Free Markets, Free People
W have dueling polls concerning the level of anger/distress/rejection of the new TSA procedures being introduced in airports recently. Zogby International and Gallup have come up with different results of polls they’ve recently taken about how the flying public feels about the “don’t touch my junk” controversy.
Gallup says that the overwhelming number of frequent flyers really don’t have a problem with the new procedures. Since millions of flyers move through the system and at last count I saw, only about 170,000 had been subjected to the advanced pat down, I have to wonder if that high number is a result of the fact that while they’ve heard about the pat downs, they’ve never experienced one. And certainly, I assume a good number of them simply have no problem with the possible health care aspects of the back scatter x-ray or with some nameless bureaucrat ogling their “junk”.
Anyway, per Gallup, frequent travelers are “largely” ok with full body scanners but not as enthused with the possibility of an advanced pat down.
They put the number at 71% who claim that the loss of personal privacy (through full body scan or pat down) is “worth it” to prevent acts of terrorism. 27% say it is not worth it. What’s the old saying? A liberal is someone who has never been mugged before? I get the impression that “in theory” they may find it to be “worth it” but I really have to wonder if they’d hold to that if they had to undergo the procedures.
As you get into the poll you find this:
The majority (57%) say they are not bothered by the prospect of undergoing a full-body scan at airport security checkpoints. The same percentage, however, say they are bothered, if not angry, about the prospect of undergoing a full-body pat-down. Still, fewer than one in three frequent air travelers are "angry" about undergoing either procedure.
Again, note the wording – they’re not bothered “by the prospect” of undergoing a full-body scan. And it isn’t some “vast majority” like the 71% implies. It’s 57% of which I’d guess most haven’t undergone either procedure (I believe the scanners are only in 70 or so airports at this time).
Zogby, on the other hand, come up with much different result than did Gallup:
Of the 2,032 likely voters polled between November 19 and November 22, 61 percent said they oppose the use of body scanners and pat downs.
Now that does wander into “vast majority” territory. It also completely contradicts a CBS News poll that said only 15% were opposed to the full-body scanners. Of course the poll was conducted November 7-10, before the “don’t touch my junk” controversy had really exploded in the media.
The Zogby poll also mentions something that has gotten very little media attention. The administration came out early saying that all their scientists say the x-ray scanners pose no health threat to the flying public. But that’s not necessarily true. I know, I know – you’re shocked, aren’t you? But it is a matter of statistics that in fact someone will get skin cancer according to Dr. Michael Love of Johns Hopkins:
"They say the risk is minimal, but statistically someone is going to get skin cancer from these x-rays," Dr. Michael Love, who runs an x-ray lab at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, said.
When you consider how absurdly far the government sometimes goes in order to minimize risk in other health areas, it seems a bit contradictory to me to see it now claiming safety for something that obviously will statistically cause cancer in those who undergo the procedure.
Now as mentioned it may not be a major risk, but it is certainly something people must consider when submitting. And how about their kids?
If they opt out because of those concerns, they get the grope treatment instead. Not exactly what you’d expect in the “land of the free and the home of the brave” in terms of choices which preserve individual liberty and privacy.
Zogby reports, contrary to Gallup’s findings:
The poll also found that men were slightly more opposed than women, with 63 percent of men and 60 percent of women opposing the TSA’s new checkpoint procedures.
In addition, 52 percent of respondents think the new security procedures will not prevent terrorist activity, 48 percent consider it a violation of privacy rights and 32 percent consider it to be sexual harassment.
Zogby looks at the politics of the issue – and guess who manages to find themselves on the wrong side of an individual rights issue?
Republicans and Independents are more opposed to the new body scans and pat downs than Democrats, with 69 percent of Republicans and 65 percent of Independents opposing them, compared to only 50 percent of Democrats.
And finally, the business aspect of all of this. Gallup somehow finds an increase in the number of frequent travelers (flown 2 or more times this year) vs. those who would seek an alternate means of travel. They note that in January of this year, 27% would seek alternate means of travel while in this recent survey, only 19% would seek an alternative to avoid the “hassles” associated with flying.
