Speakers Table

The Most Important Poll Number of 2012

November 8, 2012

The most important poll number of the presidential election was not the trial heats between President Obama and Mitt Romney, the day-to-day match-ups that political junkies followed obsessively during the long, brutal months of the campaign. The most important number was Obama's job rating. It was the magic figure that predicted the final  outcome.

According to latest returns, Obama captured 50.3% of the popular vote. His job approval rating going into Election Day, according to the Clarus Average, was 50%.

Obama's approval rating held steady at 50% between Oct. 30 and Nov. 6, not varying one point. Polls taken during the entire month of October--with its campaign ups and downs, attention-getting debates and a massive natural disaster--showed the president's job approval rating at about 50%, never dipping below 49%.

Even when Clarus poll averages reported Romney a couple of points ahead of the incumbent in mid-October, with the GOP challenger working his way out of a slump and gathering new momentum, Obama's job rating stood stubbornly at 50%.

In the end, no matter what either campaign did, this race was a referendum on Obama's job performance. Ironically, that's what Republicans always wanted and Democrats always feared.

Now we know.


Written by Ron Faucheux, president of Clarus Research Group, a nonpartisan polling company. Ron teaches at George Washington University and is a resident of Georgetown.

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State Ballot Issues Nov. 6

November 4, 2012

Voters on November 6 will make decisions on 174 statewide ballot questions in 38 states. Here is a rundown of those worth watching Tuesday night:


-- Amendment 6: Prohibit individuals and businesses from being compelled to participate in Obamacare.


-- Issue 5: Legalize use of marijuana for medical purposes.

-- Issue 1: Impose 1/2 cent sales tax for highway construction.

Supported by state Chamber.


-- Prop. 30: Increase personal income tax on those making more than $250,000 and impose a 1/4 cent sales tax. Sponsored by Gov. Jerry Brown.

-- Prop. 31: Government reform package to (a) establish a two-year state budget, (b) require bills before the Legislature be made public three days prior to a vote, and (c) allow the governor to make "emergency" spending cuts if the Legislature fails to act.

-- Prop. 32: Prohibit collecting voluntary union dues through payroll deductions for political purposes.

-- Prop. 34: Abolish capital punishment in California.

-- Prop. 37: Require genetically modified foods to be labeled as "genetically engineered."

-- Prop. 38: Raise income taxes with 60% of revenue dedicated to K-12 education, 30% to debt reduction, and 15% to early childhood programs. Opposed by Gov. Brown.


-- Amendment 64: Legalize and regulate marijuana for those over 21.


-- Amendment 1: Prohibit individuals and businesses from being compelled to participate in Obamacare.

-- Amendment 3: Cap amount of revenue state government can spend from taxes and fees, using a formula based on inflation and population growth.

-- Amendment 6: Prohibit the use of public funds for abortions, except for rape, incest, and mother's life in danger.


-- Props 1, 2, 3: School reform package includes phase out teacher tenure, merit pay, limit collective-bargaining rights for teachers' unions.


-- Amendment 49: Require a three-fifths majority vote of each chamber of the General Assembly or the governing body of a unit of local government, school district, or pension or retirement system, to increase a public pension benefit.


-- Question 1: Allow same-sex couples to marry.


-- Question 4: Allow people in the state--including undocumented illegal immigrants--to pay in-state tuition.

-- Question 5: Uphold congressional redistricting.

-- Question 6: Allow same-sex couples to marry.

-- Question 7: Expand gambling in Maryland.


-- Question 2. Allow terminally ill patients the right to get drugs from a physician to end their life.

-- Question 3: Legalize marijuana for medical purposes.


-- Proposal 2: Grant public and private employees the constitutional right to organize and bargain collectively through labor unions.

--Proposal 3: Require utilities to obtain 25% of the electricity they sell from renewable sources (wind, solar, biomass and hydropower) by 2025

-- Proposal 5: Require a 2/3 legislative majority, or a statewide vote of the people at a November election, to raise taxes.


-- Amendment 1: Define marriage as a union of one man and one woman.

-- Amendment 2: Require photo identification to vote.


-- Prop. B: Increase cigarette tax from 17 to 90 cents per pack.


-- Initiative 122: Prohibits federal and state government from requiring the purchase of health insurance.

-- Initiative 124: Keep or reject law that replaced a 2004 medical marijuana law with a more restrictive version.

New Hampshire

-- Constitutional Amendment 2: Prohibits a personal income tax.


-- Measure 80: Allows cultivation and sale of marijuana to adults.

-- Measure 84: Phases out estate and inheritance taxes.


-- Measure 74: Legalize same-sex marriage.

-- Initiative 502: Legalize marijuana for those 21 and older.

-- Measure 1185: Reaffirming law that requires a 2/3 legislative vote to raise taxes, or receive voter approval, and that new or increased fees require majority legislative approval.


-- Amendment A: Gives citizens the right to make health care decisions and allows the state to act to "preserve these rights from undue government influence.


Prepared by Ron Faucheux, President, CLARUS RESEARCH GROUP

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Jeff Daniels and Madeleine Stowe Headline ADL’s Concert Against Hate At Kennedy Center

October 17, 2012

Four modern-day heroes in the fight against hate were recognized and honored at the 18th annual Anti-Defamation League (ADL) In Concert Against Hate, chaired by Dr. Tina Alster andAmbassador Paul Frazer, at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts on October 15. Each honoree was presented with the ADL Ina and Shelley Kay Award for extraordinary acts of courage in confronting intolerance, injustice, extremism and terrorism.

