Sunday, March 28, 2010

Why The Democrats Are Doomed

Over the past few days, the media has been struggling to tell you that everyone around you really loves ObamaCare, that it really will make things better if we just click our heels together and wish it so, and that the Democrats really won by passing the bill. But you know better. You know that the Democrats are in serious trouble. Here’s a little proof.

1. For Whom The Poll Tolls.
Immediately after passage, pollster Gallup ran out and conducted an overnight poll which showed slightly more supporters than opponents of ObamaCare. A deluge of articles followed arguing that the public had changed its mind, now that the Democrats had shown that they could actually pass this. But there are three problems with this.

First, overnight polls are unreliable. They catch idiosyncratic segments of the population. Moreover, they overestimate support because people are more likely to be reacting to the overwhelmingly positive portrayal of the plan by the media that day. You may recall the media spewing forth saturation coverage of Pelosi’s “great achievement.”

Secondly, they are comparing Gallup’s overnight poll to other companies’ polls, not Gallup’s prior polls. Gallup showed support and opposition in a statistical dead heat before the magic poll. This was about 9-10% more favorable than other reliable polls, like Rasmussen, found. Thus, comparing Gallup’s magic poll to these other polls produces an apparent 12% surge. Yippee! But that’s not statistically proper, as this is the proverbial comparing of apples to oranges. If you look only at Gallup’s polls, you only get a 3% “surge,” which is equal to all of Obama’s prior bounces. (This represents Democratic support going from 85% to 90%.)

Third, even if you assume Gallup is correct, Gallup still doesn’t show 50% support for ObamaCare. That’s not an endorsement.

Moreover, check out the following chart which shows an amalgamation of polls, with the data points marked. You’ll see that opposition has been growing over time:

This is very bad news for the Democrats because this means that the more people learned, the less they liked. Thus, the chances of improving support by “educating” the public are slim and none.
2. The Death of A Thousand Job and Benefit Cuts.
Making it even hard to “educate” the public, the Democrats worst nightmares are starting already. The Democrats’ biggest fear has been that companies would start dumping employees and killing their benefits plans. Remember, the one thing that kept the public from blowing up the Congress was the promise that you could keep the plan you have and the doctor you like.

So what happened this week? Several companies immediately announced the consequences that their workers would bear as a result of this bill. Apparently, unreported in the media, insurers are already notifying companies that they will be raising rates. In response, AT&T announced that it would be cutting employee benefits plans. Equipment maker Medtronic announced that it would be laying off 1,000 workers because new taxes imposed on its products had cut expected demand. Others have begun making similar announcements.

A series of companies from Caterpillar to John Deere to Valero Energy to 3M to AK Steel, have all announced expenses in the range of $100 million each (this is actually the end of a deduction), which will likely result in them cutting off prescription benefits to their retirees. (AT&T’s charge is one billion dollars.) I note the irony that many of these, Caterpillar in particular, have been heavy supporters of Obama and ObamaCare, and most are unionized.

Young women everywhere (Obama’s biggest supporters outside of blacks) are about to discover the tax on tanning and certain beauty aids. So are vitamin freaks and anyone who wants over the counter medications, like aspirin or allergy medication or even certain baby foods. Some restaurants have announced surcharges to cover their waitstaff’s new benefits. These are real world effects that will be felt by everyone in the country. And since these are repeat purchases, it is unlikely that this affront will be forgotten by November.
3. You Are Wrong Morton Kondracke.
Mort wrote an article trying to explain why the Democrats gained from passing the bill. He claims the Democratic base is now much more excited than it was before. Of course, there is no evidence of this (see 3% bounce above). But what’s more interesting, Mort also dissects the opposition numbers. According to Mort 13% of the opposition comes from people who claim the law isn’t liberal enough. He thus adds those to the support category and concludes that a large majority of the public really likes this bill. Aside from the statistical error of what he’s done, he’s missing the fact that this directly contradicts his assertion about the Democratic base. That 13% are the activists. If they oppose the bill, then there is no way they will suddenly become excited by its passage.
4. Whitey Strikes Back.
What caused the 1994 Republican sweep more than anything, was white males fleeing the Democratic Party. Indeed, their support among white men fell to 38%. The Democrats’ subsequent stupid attacks on white males as “angry white men,” kept the ceiling at 38%. Obama made some headway against this, pulling in the support of 41% of white males. This is likely what pushed him over the top. But white males have left again. Even worse, white male support for Democrats is down to 35%, a number even lower than 1994. White women offer 46% support, which is about 2% less than they gave in 1994. These numbers mean disaster of greater than 1994 proportions for the Democrats.
5. Congressional Disapproval Is Unprecedented.
Finally, there is one more interesting point. The media loves to point out that all Congresses are hated. I generally ignore these polls because they are meaningless. They are too generic and it’s too easy to say you don’t like the institution while continuing to vote for your representative. But here is something interesting.

