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Income inequality is a big topic for rich Dem candidates, but their audience yawns

Westlake Legal Group EqualSignB-715 Income inequality is a big topic for rich Dem candidates, but their audience yawns The Blog poll gallup Equality economic fairness 2020 Democratic primaries 2020 Democrat debates 2020 Democrat candidates

To hear all the wealthy Democratic candidates for president tell it, economic inequality is a major issue, right up there with other unrealistic proposals like free college and a multi-trillion-dollar government takeover of healthcare.

That message is then multiplied and magnified by mainstream media’s ubiquitous megaphone.

But to hear average Americans talk about income inequality, well, you don’t actually hear much of anything about that. They’re seemingly too busy chasing their own economic dreams to pay much attention to meaningless political primary palaver aimed at a tiny population sliver of even wealthier donors.

Now, here comes a new Gallup Poll designed to measure popular priorities. It’s the regular “most important problem” question that monitors the shifting concerns of average Americans.

Those polling folks have been asking that question off-and-on for eight decades and monthly since the earliest days of this century.

And guess what?

They found hardly anyone cares about income inequality. In this century the average monthly mentions of the rich-and-poor gap has been two percent or less in Gallup surveys.

“Certainly,” the Gallup analysis reports, “this is not a significant top-of-mind concern for Americans and no more of a concern now than it has been in the past.”

Although Democrat candidates who own multiple houses express loud concerns about the income gap, their party’s members told Gallup that inequality clung to only ninth place on their list of important issues.

High above it were far more popular pending problems such as immigration, race relations, healthcare, the environment, healthcare, education and two issues that seem to fit better with Republicans’ list of issues: government and the economy.

The economy has been booming since what’s-his-name and what’s-his-name’s-vice-president-who-now-wants-to-be-president left office in 2017. In fact, the U.S. economy is now going through its longest expansion.

Perhaps you’ve heard Bernie Sanders shout about the need for a more equitable minimum wage of $15 an hour.

This is such a pressing issue that when his own campaign staff pushed to get that $15 minimum, Bernie instead cut their hours. Thereby proving critics’ point that such a pay rate would actually hurt workers more than help.

“Who’s this economy really working for? It’s doing great for a thinner and thinner slice at the top,” says Elizabeth Warren, who pulled down $400,000 for teaching a single class at Harvard.

Let’s see, at the $15 an hour minimum wage, that works out to 26,667 hours of class time, which she never worked.

The post Income inequality is a big topic for rich Dem candidates, but their audience yawns appeared first on Hot Air.

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Gallup: Plurality of Dems now favor cash reparations for black Americans despite heavy opposition from public overall

Westlake Legal Group p-1 Gallup: Plurality of Dems now favor cash reparations for black Americans despite heavy opposition from public overall white Trump The Blog reparations Race poll gallup democrats cash black

Every now and then I see a news story about reparations pop up and think, “Why are we talking about this now?” And then I remember, “Oh right — not one but two top-tier Democratic presidential candidates have endorsed the idea, and the Democratic House has already held hearings about it.”

Now here’s a new reason: More rank-and-file Democrats support the idea of cash payments to black Americans than oppose it.

New data from Gallup:

Westlake Legal Group g-5 Gallup: Plurality of Dems now favor cash reparations for black Americans despite heavy opposition from public overall white Trump The Blog reparations Race poll gallup democrats cash black

That data comes with the caveat that not all reparations plans involve direct cash payments to individual people, so maybe other forms would have more support. But cash payments is the purest form of the idea, the one that most people think about when weighing the pros and cons of the policy. And this is the first time I’m aware of that a plurality of Dems — a near-majority, in fact — have landed in favor of it. When HuffPost polled the issue in April, Democrats split 34/37, a near-plurality but a very soft one. Now they’re at 49 percent, likely thanks in part to the attention the issue has received during the presidential primary.

To put that in perspective, per Gallup, Democrats stood at just 25 percent in favor in 2002. The wokening of the party has led to support for reparations nearly doubling in less than 20 years, even as Republicans continue to resist almost unanimously and independents say thumbs down by a two-to-one margin.

