Posts tagged with "Vox"

Poll: Biden still leads in Iowa, but Warren and Buttigieg are coming on strong

June 11, 2019

Biden is sliding—but just slightly—in the Iowa polls. Results of a new Des Moines Register/CNN poll suggest that age and political seasoning count for a lot, but that voters are fickle and can easily be enticed by fresh faces and policies.

The poll—conducted by Des Moines-based pollster Ann Selzer—found that Biden support is at 24%; Senator Bernie Sanders, at 16 %, Senator Elizabeth Warren, at 15%, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, at 14%; and Senator. Kamala Harris, at 7%. No other candidate has more than 2% of support.

While Biden still tops the field, his campaign may have reason to be concerned, Vox reported on June 9Back in December, the same poll found his support to be at 32%; but, by March, it had slipped to 27%; and now, he is at 24%— still in first place, but no longer in a clearly dominant position.

And age is a double-edged sword. Some see 76-year-old Biden and 77-year-old Sanders as the Democratic party’s elder statesmen (1%); others (46%) say their age would be a disadvantage; and still others (50%) say it would make no difference, according to the poll results.

It is important to keep in mind that in caucus states, voters’ second (or even third) choices can factor into the final result, Vox points out. If a candidate does not meet the minimum threshold of 15% support in a local precinct, each individual supporter has the opportunity to switch his or her support over to another candidate.

With a field as large as the current one, it is very possible that some caucus participants may well find themselves having to select another candidate to support. Because of this, the Iowa poll gave respondents the option to give three levels of possible support to each candidate: First choice, second choice, or “actively considering.”

When all three tiers of support (by those planning to vote in person) were added together by the pollster, Biden again topped the list of candidates, with 61%, Vox said. However, Warren matched him exactly, with 6% possible support. Three other candidates manage to reach potential support of over 50%: Sanders (at 56%), and Buttigieg and Harris (each of whom had 52%).

Elizabeth Warren, whose proficiency at policy-making has earned her a spotlight, has been gaining gradually among voters: She was at just 8% in December;  and at9%percent in March. But she has now shot up to 15% support overall, in a dead heat with Sanders for the second-place position behind Biden.

“That’s a strong showing for Elizabeth Warren,” Selzer told the Des Moines Register. “It says to me there are people who are paying attention. Again, in a field this big, that’s step one. First, you have to get people to pay attention.”

Pete Buttigieg may be the “phenom” of the race. In March, he was at only 1%; but he is now at 14%, very nearly matching Warren. However, fully 28% of those polled say that his sexual preference would be a disadvantage; while 62% say it makes no difference.

Another factor that may surface during the campaign is the fact that all of the top-runners at the moment are white. Only 25%of those polled see that as an advantage, while 12% say it’s a disadvantage and 56% say it makes no difference.

Research contact: @DMRegister 

Trump: ‘I had nothing to do with Russia helping me to get elected’

May 31, 2019

President Donald Trump veered off from his “No collusion!” tweets on May 30 to refer to Russia President Vladimir Putin’s admitted preference for his candidacy during the 2016 U.S. elections, Vox reports.

The morning after Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s media event—at which he resigned from the Department of Justice and took the opportunity to inform Americans that, if he had thought the president was innocent of obstruction, he would have said so—Trump engaged in one of his rambling tweetstorms.

“Russia, Russia, Russia! That’s all you heard at the beginning of this Witch Hunt Hoax,” the president tweeted on May 30. “And now Russia has disappeared because I had nothing to do with Russia helping me to get elected. It was a crime that didn’t exist.”

In other words, Vox notes, Trump was saying, “The Kremlin tried to help me win, but I didn’t coordinate with them.”

Just an hour later, however, he told reporters outside the White House that Russia didn’t have anything to do with helping him win, contradicting his own tweet. “I got me elected. Russia didn’t help me at all,” the president said.

Still, the tweet was the first time that Trump implied that Russia had facilitated his win in 2016. He repeatedly has supported the story that the Kremlin did not aim to sway the election in his favor.

“I will tell you that President Putin was extremely strong and powerful in his denial today,” Trump said alongside the Russian leader at their summit in Helsinki last July.

Research contact: @voxdotcom

By 85-8 vote, Senate passes disaster aid package—including $1.4 billion for Puerto Rico

May 28, 2019

After six months of contentious infighting, the Senate finally has voted 85-8—with all of the “nays” from the Republicans—to approve a deal on disaster aid, designating $19.1 billion in relief to millions of Americans who have been waiting for help in the wake of devastating hurricanes, wildfires, and floods, Vox reports.

And that includes an allocation of $1.4 billion for Puerto Rico, which has been waiting for additional assistance for the more-than-8 months that have elapsed since Hurricane Maria devastated the island.

While disaster aid hasn’t always been a political flash point, Vox notes that the passage of this package has proven to be “especially challenging, given roadblocks thrown up by President Donald Trump.

