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Archive for March, 2014

Shrimp Fried Rice

From SimplyRecipes.com

 

  • 8 ounces small raw shrimp, shelled and deveined
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons cooking oil, divided
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 2 stalks green onion, minced
  • 4 cups leftover rice, grains separated well
  • 3/4 cup frozen peas and carrots, defrosted
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce (use gluten-free soy sauce if you are making a gluten-free version)
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil

METHOD

1 In a bowl, toss the shrimp with the salt, pepper and cornstarch. Let marinate for 10 minutes at room temperature. Heat a wok or large sauté pan on high heat. When the pan is hot enough for a bead of water to instantly sizzle and evaporate, add just 1 tablespoon of the cooking oil and swirl to coat pan.

2 Add the shrimp, quickly spreading out around the cooking surface area so that they are not overlapping. Let fry, untouched for 30 seconds. Flip over and let the other side fry for 30 seconds, or until about 80% cooked through. Remove the shrimp from the pan onto a plate, leaving as much oil in the pan as possible.

3 Turn the heat to medium, let the pan heat up again. Add the eggs, stirring in a quick motion to break up and scramble the eggs. When the eggs are almost cooked through (they should still be slightly runny in the middle), dish out of the pan into the same plate as the cooked shrimp.

4 Use paper towels to wipe the same wok or sauté pan clean and return to high heat with the remaining 1 tablespoon of cooking oil, swirling to coat. When the oil is very hot, add the green onions and fry until fragrant, about 15 seconds. Add in the rice and stir well to mix in the green onions throughout. Spread the rice all around the wok surface area and let the rice heat up, untouched until you hear the bottoms of the grains sizzle, about 1-2 minutes. Use the spatula to toss the rice, again spreading the rice out over the surface of wok.

5 Drizzle the soy sauce all around the rice and toss. Add the peas and carrots, the cooked eggs, shrimp and sesame oil, tossing to mix the rice evenly with all of the ingredients. Let everything heat back up again, until the rice grains are so hot they practically dance! Taste and add an additional 1 teaspoon of soy sauce if needed.

Debbie Baldwin of Ladue News / The Tangential Thinker

Lemon Aid

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Posted: Thursday, March 27, 2014 12:00 pm

By Debbie Baldwin

I drive a lemon. Let me clarify: According to Webster’s Dictionary, a lemon, in the vehicular sense, is a car that ‘does not work the way it should.’ So, in that sense, my car is a lemon. According to the state of Missouri, however, it is not. Not that I disagree with that. The ‘lemon law’ exists, and is effective because it deals with cars that have more immediate and obvious defects. In other words, the lemon law deals more with car heart attacks—my car has cancer.

Let me be the first to admit that I am not the easiest person on a car. The ‘check engine’ light is more of a guideline than a rule. I once found a Ziplock bag of Cheerios in my tailpipe. A certain car wash politely requested I take my business elsewhere after discovering a somewhat disturbing odor source. So suffice it to say that when the bells and lights on the dash started going off like a winning slot machine urging me, ordering me, to pull over immediately and turn off the engine, I did what any normal woman with a car full of groceries would do: I drove it home and tried not to think about it.

After a quick once-over at the mechanic, I was informed that my little malfunction actually was a big malfunction. Something that apparently is integral to the car’s operations was dead, and the repair would cost several thousand dollars. Now I am hardly a nitpicker. If I’m overcharged at the grocery store, so be it, but $3,000 is a pretty big nit. So, at the urging of my mechanic, I called the manufacturer. What could go wrong there? Surprisingly, they were willing to help. In fact, there was a chain of command already in place for just such situations (something that perhaps should have concerned me, but didn’t), and they were going to cover a substantial portion of the work. Sure, I was still writing a four-figure check at the end of the day, but it seemed like something that it was less than I originally thought. It’s the same reason I’m a sucker for sales.

Things seemed dandy with my then 5-year-old car. The dash board would warn me to get gas, the radio scrolled the band that was playing, the seat warmer toasted my back nicely. Then…the slot machine again, warning after warning, alarm after alarm. If it hadn’t been so sluggish, I would have worried it was going to blow up. Well, I’d already had the big repair, so how bad could it be this time? 