The following chart shows the public’s support for Congress from 1990-2007. Notice that it only dipped below 20% twice, during both of the two bubble-burst recessions. Other than that, it actually climbed as high as 60% before the Democrats started to return in numbers in 2004.

Now look at the following chart, which shows Congressional approval from 2008 to the present. Notice that the high point was 30% and most of the time was spent below 20%. It currently sits around 15%.

So while the media tries to pass this off as “everyone always hates Congress,” the level of hate is truly unprecedented, as is the duration of this level of disapproval.

And that is why the Democrats are doomed.

**Update: Gallup has reported that Obama's popularity has hit a new low according to their polls -- 46% v. 46%. That's hardly the stuff of a bounce.


patti said...

i saw that first poll yesterday and was pleased. i even wanted to clap and dance a little. i'm petty that way...

Anonymous said...

This is one who hopes your analysis of the polls is near what the results will be. Polls are really pie in the sky, similar to sales projections for the next year.
Dewey comes to mind when one gives credence to polls and media.
My hope is that the conservative radio and television hosts will keep fanning this spark and nurture it into a full fledged bonfire.
If they can do that with out creating an over the top antagonism of their extremes we have a chance.
Yes, it is the extreme views that garner notoriety and make their advertising dollars go up. However it is those positions that will bite us in the rear.
Bottom line here is you have made another fine post which is why Comentarama is in my bookmarks.
All the easier to find you.

AndrewPrice said...

Patti, I was amazed when I first heard "public changes mind, supports bill." But when as soon as I started looking at the numbers, I have to admit that I got a big smile on my face. Nothing has changed. Indeed, the real story is the absence of the bounce.

AndrewPrice said...

JB, You're absolutely right about polls. They depend on many different factors that aren't present when it comes time to vote -- like how the question is phrased. They also change easily because you don't have to commit yourself long term when you answer.

But I think polls do give us a hint of what is really going on. When you see long, steady opposition or growing opposition as you do here, then you have an indication of the public's mood. And when you see overwhelming negativity, like in the Congressional numbers, then you have an indication of intensity.

So while none of these polls mean anything specific, they are good for judging the likely mood of the country. Add in some of the "stressors" that may change or amplify that mood and you can make some pretty good guesses about the future.

P.S. Thanks for the complement! We're glad to have you!

Joel Farnham said...


Thank you. After passage, I expected some sort of surge and then a return to decline in support of Democrats. I also expected the uptick to last more than a week.

What I didn't expect is the egregious lies of the tea-partiers immediately after the passage of the bill. Basically, if the Democrats want the US to accept this bill, they shouldn't have degraded the ones who are opposed to them. They should have approached it more in the way of "Even the Tea-Partiers would like some of these provisions."

We don't, some squishies would, and the MSM could have trumpeted that. By the time we started to get that message through, the MSM would have been on to something else. As it is, people expected the Tea-Partiers to be angry, the MSM gave out lies about how they are angry, spitting, cursing, use of epithets. Most people got that the Tea-Partiers were angry. It is like calling water wet.

Basically we are back to pre-vote day and the polls are going down. The anger will build like before, and the left will overplay their hands. Especially the nutcases who feel that egging buses is just the thing to do.

AndrewPrice said...

P.S. JB, I agree about talk radio and the blogs, etc. They need to keep the issue in people's minds, but not push so far as to sound extremist. Remember, the middle is on us with this one, don't push them farther than we can at the moment.

AndrewPrice said...

Joel, I think it became obvious what the Democratic strategy would be when the Congressional blacks all suddenly claimed the hear the word "nigger" and Barney Frank had one of his staffers call him "faggot." That was the first shot in stepping up the "angry white male" rhetoric.

While I don't doubt that there have been death threats, I see this whole thing as manufactured. The Democrats don't act like people who are scared, they act like people who know there is no real danger and are trying to exploit the perception of fear by playing the victim. That's why they're playing games with this and using it as a fund raiser.

This is all a huge mistake because the public, i.e. the Tea Party, knows that they aren't violent and knows that the Democrats are lying. I think this will further push people away from the Democrats.

Don't be surprised if the white male vote falls to 32% and the white female vote falls to 42%.

Anonymous said...

Andrew: Contempt for Congress is as American as apple pie. It's been pilloried since Will Rogers called them the Republicrats and Mark Twain warned that the republic is never in more danger than when Congress is in session.

What's important about the polls and the charts is that they show that humorous disrespect for Congress has turned to anger, the approval level has dropped to all-time lows (and stayed there), and individuals and groups in opposition to Congress are growing in terms of diligence and staying-power.

Gallup is a longtime tool for the Democratic Party, so it's always best to look at any poll favorable to Democrats as being five to ten points too high at that end. Thus, even on the day of the "bump," 50/50 support for Obamacare should be read as somewhere between 55/45 opposition and 60/40 opposition.

Excellent analysis, sir, and I once gain face the day with hope in my heart and statistics in my head.

AndrewPrice said...

