A long, hard fall for Rubio and Christie in New Hampshire

A new Granite State poll of likely New Hampshire Republican primary voters is out. The poll was conducted for WMUR by the University of New Hampshire.

The results can’t be taken too seriously because only 1 percent of those surveyed say they have definitely decided how they will vote. But the results are interesting, nonetheless.

Rand Paul is the leader at 15 percent. He is followed by “favorite daughter” Kelly Ayotte (who has given no indication of interest in running for president in 2016) at 13 percent. Then come Paul Ryan, also at 13 percent; Chris Christie at 12 percent; Jeb Bush at 7 percent; Ted Cruz at 7 percent; Donald Trump at 5 percent; Scott Walker and Bobby Jindal at 3 percent; and Marco Rubio at 2 percent.

With one exception, the order remains the same if one considers which potential candidate is the first or second choice of likely New Hampshire Republican primary voters. The exception is that Rubio leapfrogs Walker, Jindal, Trump, and Cruz. 11 percent of those surveyed consider Rubio their second choice.

This is clearly a good news/bad news poll for Rubio. A year ago, the Granite State poll had him tied for the lead with Rand Paul at 15 percent. Now he’s down to 2 percent. Presumably, Rubio’s decision to cast his lot with Chuck Schumer on immigration reform had more than a little to do with this dramatic loss of support.

But Rubio’s popularity as a second choice suggests that New Hampshire Republicans haven’t written him off. And this is confirmed by the poll’s favorability ratings which have him above water by 40 points. Indeed, only Paul Ryan does better here. 60 percent of those polled view the 2012 vice presidential candidate favorably, compared to only 15 percent who view him unfavorably.

Paul, Cruz, Walker, and Ayotte also do well in terms of favorability. Bush and Christie do not. They are barely above water, as is the case with Rick Santorum and Rick Perry.

For Christie, there is very little good news in this poll. Sure, he places fourth with 12 percent support. But last July, the Granite State poll had him in the lead at 21 percent.

Moreover, Christie is the second choice of only 4 percent of those polled. And his favorability rating of +1 percent is the lowest of any serious or even semi-serious potential candidate in the survey.

In sum, as Byron York says, it has been a long, hard fall for Marco Rubio in New Hampshire. But for Chris Christie, for whom the New Hampshire primary would probably be more crucial, the fall seems more ominous.

Dems playing defense in the House of Representives

If there is anyone left who believes the Democrats have a decent shot at winning control of the House this year, he or she should check out the ad reservations made by House Majority PAC, the leading super-PAC backing Democrats in House races. The group’s name reflects optimism, but its buys don’t. Three quarters of the districts for which the PAC has reserved air time are presently held by Democrats.

According to the Washington Post:

Among the Democrats House Majority PAC is trying to safeguard are three in Arizona, Reps. Ron Barber, Ann Kirkpatrick and Kyrsten Sinema. A trio of Californians, Reps. Ami Bera, Raul Ruiz and Scott Peters are also on the list. In Illinois, where Democrats had a lot of success in 2012, the group is looking to shield Rep. Brad Schneider and Cheri Bustos. The organization has also reserved time in both New Hampshire districts, each held by a Democrat, as well as a trio of New York districts represented by Democrats.

The PAC has reserved time in only six districts held by Republicans:

The seats House Majority PAC is targeting are that of Rep. Mike Coffman (Colo.), Steve Southerland (Fla.), Michael Grimm (N.Y.), John Kline (Minn.), Rodney Davis (Ill.) and Iowa’s 3rd district, where Rep. Tom Latham is retiring.

John Kline is John Hinderaker’s congressman. He’s a six-term representative who won by 8 points in 2012. John can correct me if I’m wrong, but if Kline is this high on the list of Republican-held seats the Dems consider winnable, then it seems to me they are in bad shape.

It’s also worth considering some of the seats for which the Democratic PAC has not reserved air time:

Vulnerable Rep. Nick Rahall (D-W.Va.), who has faced an early onslaught of conservative attack ads, is not included. Majority PAC has already gone up on the air to defend Rahall, but it could be taking a wait-and-see approach to his race.

The seats being vacated by retiring Reps Jim Matheson (D-Utah) and Mike McIntyre (D-.N.C.) are also absent. The two seats are favored to fall into Republican hands. The fall reservation further confirms the tilt of the two races.

Matheson narrowly defeated Power Line favorite Mia Love in 2012. She is running again this year.

