April 3, 2014, at 8:53 AM

Recently on Political Wire's podcast, we reached out to Jim Galloway of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution for a deep dive into Georgia politics and a look at the U.S. Senate race that may determine which party controls the Senate.

Here are five takeaways for our conversation:

1. Demographic changes are putting Republicans in a difficult spot. Although Georgia has voted Republican in every presidential election since 1996, the state's redness may be changing. Reflecting a trend that's occurring nationally, the Peach State's electorate is becoming less and less white — and less and less conservative — with each election cycle as immigrants ...  More»

April 8, 2014, at 12:17 PM

Sam Youngman, a veteran political reporter for the Lexington Herald-Leader, joined us on Political Wire's podcast for a fascinating look at Kentucky politics, including the Bluegrass State's marquee U.S. Senate race and Sen. Rand Paul's political aspirations.

Here are five takeaways:

1. Kentucky has turned sharply to the right after picking Bill Clinton twice for president. Based on President Obama's approval numbers, you wouldn't know that the Bluegrass State voted for Bill Clinton twice. The state's politics have changed dramatically, and not to Obama's benefit....  More»


In a new episode of Political Wire's podcast, we spoke with Nicholas Burns, a longtime ambassador and now a professor at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, about the Russia-Ukraine crisis and about the role that America should play as a world leader in the era of globalization.

Here are five takeaways:

1. We're not quite back into a Cold War, even if it seems as if we are. The media has continually suggested that America and Russia may have re-entered the Cold War in the wake of the Ukraine crisis. But the U.S. isn't in a protracted state of nuclear tensions with a communist superpower anymore....  More»


Former Missouri Rep. Todd Akin (R-Mo.) still haunts Republicans after his inflammatory remarks about rape during the 2012 election almost certainly cost his party a U.S. Senate seat.

Now another Akin-like character is popping up in Mississippi's U.S. Senate race.

State Sen. Chris McDaniel (R) is challenging Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) in a Republican primary for a seat that embattled Democrats would love to win.

But recently leaked excerpts from a 10-minute clip from a radio show are enough to make any GOP strategist cringe. The recording from late 2006 or early 2007 has McDaniel riffing on topics from slavery reparations to homosexuality to living ...  More»


James Pindell, political director for WMUR-TV, gave us some fascinating insights into New Hampshire on the Political Wire podcast, including a special focus on former Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown's newly announced U.S. Senate campaign in the Granite State.

Here are five takeaways from the conversation:

1. Scott Brown's candidacy shouldn't have even happened. When Brown dropped hints late last year that he wouldn't rule out a Senate run in New Hampshire, it was entirely possible that he wasn't seriously considering it. "Republicans already had a whole host of candidates by the time he announced that," Pindell said....  More»


Recently on Political Wire's podcast, we brought on Lynn Bartels, a longtime political reporter for the Denver Post, for a fascinating discussion about Colorado politics and the state's all-important Senate and gubernatorial races.

Here are four takeaways.

1. Democrats are scared about Cory Gardner's Senate candidacy, but not just because he could win the race. This Colorado Republican, who previously said he would stay in the House, shocked the political world when he decided to run for the Senate against incumbent Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.) after all....  More»


This past week on Political Wire's podcast, we spoke to Democratic Pollster of the Year Anna Greenberg, of the Democratic-aligned firm Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research, about social media's influence on public opinion and the important issues and political dynamics at play in the 2014 midterms.

Here are five takeaways from the conversation:

1. Public opinion doesn't only mean phone surveys anymore; social media qualifies, too. Greenberg drew an analogy between the expression of political opinions on social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook today and the forwarding of emails from MoveOn....  More»


After it was announced last week that more than eight million people have used ObamaCare's online marketplaces to enroll in health insurance, Democrats face a big choice ahead of the midterm elections: Do they stop talking about ObamaCare with the hope that Republicans stop bashing the law? Or do they finally embrace the law and tout its benefits?

