Trans-Pacific Speculation

A look inside the Trans-Pacific Partnership. CONT.

Brian McFadden, The Strip, New York Times

Brian McFadden (NYT)

Brian McFadden (NYT)

Inside the whimsical but surprisingly dark world of Rube Goldberg machines

… Made famous by 20th century cartoonist and erstwhile engineer Rube Goldberg, the machines that carry his name accomplish mundane tasks in over-elaborate ways — ideally with a sense of humor. Every year, Rube Goldberg Inc., the company established by Goldberg’s son, hosts nationwide competitions at middle school, high school, and collegiate levels with new challenges. This year’s task: erase a chalkboard. CONT.

Brendan O’Connor, The Verge

Same-sex marriage debate forces GOP contenders to tread carefully

Republican presidential hopefuls are struggling with how to position themselves on same-sex marriage, an issue that is bedeviling a party hoping to avoid social controversies as the 2016 election approaches.

Rapidly changing public opinion has forced much of the field to recalibrate their pitches. Early front-runners have sought balance between the GOP base and the broader electorate — saying that they have no problem with gay people but oppose a national right to gay marriage and favor strong legal protections for business owners who do not want to serve same-sex ceremonies. CONT.

Sandhya Somashekhar & Robert Costa, Washington Post

Recent polls: Same-sex marriage

Majority oppose ‘religious freedom’ laws that could discriminate

Nearly 6 in 10 Americans say that businesses that provide wedding-related services should be required to provide those services to same-sex couples in the same way they would all other customers, even if they have religious objections. …

In the CNN/ORC Poll, most Democrats (70%) and independents (60%) say wedding-related businesses should be required to provide services to same-sex couples as they would different-sex couples, while Republicans break broadly the other way, 67% say religious reasons are a valid justification for refusing service. CONT.

Jennifer Agiesta, CNN

Recent polls: Same-sex marriage

CNN150424

Marco Rubio Is A Strong Candidate — Despite His Polling Surge

Marco Rubio is surging!

For the first time since the 2014 midterm elections, Rubio is leading the 2016 GOP field, according to polls by Fox News and Quinnipiac University. Rubio is a serious contender for the Republican nomination, but he is only the latest candidate to receive a polling boost from a burst of favorable press. And he likely won’t be the last. CONT.

Harry Enten, FiveThirtyEight

Recent polls: Republican presidential preference

Confidence in Obama’s Economic Decisions Rises

Half of U.S. adults say they have “a great deal” or “a fair amount” of confidence in President Barack Obama “to do or to recommend the right thing for the economy,” a significant rebound from last year’s record-low 42%. Moreover, Obama continues to be the most trusted economic actor in Washington among several federal policymakers, including the Democratic leaders in Congress (44%), Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen (42%) and the Republican leaders in Congress (38%). CONT.

Andrew Dugan, Gallup

Would a Hillary Clinton Victory Map Look More Like 1996 or 2012?

As Hillary Clinton begins her 2016 campaign, one of the big questions around her is the size and shape of her base. If she makes it to the general election, how will her supporters compare with those of President Barack Obama or her husband, former President Bill Clinton? CONT.

Dante Chinni (American U.), Wall Street Journal

Most want Cuba off terror list

Only a quarter of Americans say they see Cuba as a serious threat to the United States, and most approve of the Obama administration’s decision to remove Cuba from the government’s list of state sponsors of terror. CONT.

Jennifer Agiesta, CNN

How the Public Views the ACA Now

It’s hard to argue that the Affordable Care Act of 2010 did not have a profound impact on the two most recent midterm elections. The legislation helped spawn the tea-party movement and give the Republican Party momentum, enabling the GOP to win majorities in the House in 2010 and in the Senate last year. Now, with the U.S. Supreme Court scheduled to rule on the constitutionality of a key provision of the law sometime during the next two months, a look at current attitudes toward the ACA, and how the trajectory of public opinion on the law might be affected by the Court’s decision, seems in order. CONT.

Charlie Cook

Recent polls: Affordable Care Act

An Estimated 780,000 Americans in Same-Sex Marriages

Approximately 0.3% of adults in the U.S. are married to a same-sex spouse, and another 0.5% identify as being in a same-sex domestic partnership. In examining the total population of 243 million U.S. adults, these survey estimates suggest nearly 2 million adults are part of a same-sex couple, of whom 780,000 are married. CONT.

Gary J. Gates & Frank Newport, Gallup