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Live Blog: Andrew Kohut (Pew Research Center) On the 2008 Elections

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12:05pm. Andrew Kohut of the Pew Research Center is speaking this afternoon at the Humphrey Institute in the first of two events today. This speech is entitled, "What to Watch in the 2008 Elections." Kohut is one of the nation's leading authorities on public opinion research and he is the Director of the Pew Research Center for The People & The Press. Dean Atwood began with some introductory remarks heralding Kohut's pollster credentials.

12:15 p.m.Kohut begins by stating that the Democratic Party will have an advantage in 2008. Kohut has tracked trends in 'political values' for the past 20 years. The current political landscape, according to this research is more favorable for the Democrats. For example, there was increased support for the government to take care of those who can't take care of themselves as well as an increase concern of income inequality (the latter of which is the hallmark of John Edwards' campaign).

12:20 p.m. Kohut also states there is growing acceptance of the homosexual lifestyle (though not gay marriage). Social trends that used to favor the Republicans thus seem to be moderating. The latest trends in party identification are also trending Democratic - up from 43-43 a few years ago to 50-35 today. This shift, however, is not predicated on a more positive view of Democrats, but a more negative view of Republicans.

12:25 p.m. Kohut discusses how this presidential election is about change - with significant discontent among the public with regards to the direction of the nation and President Bush.

12:30 p.m. Despite these trends, Kohut states that horserace polls show Rudy Giuliani and John McCain running close to Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. Kohut finds that most Americans don't view the leading Republican candidates as traditional Republicans. The dliemma, for the Republicans, is whether or not these perceived 'moderate' Republicans can win the nomination. The key to this election, says Kohut, are independent voters -- who are decidedly leaning Democratic at this point in time.

12:40 p.m.Kohut does not believe there is a strong likelihood of a 3rd party candidate running a strong campaign in the 2008 presidential election, despite the call for great change in the country. Mayor Bloomberg of New York City, says Kohut, is not going to make disaffected Republicans any happier, and Democratic voters seem reasonably happy with their crop of candidates, so there is little base of support for the Mayor.

12:45 p.m.Larry Jacobs now moderates a question and answer session with Kohut. Kohut states that there is an increase in secularism now, at its lowest level since 1987, after an increase in the 1990s. Kohut also states it is going to be difficult for the eventual Republican nominee to rebrand the party.

1:05 p.m. Kohut states the advantage President Bush and the Republican Party had on terrorism and security issues in 2004 has largely dissipated.

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1 Comment


  • I read your column in the NY Times today. It was a very good analysis of all the possible things that could have gone wrong with the polling. However, you missed one possibility: voter fraud. Fully 81 percent of the votes were cast on electronic voting machines that have been proven to be easily hackable. The entire system is operated by one operator, John Silvestro and his small private business. LHS Associates, has exclusive programming contracts for ALL New Hampshire voting machines.

    Is it really a functional analysis to ignore the elephant in the room that has potentially disrupted the last two presidential elections? And most of this controversy has revolved around the Diebold 1.94w optical scan system, which was the system used in New Hampshire? Is it really probable that ALL of the polls could be so accurate in with all the other candidates and so wrong with Clinton and Obama? I think not. (See HBO documentary, Hacking Democracy; voteFraud.org; BlackBoxVoting.org;)

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    Remains of the Data

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    The rate of gubernatorial candidates elected without the support of a majority of voters is at its highest level since the 1910s.

    Political Crumbs

    Seeing Red

    Congressman Nick Rahall's failed bid for a 20th term in West Virginia this cycle, combined with a narrow loss by Nick Casey to Alex Mooney in Shelley Moore Capito's open seat, means that West Virginia Democrats will be shut out of the state's U.S. House delegation for the first time in over 90 years. The Republican sweep by two-term incumbent David McKinley in the 1st CD, Mooney in the 2nd, and Evan Jenkins over Rahall in the 3rd marks the first time the GOP has held all seats in the chamber from West Virginia since the Election of 1920. During the 67th Congress (1921-1923) all six seats from the state were controlled by the GOP. Since the Election of 1922, Democrats have won 76 percent of all U.S. House elections in the Mountain State - capturing 172 seats compared to 54 for the GOP.


    Home Field Advantage?

    When the 114th Congress convenes in a few days, Maine will be represented by one home-grown U.S. Representative: Waterville-born Republican Bruce Poliquin. With the departure of Millinocket-born Mike Michaud, who launched a failed gubernatorial bid, the Pine Tree State was poised to send a House delegation to D.C. without any Maine-born members for the first time since 1821. Three-term U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree (born in Minnesota) coasted to reelection as expected, however Poliquin edged Kentucky-born Emily Cain by 5.3 points to keep the streak alive. Since 1876, a total of 208 of the 222 candidates elected to the nation's lower legislative chamber from the state have been born in Maine, or 94 percent.


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