Zogby found a much different result among those they polled:
"It is clear the majority of Americans are not happy with TSA and the enhanced security measures recently enacted," said pollster John Zogby. "The airlines should not be happy with 42 percent of frequent flyers seeking a different mode of transportation due to these enhancements."
Below I commented on the climate government creates in which businesses have to operate. This is an interesting example of the point. Although not exactly what I was alluding too below, it is indeed an example of government action effecting the financial health of a market sector. And the moves are unilateral and obviously without consideration of the downside for that sector. Not to mention all the liberty related problems any American should find with these procedures as well.
One of the points I continue to try and make when talking about Democrats, Republicans and elections is that which ever side is on the winning side this time or that, it’s mostly because the populace is more disgusted with the other side than enamored with their side.
The trend in the “are we on the right or wrong track as a country” has been in the negative for many years. People aren’t happy in general with the direction of the country or how it is being governed in general, regardless of the party in power.
Gallup points to one of primary “specifics” that relate to that feeling – perceptions about the federal government. And it isn’t pretty reading if you’re a big government fan:
Overall, 72% of responses about the federal government are negative, touching on its inefficiency, size, corruption, and general incompetence, with the most common specific descriptions being "too big," "confused," and "corrupt."
In fact in another recent Gallup poll, the federal government ranked next to last (only above the oil and gas industry which it has constantly demonized) with only 26% of those surveyed seeing it in a positive light.
This is one of the reasons the Tea Parties exist – they are the small minority of activists which vocalize what much of the population feels and is doing its best via the ballot box to correct. What the TP does is give the issue the visibility it needs. A voice to the frustration.
What you see in much of Washington DC is a bunch of government “addicts” (i.e. politicians and bureaucrats) in denial.
I could go on a riff about all of this for thousands of words, but you’ve all read it before. It is like the 800 pound gorilla in the room that neither party really wants to acknowledge. Such acknowledgment would mean a) they’d have to actually listen to the people and that means b) giving up the power they’ve accrued to this point. And in reality, neither party really, honestly wants to do that (oh certainly there are some in each who might be amenable, but not as a whole, no matter what they say).
The relatively good news is you can tell both parties are worried about this, but for different reasons. Democrats realize they’re almost completely on the wrong side of this. They are, at heart, a big government party. They see government as the primary means of accomplishing what they visualize as a utopian egalitarian society overseen by a large (costly and intrusive) government. What is beginning to bother them is realizing how few buy into that vision and want it.
The Republicans, on the other hand, supposedly embody the principles that the frustrated populace mostly embrace. The problem is performance. They haven’t lived up to their principles for decades. That is why you see insurgent candidates running against establishment candidates and doing well. The insurgents may be colorful and for the most part, not the choice of the establishment, but that’s the point. However flawed the insurgent candidates are personally, they represent a message to the establishment. It is about a type of candidate – philosophically. They’re essentially saying “you count seats, we count principles” and they’re further saying “we’d rather chance losing the seat that putting someone in there that doesn’t represent our needs” because doing otherwise simply hasn’t worked out in the past, has it?
That is,to me at least, one of the more fascinating aspects of what is going on out there. And these polls that Gallup and others do indicate this isn’t something which is going to be easily or quickly remedied. However, it should warn both sides that business as usual is not an option. And while that may manifest itself somewhat in this election, it is the 2012 political season that is going the be one of the most interesting in decades to watch.
Gallup’s latest poll shows that at least in the universe of those polled, neither the GOP or the Democratic party are held in very high esteem. It’s something that I and Billy Hollis have been trying to get across for some time.
What you’re seeing out there among the teeming masses isn’t necessarily a movement (I’m talking the Tea Party, etc) that wants to put the GOP in power. It is a movement that is sick and tired of the way the country has been run and at the moment Republicans are considered to be slightly better because of their fiscal principles.
But, as Lisa Murkowski can tell you, not even all of them are acceptable.
I’m not speaking for the Tea Party, I’m not sure anyone can, but it appears to me to be mostly driven by a desire for fiscal conservatism and a return to Constitutional/limited government. I don’t think it is much more complex than that, although with any mass movement you’ll see other minor movements with different causes try to attach themselves and claim to be mainstream in that movement.
