Voters Increase Support For Stem Cell Research Following Michael J. Fox Ad

It’s one thing to oppose embryonic stem cell research in principle. It becomes harder when the illnesses it might lead to cures for involve real people. A study this week showed that Michael J. Fox’s ad backing stem cell research increased support for the research. From the press release:
A new national study revealed that American voters’ support for stem cell research increased after they viewed an ad featuring Michael J. Fox in which he expresses his support for candidates who are in favor of stem cell research.

The study was conducted among 955 Americans by HCD Research and Muhlenberg College Institute of Public Opinion (MCIPO) during October 24-25, to obtain Americans’ views on the stem cell research before and after they watched the ad.

The participants included self-reported Democrats, Republicans and Independents. They were asked to view the ad and respond to pre-and post-viewing questions regarding their opinions and emotions concerning the ad.

Among the study findings:

  • Among all respondents, support for stem cell research increased from 78% prior to viewing the ad, to 83% after viewing the ad. Support among Democrats increased from 89% to 93%, support among Republicans increased from 66% to 68% and support among Independents increased from 80% to 87% after viewing the ad.
  • The level of concern regarding a candidate’s view on stem cell research increased among all respondents from 57% prior to viewing the ad to 70% after viewing the ad. Among Democrats, the level of concern increased from 66% to 83% and Republicans’ level of concern increased from 50% to 60%. Independents’ level of concern increased from 58% to 69%.
  • The perception that the November election is relevant to the U.S. policy on stem cell research increased across all voter segments, with an increase of 9% among all respondents pre- and post-viewing from 62% to 71%. The Democrats’ perception increased from 75% to 83%, Republicans’ perception increased from 55% to 62% and Independents’ perception increased from 60% to 68% pre- and post-viewing.
  • The advertisement elicited similar emotional responses from all responders with all voter segments indicating that they were “not bored and attentive” followed by “sorrowful, thankful, afraid and regretful.”
  • The vast majority of responders indicated that the advertisement was believable with 76% of all responders reporting that it was “extremely believable” or “believable.” Among party affiliation, 93% of Democrats 57% of Republicans and 78% of Independents indicated it “extremely believable” or “believable.”

Quote of the Day

This quote has special significance as it was emailed to me this morning by a reader expressing her outrage over finding out that The Democratic Daily was trying to prevent me from speaking out against anti-Semitism, and that some there continue to attack me for pointing out the need to address this subject. This quote summarizes everything we have been arguing about:

All that is needed for the forces of evil to succeed is for enough good men to remain silent.

–Edmund Burke

Kerry and Kennedy Give Additional $1 Million to Democrats

The Boston Globe reports that Senators Kerry and Kennedy are contributing $1 million to Democratic campaign organizations:

Sens. Edward M. Kennedy and John Kerry tapped their sizable campaign kitties on Wednesday to donate an additional $1 million to the committees aiming to elect a Democratic Congress.

The Massachusetts Democrats donated $500,000 apiece, half to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and half to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. Each works on behalf of the party to elect members to the respective chambers.

Democrats believe they have a chance this fall to regain majority control in each chamber.

“Sen. Kennedy believes that November 7th is a critical opportunity to reverse the damage done by the Bush Administration and put this country back on track,” said Kennedy spokeswoman Stephanie Cutter.

Kerry spokesman David Wade added: “It’s crunch time and he’s going the extra mile with Sen. Kennedy to make sure Democrats have the chance to put America on the right track and reverse the radically wrong course these Republicans have taken our country.”

Rep. Rahm Emanuel, chairman of the DCCC, heralded the donations.

“These contributions show that Democrats are united behind the idea of a new direction and will fight everyday to make sure that our candidates have the resources they need to win on November 7,” the Illinois Democrat said in a statement. “Both Senators Kennedy and Kerry have been tireless campaigners for House candidates and I join all of our Democratic challengers and incumbents in thanking them for their continued support.”

Kerry donated $1.015 million to the Senate committee in 2004 and also has previously given $500,000 to the House committee, while Kennedy had given $1 million to the Senate committee. Kennedy also has raised over $9 million for his fellow Democrats this cycle, while Kerry has raised over $11 million.

Guardian Reports CIA Tried to Silence EU on Torture Flights

The Guardian reports that the CIA tried to get Europeans to keep quiet about the “torture flights.”

The CIA tried to persuade Germany to silence EU protests about the human rights record of one of America’s key allies in its clandestine torture flights programme, the Guardian can reveal.

According to a secret intelligence report, the CIA offered to let Germany have access to one of its citizens, an al-Qaida suspect being held in a Moroccan cell. But the US secret agents demanded that in return, Berlin should cooperate and “avert pressure from EU” over human rights abuses in the north African country. The report describes Morocco as a “valuable partner in the fight against terrorism”. . .

After the CIA offered a deal to Germany, EU countries adopted an almost universal policy of downplaying criticism of human rights records in countries where terrorist suspects have been held. They have also sidestepped questions about secret CIA flights partly because of growing evidence of their complicity.

The disclosure is among fresh revelations about how the CIA flew terrorist suspects to locations where they were tortured, and Britain’s knowledge of the practice known as “secret rendition”. They are contained in Ghost Plane, by Stephen Grey, the journalist who first revealed details of secret CIA flights in the Guardian a year ago. More than 200 CIA flights have passed through Britain, records show.

