Free Markets, Free People

USA TODAY/Gallup Poll


A couple of polls

With the shooting in Aurora (lived there as a kid), CO, the usual suspects are calling for the usual remedy – stricter gun control.

How does the American public feel about such measures?  Rasmussen says that in the wake of the mass shooting in CO, the percentages for and against stricter gun control remain pretty much the same, with an overwhelming majority saying stricter control isn’t a solution.

So, to the politics of the incident – how does one make that message, “we need stricter gun control”, a positive in this campaign (or any campaign?)?  They don’t try if they’re smart.

Then there’s another indicator poll.  What this one points out, in my opinion, is the fact that if Romney can keep the debate focused on the economy and off the extraneous nonsense the Obama campaign will try to distract the voting public with, he stands a good chance of winning.

Despite concerted Democratic attacks on his business record, Republican challenger Mitt Romney scores a significant advantage over President Obama when it comes to managing the economy, reducing the federal budget deficit and creating jobs, a national USA TODAY/Gallup Poll finds.

By more than 2-1, 63%-29%, those surveyed say Romney’s background in business, including his tenure at the private equity firm Bain Capital, would cause him to make good decisions, not bad ones, in dealing with the nation’s economic problems over the next four years.

The findings raise questions about Obama’s strategy of targeting Bain’s record in outsourcing jobs and hammering Romney for refusing to commit to releasing more than two years of his tax returns. Instead, Americans seem focused on the economy, where disappointment with the fragile recovery and the 8.2% unemployment rate are costing the president.

So, with questions raised about the Obama strategy, what is a incumbent with a bad economic record he doesn’t at all want to visit if he can help it do if his current attacks aren’t having an effect?  Throw something else extraneous to the real problem he doesn’t want to talk about out there and see if it sticks to the wall.  And count on the media to pitch in and try to help it stick.

That’s how it has worked so far.

I see no reason he’ll alter his tactics.

That said, clearly if Romney can continue to stay on message and get that message out there he has a majority constituency who are with him. 

The poll goes on to say that Obama holds a “likeability” advantage over Romney.  Yeah, well, unsaid is what 4 years of a high “likeability” index have gotten us.  And, as should be clear, most voters don’t like it.

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO


Issues that unite: the repeal of ObamaCare

In another “temperature of the electorate” poll, USA Today/Gallup have a swing state poll out that points to an issue that remains an advantage for Republicans: the repeal of ObamaCare.

The poll sampled the opinions of 1,137 likely voters in 12 swing states, states critical to a win in the upcoming election.  The subject was ObamaCare:

In a USA TODAY/Gallup Poll of the nation’s dozen top battleground states, a clear majority of registered voters call the bill’s passage "a bad thing" and support its repeal if a Republican wins the White House in November. Two years after he signed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act— and as the Supreme Court prepares to hear arguments about its constitutionality next month — the president has failed to convince most Americans that it was the right thing to do.

You sort of have to root through the story to get an idea of the depth of the swing state voter’s resistance to the law, but it is significant:

Voters in swing states stand overwhelmingly on one side of the debate: Three of four voters, including a majority of Democrats and of liberals, say the law is unconstitutional.

So about 75% in those states find it to be a major issue in which they side with the GOP.  undo_obamacare

Many try to paint this result as one of poor messaging on the part of the Obama Administration and Democrats.  Of course that’s a favorite fallback position – its not the message, it’s how it has been delivered.

In fact, it is the message.  The message is “we can mandate whatever we wish and your only choice is to do what you’re told to do.”

Americans, in general, naturally resist such a power grab.  And that’s what you see in this poll. 

Opposition to the law is eroding Obama’s support among the middle-of-the-road voters both nominees will court this fall. Among independents, 35% say the law makes them less likely to support Obama, more than double the 16% who say it makes them more likely.

The intensity of feeling among potential swing voters also favors opponents. Among independents who lean to the GOP, 54% say they are much less likely to support Obama as a result. Among independents who lean to the Democrats, 18% say they are much more likely to support him.

