Friday, February 19, 2016

Last Call For That Poll-Asked Look, Con't

The latest Quinnipiac University national poll has some interesting numbers.

American voters back Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont over Republican candidates by margins of 4 to 10 percentage points in head to head presidential matchups, according to a Quinnipiac University National poll released today. The closest Republican contender is Ohio Gov. John Kasich who trails Sanders 45 - 41 percent.

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton trails or ties leading Republicans in the November face-off, the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University Poll finds.

If former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg jumps into the race as a third party candidate against Sanders and Donald Trump or Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, Bloomberg would hurt Sanders more than either Republican.

Sanders has the highest favorability rating of any candidate and the highest scores for honesty and integrity, for caring about voters' needs and problems and for sharing voters' values. He ties Clinton and Trump on having strong leadership qualities and falls behind Clinton and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush on having the right kind of experience to be president.

"It's certainly Sen. Bernie Sanders' moment. The Vermont firebrand leads all potential GOP rivals in raw numbers and raw emotion with the best scores for favorability and several key character traits," said Tim Malloy, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll.

"The candidate running best against Sanders is Ohio Gov. John Kasich, and he's in fourth place with 6 percent in the Republican presidential pack, unlikely to make it to the main event.

"Sanders has a lackluster 51 percent favorability rating, but that's better than all the rest. Most of the top candidates have negative scores." 

Clinton would edge out both Trump and Bush in a virtual tie and lose to Cruz, Rubio and lose big to Kasich.  Sanders would win against all of them.  Bloomberg however would make the country a tossup between Sanders and Trump, oy vey.

Observations from the crosstabs:

1) Clinton versus Trump?  Clinton indeed wins women overall by 11 points, but Trump wins white women by 9 points.  That's the closest she gets on white women overall. She'd lose white women to Kasich by 20 points.  Where Clinton does well is an overwhelming advantage with Hispanic and especially Black women, but that's not enough to counter her massive disadvantage among white men, ranging from 24 to 33 points.

2) Sanders on the other hand wins white women by 3 points against Trump and Cruz and 2 against Bush, and still gets 77-83% of the black vote.  In other words, Sanders does better with white voters right now, and just as well with black and Hispanic voters in head to head matchups versus the GOP.

3) In other words, black and Hispanic voters will pull for the Ds no matter which candidate they get.  It's white voters who are the issue, and they're actually more comfortable with Sanders.

4) The Sanders camp therefore feels pretty confident that it can retain the Obama coalition among voters of color and increase the number of white voters and win.

5) I don't like where that's going, because that's a prime recipe for taking voters of color, especially black voters, for granted, and slagging us in order to get more white voters.  That may have been the Sanders plan all along, but this is kind of crosstab evidence that supports why the Sanders team seems to be focused exclusively on white voters and ignoring the rest of the Obama coalition, because what are we going to do, vote for Trump?

I'm not sure how reproducible this poll is on a national level, and I would need to see a lot more data saying Sanders is the more electable Democrat, because that flies in the face of everything we've seen so far.

Then again, if Sanders keeps up with stuff like this, he's going to lose anyway.

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders said Thursday that rapper Killer Mike's recent comments that a "uterus doesn't qualify you to be president of the United States" have been "blown out of proportion" by the media covering his race against Hillary Clinton.

The Democratic presidential candidate told reporters traveling with him to Nevada that the rapper was essentially saying that "people should not be voting for candidates based on their gender but what they believe. I think that makes sense."

"No one has ever heard me say, 'Hey guys, let's stand together, vote for a man.' I would never do that, never have," Sanders said. "I think in a presidential race, we look at what a candidate stands for and we vote for the candidate we think can best serve our country."

Ugh.  Seriously, man?  Can we not mansplain the mansplaining?

StupidiNews Focus: What Zee German Knew

We take a closer look at this moning's StupidiNews story finding Volkswagen execs knew about the company's diesel emissions cheating devices back in May 2014, that comes from a NY Times story today by international business reporter Jack Ewing.

Volkswagen internal memos and emails suggest that company executives pursued a strategy of delay and obfuscation with United States regulators after being confronted in early 2014 with evidence that VW diesel vehicles were emitting far more pollutants than allowed.

The documents, first reported on by the German newspaper Bild am Sonntag and since reviewed by The New York Times, could raise the penalties for Volkswagen based on laws requiring public disclosure of problems with potential to affect a company’s stock price. They indicate that top managers knew sooner than they have acknowledged that they could not bring tainted vehicles into compliance with air-quality rules, but led federal and California officials to believe otherwise.

The documents also raise the possibility that Martin Winterkorn, Volkswagen’s chief executive at the time, knew of possible emissions cheating by the company sooner than he has said.