As the Post says, her prospects look good. So do Republican prospects for maintaining, and quite possibly expanding, control House.

Green Weenie of the Week: Back to Nature Indeed

Power Line’s Green Weenie Award Committee has been on sabbatical for much of this academic year, but emergency meetings can be convened for extraordinary circumstances.  And one of those circumstances arises today with the New York Times Magazine feature, “It’s the End of the World as We Know It . . . And He Feels Fine.”

The feature explores the world and worldview of Paul Kingsnorth, a Brit who represents the revival of deep ecology lifestyles that feature living in yurts and using composting toilets, among other self-imposed deprivations.  Kingsworth’s manifesto is titled Uncivilization, which seems ironically apt for his live-off-the-land lifestyle.  A few samples:

“Everything had gotten worse,” Kingsnorth said. “You look at every trend that environmentalists like me have been trying to stop for 50 years, and every single thing had gotten worse. And I thought: I can’t do this anymore. I can’t sit here saying: ‘Yes, comrades, we must act! We only need one more push, and we’ll save the world!’ I don’t believe it. I don’t believe it! So what do I do?”

Everything has gotten worse?  I guess things like facts and data aren’t important.  Oh, that “comrades” is a nice touch, too.

Further down, however, is the thread of an argument that shows the split currently taking place among environmentalists:

In 2012, in the nature magazine Orion, Kingsnorth began to publish a series of essays articulating his new, dark ecological vision. He set his views in opposition to what he called neo-environmentalism — the idea that, as he put it, “civilization, nature and people can only be ‘saved’ by enthusiastically embracing biotechnology, synthetic biology, nuclear power, geoengineering and anything else with the prefix ‘new’ that annoys Greenpeace.” Or as Stewart Brand, the 75-year-old “social entrepreneur” best known as the publisher of the ” Whole Earth Catalog,” has put it: “We are as gods and have to get good at it.”

For Kingsnorth, the notion that technology will stave off the most catastrophic effects of global warming is not just wrong, it’s repellent — a distortion of the proper relationship between humans and the natural world and evidence that in the throes of crisis, many environmentalists have abandoned the principle that “nature has some intrinsic, inherent value beyond the instrumental.” If we lose sight of that ideal in the name of saving civilization, he argues, if we allow ourselves to erect wind farms on every mountain and solar arrays in every desert, we will be accepting a Faustian bargain.

So for these deep ecologists, even wind and solar power are tools of the devil.  Or at least the Koch Brothers.  This anti-technology attitude is pure Luddism, leavened perhaps with Heidegger. But then you stop cold at this passage:

The hut was cramped and eerie, decorated with the bones of small animals in illuminated glass cases. Haunting music was piped in from an iPod.

Hold it right there: what’s this about an iPod??  Dude—if you’re going back to basics and are anti-tech, no iPods for you.  It continues:

You walked through a curtain, sat down and put on a heavy papier-mâché mask — a badger surrogate.  Directly across from you, seated behind a window in the back wall, was another person — a volunteer — also wearing a badger mask. He or she sat silently, except when mirroring whatever movements you made, until, driven by emotion, fatigue, satisfaction or plain discomfort, you left.

Badger masks?  I’m starting to wonder if this isn’t all some kind of performance art, a clever satire like the ClimateNuremberg website.  Regardless, it puts me in the frame of mind to quote that great political philosopher Al Yankovic: “Badgers?  We don’t need no stinking badgers!”

Green Weenie Hot Dogs copyNeedless to say, this kind of “back to nature” movement does indeed represent the Hobbesian kind—back to a state of nature that is solitary (especially without an iPod), poor, nasty, brutish, and short.  But our Green Weenies are biodegradable at least.

Or maybe the most suitable commentary for this whole nonsense is best delivered by John McEnroe (only 44 seconds long):

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter, and Happy Passover too, to our Christian and Jewish friends and readers. I will be offline for a while–heading to church in a few minutes–but later in the day, we will have a post on a prominent Democrat that you will not want to miss. So check back frequently! And enjoy the day.


Can the spirit of 2012 save the Democrats in 2014?

Democrats are quite nervous about this year’s mid-term election, and understandably so. But they have a strategy for survival — replicate the turnout that propelled President Obama to victory two years ago.