A new engine? What else is under the hood? (I would find out soon enough). My engine, as it turns out, was sludgy–not to be confused with sluggish, which apparently is survivable. Sludgy is bad, very bad–$7,800-and-some-change bad. This time, when I called the very nice lady who had been so generous with her employer’s funds the last time, I was rebuffed, decisively and with prejudice. She rejected my plea as she read from the prompts in her customer-service manual. (When I may or may not have threatened to come to her house, she re-read the canned response, so I thought it best to end the call.)

So I replaced the engine. It was a small fortune, but it was still less than a new car. Now my 6-year-old car has a brand-spanking new engine. At least I will have a newish car. I mean everything that could break has broken. Cranky even pulled off a windshield wiper over the summer. For the most part, I should be good to go, literally.

Apparently, there is this thing called the transmission. It makes the car go. According to the mechanic, my transmission looks like the bottom of a junk drawer. He assures me; however, that he thinks my friend up north will be willing to assist with this particular repair and sure enough, they are in for half. I don’t know the ins and outs of it, but I assume this particular malfunction is not, shall we say, expected. I’m not sure how taking responsibility for half a defective part makes sense, but if I think too hard about it that little vein that throbs in my forehead will threaten to burst.

So I drive a lemon. When it’s working, I actually like it. I guess that’s all I wanted to say. I won’t buy that brand of car again. That seems to be my only recourse; after all, there aren’t many items one has owned for seven years that can be returned. So, much like the airbag that will no doubt deploy without need or warning, I just wanted to get that off of my chest.

 

 
 
 

H-Hour by Christine Doyle

I was going to title this post D-Day but decided that was too harsh since it refers to the day a military attack is unfurled.  Too many people, on both sides of the aisle, view Obamacare in military terms. In fact, the whole fight mentality is part of the problem. It has caused a lot of Americans to tune out exactly when they need to dial in and be informed. We need to be realistic and reasonable in how we approach healthcare reform because everyone agrees costs have spiraled out of control at exactly the time when government resources are strapped. Since we’re talking about healthcare, it seems H-Hour is a more appropriate term for this post.  The hour has arrived when Americans are confronting healthcare reform. Today is the deadline when those without insurance have to sign up or face penalties of either 95 dollars or 1% of their incomes, whichever is greater. I signed up last week, paid my first premium and am now feeling relief that I am protected in a catastrophic event. Having said that, I am far from satisfied with the outcome.

I don’t qualify for assistance (nor would I ask for it) and don’t mind paying a little more for coverage, as long as doing so opens the umbrella to those who have never been able to get it. I was willing to pay a little more but didn’t want to have to give up what was working. I did choose to go through a private insurer who knew me and my health history.

What I got is very different from what I wanted. I am happy that 100 percent of preventive care is covered (yoga isn’t but chiropractic care is) and wanted continuity of care by still having access to my same doctors.  Like many Americans, I have always chosen my doctors based on a variety of factors, including experience, referrals, professional credentials and history. Imagine my concern that I am now paying about the same in premiums but none of my doctors will be participating in my plan. And guess what? I don’t blame them. Why should an excellent doctor accept brokered payments that reduce their compensation while adding additional costs to their practices and mandates over what tests doctors should or should not be ordering? There is a reason we have the best healthcare in the world. Traditionally, we have valued good doctors.

A friend whose husband is an undeniable do-gooder (he works to promote green energy, for goodness sake!) is now paying 15,000 dollars a year to get her family of four covered. Wow. That was unexpected. A young relative, who is a gifted artist and was uninsured, is having to apply for a full-time job to get benefits after his parents got a bill for 60,000 dollars after he was treated for appendicitis.  Here in Missouri, a prominent Republican, formerly an outspoken foe of Obamacare, is now advocating for this state to expand Medicaid. That’s because hospitals, who have no where to turn when dealing with patients who have fallen between the cracks, are overwhelmed by these new costs. Personally, I recognize that the Affordable Care Act means someone like me won’t be denied coverage for run of the mill problems like high blood pressure and the occasional stiff neck and shoulder. But, states should be concerned about taking money to expand Medicaid when funding could run out, when only a 1/4 of the enrollees are young and healthy, when so many Americans, especially Latinos, seem uncomfortable trusting the Federal Government with such personal concerns as their medical histories. And so many small businesses simply can’t afford to comply with the mandate to provide health insurance.

