Important New Bi-Partisan Senate Bill, Support Tom Suozzi Today, Some More Notes on Polling

Early Voting Has Begun In NY-3, Please Donate/Volunteer Today!




Happy Monday all! Got a few things for you today: 

The Bi-Partisan Senate Deals Comes Together – This is a big and encouraging development, and yes there will be hurdles and lots of debate and discussion in the coming days. Here’s Senator Majority Leader Schumer’s statement

“The Senate’s bipartisan agreement is a monumental step towards strengthening America’s national security abroad and along our borders. This is one of the most necessary and important pieces of legislation Congress has put forward in years to ensure America’s future prosperity and security.

“I have said over and over that the only way we will rise to the occasion is if both sides are serious about finding bipartisan policy solutions. I am proud that after four months of hard negotiations we have reached a bipartisan agreement that is a product of compromise, hard work, and persistence. The priorities in this bill are too important to ignore and too vital to allow politics to get in the way. 

“The United States and our allies are facing multiple, complex and, in places, coordinated challenges from adversaries who seek to disrupt democracy and expand authoritarian influence around the globe. These grave threats to U.S. national security require Congress to act with conviction and bipartisanship to confront these challenges. The emergency national security supplemental appropriations agreement does precisely that: it provides billions in vital investments in America’s national security to address growing threats in the Middle East and Red Sea, equips Ukraine to fight off Putin, helps Israel defend itself against forces that wish to wipe a Jewish state off the map while also providing humanitarian assistance to innocent Palestinian civilians in Gaza, answers the call for humanitarian assistance around the world, and bolsters Taiwan and other allies in the Indo-Pacific region against China. This agreement also includes a historic increase in emergency and operational funding for the Nonprofit Security Grant Program to protect at-risk communities and institutions at home.   

“The bipartisan border security agreement reached by Senators Chris Murphy, Kyrsten Sinema and James Lankford is a real opportunity for Congress to address our borders and make progress towards a more efficient and well-resourced system. This agreement improves an adjudication system that has been underfunded for decades by hiring more frontline personnel, asylum officers, and creating new processes to provide faster and fair decisions. I commend all the Democrats and Republicans who have worked together to address the challenges along our southern border.

“In the coming days, the Senate must act decisively on this emergency national security supplemental funding. On Monday, I will take the first procedural step to getting this passed in the Senate with the first vote scheduled for Wednesday. This is too important to let the calendar get in the way of passing this bill.

“I know the overwhelming majority of Senators want to get this done, and it will take bipartisan cooperation to move quickly. Senators must shut out the noise from those who want this agreement to fail for their own political agendas.

“This moment demands American leadership. It demands the Senate’s decisive action. I have no doubt that the Senate can, once again, rise to the occasion and lead America forward.”

Here is Senator Chris Murphy, lead negotiator for the Senate Dems, with a detailed explanation of what’s in the bill for those who want to dive in further. It is excellent, and I strongly recommend watching: 

Another important victory for Joe Biden, workhorse not showhorse; and another reminder that having the most experienced man to ever sit in the Oval Office during a time of enormous challenge has been an enormous blessing for the country. 

The 2024 Elections – Posts, Presentations, Interviews and Pods

“We’re Winning” – Here’s a short clip from my podcast with David Rothkopf and Tara McGowan: 

Upcoming Events 

  • Thursday, February 8th, 7pm EST – The monthly gathering of Hopium Paid Subscribers.  Register here, and subscribe today if you want to become part of this wonderful community. A video recording of this event will be available to Hopium paid subscribers who cannot make it live. 
  • Thursday, February 15th, 7pm EST – The Monthly Gathering of the entire Hopium community, now 37,000 strong! I will kick it off with 20 minutes of opening remarks about our current political moment and then take your questions. Register here. Hopefully we will be celebrating a big Suozzi win, together! A video recording of this event will be available to all members of the Hopium community who cannot make it live. 

