Tags: Polling

Why the Third-Party/Independent Candidates Will Probably Fade


In the House of Representatives elections in 2010, there were 44.8 million votes cast for Republican candidates and 38.9 million votes cast for Democratic candidates — a 51.7 percent to 44.9 percent split.

Put another way, 96.6 percent of the votes cast went to the two major parties.

The final generic ballot average on RealClearPolitics that year was 50.7 percent to 41.3 percent — in the general ballpark.

Notice that the two major parties made up 92 percent of that final polling average but 96.6 percent on Election Day. The folks who answered either “I don’t know” or third-party options made up 5 percent in Gallup’s final 2010 poll, 6 percent in Reuters-Ipsos, 10 percent in Pew Research, 10 percent in Rasmussen, 6 percent in CNN, 13 percent in Fox News, and 8 percent in the ABC News/Washington Post poll.

And then they were 3.4 percent on Election Day. Some of those undecided or third-party backers end up not voting. Some shift to one of the two major parties.

Right now, the RCP average on the generic ballot is 46.3 percent for Republicans to 43.9 percent — meaning the two major parties make up 90.2 percent of the vote.

We hear a lot about how Americans are angry at Washington, angry at both parties, more open to third-party or independent candidates than ever before, and so on. But history suggests that as Election Day approaches, some portion of the people telling pollsters that they are going to vote for the third-party or independent candidates will end up backing either the Republican or the Democrat. Maybe some of these people feel afraid they’ll be “wasting” their vote, or they begin to feel more strongly about their preference between the two leading candidates. There’s a long history of independent or third-party candidates underperforming on Election Day in the not-so-distant past: Chris Daggett in New Jersey, Tom Horner in Minnesota, Tim Cahill in Massachusetts. Robert Sarvis in Virginia last year. Gary Johnson’s presidential bid in 2012, polling at 5 percent in CNN’s final poll, 1.2 percent on Election Day.

This morning NBC News released a new national poll — with an ominous 666 likely voters — and found 46 percent of likely voters prefer a Republican-controlled Congress, versus 44 percent who want Democrats in charge. But again note the 10 percent undecided or choosing another party’s candidate. It is extremely unlikely that the third-party or independent candidates will get 10 percent of the vote nationally on Election Day. (Individual races are a different story, obviously.)

But two figures in this poll jump out. First, “Republicans have more interest in the upcoming elections (59 percent say they’re very interested) than Democrats do (47 percent).” This is in the 13th paragraph, but it seems like a useful indicator that there’s a big difference in the motivation level of the parties’ bases.

Why do Democrats have less interest in the midterms than Republicans? How about because Obama’s not on the ballot? And how many Democrats are really “reliable Obama voters,” not “reliable Democratic voters”?

The second most interesting factor is spotlighted in a separate piece by NBC News:

Many voters are tuning out the elections that take place less than three weeks from now. According to the poll, high interest in the midterms has dropped from June (when it was 51%) to now (50%) — when interest in previous election cycles has always increased in the months leading up to Election Day. Let it sink in: INTEREST IN THE ELECTION ACTUALLY DROPPED as the midterms drew closer. It’s truly a stunning trend. This lack of interest is especially true among political independents (only 35% of them have high interest), and these are the people who typically have to be energized for a party to make wave-like gains in an election.

If the Republican base is more motivated than the Democrat base, and independents are particularly unmotivated, what happens?

They also conclude:

When reporting on Kansas and South Dakota, realize that this isn’t some quirk in just one or two states. This is simply what happens when you give a cranky electorate a viable independent vehicle.

Evidence that there is a growing appeal for someone OUTSIDE the two parties has been in our polls for the last few years. And 2014 could be the culmination of that growing antipathy toward both parties.

Whoa, whoa, whoa. One major objection to that analysis, is that in Kansas, the Democratic Senate candidate dropped out. Democrats who were left without a candidate are undoubtedly providing a big chunk of “independent” Greg Orman’s support — which is not the same as “growing appeal for someone OUTSIDE the two parties.” And for all the talk about South Dakota, note that Republican candidate Mike Rounds has yet to trail a poll, and that the “independent” option, Larry Pressler, was a Republican senator for three terms.

Tags: Polling , Third Parties

A Cause for Cautious Optimism about the GOP’s Midterm Prospects


Over at Hot Air, Guy Benson is cheerier about the GOP’s midterm prospects.

The CNN poll of Alaska out this morning, putting Republican Dan Sullivan up 6 among likely voters (and hitting 50 percent!) is a good sign. Despite all the discussion about the southern-state races, Mark Begich might be the most vulnerable Senate Democratic incumbent. He’s trailed in every poll since the beginning of August. Polling in Alaska is allegedly more difficult than in other states, but you figure if Begich was leading, at least one of the past five polls would show him with more than 44 percent. One wrinkle to keep an eye on: “The Begich ground game — which the senator and his campaign detailed for the first time to The Washington Post — is on a scale far beyond anything that has been tried here before.”

In Arkansas, Mark Pryor has led only two of the last 15 polls. As in Alaska, Democrats are pulling out all the stops (and trying some new ones) in their get-out-the-vote effort here. While you can’t quite write off Pryor, an incumbent polling in the mid-to-low 40s — and sometimes high 30s! — in early October is in deep trouble.

In Georgia’s Senate race, David Purdue continues to enjoy a consistent, small lead. Peach State Republicans probably ought to take the close polls earlier this year as a warning shot — thanks to changing demographics, Georgia is no longer an ironclad, take-it-to-the-bank red state.

The two polls in Kansas showing GOP incumbent senator Pat Roberts ahead are the best news for the GOP in a long time. This may reflect the “all hands on deck” campaign effort from Republicans, including everyone from Jeb Bush to Ted Cruz to Sarah Palin to Bob Dole — or simply political reality catching up to so-called “independent” Greg Orman, who refuses to say which party he’ll caucus with if elected. Voters may claim to love “independence,” but they may not be so enamored of a candidate who refuses to say where he stands or what he believes is best for the state.

Keep in mind — if the GOP keeps Kansas, sweeps the easy three (Montana, South Dakota, and West Virginia) and wins Alaska and Arkansas, they will have 50 Senate seats. So they’ll need one more to win control of the Senate.

Perhaps most intriguingly, incumbent Democrat Mark Udall has led only one of the past five polls in Colorado. Only one of those polls was conducted in October, though, a Fox News poll putting Republican Cory Gardner up by 6 points.

