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21 Things: Polls, Polls, Polls!
February 22, 2012, Matthew Cochrane


 Here are 21 things to help you get through hump day at work!

1)    Tonight’s debate is BIG. It’s been almost a month since the four remaining candidates have faced off on stage and tonight’s debate might very well set the narrative for the rest of the week leading into the Michigan and Arizona primary contests:
It's been 26 days since the candidates left the stage at the last CNN debate in Jacksonville, Florida, and the growling hunger pangs of the media have grown louder even as the candidates grow weary.
There have been 19 Republican presidential debates so far, and while some may have debate fatigue -- including a few candidates -- the forums have nevertheless proved to be illuminating experiences.
They have garnered sky-high TV ratings and have become "event" television. They have helped to define several candidates while others fall from grace in front of the live cameras.
But for many voters, it has been the debates -- especially those that have preceded a primary or caucuses -- that have become the deciding factor when they choose who they want as the GOP nominee. They have provided a window into each would-be nominee, and offered insights into how they act under pressure. According to exit polls, many voters make up their minds after watching a debate.
2)    In Michigan, Romney has finally regained a tenuous lead over Santorum:
Mitt Romney has regained the lead in a Mitchell/Rosetta Stone Poll of Michigan conducted for MIRS (Michigan Information & Research Service). The two frontrunners are now in a statistical dead heat with Romney (32%) having a 2% lead over Rick Santorum (30%) while Newt Gingrich (9%) and Ron Paul (7%) are far behind in a trial Republican presidential ballot test. About one in five voters remain undecided (22%). Eight days ago, Santorum had a 9% lead and twelve days before that Romney led by 15% in a topsy-turvy race.
3)    Meanwhile, in Arizona, Santorum is gaining fast on Romney’s once overwhelming lead:
The Republican race for President in Arizona looks like a close one, with Mitt Romney leading Rick Santorum only 36-33. Newt Gingrich is third at 16% and Ron Paul fourth at 9%.
Santorum is better liked by Arizona Republicans than Romney, but the gap isn't as wide as we're finding in a lot of other states. Santorum's at +34 (61/27), while Romney's at +24 (58/34).
One thing to keep an eye on over the next week is whether Newt Gingrich can hold his support. 16% is pretty good for him compared to what we're finding other places right now, but only 46% of his voters say they're solidly committed to him. 40% of his supporters say that Santorum is their second choice, compared to only 25% for Romney. If Gingrich's supporters see he's not viable and decide to jump ship the race could get even closer.
We could have two Iowa-like nail biters next Tuesday night!
4)    Santorum still holds a comfortable double digit lead in Washington state, the only other contest taking place before Super Tuesday (March 3rd). Of course, in this race nothing can be taken for granted and I suspect tonight’s debate will go a long way toward determining who the winner is in all three of these contests.
5)    Send an email to your loved ones…from beyond the grave.
6)    The Simpsons at 500 episodes:
With Sunday's airing of "At Long Last Leave" on FOX, 8:00 Eastern, the family that defined dysfunctional hits its astonishing 500th episode—a mark reached by only two other primetime scripted TV series, Gunsmoke and Lassie. Neither of which was funny. And neither of which had a tenth of the social impact.
7)    Washington Post reporter Glenn Kessler calls Mitt Romney a liar for accurately quoting Obama. The media really is going to pull out all the stops for Obama this year, aren’t they?
8)    New national poll from Quinnipac: Romney and Santorum barely behind Obama in general election matchup!
9)    New national Rasmussen poll: Romney and Santorum barely behind Obama in general election matchup!
10)  Florida woman in vegetative state after hitting head on concrete after being tasered.
11)  ESPN’s Bill Simmons on Whiney Houston’s wasted talent:
She's like Michael Jackson in this respect: All the craziness with her personal life these past 12-15 years ended up overshadowing the eight to 10 years before it. Young Whitney was like LeBron crossed with Tiger. Actually, you can't even compare her to anything. Let's say you rated a young female singer from 1 to 50 in five categories: likability, attractiveness, singing voice, pedigree and stage presence. Young Whitney was a 50 in all of them. Has anyone else ever cracked 45? One of the many fascinating subplots of the mid-80s: you had a male singer (Jackson), a female singer (Whitney), a boxer (Mike Tyson), a baseball pitcher (Dwight Gooden) and an actor/comedian (Eddie Murphy) who peaked at precociously young ages, convinced us they were headed toward becoming the "greatest (fill in the genre) of all time" … only none of them made it. Not one.
I would argue Whitney barely edges out Gooden as the biggest tragedy of the five. Eddie had a phenomenal nine-year run of SNL episodes, movies and comedy specials before his movie career went Barry Zito on us. Tyson had a number of memorable fights and made such an impact that I have been pushing for ESPN to have "Tyson Week" (like Shark Week) for this entire decade. Jackson had all the Jackson 5 stuff, "Off the Wall," "Thriller" and "Bad" before things started getting weird. But Whitney should have been the black Streisand: an iconic singer/actress who aged with her audience, lasted for decades and was mentioned in the first breath any time someone asked, "Who were the biggest female performers ever?" Instead, it was over for her in eight years. Incredible.
Weird religion: Satan is against America. Normal religion: "God damn America."
13)  From an alert reader: Newly discovered alien planet is a steamy waterworld.
Scientists have discovered a new type of alien planet — a steamy waterworld that is larger than Earth but smaller than Uranus.
The standard-bearer for this new class of exoplanet is called GJ 1214b, which astronomers first discovered in December 2009. New observations by NASA's Hubble Space Telescope suggest that GJ 1214b is a watery world enshrouded by a thick, steamy atmosphere.
"GJ 1214b is like no planet we know of," study lead author Zachory Berta of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, Mass., said in a statement. "A huge fraction of its mass is made up of water."
GJ 1214b thus appears to have much more water than Earth does, and much less rock. The alien planet's interior structure is likely quite different from that of our world.
"The high temperatures and high pressures would form exotic materials like 'hot ice' or 'superfluid water,' substances that are completely alien to our everyday experience," Berta said.
14)  Not so funny: Bureaucrats don’t enjoy D.C. man’s sense of humor.
15)  Former President Eisenhower had three secret meetings, organized by sending out telepathic messages, with aliens in New Mexico.
16)  Alec Baldwin: Andrew Breitbart is “a festering boil on the anus of public discourse.”
17)  Andrew Breitbart to Alec Baldwin: “There’s no reason you should talk to me like I’m your daughter!”
18)  Winning the lottery is just a precursor to going bankrupt. And who needs that headache?
19) The top ten selling beers in America – and I don’t drink a one of them.
20)  Five times the Witness Protection Program didn’t work.
Henry Hill, a member of New York’s Lucchese crime family and participant in the $5.8 million Lufthansa heist from New York’s Kennedy Airport in 1978, the largest cash theft in U.S. history.
IN THE PROGRAM: The Witness Protection program relocated him to Redmond, Washington, in 1980, and Hill, who’s changed his name to Martin Lewis, was supposed to keep a low profile and stay out of trouble. He wasn’t very good at either -in 1985 he and writer Nicholas Pileggi turned his mob exploits into the bestselling book Wiseguy, which became the hit move Goodfellas.
WHAT HAPPENED: When the book became a bestseller, “Martin Lewis” couldn’t resist telling friends and neighbors who he really was. Even worse, he reverted to his life of crime. Since 1980 Hill has racked up a string of arrests for crimes ranging from drunk driving to burglary and assault. In 1987 he tried to sell a pound of cocaine to two undercover Drug Enforcement officers, which got him thrown out of the Witness Protection Program for good.
“Henry couldn’t go straight,” says Deputy Marshal Bud McPherson. “He loved being a wiseguy. He didn’t want to be anything else.”
21)  Entitlement Nation update: Who needs unemployment benefits when you can go on Social Security Disability?
I worked as a consultant doing disability mental evaluations for over 15 years (I no longer do) and one thing I can say is that claimants would often come in and claim mental stress if they just felt “worn out from working.” A nurse came in once and said that she just “couldn’t take it anymore” and was applying. She didn’t understand that just saying you’ve “had it,” didn’t qualify one for Social Security disability. However, the rules change and perhaps with the Obama economy, having “had it” is enough to qualify for some type of mental illness, especially given the jump in the awards of benefits for mental reasons since the recession. Maybe this is the new way the Obama administration is trying to “spread the wealth around” in a way that the average American will not notice. And it brings the unemployment rate down at the same time. A real win-win for the administration.