As we’ve noted any number of times, such as last night’s podcast,  it is the “middle of the road” or “independents” are the key to victory.  And they find the law very objectionable.  It is also an issue likely to motivate these voters (see note about the “intensity of feeling”).

As we noted in last nights podcast, while the GOP is seen to be thrashing about right now, once a nominee is settled upon and the focus turns on Obama and his record, it is issues like this that the GOP must use to defeat him.  It resonates (here’s a recent national poll on the subject).  If they let the Democrats or the media set the agenda and deflect or redirect the debate to issues of no real importance in this election, but issues which are likely to hurt them among moderate voters, then they stand a chance to lose.  If they allow that to happen, shame on them.

Obama finally has a record, and it is not a good one.  ObamaCare and its repeal should be front and center of any issue oriented GOP campaign.  It is a winner for them.

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO


Some worrying poll numbers for Obama

The consensus appears to be that the Oval Office speech last night fizzled. It didn’t accomplish what the administration and, I’d guess, the Democrats hoped it would. That is show a commanding president in charge of the situation who reflects confidence and leadership.

None of that desired above were evident. Interestingly, the left is savaging the speech just as much as the right. No one apparently felt good after that one.

Which brings us to a poll that’s quite interesting – the USA TODAY/Gallup poll about political viability. By that I mean futures for both the president and the Democratic Congress. And if the poll is to be believed (and I see no reason it shouldn’t), the future isn’t so bright the Dems need shades:

The criticism hasn’t driven down Obama’s overall job-approval rating, at 50% in the new poll, the highest since January. But it may be affecting his standing in other ways. By 51%-46%, the registered voters surveyed said Obama didn’t deserve re-election.

Enthusiasm about voting in the midterm elections fell, especially among Democrats. Just 35% of Democrats say they are “more enthusiastic about voting than usual,” the lowest level in more than a decade and 18 percentage points below that of Republicans.

The poll, of course, doesn’t reflect the mood of voters after the “big speech” so those “overall job-approval rating” numbers may not remain at 50%. But the future is reflected in the enthusiasm, or lack thereof and the doesn’t “deserve re-election” numbers that the poll reports.

If you’ve lost your base, which is how I interpret “enthusiasm” numbers – i.e. how enthused your base is about what you’re doing and will they get off their duffs and vote to keep you going – then you’re pretty much done. Because you can count on a whole lot of independents not being too enthused about Democrats either, as other polling has shown.

And, when you have a 5% gap in “doesn’t deserve to be re-elected”, that’s fairly significant and gives Dems and idea of the job they have in front of them selling this guy the next time.

That all supposes that events keep going the way they have for the past few months. I have little doubt they won’t. And then, for good measure, some international event, of which a number are building, will burst over the horizon and into the news, complicating this administration’s fuzzy focus even more.

Some would describe all this ineptitude and chaos we’re witnessing to be a teachable moment for the voting public – next time pay attention to qualifications. The only problem with that is you are supposed to learn something from teachable moments, and to do that, you have to survive them.

~McQ


Today’s good news

One more time for those who continue to believe all these Tea Party demonstrations are founded on the right and favor the Republicans:

A majority disapprove of both political parties, their leaders and most members of Congress, a USA TODAY/Gallup Poll finds.

Attitudes are reminiscent of those in 1994 and 2006, when control of Congress switched from one party to the other.

The favorable rating for the Democratic Party has fallen to its lowest level since Gallup began asking the question in 1992 —its standing has dropped 14 percentage points since President Obama’s election — but the Republican Party fares no better. Three of four Americans say they are dissatisfied with the country’s direction.

It isn’t just anti-incumbent fever, it is anti-party fever.  How many times do I have to say that these Tea Parties are the tip of a very big iceberg and it doesn’t necessarily represent just the right-wing?  I’d certainly say that for the most part you’ll find very few from the left in there because their nominal party of choice is in power.  But these protests probably represent the big middle more than any I’ve seen in my life time.