The latest polls show only a 1/4 of Americans are happy with the Affordable Care Act as it stands. The thing that irritates them the most is the mandate or penalty if they don’t sign up. It motivated me because I didn’t want to pay 1% of my income. Most polls show most Americans like that those with pre-existing conditions can no longer be barred from coverage. Americans did soften in their opposition to Obamacare over the last couple of months but only incrementally. And fewer are in favor of an outright appeal. It’s time for Republicans to promote a reasonable response that includes an acknowledgement that something needs to be done. I don’t have the answers but I do hope we can stop short of trying to fix what isn’t broken and just fix what is.

 

 

 

The Mom Vivant / Debbie Baldwin of Ladue News

The Big Chill

 Posted: Thursday, March 6, 2014 12:00 pm

By Debbie Baldwin

It’s warming up. Yes, I’ve lived in this town long enough to know not to declare with any certainty the rough part is over, but still, it is March. Even if this little heatwave is just a temporary reprieve from what no one can argue has been a brutal winter, it gives a temperate moment of reflection to thoughtfully ponder what the hell went on for the last three months. I mean, if one more person posted a screen shot of a -18 degree day…We heard the explanation dozens of times: The polar vortex.

At first, I thought it was one of those made-up weather words like tornadic, but it turns out the polar vortex is an actual thing. And no, it’s not the name of Jor-El’s fortress of solitude or a new North Face jacket. It’s a weather phenomenon. It’s also what my husband calls our bedroom after his syndicate poker night, but I digress. The polar vortex, according to Wikipedia, is a “persistent, large-scale cyclone, located near either of a planet’s geographical poles.” It can last for more than a month, and I’m guessing you already know what it brings.

Apparently, the polar vortex also brings a terminology shift. It’s hard to sell people on the idea of global warming after a winter out of a Dostoyevsky novel. So now, it’s global climate change; and the polar vortex is both a causeand a symptom. I’m not discounting climate issues but changing the moniker to that catch-all really takes the wind out of the sails: possibly due to climate change, but there’s no way to be sure.

So, back to the polar vortex: It’s a whirling, swirling expansive air mass that every 20 years or so swoops down from the Arctic (or swoops up from the Antarctic), and blasts bone-chilling cold across several hundred miles at a stretch. The polar vortex can be responsible for ozone depletion, sub-zero temperatures, brutal wind-chill factors, depression, weight gain, over-sleeping, road rage, an increase in chili production and a subsequent baby boom.

So whatever the Polar Vortex was, it appears to have dissipated. I picture the thing swirling violently into a cave that instantly seals shut–Bam! Then silence…and perhaps a bird chirping. Slowly people emerge from their homes, stretching in the sun and seizing the 40-degree day. Who knows? My next weather column may be titled, The Long Hot Summer; but for now, at least it’s not frigid, we can bask in the brisk.

 

 
 
 

Chicken and Blue Cheese Salad / Delish.com

Spring Chicken and Blue Cheese Salad

From EatingWell.com

This main-dish chicken salad has bright flavors of tarragon in a creamy blue cheese dressing with just a touch of sweetness from honey.

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Nutritional Information
(per serving)

Calories 418
Total Fat 29g
Saturated Fat 6g
Cholesterol 74mg
Sodium 494mg
Total Carbohydrate 10g
Dietary Fiber
Sugars
Protein 30g
Calcium 0
 
 
 
spring chicken and blue cheese salad

Serves: 4 Edit

 
 

Total Time: 55 min

Ingredients

U.S. Metric Conversion chart
  • 1 cup(s) nonfat Greek-style yogurt, (see Shopping Tip)
  • 1 clove(s) garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoon(s) extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoon(s) finely chopped fresh tarragon, or 1 tablespoon dried
  • 1 pound(s) boneless, skinless chicken breast, trimmed
  • 1/4 teaspoon(s) salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon(s) freshly ground pepper
  • 1 head(s) butterhead lettuce, torn into bite-size pieces
  • 1/2 head(s) radicchio, cored and very thinly sliced
  • 1 cup(s) baby arugula, or mixed baby greens
  • Creamy Blue Cheese-Tarragon Dressing, (recipe follows)
  • 1/2 cup(s) walnuts, toasted (see Tip) and chopped