I wonder where that 9% Newt vote would go if he dropped out?  Too bad he's "in it until the end."  Might just be pulling a Nader/Perot/etc.  So goes Michigan...

P.S. Miller Lite is nasty.

- TLM (02/22/12 1:16 PM)

Okay, so lets say a majority of Republicans want anyone but Romney and split their vote.  Is anyone really getting what they want?  You still have a mjority that would rather have Santorum or Newt, but you end up with Romney.

Let's all jump on board together right now for instant runoff elections: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Instant-runoff_voting

This is an instant cure to a constant problem in our democracy.  It would also allow for a Ron Paul or a true third party to run without the stigma of ruining an election for one of the two biggens.  It also lower negative attacks, because lets say Santorum goes after Newt dirty.  Well a Newt supporter might rank Romney higher and cost him the election.

- TLM (02/22/12 1:25 PM)

I don't want to come across asa beer snob, but I can barely tolerate Coors and Budweiser. The rest of the beers on this list are simply inexcusable. Gross.

In the Arizona poll, 40% listed Santorum as their 2nd choice while only 19% of Gingrich's supporters listed Romney as their 2nd choice. For all of his animosity towards Romney, Gingrich's action sure make it seem like he wants to do everything he can to ensure Romney wins.

- Matthew Cochrane (02/22/12 3:14 PM)

I'll take a Samuel Jackson any day - Stephen (02/22/12 3:33 PM)

And I'm lost.

- Matthew Cochrane (02/22/12 4:37 PM)

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