President Obama made his preferences clear at a press conference last week: "I don't think we should apologize for it, and I don't think we should be defensive about it. I think there is a strong, good, right story to tell....  More»

April 23, 2014, at 9:46 AM

A new set of polls from the New York Times and Kaiser Family Foundation have political observers buzzing this morning because they show Democrats still have a fighting chance in four key Southern Senate races.

Arkansas: Sen. Mark Pryor (D) 46 percent, Tom Cotton (R) 36 percent

Kentucky: Sen. Mitch McConnell (R) 44 percent, Alison Lundergran Grimes (D) 43 percent

Louisiana: Sen. Mary Landrieu (D) 42 percent, Bill Cassidy (R) 18 percent

North Carolina: Sen. Kay Hagan (D) 42 percent, Thom Tillis (R) 40 percent

These results are a big deal because the battle for control of the Senate will almost certainly be decided by these races....  More»


On the Political Wire podcast, we spoke to Skip Rutherford, dean of the Clinton School of Public Service, about Arkansas' unique politics and how they could impact the state's marquee U.S. Senate and gubernatorial races.

Here are five takeaways from the discussion:

1. Sen. Mark Pryor (D) isn't in as much trouble as former Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D) was in 2010. Conventional wisdom holds that Pryor is highly vulnerable because he represents a red state in a low-turnout year that's expected to have a GOP-favorable electorate. The race has drawn some comparison to the 2010 race in which now-Sen....  More»


Republicans have spent much of the last few years fighting Democratic charges that they're a party not very friendly to women. Unfortunate comments about rape and birth control from male candidates have cost them seats and turned many women against the party.

But while the GOP has had mixed success limiting those types of remarks from their candidates, the party made some notable progress over the weekend by nominating two women who could quickly rise to national prominence.

In Utah, Mia Love (R) was the overwhelming favorite of the GOP convention to run for the seat held by retiring Rep....  More»


After more than 50 failed attempts at repealing the Affordable Care Act, it seems Republicans are quietly changing their message on President Obama's signature health care law.

Rep. Cathy McMorris-Rodgers (R-Wash.), one of the GOP leaders of the multi-year repeal effort, told the Spokane Spokesman-Review over the weekend that it's unlikely the health care law will be repealed now that more than 600,000 Washington residents have signed up for health care insurance on the state exchange.

She added: "We need to look at reforming the exchanges."

Meanwhile, The Hill notes that Sen....  More»


The new ABC News/Washington Post poll is filled with very bad news for Democrats.

Here are three big warning signs:

1. By a 53 percent to 39 percent margin, voters say they'd rather see Republicans in control of Congress to provide a counterbalance to President Obama's policies.

2. Republicans now hold a 5-point lead over Democrats in the generic congressional ballot among those who say they will definitely vote in the midterm elections.

3. President Obama's job approval rating has sunk to 41 percent, the lowest of his presidency.

These findings suggests Republicans are on their way to expanding the Senate map....  More»

April 29, 2014, at 11:39 AM

It's hard to find many people enthusiastic about voting these days, but a new poll shows a big majority of young people have no interest at all.

A new Harvard Institute of Politics survey finds the percentage of young people who are likely to vote in the midterm elections "is shrinking relative to the last time we asked the question five months ago, and also compared to four years ago at this time."

Just 24 percent of Americans under the age of 30 say that they will "definitely be voting" in the upcoming midterm elections — a sharp decrease of 10 percentage points since a similar survey conducted last November....  More»


There is so much outside money flowing into political campaigns this year that individual candidates are no longer controlling the agenda of the races.

In fact, the candidates themselves may not even matter.

The Wesleyan Media Project finds that advertising in Senate races is off to an early start with $43.1 million spent on 109,701 advertisements. This is a 45 percent increase over the spending just two years ago. But the most striking finding is that outside groups are responsible for 59 percent of these political ads.

In addition, over half of the TV spots put up by outside groups are funded by so-called "dark money" groups, which are not required ...  More»


Recently on Political Wire's podcast, we spoke to Rob Christensen, a political writer with the Raleigh News & Observer who is often called the "dean of North Carolina politics," for an in-depth look at Tar Heel State politics and the state's key U.S. Senate race.