Sounds like more good news for Trump’s electoral strategy of using racial grievances to mobilize working-class whites next fall. The more lefties can pressure the Democratic nominee to talk up reparations on the trail, the easier Trump’s task is. But there are two catches. One is that, as in every election, the party nominee will shift from base-pandering to centrist-pandering the moment the primary is safely won. That’s especially likely to be the case with the Democratic nominee next summer, I think, sinceTrump is all-in on a base-only strategy, leaving Dems free to court the center. And lefties are so frantic to oust Trump that they’re likely to be extra-forgiving of sins against wokeness by the nominee in the interest of defeating POTUS. There’ll be no reparations talk from Democrats next summer (although plenty from Trump, to be sure).

The other catch is that, while it’s comforting for righties to believe that white identity politics is the secret sauce needed to win the Rust Belt a second term, it ain’t necessarily so. Racial politics energizes the other side too:

A complementary picture emerges from our data in the 2020 battleground states. Those who strongly approve of Trump — represented by the red bars in the graph below — mostly indicate higher levels of racial resentment…

However, among those who strongly disapprove of Trump in these same states … even more likely voters indicate strongly benevolent attitudes on race and immigration, as indicated by the height of the bars clustered near zero. These are the voters who are likely to be offended by Trump’s racist remarks, perhaps becoming more motivated to turn out on the Democratic side as a result.

Some analysts will say that those who oppose Trump would turn out and vote Democratic regardless of Trump’s racist remarks. But history teaches otherwise. For example, African Americans, who overwhelmingly vote Democratic, were less likely to vote in 2016 than 2012.

Turnout matters, and Trump’s record of racist rhetoric may be making some Democrats more likely to vote.

Trump’s rhetoric could also be costing him votes among nonwhites who might otherwise be inclined to support him on economic grounds:

Hard to say where reparations fits into all of that. If Trump’s “go back where you came from” tweets about Ilhan Omar and the Squad is better turnout fuel for lefties than righties, is reparations chatter better turnout fuel for righties than lefties? Gallup’s numbers strongly suggest that it’s more of an electoral liability to Dems than an asset. Both parties may be sabotaging themselves in trying to pander more vigorously to their respects bases on racial lines.

The post Gallup: Plurality of Dems now favor cash reparations for black Americans despite heavy opposition from public overall appeared first on Hot Air.

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Gallup: Share who say immigration is America’s most important problem reaches highest level in modern history

Westlake Legal Group t-10 Gallup: Share who say immigration is America’s most important problem reaches highest level in modern history wall Trump The Blog Problem migrant immigration gallup crisis border

These results don’t tell us which side’s policies the public favors as a solution to the immigration crisis, merely that they recognize that there is a crisis.

But since one party’s presidential nominee wants to throw everything he’s got at closing the border, from a wall to asylum reform to new “safe third country” agreements with neighbors, and the other party’s leading voices seem to want to open the border to such an insane degree that even liberal pundits have begun scratching their heads, I’m guessing this boils down to “Advantage: Trump.”

For now. If the crisis were to persist another 15 months, good luck to POTUS arguing that he should get another four years to try to handle an emergency which he couldn’t handle in two.

Westlake Legal Group 2-4 Gallup: Share who say immigration is America’s most important problem reaches highest level in modern history wall Trump The Blog Problem migrant immigration gallup crisis border

The parties aren’t equal in their concern, with 42 percent of Republicans saying immigration is the country’s most important problem versus 20 percent each of Democrats and indies. But (a) immigration worries among Republicans are destined to bind some Trump-wary righties to him who might have otherwise considered voting Democrat next year and (b) getting 20 percent of the opposition to say this is the country’s top priority is no small thing, especially given the short shrift the issue has gotten in the Democratic presidential primaries relative to health care, taxing the rich, and, ah, busing.

Here’s the partisan difference in a nutshell. Trump this morning…

…versus Ilhan Omar last night:

Congrats to the congresswoman on somehow shoehorning open borders, universal health care, and abortion into the same tweet. I bet AOC could have worked climate change into it too, though.