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Combine yogurt, garlic, oil and tarragon in a large bowl. Season chicken with salt and pepper and add to the bowl; turn to coat. Place the chicken in a baking dish and cover completely with the yogurt mixture.
  3. Bake until the chicken is cooked through and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part registers 165°F, 35 to 45 minutes. Transfer to a clean cutting board. Thinly slice the chicken when cool enough to handle.
  4. Gently toss lettuce, radicchio and arugula (or mixed greens) in a large bowl. Divide the greens among 4 plates, top with equal portions of the chicken, spoon 2 tablespoons Creamy Blue Cheese-Tarragon Dressing over each salad and sprinkle with walnuts.
  5. Shopping tip: Thick and creamy Greek-style yogurt is made by removing the whey from cultured milk. Because the whey has been removed, you can cook with Greek-style yogurt without the normal separation that occurs when cooking with regular yogurt. Both can be used in this recipe, but we recommend using Greek yogurt if it’s available at your supermarket. Tip: Spread whole walnuts on a baking sheet and bake at 350°F, stirring once, until fragrant, 7 to 9 minutes.
  6. Related Recipe: Creamy Blue Cheese-Tarragon Dressing

Old Habits Die Hard

 

Missouri Republicans have a chance to redeem themselves in the eyes of women by redirecting the kinds of election year politics around social issues. But old habits do die hard.  It is going to take strong women who respect the rights of the individual to parse through the election year politicking behind some of the new laws being debated in Jefferson City this week. First, lawmakers have put Missouri in the top 3 states trying to craft legislation to dial back abortion rights. Second, our state Senate is considering a conscience bill that would allow employees to opt of treatments that violate their religious beliefs about abortion, stem cell research and contraception. I don’t think anyone should ever have to provide a pill or healthcare service to someone that violates their religious beliefs. Neither a company nor an individual employee. Providing contraception as part of a health insurance package is very different than providing an abortion inducing pill. But why would someone choose to work in a healthcare setting whose procedures violate their faith? This conversation is all about choice. 

How will Republicans get their right on messaging around job creation and tax reform across when they continue to ignore the fact that a growing segment of voters would prefer to agree to disagree on abortion. The truth is the average woman in this country (and I would argue in this state) isn’t focussed on abortion rights in her day in and day out life because she reasonably believes no politician in their right mind is going to try to overturn Roe v. Wade. The people focussing on abortion are male pols who are playing politics with our bodies. As a Democratic lawmaker from St. Louis said in this Post-Dispatch article today, “You should not be in the womb of a woman.” If you are against government regulation, in favor of the rights of the individual and want to focus on jobs, stop trying to slide pesky legislation past us. We need to elect more women to public office. And we need those women to be capable of parsing thru the issues. Parental notification is one thing; requiring women to watch a video or strengthening ultrasound requirements is harassment. 

There is only one provider of abortions in the state of Missouri. Yet, there is a disproportionate amount of time, energy and money being given by our State Legislature to a new set of laws that would multiply the number of inspections, toughen the laws around financial disclosure and require advanced ultrasounds. We women need to stand up and say, “Stop.” 

 

Missouri lawmakers considering more restrictions on abortion

The majority contain new restrictions and requirements focusing on the process a woman goes through to obtain an abortion and on the St. Louis-based clinic that is the last abortion provider in the state.

The Missouri House gave first-round approval Wednesday to the tripling of the 24-hour waiting period, and the Senate spent four hours debating it. Senate floor leader Ron Richard told reporters afterward that he’d like to use a procedural vote to force the issue.

“I’m for life, not death,” Richard said, adding that he had not discussed the issue with other Senate Republicans.

The Senate has typically been the sticking point for abortion restrictions, with Democrats stalling the bills or seeking compromises. Last year, only a single abortion-related bill passed.