The Suffolk poll in North Carolina is one of the best for Thom Tillis in a long while. Forget the headlines saying the poll has Hagan ahead by 2; the raw response totals are 227 responses for incumbent Democrat Kay Hagan, 225 for Tillis. Note that of the 27 who answered “undecided,” 2 said they were leaning to Tillis, 7 for Hagan. Tillis’s inability to overtake Hagan, in a state where Obama is so unpopular, represents one of the great frustrations for Republicans this cycle. This might be closing up, but if Tillis wins on Election Day, it doesn’t look like it will be by many percentage points.

You’re seeing more confidence among Republicans as they discuss Joni Ernst in Iowa . . . Chris Matthews declared after her debate, “She’s no lightweight” and David Axelrod said, “She’s got momentum, she’s got charisma.”

Overall, the “voter engagement” measurement appears to favor Republicans . . . 

Usually, Republicans vote at higher rates than Democrats, and this is evident in higher scores for Republicans than for Democrats on the voter engagement questions, including this year. In fact, the Republican advantages on each of the three turnout measures at this point approach what Gallup measured in the strong GOP year of 2010 rather than in other midterm election years. As a result, even if overall turnout is depressed compared with prior years, Republicans appear poised to turn out in greater numbers than Democrats . . . 

But keep in mind that Gallup is polling nationally, and the highest-stakes fights of 2014 are in those key Senate races (and maybe some of those governor’s races).

Tags: Midterms , Polling

Are SurveyUSA’s Polls a Warning to the GOP? Or Just Outliers?


A selection from today’s Morning Jolt . . . 

Monday Survey USA released a poll of Kentucky voters showing Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes up by 2 in the Senate race. Not only is that the first poll to show Grimes ahead since June, every other poll since July had Mitch McConnell ahead by at least 4. The previous most recent poll, by the CBS News/New York Times, had McConnell up by 6.

Wednesday SurveyUSA had Charlie Crist up by 6; two weeks earlier, they had Rick Scott ahead by 1, and two weeks before that they had Scott ahead by 5. Other pollsters have not seen the same dramatic shift in Crist’s favor.

To their credit, the Survey USA release mentions a possible reason for volatility:

The volatility and abnormal pattern of who is home and who is not home will continue next week, when normal SurveyUSA polling operations are confounded by Yom Kippur, the Jewish Day of Atonement. Some schools will close, and some may use the long weekend to travel, and be away from their home telephones, altering for yet another week the pattern of who is and who is not reachable by pollsters.

Their September 26 poll of Oregon showed incumbent Democrat John Kitzhaber up by 12 in the governor’s race and incumbent Democrat Jeff Merkley up 20 in the Senate race, around what the other pollsters have found.

Wednesday, Sept 26, SurveyUSA released a poll that had Republican David Purdue up 1 in Georgia’s Senate race; that’s the smallest lead any pollster has found in the past six polls.

They found Jason Carter, the Democrat, up 1 in the governor’s race. That was the only poll in the last five to have Carter ahead.

Again, this doesn’t mean that they’re “skewed” or “biased” or trying to depress Republican turnout or trying to lull Democrats into a false sense of security.

At first glance, I would wonder if they were projecting or expecting a higher turnout — with an electorate closer to the makeup of presidential years — than other pollsters.

How do we know if a poll is an “outlier”? Wait for more polls, see what they show . . . 

Tags: SurveyUSA , Polling , Mitch McConnell , Rick Scott

Finding Those Active-Government Republicans and Smaller-Government Democrats


Remember the “wrong-information voters“?

Take a look at these survey results from Gallup:

So 38 percent of self-identified Democrats are “neutral” on whether government should be “more active,” and 9 percent of the traditionally “bigger government” party want a “less active” one.

Meanwhile, 16 percent of members of the “smaller government” party want a more active government.

Of course, the question is pretty open-ended about “government,” so we don’t know what the respondents have in mind when they think of “more active” or “less active.” Police actions like the ones in Ferguson? Military interventions? EPA regulations? Obamacare? Border security?

Tags: Polling

A Great Big Poll Roundup for the 2014 Governor’s Races


CBS News and the New York Times have unveiled a slew of new gubernatorial polls. Among the results that jump out:

Republican Doug Ducey is one point ahead of Democrat Fred DuVal in Arizona. Better than the alternative, but you’d like to see the GOP candidate build a lead in a red state like that. Ducey just emerged from a tough primary.

Incumbent Democrat John Hickenlooper and Republican Bob Beauprez are tied in Colorado. That’s in line with most recent polls. Hickenlooper’s consistently in the mid-40s, right on the edge of serious trouble for an incumbent.

This poll puts incumbent Democrat Dan Malloy ahead of Republican Tom Foley by a point in Connecticut. A bit surprising, since a poll a few days ago had Foley ahead by 6.

Rick Snyder trails a bit in Michigan, after leading a long time. That’s a little bit ominous.

Rick Scott leads Charlie Crist, 46 percent to 43 percent. Scott has now led eight of the past ten polls in Florida.

In Hawaii, Republican Duke Aiona is only down by two points in a three-way race.

In Illinois, Bruce Raunder is only up by 4 over incumbent Democrat Pat Quinn, a bit less than some other polling.

In Maine, Republican incumbent Paul LePage is hanging on, leading with 38 percent in a three-way race.

In Oregon, incumbent Democrat John Kitzhaber has a healthy six-point lead, despite overseeing the most disastrous Obamacare exchange in the country.Very little sign that there’s any real fallout from one of the most expensive messes of any state government ever. Ditto for Lieutenant Governor Anthony Brown in Maryland, the Democrats’ nominee in that very blue state.

In South Carolina, Nikki Haley, who did not win by a huge margin four years ago, is now ahead by more than 20 points.

In Texas, Greg Abbott has 56 percent and Wendy Davis is on her way to becoming a trivia-question answer.

In Wisconsin, Scott Walker is ahead by 4, his best poll showing in a little while.

Tags: Republican Governors Association , Polling

‘These Are Serious Times.’


The reelection campaign of Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell, declaring “these are serious times.”


After a series of polls showing Kentucky’s U.S. Senate race trending for incumbent Mitch McConnell, Democratic challenger Alison Lundergan Grimes has released a new poll showing her ahead by one percentage point. The internal poll was conducted by Mark Mellman, a Washington-based pollster hired by the Grimes campaign.

The last eight polls showed McConnell ahead; the latest from NBC News had him up by 8 points.

That’s what’s known as a “Please don’t abandon me!” move.

Tags: Mitch McConnell , Alison Lundergan Grimes , Kentucky , Polling

Summarizing This Morning’s Poll for Democrats: DOOM DOOM DOOM.