Initially, the president balked at giving Puerto Rico any extra funding except $600 million in nutritional assistance— spurring months of debate on the subject. Then, he insisted that the bill should include billions of dollars for the border,

The final disaster aid package, much like the funding that passed after the government shutdown earlier this year, does not really address either of Trump’s demands, the news outlet says. Funding for border aid has been completely eliminated, while financing for Puerto Rico has been increased.

The House is expected to pass the legislation on May 24, and President Trump already has agreed to sign it, according to Senate Appropriations Chair Richard Shelby (R-Alabama), who spoke with the president via phone on Thursday.

Disaster aid is just proving to be the latest battleground where Trump caused major problems by inserting himself into the fight — with little to show for it.

The delays on disaster aid have had major consequences: In addition to the fact that it’s been more than a year since Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico, it also has been seven months since Hurricane Michael hit Florida, and two months since flooding destroyed towns in Iowa and Missouri.

What’s more, a mid-March “bomb cyclone” caused nearly $1.5 billion in damage in Nebraska, alone; and California is still recovering from wildfires. In the South, hurricanes, floods, tornadoes, and late freezes have all taken a toll on the agricultural industry and surrounding businesses.

Research contact: @voxdotcom

New Trump administration proposal excludes 755,000 Americans from food stamp program

December 24, 2018

Republicans in Congress are trying to ensure that indigent Americans remain at the bottom of the nation’s food chain.

In a USA Today op-ed published on December 20, the Secretary of the Department of Agriculture, Sonny Perdue, noted that the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) “allows millions of people who could work to continue to receive” food stamp benefits.

But all of that is about to change: “Today, at the direction of President Donald J. Trump, we are taking steps to restore integrity to SNAP,” Perdue wrote, “and move people toward self-sufficiency.”

In 2016, there were 3.8 million  such SNAP participants (about 8.8% of all participants)—with 2.8 million (or almost 74%) of them not working, Perdue noted, claiming, “This is unacceptable to most Americans and belies common sense, particularly when employment opportunities are as plentiful as they currently are.”

Perdue’s proposed USDA rule would take aim at “able-bodied adults without dependents (ABAWDs),” ages 18 to 49, according to a report by Vox. Currently, this group must work or participate in an employment program for at least 20 hours a week in order to receive food stamps for more than three months over a three-year period.

However, until now, states have been able to waive this time limit under certain conditions—e.g., if their unemployment rate exceeds 10%, or if the rate is 20% above the national average in certain regions. Thirty-six states and territories currently have waivers for some adults without dependents.

Under the new proposal, eligibility for waivers would be greatly limited. Perdue explained, “Our proposed rule limits the availability of waivers for states and promotes work and self-sufficiency in the SNAP program. The proposal restricts waivers to areas where the unemployment rate exceeds 7%, which is when jobs are truly hard to find. It also eliminates the practice of some states which “gerrymander” multiple counties together that are not otherwise connected economically in order to maximize the reach of waiver requests. This practice leads to counties receiving waivers that would not independently qualify.”

As a result, of the 2.8 million SNAP participants who currently are not employed, 755,000 would lose SNAP benefits over three years if this rule becomes law.

According to Perdue, “… these regulatory changes by USDA will reward more Americans with the virtue of work, save hardworking taxpayers $15 billion over ten years, and give President Trump comfort enough to support a Farm Bill he might otherwise have opposed.”

However, while Republicans assert that benefits such as SNAP discourage people from working, according to the researchers who study SNAP, there’s no good evidence that it acts as a work disincentive. And there is also no evidence that imposing more stringent work requirements will “cure” poverty.

As Sarah Reinhardt, a food systems and health analyst for the Food and Environment Program at the Union of Concerned Scientists, said in a statement: “The administration’s insistence on restricting access to food assistance, despite strong opposition from experts and ample evidence of the program’s effectiveness, is simply mean-spirited.”

Research contact: julia.belluz@voxmedia.com

Budgetary bluster: Trump threatens government shutdown, if Congress rejects $5B for wall

November 29, 2018

President Donald Trump is throwing his considerable weight around again: He is calling for no less than $5 billion in funding to build the border wall. He refuses to negotiate—and has gone on record saying that he is willing to instigate a partial government shutdown—as the clock ticks down to Congress’s December 7 deadline for the FY2019 budget bill.

What’s more, the president repeatedly has threatened to close the entire southern border, if he is not satisfied, tweeting on November 26, “…We will close the Border permanently if need be. Congress, fund the WALL!”

The House and the Senate still have to pass seven spending bills to fund multiple government agencies, including the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Justice, and the State Department, Vox reported on November 28. But Trump has renewed a push for border wall funding, throwing a major wrench into these negotiations. What’s more, the president has said, if he does not get the money, the Democrats are to blame.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) had previously been optimistic about closing the year with no drama, but a veto threat over wall funding could make that tougher to do. Because these are spending bills that require 60 votes to pass, Democrats have a fair amount of leverage.

