Political staffers have a say on power, midterm elections

A unique survey of Capitol Hill chiefs of staff, legislative directors, communications directors, press secretaries, and staff directors offers an insider take on 19 issues of interest, from who holds power to the probable outcome of the midterm elections.

Conducted by Punchbowl News, the survey found that 78% overall say the Republican Party will be in control of the House after the midterm election — while 70% think the Democrats will hold onto the Senate.

Majorities also thought that Democratic and Republican members of Congress were closer to agreement on “China relations” and infrastructure than the media indicates. However, a bare few of the respondents — less than 2% — said the two sides would ever agree on D.C. statehood, election reform, tax reform or gun control.

Among respondents who worked for a Republican member, 87% said Fox News primetime host Tucker Carlson was the “most influential Republican voice outside of members of Congress, presidents or vice-presidents.” Among Democratic respondents, 86% said Stacey Abrams was their most influential outside voice.

Then there are the timely predictions. The survey also revealed that 74% of respondents who worked for a Democrat said that Rep. Hakeem Jeffries is most likely to be the next Democratic speaker once Nancy Pelosi leaves the post. Among Republican respondents, two-thirds said Rep. Kevin McCarthy would be the most likely candidate for a GOP speaker.

Over on the Senate side, 37% said Sen. Richard J. Durbin would be the next Democratic Senate majority leader, while 39% gave the nod to Sen. John Cornyn as the next Republican Senate majority leader after Sen. Mitch McConnell departs the role.

The survey of 158 “senior Capitol Hill staffers” was conducted May 11-28 and released to news outlets Monday. The sample included 80 Democratic staffers and 78 Republican staffers.

NEWSMAX HAS A RATINGS TRIUMPH

Newsmax TV continues to claim its territory in broadcasting. The network aired former President Donald Trump’s speech to the North Carolina Republican Convention on Saturday.

It was a ratings winner, rewarded with a substantial 1.8 million viewers.

According to Nielsen Media Research, Newsmax TV drew a total audience reach of 1.1 million viewers across traditional cable platforms. In addition, the network also enjoyed another 700,000 viewers through on-demand video streaming.

“Fox News did not air Trump’s speech, leaving Newsmax as the only major cable news channel to air the event live,” the network said in its own analysis.

“Nielsen reports that Newsmax beat Fox in the coverage rating for the key 35-64” year-old audience, the network continued.

In addition, Newsmax attracted triple the number of viewers in the same time period as CNN, and four times as many viewers as tuned into MSNBC.

Newsmax TV was founded in 2014 and is available in 100 million homes according to its public information. The network also  broadcasts free on Roku, Xumo, Pluto, YouTube, Apple TV, most smart TVs and Facebook Live, as well as the company’s internal platforms.

‘PATRIOTIC PHILANTHROPY’

The National Park Service has reopened Arlington House, the Robert E. Lee Memorial following a $12.35 million rehabilitation made possible by a donation from philanthropist David M. Rubenstein to the National Park Foundation.

The Greek revival-style mansion is located in Arlington National Cemetery and drew 650,000 visitors in previous years, but closed in 2011 after a rare 5.8 magnitude earthquake damaged the original structure.

Mr. Rubenstein stepped forward three years later with his donation.

“The National Park Service has done a spectacular job refurbishing Arlington House and telling the stories of the enslaved people who built the plantation house and worked there,” said Mr. Rubenstein, who is co-founder and co-chairman of The Carlyle Group, a global investment firm.

“The reopening of Arlington House provides a place for hard and important conversations that illuminate more perspectives, including the experiences of enslaved people and their descendants,” said Will Shafroth, president and CEO of the National Park Foundation.

The house itself has a complex heritage. Originally constructed between 1802 and 1818, it was the residence of George Washington Parke Custis and served as the nation’s first memorial to his adopted grandfather, George Washington.

“Custis’ daughter Mary Anna Randolph Custis would then marry a young Robert E. Lee in the house in 1831. This house became the residence of Lee and his family before the Civil War. During the American Civil War, the house was seized by the Union Army who proceeded to turn the plantation into a military cemetery,” according to a National Park Service history.

“I hope many people get to visit and believe that Arlington House’s rich and complicated history will add to the necessary and important discussion in our country about racial justice,” Mr. Rubenstein said.

In a gesture of what Mr. Rubenstein often calls “patriotic philanthropy,” he has previously donated many millions of dollars to shore up major historic sites facing structural challenges or damage, including the Jefferson Memorial, the Lincoln Memorial, the National Zoo and the Washington Monument — to name a few.

POLL DU JOUR

• 79% of U.S. adults have worn a facial mask in the last seven days.

• 60% of U.S. adults have visited a grocery store in the last 24 hours.

• 38% have visited a restaurant, 35% have visited a retail store; 28% have gone to a pharmacy in that period.

• 17% have gone to a doctor or a treatment center, 9% to a salon or barber shop.

• 8% have gone to a gym in that period.

• 4% traveled by airplane, boat or other means, 3% have used public transportation such as bus, train or subway in the last 24 hours.

SOURCE: A Gallup poll of 3,572 adults conducted May 18-23 and released Monday.

• Kindly follow Jennifer Harper on Twitter @HarperBulletin.

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