According to the documents reviewed by The Times, a confidant of Mr. Winterkorn wrote to him in May 2014, warning that regulators might accuse the carmaker of using a so-called defeat device — software that recognized when the car was being tested for emissions and activated pollution-control equipment. At other times, the cars produced up to 35 times the allowed amount of nitrogen oxide emissions, which are linked to lung ailments and premature deaths.

It was not until last September, more than a year after the letter of warning to Mr. Winterkorn, that Volkswagen admitted publicly that 11 million diesel vehicles, including about 480,000 Volkswagen cars in the United States, were equipped with defeat devices. The number of cars in the United States has since risen to include about 100,000 Audi and Porsche cars with diesel engines.

Mr. Winterkorn, who resigned on Sept. 23, has said he did not learn of the defeat device until shortly before the company’s public admission. A lawyer for Mr. Winterkorn did not respond to requests for comment. Volkswagen declined to comment on the documents, citing continuing investigations by German prosecutors and internal auditors.
Two people who have held senior positions within Volkswagen in recent years, and who have connections to current and former VW management, confirmed the authenticity of the documents and defended the company’s actions, saying the company had not stonewalled United States officials. The people spoke on condition of anonymity. 

That's kind of a big smoking gun deal if Winterkorn was getting emails about the cheating devices nearly 16 months before he said he had been made aware of the problem.  It's ridiculous to think that the company's CEO wasn't made aware of a project of this scope and magnitude, for cheating devices to be installed in all of its US diesel models for several model years.

Winterkorn is in enough trouble, this report suggesting that he knew more than a year in advance before the story broke means he could be in even more of the stuff, and I don't think Germany's legal system is going to be very kind to him, given EU rules on business ethics.  And that's before the US gets a hold of what's left.

Quite A Syria's War Brewing

As the Russians and Iranians continue to hammer Syrian rebels in Aleppo and cut the city off from Turkey, Ankara is up to its own ends bombing Kurds in Syria (who they see as terrorists) instead of ISIS forces. If Aleppo falls, Bashar Al-Assad consolidates his power and the rebels are effectively done.  The Turks would rather burn everything down rather than have Assad back in power with the Kurds under his protection, so Turkey is ready to throw down in a big way.  That's all bad enough.

This is worse.

Russia has promised to protect Kurdish fighters in Syria in case of a ground offensive by Turkey, a move that would lead to a “big war,” the Syrian group’s envoy to Moscow said in an interview on Wednesday.

“We take this threat very seriously because the ruling party in Turkey is a party of war,” Rodi Osman, head of the Syrian Kurds’ newly-opened representative office said in Kurdish via a Russian interpreter. “Russia will respond if there is an invasion. This isn’t only about the Kurds, they will defend the territorial sovereignty of Syria.”

Conflicting interests in Syria have created a dangerous new phase in the country’s five-year war, even as world powers struggle toimplement a truce agreement. Turkey fears Kurdish gains along its border will morph into an autonomous state and inspire similar ambitions among its own Kurdish minority. But a ground intervention risks conflict with Russia, which backs the Kurds militarily, and would anger the U.S., which sees the group as a major ally in the fight against Islamic State.

Turkey has been shelling Syrian Kurdish forces since the weekend, and Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu blamed them for a bombingin Ankara that killed 28 people on Wednesday.

“We are continuing to liberate our territory and it would go faster if it wasn’t for Turkey,” Osman said. Russian warplanes are providing support for the Kurdish offensive, which is aimed at securing full control of the Turkish border, while Russia has also promised to support the Syrian Kurds’ goal of federal status, he said.

A NATO partner involved in a shooting war with the Russians in Syria.  You can kinda see where this is all going, huh?

Russia has said it is helping the Syrian Kurds militarily and Nikolai Kovalyov, a former head of the Federal Security Service, the main successor to the Soviet KGB, said that Russian jets would bomb Turkish troops if they enter Syria.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said any foreign incursion into Syria would be “illegal” and the Russian response would depend on the situation. Russian airstrikes in northern Syria are succeeding in driving out Turkish-backed rebels, she told a weekly briefing in Moscow on Thursday.

The Syrian Kurds are trying to create a Kurdish autonomous region in northern Syria by uniting two territories separated by about 100 kilometers of land controlled by Islamist rebels, according to Anton Lavrov, an independent Russian military analyst.

“That is the Syrian Kurds’ dream and the Turks’ worst nightmare,” Lavrov said by phone.

Oh it's not just Turkey having nightmares about that, I assure you.  This one could get real nasty, real quick-like. I'm glad President Obama is in charge, because if it was a Republican, we'd be heading for a quagmire that would make Afghanistan look like a boy scout camping trip.


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