NPR also polled recently on this issue, asking whether the public thinks various immigration positions which Dem candidates have endorsed are good ideas or bad ones. Decriminalizing border crossings pulled a 27/66 good/bad rating, with even Democratic adults underwater at 45/47. Instituting a national health insurance program to cover illegals polled better with Dems but not much better with Americans overall, landing at 33/62. That’s the good news for Trump, that most Americans agree that some of the left’s favorite ideas on immigration are bananas. The bad news is that various other Democratic proposals unrelated to immigration polled much better in NPR’s survey: From a public option for health insurance to a pathway to citizenship for illegals to, ugh, the Green New Deal, majorities are in favor of all — although NPR conveniently didn’t mention the price tag that each program would carry.

We might deduce from that that so long as the national conversation stays focused on immigration, Trump is more likely to win reelection. The more it strays from immigration, the less likely. Although…

Westlake Legal Group 4 Gallup: Share who say immigration is America’s most important problem reaches highest level in modern history wall Trump The Blog Problem migrant immigration gallup crisis border

And:

Westlake Legal Group 8 Gallup: Share who say immigration is America’s most important problem reaches highest level in modern history wall Trump The Blog Problem migrant immigration gallup crisis border

Again, how good does Trump look on immigration next year if the crisis continues and he’s proved himself seemingly powerless to stop it? Especially bearing in mind that the Dem nominee will likely tack towards the center on the issue next year.

The post Gallup: Share who say immigration is America’s most important problem reaches highest level in modern history appeared first on Hot Air.

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AOC: No one is “heartbroken” at the thought of losing their private health insurance

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A leftover from yesterday that shouldn’t go unmentioned. She’s mighty glib here about flushing the insurance of 180 million people down the toilet, but then all single-payer supporters are.

Define “heartbroken.” From a Gallup poll published last December:

Westlake Legal Group g-2 AOC: No one is “heartbroken” at the thought of losing their private health insurance The Blog socialism private ocasio-cortez medicare for all heartbroken gallup Bernie Sanders AOC

Democrats are very familiar with that graph. Especially Kamala Harris, who gets fidgety every time she’s asked about MFA and quickly reassures her questioner that “supplemental” private insurance will still exist once she’s president.

What she doesn’t mention unless forced to do so is that “supplemental” means insurance to cover tummy tucks, not health treatments. But that’s a mere detail, apparently, and Harris doesn’t sweat details.

What AOC means here, I think, is that it’s not their insurance per se that people are wedded to, it’s the quality of their coverage. No one cares if their insurance company gets bought out so long as their coverage remains intact with the same (or greater) benefits, the same (or broader) network, and the same (or less) cost. Well, she’s saying, just think of Medicare for All as one big buyout. You’ll get the same coverage, or better! And it’ll cost the same, or less! And you’ll be able to keep your doctor! Is all of that true? Per the AP, there’s reason to worry:

The Mercatus study explained that such savings would be unlikely since that would hinge on hospitals and health care providers accepting much lower payments than they get now.

A research report this year by the nonprofit Rand think tank estimated that Medicare for All would do the opposite of what Sanders is promising, modestly raising national health spending.

The Rand study modeled a hypothetical scenario in which a plan similar to legislation by Sanders had taken effect this year. It found that total U.S. health care spending would be about $3.9 trillion under Medicare for All in 2019, compared with about $3.8 trillion under the status quo.

If your private insurer hikes costs, slashes benefits, and/or shrinks your network, there are alternatives available. If Uncle Sam takes over health coverage and hikes costs, slashes benefits, and/or has trouble convincing doctors to take a pay cut in the form of lower fees, there’s … emigration, I guess.