But for the most part fiscal conservatism and limited government best characterize the Tea Party in my eyes. And I’ve spoken frequently about how the “wrong track” poll – i.e. the fact that a huge majority of Americans, in the 60 percentile range, think the country is on the wrong track and have thought so for at least the last two administrations – speaks to the fact that they’re not happy with either party.
Gallup’s poll simply validates that point:
Americans’ frustration with Congress is directed at both sides of the aisle — with job approval ratings of 33% for the Democrats in Congress and 32% for the Republicans in Congress.
Interestingly those ratings are considerably higher than Congress’s approval rating (somewhere down around 11%) which I attribute to this specific Congress. Americans don’t like the way Congress as a whole this session has done business and blame the Democrats for that, since they’re the majority party. But in general, and for some time, they’ve not at all happy with the two parties (in fact, the cited poll numbers probably reflect approval by mostly partisan members of each party).
So here we are on the eve of a mid-term with the GOP poised to make a return to power, at least in the House, and it is clear that they are nothing more than a “lesser of two evils” pick because, unfortunately, there are only two viable parties.
That is part of the frustration Americans are going through right now. Movements like the Tea Party are trying to shape that a bit with its support of candidates that are much closer to the ideal they prefer. And they’re having some success.
Of course the point is that the GOP shouldn’t think that there’s been a sudden mass acceptance of their brand or that they suddenly have some sort of mandate (the mistake the Democrats made and the result of that will be seen this November). Instead they should understand that they’re grudgingly being given another chance to prove themselves, that the people that are supporting them have been very clear what they want, and if they don’t perform, they now have a movement that can find – and back – someone who will.
That’s quite a change from previous years, and who knows, if the Tea Party survives in some manner or form, it might be something that can indeed help us back along the road to fiscal conservancy and limited government.
Gallup’s latest poll brings us back to reality:
Gallup Daily tracking finds Americans’ confidence in the economy significantly lower so far in July than in June. And confidence in June was, in turn, down from May. The Gallup Economic Confidence Index for July 1-13, at -35, is lower than any monthly average in more than a year.
Recovery summer isn’t off to a very blazing start. If the administration and its spinmeisters think they’re selling the recovery, they need to “reset” their calculation:
The decline in confidence seen in recent months is owing primarily to mounting public skepticism with the economy’s direction. Thus far in July, 30% of Americans, on average, have said the economy is getting better and 65% have said it is getting worse, for a net -35 economic outlook score. This is down sharply from -13 in April.
Economic confidence is a critical key to any recovery. Once consumers are sold on the economy’s recovery, positive growth is usually the result. The opposite is also true. That’s because consumers who have lost confidence in the economy are more likely to put off buying anything but necessities. The obvious economic repercussions of that sort of thinking is to slow growth and thus delay (or kill) any recovery.
The political problem here (I think the economic problems should be obvious to all) is that the confidence of the consumer in the economy is heading down while all the spin is telling us we’re recovering quite well, thank you very much.
In other words, the political sales job on the economy and recover – critical to Democrats going into the mid-term elections – isn’t taking. Consumers hear the pitch, look around them and not seeing what is said to exist, are rejecting it for the reality they are seeing and living.
Bad mojo for Dems looking at an election in 4 months. That’s has caused all sorts of inter-party whining, wailing and fighting. Meanwhile companies do what companies do when they lack confidence in the economy (and the policies of the government) – nothing.
Economically, without a true miracle, things will not begin to turn around sufficiently in the economy to be of any help to Democrats in November. It appears it isn’t a question of whether or not they’ll lose seats, it is a question of how many. With the numbers we’re seeing in various polls about how the electorate views the Democratic Congress and Obama administration’s economic policies, it’s clear that most have decided that giving the GOP another chance is the least of their bad choices for this coming election.
Whether that has much of any impact, given the demonstrated obstinate nature of this administration, in the new Congress (and assuming they take control of at least on house in Congress) remains to be seen. But if the Republicans take the House, the great blame-shifter in the White House will have a new entity on which to blame any continued economic failure.
Or, shorter for the GOP, be careful of what you wish for.
And unfortunately, as Gallup points out, the news isn’t good. But I can’t say it is unexpected:
Between March and today, with the Gulf of Mexico oil spill intervening, Americans’ preferences for prioritizing between environmental protection and energy production have shifted from a somewhat pro-energy stance to an even stronger pro-environment stance.
