Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Are Deep Red Bastions Of Reactionary Politics Like Arizona And Tennessee Really In Play For November?


McCain won his home state with 54%, not one of his best showings. Obama didn't make a serious effort there either. Obama didn't make a serious effort in Tennessee either and McCain beat him with 57%-- 1,479,178 to 1,087,437. There are much redder Republican states, like Alabama (61% McCain), Idaho (61% McCain), Wyoming (65% McCain), Oklahoma (66% McCain) and Utah (63%). And there are states where Romney won't be wasting any resources this year- states like New York (63% Obama), California (61% Obama), Hawaii (72% Obama), Massachusetts (62% Obama), Vermont (68% Obama)... not to mention the District of Columbia, where Obama crushed McCain 93-7%.

Indiana, which Obama won in 2008, is probably out of reach this time, but many of the states with the really extremist state legislatures might not be. Buyers' remorse after two years of deranged ideological insanity from Republicans in state capitols from Maine and New Hampshire to Tennessee and Arizona are helping Democrats up and down the ticket. Republicans are looking at wipeouts in Maine and New Hampshire this year, where they had big victories in 2010. They are expected two lose both House seats in New Hampshire as well as the state legislature and both the state legislature and an open Senate seat in Maine. Teabagger craziness worked in 2010; it looks like it won't in 2012. In fact, Republicans are so terrified that Obama voters could punish right-wing extremism in Arizona by awarding the state's electoral votes to Obama that there is serious talk by the lunatic fringe Republican secretary of state, Ken Bennett, about keeping him off the ballot there! That may help Bennett's gubernatorial prospects in the GOP primary in 2014 but it's making Arizona voters reassess the value of supporting an organization as deranged as the Republican Party. According to a new poll in Tennessee, there's a similar dynamic going on in that state as well.
President Barack Obama has pulled into a virtual tie with presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney in traditionally conservative Tennessee, according to a new Vanderbilt University poll.

The poll also found that Tennesseans weren’t thrilled with the Republican-led General Assembly’s frequent focus on social, cultural and religious issues this year.

...“Tennessee is clearly a red state,” said John Geer, a professor of political science at Vanderbilt. “But these data show that the public is much more moderate than our state legislature.”

The poll of 1,002 Tennessee residents who are 18 and older found 42 percent would vote for Romney and 41 percent for Obama if the election were held now.

...Bill Freeman, a top fundraiser for Obama in Tennessee, said the overall poll result reflects a “tightening” the president’s campaign had already noticed.

“We’ve been tracking it for some time,” Freeman said Thursday. “We’ve watched it go from a solid-Republican (state) to a leaning-Republican to, we believe, a toss-up state now. We think we’re just a point or two behind and that winning Tennessee is in our grasp."

...[T]he poll found Tennesseans weren’t as happy with the General Assembly’s focus on certain issues as many legislators seemed to believe.

Just 15 percent said lawmakers “spent the appropriate amount of time addressing social, cultural or religious issues” during this year’s session, and 22 percent said they didn’t spend enough time on them. A larger number, 42 percent, said lawmakers spent too much time on such matters.

Some of the General Assembly’s forays into issues such as “gateway sexual activity,” debating evolution in classrooms and permitting the carrying of guns into business parking lots have given Tennessee “a black eye nationally,” Geer said.

Just 22 percent of the people surveyed said it was more important to protect the rights of handgun owners to carry their weapons into any commercial establishment than it was to protect the rights of business owners to set their own rules. More than 7 in 10 said the opposite.

“The public is not wild about this stuff,” said Geer, co-director of the poll, which was sponsored by Vanderbilt’s Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions. “When you aggregate opinion in the state, it’s more moderate than the aggregate behavior of state legislators. On certain issues, like guns in parking lots, they were way out of step.”

And that, of course, brings up swing states with the same kind of deranged right-wing state legislatures-- especially Wisconsin, Ohio, Florida, North Carolina, Virginia. Did Virginia Republicans' obsession with forced vaginal probes this year guarantee Obama a victory in that state? Did the Wisconsin state government's wildly unpopular move against working families and towards unpopular and failed German-style Austerity hand that state to Obama on a silver platter?

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