“You’re acting like women are stupid, like women are idiots,” said Sen. Jamilah Nasheed, D-St. Louis, during debate on the waiting period. “Hopefully this bill goes down in flames. You should not be in the womb of a woman.”

Elizabeth Nash, the state policy director for the Guttmacher Institute, an abortion rights and research group, said Missouri was among the top three states with the most abortion restriction introduced this year. The 72-hour waiting period has not been proposed in any other state this year, Nash said.

While 26 states have a waiting period before an abortion, only Utah and South Dakota require a woman to wait 72 hours. The Alabama House approved a 48-hour waiting period last week.

Another bill the Missouri House has debated would require notifying both custodial parents before a minor has an abortion. Only one parent would have to consent, as under current law. Notification in writing of the other parent five days before the procedure would amount to a five-day waiting period for minors, according to opponents.

 

Rep. Rocky Miller, R-Tuscumbia, introduced the bill because of his experience with his daughter. He said he was lucky because his ex-wife wanted him to be involved but he was shocked that both parents do not have to be notified.

“Our daughter made the very courageous decision and decided not to have an abortion,” Miller said. “I realize my family is blessed, I know others are not. However I feel it’s only common sense to notify these custodial parents.”

Opponents of the measure argue that not every child feels comfortable with both parents. The House spent a short time debating the bill on Wednesday before a Democratic lawmaker who opposes abortion introduced an amendment to exempt victims of rape or incest.

About 15 of the bills introduced relate to abortion providers or requirements before the abortion. Increased inspections, greater financial documentation and strengthened ultrasound requirements have been introduced. Measures to increase criminal penalties and requirement for greater medical malpractice coverage have been introduced.

The House version of the 72-hour waiting period mandates that the state’s health department create a video with the same information contained in the 26-page booklet of information provided verbally and in writing. Women would be required to watch the video. Supporters of the measure, which has also been introduced as a separate bill, said it was simply another tool.

Rep. Margo McNeil, D-Florissant, asked if women would be arrested if they closed their eyes during the video. “It’s insulting,” she said.

Another proposal that’s had a hearing in the House and is scheduled for a hearing today in the Senate would quadruple the number of inspections required for abortion providers — from once each year to four times. Bill sponsor Sen. Wayne Wallingford, R-Cape Girardeau, said he wanted to make sure the clinics were safe and sanitary.

“We want to make sure that the women’s health is not in danger,” Wallingford said. “I don’t believe my bills restrict (abortion).”

Nash said she was not aware of any other state requiring four yearly inspections of any clinic or ambulatory surgery center, as most are licensed and inspected each year.

There is only one abortion provider in Missouri, a clinic in St. Louis operated by Planned Parenthood.

Rep. Kathy Swan, R-Cape Girardeau, introduced the same proposal in the House. She said “continued medical emergencies” at the clinic justify more inspections.

Abortion opponents say that based on ambulance visits, there have been more than 25 medical emergencies there since 2009.

Dr. Colleen McNicholas, an abortion provider at the St. Louis clinic and an instructor at Washington University, said about 6,000 procedures occur each year, and that 25 emergencies over a four- or five-year period is a low number. She said the emergencies don’t always involve an abortion patient.

“The physician is going to err on the side of caution,” McNicholas said. “If there’s any chance a woman is going to need an increased level of care, we’re going to transfer the patient, regardless of if there are protesters standing outside or not.”

The same bill also changes a key definition, removing “psychological or emotional” risks to a woman’s life or health from a medical emergency exemption from the waiting period. Supporters said the change provides help for women who are suicidal before granting them abortions.

“It’s important that the underlying emotion or stress doesn’t cause the decision,” Wallingford said. “Going ahead and giving her the abortion may not help her state of mind.”

Nash said this narrowing of the exception for “life and health” of a woman has been common across the nation in recent years.

McNicholas said exemptions based on the life or health of a woman were rare, but the change may affect a small number of women seeking to get their insurance to cover the procedure.

“I think we’re also going to see an increase in attempts by women to end their pregnancies in a way that’s not safe,” she said.

