In the months leading up to the presidential election, the single most important time of the day, every day, was late in the afternoon, when Nate Silver's "Today's Polls, dd/mm" fromFiveThirtyEight would appear in America's Google Readers. Nothing excited liberals more than seeing a new SurveyUSA poll showing Obama +7 in Virginia, for example, precisely because Silver told us all that SurveyUSA was a good pollster. But you know who else was good, and got less credit, was Mark Blumenthal over there at Poor underappreciated Mark Blumenthal! He used fancy regressions on his poll averages too, you know!? Well we haven't looked at either of these sites since November 5, but this random Andrew Sullivan post tells us that Silver and Blumenthal are still doing poll analysis -- and they're reaching shockingly different conclusions.

The measure of any good poll analyst for an Internet blog is how well that analyst can look at various streams of data and declare, "this doesn't really mean anything new." For example, if Obama shot a homeless puppy while molesting a child on the street one day, causing an 80% drop in his approval ratings, the best poll analysts would declare, "our models show this downward trend to be ephemeral, if not entirely illusory, due to an under-sampling of cellphones in urban areas."

Which is why this unusual Nate Silver statement from last Friday caused much consternation among everyone:

The benefits of "bipartisanship" are dubious. The public says they want bipartisanship, and a large majority of the public believes that Obama acted in a bipartisan fashion during the stimulus debate. And yet, his approval ratings fell significantly during this period.

The word "significantly" is basically a green light for rival poll analysts, in this case Blumenthal, to KILL KILL KILL:

But evidence of the limits of bipartisanship? Let's remember that Obama holds an overall approval rating that most polls now peg in the mid-sixty percent range, after winning with roughly 52.9% of the votes cast. Doesn't the aggregate approval rating, including approval from roughly a third of Republicans, say something about the benefits of the "bipartisan" messaging? And how will those Republican and Republican leaning independents respond to harsher partisan rhetoric from the President?

Moreover, to the extent that Obama's ratings declined, both Gallup and Rasmussen -- the only two measuring his job approval on a daily basis -- show that decline occurring by the end of inauguration week, well before Republicans ramped up their criticism of the stimulus bill. So as evidence of a reaction to the stimulus debate, these data fall short.

If there is a lesson in this particular decline in approval ratings, it has little to do with the stimulus plan. I'm not sure I see a lesson here, unless Obama can find a way to hold an inauguration every week.

"...And your baseball site SUCKS ASS."

In Declining Approval Ratings, Lessons for Obama [FiveThirtyEight]

Lessons in Declining Approval? [Pollster]

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Yeah, that's definitely a repurposed animatronic Hillary (YouTube)

A whole bunch of protests were held today against the fake "president's" fake "emergency" declaration, with people turning out in cold crappy weather to call attention to the general nastiness of the guy who claims he absolutely had to do that declaration that wasn't necessary. Organizers with said over 250 rallies were planned nationwide. So far, the national State Of Emergency doesn't appear to have caused any of the rallies to be cancelled, despite the very real possibility that terrified Honduran refugees fleeing violence in Central America might suddenly show up and ask for asylum.

Are there still actions taking place in your area? Check at MoveOn!

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Before Manafort pleaded guilty and signed up as a cooperating witness who didn't actually cooperate, we wrote this:

We have always kind of figured that Paul Manafort is the one who knows the whole Trump-Russia conspiracy story. He was the first big fish indicted, and they hit him for A LOT. Also note that just about all the other prosecutions that have come from the Mueller investigation so far have been farmed out by Mueller to different jurisdictions. Manafort, on the other hand, Mueller has kept squarely in his office. There has to be a reason for that.

Perhaps it's because, as this Josh Marshall podcast suggests, Paul Manafort, a foreign agent who worked for Oleg Deripaska, AKA Putin's favorite oligarch, and who got sideways financially with Deripaska, was literally sent into the Trump campaign by the Kremlin to do its dirty work. Perhaps the Steele Dossier is right when it suggests that the entire Trump-Russia election-stealing conspiracy was run by Manafort on the Trump side, and that others like (perhaps!) Michael Cohen only had to take over when Manafort's shit started to stink and the news media started reporting on his weird-ass Russian connections in the summer of 2016.

If it's possible, we are beginning to suspect it may be even worse than that.

On Friday, special counsel Robert Mueller issued his sentencing recommendations for Manafort, after DC district court Judge Amy Berman Jackson ruled conclusively that the shady motherfucker very intentionally lied and blew up his cooperating agreement. Because Manafort defaulted, Mueller is no longer bound to recommend that Manafort's sentence be reduced, and is free to throw the book right at Manafort's face. HARD.

And that is what Mueller did! To be clear, the sentencing memo is harsh.

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