From the Tuesday edition of Morning Jolt:

Summarizing This Morning’s Poll for Democrats: DOOM DOOM DOOM.

Good morning, Mr. President!

With the midterm elections looming, Americans by a 10-point margin, 52-42 percent, see his presidency more as a failure than a success.

Just 38 percent now approve of Obama’s handling of international affairs, down 8 percentage points since July to a career low; 56 percent disapprove, a majority for the first time. Fifty-two percent say he’s been too cautious in dealing with Islamic insurgents in Iraq and Syria. And the public is ahead of Obama in support for a military response to that crisis, with 65 percent in favor of extending U.S. air strikes to Syria.

At home, with Obama holding off his promised executive action on immigration reform, a new low of just 31 percent approve of his handling of immigration. Fifty-nine percent disapprove, up by a broad 18 points from spring 2013, when progress on the issue seemed imminent.

And good morning, congressional Democrats!

Registered voters divide by 46-44 percent between the Democrat and the Republican in their congressional district. Among those who say they’re certain to vote, that goes to a 47-44 percent Republican-Democratic race, underscoring the GOP’s customary advantage in midterm turnout. As a rough guide, when the Democrats lack a double-digit lead among registered voters in the generic matchup, they’re at some risk.

Indeed, independents side substantially more with GOP candidates – by 47-35 percent among registered voters. That puts all the more pressure on Democrats to boost their turnout, or suffer.

Finally, “Registered voters are more likely to say they’ll be casting their midterm ballot to show opposition to Obama than support for him, by 27 percent vs. 19 percent – not an overwhelming gap, but one similar to the result on Bush in 2006, a sweep year for the out-party.”

Tags: Polling

Not Many Public Polls Released This August!


Also in today’s Jolt, hitting e-mailboxes now . . . 

Hey, Pollsters, Can We Get Some Fresh Ones in These Key Senate Races?

Assessing the state of the midterm elections, in just a few sentences.

Larry Sabato: “In every single one of the Crystal Ball’s toss-up states, (Alaska, Arkansas, Iowa, Louisiana and North Carolina), the Republican Senate candidate has not yet opened up a real polling lead in any of them.”

(Number of public polls in August in Alaska: 1. Number of public polls in August in Arkansas: 1. Number of public polls in August in Iowa: 0. Number of public polls in August in Louisiana: 0. Number of public polls in August in North Carolina: 3, two of which have Republican Thom Tillis ahead.)

Nate Silver: “Since 2000, the average Senate poll has missed the final margin in the race by about 5 percentage points.”

Sean Trende: “Individual pollsters can easily find results suggesting that a race is opening up when, in fact, it is tightening, and vice-versa.”

Carl Cameron of Fox News: “Democrats who, earlier this year, thought they could defend their majority, now fear GOP momentum could cost them even more than six seats.”

Tags: Polling

The Key Demographic of America’s Wrong-Information Voters


From the Tuesday Morning Jolt:

The Key Demographic of America’s Wrong-Information Voters

Liz Sheld, examining some Pew survey results and confirming our worst suspicions, that a significant minority of the electorate walk around believing that certain political terms mean the opposite of what they really do:

Looking just at the first question, which Pew has used to determine whether people who say they are libertarians actually know what the term means, 57% correctly identified the definition of “libertarian” with the proper corresponding ideological label. Looking at the other answers, an astonishing 20% say that someone who emphasizes freedom and less government is a progressive, 6% say that is the definition of an authoritarian and 6% say that is the definition of a communist.

As E. Strobel notes, “The term ‘low-info voter’ is inadequate. . . . More like ‘wrong-info voter.’”

Perhaps when we’re trying to persuade the electorate as a whole, we have to toss out terms like “conservative” or “libertarian.” Not because they’re not accurate, but because they represent obscure hieroglyphics to a chunk of the people we’re trying to persuade.

If you’re one of these perpetually tuned-out voters, maybe words like “conservative” or “libertarian” are signals that indicate, Hey, this is that politics stuff that you don’t like to hear about, so you can stop paying attention now. This is frustrating, and I understand and feel the irritation that we have to water down or dumb down our arguments because some voters can’t be bothered to understand some concepts we find pretty basic.

We political junkies love political philosophies, and keep subdividing ourselves into smaller and more precise groupings. (Crunchy Cons! Neoconservatives! Libertarian Populism! Reform Conservatives! Eisenhower Anarchist!) We love these labels and terms, because we feel that they help explain a coherent way of looking at the world, government, the Constitution, human rights, society, etc. But to a lot of people, they might as well be Dungeons & Dragons character classes. They don’t know which political philosophy best matches how they see the world because they flat-out don’t understand the terms and, perhaps most maddeningly, are not convinced that they need to know them — nor much about anything else.

Recall Jonah Goldberg’s column to those self-proclaimed “socially liberal, fiscal conservative” types who are, in fact, actually “socially liberal and fiscally liberal”:

When George W. Bush added nearly $5 trillion in national debt in two terms you were scandalized. When Obama added more than that in one term, you yawned. When, in 2006, then-senator Obama condemned Bush’s failure of leadership and vowed to vote against raising the debt ceiling, you thought him a statesman. Obama, who wants to borrow trillions more, now admits that was purely a “political vote.”

A little while back, I talked about celebrities who are not closely identified with the Republican party or conservative movement, who can articulate a conservative approach to an issue, and enjoy widespread applause: Adam Carolla, HGTV host Nicole Curtis, CNN host/chef Anthony Bourdain, Mike Rowe of “Dirty Jobs,” Gene Simmons of KISS . . . They say what they think, directly, but they rarely if ever frame their arguments in terms of political philosophies.

Which argument is likely to be most effective?

A) School choice is a good idea because it is consistent with the conservative principles that the government that is closest to the people is most likely to make the best decisions, is most accountable for those decisions, and is easiest to correct those decisions.

B) School choice is a good idea because it is consistent with the libertarian principles that the power of the state should be limited and the power of the individual should be maximized.

C) School choice is a good idea because it puts decisions in the hands of parents, who know what is best for their children.

Tags: Polling , Political Philosophy

Painful New Polls for Obama and Obamacare . . .


Elsewhere in today’s Jolt . . . 

Obama Job Approval Hits . . . 40 Percent in Latest AP Poll

Does anyone else hear a quacking sound coming from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue? Take it away, AP:

Asked about world trouble spots:

42 percent say the conflict between Israel and Hamas is “very” or “extremely” important to them; 60 percent disapprove of the way Obama has handled it.

