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News from the Votemaster

Obama Gets a Boost from Supreme Court Ruling on the ACA

Two polls show President Obama getting a small bump from the Supreme Court ruling. A new Rasmussen poll shows Obama ahead of Romney 46% to 44% nationwide. A Newsweek poll released Friday showed Obama ahead 47% to 44%. Historically, bumps from news events like this one are short lived, though.

Billionaires Are Starting to Fund Down-Ticket Races

While there has been a lot of publicity about billionaires giving multimillion-dollar donations to presidential superPACs, under the radar they are also gearing up to fund races for governor, senator and other offices. In particular, gubernatorial races in swing states like New Hampshire, Michigan, Missouri, Ohio, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin are likely targets, not only to help Mitt Romney in these states, but also to help produce a good bench of future Republican presidential candidates. The Democrats cannot possibly match the billionaires' funding, which is going to lead to some very asymmetric races.

Was Roberts Sending a Dog Whistle to Congress: Save the Institution?

Many people find Chief Justice John Roberts' majority opinion on the ACA out of character for him. No doubt he would have preferred striking down the law, but he was also concerned a 5-4 majority along partisan lines could doom the Court's prestige and that was ultimately more important to him than this one law. But Dan Balz at the Washington Post speculates that maybe he was also sending a coded message to Congress saying: "For a democracy to work, sometimes you have to put aside your partisan agenda and do the right thing for the country."

The current approval rating for Congress is hovers around 10%. Here is a list of 10 things more popular than Congress.

  1. President Obama (46%)
  2. The Internal Revenue Service (40%)
  3. The airline industry (29%)
  4. Lawyers (29%)
  5. Richard Nixon at his lowest (24%)
  6. The banking industry (23%)
  7. The oil and gas industry (20%)
  8. BP during the Gulf of Mexico oil spill (16%)
  9. Paris Hilton (15%)
  10. America becoming a Communist nation (11%)

Is Mexico Leading the Way in Polling?

Political polling used to be done by having interviewers visit people at home and asking them questions face to face. Then during the 1950s, when everyone had a telephone, telephone interviews with random-digit dialing became the norm. Now that so many people have gotten rid of their landlines, some pollsters have experimented with Internet polling, but so far those attempts have been fairly limited and not very successful (e.g., Zogby tried Internet polling and gave up).

In Mexico, polling is still done the old-fashioned way: face to face. To deal with people who might be afraid to tell the interviewer their true feelings, some pollsters give the respondents a facsimile of the official ballot and ask them to put it in a sealed ballot box. With response rates in the U.S. now below 10%, maybe in-person polling might make a comeback.