Politics: Budget

In Deficit Debate, Why Isn’t Social Security on the Table?

Add to Briefcase
See more stories about...
June 22, 2011, 6:46 p.m.

‘90 nom­in­ee/AG/ex-Phoenix may­or Terry God­dard (D) said 10/7 “he’d use ad­di­tion­al bor­row­ing to close most of the state’s mi­dyear budget short­fall.” He claim Gov. Jan Brew­er (R) will in­stead re­sort “to edu­ca­tion fund­ing cuts” if she wins in Nov., something he prom­ised not to do.

Want More On This Race? Check out the Hot­line Dash­board for a com­pre­hens­ive run­down of this race, in­clud­ing stor­ies, polls, ads, FEC num­bers, and more!

God­dard: “I’m in law en­force­ment, and I have to use cir­cum­stan­tial evid­ence oc­ca­sion­ally, and this is cir­cum­stan­tial evid­ence.” He said he “was forced to pro­ject Brew­ers’ budget ap­proach be­cause she won’t de­bate him again.”

Brew­er spokes­per­son Paul Sense­man said “that she also sup­ports sig­ni­fic­ant new bor­row­ing to help close the mi­dyear short­fall of up to” $825M, “but ac­know­ledged that some ad­di­tion­al spend­ing cuts will be needed.”

Sense­man said Brew­er “does want to re­vive the idea of bor­row­ing” $350M from the First Things First early child­hood de­vel­op­ment pro­gram “and shift its fund­ing to the state gen­er­al fund to help bal­ance this year’s budget and fu­ture ones.”

Sense­man ad­ded that “God­dard’s ap­proach ig­nores costly spend­ing man­dates im­posed on the state by the fed­er­al health care over­haul and that it was long over­due for God­dard to shed light on his own in­ten­tions.”

God­dard “said he would get” $700M “to close the cur­rent year’s short­fall through sev­er­al forms of bor­row­ing. An ad­di­tion­al $125M “would come from un­spe­cified budget trans­fers” (Dav­en­port, Bloomberg Busi­nes­s­week, 10/8).

Not much in the just-re­leased NBC News/Wall Street Journ­al poll con­flicts with the story line that we’re go­ing to see a lot of close races this fall. Demo­crat­ic poll­ster Peter Hart and Re­pub­lic­an poll-taker Bill McIn­turff found that 48 per­cent of the 1,000 Amer­ic­an adults in­ter­viewed (in­clud­ing a sub­sample of cell-phone users) ap­prove of the job that Pres­id­ent Obama has done. This per­cent­age is 2 points short of the 50 per­cent ap­prov­al rat­ing that would sig­nal he is a fa­vor­ite for reelec­tion. A rat­ing be­low 46 per­cent sug­gests that a pres­id­ent is toast. Obama is right in the middle — in the 47 per­cent to 49 per­cent zone — sug­gest­ing an equal chance of win­ning or los­ing.

One source of good news for Demo­crats is that Obama draws a 51 per­cent ap­prov­al rat­ing on for­eign policy; the bad news is that voters don’t seem likely to vote on for­eign-policy mat­ters this year. Con­versely, the pres­id­ent got his worst ap­prov­al rat­ing on the eco­nomy: Just 43 per­cent ap­prove of his hand­ling of eco­nom­ic mat­ters while 52 per­cent dis­ap­prove. Un­for­tu­nately for Demo­crats, the eco­nomy is the is­sue that does seem to be of para­mount im­port­ance to voters.

In­sti­tu­tion­ally, Obama and the Demo­crat­ic Party should take some solace in their (rather tep­id) fa­vor­ab­il­ity rat­ings: 49 per­cent pos­it­ive and 41 per­cent neg­at­ive for Obama; 39 per­cent pos­it­ive and 40 per­cent neg­at­ive for the party. An odd couple of Vice Pres­id­ent Joe Biden and pre­sumptive Re­pub­lic­an nom­in­ee Mitt Rom­ney were joined by al­most in­dis­tin­guish­able num­bers: 35 per­cent pos­it­ive and 37 per­cent neg­at­ive for Biden; 34 per­cent pos­it­ive and 38 per­cent neg­at­ive for Rom­ney. Bring­ing up the rear are three in­sti­tu­tions: Bain Cap­it­al, the private-equity firm that Rom­ney once led, scored 9 per­cent pos­it­ive and 19 per­cent neg­at­ive; the Re­pub­lic­an Party came in with 32 per­cent pos­it­ive and 43 per­cent neg­at­ive; and JP­Mor­gan Chase, which just dis­closed a mult­i­bil­lion-dol­lar-trad­ing loss, came in last, with 11 per­cent pos­it­ive and 49 per­cent neg­at­ive.

Only 33 per­cent of Amer­ic­ans who re­spon­ded to the sur­vey felt that the coun­try is headed in the right dir­ec­tion — un­changed from the March and April sur­veys. Fifty-eight per­cent thought the coun­try was off on the wrong track — the same as March and a point lower than April. These num­bers are pretty con­sist­ent with the down­beat res­ults that this ques­tion has eli­cited for the past four years.

The sober­ness of the Amer­ic­an spir­it is evid­ent when Hart and McIn­turff asked, “All in all, think­ing about where the United States is today, do you feel we are ex­per­i­en­cing the kind of tough times that the coun­try faces from time to time, or is this the start of longer-term de­cline where the U.S. is no longer the lead­ing coun­try in the world?” Forty five per­cent picked the tem­por­ar­ily-ex­per­i­en­cing-a-tough-time re­sponse; 48 per­cent en­dorsed the start of a long-term de­cline.