The concert produced by Bonnie Nelson Schwartz featured inspiring music and testimonials about extraordinary acts of courage in confronting intolerance. A dramatic reading of each hero’s story was given by actors Jeff Daniels (HBO’s The Newsroom) and Madeleine Stowe (ABC’s “Revenge) at the concert that featured the National Symphony Orchestra (NSO), conducted by Emil Du Cou. Before an audience of about 2,300, the honorees who received recognition included Irene Fogel Weiss, a Holocaust victim and Auschwitz survivor; Joan Trumpauer Mulholland, a former Freedom Rider and civil rights icon; Police Officer Moira Ann Smith (posthumously), who saved hundreds of people at the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001; and Amardeep Singh Kaleka, the son of a victim of the Wisconsin Sikh Temple shooting on August 5, 2012. During the awards presentation, Abraham H. Foxman, national director of the ADL, dedicated the evening’s events to Malala Yousafzaithe Pakistani teenager who is recovering from a gunshot to the head that she received at the hands of the Taliban for her defiance in support of female education.

ADL Honorees Joan Trumpauer Mulholland, Amardeep Singh Kaleka, Irene Fogel Weiss, James Smith and Patricia Mary Smith, family of Moira Ann Smith (Photo by: Khamp Sykhammountry) ADL Honorees Joan Trumpauer Mulholland, Amardeep Singh Kaleka, Irene Fogel Weiss, James Smith and Patricia Mary Smith, family of Moira Ann Smith

“Malala Yousafzai was courageous in her determination to stand up to the forces of evil and extremism and to speak clearly for her conviction that women deserve better from a society and a system that has failed them in Pakistan,” Mr. Foxman told the audience. “We hope and pray that next year, or the year after, we will be able to honor her at a future ‘Concert Against Hate.’ ” The honorees included Holocaust survivor Irene Fogel Weiss who had been deported to Auschwitz when she was 13 years old. Decades later she learned that her arrival at Auschwitz was captured in an iconic photograph taken by the Nazis. Honoree Joan Trumpauer Mulholland was a former Freedom Fighter who spent her college student years working and advocating for equal rights. She participated in the infamous sit-in at the Woolworth’s lunch counter in Jackson, Miss. in May 1963. Police officer Moira Ann Smith received her award posthumously. She is credited with saving hundreds of lives at the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. For his bravery and leadership in leading the congregation of his temple and serving as the spokesperson and healer after the horrific attack by a white supremacist that took the life of his father and temple founder, Satwant Singh Kaleka, Amardeep Singh Kaleka was also recognized.

Ambassador Paul Frazer, Dr. Tina Alster, Jeff Daniels, Madeleine Stowe (Photo by: Khamp Sykhammountry) Ambassador Paul Frazer, Dr. Tina Alster, Jeff Daniels, Madeleine Stowe

Daniels and Stowe narrated the awards portion of the concert. Both were clearly moved by the stories they told their audience. Stowe relayed the harrowing history of Irene Fogel Weiss who had survived eight months in Auschwitz as a 13-year-old girl. She had been forcibly separated from her mother, sister and father, whom she later discovered all met their deaths at the crematorium. Stowe vividly described how Irene asked herself over and over again in the confines of the concentration camp barrack, “Why are you not crying?” Stowe’s eyes glistened and her voice cracked as she described the dramatic acts of bravery by Police Officer Moira Ann Smith during the melt down of the World Trade Center Towers on September 11. Her widower and daughter,James Smith andPatricia Mary Smith, accepted the posthumous award. Officer Smith had entered and exited the incinerating South Tower several times leading out hundreds of survivors before meeting her own fate. Her badge was uncovered intact months later in the rubble of the South.

Stowe and Daniels on Kennedy Center stage (Photo by: Khamp Sykhammountry) Stowe and Daniels on Kennedy Center stage

Daniels’ voice rose with strength and emotion as he described how Jean Trumpauer Mulholland, the former Freedom Fighter, had spent months in a Mississippi jail where she “detached in order to deal with the fear” and subsequently became the first white student at Tugaloo University. While there, she worked with her colleagues to arrange the momentous sit-in at the Woolworth lunch counter in Jackson, Miss. that is represented in the iconic photograph of the civil rights movement. Daniels also relayed the terrible moment Amardeep Singh Kaleka was thrust into the lime-light as the spokesperson for his temple and its congregation when his father, the temple founder, was mercilessly gunned down  after wrestling with the terrorizing white supremacist. His actions saved other temple members from the same fate. Daniels recalled the chilling words received by Amardeep when a stranger answered his father’s cell phone as Amardeep tried to reach him after learning about the siege, “I am answering your father’s phone, because he is at my feet bleeding.” The honorees received standing applause from the packed audience as the NSO began to play, the Richard Rodgers’ song, “You’ll Never Walk Alone” rose in the background. The strength and resilience of the human spirit glowed throughout the auditorium as the final strains of music faded into the evening.

Written by Jackie Fishman for Ask Miss A

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