My favorite poll result of the week, by the way, comes in the form of two tables. Table one looks good for MFA fans:

Westlake Legal Group 1-3 AOC: No one is “heartbroken” at the thought of losing their private health insurance The Blog socialism private ocasio-cortez medicare for all heartbroken gallup Bernie Sanders AOC

That’s 52/33 in favor. Pretty good! But then people read the fine print. Table two:

Westlake Legal Group 2-3 AOC: No one is “heartbroken” at the thought of losing their private health insurance The Blog socialism private ocasio-cortez medicare for all heartbroken gallup Bernie Sanders AOC

Explain to people that “Medicare for All” doesn’t mean Medicare as an option for all but mandatory Medicare for everyone, with private insurance out the window, and support drops to 37/43. Not a disastrous number for lefties — there’s room for growth as they make their case — but they’re starting in the hole, not with majority support. And of course the opposition hasn’t spent much time making its own case either. Democratic voters who haven’t realized yet that MFA means the end of private insurance are going to get a rude awakening about that from Joe Biden at the next debate when this subject comes up. And there are a lot of Democratic voters out there like that. A lot.

The post AOC: No one is “heartbroken” at the thought of losing their private health insurance appeared first on Hot Air.

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Uh oh: New WaPo/ABC poll puts abortion support at generational high

Westlake Legal Group march-for-life-2017 Uh oh: New WaPo/ABC poll puts abortion support at generational high WaPo/ABC poll The Blog polls gallup Abortion

A philosophical shift, or just crisis fatigue? A new Washington Post/ABC poll shows support for legal abortion rising to its highest level in the series in almost 25 years, hitting 60%. It comes as court fights ramp up over a series of laws passed in southern and Midwestern states that sharply restrict access to abortion, and the two are almost certainly related:

Support for legal abortion stands at its highest level in more than two decades according to a Washington Post-ABC News poll, even as numerous states adopt restrictions that challenge the breadth of rights established by the Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade decision.

The Post-ABC poll finds a 60 percent majority who say abortion should be legal in most or all cases, up from 55 percent in a 2013 Post-ABC poll, and tying the record high level of support from 1995. The latest survey finds 36 percent say abortion should be illegal in all or most cases, also tying a record low.

Is this really a warmer embrace of abortion itself, or just a reaction to a glut of abortion-restricting laws? The poll hints at the latter:

A 41 percent plurality of Americans want their own states to avoid making it either harder or easier for women to have access to abortion. Fewer (32 percent) say their states should make it easier and fewer still (24 percent) say their states should make it harder for women to have access to abortion.

This looks more like a reaction — and not a very large one at that — to the legislative activism taking place in strongly pro-life states. It recalls the wisdom adopted by the pro-life movement to focus more on hearts and minds rather than laws and lawsuits in order to build momentum for later legislative action. Until now, that has been paying off slowly and incrementally in changing people’s minds about abortion and especially its nature. Until that change of heart really takes root, Americans will be most comfortable sticking with the status quo.

This poll isn’t terribly well designed to get to the nuances of public sentiment on abortion anyway. Asking whether abortion should be legal/illegal in “all cases” or “most cases” says nothing about which cases matter. Gallup’s long-range polling on these questions is better structured for that purpose. Gallup has yet to run a survey this year on abortion, but last year’s results on the specifics of legality suggests that not much has changed at all even while the WaPo/ABC poll was showing an overall increase:

Americans’ support for the legality of abortion varies sharply when they are asked to evaluate it on a trimester basis, which is consistent with the pattern Gallup has found for more than 20 years. Six in 10 U.S. adults think abortion should generally be legal in the first three months of pregnancy. However, support drops by about half, to 28%, for abortions conducted in the second three months, and by half again, to 13%, in the final three months.

Current abortion attitudes, from Gallup’s May 1-10 Values and Beliefs poll, are similar to the prior update, in 2012, as well as to Gallup’s first measure of this question, in 1996.