According to the Washington Post:

Democrats are banking on the belief that they can better identify potential supporters, motivate them and get them to the polls — in essence, reshape the midterm electorate to make it look more like the electorate in a presidential year. To try to do so, they will for the first time fully employ the sophisticated tools and techniques used in Obama’s presidential campaigns to aid Senate and some House candidates.

Given the apathy that Obama admits plagues his supporters when he’s not on the ballot, the Democrats need more than just a strong ground game. They need a forceful message, and preferably a frightening one.

The President is on the case:

Obama hopes to stir his base to action and in the past two weeks has been trying to push all the buttons. He invoked the slaying of civil rights workers in the 1960s to implore a largely African American audience in New York to take advantage of their right to vote.

At the White House a few days before that, he pushed the issue of pay equity for women. Around the country, he and other Democrats have seized on raising the minimum wage to draw a contrast with Republicans. He chastised House Republicans in a statement this past week for not moving on immigration reform.

Is this a winning strategy for Democrats?

The answer, I think, is no. Not because I assume the Democrats can’t turn out their base. Republicans underestimate Obama’s ability to get out the vote at their peril.

The problem for the Democrats is that even if they replicate 2012 turnout levels, they probably are in for a rough year.

Let’s start with the House. Republicans kept control of it in 2012. Thus, unless public opinion has moved in favor of the Democrats since then, Republicans presumably can keep control again, even in the face of 2012 turnout numbers.

As for the Senate, Republicans can capture control of it by defeating incumbent Democrats in states that Mitt Romney carried — West Virginia, Montana, South Dakota, Arkansas, Alaska, Louisiana, and North Carolina — and by holding seats in Georgia and Kentucky, states that Romney also carried. Indeed, in this scenario, they would have a seat to spare.

To be sure, in most, if not all, of these states Democrats are running Senate candidates who are more attractive than Obama to local voters. But they are more attractive mainly because they are more moderate. The rhetoric that will fire up African-Americans, Hispanics, and feminists may undercut attempts by Democratic senatorial candidates in these states to maintain that moderate image.

Consider North Carolina, which Obama lost in 2012 by 92,000 votes despite a massive Democratic effort that included holding the party’s national convention in Charlotte. Even in the highly unlikely event that the Democrats replicate the African-American share of the electorate achieved in 2012 — 23 percent — Sen. Kay Hagan must still find a way to improve upon Obama’s performance among white voters — 32 percent.

Talking about immigration reform and dead civil right leaders from the 1960s doesn’t seem like a path to success in this endeavor. Distancing herself from Obama is more promising. But the more Hagan distances herself from Obama and his message, the harder it will be to even approach the level of minority turnout he achieved.

Some of the races the Democrats need to win to hold the Senate, including North Carolina, are probably winnable for them. And borrowing Team Obama’s state-of-the-art GOTV methods undoubtedly is a good idea. But the key to victory for Democrats in these states lies in more traditional techniques — posing as a centrist and demonizing the Republican.

The Hinderaker-Ward Experience, Episode 69: Spring Can Really Hang You Up the Most


I probably would have titled this episode “Rocky Mountain High,” as Steve Hayward joined Brian Ward and me for the entire show. We talked about how Colorado’s pot legalization is working out–the “Mile High City” has a whole new meaning–and about Steve’s tenure as the University of Colorado’s conservative professor. There was lots more, including the Bundy Ranch standoff and the question of the hour: why don’t the western states control their own territory?

Harry Reid repeated as Loon of the Week, and a college newspaper walked off with This Week In Gatekeeping. It is a fun episode.

You can listen to the podcast by playing it right here, or you can go to Ricochet to download or subscribe to the podcast in various ways, or you can subscribe on iTunes or elsewhere. Or you can use Stitcher. There are many ways to experience the Hinderaker-Ward Experience, but I think the best is by subscribing on iTunes. That way, you never have to worry about missing an episode.

This Week’s Climate News

A month into Spring, and whaddyaknow: the Great Lakes are still 37 percent frozen over—the second highest level since precise satellite measurements began in 1973.  NOAA posted this satellite photo a couple days ago:

NOAA Ice copy

And Environment Canada offers this bar chart of ice levels as of this date for every year back to 1980:

Canada Ice copy

But who knows: maybe this will front-fire for the Climatistas.  As Clive Crook argues cogently at Bloomberg, global warming scare tactics have backfired badly.  Maybe the Climatistas should shoot the moon and go back to an ice age scare.  A lot more people would buy it.