George Washington University’s annual Battleground poll is hailed as one of the most accurate polls in American politics. It is a bipartisan poll, conducted by both Republican and Democrat pollsters.
I spoke this morning with Ed Goeas, President and CEO of the Tarrance Group, to get his take on some of the data.
The overall theme of the numbers is that President Obama is being tested on his spending. That is what people are now paying attention to… which accounts for his relatively low job approval in relation to his personal approval. The trend, according to Goeas, is an opportunity for the GOP.
“The biggest thing was the intensity of the Republican voters. This is the first time we’ve had that advantage in five or six years,” he explains. In addition, the generic ballot is only +3 for Democrats.
How significant is that +3? Not very, according to Goeas, who cites Michael Barone’s theory that the plus three is actually relatively even when you take minority districts into account. Both men draw a parallel to the numbers of the Republican Revolution of 1994.
In addition, the the Independent voters are swaying with the Republicans for the first time in five or six years as well – and in some cases, the intensity of the Independent voter is even stronger than that of the Republicans. The lack of intensity in some scenarios, says Goeas, is a carry over from the significant disappointment experiences by Republicans in recent years.
“The determining factor is Independent voters. They respond to thematics, not specifics.” And they’re responding to the Republican thematics in a big way.
The Obama administration seems to have fallen into a trap. They ran the most researched campaign in history, spending $30 million in September and October alone… more than the Republicans and Democrats combined spend in the last three elections. That has continued into the presidential term – they’re still investing heavily in polling.
What are they really gaining from the polling? According to Goeas, they’re learning which words get them high poll numbers. They’re not refining policy to raise numbers, they’re rephrasing the question. The language changes – we’re gone from “is the stimulus working” to “Is the stimulus on track”. We started with “health care reform” and moved in to “insurance reform”. They figured out that people don’t care as much about universal coverage as they do about lowering cost… so that has become the focus.
People still trust the Democrats on the three largest issues: health care, education, and the economy. Those are long time Democratic strongholds, and that is powerful. How powerful? Ed reminds us that regardless of the inherent trust on issues, Republicans have won on specifics in these areas before. It’s possible.
So I asked Mr. Goeas what the takeaways from this survey should be. What exactly were the opportunities he was alluding to? He summed it up in three points:
GOP intensity is rising. That momentum could be good in Virgina and New Jersey. Voters are passionate, and that is good.
The Independents are swinging to the right. Bonus.
The GOP is doing well with the senior vote. That matters. Generally, in non-presidential election years, the senior vote rises 5% and the youth vote drops 5%. This could mean good things for mid terms.
Go check out the numbers. Seize the opportunities. Knowledge is your friend.
Way to ramp up the rhetoric, Nance. Just in time for a vote!
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Thursday ramped up her criticism of insurance companies, accusing them of unethical behavior and working to kill a plan to create a new government-run health plan.
“It’s almost immoral what they are doing,” Pelosi said to reporters, referring to insurance companies. “Of course they’ve been immoral all along in how they have treated the people that they insure,” she said, adding, “They are the villains. They have been part of the problem in a major way. They are doing everything in their power to stop a public option from happening.”
Fine. Insurance companies are good at screwing us over. I get that. But what she’s doing is framing the debate as an insurance company vs. the government situation, when that’s not it at all. In reality, it’s more of a people vs. the insurance companies and the government debate. That does not, however, play into their vision of a utopian government run society, so it’s out, and we’re back to scaring people into thinking government is their only option.
As wrong as what she’s doing is, I’d be lying if I said she wasn’t good at this part of it.
So how many of you are on President Barack Obama’s email list? Yeah, me neither. BUT, I did manage to catch wind of this one:
If you’re like most Americans, there’s nothing more important to you about health care than peace of mind.
Given the status quo, that’s understandable. The current system often denies insurance due to pre-existing conditions, charges steep out-of-pocket fees – and sometimes isn’t there at all if you become seriously ill.
It’s time to fix our unsustainable insurance system and create a new foundation for health care security. That means guaranteeing your health care security and stability with eight basic consumer protections:
No discrimination for pre-existing conditions
No exorbitant out-of-pocket expenses, deductibles or co-pays
No cost-sharing for preventive care
No dropping of coverage if you become seriously ill
No gender discrimination
No annual or lifetime caps on coverage
Extended coverage for young adults
Guaranteed insurance renewal so long as premiums are paid
Learn more about these consumer protections at Whitehouse.gov.
Over the next month there is going to be an avalanche of misinformation and scare tactics from those seeking to perpetuate the status quo. But we know the cost of doing nothing is too high. Health care costs will double over the next decade, millions more will become uninsured, and state and local governments will go bankrupt.
