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Should the United States fund the service program AmeriCorps? President Obama would increase its budget. Rep. Paul Ryan would eliminate federal funding for the program.

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ThePlumLIneGS whorunsgov plumline
Posted at 06:05 PM ET, 04/16/2012

Happy Hour Roundup

Lots of new polling out tonight.

* With the Senate vote on the Buffett Rule about to take place, a new CNN poll finds that it’s supported by 72 percent of Americans, including 69 percent of independents and 83 percent of moderates.

You’d think those who continue to claim that swing voters and the “middle” will automatically be turned off by the populist/fairness argument would at least try to reckon with such numbers.

* On the horse race, dueling polls: CNN has Obama leading Romney by 52-43 among registered voters; Gallup’s daily tracking debut has Romney by 47-45; Reuters has Obama ahead, 47-43.

* One key CNN finding: Obama leads Romney by 16 points among women, even though the poll was taken after the Hilary Rosen eruption that was supposed to single-handedly wipe away the gender gap.

As I and many others noted last week, the controversy over Rosen hasn’t changed the basic underlying dynamic, which is that Romney has taken a series of positions on issues of actual importance to women that may continue alienating them.

* Still more bad polling for Romney among women from the Post, though some of it was taken before Rosengate:

Relative to Romney, Obama is buoyed by strong support among women: 58 percent of women hold favorable views of the president; 36 percent unfavorable ones. By contrast, Romney is deeply underwater there, with about twice as many women expressing unfavorable as favorable views (52 to 27 percent).

* Also from the Post: “The number of Americans with unfavorable views of him continues to hover near an all-time-high set in late March, with favorable impressions mired around one in three, making him less popular than any recent major party nominee in available Post-ABC polling dating to 1984.”

Key caveats for a good deal of the above findings: Head-to-head numbers don’t matter too much this far out, and Real Clear Politics’ overall polling average shows Obama up by only three.

* As Steve Kornacki notes, Romney’s refusal to reveal which agencies he’d eliminate is particularly absurd in light of his own ongoing claim that Obama is concealing his dark and radical second-term intentions.

* Jamelle Bouie says what must not be said: No, both sides aren’t equally to blame for governmental gridlock and fiscal disaster, and anyone who pretends otherwise is just part of the problem.

* Are gas prices starting to fall? Jonathan Capehart has the latest on a new round of good news. That’s how it’s being greeted in some quarters, anyway.

* Remember that quote I flagged this morning from a GOPer who seemed to suggest his boss would profit from bad national news? The plot has thickened, and it has been mysteriously edited .

* Remember that quote from Ann Romney describing Hilary Rosen’s “attack” on her motherhood as a “birthday gift”? Ms. Romney tries to clean it up in an interview with Diane Sawyer:

“That wasn’t how I meant it,” Ann Romney told Sawyer. “It was a birthday gift to me because I love the fact that we’re talking about this.”

* And Joan Walsh skewers Bill Keller, Third Way, and “centrist” disdain for Obama’s populism, making the rather relevant point that Third Way “exists expressly to pull the Democratic Party to the right.”

What else?

By  |  06:05 PM ET, 04/16/2012

 
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