Republican victories in the midterm elections have translated into an immediate boost in the party’s image, putting the GOP at its highest point in eight years, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.
The spike in the party’s standing comes after Republicans picked up nine seats to take control of the Senate, raised their numbers in the House to the highest level in more than half a century and added new governorships to its already clear majority.
In the new poll, 47 percent say they have a favorable impression of the Republican Party, compared with 33 percent in the month before the midterm elections. An equal percentage have an unfavorable view, which marks the first time in six years that fewer than half of Americans said they saw Republicans negatively.
The improved standing reverses a lengthy period in which the public had given Republicans declining and, ultimately, historically low ratings. Successful elections often give political parties or candidates a boost, though sometimes those improved ratings prove to be a bounce rather than a sustained change.
Fla Insider Poll: Those who know them best say Marco Rubio can’t compete w Jeb Bush | Tampa Bay Times
Nearly 80 percent of those surveyed for the latest Tampa Bay Times Florida Insider Poll said Rubio would be unable to raise enough money to mount a competitive campaign if Jeb Bush was also running. Only a quarter of them predict Rubio will actually run now that Bush is poised to do so.
“Jeb still has the heart and soul of grassroots Republicans in Florida. There’s no room for two or three Florida candidates. Marco knows that,” one Republican said.
The Insider Poll of political consultants, lobbyists, fundraisers, political scientists and a few recovering political reporters is an unscientific and, almost by definition, biased exercise. Why? Because any list of top Republican political talent in Florida is guaranteed to be packed with former Bush staffers and money-raisers.
“Jeb has proven he’s ready for prime time time and time again. Marco I believe will learn from one of the criticisms of Pres. Obama not having executive experience and will run for Governor,” another Republican said.
Moments after stepping off a large charter bus in the parking lot of the Georgia Army National Guard’s Hunter Army Airfield hangar Thursday, Sgt. 1st Class James Tucker wrapped his wife in a huge embrace.
Ten months after leaving the Savannah Army post, the National Guardsman was home, just in time for Christmas.
“I’m ecstatic,” Tucker said, holding hands with Tanya, his wife. “There’s really no other words.”
Tucker, of Richmond Hill, was one of about 40 soldiers with B Company, 1st Battalion, 169th General Support Aviation Battalion to return after the deployment that included nearly three months of training at Fort Hood, Texas, and seven months in Afghanistan conducting combat operation support and retrograde missions during the final months of Operation Enduring Freedom.
“We are taking the steps necessary to expand capacity to 6.5 million TEUs by increasing our fleet of ship-to-shore cranes to 26, adding a major new truck gate and maximizing the use of our container yard space,” Foltz said.
At last month’s meeting, the authority board approved an expenditure of $10.2 million for construction of Gate 8, which will serve as a third major truck interchange at Garden City Terminal. At an earlier meeting, the board approved expenditures of more than $8 million to relocate some gate activity and expand storage capacity in the area.=
“We have prepared Savannah’s landside infrastructure to handle the influxes of cargo delivered by super post-Panamax vessels,” said GPA board chairman James Walters. “And now we have entered the construction phase of the harbor expansion, which will deepen the river to 47 feet, allowing today’s larger, more efficient ships to transit the channel with heavier loads and greater scheduling flexibility.”
McLaughlin & Associates, whose clients include nearly ever statewide-elected Republican in Georgia, conducted the poll Nov. 23-24. It asked 400 likely voters a variety of questions about legalization of medical marijuana. Among the key findings:
• 80 percent of Georgians support legalization of marijuana for medical purposes, even if the drug includes higher levels of THC, the ingredient in marijuana that produces a high.
• 27 percent support full legalization of marijuana for recreational use.
• 17 percent oppose any legalization of marijuana.
• 85 percent support legalization of marijuana if the medication “would not get a person high.”
The poll was paid for by Surterra Holdings, an Atlanta investment firm interested in the business possibilities of medical marijuana.
Surterra CEO Jake Bergmann and chief operating officer Wes Van Dyk have met with Peake and a host of other state lawmakers to encourage the General Assembly to tap the economic potential of legalization. If the bill passes, Bergmann sees the potential of $200 million a year in new state revenue as companies are created to grow, cultivate, process and sell the new medications.
Even they were surprised by the poll results.
“We knew it would poll over 50 percent,” Bergmann said. “We were shocked. Our pollster was shocked.”
Bergman and Van Dyk, who have hired the high-powered lobbyist firm McGuire Woods, said the poll shows support for medical marijuana extends beyond what Peake proposed this past legislative session. That bill, which died in the session’s final days, would have only legalized an oil derived from marijuana to treat certain seizure disorders.
This time, however, the pair is advocating for a broader bill that would also allow the use of medical marijuana to help patients with cancer, glaucoma, chronic pain and other conditions.
Peake has pre-filed his bill for 2015, but it’s merely a shell at this point, with few details. Peake, who led a legislative study committee on the subject over the summer, has not yet said how broad his final bill will be. But he appeared to endorse most of Bergman and Van Dyk’s proposals at the study committee’s final meeting earlier this month.
In the case of Uber, the cities with the most to gain from innovation tend to be large and dense, and often Democratic. So at the local level, the leaders in welcoming Uber are often Democrats. Conservatives like to mock California as anti-business, but the state is one of just two to have enacted a comprehensive, statewide regulatory framework that is friendly to ride sharing. The other is Colorado, also run by Democrats.
But it’s not just about Uber and taxis. Consider state laws that prohibit auto manufacturers like Tesla from selling directly to consumers. Car dealers favor these laws, which interfere with Tesla’s direct sales model. Of 22 states that permit direct sales, 14 voted for President Obama. New York, California and Illinois all have freer markets in auto retailing than Texas. Did I mention that car dealers are a strongly Republican constituency? In 2009, the statistician Nate Silver found that 88 percent of car dealers’ political donations went to Republicans.
When it comes to business regulation, “I don’t know that there’s an ideological breakdown,” said Clark Neily, a litigator at the Institute for Justice, a libertarian public-interest law firm that opposes many kinds of business licensing. He pointed to Florida, one of just three states requiring a license to practice interior design. Republicans in the state’s House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly in 2011 to deregulate the profession, along with others like auctioneering where the need for a government license was unclear.
But under pressure from licensed interior designers, the State Senate, also held by Republicans, killed the deregulation bill on a 32-to-6 vote. Despite more than a decade of solid Republican rule, you still need a license to decorate other people’s homes in Florida, or braid their hair, or auction their property, or run a ballroom dance studio.
If Republicans want to own the issue of freeing businesses from anticompetitive regulation, they’re going to have to have some intraparty fights at the state and local levels.