Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Health Care PR Failing Already

As the Democrats continue their desperate attempts to convince themselves that they haven’t ended their careers by voting for ObamaCare, the evidence is becoming more pronounced that they are in serious trouble. Indeed, after a week of euphoria in the mainstream media, reality is starting to set in.

Gallup Poll Updated -- Bounce Denied
As you probably heard ad nauseam, Gallup had an overnight poll that showed the support for ObamaCare rising to 49% versus opposition of 40%. Article after article heralded this as the coming of a new age of support for ObamaCare and the salvation of the Democrats. But as I pointed out on Sunday, there were many reasons to doubt that result. Now we have even more direct proof. Buzzed by their success in proving that the public had come around, Gallup set out to cement its finding and usher in the Age of the Donkey. But guess what? Here’s what they found: 50% opposed, 47% in favor. That’s a little higher opposition than Gallup had been showing before the bounce. Thus, a week after passage, ObamaCare actually suffered a loss of support according to Gallup of around 4%.
Obama Don’t Bounce
Interestingly, yesterday, many of the cheerleaders in the punditocracy started coming around to the Commentarama view that maybe Obama didn’t get a bounce after all. The Politico did an interesting article on this where they talked to various pollsters who had predicted anywhere from a 5% to a 10% bounce for Obama in the polls, which they predicted would be just the momentum he needed to get the rest of his agenda through the demoralized Republicans in Congress.

Yet, with the exception of Obama’s own pollster, who wouldn’t provide numbers, everyone they surveyed was surprised to find the “bounce” to be between 2% to 3%, AND they were even more surprised to see that it already faded. Of course, if they’d read Commentarama, they would have known this already.

What makes this whole bounce issue even more interesting is that it outlines the real problem for Obama (and the Democrats). His 3% bounces represent increases in Democratic support from 85% to 90-92%, which then fade a couple days later. He is getting nothing out of Republicans or independents. Basically, they have stopped listening to him. That’s electoral doom. That’s also why his popularity rating has not only continued to fall, but he hasn’t even had the periodic upsurges that all other Presidents have enjoyed -- basically, the non-Democratic public has simply tuned him out.

Thus, any attempt to claim momentum out of this is little more than folly. Which makes statements by people like Stephen Hess of the Brookings Institute so laughable. He admits that he expected a bigger bounce, but he still claims this was “a unique victory” for Obama and that “now [people] are taking him very seriously.” Yeah, except that politics is about momentum, and momentum comes from public support, and the public hasn’t changed their minds. Sorry Stephen, wishing something to be true doesn’t make it so.
The False Social Security/Medicare Analogy
Finally, let’s address this “Social Security/Medicare became popular” argument the Democrats are pushing. They argue that both Social Security and Medicare were “controversial” when they were passed, but they became popular. Thus, ObamaCare will become popular as well. But this is simply a bad analogy:

First, while Social Security and Medicare were “controversial,” they also had wide bi-partisan support, both in Congress and among the public. That’s not true with ObamaCare.

Secondly, Social Security and Medicare did not discriminate, everyone in the country would be eligible. ObamaCare will only benefit a handful of poor people and some ultra-rich multinational companies. Everyone else now works for them. ObamaCare simply has no broad-based benefit that will accrue to the public.

Third, when Social Security and Medicare went into effect, it was obvious how they would benefit people, and they understood that the benefits to them would exceed the costs. ObamaCare’s benefits are hidden and won’t kick in for a very long time, while the punishments kick in now. Add in the over promises that won’t be delivered upon and you have a recipe for an angry public.

Fourth, Social Security and Medicare were essentially just tax increases which were used to make entitlement payments. They were not disruptive to society. ObamaCare will send shockwaves through 16% of our economy and will disrupt the relationship people have with their doctors and with their employers. It would have been smarter to just tax people and hand out private insurance to poor people.

Finally, the relationship between the Democratic Party and the public has changed since Social Security and Medicare passed. At that time, the Democratic Party was a national party with broad based support. Today, it’s a minority party cobbled together by small interest groups, who rely on low public turn out to stay in power. Thus, there is no broad based core of public support to sway the rest of us.

So don't buy into this argument.


StanH said...

That’s good news Andrew, and only confirms what we expected. The public does not trust government with their healthcare, and I believe that it will be Repealed and Replaced, starting in November.

Joel Farnham said...

This is good news.

I think that repeal will happen after 2012. Replace with something better? End of 2013. Reasoning? Obama will never sign it. He will veto it.

AndrewPrice said...

Stan, Agreed. I think this confirms what we've all been seeing, that the public just isn't buying into ObamaCare and the Democratic lies. I also think that it's becoming clear that the public just isn't willing to be convinced anymore.

AndrewPrice said...

Joel, I think you're right. I think we can't do anything until 2013, because mathematically, it will probably be impossible to get a large enough majority in the Senate until then, and because he will veto anything we try.

But if the Republicans can at least get a majority in both Houses, then they might be able to repeal pieces through reconciliation and by attaching those things to budgets that Obama can't veto.

LL said...

Democrats NEED to feel that their obscene behavior (as demonstrated many times) that they felt was necessary to get the bill passed -- was somehow vindicated and the public would SEE.

It's not the case.

And the move from staunch Democratic Party member to "Independent" is increasing.

Tennessee Jed said...