40 percent consider the situation in Afghanistan highly important; 60 percent disapprove of Obama’s handling of it.

38 percent give high importance to the conflict in Ukraine; 57 percent disapprove of what Obama has done about that.

38 percent find the situation in Iraq of pressing importance; 57 percent disapprove of Obama’s handling of it.

Opinion of Obama’s foreign policy has slid nearly as low as his overall approval rating.

Just 43 percent were OK with the president’s handling of foreign relations in the new poll, while 40 percent approved how he’s doing his job overall. AP-GfK polls in March and May show a similar picture.

Talk about burying the lede! Obama’s approval rating hit 40 percent in the AP poll! And in a likely related note . . . 

Remember How Americans Were Going to Warm Up to Obamacare?

Yeah, not so much:

Even after survey after survey has recently shown a major drop in the nation’s uninsured rate, Obamacare just had its worst month in a key health-care poll.

Kaiser Family Foundation, which has done arguably the best and most consistent polling on the health-care law in the past four-plus years, found that public opinion on the law sank to a record low in July. More people than ever (53 percent) last month said they viewed the law unfavorably, an increase of 8 percentage points since June — one of the biggest opinion swings ever.

Was this an unusual sample? Or is reality setting in?

As the foundation notes, more people seemingly made up their minds about the law last month. The rate of those without an opinion on the Affordable Care Act dropped from 16 percent in June to 11 percent in July.

Tags: Barack Obama , Obamacare , Polling

New CBS and CNN Polls That Should Frighten Democrats


From the first Morning Jolt of the week:

The Massive New York Times & CBS Poll That Should Frighten Democrats

The New York Times and CBS News tried a massive endeavor to collect a lot more polling data from everywhere in the country. The results — even if they’re iffy, and it’s only late July — should send a chill down the spine of every Democrat:

On Sunday, the research firm YouGov, in partnership with The New York Times and CBS News, released the first wave of results from an online panel of more than 100,000 respondents nationwide, which asked them their preferences in coming elections. The results offer a trove of nonpartisan data and show a broad and competitive playing field heading into the final few months of the campaign.

The Republicans appear to hold a slight advantage in the fight for the Senate and remain in a dominant position in the House. They need to pick up six seats to gain Senate control, and they hold a clear advantage in races in three states: South Dakota, Montana and West Virginia. The data from YouGov, an opinion-research firm that enjoyed success in 2012, finds the G.O.P. with a nominal lead in five additional states.

The five states where the Republicans hold a slight lead in the YouGov panel include three Southern ones — Arkansas, Louisiana and North Carolina — where Democratic incumbents face tough re-election contests and where Mitt Romney won in 2012. Republicans also have a slight edge in Iowa and Michigan, two open seats in states that usually vote for Democrats in presidential elections.

At the link, they discuss their methodology, the steps they took to ensure their online sample reflected the population of offline voters, etc. If you want to dismiss that, and conclude it’s just an online poll, fine. That’s your choice.

A couple of reasons to find these results plausible:

It’s not all roses and sunshine for Republicans. In Colorado, Cory Gardner, one of the stronger GOP challengers, trails Sen. Mark Udall, 47 percent to 51 percent. In Alaska, Begich leads both challengers listed. In the two GOP-held seats that the party needs to keep, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky is up 4 and in Georgia, Purdue is up 6 on Michelle Nunn — neither margin is particularly overwhelming in states that are deep red in presidential elections.

There aren’t a lot of results that look wacky. In four of the Senate races where the GOP candidate leads, the margins are 2 percentage points or less — Thom Tillis in North Carolina, Joni Ernst in Iowa, Bill Cassidy in Louisiana, and Terri Lynn Land in Michigan. Flip those, and Republicans only gain four seats, a sum most on the Right would find disappointing.

If there’s a thumb on the scale, it’s the wrong one. If you think of the New York Times and CBS News as liberal news organizations, these results are an argument against interest.

Now throw in this poll result:

Americans are so down on President Obama at the moment that, if they could do the 2012 election all over again, they’d overwhelmingly back the former Massachusetts governor’s bid. That’s just one finding in a brutal CNN poll, released Sunday, which shows Romney topping Obama in a re-election rematch by a whopping nine-point margin, 53 percent to 44 percent. That’s an even larger spread than CNN found in November, when a survey had Romney winning a redo 49 percent to 45 percent.

Two years ago, Obama won re-election with about 51 percent of the vote.

An electorate that’s disappointed and frustrated with Obama is not going to turn out to vote for Democrats. They’ll either vote for Republicans or stay home.

Tags: Polling , Midterms , Barack Obama

Hey, Could We Poll Some Likely Voters Someday Soon?


NBC News is out with some interesting, but frustrating, new polls in Colorado and Michigan. The polls put Democrats ahead in both Senate races, which is a perfectly plausible result, but the poll only surveyed registered voters. Hey, guys, early voting starts in mid-October in Colorado. It’s mid-July. Is it too much to ask for a likely voter screen? Somehow other pollsters manage to do this!

Also note this result:

In Colorado, 52 percent of voters view the law as a bad idea — including 46 percent who hold that position strongly. That’s compared with just 37 percent who believe the law is a good idea.

Michigan voters think similarly — 50 percent see it as a bad idea, 32 percent a good idea.

“Democrats’ strength is women, and Republicans’ strength is health care,” says Marist pollster Barbara Carvalho.

President Obama also is unpopular in these two states he carried in both the 2008 and 2012 presidential races: In both, just 40 percent of registered voters approve of his job.

Tags: Polling , Colorado , Michigan

Public Disapproval of Obamacare Proving Intractable


Since the beginning of the year, the highest level of approval that any pollster has found for Obamacare/the Affordable Care Act was 48 percent, in the ABC News/Washington Post poll in late March. The lowest level of disapproval any pollster found was 43 percent, in the AP poll in March. Even in those polls, a larger percentage disapproved of the law than approved. The last time a pollster found more people approving it than disapproving it was CNN’s poll in January 2013.

As you can see, the aggregate is stable — disapproval in the low to mid-50s, approval in the low to mid-40s:

Tags: Obamacare , Polling

Identifying Those Relatively Apolitical Americans with Conservative Instincts


From the midweek edition of the Morning Jolt . . . 

Identifying those Relatively Apolitical Americans with Conservative Instincts

There’s a demographic out there that I can describe but not label.

These folks are instinctively conservative, but probably don’t apply that label to themselves. They work for a living, or they are looking for work. They can’t stand what they perceive as whining.

