As we've highlighted, the dangerous effort to weaken critical patent protections for U.S. pharmaceutical…
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Image of the Day: Private Sector Pharmaceutical Investment Propels Innovation

As we've highlighted, the dangerous effort to weaken critical patent protections for U.S. pharmaceutical innovators often minimizes the role of private investment and exaggerates the role of public funding.  This offers a critical corrective at a moment when American drug and vaccine innovation is more important than ever:

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="530"] The Critical Role of Private Pharmaceutical Investment[/caption]…[more]

May 14, 2021 • 09:16 AM

Liberty Update

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2012: Electoral Map Tighter Than One Might Assume Print
By Timothy H. Lee
Thursday, March 31 2011
Today, after three years of record budget deficits, higher unemployment, gasoline prices almost twice as high as when he entered office, international uncertainty and a controversial (to put it charitably) healthcare law, can one think of a single swing state in which Obama is stronger than in November 2008 when he was the fresh candidate of “Hope and Change?”

This week, Barack Obama’s approval descended to a new low according to a Quinnipiac survey. 

In its poll of registered voters, only 42% now approve of Obama’s performance versus 48% who disapprove, down from a 46%/46% split just one month ago.  Some 50% of respondents say he does not merit reelection, whereas only 41% say he does.  Because polls of “registered voters” tend to skew more liberal than polls of “likely voters,” moreover, the current electoral picture is probably even worse for Obama than that Quinnipiac survey suggests. 

More broadly, according to Gallup, Obama’s approval trails by more than 12% the average rating for presidents at this point in their tenure.  In fact, Obama hasn’t equaled the historical presidential approval average since May 2009, just 100 days into office. 

Despite Obama’s persistently weak popularity, however, he maintains a curious aura of strength among political observers.  In the words of veteran columnist Byron York, “...we’re seeing the emergence of a new conventional wisdom:  Barack Obama will be very tough to beat.” 

Setting aside ephemeral polling data, however, the 2012 electoral map calls that conventional wisdom into question. 

Consider that in 2008, for all of his supposed dominance, Obama flipped just nine states won by George W. Bush in 2004.  In descending electoral weight, those states were Florida, Ohio, North Carolina, Virginia, Indiana, Colorado, Iowa, New Mexico and Nevada.  Obama also won one of Nebraska’s apportioned votes, meaning the Obama/Bush differential totaled 113 electoral votes. 

In many of those states, moreover, Obama’s victory margin was very close.  North Carolina’s differential was 0.4%, Indiana’s was 0.9%, Florida’s was 2.5% and Ohio’s was just 4.0%.  Those four states alone constituted 73 of Obama’s 365 electoral votes, with 270 needed to win.  Switch those four states, and we’re looking at a 292 to 246 margin. 

Also consider that 2008 was a disastrously weak year for Republicans.  John McCain was hardly a candidate to excite GOP passions, given his notorious opposition to tax rate reductions, the McCain/Feingold free speech restrictions he championed and his global warming apostasy.  Additionally, eight controversial years of the Bush presidency had exhausted Republicans, whereas Democratic enthusiasm rose to frenzy levels.  Even against those headwinds, McCain still led Obama in polls until the September 2008 financial sector shock. 

Today, after three years of record budget deficits, higher unemployment, gasoline prices almost twice as high as when he entered office, international uncertainty and a controversial (to put it charitably) healthcare law, can one think of a single swing state in which Obama is stronger than in November 2008 when he was the fresh candidate of “Hope and Change?” 

Virginia is a traditionally “red” state, and hadn’t voted for the Democratic presidential candidate since 1964 before siding with Obama by a relatively modest margin.  Just one year later, it reversed course and replaced Democratic governor (and Democratic National Committee chairman) Tim Kaine with conservative Republican Bob McDonnell.  In 2010, Virginia voters swept Democrats out in favor of Republicans at the Congressional and state legislative levels. 

North Carolina, a similarly “red” state, has proceeded since 2008 to elect Republican legislative majorities for the first time since 1870s Reconstruction.  Ohio also cast its incumbent Democratic governor out in favor of Republican John Kasich and Republican legislative majorities.  In Florida, voters preferred Tea Party conservative Marco Rubio by 29% over his Democratic opponent for Senate. 

Also consider the matter of Electoral College reapportionment following the 2010 census. 

According to some projections, states that voted for McCain in 2008 will gain a net six electoral votes.  Texas gains four, and Arizona, Georgia, South Carolina and Utah gain one apiece, while Louisiana and Missouri lose one apiece.  As for Obama states, Florida gains two, and Nevada and Washington gain one apiece.  Ohio and New York both lose two votes, while Illinois, Iowa, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey and Pennsylvania lose one vote apiece. 

So for the sake of argument, assume the hypothetical scenario above, that current political trends continue and the states narrowly won by Obama – Florida, Ohio, North Carolina, Virginia, Indiana and Nebraska’s single vote – return to their historical norm and vote Republican.  Along with Electoral College shifts following the 2010 census, Obama’s 365 electoral votes in 2008 suddenly fall to 272.  Because 270 electoral votes are required to win the White House, even a single additional state switching from blue to red in 2012 will cost him the election. 

If Mitt Romney wins the GOP nomination, perhaps New Hampshire’s four electoral votes?  If Tim Pawlenty wins the nomination, perhaps Minnesota’s ten? 

Regardless of hypotheticals, the bottom line is that three years of the Obama presidency have reduced his popularity, not increased it.  Along with population shifts and changing political tides, we may be about to witness a more interesting 2012 race than most people currently assume. 

Quiz Question   
What was the last year in which gold was used as the basis for valuing the U.S. dollar?
More Questions
Notable Quote   
 
"My colleague Casey Mulligan of the University of Chicago and I predicted in the Wall Street Journal three months ago that the $300 per week extra unemployment benefits would mean 5 to 6 million people not going back to work because the government was paying them more not to work. The Left laughed at this prediction. Now, we see record jobs going unfilled, 8.1 million, even when there are 9 million…[more]
 
 
—Stephen Moore, Co-Founder of the Committee to Unleash Prosperity and Former Member of President Trump’s Economic Recovery Task Force
— Stephen Moore, Co-Founder of the Committee to Unleash Prosperity and Former Member of President Trump’s Economic Recovery Task Force
 
Liberty Poll   

Which one of the following do you view as the greatest threat to the U.S. economy as we recover from the coronavirus disruption?