* NBC’s First Read crew reports on a poll taken by the pollsters who do NBC/WSJ polling:
The poll shows that the health-care law is still unpopular (34% say they support it, versus 45% who oppose it). [But] only 28% of respondents believe the law should be totally eliminated; 54% say it should be fixed; and 17% say the law should be kept in place as is. If you wanted to know why many Republicans are beginning to back away from repeal, here’s your answer.
Good to see some high profile media folks noting that Republicans are backing away from repeal. It’s a storyline that is getting very little attention.
Republicans can’t attract enough minorities to consistently capture the White House. Democrats can’t win enough whites to consistently control Congress.
Read the whole thing.
* However, Dem pollster Stan Greenberg runs through the reasons he thinks predictions of a GOP year in 2014 are way overstated.
All in all, this was a fairly strong report, particularly if the weather is holding back the economy. Many economic analysts predicted that 2014 would finally be the year the economy kicks into second gear. That optimism stemmed from the Murray-Ryan budget deal, which reduced the fiscal drag on the economy. Up until now, that did not seem to be the case. Now, it might just be happening.
The dominant factor in 2014 could be the economy. Of course, if the recovery remains sluggish, that works against Dems.
* Brian Beutler makes an important point: Republicans are probably going to win seats no matter what, so it makes strategic sense for them to pretend Obamacare is the reason why, even if it isn’t. Note:
The Republicans are going to make gains in the Senate this cycle almost no matter what. If you’re a Republican and you know that in advance, the smart thing to do is treat a single issue as if it’s the decisive one of the campaign, everywhere, in every race. That way when it’s over you can argue that the voters vindicated your position, even if they didn’t. You can claim a mandate, even if one doesn’t exist. And you can safely bet that the political media will swallow it whole.
* Relatedly, Ned Resnikoff has a useful timeline of the debate over Keystone, and a good explainer for why this decision will be so important: It could help define the climate debate for years, signaling how willing Obama is to antagonize opponents of climate action.
* Interesting move by Teresa Trich, who goes back and finds quotes showing that at least 75 years ago, Franklin Delano Roosevelt debunked all the leading arguments still being made today against the minimum wage.
* Robert Schlesinger has a good reminder that the real problem with Paul Ryan’s “brown bag lunch” story is the larger ideology it represents, as well as its assumptions about liberalism that are completely detached from reality.
* Oy: Jamelle Bouie on the conspicuous lack of minority outreach at the Conservative Political Action Conference, and on the problems with the few-and-far-between gestures towards minorities that did take place there.
* Elise Foley has a useful big picture survey of the poblems with our broken immigration system, why they persist, and why nothing may get done about them anytime soon. As Foley aptly summarizes: “It’s all pretty messed up.” Indeed.
* And your sorely needed Friday comic relief, via Steve Benen: John McCain versus John McCain on whether the Cold War is over.