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News from the Votemaster

Key Supreme Court Rulings Expected this Week

The moment of truth is nearing for President Obama as the Supreme Court is widely expected to hand down rulings on Obama's signature health insurance bill, Arizona's immigration law, and Montana's law forbidding corporate donations to political campaigns this week. No one except the justices and their clerks know what they are going to rule, but whatever is handed down is going to dominate the news for weeks and shake up the campaigns. There is also a chance that Justice Ruth Ginsburg might announce her retirement, which would stir up another hornet's nest, making the appointment of her successor a big political issue.

On Social Issues, Voters Trust Obama More than Romney

A new AP-GfK poll shows that voters trust President Obama over Mitt Romney on social issues by a margin of 52% to 36%. Same-sex marriage will be on the ballot in four states: Maryland, Washington, Minnesota, and Maine. Given that these are all blue states and the public generally supports same-sex marriage by a small margin now, it is doubtful that it will have much of an effect. It is amazing how fast public opinion has changed on this subject. In 2000 and 2004, Karl Rove used referendums on same-sex marriage as a technique to get conservative voters to the polls. Now with a small majority of voters favoring marriage equality, the technique is a spent force.

Charlie Cook Does Not Expect Another Wave Election

Political guru Charlie Cook thinks that after three wave elections in a row (2006 and 2008 were Democratic waves; 2010 was a Republican wave) we are not in for four in a row. He rates 211 districts as solid or likely Republican and 171 as solid or likely Democratic. Even if the Democrats were to win all their solid, likely, and lean seats, they would need to win 12 of the 18 lean-Republican seats to recapture the House. So Cook, at least, thinks that the Republicans will be running the House come January 2013.

A New Partisan Divide: Old vs. Young

Everyone knows about the partisan divide between religious and secular voters, between the 99% and the 1%, and between the blue states and the red states, but a case can be made that another divide is even more important and often overlooked: old vs. young. Before 2004, there was no significant difference between how younger and older older citizens voted. Starting in 2004 that began to change, with today's younger voters being much more liberal than today's older voters. An interesting question is whether the current 18-29-year olds will get more conservative as they age. Historical data suggests otherwise. By the time people are 30, they have figured out which party they prefer and tend not to change much the rest of their lives. In the long run, this spells trouble for the Republicans unless it changes its positions on major issues (like the role of government) quite substantially.