But they don’t identify with the Republican party. They look at the leadership of the party, at least in Washington — House speaker John Boehner, Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell, RNC chair Reince Priebus — and don’t feel any sense of connection to them.

In fact, they don’t really relate to or connect with any particular politician. They either tune out politics as much as possible, or they find the political process to be dominated by adults acting like children and bickering in a selfish, obstinate manner.

One reason they don’t feel any particular attachment to the current crop of Republican leaders — or perhaps the last Republican presidential standard-bearer, Mitt Romney — is that they’re suspicious, or at least wary of Wall Street, or most big companies. They may work for a big company but they don’t feel a particular loyalty or identification with their employer.

These folks might sound like potential Tea Partiers, but at some point, these folks either tuned out the Tea Party or got turned off by some of the more fiery rhetoric. The Tea Party rallies almost inevitably feature somebody dressed up in Revolutionary War garb, and that’s not who they are.

However, Common Core drives them nuts because they don’t understand the homework their kid is bringing home. They feel sorry for all of the children from Central America coming over the border right now, but they don’t feel that taking care of those kids should be America’s duty.

When these folks get galvanized, it’s more often by a figure outside the political arena who articulates a conservative value. Think of Tim Tebow, or Dr. Ben Carson, or “Dirty Jobs” host Mike Rowe — soon to return to CNN — lamenting America’s lawsuit-minded culture and the loss of a sense of shame. Or Gene Simmons of Kiss, arguing that it’s silly to demonize the rich, and important to assimilate immigrants and to stand by Israel in the Middle East.

Or Adam Carolla, raging against political correctness . . . 

It’s weird that comedians are on the list of people who are offending other people with the things they say. It’s counterintuitive. It’s like — I think every year Variety or the Hollywood Reporter or one of those magazines comes out with a list of celebrities or notables that hate the gay community. Whatever it is. I was on that list, because in 2011 I made a joke about Chaz Bono. Jesus Christ, if you can’t joke about Chaz Bono, then we’re all through! They had Tracy Morgan, several of the people on the list were comedians. And when did this start up? They’re comedians, onstage, making jokes! They may mean it half the time, but they’re still making jokes, why are they held to the same standard as statesmen?

Here’s Nicole Curtis, host of “Rehab Addict” on HGTV, in a February Facebook post:

In the past couple of weeks, I have had a few unpleasant experiences with women who actually had the nerve to state that they are a minority business owner (because they are a woman) and that should do what ? This is where I bang my head — I am a business owner who happens to be a woman — don’t judge me on my gender — judge me on my work — ladies — you want equal ground — gain it by being equal in professionalism and quality of work — not by making excuses that you are a small minority business owner. It brings the rest of us down. I scrubbed floors for 10 years and worked my rear off to get where I am at-don’t think for a minute that I’m the person to whine to that you should be able to short step the process of dedication because you are a woman — last time I checked, I am too. We are all given opportunities when we put the time in and develop the drive — teach your daughters that that’s how you get ahead — no entitlement here, please.

Even a bit of chef-turned-TV-travelogue host Anthony Bourdain, in his libertarian moments:

In New York, where I live, the appearance of a gun — anywhere — is a cause for immediate and extreme alarm. Yet, in much of America, I have come to find, it’s perfectly normal. I’ve walked many times into bars in Missouri, Nevada, Texas, where absolutely everyone is packing. I’ve sat down many times to dinner in perfectly nice family homes where — at end of dinner — Mom swings open the gun locker and invites us all to step into the back yard and pot some beer cans. That may not be Piers Morgan’s idea of normal. It may not be yours. But that’s a facet of American life that’s unlikely to change.

I may be a New York lefty — with all the experiences, prejudices and attitudes that one would expect to come along with that, but I do NOT believe that we will reduce gun violence — or reach any kind of consensus — by shrieking at each other. Gun owners — the vast majority of them I have met — are NOT idiots. They are NOT psychos. They are not even necessarily Republican (New Mexico, by the way, is a Blue State). They are not hicks, right wing “nuts” or necessarily violent by nature. And if “we” have any hope of ever changing anything in this country in the cause of reason — and the safety of our children — we should stop talking about a significant part of our population as if they were lesser, stupider or crazier than we are.

It’s almost as if the political arena de-legitimizes the voices of its participants. But when a figure untainted by the 24-7 hypocritical rugby scrum that is our politics expresses what we would consider to be a conservative value, a lot of folks who aren’t into politics applaud.

Am I describing instinctively conservative populists? Or is this the “libertarian populist” phenomenon described by Ben Domenech and Conn Carroll?

Tags: Polling , Conservatism , Culture

The Great Big Midterm Polling Roundup


The Liberty Foundation contracted with Magellan Strategies to conduct surveys of 600 to 900 likely voters in Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Louisiana, Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio, and Wisconsin on the upcoming U.S. Senate elections and gubernatorial races. (Note that they polled general-election matchups in states where the primary has not occurred yet; undoubtedly the candidates who weren’t polled will gripe that this is anointing a primary winner before anyone casts any votes.)

Most of the results are more or less in line with past polling, with perhaps a bit more good news for the GOP than conventional wisdom suggested.

Alaska Senate: Incumbent Democrat Mark Begich 41 percent, Republican Dan Sullivan 46 percent. This is the first poll to put Sullivan ahead; previous polling put Begich in the higher 40s. Note that Sullivan has not won the primary yet; the primary is August 19.

Arkansas Senate: Incumbent Democrat Mark Pryor 43 percent, Republican Tom Cotton 46 percent. You may recall the New York Times survey finding Pryor ahead by 10 recently, surprising some folks; previous polling showed a tight race. At this point, the Times poll looks like an outlier.

Colorado Senate: Incumbent Democrat Mark Udall 45 percent; Republican Cory Gardner 42 percent. This result is in line with previous polling showing a Udall lead of a few points and well below 50 percent.

Cory Gardner, now hunting for a Senate seat.

Colorado Governor: Incumbent Democrat John Hickenlooper 50 percent, Republican Bob Beauprez 35 percent. (Insert, “What, are they high?” joke here.) This was the surprise in the mix, but it’s not that outlandish; previous polls had Hickenlooper in the high 40s and Beauprez in the high 30s.

Florida Governor: Democrat Charlie Crist 43 percent, incumbent Republican Rick Scott 45 percent. Consider this one a pleasant surprise for the Scott campaign, which continues to emphasize how much they realize the challenge before them. But also note Mason-Dixon had the pair tied this week. Early polls showed a consistent Crist lead, but that lead might be eroding as the campaign progresses.