Let’s Do More, Worry Less – In our 2024 spirit of growth and expansion, I’m encouraging members of the Hopium community to get involved and take an action in four campaigns and projects, below. A hearty thank you to the thousands here who’ve already donated, volunteered and spread some Hopium:

  • Flip NY-3 – Tom Suozzi leads in the early polls and will win if we give Tom the resources and volunteers he needs. The election is Feb. 13th and early in person voting has begun so please take an action to help Tom today! If you want to learn more watch my recent interviewwith Tom, and take an action here:Donate – Learn More – Get Updates– Canvass – Make Calls – Write Postcards
  • Elect Joe And Kamala, Beat Trump – Please donate to Biden-Harris today, join the campaign and start planning for what you will do to help them spread their message through your networks and win the core 7 battlegrounds AZ, GA, MI, NC, NV, PA, WI. Beating Trump is Job 1 this year!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • Get Early Resources to North Carolina, Our Most Important 2024 Expansion State – Our number one Presidential battleground expansion opportunity this year is North Carolina, and I am encouraging the Hopium community to support the Democratic Party of North Carolina and its dynamic new chair, Anderson Clayton. Watch my recent interview with Anderson and learn how to donate and volunteer here. Help us turn Carolina blue!
  • Spread Hopium – Help me bring Hopium to more people this year. Our goal is to get to 50,000 total subscribers by March 31st (we are at 37,000 today). Please encourage others in your network to sign up and become part of this wonderful community of proud patriots and info warriors today!

Hopium community member Abbi shared this comment this morning on our paid subscriber chat: 

A group of 15 of us drove 5 hours this weekend to canvass for Tom Suozzi. Though we were in a mostly Democratic area (because we have to have strong democratic turnout), most who we talked with were enthusiastic and either already voted for or were planning to vote for Tom. Also a couple of voters said on Saturday (the first day of early voting) that they had to wait an hour to vote bc the lines were that long. I also spoke with a couple and they had no idea about the election bc the husband indicated to me that he doesn’t do politics. I explained to him I get it, but politics affects your life and if you don’t vote, others will and they could vote against your interest. He and his wife perked up and I answered all their questions about Tom (stressing they need and deserve to have a decent person represent them), and they indicated they may go on Tuesday to vote (let’s hope). I do know if this couple wasn’t approached to begin with, they never would have voted. This is why I canvass.

Yes, this is why we do the work – because it matters, and helps us win. Great work Abbi, and to all of you working so hard for Tom right now!

Finally, the New NBC News poll – So how can we get 3 polls last week showing Biden gaining ground, 2 showing Biden leading, and on Sunday get one showing him losing ground, and trailing? There isn’t really a simple answer for this, and yes it is ridiculous given the importance of it all. But let me offer a few quick thoughts….

First, because of all the problems with polling, I think the most important electoral data we have right now is our continued strong performance in elections all across the country since 2018, but particularly since Dobbs in the spring of 2022. This is a topic I discuss at length in my recent interviewwith Ezra Klein, and in my Saturday post, Voting on Day 1 And Building The Most Powerful Democratic Machine We’ve Ever Had

Next, as this NYT article explores,polling is facing a bit of a crisis in that response rates have plummeted and getting an accurate sample, reflecting the enormous diversity of this country, has become harder and more expensive – so it is happening less. We are getting junkier and less accurate polls, and we also are seeing, as the NYT article details, a big increase in public Republican-funded polling, some of which is being done in bad faith to game the polling averages. As Harvard’s John Della Volpe writes about here we are also starting to see enormous variances between polls done with phones and those conducted on-line; and as I write here we starting to see a new trend of analysts drawing very large conclusions about the moment from very small samples with very large margins of error. So, yes, polling is a bit of a mess right now. 

Essentially, in my view, the polling industrial-complex, those who make their living conducting and analyzing polls, is not really being honest about the limitations of polling; the clear new struggles we are having; and the emergence of bad faith polling designed to manipulate not inform. Polls can never predict, they can only tell you what is happening today; and polls are far more of a sketch than a painting. Many are overselling their accuracy, and underselling how much margin of error exists in daily polling. 

