J. Kucinich (-0.612) and Barbara Lee (-0.743) to moderates like Heath Shuler (-0.100) and Ben Nelson (-0.030).
Mr. Obama’s score of -0.399 was very close to the average, splitting the difference between his party’s liberal and moderate wings….
Mr. Obama’s positions are also broadly in line with the median Democratic voter. According to polling conducted by Public Policy Polling, a Democratic-leaning firm, 70 percent of Democrats think Mr. Obama’s positions are “about right”, and those who disagreed were about as likely to say he was too conservative (12 percent) as too liberal (14 percent).