It’s time to act and reform health insurance, drive down costs and guarantee the health care security and stability of every American family. You can help by putting these core principles of reform in the hands of your friends, your family, and the rest of your social network.
Notice how the focus is on how much they can supposedly do for us? This is all about the sell, baby. Scare us by telling us how unsustainable things are currently, create a panic (state and local governments will be bankrupt), and offer no solutions except “Let’s act!. RIGHT NOW! BEFORE YOU KILL ONE MORE INNOCENT PERSON YOU MONEY-GRUBBING FASCIST!”
I can’t say this enough, this is not the only option for health care reform. HR-3200 is not the only choice. Why are costs so high? In part because of malpractice costs. We won’t hear about that, because that doesn’t call for the government to swoop down and rescue us.
Gah. Make it stop. Go here and harass your Senator. Learn how to be a 5 Minute Activist!
In 2003, at the age of 72, [my uncle Billy] became malignant again. More than that though, the area where the tumor rested in his throat began to wear away. Instead of attacking just cells, the cancer began to eat away at his flesh. It began with a hole in his throat, which prohibited him from even drinking water or eating mush. He sought treatment right away.
The doctors were able to bring the cancer back under control, but his face and neck were now bandaged to keep the gaping hole clean. It continued to grow. They decided that it wouldn’t be worth their time/effort/money to repair the damage(!) because a) he may become cancerous again and die, and b) he was really old, and would soon die. It was all about cost-benefit for them.
In short, quality of life does not matter – they did what was necessary to keep him alive. Forget the fact that he cannot eat or drink anything and lives on an IV. Forget the fact that he can hardly speak. He’s alive and in remission, with a bandage around the hole in his neck, and it is considered adequate. He has now been living like this for six years. How’s that for “putting people before the bottom line”?
Go read the rest here. Health care rationing is one of the largest fundamental problems with government run care. Hands off.
Pelosi’s poll numbers are tanking. Duh. That’s a gimme. She can’t get anything together. Congressional disapproval ratings are at 60%. Individually, her unfavorables are at 48%. Her favorables are lower than *gasp* Sarah Palin’s. Her approval ratings have dropped 12 points in a month.
But Nancy is tough. It doesn’t bother her that people don’t like her, because she’s answering a higher calling. Or something.
Mention of the “trust” question halted the click-clack of Pelosi’s heels against Rotunda marble, and she turned to face the reporter who posed the question. “I don’t know about ‘trust’ — I think I’m trusted,” she said. “I certainly want to be trusted. I’m not particularly concerned if I’m liked.”
Side note: Does this make you laugh as much as it made me laugh? Seriously. Princess Pelosi, making a turn on her heel and keeping a straight face while she said that she thinks people trust her? Even the people that WORK for her acknowledge the damage done by the CIA debacle, while she was lying through her teeth. I have visions of Pelosi sitting with her plastic surgeon, constructing her “sincere” face. And then getting taxed an extra 10% for it.
“Our leadership team is so effective it is driving Republicans to distraction. And they and their allies have decided that I am their target, and they come after me relentlessly — relentlessly. On the left, I have to put forth a bill that’s going to fund the war and the rest, and they’re not happy about that. So none of it is a popularity contest. You just have to be responsible for the job you’re setting out to do.”
Doing the job you’re setting out to do. Like taking care of your constituents? Doesn’t that mean doing what’s best for them, Nancy? If you’re passing horrible legislation that not only tanks the country but pisses off the people that put you in office, how is that doing your job? Unless you don’t actually answer to them.
In addition, there are a LOT of things distracting Republicans right now, Birthers among them, but call me crazy if I don’t consider the Speaker of the House undermining the CIA and recklessly strongarming support for bad legislation a distraction. She is right about one thing: she is a target, but not for the reasons she thinks. It’s because she is on the front lines of what we are trying to change in Washington.
You’ve all seen this by now. At least, you should have. Because it’s been everywhere since last week’s health care Obamamercial, when Lynn Sweet was given the honors of asking the obligatory race question, as that is naturally relevant to health care.
I’m so sick of race baiting. And I’m so sick of the apologies for everything except what he should be apologizing for. Pandering is getting old. Why are the police stupid? Why on EARTH would they question a man who was acting strange and produced a non state-issued ID when approached? Because naturally, blacks (and Latinos, as he was careful to add) are so oppressed that even when they’re not targeted, we should assume that they are. How’s that for post-racial?
Everyone needs to watch the police department’s response.
We are in a post-racial America. Which, apparently, means that any crime committed by a white person against a minority is a racially motivated crime. And even when it isn’t actually a crime, and said Caucasian is just doing their job, they can also be called stupid by the President.