And the shift isn’t subtle nor are we talking a bare majority:
While Republican voters remained precisely the same in regards to the percentage who gave energy production the nod over environmental protection, the oil spill saw a 13 point swing (for the environment) from independents (58 v 34) and a 15 point swing for Democrats.
The unfortunate thing is this doesn’t have to be an either/or situation. One of the problems faced by BP with this disaster was the fact that it is a deep water well and they had no practiced and tested method of dealing with a blow out in deep water. They’ve been dealing with similar problem in shallower water for deacades, quite successfully I might add.
However, 97% of the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) is out of bounds, driving the producers of oil into deeper and deeper water. Although it may sound counter-intuitive, the best way to avoid problems like this in deep water is to open up more of the OCS. And no, I have no problem at all with requiring the oil industry to demonstrate their ability to quickly handle a similar situation in shallower water and the clean up as well as a condition of drilling in the OCS.
But at the moment, given the polls, BP and the oil industry in general have a hell of a public relations problem. The fact that the well appears to have been plugged doesn’t lessen the problem as now the massive clean up (and any fouled beaches and marshes) become the focus.
My guess is it will take quite some time to win public support back again. In the meantime, I’d further guess that an administration which has demonized Wall Street, health insurance companies, big Pharma and others, will use this swing in public opinion to go on the offensive against the oil industry as well – all in anticipation of a comprehensive energy bill which will see cap-and-trade as well as new and higher taxes on the oil industry to fund a “contingency fund” for any future problem like we’re experiencing today.
Hold on to your wallets
As we do the back and forth on the origins of the Tea Party (TP) a poll has been published that gives us a peek at the demographics:
The national breakdown of the Tea Party composition is 57 percent Republican, 28 percent Independent and 13 percent Democratic, according to three national polls by the Winston Group, a Republican-leaning firm that conducted the surveys on behalf of an education advocacy group. Two-thirds of the group call themselves conservative, 26 are moderate and 8 percent say they are liberal.
Tip of the iceberg:
The Winston Group conducted three national telephone surveys of 1,000 registered voters between December and February. Of those polled, 17 percent – more than 500 people — said they were “part of the Tea Party movement.”
Unified by fiscal matters:
The group is united around two issues – the economy/jobs and reducing the deficit. They believe that cutting spending is the key to job creation and favor tax cuts as the best way to stimulate the economy. That said 61 percent of Tea Party members believe infrastructure spending creates jobs. Moreover, given the choice Tea Party members favor 63-32 reducing unemployment to 5 percent over balancing the budget.
43% do not identify themselves as Republicans. That’s a large chunk – bigger actually than I thought it would be. And 13% self-identified Democrats. That diversity of politics tends to moderate the platform and explains why in some areas you hear Medicare cuts used as ammunition against the HCR monstrosity. What I would have loved to have seen is age demographics on this, because I’m also of the opinion that for the most part this is an older movement in terms of age of those identified with it. The poll says the make up is “male, slightly older and middle income”. I’m not sure what “slightly older” means. Someone will find a way to put “white” in front of male and revive the “angry white male” meme, I’m sure.
17% is a significant chunk of the population if that’s a good indicator of the size of the TP movement. Those we see out in the streets and attending TP rallies are indeed the tip of the iceberg if that’s true.
The unifying themes are economy and the deficits. Jobs and spending. But, as you can see the diversity of opinion is evident in the two issues cited in the poll. Neither reflect a “hard core” fiscal conservative theme. And both actually place jobs before spending.
So those points tend to reinforce my ideas about the Tea Party movement.
OTOH, reinforcing one of Jason’s primary contentions:
The group also vehemently dislikes President Barack Obama – even more so than those who called themselves Republicans in the survey. Over 80 percent of Tea Party members disapprove of the job he’s doing as president, whereas 77 percent of Republican respondents said they disapprove of Obama. The Tea Party members are also strongly opposed to the Democrats’ healthcare plan, with 82 percent saying they oppose it — only 48 percent of respondents overall were opposed.