Iowa Senate: Democrat Bruce Braley 40 percent, Republican Mark Jacobs 41 percent. Exactly what Republicans wanted to see, as previous polling had put Braley ahead, sometimes considerably. (What are the odds that Braley’s losing ground among farmers?) But Jacobs is not the GOP nominee yet; the Iowa primary is June 3. Joni Ernst already attracted quite a bit of attention for her standout hog-castration ad.

Louisiana Senate: Democratic incumbent Mary Landrieu 42 percent, Republican Bill Cassidy 44 percent. There hasn’t been a lot of previous polling in this race; the preceding three showed a close race, in line with these results. Note that in Louisiana, there is a November “open primary” where all candidates are listed. If no one gets 50 percent (a safe bet), then the top two finishers go to a runoff held December 6.

Michigan Senate: Democrat Gary Peters 46 percent, Republican Terri Lynn Land 41 percent. A slight disappointment for Republicans, as Land had been polling surprisingly well earlier in this race.

Michigan Governor: Democrat Mark Schauer 42 percent, Republican incumbent Rick Snyder 45 percent. Another slight disappointment for the GOP, as most previous polling showed Snyder with larger leads than this.

North Carolina Senate: Democratic incumbent Kay Hagan 43 percent, Thom Tillis 43 percent. Another race where there hasn’t been a lot of previous polling matching up these two, and those few previous polls show a close race, like this result. (Incumbent Hagan should be sweating that she can’t break out of the low 40s.) The North Carolina primary is May 6.

Ohio Governor: Democrat Ed FitzGerald 41 percent, Republican incumbent John Kasich 47 percent. Two years ago it looked like Kasich would be a serious target for Democrats nationally, but over the past year he’s held the lead, sometimes by only a few points, sometimes by double digits. This will undoubtedly be a hard-fought battle, but for now Kasich is the favorite.

Wisconsin Governor: Democrat Mary Burke 47 percent, Republican incumbent Scott Walker 47 percent. This was the shocker, and ought to dispel the notion that the Liberty Foundation or Magellan Strategies are just telling Republicans what they want to hear with these results. Ever since Walker won the attempted recall election, conventional wisdom suggested that he was a small favorite in a state that is close to split down the middle between Republicans and Democrats. Walker has yet to trail in a poll, but this survey is a reminder that neither he nor the Republican Governors Association can take this race for granted.

Tags: Polling , 2014 Midterms

Tune In Tonight! Again!


In the coming hour, I’ll be appearing on the roundtable for “On the Record with Greta Van Susteren.” We’re likely to talk about a new Fox News poll showing that only a third of voters say they like both Obama and his policies — “a dramatic drop from 47 percent who felt that way in October 2012. In addition, 62 percent now say they dislike the president’s policies, up from 51 percent the month before his re-election.” We’re also likely to talk about actor Kal Penn’s sales pitch for the exchange.

Tags: Polling , Something Lighter

Cheering Up Frank Luntz, and Ourselves


From the midweek edition of the Morning Jolt:

Cheering Up Frank Luntz, and Ourselves

Assume for a moment, that the conclusions that have driven pollster Frank Luntz into deep depression and angst are true:

“I spend more time with voters than anybody else,” Luntz says. “I do more focus groups than anybody else. I do more dial sessions than anybody else. I don’t know [squat] about anything, with the exception of what the American people think.”

It was what Luntz heard from the American people that scared him. They were contentious and argumentative. They didn’t listen to each other as they once had. They weren’t interested in hearing other points of view. They were divided one against the other, black vs. white, men vs. women, young vs. old, rich vs. poor. “They want to impose their opinions rather than express them,” is the way he describes what he saw. “And they’re picking up their leads from here in Washington.” Haven’t political disagreements always been contentious, I ask? “Not like this,” he says. “Not like this.”

Luntz knew that he, a maker of political messages and attacks and advertisements, had helped create this negativity, and it haunted him. But it was Obama he principally blamed. The people in his focus groups, he perceived, had absorbed the president’s message of class divisions, haves and have-nots, of redistribution.

Before we go any further, let’s look a little closer at the phenomenon Luntz describes, and how the trend probably predates the president and is driven by a lot more than just who’s sitting in the Oval Office. Let’s start with those “class divisions, haves and have-nots, of redistribution.”

Imagine if the most bland and milquetoast president had been in office since January 20, 2009. Instead of electing uber-celebrity Munificent Sun-King Barack Obama, we elected President Boring Center-Left Conventional Wisdom — the genetic hybrid of David Gergen, David Brooks, Tom Friedman, and Cokie Roberts.

America would still have endured Wall Street crash of late 2008 and the Great Recession. This recession (still ongoing, in the minds and experiences of millions of Americans) was driven by many factors but largely from the bursting of the housing bubble and the mortgage securities and asset-backed derivatives that came out of that. We can argue that better policies would have generated a more significant recovery from 2009 to 2012, but indisputably, America’s economy fell far and fast, and climbing back up to say, 2007 levels of employment and average household retirement savings was destined to be a long, slow, tough slog. All those folks employed in the housing bubble — the home builders, the construction guys, the suppliers, the realtors, the house-flippers, all that real-estate advertising revenue, etc. — had to find some other work. And with the exception of the energy sector, there hasn’t been much of a boom in the U.S. economy in the past five years.

At the same time, we spent most of 2001 to 2009 absorbing millions of illegal immigrants, a wave of unskilled labor flooding the market for the few unskilled-labor jobs out there. The multi-decade decline of American manufacturing hasn’t abated much, schools and universities continued to pump out new American workers who are only partially prepared for the reality of the modern job market, and new technology continues to wreak havoc in established industries (ask Newsweek). Competition from cheaper labor overseas continues unabated. The era of spending your career at one company is gone. The era of traditional defined-benefit pension plans is gone. The era of a college degree automatically providing a ticket to a white-collar job and middle-class lifestyle is gone.

Economic anxiety is baked in the cake in American life right now. It’s not that surprising that a lot of our fellow countrymen are receptive to a message seeking scapegoats. In other words, even under President Cokie Gergen Friedman Brooks, Luntz would be seeing a similar cranky, resentful, demanding mood in the electorate. This president may be particularly skilled at opportunistically exploiting that anxiety to further his agenda — in fact, it may be the only thing he’s really good at — but it’s not like he invented it, nor like he’s the only one to ever practice it (remember Rick Perry and Newt Gingrich calling Mitt Romney a “vulture capitalist”?), nor like he’ll be the last to try it.

If Luntz is right that a large chunk of the American electorate has turned angry, entitled, resentful and spiteful — and I’ll bet a lot of us have suspected this in the past year or five — then it is indeed ominous for the next few elections, and suggests American life will get worse before it gets better.