And they don’t appear to be backing down easily, Vox said.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-New York) signaled Tuesday, the news outlet said, that he would support no more than the already allocated $1.6 billion for funding the wall in the Senate version of spending legislation.

They haven’t spent a penny of the $1.3 billion they requested in last year’s budget .… We’re not negotiating in the press,” Schumer told reporters.

According to the Vox report, Democrats also are standing firm over issues related to protecting the Mueller investigation and addressing the citizenship question on the 2020 Census questionnaire—matters they would much prefer to see tackled in the bill.

Senate Appropriations Chair Richard Shelby (R-Alabama) has characterized wall funding as the “linchpin” of current talks, telling reporters the $5 billion figure is a “red line” for Trump.

If Congress is unable to reach an agreement that gets closer to this figure, Trump said that he could—and would—veto whatever bill comes across his desk.

Research contact: Li Zhouli@vox.com

Paul Ryan: “No question that Russia interfered”

July 18, 2018

Despite his continued assertions that there is “no evidence of collusion with Russia” and his support of California Representative Devin Nunes’ “undercover investigation” of the Russia probe, House Speaker Paul Ryan has issued a statement slamming President Donald Trump’s refusal to admit that Moscow interfered in the 2016 election, Vox reports.

“There is no question that Russia interfered in our election and continues attempts to undermine democracy here and around the world,” Ryan said. “That is not just the finding of the American intelligence community, but also the House Committee on Intelligence. The president must appreciate that Russia is not our ally.”

Ryan’s comments came in response to the press conference that marked the end of a two-hour private meeting in Helsinki, Finland, between President Trump and Russia’s President Vladimir Putin.

At that meeting with the media, President Trump flatly answered a question from the Associated Press on the Kremlin’s role in the 2016 presidential election, “I have asked President Putin. He just said it’s not Russia. I will say this: I don’t see any reason why it would be.”

The POTUS noted that U.S. intelligence leaders—including Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats—“came to me … and said they think it’s Russia.”

While he said he had “great confidence” in U.S. intelligence, President Trump implied that he trusted Putin more. “…I will tell you that President Putin was extremely strong and powerful in his denial today.”

Ryan’s rebuke to those comments came as a surprise. Throughout a week that included an ornery meeting with NATO and an interview with The Sun that criticized Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May, the House Speaker had repeatedly said that the president should not be bashed while he was overseas.

But it seems Trump’s shocking performance in Helsinki was beyond the pale—even for Ryan, Vox reported.

Research contact: karoun.demirjian@washpost.com

Before meeting with Putin, Trump clarifies, ‘Who’s your daddy?’

July 17, 2018

Who’s the best deal-maker and negotiator, bar none? During his presidential campaign, Donald Trump liked to say it was him, but, according to a July 16 report by Vox, the POTUS “gave away the game” even before his two-hour summit with Russia’s President Vladimir Putin began.

About four hours before the meeting in Helsinki, Finland, yesterday was set to start, President Trump took to Twitter, saying, “Our relationship with Russia has NEVER been worse thanks to many years of U.S. foolishness and stupidity and now, the Rigged Witch Hunt!—referring to Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into possible Trump campaign collusion during the 2016 election.

His point was obvious: America is to blame for its antagonistic relationship with the Kremlin, not Russia.  And 40 minutes before the meeting, Russia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergei Lavrov responded to Trump’s tweet with two words: “We agree.”

That’s stunning, said Vox. Noting, “Trump and Russia are now—very publicly—on the same page about why they believe ties between the two countries are so poor. That could serve as a huge propaganda win for Russia, which has spent decades bashing the US for Moscow’s economic and political problems.”

Research contact: alex.ward@vox.com

Digital publishers see the future—and it is streaming video

May 2, 2018

Digital publishers are doubling down on new TV-like video programming— specifically with streaming services, like Netflix, as well as with linear TV networks—Axios reported on May 1.

Indeed, a Nielsen Total Audience Report found that, as of June 2017, 69.5 million U.S. TV households owned at least one Internet-enabled device capable of streaming content to the television set.

And, as streaming video becomes an increasingly integral part of home entertainment, publishers are seeing a new way to reach their target audiences. The latest developments, according to Axios, include the following:

  • The New York Times announced on April 30 that it will turn its medical column, “Diagnosis,”’ into a Netflix series.
  • It joins Buzzfeed, Vox and Fusion Media Group, which all have inked deals with Netflix this year, for programs varying in length. (Buzzfeed shows will run roughly 15 minutes per episode.)
  • Conde Nast has distributed its original content series, “The Fashion Fund,” on Amazon since 2016.

The social media sites also are turning their attention to show-like content, pushing publishers to create content partnerships on their video channels, like Facebook Watch and Snapchat Discover.

While monetization opportunities vary by platform, advertisers see premium on-demand video as a solid branding opportunity. It has “the potential to create deeper context while building communities for brands who go all in with this approach,” Laura Correnti, EVP of marketing and communications strategy agency Giant Spoon, told Axios.

Research contact: news@axios.com