Other abortion-related bills include tax credits for alternative-to-abortion agencies, or crisis pregnancy centers, which are often run by religious groups and do not provide information about abortion. Measures to increase tax credits have had hearings in the House and Senate.

Proposals to prohibit any regulation on the advertising of these centers are also being considered in both chambers.

Many Democrats and abortion rights supporters have attributed the proliferation of bills this year to election-year ambitions. Abortion opponents and the legislators pushing the bills attributed it to strong “pro-life” beliefs, personal experiences and an accumulation of bills.

Pamela Sumners, executive director for NARAL Pro-Choice Missouri, said abortion restrictions were “red meat” for Republican voters, and Republicans wanted to use their veto-proof majorities in the House and Senate.

“Some states are just testing grounds for bad legislation to be replicated elsewhere,” Sumners said. “Where you have the numbers, it’s an easy strategy to implement.”

Rep. Stanley Cox, R-Sedalia, said the lack of recent abortion-related bills passing the Senate may have contributed to the increased number of bills this year. “I think there’s some concern that Missouri is not doing enough to protect life,” he said.

Abortion rights advocates have resigned themselves that at least one bill restricting abortion will pass this year. Senate Minority Leader Jolie Justus, D-Kansas City, said she’s open to negotiation.

“My job is not necessarily to stop the legislation,” Justus said. “I’m always ready to sit down and negotiate an agreement that is the least harmful to women.”

Marie French is a reporter in the Jefferson City bureau. You can follow her on Twitter @mre545.

 

Missouri House approves ‘conscience rights’ bill for third time

 
 
February 12, 2014 2:00 pm  •  By Marie French mfrench@post-dispatch.com 573-556-6185

JEFFERSON CITY   •   Medical workers would be protected if they refused to participate in procedures such as abortions, fertility treatments or stem-cell research under a bill given initial approval by the Missouri House.

House Speaker Tim Jones, R-Eureka, said his bill protected the “conscience rights” of workers who did not want to provide specific, limited procedures that violated their religious beliefs. He said it also protected patients from having someone distracted while treating them.

“This is good for workers in giving them more rights. This is good for patients,” Jones said. “Do you want that person taking care of you who is not 110 percent invested in what they’re doing and is sitting there wondering if they’re violating their religious beliefs?”

The bill would prohibit retaliation from employers if an employee gave “reasonable notice” that they didn’t want to participate in specific procedures. Jones said he had revised the bill from previous years to include exceptions for emergency situations.

 The procedures listed in the bill include abortion, abortion-inducing drugs, contraception, reproductive assistance, human stem-cell research, human cloning, non-medically necessary sterilization and fetal tissue research.

Besides employees, the bill also protects institutions from being required to provide any procedure that violates its “conscience,” which would be determined from its guidelines and mission statement. The definitions in the bill include protections for refusing to refer patients for the specific procedures listed.

Opponents of the bill said it would interfere with women’s access to medical services and was government intrusion into health care. Rep. Stacey Newman, D-St. Louis, said the bill specifically targeted procedures women have come to expect and rely on.

“This is this body trying to put themselves in our gynecology offices telling our doctors exactly what they can and can’t do,” Newman said. “This is one more vagina-specific bill in an election year.”

Jones said that the intent of the bill was solely to protect workers and their religious freedom under the First Amendment. He said Newman had brought political “vitriol” into the debate and said that if the other side really thought the government shouldn’t be involved in health care, then they should help dismantle the president’s health care law.

“This is simply codifying and giving greater freedom and more rights to institutions that do not want to provide certain services,” Jones said.

Debate on the bill was ended quickly and the measure was approved 116-38. After another vote, the bill moves to the Senate. Last year, the bill was not debated in the full Senate.

(The bill is HB 1430.)

Marie French is a reporter in the Jefferson City bureau. You can follow her on Twitter @mre545.

 

Copyright 2014 stltoday.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

GOP Edge in generic 2014 matchup; Americans unhappy with both parties

CBS NEWSFebruary 26, 2014, 6:30 PM

More than eight months before the November midterm elections, 42 percent of registered voters would pick a generic Republican for Congress, while 39 percent would back a generic Democrat if the midterm elections were being held today. Of course, national polls are not perfect predictors of congressional elections, since the conditions and state of the race in each individual district vary.