But there’s also an upside to this, at least for us. Because it means large numbers of our fellow countrymen are embracing a philosophy and attitude that is destined to fail them and leave them miserable. Anybody who sits and waits for the government to improve his life is going to get stuck in endless circles of disappointment, anger, self-destructive rage, and despair.

We would be foolish if we told ourselves that being conservative means we’ve got life all figured out. We all have our flaws, our foibles, our sins, and our moments of not practicing what we preach. But if you’re conservative, you’ll probably manage to avoid certain mistakes and pitfalls on this journey called life.

If you’re conservative, you’ve probably learned that there’s no substitute for hard work. Even great talent can only get you so far, particularly if you don’t apply yourself. Yes, luck is a factor, but we also acknowledge that old saying, “the harder I work, the luckier I get.”

If you’re conservative, you probably at least try to embrace individual responsibility — meaning you realize the quality of your life is primarily up to you — and there’s no point in blaming mommy or daddy, no point in blaming the boss, no point in blaming society at large, no point in complaining that life isn’t fair. It isn’t. We can’t control a lot of things. The only thing we can control is how we react to things.

If you’re conservative, you hopefully don’t spend much time worrying about or grumbling about somebody else who’s doing well for themselves. You want to figure out how to join them! Or at least “do well” enough for yourself and your family, and maybe have a little something left over to help out somebody who really needs it.

If you’re conservative, you may or may not believe in a higher power, but you probably believe in right and wrong and you’re wary of people who talk about the world as a murky blur of grey and endorse a moral relativism. You know doing the wrong thing catches up with you sooner or later. You know the road to hell is paved with good intentions, and life’s bad guys are always insisting that the ends justify the means.

If you’re conservative, you believe there’s evil in the world, and we’re not likely to successfully sweet-talk with it, negotiate with it, ignore it, or reason with it. Confronting it, on terms most beneficial to us, or containing it seem to be the best option.

If you’re conservative, you may or may not have the level of impulse control you wish — I sure as heck don’t at mealtimes — but you at least seem to recognize the consequences. Completely embracing “If it feels good, do it” will leave you in a dark alley, hung over and going through withdrawal, and perhaps with a venereal disease.

Individual responsibility, hard work, gratitude and appreciation, a conscience, fortitude — these things will never go out of style, no matter how cranky the electorate gets. What Luntz is witnessing is a lot of people embracing ideas that are going to fail them. At another point in that interview:

The entitlement he now hears from the focus groups he convenes amounts, in his view, to a permanent poisoning of the electorate — one that cannot be undone. “We have now created a sense of dependency and a sense of entitlement that is so great that you had, on the day that he was elected, women thinking that Obama was going to pay their mortgage payment, and that’s why they voted for him,” he says. “And that, to me, is the end of what made this country so great.”

I wonder if Luntz is referring to the oft-quoted Peggy Joseph, declaring in 2008, “I don’t have to worry about putting gas in my car, I don’t have to worry about my mortgage! If I help him, he’s going to help me.”

Except Barack Obama never paid for Peggy Joseph’s gas or mortgage. At least on that front, she’s probably found Obama’s presidency to be deeply disappointing, presuming she never found a way to serve on the board of Solyndra.

Both liberals and conservatives were appalled by the administration’s management and handling of the Obamacare rollout, but only the liberals were surprised. (Well, maybe we were surprised at just how epic the failure was.) We don’t expect government to do a lot of things right. We don’t count on it to immanentize the eschaton — to build God’s Kingdom, or utopia, on earth. But year in and year out, the Left always convinces itself anew that government can do it — even after it completely botches a website and fails to tell the president before the unveiling.

One final note:

Luntz lives alone. Never married, he tells me he is straight (and that no reporter has ever asked him about his sexual orientation before), just unable to sustain a romantic relationship because of all the time he spends on the road. “My parents were married for 47 years. I’m never in the same place more than 47 minutes,” he says. When I point out he’s chosen that lifestyle, he says, “You sound like my relatives.”

Marriage is a useful indicator of voting patterns. More Republicans are married than Democrats — and the benefits of marriage are enormous.

Maybe we need to set up Luntz with some nice woman, and maybe his outlook on life will brighten.

Tags: Barack Obama , Polling , Culture

Dealing With the Budget Deal


The midweek edition of the Morning Jolt features a look at why the Washington area can never seem to cope with any amount of snow (or even rumors of snow!), another inspiring example of your tax dollars at work, and, of course, examining the budget deal announced last night:

Budget? Deal With It.

Great news for everyone who was tired of the recent Republican unity over Obamacare and fantastic momentum heading into the midterm elections: House Budget Committee chairman Paul Ryan (R., Wis.) worked out a budget deal with Senate Budget Committee chairwoman Patty Murray (D., Tennis Shoes).

The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013 would set overall discretionary spending for the current fiscal year at $1.012 trillion — about halfway between the Senate budget level of $1.058 trillion and the House budget level of $967 billion. The agreement would provide $63 billion in sequester relief over two years, split evenly between defense and non-defense programs. In fiscal year 2014, defense discretionary spending would be set at $520.5 billion, and non-defense discretionary spending would be set at $491.8 billion.

The sequester relief is fully offset by savings elsewhere in the budget. The agreement includes dozens of specific deficit-reduction provisions, with mandatory savings and non-tax revenue totaling approximately $85 billion. The agreement would reduce the deficit by between $20 and $23 billion.

This is not what most of us would consider a “good” deal. The deficit reduction is pretty paltry. The “non-tax revenue” includes things like raising the $2.50 per-passenger per-flight “TSA fee” on flyers, which will sound a lot like a tax hike to a lot of folks. But there is a tiny bit of pension reform for federal workers:

These sections increase federal-employee contributions to their retirement programs by 1.3 percentage points. The proposal affects new employees hired after December 31, 2013 with less than five years of service.

And there’s a bit of what we would consider to be entitlement reform in the treatment of military pensions:

This provision modifies the annual cost-of-living adjustment for working-age military retirees by making the adjustments equal to inflation minus one percent. This change would be gradually 3 phased in, with no change for the current year, a 0.25 percent decrease in December 2014, and a 0.5 percent decrease in December 2015. This would not affect service members who retired because of disability or injury. Service members would never see a reduction in benefits from one year to the next.

This, or any other long-term deal, avoids a government shutdown for the next two years. And you have to figure Barack Obama and Harry Reid are itching to have another government shutdown, as it provided the Democrats their one most optimistic political moment, just before Obamacare the Destructor appeared on the horizon.

