National Research’s latest poll for the conservative Civitas Institute didn’t break much new ground, but it confirmed many of numbers we’ve seen in North Carolina from Democratic pollsters and national surveys, even if the actual numbers were a few points different.
Add this one to the same category: who’s to fault for the government shutdown? Active registered voters in North Carolina say the GOP: 42 percent blame the Republican Congress for the federal shutdown while 31 percent blame President Barack Obama and Democrats. And another 24 percent say both are to blame. Interestingly: only 3 percent aren’t sure who deserves the blame, a reflection of a the polarizing topic. The spin: “North Carolina voters put more of the blame on the GOP,” said Civitas President Francis De Luca in a statement. “Democrats did not escape unscathed, and a quarter of voters say ‘a plague on both your houses.’ This voter discontent could be a potent force in next year’s elections.” The poll has a margin of error of plus-or-minus 4 percent.
***Mel Watt’s day in Washington didn’t go as planned. Read more about it in today’s Dome Morning Memo.***
Dozens of expert engineers and technology managers are working round-the-clock to fix the website originally designed for the public to verify income, confirm discounts and buy subsidized insurance under the Affordable Care Act. “They come from leading technology companies such as Red Hat and Oracle; and include individuals with expertise on site reliability; stability; and scalability,” according to an announcement from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Read more here.
On Monday, a federal judge in Texas issued a ruling that warns: Don't make the rules too restrictive. On Thursday, a three-judge panel of the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans reversed him, allowing the new law to take effect while the lawsuit continues.
The rule-making process (in North Carolina) started Oct. 1, and a progress report is due Jan. 1. "The regulators in the Division of Health Service Regulation have begun reviewing the current regulations," spokesman Ricky Diaz said in an email. "The drafting of the revised rules has not yet begun."
“Despite this setback, I remain thankful for President Obama’s nomination and humbled by his confidence in me,” Watt, a Democrat, said in a brief statement. “I do not plan to withdraw as the nominee for the position and remain hopeful that we will prevail when the motion for reconsideration is taken up in the Senate.”
The tally was 56-42, with Sens. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and James Inhofe, R-Okla., not casting votes.
“I will exercise my right as majority leader to reconsider these nominations at some point in the very near future,” Reid said in a statement. Aides suggested that would be within weeks. “I hope my Republican colleagues will reconsider their continued run of unprecedented obstructionism. Something has to change, and I hope we can make the changes necessary through cooperation.”
The White House reacted angrily. “It is enormously disappointing that Republicans would filibuster this nomination of a highly qualified nominee,” White House spokesman Jay Carney said shortly after the vote. “And we hope that … those senators will reconsider that vote and that Mr. Watt will be confirmed in the future." Read more here.
Trueman -- who has a master's degree in educational technology from Johns Hopkins University -- taught in the classroom for 12 years. But a few months ago, she made one of the toughest decisions of her life. "I got to the point where all I did when I was home was worry about money and where it was coming from," Trueman said of deciding to leave the classroom.” Read more here.
“Given the increasing demands on many Americans’ schedules, early in person voting adds important flexibility and convenience to modernize the voting process, while keeping elections safe and secure,” said the Brennan Center’s Diana Kasdan, author of the report. “It reduces the administrative burdens of the Election Day rush and helps bring our antiquated voting system into the 21st century.” Read the report here.
From Friday through Sunday, customers won’t have to pay sales tax when they purchase energy-efficient washers, freezers, air conditioners and other major appliances. In Wake County, that means an extra savings of 6.75 percent, while shoppers in Orange County can save 7.5 percent. Independent retailers said tax-free weekend has been an important push for store sales and traffic flow.
“It’s definitely a good boost, a shot in the arm,” said Randy Pleasant, co-owner of Garner TV & Appliances in Raleigh. “We’re already seeing people coming in to pre-shop, and they'll be ready to purchase on Friday morning.” Read more here.
N.C. Democratic Party spokesman Micah Beasley’s reaction: “This is what happens when you cater to the political fringes. Whether it’s their looming divisive 2014 Senate primary or their own candidates running away from the General Assembly’s toxic agenda, there is deep unrest within the Republican ranks and North Carolina is getting a front row seat.”
The state Auditor’s Office on Thursday released a follow up to a critical December 2011 audit that found the Agriculture Department was risking public safety by not fining violators where inspections found potential threats to public safety. The 2011 audit found that public schools lost out on $2 million because 80 percent of fines collected would have gone to local districts. Read more here.