 

2014 House Vote

 

Among Republican voters, 86 percent say they would vote for the Republican candidate in their district. Eighty-five percent of Democrats similarly say they would support their party’s candidate. Among voters who are independents, more express a preference for the Republican candidate in their district (43 percent) over the Democrat (27 percent).

 

The poll suggests that Americans remain disenchanted with both political parties.

Perceptions of the two parties have changed little in the past year: while more view the Democratic Party than the Republican Party in a positive light, majorities have a negative opinion of both parties.

 

Views of the Parties

 

And majorities think neither party has the same priorities for the country that they have themselves.

 

 

A Look Inside the Republican Party

While 41 percent of Republicans see their party’s nominees as about right, a third thinks they are not conservative enough. Tea party Republicans, who make up 42 percent of Republicans, would pull their candidates further to the right; 50 percent say their party’s candidates are not conservative enough. By comparison, 67 percent of Democrats think their candidates are about right.

 

Republican Candidates Today Are Generally

 

The recent vote in Congress to raise the debt ceiling until next year finds disfavor among Republicans (69 percent disapprove), even more so among tea party Republicans (82 percent disapprove).

Americans disapprove of House Speaker John Boehner by a 2 to 1 margin – perhaps partly due to widespread dissatisfaction with Congress – but his own party’s rank and file also disapprove (49 percent), as do just over half of tea party backers (52 percent).

 

Approval of Speaker John Boehner

While a majority of Republicans (and most tea party Republicans) are mostly hopeful about the future of the Republican Party, about four in 10 are mostly discouraged. Democrats are more positive; just 20 percent are mostly discouraged about their party, and 77 percent are mostly hopeful.

The poll asked about a number of issues: 70 percent of Republicans would like to see the health care law repealed, and while more than half are opposed to raising the minimum wage, 42 percent favor that. A majority think illegal immigrants should be allowed to stay in the U.S. legally in some way (including 36 percent who back citizenship), but 39 percent think they should be required to leave the country. Three in four Republicans would like abortion to be further restricted or not permitted at all.

But there are specific issues on which Republicans themselves disagree. Republicans under age 45 are far more likely than their older counterparts to think same sex marriage and marijuana should be legal. Younger Republicans are less likely to think Social Security and Medicare are worth the costs to taxpayers, and fewer think the U.S. should take a lead role in solving international conflicts.

 

Views on Issues Younger Vs Older Republicans

 

 

There are also clear differences between tea party and non-tea party Republicans on some issues. Tea party Republicans are more likely to think same sex marriage should not be legal, to oppose raising the minimum wage, to want the 2010 health care law repealed, and to say deficit should be reduced with spending cuts only.

 

Views on Issues Tea Party Vs Non-Tea Party Republicans

 

When it comes to their vote, there are some issues on which Republicans could be flexible and vote for a candidate who disagrees with them, but there are other issues on which they would draw the line.

Health care reform is a deal-breaker: only 27 percent would ever consider voting for a candidate who disagrees with them on that issue — it even outranks abortion (42 percent) in that regard. Fewer than half would consider a candidate who parted with them on immigration (41 percent) or same-sex marriage (47 percent). But global warming isn’t as critical (56 percent), nor is the minimum wage (59 percent).

The poll also asked Republicans about outreach to various voter groups, including those that the party has lost in recent years. Rank-and-file Republicans overwhelmingly (67 percent) say their party should do more to address the concerns of the middle class.

About a third of Republicans would like to see the party reach out further to women and Hispanics, but most Republicans say the party is doing enough to reach out to those groups already. Republicans are more apt to say the party should do more for gun owners (43 percent). Very few (18 percent) would have it do more for big business.

The poll finds some dissatisfaction with the Republican Party among a segment of the party’s own rank and file. Although two in three have a favorable view of their party, 29 percent of Republicans hold an unfavorable view. Just 54 percent of non-tea party Republicans have a favorable opinion of their party; that percentage rises to 72 percent among tea party Republicans.

In contrast, 85 percent of Democrats feel favorably toward the Democratic Party.

