Quick Takes

* It looks like we are not going to get any reliable polls out of Nevada prior to the caucuses this Saturday. I suspect that is for many of the reasons Tierney Sneed noted in her article titled: Why Nevada’s Minority Voters Will Be The Next Big Test For Clinton And Sanders. We’ll just have to wait for the actual votes…imagine that.

* Public Policy Polling released the results of their latest from South Carolina that was completed after New Hampshire as well as the last debates. The Republican field looks like this:

Trump – 35%
Cruz – 18%
Kasich – 10%
Carson – 7%
Bush – 7%

Here’s their summary of what they found on the Democratic side:

…Hillary Clinton leads Bernie Sanders 55/34. South Carolina exemplifies the way in which the Democratic race changes in places where there’s a large African American electorate. Clinton and Sanders are tied with white voters at 46%, pretty similar to how the race played out in Iowa. But among African Americans Clinton continues to have a substantial advantage over Sanders at 63/23. Clinton is very popular among black voters with a 71/12 favorability, while feelings about Sanders continue to be pretty mixed with him coming in at 39/33.

South Carolina’s being an open primary works to Sanders’ advantage. Clinton is up 31 with actual Democrats, 60/29, but Sanders cuts a lot into her advantage thanks to a 55/27 lead with the independents planning to vote in the Democratic primary. Some of the other customary big demographic splits we’ve seen in other places present themselves in South Carolina as well- Sanders is up 45/43 with men and 44/42 with younger voters, but that is more than drowned out by Clinton’s 64/25 advantage with women and 70/20 one with seniors.

* Jackie Calmes fills us in on what Austan Goolsbee and Jared Bernstein have to say about the economics of Bernie Sanders’ proposals. One of the things I hadn’t seen commented on previously is that it assumes economic growth at 5.3%. As Steve Benen notes:

To put that in perspective, how many modern presidents – from either party – have seen 4% growth during their tenures? None. Literally, not a single one. Not Clinton, not Obama, not Reagan, no one has achieved growth that high. If any of them did, it’s awfully likely the Fed would raise interest rates, deliberately cooling growth out of inflationary fears.

I’ll gladly concede that many of Sanders’ domestic priorities would help the economy enormously…But if Sanders makes his numbers add up by assuming 5.3% growth, there’s a problem with this plan.

* Initially it sounded like Sen. Grassley – chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee – might not even hold hearings on President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee. He seems to have waffled at least a little bit on that.

Republican Senator Chuck Grassley isn’t ready to say whether he’ll convene a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on President Obama’s nominee to fill the opening on the U.S. Supreme Court.

“I would wait until the nominee is made before I would make any decisions,” Grassley told reporters this morning. “In other words, take it a step at a time.”

It’s interesting to note that Grassley is up for re-election this year and today the Des Moines Register’s editorial board published a blistering indictment of his announced obstruction over the Supreme Court nominee.

This could have been a “profile in courage” moment for Sen. Grassley. This was an opportunity for our senior senator to be less of a politician and more of a statesman. It was a chance for him to be principled rather than partisan.

He could have made it clear that he favors a Senate vote on the matter — a move that still would enable Republicans to accept or reject the eventual nominee based on merit — but he chose instead to disregard his constitutional duty by rejecting a nominee who hasn’t even been named.

Nancy LeTourneau

Nancy LeTourneau is a contributing writer for the Washington Monthly.