I know I sound like a broken record when I continue to say that what happened late in ’08 and early ’09 with the financial crisis, TARP, the bailouts and the takeovers slapped a whole bunch of people awake.  I travel – a lot.  And I’m around everyday Americans constantly.  And I hear them talk among themselves.  Normally it’s about the vacation they’re on,  something personal in their lives, sports – whatever.  But rarely if ever is it about politics, government or the like.

Until now.  Now I hear it constantly.  I hear older couples traveling together, for instance, in a small town diner in Tennessee talking about how big government is going to ruin us.  I hear people in a BBQ joint in Alabama concerned about their financial future and saying government needs to get out of the way.  I hear a hotel worker in the lobby of a Hampton Inn – a hotel worker – complain that this country is going to the dogs. I don’t know their party affiliation, if any, but I do know they’re pissed.  I never hear that stuff usually, and trust me, I’m attuned to hearing it if it is being said.  Politics is the last thing most people talk about in public.  But there is a growing grassroots dislike for all that is the federal government and those that represent it.  I’m not talking about violence, certainly not at this stage, but definitely a desire to do something about it.  While the elite like to wave off the “I want my country back” crowd as ignorant rubes (or thugs, or angry white men, or nazis, or brownshirts or terrorists) who just don’t know what what’s good for them or what they’re talking about, that sentiment simmers not that far below the surface.   People are concerned and people are getting angrier.  I use the word “angrier” because they’ve been somewhat angry about this for some time.   They’re getting angrier because they no longer just perceive their being ignored, they flat know they’re being ignored.  And that really pisses them off.

Look at the cite above – 75% of the nation thinks we’re on the wrong track.  That accounts for most Democrats (the 25% not mentioned) and Republicans probably make up another 25 to 30%).  So that leaves 45 to 50% of the country unaffiliated and not at all happy with either party. And of course, remember, Democrats assumed that the election and ascension of Obama and their assumption of power was all that was necessary reverse that (because, you know, it was all about Bush). Well it didn’t, and in fact, it has gotten worse.  That says something about the “wrong direction” with which the people are dissatisfied.  The last administration and especially this administration have vastly expanded the size, scope and cost of government and racked up record deficits and debt.  As that has happened this number has gotten worse.  It’s not hard to figure out what they’re dissatisfied with, is it?

I think it could be safely assumed that at the moment their dissatisfaction is more likely to fall most heavily on the party in power, but if Republicans assume that means they’re in the driver’s seat, they’re simply wrong.  Right now, if you look at the “my Representative deserves to be reelected” those numbers are below 50% and over 10 points lower than in ’94 when the GOP rode to victory in midterms because of dissatisfaction with Democrats. No matter how many times the GOP tries to sell it, this isn’t “just like” ’94 and they better figure that out quickly.

The rubes aren’t as dumb and certainly not as uninvolved as the political elite would like to assume they are.   How the anger they now are feeling will work itself out remains to be seen.  But, despite the assurances of the ruling class that by November this anger will all go away, especially if the economy turns around, this anger is not likely to dissipate.  So we’ll see how it goes – whether it is an anti-incumbency midterm or a dump the Democrats midterm.  While I’m sure a bunch of Democrats are going to be dumped, I also wouldn’t be surprised to see a good number of Republicans lose their job – especially if they start waffling on the repeal promise and their principles.  Their losses may put a Democrat in office, but it will be because another candidate took the Republican on and split the vote.  And, if it is because they again abandoned their principles, deservedly so.

The politicians like to talk about how corporate America needs to change its culture.  Well there is no establishment in this country more ripe for major cultural change than that in DC.  And what I hope to see in November is an aroused electorate slap the crap out of those complacent scalawags and start that cultural change rolling. A pipe dream – maybe. But it may actually be one of the last chances the people have of “taking their country back”.

~McQ


Party, president and politics will cost Democrats in November

Howard Fineman opens his latest Newsweek article with this:

A Democratic senator I can’t name, who reluctantly voted for the health-care bill out of loyalty to his party and his admiration for Barack Obama, privately complained to me that the measure was political folly, in part because of the way it goes into effect: some taxes first, most benefits later, and rate hikes by insurance companies in between.