Here are five takeaways:

1. Sen. Kay Hagan (D-N.C.) is highly vulnerable. The Tar Heel State may be purpling with every election cycle, but Hagan has a number of factors working against her in her re-election bid. For starters, she was elected in 2008 during a Democratic wave year with the help of miscues by her opponent, former Sen....  More»


Recently on Political Wire's podcast, we spoke about Hillary Clinton's 2016 presidential hopes and the 2014 midterm campaigns with Geoff Garin, a longtime Democratic pollster who worked for Clinton's campaign in 2008.

Here are four takeaways from the conversation:

1. Were she to run, Hillary Clinton shouldn't have the same inevitability problem that plagued her in 2008. She was widely seen as the inevitable Democratic presidential nominee in 2008, and that perception seemed to produce some complacency within her campaign and contribute to her eventual loss to Barack Obama....  More»

May 5, 2014, at 7:05 AM

Last week on Political Wire's podcast, we brought on John Maginnis, founder of, to discuss the fascinating world of Louisiana politics, especially as it pertains to the 2014 and 2016 elections.

Here are five takeaways from the conversation:

1. Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) is in real danger but may be buoyed by some recently acquired senatorial clout. Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) is a top GOP target this cycle as the Republicans seek to regain control of the Senate in November. Although she is known for bucking President Obama on key issues, particularly pertaining to energy policy, her vote for ObamaCare won't help her in November....  More»


The new USA Today/Pew Research poll out this morning is terrible news for Democrats and shows a possible wave forming that Republican candidates may be able to ride to majorities in both houses of Congress on Election Day.

The GOP's four-point lead in the generic ballot among registered voters, 47 percent to 43 percent, "shows the strongest tilt to Republican candidates at this point in a midterm year in at least two decades, including before partisan 'waves' in 1994 and 2010 that swept the GOP into power," USA Today reports.

In addition, by a margin of more than two to one, Americans say they are dissatisfied with the direction of the country....  More»


The GOP establishment won the first round of a series of primaries this month that could set the party up to retake control of the U.S. Senate in the midterm elections.

The victory by Thom Tillis (R) in North Carolina's Republican Senate primary — and several closely watched lower profile wins for the establishment in House races — allowed Republican insiders to breath a sigh of relief that they might not put up unelectable candidates in the fall like they did in 2010 and 2012.

Rob Christensen of the News & Observer noted that it "was a good election for the big boys in Washington, for deep pockets and for party connections....  More»


A surprise essay by Monica Lewinsky in Vanity Fair previewed yesterday on the magazine's website instantly raised questions about whether the re-emergence of the former White House intern would hurt Hillary Clinton's chances to win the presidency by reigniting the scandal that led to Bill Clinton's impeachment.

Lewinsky said she's tired of being quiet and has had enough of "tiptoeing around my past — and other people's futures."

She adds: "I've decided, finally, to stick my head above the parapet so that I can take back my narrative and give a purpose to my past … It's time to burn the beret and bury the blue dress....  More»


After pounding Democrats on ObamaCare for the last several years, Republicans have a big problem. The law is working and their message is falling flat.

This was confirmed again by testimony before the House Energy and Commerce Committee yesterday in which health-care-industry executives surprised Republican lawmakers. They said the law has not led to a government takeover of the industry, that most enrollees are paying their premiums as required, and that premiums are not certain to go up next year as Republicans claim.

With more than 8 million people enrolled in health plans through the ObamaCare exchanges, many Republicans know it's much harder...  More»


Recently on Political Wire's podcast, we spoke to Elizabeth Wilner of Kantar Media's Campaign Media Analysis Group on the flood of political advertisements that are already hitting the TV airwaves.

