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Archive for October, 2012

What’s on the Ballot?

October 16th, 2012

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Voting via Flickr

The Presidential & Congressional elections are not the only important votes on the November 2012 ballot. Several states will also ask voters to weigh in on key ballot initiatives that could have national implications. We’ve put together a guide to some of the most important initiatives and referenda below. We’ll update this cheat sheet after the election so that you can see how they fared with voters in their states!

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Battle for the Senate: North Dakota

October 15th, 2012

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North Dakota’s Senate race is shaping up to be a surprising toss-up in 2012. The most recent poll from Mason-Dixon (October 3–5) has the race tied at 47% apiece, with former North Dakota Attorney General Heidi Heitkamp (D) and her opponent, U.S. Rep. Rick Berg (R), both well-known and evenly matched in the state. In order to clinch a victory in this often red state, Heitkamp will need to dominate among moderate voters—who compose about half of North Dakota’s electorate. If Heitkamp can use the two upcoming debates to appeal to those moderates (one today and the other on October 25th), she may be able to pull the 65% of moderates we predict she’ll need to win in November. By contrast, because the number of conservatives far exceeds the number of liberals in the state, Berg may be able to declare victory if he can peel off just 36% of moderate voters.

In a recent poll, both had favorable name recognition among North Dakotans, with few people unfamiliar with the candidates.

Statewide Name Recognition

Recognize Favorable Recognize Unfavorable Recognize Neutral Don’t Recognize
Heitkamp 46% 35% 18% 1%
Rep. Berg 42% 37% 20% 1%

 

In May Third Way released a report highlighting the importance of moderates in the 2012 Senate Battlegrounds races. Throughout October, we will assess how well the candidates are doing in appealing to this crucial group in the middle. Below, we take a look at Nevada and the Senate race between Heidi Heitkamp (D) and Rep.Rick Berg (R).

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Battle for the Senate: Nevada

October 11th, 2012

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Moderates aren’t sold on either candidate seeking Nevada’s Senate seat in November. They disapprove of Senator Dean Heller’s job performance by 8 points (37% approve to 45% disapprove), and they have an unfavorable view of Representative Shelley Berkley (45% favorable to 47% unfavorable).

Heller and Berkley square-off in Las Vegas for their second debate and while scoring points with their respective bases might be tempting, to win in November, Heller and Berkley need the support of Nevada’s largest ideological bloc of voters: moderates. Third Way predicts that if Heller garners 40% of the moderate vote, he’ll win in November. But if Berkley earns the support of 61% of Nevada’s moderate voters, then she’ll be Nevada’s next Senator.

In May Third Way released a report highlighting the importance of moderates in the 2012 Senate Battlegrounds races. Throughout October, we will assess how well the candidates are doing in appealing to this crucial group in the middle. Below, we take a look at Nevada and the Senate race between Rep. Shelley Berkley (D) and Sen. Dean Heller (R).

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Battle for the Senate: Massachusetts

October 10th, 2012

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Who will moderates pick come November? Tonight is the third of four debates between Massachusetts Senate candidates Sen. Scott Brown (R) and Elizabeth Warren (D) and the battle for the Senate in Massachusetts is likely to be close. If Elizabeth Warren can maintain support from 43% or more of Massachusetts’ moderate voters, she will likely win in November. But if Sen. Scott Brown can garner more than half of the moderates, he’ll retain his seat for a full term.

In May we released a report highlighting the importance of moderates in the 2012 Senate Battlegrounds races. Throughout October, we will assess how well the candidates are doing in appealing to this crucial group in the middle. First up, Massachusetts.

Despite being hailed as one of the most liberal states in the nation, Massachusetts is dominated by moderates. Over the past decade, more voters have identified as moderates—ranging from a high of 50% in 2006 to a low of 40% in 2000—than liberals or conservatives.[*] Liberals have never composed the majority of the electorate in Massachusetts; however, compared to most statewide electorates, liberals consistently outnumber conservatives.

Composition of the electorate

  Liberal Moderate Conservative
2000 36% 40% 24%
2004 34% 45% 21%
2006 27% 50% 23%
2008 32% 46% 21%
Average 32.25% 45.25% 22.25%

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Absolutely. Absolutely wrong.

October 4th, 2012

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While Big Bird slept peacefully in his nest, 50 million viewers turned to the first presidential debate hoping for some clarity in the decision looming on November 6th. Between anniversary wishes and tax accusations, there was a serious moment of clarity that can be summed up in one word: “Absolutely.”

LEHRER: About the idea that in order to reduce the deficit, there has to be revenue in addition to cuts.

OBAMA: There has to be revenue in addition to cuts. Now, Governor Romney has ruled out revenue. He’s ruled out revenue.

ROMNEY: Absolutely. Look, the revenue I get is by more people working, getting higher pay, paying more taxes. That’s how we get growth and how we balance the budget. But the idea of taxing people more, putting more people out of work, you’ll never get there. You’ll never balance the budget by raising taxes.

So what does this mean? Romney confirmed—he “absolutely” confirmed—that he has completely embraced the far right of the Republican Party, which argues that the way to put our country on sound fiscal footing is to simply slash the federal government.

While “absolutely” might make for a good sound bite, the truth of the matter is that these types of ideological talking points are the major obstacle to getting a balanced deal to avoid the fiscal cliff and reign in our nation’s deficit. This absolute ideology is what sank the big and balanced deal to reduce the deficit that President Obama nearly reached with Speaker Boehner in 2011.

But we actually ran the numbers…and Mitt Romney’s math doesn’t add up. In our recent analysis, we ran three scenarios—all of which rely solely on spending cuts and no new taxes—to bring deficits to a sustainable level.

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Smith and Gerwin: The Math of Exporting to Asia-Pacific Region

October 4th, 2012

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By: Rep. Adam Smith and Ed Gerwin

This piece was originally featured on Roll Call.

At the Democratic National Convention, President Bill Clinton reminded America that sound economic policy is often a matter of straightforward arithmetic.

One area where the economic equation can add up nicely for the United States is increased export trade, especially expanded exports of “Made in America” products to the rapidly growing markets of the Asia-Pacific region.

Let’s look at some numbers. Read the rest of this entry »