So, there it is – America, screwed by slavish loyalty to party and president.  And the people?  Well this was about politics, pure and simple, as this unnamed Senator admits.  And only now he realizes the political folly – he and the party are screwed.

Pardon me if I don’t shed a tear.

The bill remains hugely unpopular, the people remain very uneasy and they are very aware of the fact that they were totally and unequivocally ignored while being fed absolute BS to justify this power grab:

Brown won in Massachusetts for a reason. The Democrats had failed to make their case for this reform to the American public. They pressed the case for some sort of reform, but that was easy: the country was already there. What the country dislikes is this particular bill, and the Democrats, intent on arguing among themselves, barely even tried to change its mind.

People struggle to understand how extending health insurance to 32 million Americans, at a cost of a trillion dollars over ten years, can be a deficit-reducing measure. If cuts in Medicare will pay for half of that outlay, as the plan intends, they struggle to see how the quality of Medicare’s services can be maintained–let alone improved, as Pelosi said again in her speech on Sunday. The CBO notwithstanding, the public is right not to believe these claims.

And that’s from a guy who was pleased the legislation passed.  He thought it about time that the US joined the rest of the world in their rationed medical misery.

It’s a turkey and even Fineman knows it. 2/3rds in a USA Today poll say the bill goes too far.  Tell me again there’s no market for repeal or, if not total repeal, drastic changes in the bill.

Party, president and politics were the three priorities that were put in front of the people.  In November the people have their say about those priorities.  And I think it should be clear to those who voted for it, despite all their happy talk about how wonderful this is, that they’re going to pay.

And that brings me to the latest nonsense passing as punditry – that by passing this Obama has increased his prestige and power.  Maybe among Democrats – but among the rest of us, as poll after poll indicate, not so much.  Obama’s made it abundantly clear through out this process that he’s not a man to be trusted, that he’s a pure partisan party hack who purposely alienated the opposing party and that he talks out of both sides of his mouth. He used every bit of his political capital to pass a health care monstrosity.  Like the country he’s broke and he still hasn’t made the sale where it matters most.  It is clear that during all of this, he and the Democrats have lost the independent voters who were so critical to their rise to power and they’re most likely not coming back. And he’s somehow “increased” his power and prestige?

With a result like that, I’d hate to see him “decrease” it.

~McQ


Two Reasons Americans Don’t Want Obamacare

While the rest of the nation ponders whether Kanye West is a “jackass” and President Obama was correct in calling him that, I’ve been thinking about why the Democrats and Obama are having such a tough time selling their health care proposals.

Obviously part of the push back by the people has been because of the recession. Common sense says you don’t exacerbate a bad financial situation by adding debt. Nothing anyone has claimed about the “health care savings” reform would bring has resonated with the public. That’s because people don’t believe or trust the rosy estimates that Democrats have used. And of course it hasn’t helped that the CBO has shot down just about every one of their claims as well.

In fact it looks a lot like 1993 all over again according to an ABC/Washington Post poll released today:

Sixteen percent of the respondents to the most recent poll say their health care would improve if the proposed changes are enacted, and 32 percent say their health care will be worse if that happens.

By comparison, the same poll in late September of 1993 found 19 percent saying their health care would improve and 31 percent saying it would get worse.

Even deploying Obama to use his vaunted oratorical skills to turn the tide hasn’t worked according to another poll:

A USA TODAY/Gallup Poll taken after the president’s dramatic address to a joint session of Congress last week shows Americans almost evenly divided over passing a health care bill and inclined to think it would make some of the system’s vexing problems worse, not better.

Six in 10 say Obama’s proposal, if enacted, would not achieve his goals of expanding coverage to nearly all Americans without raising taxes on the middle class or lowering the quality of health care. For the first time, a majority disapprove of the way he’s handling health care policy.

So what’s the problem? Why does public opinion seem so dead set against what Democrats feel is beneficial legislation for all?

