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With temporary federal benefits for long-term unemployed Americans set to expire on December 28, a new Public Policy Polling poll finds that bipartisan majorities in Republican-controlled swing districts overwhelmingly support an extension of the program – something the GOP opposes and refused to include in the newest budget deal.

The PPP poll, released on Monday, shows that some vulnerable Republican congressmemembers risk losing support from voters over their stance on the Emergency Unemployment Compensation program.

In each of the districts – California’s 31st, Colorado’s 6th, Michigan’s 1st, Illinois’ 13th, and Ohio’s 8th – voters said they were less likely to re-elect the incumbent if their representative refused to extend the program.

Republican congressman Gary Miller represents the district with the greatest bipartisan support for an extension of unemployment benefits: 68 percent of voters say they want the benefits continued as opposed to 28 percent who do not. More notably, Republicans voiced support for an extension by 54 percent to 41 percent.

Similarly, in the districts represented by Dan Benishek (R-MI) and Rodney Davis (R-IL), majorities of voters support extending the program, 66 percent to 29 percent. In Michigan’s 1st district, 60 percent of Republicans say the benefits should be extended past the new year, and in Illinois’ 13th district, 53 percent say the same.

House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) says the progress showed in November’s job report should “discourage calls for more government ‘stimulus’,” but the voters in his district disagree — 63 percent want the program extended, while 34 percent do not. A majority of Republicans – 52 percent – also support an extension.

The only district in which a majority of Republicans did not voice support for an extension was Colorado’s 6th district, currently held by Mike Coffman (R). Still, 63 percent of voters say they want to see the program extended, and a plurality of Republicans – 48 percent – say the same.

With the poll also showing low approval ratings for the Republican lawmakers – Miller with 29 percent, Coffman with 42 percent, Davis with 33 percent, Benishek with 41 percent, and Boehner with 40 percent – there’s a chance that “voting to cut off benefits for unemployed people struggling to find work would make their existing problems worse,” as PPP director Tom Jensen said in a release accompanying the poll.

Still, it’s also possible that the issue will not be as politically salient in 2014. By then, voters may have prioritized other issues besides the extension of unemployment benefits — which is in the news now, with the passing of the budget deal and a looming expiration date.

Jeremy Funk of Americans United for Change, which funded the PPP poll, argues that Republicans should do what is “not just in America’s economic interest” but in “their own political interest.”

Americans United for Change also points out that congressional Democrats have been alone in their fight for extending the emergency unemployment benefits. A week ago, the liberal group posted a video highlighting the battle that Democrats can use to their advantage. You can watch the video below:

Video: Americans United via YouTube

Photo: Gage Skidmore via Flickr

Blake Neff

Twitter screenshot

Reprinted with permission from MediaMatters

On July 10, CNN's Oliver Darcy reported that Blake Neff, the top writer for Tucker Carlson's prime-time Fox News show, had been anonymously posting racist, misogynistic, homophobic, and other offensive content on an online forum for five years. Neff used racist and homophobic slurs, referred to women in a derogatory manner, and pushed white supremacist content while writing for Carlson's show. Neff resigned after CNN contacted him for comment.

As Darcy reported, in an interview with the Dartmouth Alumni Magazine, Neff claimed anything Carlson read during his show was initially drafted by him. Darcy also found instances where there was "some overlap between the forum and the show," as sometimes the "material Neff encountered on the forum found its way on to Carlson's show."

During a 2018 appearance on Fox's The Five to promote his book Ship of Fools, Carlson mentioned Neff by name, calling him a "wonderful writer." Carlson also included Neff in the acknowledgments of the book.

Before joining Fox News, Neff worked at The Daily Caller, a conservative news outlet that Carlson co-founded. The outlet has published a number of white supremacists, anti-Semites, and bigots.

Carlson has a long history of promoting white supremacist content on his show. His show has featured many guests who have connections to white supremacy and far-right extremism. Carlson has regularly been praised by Neo-Nazis and various far-right extremist figures, and he's been a hero on many white supremacist podcasts. Users of the extremist online message boards 4chan and 8chan have repeatedly praised Carlson.

The manifesto released by the gunman who killed 20 people in El Paso, Texas, in 2019 was strewn with content that echoed talking points from Carlson's show. Days after the shooting, Carlson declared that calling white supremacy a serious issue is a "hoax" as it is "actually not a real problem in America."

Carlson has been hemorrhaging advertisers following his racist coverage of the Black Lives Matters movement and the recent protests against police brutality. Now that we know his top writer was using content from white supremacist online message boards for Carlson's show, it is more imperative than ever that advertisers distance their brands away from this toxicity.