Whatever their differences or dissatisfaction, Republicans’ voting behavior shows strong party allegiance (the same is true for Democrats). Eighty-six percent intend to vote for the Republican candidate in their district for the House, and only 3 percent currently plan to vote Democratic. More than half of Republicans say they would consider voting for a Democrat – though in practice, exit polls routinely show that few actually do. In contrast, just 39 percent of Democrats would consider voting for a Republican for Congress.

A Look Inside the Democratic Party

Like Americans overall, most Democrats are dissatisfied (50 percent) or angry (17 percent) with the way things are going in Washington, but they are optimistic about the future of the Democratic Party. Seventy-seven percent of Democrats are mostly hopeful about their party’s future, while far fewer – 20 percent – are mostly discouraged. Liberal Democrats are especially hopeful.

Two in three Democrats are satisfied with where their candidates fall along the ideological spectrum. While 41 percent of Americans overall think the Democratic Party is nominating candidates that are too liberal for them, this is true of just 9 percent of Democratic partisans. Another 18 percent think they aren’t liberal enough. Sixty-five percent of liberal Democrats – who make up 42 percent of the Democratic Party – view their party’s candidates as about right.

By a wide margin, more Democrats than Republicans express satisfaction with the ideology of their candidates.

 

Your Partys Candidates Today Are Generally

Democrats also widely believe that their party shares their priorities for the country: 76 percent think so (compared to 38 percent of Americans overall). Among Democrats, majorities of key constituent groups within the party, including both men (72 percent) and women (78 percent), whites (77 percent) and blacks (72 percent), and Democrats of all age, income, and education levels think their party shares their priorities.

Still, most Democrats believe their party can do more for middle class voters: 70 percent say so. About half of Democrats think their party is doing enough for women voters and Hispanic voters – two groups thought to be crucial to securing an electoral victory in November – while fewer think their party should do more for gun owners (30 percent) or big business (20 percent).

Liberal Democrats differ from moderate and conservative Democrats on whether their party is doing enough for women and Hispanics: 56 percent of liberal Democrats think the party should do more for women voters, and 51 percent think it should do more Hispanic voters.

While many Democrats think the Affordable Care Act needs some changes to make it work better, just 16 percent think the law should be repealed. Fifty-five percent think abortion should be generally available, 70 percent think same-sex marriage should be legal, 86 percent favor raising the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour, and 71 percent think illegal immigrants already in the U.S. should be allowed to stay and apply for citizenship. Sixty-six percent of Democrats think global warming is caused by human activity (compared to 46 percent of Americans overall).

Like Republicans, Democrats are split along generational lines on two prominent issues where public opinion is changing rapidly: legalizing same sex marriage and marijuana. More younger Democrats than older Democrats favor legalizing each.

There are also differences between liberal and moderate/conservative Democrats on abortion, same sex marriage, legalizing marijuana, immigration and global warming.

As for the impact of these issues on their voting behavior, Democrats are the most inflexible on the Affordable Care Act and abortion: six in 10 could not vote for a candidate who disagrees with them on these issues. Democrats are a bit more flexible on immigration – 47 percent would be willing to vote for a candidate who disagreed with them on this.

Fifty-five percent of Democrats would not consider voting for a Republican for Congress, rising to 61 percent among liberal Democrats. In contrast, most Republicans (55 percent) say they would consider voting for a Democrat (although few now say they would cast their House vote for one).

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This poll was conducted by telephone February 19-23, 2014 among a total of 1,644 adults nationwide. Data collection was conducted on behalf of CBS News by Social Science Research Solutions of Media, PA. Phone numbers were dialed from samples of both standard land-line and cell phones.

The poll included a general population sample of 1,003, along with additional interviews to yield the following sample sizes: 519 Republicans, 515 Democrats, and 610 independents. The additional interviews were obtained through callbacks to people indicating party id on a previous poll. The total sample was then weighted to party distribution targets from the general population portion of the poll.

The error due to sampling for results based on the entire sample could be plus or minus three percentage points. The margin of error for Republicans, Democrats and independents is 6 points. The error for subgroups may be higher. Interviews were conducted in English and Spanish. This poll release conforms to the Standards of Disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls.