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Why Democrats Are So Confident

It was a revealing convergence Monday when the five-member conservative Supreme Court majority delivered the Hobby Lobby contraception decision even as President Obama announced that House Republicans had officially shelved immigration reform.

Both disputes reaffirmed the GOP's identity as the champion of the forces most resistant to the profound demographic and cultural dynamics reshaping American life—and Democrats as the voice of those who most welcome these changes.

And both clashes captured a parallel shift: While Republicans took the offense on most cultural arguments through the late 20th century, now Democrats from Obama on down are mostly pressing these issues, confident that they represent an expanding majority of public opinion.

Veteran pollster Stanley B. Greenberg captures this almost unprecedented Democratic assurance when he declares flatly: "Republicans are on the losing side of all of these trends."

Beyond contraception and immigration, the parties are escalating their conflicts over a broad suite of issues that divide the electorate along cultural lines, including gun control, gay rights, abortion, and climate change (which politically pivots on trust in science). Combined, these confrontations are stamping the GOP as what I've called a "Coalition of Restoration" primarily representing older, white, religiously devout, and nonurban ...

Democrats Face Unfair Fight in Midterms

Generally speaking, the further into a U.S. president’s tenure in office one gets, the less volatility there is in that president’s job-approval rating.

It’s pretty logical that 1,979 days into Barack Obama’s presidency, the number of people most inclined to approve of his performance has stabilized, as has the number of those disposed to disapprove of him. Given that Obama tends to evoke particularly strong emotions with bedrock supporters and equally adamant opponents, arguably more people than usual have locked in their opinions. And those who are undecided by this point are the folks who have pretty much checked out of politics and are unlikely to come down on one side or the other. Simply put, there are few people left who are ambivalent about Obama’s performance. We see large variances at this point only when we compare the results of one pollster to another. These variances are likely the result of individual firms’ unique methodologies and sampling idiosyncrasies; they do not represent the genuine changing of minds.

With the Gallup Organization sampling a little more than 500 adults per night, around 7,500 in a week (with a margin of error of ...

In No Mood For Trophies

With the midterm elections less than six months away, it's a good time to take stock of things and even venture a few assumptions. But first, we need to acknowledge that when we talk about public attitudes, we are talking about human behavior and unexpected national events, which can cause close races to tip one way or the other, or to make less competitive contests even more so.

Having said that, it appears that the political environment, national economy, and issue agenda are unlikely to change significantly before November. At this point, this election is what it is, and it will be fought on terrain pretty much like what we see today.

Because midterm elections are more a referendum on the White House occupant than anything else, President Obama's 44 percent approval/51 percent disapproval ratings in the Gallup Poll for both April and May are deeply troubling for Democrats. Obama's Gallup approval numbers have risen 3 points since last fall, when they hit 41 percent with the disastrous launch of HealthCare.gov. That improvement now seems to have leveled off, however, and his ratings are still in a bad place. They are comparable to his numbers ...

Hillary Clinton's Hardest Choice Still Lies Ahead

A virtual cottage industry has developed from journalists who do little else but cover—or perhaps the better term is obsess over—Hillary Clinton.

Every week there seem to be hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of words written about her, particularly as she kicked off her new book tour Tuesday. Considering that she is not president of the United States and no election for the job will be held until 2016, that is a pretty remarkable feat, and arguably an unprecedented one.

Now that the tour has begun, and reviews of her new book Hard Choices are appearing every few minutes, it’s like a Niagara Falls of words. Many having read the book or even just excepts are parsing its words the way Kremlinologists in our intelligence community used to examine every message from Moscow to determine the intentions of Soviet leaders. They mostly conclude that she is certainly running, while a few have creatively found what they think are unmistakable indications that she won’t.

Personally, I think all of them should take a deep breath.

The one article in recent days that seems to make more sense to me than any other is “Hillary Clinton’s ...

Political Myopia

"Where you stand depends on where you sit."

It is an age-old expression that I've heard a thousand times and often found quite relevant. Intelligent and honest people can be looking at the same question, but through different lenses, and thus see different things. Sadly, though, in today's culture, rarely can there be a reasonable difference of opinion. Anyone holding an alternative view is seen as stupid, unknowledgeable, dishonest, corrupt, hypocritical, or some combination thereof.

The controversy over the Obama administration's decision to trade five Taliban detainees from the Guantanamo Bay prison for Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl is a good example of how differing perspectives can lead to different reactions. In June 2009, during a combat deployment in the Paktika province of Afghanistan, Bergdahl was either captured by insurgents of the Haqqani network or he slipped away from his combat outpost and unit, possibly turning himself over to the particularly virulent Taliban-affiliate.

Two years ago, our son David, who is now out of the Army, served a six-month deployment during "the surge" as an enlisted man with the 82nd Airborne Division. He faced the same Haqqani network (among other Taliban-related insurgents) as Bergdahl, but in Ghazni, another ...