Here are five takeaways from the conversation:

1. Political advertising has increased and has started much earlier in the campaign season the past few cycles. In the past three election cycles, it seems as though the political advertising wave has begun earlier and earlier, and with far greater volumes of advertisements and expenditures. "Only going back to 2010 have we seen these volumes of advertising and amounts of money [spent]," Wilner said....  More»


A new NBC-Marist poll in Kentucky shows Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) barely leading challenger Alison Lundergran Grimes (D) in their closely-watched U.S. Senate race, 46 percent to 45 percent.

But the more important numbers in the survey are about ObamaCare.

The poll finds that registered voters dislike ObamaCare by a wide margin, 57 percent to 33 percent. No surprise, right?

However, when voters were asked to give their impression of "Kynect," the state exchange created as a result of the health care law, the findings were very different with a plurality in favor, 29 percent to 22 percent....  More»


Recently on Political Wire's podcast, we spoke to Tampa Bay Times writer Adam Smith, one of the nation's top political reporters, on Florida's gubernatorial contest and the presidential aspirations of two of the state's most prominent GOP politicians.

Here are five takeaways from the conversation:

1. Charlie Crist (D) is seen as an opportunist for switching parties. But that may not actually hurt him. At one point Crist was a popular Republican governor in the Sunshine State, and many political observers suggested that he was vice presidential material in 2008, if not a future presidential contender....  More»

May 18, 2014, at 5:05 PM

On Political Wire's podcast, we recently spoke to Kay Henderson, news director for Radio Iowa, about the state's fascinating politics, its marquee U.S. Senate race, and the actions that 2016 presidential hopefuls are already taking there.

Here are five takeaways:

1. Rep. Bruce Braley (D-Iowa) is the favorite to succeed Sen. Tom Harkin (D), but two things could hurt his chances. Harkin, the Hawkeye State's longtime junior senator, surprised many Democrats when he decided to retire from the Senate. Braley, who soon afterward declared his candidacy, embraced the mantle of the progressive heir apparent to Harkin....  More»

May 18, 2014, at 7:10 PM

In a new episode of Political Wire's podcast, we had a fascinating discussion on the big-time politics of a big state — Texas — with Wayne Slater, senior political writer for the Dallas Morning News. Slater updated us on the Lone Star State's gubernatorial race and the potential presidential aspirations of several political figures associated with Texas.

Here are five takeaways from the conversation:

1. In the governor's race, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott (R) looks tough for Democrats to beat. Wendy Davis, the Democratic state senator from Fort Worth, became a national political figure almost overnight thanks to her efforts to oppose ...  More»


When is the last time you saw a politician tout his or her background as a lawyer in a campaign ad?

After all, a recent Gallup poll found that just 20 percent of Americans thought lawyers were honest or had high ethical standards.

But that’s exactly what Iowa U.S. Senate candidate Bruce Braley (D) does in his latest television spot.

Says Braley: "Equal justice under the law is what this country is built upon, is one of the things that motivated me to want to become a lawyer, and fight for people."

He adds: "You have to get to know people to be an effective voice for what they care about....  More»

May 28, 2014, at 11:39 AM

As Hillary Clinton mulls another run for president in 2016 and gears up for a national book tour next month, a new Washington Post-ABC News poll shows what a dominant political figure she's become.

An astonishing 55 percent of survey respondents — a clear majority — say they support Clinton making a White House bid. That's remarkable considering our fiercely polarized politics.

Though a formal announcement and the scrutiny that comes with it will almost certainly bring down her numbers, Clinton starts off with a commanding head start.

It's no wonder no Democrats have stepped up to challenge her in a possible Democratic primary....  More»


Recently on Political Wire's podcast, we spoke to Susan Demas of Inside Michigan Politics about some of her state's key races in 2014, including its marquee U.S. Senate and gubernatorial elections.

Here are five takeaways:

1. In the U.S. Senate race, both major parties' candidates have institutional advantages. Democrats have a solid, if uncharismatic, candidate in Rep. Gary Peters (D), a one-time investment banker who represents a district in the Detroit area. "I think that Gary Peters has the institutional advantage because Michigan has gone blue in federal elections pretty consistently for a couple decades," Demas said....  More»

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