On the gen­er­ic con­gres­sion­al bal­lot test, 44 per­cent of the sub­sample of re­gistered voters pre­ferred a Demo­crat­ic-con­trolled Con­gress; 43 per­cent would rather see a Re­pub­lic­an Con­gress. (This ques­tion typ­ic­ally has about a 2-point tilt to­ward the Demo­crats.) My in­ter­pret­a­tion is that this res­ult, not far off from the 46 per­cent Demo­crat­ic, 44 per­cent Re­pub­lic­an in the April NBC/WSJ sur­vey, points to a tight­en­ing of the mar­gins in Con­gress. But it does not sig­ni­fy the level of gains that Demo­crats need to cap­ture a ma­jor­ity. In short, the gen­er­ic poll res­ults sup­port the race-by-race as­sess­ments of polit­ic­al han­di­cap­pers: Demo­crats will gain House seats but will come up short of con­trol.

In terms of the pres­id­en­tial tri­al-heat fig­ures, among re­gistered voters, Obama leads Rom­ney by 4 per­cent­age points: 47 per­cent to 43 per­cent, with 11 per­cent say­ing they are un­sure. Well-known and well-defined in­cum­bents gen­er­ally draw few­er un­de­cided voters in the end than less­er-defined chal­lengers do, so for in­cum­bents, what you see is what you get. Gen­er­ally, though, an in­cum­bent with 49 or 50 per­cent will fall over the fin­ish line first. Fi­nal polls of 47 or 48 per­cent sig­nal more trouble.

Re­pub­lic­ans should be con­cerned that 29 per­cent of re­spond­ents iden­ti­fied them­selves as Demo­crats, be­cause only 22 per­cent of them said they were Re­pub­lic­an. When in­de­pend­ents are pushed to lean one way or the oth­er, Demo­crats pick up an­oth­er 15 points and Re­pub­lic­ans gain 14 points. The res­ult is 44 per­cent identi­fy­ing them­selves or lean­ing Demo­crat com­pared with 36 per­cent identi­fy­ing as or lean­ing to­ward the GOP; 11 per­cent iden­ti­fied them­selves as pure in­de­pend­ents, not lean­ing either way; and an­oth­er 4 per­cent either re­fused to say or didn’t know, bring­ing the total in the middle to 15 per­cent.

Start­ing with 44 per­cent, Demo­crats need to win the sup­port of only about half of the 15 per­cent in the middle. Re­pub­lic­ans, com­ing from a much smal­ler share of the in­de­pend­ent and non­a­ligned slice of voters to win, need all 15 per­cent to reach a ma­jor­ity. In short, it’s a lot more im­port­ant for Re­pub­lic­ans to ex­tend bey­ond their base than it is for Demo­crats.

Con­versely, Demo­crats have to worry about get­ting out the vote among some of their strongest groups. Over­all, 81 per­cent of re­spond­ents rate them­selves as 8’s, 9’s, or 10’s in terms of in­terest in this elec­tion, mean­ing they are very likely to vote. Obama won 66 per­cent of the 18-to-29-year-olds in 2008; only 64 per­cent in­dic­ated to Hart and McIn­turff’s in­ter­view­ers that they were 8’s, 9’s, or 10’s for this Novem­ber’s elec­tion. Obama won 67 per­cent of the His­pan­ic vote last time; only 68 per­cent in the sur­vey were 8’s, 9’s, or 10’s. Among Afric­an-Amer­ic­ans, Obama won 95 per­cent of the vote; 83 per­cent were 8’s, 9’s, or 10’s, mean­ing that Afric­an-Amer­ic­ans are sig­ni­fic­antly more in­ter­ested in this elec­tion than the oth­er two groups. The poll has an enorm­ous amount of data, and very little of it pushes to­ward a strong con­clu­sion in fa­vor of either Obama or Rom­ney. More evid­ence that a tight race is in the off­ing. 

What We're Following See More »
STARTS LEGAL FUND FOR WH STAFF
Trump to Begin Covering His Own Legal Bills
1 days ago
THE DETAILS
DISCUSSED THE MATTER FOR A NEW BOOK
Steele Says Follow the Money
1 days ago
STAFF PICKS

"Christopher Steele, the former British intelligence officer who wrote the explosive dossier alleging ties between Donald Trump and Russia," says in a new book by The Guardian's Luke Harding that "Trump's land and hotel deals with Russians needed to be examined. ... Steele did not go into further detail, Harding said, but seemed to be referring to a 2008 home sale to the Russian oligarch Dmitry Rybolovlev. Richard Dearlove, who headed the UK foreign-intelligence unit MI6 between 1999 and 2004, said in April that Trump borrowed money from Russia for his business during the 2008 financial crisis."

Source:
BRITISH PUBLICIST CONNECTED TO TRUMP TOWER MEETING
Goldstone Ready to Meet with Mueller’s Team
1 days ago
THE LATEST

"The British publicist who helped set up the fateful meeting between Donald Trump Jr. and a group of Russians at Trump Tower in June 2016 is ready to meet with Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller's office, according to several people familiar with the matter. Rob Goldstone has been living in Bangkok, Thailand, but has been communicating with Mueller's office through his lawyer, said a source close to Goldstone."

Source:
SPEAKING ON RUSSIAN STATE TV
Kislyak Says Trump Campaign Contacts Too Numerous to List
1 days ago
THE LATEST

"Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak said on Wednesday that it would take him more than 20 minutes to name all of the Trump officials he's met with or spoken to on the phone. ... Kislyak made the remarks in a sprawling interview with Russia-1, a popular state-owned Russian television channel."

Source:
“BLOWING A SURE THING”
Sabato Moves Alabama to “Lean Democrat”
2 days ago
WHY WE CARE
×
×

Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.

Login