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Reading the US midterm election tea leaves
Reading the US Midterm Election Tea Leaves | US Politics In :60 | GZERO Media

Reading the US midterm election tea leaves

Jon Lieber, head of Eurasia Group's coverage of political and policy developments in Washington, DC shares his perspective on US politics.

What is polling telling us three weeks before the midterm elections?

Public opinion polling is taking election watchers on quite an exciting ride this year, from showing Republicans with a massive advantage early in the year, to demonstrating a surge and support for Democrats over the summer. Most election watchers think that surge is fading now in the final weeks before the election. But today, we wanted to focus on a few numbers that matter for forecasting the election results.

But first is the generic congressional ballot, which asks voters which party they would prefer to vote for in an upcoming election. If you have to look at one indicator to make a forecast about congressional elections in the US, this is it. Particularly in the House of Representatives. This indicator has shown Republicans with an unusual advantage for most of this year, which they lost over the summer as abortion climbed in importance for voters. While Democrats lead in this indicator right now by about half a percentage point, because of the way districts are drawn, they would need to have a several-point lead in order to be thought of as favorites in taking the House. So this is telling us that the general environment is good for Republicans at the moment.

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What do Russians really think of the war?
Levada Center's Lev Gudkov: What Do Russians Really Think of the War? | GZERO Media | GZERO Media

What do Russians really think of the war?

When Vladimir Putin took the decision to send his armies into Ukraine, he claimed to be acting on behalf of the Russian people. Defending them, he said, from the threat of “Nazism.”

But after two weeks of war — or the “special military operation,” as it’s called in Russia — how do Russians feel about what’s being done in their name?

According to Lev Dmitrievich Gudkov, director of the Moscow-based Levada Center, the last independent pollster in Russia, some 60% of Russians currently support the invasion, while only a quarter oppose it.

But given the increased censorship and tightly controlled Kremlin narrative, can polls even be trusted? We sat down with Gudkov to discuss that question, along with how the population is responding to the country’s sudden isolation and economic crisis, and what it all may mean for Vladimir Putin in the future.

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Republican National Convention 2020: Trump's White House speech & other unusual plans
Republican National Convention 2020: Non-Traditional Plans | US Politics :60 | GZERO Media

Republican National Convention 2020: Trump's White House speech & other unusual plans

Watch as Eurasia Group's Jon Lieber previews the RNC 2020:

The Republicans are meeting this week for their convention, a mostly virtual affair, because the 336 delegates are still going to get together in Charlotte, North Carolina, to do all the convention business, including the roll call of states that will officially nominate the president. This is happening because the convention rules didn't allow changes that would require it to go all virtual like the Democrats did.

Other highlights of the week are going to be President Trump's speech from the White House lawn, which has raised both ethical and legal concerns that the White House seems unconcerned about. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is giving an address from a business trip in Jerusalem, which has been unusual. And you've got a couple from Missouri who's being accused of a felony for pointing guns at protesters walking by their property a couple weeks ago. This gets at one of the themes of the convention, which is going to have a strong focus on Democratic policies that the Republicans are going to argue undermine American greatness, cater to the radical left, and are going to reverse all the progress that's been made under President Trump.

One other unusual thing is that there's no party platform this year. Usually the party's wonks get together every four years to put together a statement of what the party stands for and what they're going to win, should they take back the White House. Usually this is routinely ignored by politicians. And so this year, the Republicans decided to just get rid of the convention altogether and recycle the old platform from 2016. The president is bringing in a couple of reality TV producers, including one that worked with him on The Celebrity Apprentice, to help make this a really good show. It's going for half an hour longer than the Democrats did in primetime. And the president's hoping that he can get some kind of approval rating bounce. Right now, he's at the bottom of his range between 40% and 42%. And his approval right now, there was an Ispos poll released over the weekend that suggested Biden got about a five-point bounce to his favorability rating coming out of his convention, and that's kind of thing the president is looking for here.

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