Although dislike is high, it doesn’t yet point to Obama being the reason for their formation. What it does point out is much more than just the Republican portion (57%), if everyone of them voiced their dislike, weren’t the only one’s who dislike Obama. A good portion of the independents must feel that way as well – something I’ve been droning on about for some time.
And to my point about Congressional Republicans:
The group has a favorable view of Republicans generally but that drops from 71 to 57 percent if they’re asked about Congressional Republicans. Congressional Democrats are viewed very unfavorably by 75 percent of Tea Party members – a uniquely strong antipathy. An overwhelming 95 percent said “Democrats are taxing, spending, and borrowing too much.”
There is a good bit of anti-incumbent fever among this group. And I think part of it is they’ve seen the Congressional Republicans talk the talk so many times and then cave when given the opportunity to walk the walk.
Interestingly Gallup has done a similar poll to the Winston poll. And they find a slightly larger percentage supporting TP but find the demographics to be very similar to the Winston poll:
Tea Party supporters skew right politically; but demographically, they are generally representative of the public at large. That’s the finding of a USA Today/Gallup poll conducted March 26-28, in which 28% of U.S. adults call themselves supporters of the Tea Party movement.
Their polling found a much larger independent percentage (43%) and slightly smaller Republican (49%) and Democratic (8%) slice. Men to women is 55% to 45%. Gallup did publish age demographics 50% are age 50 or older, however, when you look at the comparison to all of the US the TPs are very representative of national demographics.
What these polls tell us is while there is a rightward skew to the TP (which some would explain by saying the country is a “center-right” country) the demographics of these polls show a remarkably diverse group that are quite representative of the demographics of middle America. And, they’re finally fed up.
While we’ll probably argue till the cows come home as to the TP’s origins, but it hard to argue that the group isn’t diverse, has a unifying theme, and isn’t aimed at changing the way the federal government does business – and if that means firing every Congressional Rep up there, they seem more than willing to do that. The party most threatened is the Democratic party, however, Republicans that don’t meet TP criteria are subject to attack as well. And that’s entirely justifiable in my book.
A bunch of interesting polls have emerged today. One finds Obama at his lowest job performance rating yet. Of course, as you might expect, Republicans mostly disapprove of his job performance. Democrats, on the other hand, generally approve. But what gets his job approval rating to 44% approval, 47% disapproval in this Marist poll are the independents. They’re very dissatisfied with his performance – only 29% approve while almost twice that number, 57% disapprove.
Remember it was the independents who put Obama over the top in 2008. Also remember it was they who put Scott Brown over the top in MA and were key in the elections in VA and NJ.
As for Obama’s personal popularity, that too has suffered.
And while GOPers strive to avoid attacking Obama personally, for fear of offending voters who see him in a favorable light personally, even that aura of invincibility is wearing off. Independent voters view Obama negatively, too, by a 39% favorable to 52% unfavorable margin. All registered voters still see Obama favorably by a 50%-44% margin, but that’s down 5 points in just 2 months.
However, there’s more to this than just Obama’s job approval and personal ratings. Also found in this poll is a strong trend toward anti-incumbency:
Meanwhile, members of Congress should brace for a difficult election year. 42% of registered voters said they would back their current member of Congress, while 44% said they would support someone else — a drop of 9 points in support of the incumbent in just 2 months.
Rassmussen has a poll out that begins to flesh out why that trend is building. Three-quarters of the public, according to his latest polling data, express some level of anger at the policies of the federal government. That’s up 4 points from November. It is also why I call the Tea Parties the “tip of the populist iceberg”. There are a whole lot of unhappy voters out there.
So how does it break down? Well, not as Jacob Weisberg and the “ignorant, childish voters who want to live in Candyland” crew would have you believe.
Part of the frustration is likely due to the belief of 60% of voters that neither Republican political leaders nor Democratic political leaders have a good understanding of what is needed today. That finding is identical to the view last September, just after the tumultuous congressional town hall meetings the month before. But only 52% felt this way in November.
And, as time goes by, this trend continues to grow. Note that the leaders of both parties are identified as being clueless by this 60%.