Above: Obamacare, in marshmallow form.

Here’s the political environment at the moment, according to Quinnipiac:

President Barack Obama’s job approval among American voters drops to a new low, a negative 38 – 57 percent, as the outlook for Democrats running for Congress and the U.S. Senate fades also, according to a national poll released today. He even gets a negative 41 – 49 percent among voters 18 to 29 years old and a lackluster 50 – 43 percent approval among Hispanic voters.

American voters say 41 – 38 percent that they would vote for a Republican over a Democrat for the U.S. House of Representatives, the first time this year the Democrats come up on the short end of this generic ballot. Independent voters back Republican candidates 41 – 28 percent. Voters also say 47 – 42 percent that they would like to see Republicans gain control of the U.S. Senate and the House. Independent voters go Republican 50 – 35 percent for each.

If Quinnipiac’s not to your liking, here’s the NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll this morning:

A new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll finds that more Americans disapprove of the president’s job performance than ever before; half say they’re either disappointed or dissatisfied with his presidency and 54 percent believe he’s facing a long-term setback.

Perhaps more significantly, Obama has seen a drop in key presidential attributes.

Just 28 percent give the president high grades for being able to achieve his goals (down 16 points from January); only 37 percent give him high marks for being honest and straightforward (down 5 points from June); and 44 percent give him high marks for being able to handle a crisis (down another 5 points since June).

Only 34 percent believe the health law is a good idea (down 3 points from late October), while 50 percent say it’s a bad idea (the highest percentage on that measure since the NBC/WSJ poll began asking this question).

Also, by a 51 percent to 43 percent margin, respondents say they are bothered more by the Obama administration’s troubled health care website and some Americans losing their health plans than by the Republican Party’s continued efforts to undermine the law.

And asked which one or two issues have been most important in shaping their views about the president, the top response was the health care law (58 percent) — followed by the economy (25 percent), the government shutdown (23 percent) and the situations in Syria and Iran (16 percent).

The Ryan-Murray deal puts Obama and Reid in a box. Only a few events would be big enough to change this dynamic, and the most likely is another shutdown. But to get another government shutdown, they have to shoot down this deal — putting them on the wrong side of a happy-talk “bipartisan compromise” and making them the scapegoats for any failure to reach a deal. Sure, they could dig in and force another government shutdown, but they would get the blame for this one.

Mike Memoli nicknames it “The Bland Bargain.”

Tags: Paul Ryan , Patty Murray , Budget , Barack Obama , Polling

The ‘New American Center’ Actually Looks Pretty Right


Also from today’s Morning Jolt, a new poll that helps explain why we’re seeing Democrats running on issues that basically don’t exist, such as a Republican effort to ban contraception, an effort to ban mothers from divorcing their husbands, or a “war on women”:

That New American Center, Looking Pretty Conservative

Esquire unveiled new polling, identifying, analyzing, and dissecting “the new American center” a few weeks ago. I had a chance to study their article on a couple of long plane rides recently.

I know what you’re thinking: Here’s another group of folks on the left insisting that they’re the new center.

Nope. It turns out the “New Center” Esquire spotlighted is pretty darn conservative, particularly on a lot of those hot-button issues where the overwhelming media narrative is that we’re a bunch of backward Neanderthals who should just die already so that hipster kid who’s still living with his parents can take over.

Esquire’s survey found:

  • 57 percent of folks in “the Center” support ending affirmative action in hiring decisions and college admissions. Only 19 percent oppose it.

  • 54 percent oppose a path to citizenship for those who have come to the country illegally. Only 32 percent support it. What’s all this pressure to get the House to take up the Senate bill?

  • 75 percent support requiring photo ID to cast a vote. Only 15 percent oppose.

  • Even abortion! The survey found 38 percent of “the center” support abortion for any reason . . . but only within the first three months of pregnancy, which would represent a giant step in the pro-life direction from our current laws. Another 29 percent support abortion only in cases of rape, incest, and the life of the mother — indicating that two-thirds of “the center” would support abortion laws significantly stricter than they are today. Most media coverage suggests the opposite, obviously. Only 12 percent believe a woman should be able to get an abortion for any reason at any point in her pregnancy.

  • Given only two options, 78 percent said the bigger problem for the United States is people aren’t accountable for their decisions and actions. Only 22 percent said that the bigger problem was “people aren’t compassionate toward one another.”

  • Finally, 77 percent support amending the Constitution requiring the federal government to balance its budget every year. Only 11 percent oppose. This is one of those ideas that sounds great in theory but is challenging in practice. For starters, we would need to make up the $670 billion current deficit in either spending cuts or tax hikes, and the public would loathe either of those options. (Some day, a Democratic president and Democratic Congress would use that constitutional amendment to justify gargantuan tax hikes.) A little deficit spending isn’t such a bad thing, but you have to keep it and your overall debt in proportion to your annual gross domestic product. Having said that, Republicans would be fools if they didn’t loudly embrace such a popular idea.

In light of this, it appears the public’s shift to the left has been vastly overstated. And perhaps we now see why Democrats emphasize birth control and Big Bird and other seemingly silly and frivolous issues, and use them to define Republicans. Democrats dare not get too close to the above issues, or else they’ll get burned.

Tags: Polling , Abortion , Politics , Ideology

Poll: Plurality of Democrats Believe Exchanges Are Working Well


Quick thoughts on Pew’s latest survey, asking Americans what they know and what they think about the Obamacare exchanges:

The survey found 29 percent say the online health-insurance exchanges are working “well” or “fairly well.” This means at least 29 percent of Americans have absolutely no idea what’s going on. Separately, 25 percent of Americans say they “don’t know” if the exchanges are working well. This amounts to 54 percent of Americans.

The survey found 44 percent of Democrats, 25 percent of independents, and 14 percent of Republicans believe the exchanges are working well. Also 51 percent of African-Americans said the online insurance exchanges were working well. Only 32 percent of Democrats think the exchanges aren’t working well. In short, partisanship can easily override reality in the minds of these respondents.

Only 14 percent of Americans say they have visited the site so far. Only 29 percent of those who said they have visited the site say they’re uninsured.

They survey found that 31 percent of those who are uninsured say they don’t plan to visit the site. A segment of that crowd might be thinking about other options like phoning it in, but not a big chunk: Of those without insurance, 24 percent said they do not plan to get insurance. Another 11 percent said they didn’t know.

Tags: Obamacare , Polling


Sign up for free NRO e-mails today:

Subscribe to National Review