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Congress enters uncharted territory
Plus: Catalist's 2022 constituency reports, who RFK Jr. really helps and hurts, how Poland's pre-WWI boundaries matter today, and the best poll for Biden in a while
No. 289 | October 20, 2023
“The ongoing strife within the Republican conference has many origins. Unlike McCarthy, Jordan’s views sit well to the right of those of the average House Republican, which complicated his efforts to consolidate support. More broadly, Republicans hold only a narrow majority, which means any intraparty disagreement is magnified because a few holdouts can easily grind things to a halt. These circumstances combined with larger forces that have in recent years affected party unity in Congress to produce paralysis.
We saw how this worked in January, when a group of anti-establishment conservatives nearly halted McCarthy’s election. Then this week, Jordan faced a total number of holdouts — around 20 on each of two ballots — similar in size to the group who voted against McCarthy. And while the proposal to empower McHenry may happen, the same forces that hindered speaker elections could also impede Republicans looking to McHenry as an off-ramp (or looking to elect any other speaker, for that matter).”
Nate Cohn: The New Republican Establishment (New York Times)
“In the final account, the rise and fall of Kevin McCarthy might read like the familiar tale of a Republican congressional leader toppled by a small but uncompromising right-wing faction.
But even if the story ultimately ends like any other Republican congressional drama in Washington over the last decade, something different and important has already happened: The right wing didn’t just bring down a House speaker — its members also made a credible bid at claiming the gavel for themselves.”
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“My simple takeaway is: We’re not going back.
So we need to ask: where do we want to head now?
If we are deliberate, we have possibilities. If we are not deliberate, the sea of dragons may chew us into pieces.
So come aboard. We’re going on a data journey.”
“The following What Happened reports focus on how specific constituency groups voted in 2022 from the perspective of the Catalist voter database, the longest-running outside the two major political parties. The main purpose of these constituency reports — which focus on Black, Latino, AAPI, youth and women voters — is to inform the work political campaigns and voter registration and mobilization groups do to make the electorate more representative of the country as a whole.
As with Catalist’s 2022 What Happened report, these reports focus on the national House vote, different voting patterns in states with highly contested versus less contested statewide elections, and state-level performance. We also explore registration, primary voting, and ongoing shifts in which methods people use to vote. “
@patrickruffini: Lefty data firm Catalist numbers show a small but important weakening in Dem Black support outside the South (NH-SEN is lol). Confirms the Lake boomlet in AZ seen in the exits and weak numbers in NV, OH, and WI. PA and MI should have been stronger given GOP candidate quality. (X)
“‘Voters should not be deceived by anyone who pretends to have conservative values,’ a spokesperson for former President Donald Trump said of Kennedy. And a co-founder of the center-left group Third Way similarly expressed concern about the third-party bid, telling the Wall Street Journal, ‘Our take on it is that anything that divides the anti-Trump coalition is bad.’
Both sides have valid reasons for concern; there's some evidence to suggest that Kennedy would take more votes away from the Democratic presidential nominee, and some evidence to suggest that he might take more votes away from the Republican nominee. But at the end of the day, his impact on the presidential race is probably being overstated. Third-party candidates rarely win a significant share of the vote, and the election would have to be extremely close for Kennedy's presence to change who actually wins.”
📊 Public Opinion
Center for Politics Study: Partisan Desires Override Support for Constitutional Freedoms and American Values (UVA Center for Politics)
“Those who intended to support one candidate expressed a great deal of suspicion toward supporters of the other side, expressed in roughly even proportions among both Trump and Biden voters:
— A staggering majority of both Biden (70%) and Trump (68%) voters believed electing officials from the opposite party would result in lasting harm to the United States.
— Roughly half (52% Biden voters, 47% Trump voters) viewed those who supported the other party as threats to the American way of life.
— About 40% of both groups (41% Biden voters, 38% Trump voters) at least somewhat believed that the other side had become so extreme that it is acceptable to use violence to prevent them from achieving their goals.”
“In an era where every click, tap or keystroke leaves a digital trail, Americans remain uneasy and uncertain about their personal data and feel they have little control over how it’s used.
This wariness is even ticking up in some areas like government data collection, according to a new Pew Research Center survey of U.S. adults conducted May 15-21, 2023.”
“Roughly 115 million people watched the Super Bowl in 2023, making it the most widely viewed U.S.-based telecast in history. Large numbers of Americans also watch or attend college sports. In August, for example, more than 92,000 people attended an outdoor women’s volleyball match in Nebraska – breaking the attendance record for any women’s sporting event in the United States.
Yet for all the fanfare surrounding professional and college sports, most Americans do not closely follow or often talk about them, according to a new Pew Research Center survey.
About six-in-ten Americans (62%) say they follow professional or college sports not too or not at all closely. Another 21% say they follow sports somewhat closely, while just 16% follow them extremely or very closely, according to the August survey of 11,945 U.S. adults.”