Thanks Lawhawk. Nice reference to Twain and Rogers!

I think you're right that opposition to Congress hasn't been truly serious in the past, but has become serious now. I think that's why the amazingly low level of support, and the amount of time it's stayed that low, is such a bad sign for the Democrats. They can paint this as "everyone hates everyone" all they want, but they are the ones who will pay in November, not the Republicans.

You're right about Gallup too. I usually take about 5% off their pro-Democrat numbers to get to reality. That's based on my comparison of their numbers and election results, and a comparison to other polls.

As I say in the article, it looks like Obama got a standard 3% bounce that will probably fade over the next couple days -- if it hasn't already.

All in all, these numbers are very bad news for the Democrats.

Tennessee Jed said...

Sounds good, although I thought there were too many obstacles for Obamacare to be passed. For a slightly different view, you might check out Randall Hoven's post today over at American Thinker titled Hope and Change Predictions 2009. I don't have a clue which will prevail, and needless to say would much prefer that Andrew's crystal ball is correct.

Regardless, fiscal conservatives cannot get down and must continue and fight to regain Congress and the White House. I almost sent money to the R.N.C. and feel a bit guilty about not doing so, but for now still have my doubts they will use it wisely.

AndrewPrice said...

Jed, Don't send it to the RNC, send to individual candidates that you like. They can put it to better use or share it with the right people if need be.

In terms of crystal balls, I'm not really making a prediction so much as laying out the problems they face and the likely result of those problems. Things can always change if, for example, they change their strategies or something unexpected happens. But right now, this is what it looks like and I see nothing that will change it.

As for ObamaCare not passing, there is a huge difference between what they started with and what they got. They originally laid out a plan that was basically a single player plan with a mandate that would have required universal coverage. But they ended up with a slight increase in Medicaid coverage, a couple of coverage mandates on insurers, and tax increases on everything to do with medicine. Even the private insurance mandates are basically just a tax increase, as they expect 24 million of the 46 million uninsured to ignore them. This isn't anywhere close to what they wanted, and that's why the left isn't happy.

Tennessee Jed said...

Picking out candidates one endorses is obviously the way to go relative to campaign contributions. My concern is the price control powers the feds gave themselves. If we do not wrest control of Congress back soon, the libs will quickly move to bankrupt private carriers. You are correct though, you were not crystal ball gazing, I probably merely misunderstood the title of the post.

AndrewPrice said...

Jed, I'm not aware of the price controls you're talking about? Obama proposed those a few weeks ago, and the Dems wanted them originally, but there aren't any in the bill that I'm aware of. I am aware of the ratios they established, but there are no price caps, and there is no power to set rates.

Tennessee Jed said...

Since I haven't seen the actual final language, I'll take your word for it and assume that provision didn't get in. What I'd seen, as I recall, was a requirement for acceptable plans to submit rate hike requests for approval which, of course, would have been tantamount to rate setting. If that's not in, it's a positive development. Otherwise, of course, it's a great great bill. I look forward to having my hard earned money taxed heavily to pay for government buracracy.

AndrewPrice said...

Jed, Obama's plan called for the submission of rates with the Secretary of HHS having the power to reject rates, to lower them and to require payment of refunds. The current bill includes only a requirement that rates be submitted, but no power to change them.

StanH said...

Great article Andrew and illustrates the democrat dilemma. They had to pass healthcare, in whatever condition for the Boy king, but like Dick Morris said, it’s like Pickets Charge for the democrats. Maybe a better analogy is a Pyrrhic Victory, or in street vernacular, “they blew there wad!” There’s gonna be hell to pay in November, time to crush the statist!

Writer X said...

Andrew, when the poll numbers didn't skyrocket and reveal sunshine and unicorns, I also noticed that the Dems and the MSM reverted to Plan B: Label anyone who opposes Obamacase as being violent and militant. I'm guessing that won't fly either.

AndrewPrice said...

Writer X, Isn't it funny that as soon as the poll numbers didn't confirm this massive shift in public opinion, the media dropped that angle and went right back on the offensive?

I think it's a huge mistake to attack the opposition as "angry white males" and as racists, and homophobes, etc. -- which are all the same code words. They are all but guaranteeing that these people will turn out in force against them.

I don't think it affects their base either because their base wants results at the moment, not just more rhetoric.

AndrewPrice said...

Thanks Stan. I think Pyrrhic victory is right. By trumpeting this victory, they make their base question whether or not they ever intended to deliver what they wanted. At the same time, they have truly angered average America with their rhetoric of how they want to sell this bill. It's the worst of both worlds.

CrispyRice said...

Good article, Andrew! I have to say that "in public" I still hear a lot of people who seem overly thrilled that it's passed. Either I'm traveling in the wrong circles or we really are still the "silent majority."

Thanks for collecting the info and the graphs. It's always useful!

AndrewPrice said...

Crispy, I think you're probably traveling in the wrong circles. ;-)

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