Cuban-Americans split on Obama’s Cuba policy

Cuban-Americans nationwide are almost evenly divided over support for the embargo and for President Obama’s effort to normalize relations with Cuba, according to a new poll that shows a vast generational divide in reaction to this week’s historic announcement. CONT.

Marc Caputo & Joey Flechas, Miami Herald

Why white evangelicals rule the midterms

… Many outsiders assume that evangelical mobilization is a rather top-down affair: pastors and national elites tell evangelicals to get out and vote for conservatives. But I discovered that a much broader set of volunteer or “lay” religious leaders play a key role in weaving politics into local religious life. The Sunday School teacher who makes off-handed derogatory remarks about “liberals.” The small group host with the portrait of George W. Bush on her fridge. The pro-life friend at church who reminds you to get out and vote this November—and to remember that the Democrats are for abortion, Republicans are for life.

These local opinion leaders translate national conservative messages into the everyday social worlds of evangelical churches. I call them “captains” in the Culture War, because they are embedded in the everyday lives of their followers. CONT.

Lydia Bean (PICO National Network), The Monkey Cage

The decline of the Cuban American hard-liners

President Obama’s announcement Wednesday of steps to reestablish diplomatic relations and liberalize economic ties with Cuba signals the continued decline of a once politically formidable bloc: Cuban American hard-liners. The product of demographic and opinion trends that have been building for over two decades, these policy changes became timely following the results of the recent congressional elections. CONT.

Ben Bishin (UC Riverside), The Monkey Cage

Jeb Bush Might Have A Tea Party Problem In 2016

… What’s the tea party’s problem with Bush? He’s staked out relatively liberal positions on the Common Core education standards and immigration reform, which leaders of the tea party movement deeply despise. More generally, tea party voters prefer outsiders, and Bush is about as insider-y as it gets, with a brother and father having occupied the Oval Office. CONT.

Harry Enten, FiveThirtyEight

40 Interesting Facts about the 2014 Election

The votes have been tallied and all recounts completed. Congress even managed to adjourn sine die. That means it really is time to close the books on the 2014 election cycle. It also means that we are going to take some time off to recharge for the 2016 election. We’ll be back the week of January 12, 2015. In the meantime, here are 40 interesting facts about the 2014 election to hold you over while we are away. CONT.

Cook Political Report

Satisfaction With Direction of U.S. Continues to Languish

In 2014, an average of 23% of Americans said they were satisfied with the way things were going in the U.S., similar to their views in recent years but on the lower end of what Gallup has measured since 1979. CONT.

Jeffrey M. Jones, Gallup

As a Major U.S. Problem, Race Relations Sharply Rises

The percentage of Americans naming “race relations” or “racism” as the most important problem in the U.S. has climbed dramatically to 13%, the highest figure Gallup has recorded since a finding of 15% in 1992, in the midst of the Rodney King verdict. In November, race relations/racism was cited by 1% of the public as the most important problem. CONT.

Justin McCarthy, Gallup

2014 Post-Election Analysis

On Election Day of 2014, Republicans won a big victory. And it really was a “Wave” victory, bigger than 2010 in a lot of important ways despite the fact that you’d never know it listening to the mainstream media.

Just because it was more or less expected doesn’t make it less of a major thrashing than 2010 was.

One of the reasons it was so big and so important is that the GOP didn’t win the same way everywhere. In 2010 the pattern was pretty consistent across the country.

In 2014 Republicans again won big, but it’s a little more complicated how. And that’s important as we look toward 2016 and beyond. CONT.

WPA Opinion Research

As U.S. Energy Production Grows, Public Policy Views Show Little Change

The public is gradually becoming aware of America’s energy boom. Currently, 54% say domestic energy production has been increasing in recent years, up from 48% in September 2013. Meanwhile, the recent slide in gas prices is registering widely: An overwhelming 89% say that that pump prices have fallen in the past month.

Despite the growth of domestic energy production, public attitudes about energy policies have changed only modestly in recent years. In broad terms, developing alternative energy is viewed as a more important priority than expanding the exploration and production of oil, coal and natural gas. CONT.

Pew

pew_141218

Do Americans think their health care costs are affordable?

Fifty-two percent of Americans say they find basic medical care affordable, but that’s down from 61 percent last December. Today, for 46 percent of Americans, paying for medical care is a hardship, up 10 points. …

A majority of Americans favor a government-administered health insurance plan like Medicare for everyone, but support drops when asked about a single-payer health insurance system funded by taxpayers. CONT.

CBS News