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Granholm Extends Lead to Double Digits

Dick DeVos had us nervous for a while when he led Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm in the polls as a consequence of record spending on political ads. We remained confident that Michigan voters would never elect someone as extreme as him once they heard more about him, and the latest polls suggest this is the case. The latest Rasmussen Poll shows Granholm leading DeVoss 53% to 42%. This double-digit lead is up from a seven percent lead earlier in the month.

NY Times Editorial Shows Election Nationalized

Republicans are hoping that local pollitics trumps over national issues. After all, who would want to run on their record? This year, especially in the northeast where the last remaining liberal or moderate Republicans survive, many votes will be cast along party lines as the election has been nationalized. The New York Times has an editorial demonstrating this trend. They start with the reasons why Republicans should not remain in control of Congress:

The most fundamental rule of democracy is that when elected officials fail repeatedly, voters throw them out of office. If the polls are anywhere near accurate, most Americans have concluded that the Republican Party — particularly the Republican majority in the House of Representatives — has failed egregiously. On Iraq. On ethics. On oversight of a reckless White House. But that conviction sometimes comes into conflict with the feeling that a good representative should be rewarded with re-election, without regard to party.

The editorial looks specifically as Chris Shays. They have many favorable comments about him, but that is not enough to justify an endorsement if it means helping the Republicans remain in control of the House:

Now it is time to draw the line. Mr. Shays may be a beacon of integrity, but if he is re-elected, he will vote to continue House control by a party that has repeatedly sold out the country to special-interest lobbyists. His position on Iraq, which has gone through tortuous re-evaluations, now seems basically sensible. But if he is re-elected, he will support a Republican leadership that has refused to question even the most ruinous decisions by George Bush, Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld about the conduct of American foreign policy.

Mr. Shays has been a good congressman, but not good enough to overcome the fact that his re-election would help empower a party that is long overdue for a shakeup. This decision is painful, but not difficult, given the high caliber of his opponent. With due respect for Mr. Shays’s service, we strongly endorse Diane Farrell for Congress.

Generals Call for Democratic Victories

Republicans love to characterize Democrats as being anti-military, but not everyone in the military sees it that way. Salon quotes two retired generals as seeing a need for Democrats to take control of at least one House of Congress to provide oversite of the Bush Administration’s failed policies:

Two retired senior Army generals, who served in Iraq and previously voted Republican, are now openly endorsing a Democratic takeover of Congress. The generals, and an active-duty senior military official, told Salon in separate interviews that they believe a Democratic victory will help reverse course from what they consider to be a disastrous Bush administration policy in Iraq. The two retired generals, Maj. Gen. John Batiste and Maj. Gen. Paul Eaton, first openly criticized the handling of the war last spring, when they called for the resignation of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.

“The best thing that can happen right now is for one or both of our houses to go Democratic so we can have some oversight,” Batiste, who led the Army’s 1st Infantry Division in Iraq in 2004 and 2005, told Salon. Batiste describes himself as a “lifelong Republican.” But now, he said, “It is time for a change.”

Eaton, who was in charge of training the Iraqi military from 2003 to 2004, agrees that Democratic control of Congress could be the best way to wrest control from the Bush administration and steer the United States away from a gravely flawed strategy in Iraq. “The way out that I see is to hand the House and the Senate to the Democrats and get this thing turned around,” Eaton explained, adding that such sentiment is growing among retired and active-duty military leaders. “Most of us see two more years of the same if the Republicans stay in power,” he said. He also noted, “You could not have tortured me enough to vote for Mr. Kerry or Mr. Gore, but I’m not at all thrilled with who I did vote for.”

An active-duty senior military official who also served in Iraq said that, among a surprising number of his otherwise “very conservative” colleagues, there is hope that Democrats will gain control of Congress. “I will tell you, in the circles I talk to, the only way to enable or enact change is to change the leadership,” he said.

David Brooks on What is To Come Next

David Brooks avoids the usual partisan battles, and therefore once again presents some things worth thinking about in today’s column. He notes, “Between 1932 and 1968, liberalism dominated American politics. The big accomplishments were liberal accomplishments — Social Security, Medicare, the civil rights movement.” In contrast he believes that between 1980 and 2006 conservativism was dominent. He also sees other eras, such as the 1970’s and the immediate future, as periods in which neither philosophy dominates:

That’s clear not only because Republicans could lose their majorities, but for several other reasons. First, conservatives have exhausted their agenda. They have little new left to propose and have lost their edge on issues like fiscal discipline and foreign policy. Second, conservatives are beset by scandals, the kind of institutional decay that afflicts movements at the end of their political lives. Third, the Reagan coalition is splintering, with the factions going off in wildly different directions.

Fourth, there is no viable orthodox conservative candidate for the 2008 Republican presidential nomination. Orthodox conservatives like Allen, Frist and Santorum are fading, and only heterodox figures like McCain, Giuliani and Romney are rising.

If you look at the political landscape, identification with the Republican Party is falling but identification with the Democratic Party is not rising. Instead, there is a spike in the number of people who do not identify with either. People correctly perceive that neither party has a coherent agenda this year.