4) In Wisconsin legislative special elections held Tuesday, Republicans held on to two of three Assembly seats the party controlled before Gov. Scott Walker (R) appointed the incumbents to state agency jobs in January. Democrats won a western Wisconsin seat, which was held by the GOP for 16 years. Obama carried it with 55 percent of the vote in 2008. 3) Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney has a small lead in a new Quinnipiac University poll of the national race for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination. Romney takes 18 percent of the vote, with Palin and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (R) at 15 percent. Real estate mogul Donald Trump is in fourth place at 12 percent. But there are some brutal numbers for Palin and Trump: Equal majorities of all voters (58 percent) say they would "never" vote for either candidate. That Quinnipiac poll also contains some new numbers on various proposals to reduce the federal budget deficit. Quinnipiac attempted an interesting experiment: telling half the respondents that about 60 percent of the federal budget goes toward defense, Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. Regardless of whether respondents were told that, at least 70 percent of voters oppose cutting the growth of spending on Medicare benefits to reduce the federal budget deficit. Voters are more split on reducing defense spending, with those told that it makes up a large portion of the federal budget being slightly more likely to support cuts. The one deficit-reduction proposal to get broad support is raising taxes on households making more than $250,000; 69 percent approve those tax increases. 2) A new CBS News/New York Times poll out today confirms the "bump" that President Obama received in one-day surveys released Tuesday. Obama's approval rating has surged 11 points from a poll last month; now, 57 percent of Americans approve of the job Obama is doing, while 37 percent disapprove. But like the other surveys, the bump is not an across-the-board boost for the president. Obama's approval rating on his handling of the economy has actually slid to 34 percent, down from 38 percent last month. The New York Times compares Obama's 11-point surge to George W. Bush's 8-point bump in 2003 after the capture of Saddam Hussein; the Times notes that Bush's bump "evaporated within a month." The poll is a "panel-back" survey -- respondents were first reached this weekend as part of a poll for CBS News, but some of them were then called back after the killing of Osama bin Laden. Obama's approval rating reflects the results of those second calls made Monday and Tuesday. 1) Obama will be visiting Ground Zero in New York City on Thursday to meet with families of 9/11 victims, but Bush has declined an invitation from the White House to join the president in New York. "He appreciated the invite, but has chosen in his post-presidency to remain largely out of the spotlight," said Bush spokesperson David Sherzer. "He continues to celebrate with all Americans this important victory in the war on terror." Want the news first every morning? Sign up for National Journal's Need-to-Know Memo. Short items to prepare you for the day.
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