Gallup also asked the legal question in terms of both trimesters and motives, which demonstrated the mixed emotions Americans have on abortion overall:

Westlake Legal Group gallup-abortion-1024x688 Uh oh: New WaPo/ABC poll puts abortion support at generational high WaPo/ABC poll The Blog polls gallup Abortion

Note that all of the >60% support categories even in the first trimester involve violence or near-certain death of the child. Otherwise, support for abortion even in the Roe paradigm drops below 60%, and abortion on demand for no good reason doesn’t even get majority support within that paradigm. And note too that the vast majority of abortions fall into that bottom category; even the pro-abortion Guttmacher Institute acknowledges that only 1% or so of abortions involve rape and/or incest.

It’s still clear that the pro-life movement has a long way to go. At some point, legislative efforts will be necessary, but it might be better to remain patient until a mandate develops that truly reflects progress on defining life and its sanctity.

The post Uh oh: New WaPo/ABC poll puts abortion support at generational high appeared first on Hot Air.

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Gallup: Pride in being an American reaches modern low — thanks to rock-bottom numbers from Democrats

Westlake Legal Group t-1 Gallup: Pride in being an American reaches modern low — thanks to rock-bottom numbers from Democrats Trump The Blog pride independence happy gallup democrats day american

In 2001, before the 9/11 attacks, the share of Americans who said they were “extremely” or “very” proud of their country was 87 percent. That number held relatively steady for the next 15 years, through 9/11, the Iraq war, Katrina, and the duration of the Obama presidency, never dropping below 80 percent.

Then, in 2017, it fell to 75 percent.

And now, in 2019, it’s fallen to 70 percent, with the share who describe themselves as “extremely” proud at 45 percent — the first time that number’s been less than a majority during this century.

Wha’ happened in 2016?

Perhaps … this graph might enlighten us?

Westlake Legal Group g Gallup: Pride in being an American reaches modern low — thanks to rock-bottom numbers from Democrats Trump The Blog pride independence happy gallup democrats day american

Note that that’s not a reflection of how many people claimed *some* pride in being an American, just those who claimed they’re “extremely” proud. But even so, it’s revealing:

1. Until the rise of Trump, Democrats and independents tracked very closely. Only in the last two years have they diverged, with indies maintaining a somewhat smaller share of “extreme” pride than they did during the Obama years and Dems falling off a farking cliff.

2. The current Democratic numbers are less than half what they were during the darkest days of the Iraq war. I blogged during that period and, let me tell you, I never dreamed that Democratic animosity towards a Republican president would be worse than it was then. Not only is it worse under Trump, his ascendance has colored perceptions of the country itself in ways Bush’s tenure didn’t. Which maybe makes sense: To some Iraq is more a colossal error in judgment than a symptom of some deep character flaw in the country. (Anti-war activists would counter that nothing reflects a deep character flaw so much as a major misbegotten war.) But no doubt there are some rank-and-file Dems who viewed Bush as incompetent yet his hope for liberal democracy in the Middle East as at least well intentioned. That same benefit of the doubt on good intentions — on pretty much any subject — is out the window for them with Trump, which helps explain why “electability” looms so large in this year’s primaries. When the current president has made you lose faith in the country itself, all you want to do is get him out.

3. The *highest* level of “extreme” pride claimed by Democrats since 2001 is less than the *lowest* level claimed by Republicans. For all the hype about how much righties loathed O and his vision for the country, “extreme” pride never dipped below 68 percent among Republicans towards the tail end of his presidency. And for all the hype about how loyal GOPers are to Trump, they have yet to reach the level of “extreme” pride during his tenure that they did towards the end of Dubya’s, when his job approval overall was deep in the toilet.

4. Aside from one small blip after Obama won reelection, it’s been a long time since a majority of Democrats were “extremely” proud to be American. You might have expected the election of the first black president to have perked up their numbers in 2009, but nope. “America isn’t great” has been a core Dem conviction since the Iraq war which not even Obama’s tenure could correct.

In lieu of an exit question, here’s a Trump-sized dook that was dropped on the NYT op-ed page yesterday because, I guess, there’s only one mood a right-thinking liberal newspaper can properly have when Independence Day rolls around. Actual title of this piece: “Please Stop Telling Me America Is Great.” It’d make a terrific Democratic slogan in 2020.