Andrew, good post - I doubt we were fooled for a second by the bounce polls, but I can't really get excited about any of it until the November races come into better focus. We know to look for the media tools to trumpet every miniscule positive economic number as the harbinger of an economic turnaround. I can tell from reading letters to the editor how easily a lot of people's opinions change from one day to the next and how a question is asked.

Probably what is critical is to fund good advertising in those key elections which effectively reinforce what sucked about this bill as well as a reminder how dismally the "jobs" party has failed and wasted taxpayer money

patti said...

you guys are ALWAYS so cutting edge. best kept secret in obamaland!

Writer X said...

Hess is laughable. Since when did stealing from taxpayers become unique? It's status quo for this administration. The best campaign strategy is repeal, repeal, repeal. Those poll numbers are only going to get worse, especially now that the president has grown more defensive. Looks a lot like desperation.

AndrewPrice said...

LL, I think you're right. This PR campaign has a real sense to it that they are trying to delude themselves as much as they are trying to convince the rest of us. And when a guy like Obama comes out with statements like today, where he basically attacks the Tea Party as violent birthers and racists, they just drive normal people further and further away from their party.

Bad for them, good for us, good for the country.

AndrewPrice said...

Jed, Agreed. I think that a carefully planned campaign is essential at this point. Our side needs to figure out what to highlight, and how to highlight it in such a way as to remind people of why they were angry, to confirm to them that this bill is what they thought it was, and to give them a reason to believe that we will repeal and replace this bill with something much better.

And we need to do that with the realization that the right is already energized, so we should be aiming for the center. Thus, our campaign should have broadbased appeal, and should be devoid of anger or deep partisanship that will turn off the people in the center -- just the facts carefully presented.

Let the blogs and the direct contact keep the activists engaged.

AndrewPrice said...

Thanks Patti! :-)

AndrewPrice said...

Writer X, I think you're right. If the Democrats suddenly started acting like Americans rather than partisans, and they set out to convince people to give this bill a chance, then I would be worried that the people might calm down.

But their decision to generate this fake violence campaign and to attack their opponents as racists and crazies will just keep turning more and more people off, and it will keep our side very, very energized. When you call a group of people racists, they don't forget. And in this case, they just called a third to a half of the population racists.

Unknown said...

Andrew: Social Security (and to a lesser extent, Medicare) also had a traditional American concept behind it: "Save money now so that you will have an income in your retirement years." Sure, it's a Ponzi scheme relying on birth rates that no longer exist, and over the years proved that if the government gets your money, it will steal it and use it for something else, but the underlying concept was "save for the future."

There's no such concept in Obamacare. If you've never paid a dime in taxes and you've never worked a day in your life, you will suddenly and magically be entitled to fabulous health care that doesn't cost a penny (the classic "free lunch"). Oh, and just to help, we'll take $500 or $600 billion from those suckers who paid into Medicare for forty-five years and give it to you. After all--they don't need it since they're going to die soon anyway.

Anyone with a room temperature IQ can see that this just ain't gonna work without reducing the quality of medical care to third-world levels while bankrupting the US Treasury and the US taxpayer.

AndrewPrice said...

Lawhawk, You're absolutely right on all counts. This bill is fundamentally different than prior bills, for the reason you mention, and it's distinctly against common sense.

And you're right about it robbing old people to pay poor people. That's why ObamaCare is most unpopular with the eldery -- close to 70% opposition. And don't forget, they vote.

wahsatchmo said...

Andrew and LawHawk:

First, great post Andrew.

Second, I think you've both hit upon the key issue to repealing this bill, which is to emphasize the coming pain for seniors. The government's plan for making ObamaCare solvent involved stealing from Medicare, Social Security, and the new long-term senior care program.

If this is allowed to happen, their golden years will be upended and filled with uncertainty when they should be enjoying their retirement. If government instead just kicks these problems down the road (again), those programs grow broke anyway because of ObamaCare's strain on the economy.

Either way, seniors lose under ObamaCare.

The second prong of attack is to remind youth that they'll be required to have far more insurance than they could ever want or need, and any subsidies they receive will disappear just when their careers start hitting full stride. Instead of putting a down payment on a house to partake in their success, they'll be paying for someone else's health insurance and trying to pay back their massive student loans to the federal government.

Success is deferred indefinitely for our youth under ObamaCare.

AndrewPrice said...

wahsatchmo, Thanks! And good points!

I think you're right that targeting seniors should be the first priority. They vote in massive numbers and they are getting trampled to make ObamaCare happen. At the present rate, there won't be very many doctors left who will see Medicare patients. . . even if there was money to pay them. That needs to be hit home, that these people, who paid into Medicare their entire lives, will now lose their doctors and will find themselves in a rationed system that cares more about every other group than themselves.

As for the youth, I think the perfect point to hit them with are some of the statistics that show that workers are likely to end up spending close to 25% of their income on insurance under Obama's new plan. Even college students will understand that 25% for insurance and another 30-40% in taxes, leaves them with nothing worth having. I also think it's worth pointing out to them that this is all going to enrich huge companies (Democratic contributors all). That won't play well with the youth crowd, which has no stake in those companies.

StanH said...

Lawhawk, though your point is a serious one it reminds me of the statement, “Other than the assassination Mrs. Lincoln how’d you like the play?”

CrispyRice said...

Another great article, Andrew.

AndrewPrice said...

Thanks CrispyRice! You have excellent taste. . . ;-)

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