Well, what Obama and the Democrats are running up against is the same problem Bill Clinton et. al experienced. People, for the most part, are quite satisfied with the insurance they have and don’t want to chance government messing that up. And they understand that the chance of government messing it up, given how government does most things, is very high.

Although polls have consistently shown that just over half of Americans think the health-care system is in need of reform, a substantial majority say they are satisfied with their own insurance and care. Any hope of change will require their support, according to experts and advocates across the ideological spectrum.

“They are critical,” said Drew E. Altman, president and chief executive of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health research organization. “This debate will turn on people like this trying to answer the question ‘Will this benefit my family?’ “

Most are concluding it won’t benefit their family and, in fact, may end up being detrimental to them.

Democrats seem to be missing the point that while health care reform is popular, their version of health care reform isn’t. I guess health care reform somewhat resembles porn – the people will know it when they see it. But they’re not seeing it in the proposals the Democrats are offering right now – and that is why there’s this massive push back.

The majority of those opposed do not believe the claims that nothing will change pertaining to their health care. It simply doesn’t makes sense to them that the scope and goals of the change being discussed won’t effect their coverage.

Then there are the seniors:

One of President Obama’s biggest challenges this fall will be persuading seniors to accept his healthcare proposals. Many elderly voters are deeply worried about “Obama-care” because they fear that his plans will reduce their coverage and increase their costs. Seniors, in fact, are more opposed to Obama’s healthcare ideas than any other age group.

Of course the irony, as pointed out any number of times, is that most seniors are on a government program. Rarely pointed out is the fact that they have no choice in the matter. Consequently those who love to point this out and crow about how seniors “like” their government insurance never follow that up with the fact that seniors are forced into a system which may or may not have been their first choice.

But that aside, seniors don’t like change. And, they’re smart people who understand that they are the demographic that spends the most on health care. Given that understanding, when the goal of “cutting costs” is put forward as a primary goal of the reform being discussed, they know where those cuts are most likely to be made.

But they have developed a deep skepticism toward Obama’s agenda of expanding the reach and power of Washington. They basically agree with the conservative attack that he is a liberal zealot who wants to inject the government into every nook and cranny of American life—including everyday decisions about the choice of doctors and medical plans, pollsters say. Some seniors specifically fear that the healthcare overhaul will take money away from their cherished Medicare program, and they don’t want to take that risk.

Only 35 percent of people 65 and older approve of Obama’s handling of healthcare, according to a Washington Post/ABC News poll in August …

Their defense of a government medical insurance program for themselves and their skepticism of further government intrusion into our lives isn’t quite as contradictory (or ironic) once you understand the whys and wherefores of the mandatory nature of Medicare. Seniors aren’t interested in more government or the chance that the only insurance available to them will be cut to meet a savings goal.

Those are how the planets are lining up in the health care reform universe. Obama and the Dems aren’t succeeding in convincing the skeptics with their arguments. In fact, as it drags on, more skeptics are being born than believers.

The answer, devoid of politics, seems clear. Stop the process right now, reset the debate and actually have one. Find out what “reform” means to the public and act on that consensus. It may end up merely insuring those without insurance. It may be that and tort reform plus opening up the intra-state private insurance markets and eliminating mandates. Or more. Or less. But what should be clear to both the Democrats and Obama at this point is it is not what they’re offering.

The danger to them (electorally) and to us (reduction of liberty) is they’ll disregard that in the name of politics and ram through something we’ll all regret but find difficult get rid of once passed.

That’s what I fear and it appears that’s what some on the left are prepared to do. They have waited too long and have too much invested politically to back off now.

~McQ


Who Speaks For The GOP?

That was a question put to Americans in a poll:

The question flummoxes most Americans, a USA TODAY/Gallup Poll finds, which is among the reasons for the party’s sagging state and uncertain direction.

A 52% majority of those surveyed couldn’t come up with a name when asked to specify “the main person” who speaks for Republicans today.

Frankly, given the current crop of GOP “leaders” that’s probably a good thing.

~McQ