- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 3, 2014

Strategists have pointed out that a Republican candidate’s best friend this fall is Obamacare. Public disapproval of the health care law could be just the helping hand for GOP hopefuls in tight races.

The midterm elections are 214 days off, but favorability polls already consistently reveal that Republicans and Democrats are neck and neck. This week, it’s Quinnipiac University’s turn to reveal all: Their survey of registered voters finds that 45 percent want Republicans to win control of the Senate, 45 percent prefer Democrats. On the House side, its 45 percent and 46 percent, respectively.

Can anything give anyone an edge here? Perhaps. Assistant poll director Tim Malloy points out that 55 percent of voters still disapprove of Obamacare — and a significant 40 percent say they are less likely to vote for a candidate who supports the president’s health care law. Such findings make the Republican Party giddy; vulnerable Democrats “continue to run for cover” the party says, time and again.

“Immigration also is a possible pitfall for candidates, as 39 percent of voters say they are less likely to vote for a candidate who supports a path to citizenship for illegal aliens,” Mr. Malloy said, adding that half of the respondents say they’re more likely to vote for a candidate who supports raising the minimum wage.

“Congressional candidates better watch out for the mines as they step into Obamacare and immigration, but supporting a higher minimum wage looks like an easy issue,” he advised.

BEWARE THE BULLY

And candidates, here’s some actionable intelligence. A new Reason/Rupe poll has these disquieting findings: 75 percent of Americans say “politicians” are corrupt, while 70 percent say they use their power to “hurt” rivals. This impression is likely intensified by popular depictions of elected officials on certain network and cable TV shows. But that is part of the campaign landscape. Some sins are worse than others, though.

“Americans say they are more bothered by politicians abusing political power than they are by some of the personal issues most often associated with political downfalls. Seventy percent of Americans say they would be most bothered by a politician who used his or her political power to bully someone, while 14 percent would be most bothered by a politician using drugs, and 11 percent would be most bothered by a politician who cheated on his or her spouse,” reports Reason analyst Emily Ekins.

BEN CARSON’S SENSIBLE DIAGNOSIS

“Our health is the most personal and important thing we possess; therefore its care must be under our control.”

— Principle No. 1 in “Save Our Healthcare”, Ben Carson’s seven-point plan to rescue America from Obamacare, which he introduced to GOP lawmakers Thursday during an appearance on Capitol Hill.

BLUEGRASS ROOTS TV

Set to be on hand at FreedomWorks’ FreePAC, a bodacious grass-roots event in Louisville, Kentucky on Saturday: U.S. Senate hopefuls Ken Cuccinelli and Matt Bevin, U.S. House hopeful Dan Bongino, FreedomWorks President Matt Kibbe and independent media maven Glenn Beck. See their speeches streamed live online at 1 p.m. ET here: Live.FreedomWorks.org.

POLAR BEARS AND MORE

News is afoot that a sequel to Al Gore’s alarmist climate change opus “An Inconvenient Truth” is in the works, details forthcoming from Hollywood producers. Reaction was immediate.

“Please do a sequel, Mr. Gore. The best things to ever happen to empower climate skeptics were two simple facts: 1) The scandal-ridden, distrusted UN serving as the source of the movement’s ‘science;’ and 2) Al Gore serving as the public spokesman for the global warming campaign,” says Marc Morano, founder of the media watchdog Climate Depot. He called the former veep a “highly partisan figure” who has “lived a lifestyle not conducive to low carbon ideals [and] helped doom the global warming movement’s chance of success. Grab the popcorn.”

Mr. Gore appears game.

“The atmosphere can no longer be used as an open sewer,” he declared following the release of a report this week from the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

BORDER PATROL

The immigration debate is about to get a lot noisier. Some 41 talk-radio hosts from 21 states will soon descend upon a single hotel in the nation’s capital for two days, ready to broadcast live to their home stations, holding forth on citizenship, illegal immigration and everything in between. Organized by the Federation for American Immigration Reform, the eighth annual “Hold Their Feet to the Fire” event attracts lawmakers, law enforcement officials, immigration experts and activists eager to have their say.

“Our goal, and the goal of the participating hosts, is to make sure that the House leadership continues to hear the voices of the American people and is reminded that it is their interests that our immigration laws are supposed to serve,” said Dan Stein, president of the organization.

The Washington Times’ own Andy Parks,Lars Larson, Frank Gaffney, John Fredericks, Ernest Istook, Inga Barks and Howie Carr are among hosts manning the microphones; things get underway Tuesday.

AN H.W. MOMENT

Somebody say huzzah: George Washington’s Mount Vernon has awarded former President George H.W. Bush the Cyrus A. Ansary Prize for Courage and Character, created to recognize a “modern-day Washington” who’s still in touch with patriotism, integrity, and thoughtful leadership.

So huzzah, Mr. Bush, huzzah.

“No American could ever hope to match the grace, guile and grit of President Washington,” Mr. Bush says. “To have one’s name associated with him and this award is certainly one of the highest honors I have received.”

The award came with $50,000 in cash, which Mr. Bush promptly designated to Texas A&M University. He turns 90 on June 12, incidentally.

WEEKEND REAL ESTATE

“Glen Oaks,” Montecito, California; currently owned by Dennis Miller. Yes, that Dennis Miller. Estate home designed in 1895 by Stanford White; 10,000 square feet, 12 bedrooms, nine baths, three half-baths, wood shingle exterior, pillared porch. Butler’s pantry, spa, outdoor fireplace. Second residence with three bedrooms, two baths; tennis courts, swimming pool, three gated entrances, ocean and mountain views, historic trees. Price: $13.9 million, through Villagesite.com.

POLL DU JOUR

78 percent of Americans say a background check should be required during a firearm sale; 75 percent of Republicans, 87 percent of Democrats and 75 percent of independents agree.

77 percent overall say the public should be allowed to purchase and own firearms with “some restrictions”; 75 percent of Republicans, 82 percent of Democrats and 76 percent of independents agree.

53 percent approve of a national registry of firearms owners; 44 percent of Republicans, 67 percent of Democrats and 48 percent of independents agree.

34 percent overall approve of limiting the number of firearms an individual can own; 19 percent of Republicans, 50 percent of Democrats and 31 percent of independents agree.

14 percent overall say Americans should be allowed to purchase and own firearms without limitation; 22 percent of Republicans, 5 percent of Democrats and 15 percent of independents agree.

Source: A Harris Poll of 2,266 U.S. adults conducted Feb. 12-17 and released Wednesday.

Follow Jennifer Harper at Twitter.com/harperbulletin.

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