NEWS AND OPINION:
The Grand Old Party does not appear to have much greed for weed. A New Gallup poll reveals that 11 percent of Americans say they currently use marijuana; that includes 12 percent of Democrats, 11 percent of independents — and one percent of Republicans. The GOPers have the lowest percentage of active users across the entire 24 demographic fields in the survey, even less than weekly church goers and senior citizens. The highest number of regular users — 18 percent — was found among atheists and those under 30, Gallup found.
But wait, there’s more. Gallup also found that 44 percent of Americans overall admit they tried marijuana at some point in their lives; the pollster says this is the highest percentage reported since Gallup began asking the question in 1969. And the partisan breakdown: 48 percent of Democrats, 44 percent of independents and 31 percent of Republicans have tried weed somewhere along the line.
EXPLAINING THE PERSISTENCE OF DONALD TRUMP
“What the Republican establishment, and the Washington political elite in general can’t seem to grasp is Trump’s support is coming from the same place in American politics that the 2009 Tea Party movement came from — the failure of the Republican establishment to stand for its own principles,” says longtime conservative maven Richard Viguerie. “What Donald Trump is doing is holding up a mirror to the failures of the Republican leadership.”
Mr. Viguerie continues, “The reflection isn’t pretty — and Trump’s poll numbers show voters sure don’t like what they see. Donald Trump is no movement conservative, but he’s giving voters an alternative to the Republican establishment that they’ve never had before, and every attack from RINOs like Lindsey Graham and establishment Republican politicians like Rick Perry adds rocket fuel to Trump’s rise.”
HILLARY’S ROCKY TERRAIN
Oh, those pesky numbers. Sen. Bernard Sanders‘ “favorable” rating has doubled from 12 to 24 percent; Hillary Rodham Clinton‘s has fallen to 43 percent while her unfavorable rating increased to 46 percent, tilting her image negative and yielding her “worst net favorable score” in eight years, says Gallup, which conducted the poll.
The trend could continue following the inspector general report that Mrs. Clinton sent and received classified data over her private email system while serving as secretary of state. Then there’s Benghazi. But that’s another story.
In the meantime, her famous name remains a life line: only 11 percent of Americans are unfamiliar with Mrs. Clinton. Not so among her rivals: The survey found that 82 percent of the respondents have never heard of Lincoln Chafee, 78 percent say the same of Martin O’Malley, 77 percent of Jim Webb — while a sizable 56 percent remain unfamiliar with Mr. Sanders despite his increased public profile.
The Clinton campaign machine rolls on. There are four major fundraisers in the next 72 hours in New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia and the nation’s capital. Mrs. Clinton appears at three of them, all “conversation” gatherings where admission begins at $2,700. And the Clinton purse? The campaign raised $46.7 million in the third quarter, but also spent $18.7 million.
“The spending amounts to roughly $230,000 for every day since she declared her candidacy on April 12, an incredible pace at a time when Clinton was not purchasing expensive television ads. Instead, the funds have gone toward building a national political apparatus,” says National Journal political analyst Shane Goldmacher, who did the math.
Ben Carson, Sen. James Lankford, and Reps. Marsha Blackburn and Tim Huelskamp are among Republican luminaries headed for the Women Betrayed Rally at the U.S. Capitol on Tuesday — an almost instant public backlash against Planned Parenthood and shocking reports that the organization was haggling over the price of aborted baby parts.
“Planned Parenthood has betrayed the very patients — women and their children — who they claim to care about and have compassion for. Tiny humans have become commodities and a part of their business model,” says Kristan Hawkins, president of Students for Life of America, a Virginia-based interest group which organized the rally, and simultaneous events in 50 other cities.
The students have a vigorous social media campaign underway. Among their telling Twitter hashtags: #Womenbetrayed, #PPSellsBabyParts and #HandsUpDontCrush.
“Planned Parenthood had a net profit of $127 million in 2013-2014. Let them fundraise and support themselves like any other business in the country that isn’t deceiving women and making money off of taking the lives of the most vulnerable,” Ms. Hawkins adds. Find the big doings at WomenBetrayed.com
MR. KASICH IS ‘THE REAL DEAL’
A latecomer to the noisy, crowded GOP presidential field deserves attention, says one veteran pollster.
“John Kasich brings a singular level of experience to this race as both a legislator and executive, significant business success, four decades of winning elections, and impressive, even historic accomplishments in public policy. He is what Governors Scott Walker and Chris Christie can, at this point in their tenures, only aspire to be,” declares John Zogby. “He has more experience than both former Gov. Jeb Bush and Sen. Marco Rubio combined. And he has won the kind of blue-collar support needed in a GOP must-win state.”
Mr. Zogby cites the fact that Mr. Kasich was a state senator, served nine terms as a member of Congress, was chairman of the House Budget Committee and was twice elected governor of Ohio.
“Now, he does like to talk a lot, to drone on before a microphone — but so did that young Clinton fellow from Arkansas,” Mr. Zogby observes. “He can cause some real fear among Democrats who could be blindsided by a possible Kasich-Rubio, Kasich-Fiorina or a Kasich-Haley ticket.” That’s as in Carly Fiorina and South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, respectively.
THE FAITHFUL LIBERTARIANS
The Libertarian Party reveals that their own poll of 15,000 members finds that 39 percent say they are either atheists of agnostic, another 39 percent are Christian and 11 percent are “non-Christian,” including Jews, Muslims or East Asian religions.
Wes Benedict, executive director of the party, reports that he’s a Baptist and will attend the Christians for Liberty Conference in Austin, Texas next month. He also says the unprecedented look at religion among Libertarians will continue.
“People asked to add Hindu, Unitarian, Episcopal, Druid, Pagan, and many more options to our poll. I hope to do another religion poll soon with dozens more choices,” Mr. Benedict advises.
POLL DU JOUR
• 77 percent of Americans say race relations in their own community are generally good; 20 percent say they are generally bad.
• 71 percent overall say there’s been “real progress” in improving race relations, 24 percent say there’s been no real progress.
• 57 percent overall say race relationships in the U.S. as a nation are generally bad, 37 percent say they are generally good.
• 47 percent overall say Barack Obama‘s presidency has had no effect on race relations, 34 percent say it pushed blacks and whites ‘further apart,’ 15 percent say closer together,
• 44 percent overall say Democrats are more likely to improve the nation’s race relations, 23 percent say Republicans, 15 percent say neither.
Source: A New York Times/CBS poll of 1,205 U.S. adults conducted July 14-19.
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