So this week let’s revisit the comparison between the Political Class and the Mainstream (you proles in flyover land) voters. And as we saw last time we checked it out, the PC bunch is totally clueless:
The divide between the Political Class and Mainstream voters, however, is remarkable. Eighty-eight percent (88%) of Mainstream voters are angry, but 84% of the Political Class are not. Those numbers include 57% of Mainstream voters who are Very Angry and 51% of the Political Class who are not angry at all.
But then 68% of Mainstream voters don’t think the leaders of either major political party have a good understanding of what the country needs today. Sixty-one percent (61%) of the Political Class disagree.
By comparison, the majority of Republicans, Democrats and unaffiliateds don’t believe the current political leaders have a good handle on what is needed today.
Older voters and higher-income voters share that belief most strongly.
Thus the Tea Parties and the very negative reaction by the PC to them. They simply don’t get it. Which is why we’re suffering through this spate of leftist pundit tantrums in which they damn the people, democracy, and the opposition for being unwilling to roll over and submit to their sublime enlightenment, ability to know what is good for us and benevolent despotism. We’re seeing laments about how the good old day before the damned internet, talk radio and 24 hour cable let the enlightened elite do as they wish.
Look around you my friends – to this point that’s worked out just wonderfully hasn’t it?
Rasmussen lists a bunch of reaction which pretty much outline what you’re hearing from the most vocal of the Tea Partiers:
Most voters oppose the now-seemingly-derailed health care plan proposed by President Obama and congressional Democrats for months. They continue to have very mixed feelings about the $787-billion economic stimulus plan approved by Congress last February.
Looking back, most voters still don’t approve of the multi-billion-dollar government bailouts of the financial industry and troubled automakers General Motors and Chrysler.
Forty-nine percent (49%) worry the government will try to do too much to help the economy, while 39% fear it won’t do enough.
As the economy continues to stumble along, 59% of voters believe cutting taxes is better than increasing government spending as a job-creation tool, but 72% expect the nation’s elected politicians to increase spending instead.
Eighty-three percent (83%) of Americans say the size of the federal budget deficit is due more to the unwillingness of politicians to cut government spending than to the reluctance of taxpayers to pay more in taxes.
Voters have consistently said for months that they have more confidence in their own economic judgment than that of either the president or Congress.
Charles Krauthammer calls this “The Great Peasant Revolt of 2010″. And in a very real sense it is. What Republicans haven’t yet grasped is this revolt is pretty non-partisan. The reason Republicans seem less threatened by it is because of their fiscally conservative, limited government philosophy. Democrats, on the other hand, suffer more because of their tendency toward fiscal profligacy and government expansion. The problem for Republicans, however, is the country is no longer in a mood to see them give fiscal conservatism and limited government lip service. If you don’t believe me, take a look at this Iowa poll:
A third of Iowans from across the political spectrum say they support the “tea party” movement, sounding a loud chorus of dissatisfaction with government, according to The Des Moines Register’s new Iowa Poll.
Neither party has a lock on these restless advocates of limited government and fiscal control, according to the poll. However, their conservative leanings appear to give Republicans a greater opportunity than Democrats to make gains at the dawn of a volatile election year.
Is the GOP listening?
It should be clear to both sides that we’re moving into an era of “do what you say or be gone”. The days when incumbents only left office when they assumed room temperature, as did Jack Murtha today, are coming to an end. What the Tea Parties signal is a much more connected, networked and activist population which has been empowered by the communications technology of today – much to the chagrin of the elitists.
The fun is just beginning. Barack Obama and the Democrats may not realize it, but the era of big government is over.
UPDATE: Gallup also has polling numbers out today. They run different approval ratings for Obama on 9 different issues.
At 36%, Americans give President Barack Obama his lowest job approval rating yet on his handling of the economy. By contrast, the president’s 51% approval rating on handling foreign affairs is up slightly from last month.
As I’ve noted any number of times, the foreign policy’s crisis is yet to come. 2009 was a year of checking out the new president and assessing his strengths and weaknesses. 2010 will be the year that actually tests his foreign policy skills and abilities.
On domestic issues, Obama’s approval rating is in the tank at 36%.
Most interesting though was the fact that in the list of 9 issues, both foreign and domestic, independents did not once give Obama a majority approval rating, again making the point that indies are not at all happy with his administration.