The post Gallup: Pride in being an American reaches modern low — thanks to rock-bottom numbers from Democrats appeared first on Hot Air.

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America Vastly Overestimates the Size of the LGBT Community According to Study

Westlake Legal Group man-pedestrian-people-road-street-crowd-506472-pxhere.com_-620x413 America Vastly Overestimates the Size of the LGBT Community According to Study study Population Politics LGBT Lesbian gay gallup Front Page Stories Featured Story Allow Media Exception

With things like the LGBT movement dominating entire months, and so much advocacy and activism being dedicated to the community, you’d think that gay and lesbians exist around every corner. However, according to a new Gallup study, America has it vastly overestimated how large the LGBT community is, and it’s all that advocacy and activism it has to thank for it.

According to James Barrett at the Daily Wire, U.S. adults typically guess that nearly a quarter of the population calls in one of the categories that consist of the LGBT movement. In truth, that number is way, way off:

“U.S. adults estimate that nearly one in four Americans (23.6%) are gay or lesbian. Gallup has previously found that Americans have greatly overestimated the U.S. gay population, recording similar average estimates of 24.6% in 2011 and 23.2% in 2015,” the group reports.

That estimate is “more than five times Gallup’s more encompassing 2017 estimate that 4.5% of Americans are LGBT, based on respondents’ self-identification as being lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender,” Gallup explains. When the estimates are broken down by demographics, even the most conservative estimates still remain about four times higher than the 4.5% estimated actual number.

The group is actually very small, but according to Gallup, it receives an inordinate amount of attention and creates the illusion that it’s much larger than it actually is:

Overestimations of the nation’s gay population may in part be due to the group’s outsized visibility. An annual report by GLAAD, an LGBT advocacy group, found that representation of LGBT people as television series regulars on broadcast primetime scripted programming reached an all-time high of 8.8% in the 2018-2019 television season, which is nearly twice Gallup’s estimate of the actual population.

Media, politicians, and activist groups dedicate tons of attention and screen time to a group that, in truth, makes up just a small percentage of the population. You see activist groups push hard for acceptance of even the most extreme behaviors and are told that this is the way society is going and we should just accept it. You see people come out in droves to participate in Pride parades.

In reality, society isn’t going in that direction. The vast majority of us don’t subscribe to it. Many are lending their support to it for various reasons. They may truly believe in it, or some just find supporting it a trendy thing to do since it’s shoved in our faces by the mainstream media. An entire month is dedicated to it, and we’re told not supporting it makes us bigots.

To be clear, members of the LGBT community are Americans that deserve the same amount of respect as everyone else, but we’re being consistently told they deserve more to the point of praising them for being gay or lesbian. This creates conflict, and the fight against the social takeover creates a very loud battlefield, further lending to the idea that this is a much larger community than we’re told.

We’re looking at a very large shadow being cast on the wall by a very small rabbit.

The post America Vastly Overestimates the Size of the LGBT Community According to Study appeared first on RedState.

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The post office faces fiscal doom, though it’s the most popular federal agency

Westlake Legal Group MailDeliveryOldTime715 The post office faces fiscal doom, though it’s the most popular federal agency U.S. Postal Service The Blog Post Office poll gallup

Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.

The unofficial motto of the U.S. Postal Service does not say anything about persevering through a profound agency financial crisis. But according to recent congressional testimony by Postmaster General Megan Brennan, the agency will run out of money within five years.

Don’t hold your breath on even Band-aid fixes from Congress, at least until that deadline looms much closer.

Despite pervasive electronic communications and all the now competing forms of delivery services, that would be a national economic calamity.

Nothing could replace a service that delivers in excess of 150 billion pieces of mail a year — 47 percent of the entire world’s mail —  at various rates that allow many businesses to ship and sell.

The effects on commerce would be huge, not to mention the sudden unemployment of in excess of 615,000 workers, the country’s third largest labor force after the federal government and Walmart.

Benjamin Franklin didn’t invent everything, although with the Franklin stove, lightning rod, street lamps, bifocals, swim fins and other devices, it sometimes seems that way. He was appointed postmaster general in Philadelphia way back in 1737 well before the Revolution.

