April 23

* A New York Times poll of four Southern states finds that even there, more voters want their representatives to work to improve the law than support getting rid of it, the position of every 2014 GOP candidate:

Despite strong dislike of President Obama’s handling of health care, a majority of people in three Southern states – Kentucky, Louisiana and North Carolina – would rather that Congress improve his signature health care law than repeal and replace it, according to a New York Times Upshot/Kaiser Family Foundation poll.

The poll also found that a majority of Kentucky residents – and a plurality in a fourth state, Arkansas — said they thought the health care marketplace in their state was working well, even as they expressed strong disapproval of the health care law. More than twice as many Kentuckians say their state exchange is working well than say it is not.

Mitch McConnell would repeal Kentucky Kynect, which has signed up more than 400,000 people. Can we say there are problems with the GOP repeal stance yet?

* Meanwhile, the Koch-backed Americans for Prosperity — which is advocating for repeal — has now spent $35 million and counting.

* Meanwhile, a new Americans for Prosperity ad against Colorado senator Mark Udall shows Udall and President Obama looking upset, presumably over how terrible the Affordable Care Act is. The problem is that it was taken just after the two met with victims’ families in the wake of the Aurora theater shooting.

* Republicans are now criticizing the ACA on the grounds that it hasn’t provided insurance to enough of America’s uninsured. Jonathan Cohn has a good piece explaining that calling this hypocrisy barely begins to get at the problem.

Not only have they fought tooth and nail against the expansion of Medicaid, and voted 50 times to repeal the law, they’ve repeatedly voted for Paul Ryan’s budgets, which would slash Medicaid and leave millions more without insurance.

* Kevin Drum tells Democrats that trying to run away from the ACA is a sucker’s game:

The only way to turn this around is not to distance yourself from Obamacare, but to try and convince a piece of the electorate that Obamacare isn’t such a bad deal after all. You won’t convince everyone, but you don’t need to. You just need to persuade the 5 or 10 percent who are mildly opposed to Obamacare that it’s working better than they think. That might get the number of voters who would “never” vote for an Obamacare supporter down from the low 50s (Arkansas, Louisiana, North Carolina) to the mid 40s (Kentucky). And that might be enough to eke out a victory.

Given that all the news on the ACA has been good lately, and that there’s over six months until election day, that doesn’t sound like such a crazy idea.

* Jonathan Capehart argues that black voters could rescue President Obama if they got to the polls in sufficient numbers this fall. “And that’s why I have been urging African American voters in particular to take the 2014 ballot as seriously as they took the ballots in 2008 and 2012.”

* Aaron Blake lays out some of the numbers behind Capehart’s argument as it relates to the battle for the Senate.

* Sonia Sotomayor’s dissent in the affirmative action case the Supreme Court decided yesterday was substantially longer than the decision itself. Adam Serwer has a very good piece examining Sotomayor’s rebuke to Chief Justice John Roberts, who seems to believe that if we all pretend racism no longer exists, then it will disappear forever.

Roberts’s argument that affirmative action, rather than racism, reinforces those ‘crippling thoughts’ is all the more remarkable given that Sotomayor sits on the court with a fellow Justice who once belonged to a group that would have barred her from attending Princeton.

* That New York Times polling already has Republicans in “unskewing” mode. Jonathan Bernstein had some useful advice for how you should read polls to help you through the confusion.

* And Brian Beutler warns us: More polls like that and we’ll be getting a whole lot more unskewing tantrums. — gs

* Liberal megadonor Tom Steyer, who is trying to elevate the importance of climate change, says he’s nothing like the Koch brothers.

“Their policies line up perfectly with their pocketbooks, and that’s not true for us,” he said. “What we are doing is we are trying to stand up for ideas and principles that we think are incredibly important but have nothing to do with our incomes or assets.”

* Senator Kay Hagan is showing that she’s going to be hitting her opponent Thom Tillis hard on the minimum wage, particularly since Tillis has said it’s a “dangerous idea.” Look for this to be central in North Carolina and in red state Senate battles.

* And get this: Rand Paul says that the GOP may have been overselling voter fraud adding that restrictions on early voting are not a good idea. This guy could be an interesting presidential candidate, but I’m not sure what party he thinks he’s running in.

What else?