The GOP’s Political Reconstruction Project

… It’s an undeniable empirical truth that the GOP coalition is shrinking, and it’s shrinking in the aftermath of two fairly decisive defeats, with the latter coming against a president whose policies were judged by many Americans to have been failures. Which means the Republican task isn’t simply to nominate a candidate who can fire up the base; it is to find principled conservative leaders who can win over voters who are not now voting for the GOP at the presidential level. CONT.

Peter Wehner, Commentary

Americans On the Use of Race as a Factor in College Admissions

The Supreme Court on Tuesday upheld the state of Michigan’s ban on considering race as a factor in admissions to the state’s public colleges and universities, government contracting, and public employment. …

This whole area of focus on affirmative action is not only controversial, but also complex and somewhat difficult to measure using public opinion polling. CONT.

Frank Newport, Gallup

Recent polls: Affirmative action

Taxpayers troubled by inequity

It’s a refrain that troubles me: “Nobody likes paying taxes.”

Especially for people like me who never served in the military, taxes are the contribution we make to our country, the dues we pay for membership in the enterprise we call America

Despite my personal misgivings, I’m willing to agree that most people dislike paying taxes. However, the amount they pay is not what Americans disdain most about taxes. CONT.

Mark Mellman (Mellman Group), The Hill

Recent polls: Taxes

In court filing, pollster reveals great detail about Lowden, vulnerabilities, last campaign

Almost exactly four years ago, Sue Lowden’s U.S. Senate campaign was struggling for money. She was still well ahead of her primary opponents, Sharron Angle and Danny Tarkanian, in her own polling. But she was getting pounded on the “Chickens for Checkups” issue by Patriot Majority, a front group for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. Pollster Todd Vitale was urging a TV ad response, and campaign manager Uithoven agreed. …

Vitale would later offer to cut his polling rates, even as Lowden’s numbers began to go south and he began to worry about getting paid. And it turns out he was right to worry, as he has alleged in court that Lowden still owes him $77,000, part of $600,000-plus is unpaid obligations she has reported to the FEC yet again this week.

In a court filing two weeks ago to buttress his claim, Vitale submitted 150 pages of documents that seem like potential harbingers of the current GOP primary for lieutenant governor and tear back the curtain for a rare, granular peek inside a campaign, and a disintegrating one at that. CONT.

Jon Ralston, Ralston Reports

Retirement Remains Americans’ Top Financial Worry

A firm majority of Americans, 59%, are worried about not having enough money for retirement, surpassing eight other financial matters. A majority of Americans have reported being “very” or “moderately” worried about retirement savings every year since 2001, illustrating that saving for retirement disquiets Americans in both good and bad economic times. CONT.

Andrew Dugan, Gallup

Answers on Affirmative Action Depend on How You Pose the Question

Polling about affirmative action and racial issues is inherently difficult, and responses differ rather widely based on question wording.

As a result, both sides in the debate are able to promote poll numbers that suggest a majority of Americans agrees with them. In the wake of Tuesday’s Supreme Court decision to uphold Michigan’s ban on racial preferences in admissions to state universities, we’re likely to see more discussion of such polls — as well as more polls in coming weeks. CONT.

Allison Kopicki, The Upshot

Recent polls: Affirmative action

Obama’s Foreign Policy Impacts 2014 Elections — Really

No, I am not going to try to make the case that foreign policy will be at the forefront of this year’s elections, or that international issues are a high priority for most Americans. They aren’t.

But foreign policy could have an indirect yet significant impact on the midterm elections, making the issue more relevant than you otherwise might assume. CONT.

Stu Rothenberg, Roll Call

Recent polls: President Obama and foreign policy

Partisan Loyalty Begins at Age 18

… It turns out that today’s partisan shifts among older voters owe less to President Obama and more to President Dwight D. Eisenhower. …

When voters enter the electorate, still in their adolescence, their attachment to the political parties isn’t especially developed. They are less likely to think of themselves as strong Democrats or Republicans, and also less likely to see the world through that prism. That means that the political conditions at the time are especially important to the youngest voters.

If the president in power is presiding over good times, young voters swing toward that party. As with presidential approval, good times are usually defined in terms of bread and peace: How is the economy? And if a war is being fought, how is it going? If those yardsticks suggest times are bad, a president is likely to be perceived as unsuccessful and to cost his party support.

But what’s more unexpected is that voters stay with the party they identify with at age 18, developing an attachment that is likely to persist — and to shape how they see politics down the road. CONT.

Dan Hopkins (Georgetown), FiveThirtyEight

Economic Confidence Stable at -15

Gallup’s Economic Confidence Index averaged -15 for the week ending April 20. This is consistent with the previous three weekly readings, which have been either -15 or -16. But it is higher than the -20 recorded in early March, the low point so far for 2014. CONT.

Justin McCarthy, Gallup

The Myth of Swing Voters in Midterm Elections

If you want to understand the 2014 midterm elections, remember this simple fact about American politics: There just aren’t that many swing voters.

Many people change their minds over the course of a campaign about whether to vote and even which candidate they’re leaning toward. Ultimately, though, voters tend to come home to their favored party. There are relatively few voters who cross back and forth between the parties during a campaign or even between elections. CONT.

Lynn Vavreck (U.C.L.A.), The Upshot