Since he was in office on July 4th, 1776, Franklin became the new nation’s first postmaster general, surveying postal roads, setting postal rates, assigning riders to carry the mail day and night. He had an idea that for an extra penny people could have letters delivered from their postal boxes.

The Founding Fathers deemed a post office so important to the commerce and identity of a developing nation that it delivered mail seven days a week until 1912, when Sunday delivery ultimately ran afoul of Protestant ministers, who felt it was a Sabbath sacrilege.

Thanks to a new deal with Amazon, Sunday package deliveries resumed six years ago which turned out to be a profitable sideline that helps cover losses from first-class mail.

Despite the Postal Service’s chronically recurring financial crises, the Gallup folks just discovered the Postal Service remains easily the most popular agency, albeit a quasi-federal one.

Three-quarters of Americans (74 percent) say the Postal Service does an excellent or good job, ahead of the Secret Service (69 percent), the Centers for Disease Control (64 percent) and the CIA and NASA, both at 60 percent.

Democrats rank the post office as their top agency, while Republicans put it at No. 3 behind the Secret Service and CDC.

The post The post office faces fiscal doom, though it’s the most popular federal agency appeared first on Hot Air.

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End-run on Electoral College gains, but Americans don’t like it

Westlake Legal Group ElectoralCollegeMapB2016Edtd End-run on Electoral College gains, but Americans don’t like it The Blog poll gallup electoral college donald trump 2016 presidential race 2016 elections

It doesn’t really matter how you or other Americans feel about substituting the presidential popular vote total for the Electoral College with a constitutional amendment.

It’s not going to happen. Live with it.

But still the folks over at Gallup keep asking that old question — and a new one. It’s a hot topic since what’s-her-name won the popular vote in 2016 — 48.2 to 46.1 percent with a pathetic 55.7 percent voter turnout.

However, her fellow New Yorker Donald J. Trump easily took the Electoral College with 57 percent — 304 to 227. So, he’s President of the United States. And now he’s setting about doing it again.

In its latest survey, Gallup found continuing support among adult Americans for basing their presidential selections on popular vote totals — 55 percent wanting to change the Constitution to accomplish that and 43 percent opposing.

That gambit is an ancient one that came closest back in the early 1970s when the House overwhelmingly approved the idea and President Nixon said he’d sign it. But those old fogeys in the Senate killed the plan with a filibuster.

Even if all of Washington’s apparatus had passed the amendment, it would have taken three-quarter of the states’ legislatures also approving. Can you realistically see 38 of our beloved 50 states agreeing on anything these days, let alone during the Vietnam War?

So, proponents of change are taking another line of attack to undermine the Founding Fathers’ carefully-engineered plan that guaranteed the most populous states would not dominate the others.

They’re going state-by-state with what they’re calling the National Popular Vote Interstate Company, or NPVIC.

They’re getting state legislatures to sign on and agree to cast their Electoral College votes for whomever wins the national popular vote for president, regardless of how citizens in that state vote. In effect, overruling that state’s voters.

Hillary Clinton likes the idea. And so, so far, do 14 states and the District of Columbia. The compact requires that once the approving states’ electoral votes total 270, the number to elect a president, the compact would take effect.

The current total approving is 189 with other states still pondering.

Nowadays, Gallup is asking about this compact’s end-run around the Constitution. It found that 52 percent do not like the idea, while 45 percent do.

Either way, it won’t have anything to do with 2020.

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Gallup: Fewer than half of Americans would vote for a socialist, lowest of any trait tested

Westlake Legal Group gallup-fewer-than-half-of-americans-would-vote-for-a-socialist-lowest-of-any-trait-tested Gallup: Fewer than half of Americans would vote for a socialist, lowest of any trait tested vote The Blog sanders President ocasio-cortez Muslim gallup Atheist AOC 2020

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Luckily for progressives Bernie’s going to finish third or fourth in the primaries, thus sparing them from having to face this reality in the general election.