Here is a helpful analysis of January polling Hopium community member Jeff Boissoneault shared in our paid subscriber chat the other day:

The results were pretty interesting: 1) conservative pollster lean predicted a 5-point advantage for Trump compared to neutral or liberal, 2) Biden had a 5-point advantage on polls including registered voters compared to any adults, and 3) Trump’s advantage grew about .1% per day over the month of January. Pollster grade, 538 transparency score, and sample size weren’t statistically significant.

This suggests that polls from conservative-leaning pollsters find significantly stronger support for Trump than neutral ones, and we should continue to be skeptical of polls that include all adults instead of at least registered voters. If the recent bump in Biden’s poll numbers holds, I’d expect the trend of an increasing Trump advantage will dissipate — will be interesting to see if that pans out. I’m also very curious to see if the effect of partisan lean changes in the coming months because there were only two liberal-leaning pollsters in the data set.

What Jeff is getting at is something that drove my 2022 red wave work with Tom Bonier – that we’ve seen a huge increase in Republican funded polls producing very Republican results, which in turn push the polling averages to the right and make the election look much more Republican than it is. This was a very big problem in 2022 and it persists today. His finding that as you go deeper into voters who are more engaged Biden’s standing improves has been confirmed in other polling, and suggests as more people engage in the coming months, Biden’s numbers will rise. 

A new study by Adam Carlson in the Economist found a similar trend, though he found more variance in the quality of the pollster: “Donald Trump’s polling lead over Joe Biden may be smaller than it looks. If you consider only the highest-quality polls, the Republican’s advantage melt away.”

Finally, it’s been my view, expressed here many times, that we are in a moment of asymmetrical engagement right now – Republican voters are having an election, and we aren’t. So some polls have a more Republican sample than will be the case when Democrats start fully engaging, and thus the polls are coming back a bit more Republican now. The NBC poll may be one of those polls, as it found the electorate to be 41% Republican, 40% Democratic. In the last four Presidential elections Democrats averaged 51% of the vote, Republicans 46%. A final November electorate with all of Trump’s problems that is is 6 points more Republican than the average vote over the past four Presidential elections is unlikely. It may be where things are today due to this asymmetrical engagement I discuss above, but the chance of it being true this November is really remote. Remember Republicans have only won the popular vote in America once since 1988; and I for one do not believe the degraded, disgraced and diminished orange man will be able to somehow grow his vote and break our long run of popular vote dominance. 

What also struck me about the NBC News poll is that the Republican lead, Public Opinion Strategies, who had been up until recently polling for DeSantis, found Biden beating Trump in the battlegrounds this summer

  • AZ 46-46 (tied)
  • GA 47-45 (+2)
  • MI 45-44 (+1)
  • NV 47-43 (+4)
  • PA 48-45 (+3)

Are we really to believe that over the past few months, with rising consumer sentiment, an improving economy and Trump’s ongoing public awfulness that the race has shifted from a strong Biden win to a Trump blowout, particularly when other high quality polls have shown Biden gaining ground in recent weeks? It’s not really plausible. And as I argue here, there simply is no definitive evidence that the Israel-Hamas war has been a meaningful drag on Biden, and certainly is not something remotely important enough to produce a 5-10 point swing. 

So what does it all mean? I would put more stock in what happens when people vote than in polling that continues to be all over the place; and we have to do more, worry less and go get Tom Suozzi elected. There is no better way to channel all the anxiety we all have than by doing the work and winning elections. Let’s go win NY-3, together. Take an action for Tom Suozzi today! 

Tracy Chapman Last Night – When I was an undergrad at Tufts there was a shy, gracious young woman who used to play a few songs late on Saturday nights at a place called the Crafts House. I was lucky enough to catch a few of those informal sets, and got to know to know her a bit as the show she hosted on WMFO, the Tufts radio station, followed mine for a year (I hosted a jazz show). Here is that gracious and shy young woman, all grown up, Tracy Chapman, playing Fast Car at the Grammys last night. Enjoy. 

Keep working hard all. It’s how we win – Simon

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