Any poll on socialism is immediately met with the criticism, “What do you mean by ‘socialism’?” People define it in different ways. A right-winger might tell you that the welfare state is socialism; a left-winger would tell remind you that even someone as progressive as Elizabeth Warren continues to define herself as a capitalist. Earlier this week we had a poll in which 57 percent of the public declared “socialism” to be incompatible with American values and yet in the same poll 58 percent said they supported universal health care. Is that a “socialist” goal or not?

But here’s the bottom line: Regardless of how you define “socialist,” Bernie Sanders defines himself that way. It’s his brand, to the point where he’s resisted identifying as a member of the Democratic Party lest that brand be diluted. He’s gonna have to wear it and let people judge him for it. And for many that judgment won’t be kind.

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Until recently, “atheist” was the worst trait a candidate for office could have that’s reasonably common across the general population. Even Muslims tend to be more appealing to voters. Socialism now enjoys that distinction, though, despite the recent prominence of Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. The most striking thing about Gallup’s numbers to me is that socialism’s not only rock bottom in terms of public support, it hasn’t gained any support even though every other trait tested has. (Two weren’t tested in 2015.) You would expect Bernie’s 2016 insurgency and the rise of AOC to have helped mainstream socialism, especially at a moment when Americans are growing more willing to vote for candidates who break from the traditional mold. But that hasn’t happened — and this isn’t the only survey to show it. In March, a poll from NBC found just 25 percent of Americans willing to say they’d be “comfortable” with a nominee who’s socialist. That was *down* two points since October 2015. The Overton window might be moving towards socialism among the commentariat (isn’t it always?) but not among the genpop.

Look at the partisan numbers, though, and you’ll see that the story with socialism isn’t necessarily that the trend line is flat but that it’s being tugged in opposite directions at the same time, creating an appearance of flatness:

Westlake Legal Group g2 Gallup: Fewer than half of Americans would vote for a socialist, lowest of any trait tested vote The Blog sanders President ocasio-cortez Muslim gallup Atheist AOC 2020

Four years ago, 59 percent of Democrats and 26 percent of Republicans said they’d be willing to vote for a socialist, a net divide of 33 points. Now they’re at 74 percent and 19 percent, respectively — a net gap of 55 points. As in so many other things, the parties are becoming more polarized around the issue. The Overton window *has* moved towards socialism, quite a bit, on the left but the backlash on the right is keeping it static across the population. Meanwhile, independents have held steady at 49 percent both in 2015 and now, suggesting that this will be a liability for Sanders to some extent as nominee. I wonder if the right-wing backlash to “socialism” is a pure reaction to its growing popularity on the left or if it’s being driven in an outsized way by the person of AOC, who’s become a lightning rod and an avatar to Republicans of what a DSA-led future would look like. What if Ocasio-Cortez has become a liability to Bernie?

If you can spare five minutes, compare how favorably the parties rated different candidate traits in 2015 versus how they rate them now in the table above. Four years ago, more Democrats said they’d vote for an evangelical Christian (66 percent) than a socialist (59 percent). Today it’s the opposite, with socialism at 74 percent and evangelical Christianity at 71 percent. Republicans are getting less comfortable with Muslim candidates, dropping from 45 percent willing to vote for one in 2015 to 38 percent now, while Democrats are becoming more comfortable, from 73 percent four years ago to 86 percent now. I wonder if that’s an “Ilhan Omar effect.” The numbers willing to vote for a gay candidate are also interesting in light of Pete Buttigieg’s popularity: Republicans willing to vote for someone gay are steady at 61 percent, but independents are up big from 73 percent to 82. Democrats, however, have actually slipped a tiny bit, from 85 percent to 83. What explains that?

For any Sanders fans tempted to despair at these results, here’s something to cheer you up: There’s evidence lately that Trump has slipped a bit among his base of whites without a college degree. That’s supposed to be Bernie’s strongest demo too. If he can figure out a way to become nominee he may have more opportunity than other potential nominees in siphoning off votes from POTUS.

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