Thursday, June 24, 2010

Obamacare Makes The President Sick

The Wall Street Journal, has been assessing the after-effects of the forced passage of the health care reform act, and it appears that opposition is about where it was at the time of passage, and perhaps beginning to stiffen a bit. The Democratic strategy has gone awry. The plan was to ram health care through, then run on it after people decided that they actually loved it. Not gonna happen.

Along with The Journal, YouGov (where I happily and regularly answer their polling questions) and Pollster have come up with results that indicate that opposition to the bill has not softened in the slightest, and that people who oppose it will be voting in larger numbers than those who favored it. Along with the usual party-in-power letdown during mid-term elections, this may very well be fatal to the Democratic majority, and a seriously crippling illness for the President.

The polls that overlapped included eleven states which are expected to be competitive in November. They are, in alphabetical order, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Louisiana, Missouri, Nevada, North Dakota, Ohio and Pennsylvania. Both the health reform bill and the Democrats who voted for it (particularly the last-minute anti-abortion Democrats) fared rather badly. The polls were taken first in January, then repeated with identical questions to the same respondents in late May.

Nothing much changed between January and May in overall opposition among all categories of voters. Opposition to the health care reforms remained at about the same level, but many of the respondents were more emphatic about voting against the people who passed it than they were about the bill in the first place. In all eleven states, the opposition exceeded those who favored it. Needless to say, the margin was closer in blue/liberal states than in red/conservative states.

In January, in liberal states such as Connecticut, opposition was at 55% to 45%. In conservative states like Louisiana, the opposition was at 63% to 37%. In the true battleground states such as Colorado and Ohio, the ratio was 58% opposed, 42% in favor. In big liberal states such as California, Illinois and New York, the reforms actually gained some support, but none were considered swing states, and Democrats are expected to do fairly well there. By May, opposition in liberal Connecticut had dropped to 50%, but in conservative Louisiana, opposition increased to 64%.

It's the wobblers, the battleground states where the numbers will be most significant if there is going to be a shakeup in Congress. Colorado's opposition dropped only by two percentage points, and in Ohio by a mere one percent. This is where not only preference, but determination to win and undo the reforms becomes the deciding factor. In both January and May, the polls carefully controlled for party identification, self-identification of political philosophy, 2008 vote for the presidency versus their current feelings toward Obama, and the usual demographic considerations of age, gender, race, income, education, state of residence, and personal status in the health insurance market.

Both polls showed that health care reform had a significant impact on votes for and against the Democratic candidates who were running. Those in opposition to the Obama health care reforms were 20 percent more likely to vote for the Republican than the Democrat in the Senate races. The Senate differential in May remained static, but the House race changes radically. In January, the anti-reform Republican had a 24% better chance of winning than a Democrat. After the hustling, bribing, and parliamentary tricks which snuck the reforms through, by May the Republican opponent of reform has moved up to 44% more likely to win. The result is that for the first time since the 1994 "Republican revolution," the Republicans lead in the generic ballot. The question was asked identically in both polls: "If the 2010 election for the House of Representatives were held today, would you vote Democratic or Republican?"

In those battleground states, Democrats have not changed their minds about voting for a fellow Democrat, nor have Republicans changed their minds about voting for their fellow Republicans. It is now the independents who will likely make the final decision. Opposition to or support for the health care reforms doesn't change the minds of either voting Democrats or voting Republicans. But if Obama and the Democratic candidates can convince independents that the reform was a good thing, and other issues have little or no effect, then Democrats can win in Colorado among independents by as much as 56% to 44%. In Ohio it would put the Democrats behind, but only by 52% to 48% rather than the January 57% to 43%.

So far, the Democrats have been unable to move those statistics among independents. The independents remain essentially static from January to May, and Democratic propaganda has had little or no effect on their voting attitude. Even after passage, Obamacare still plays a major role in the future voting decisions of independents, meaning the Democrats are facing a serious round of shoveling stuff against the tide. If Obama's inability to energize voters other than his base continues, he could be facing at least one Republican house of Congress after the November elections. Possibly even two.

23 comments:

Tennessee Jed said...

good post, Hawk - I truly believe this is THE issue that will help conservatives win big this fall if we are smart enough to campaign relentlessly. Believe it or not, it is probably good to take a little time off now so voters are not issue fatigued in November, don't you think?

Patti said...

this will hold as long as amnesty isn't invoked by executive order, then all bets are off and we all fall down the stinkin' rabbit hole. it's the nightmare that i wouldn't put past him. BUT, all things remaining the same, we will show barry how one actually kicks ass come novemeber.

Patti said...

hey! my avatar showed up! like pulling a rabbit out of a hat!

LawHawkRFD said...

Tennessee: I'm both surprised and pleased at how much "staying power" opposition to socialized medicine has. It could be the single issue that does the Democrats in in November, with or without some more government power-grabs.

Libertarian Advocate said...

My gut tells me that its more than Obamacare itself that has shifted the political landscape against the Democrats. I believe that its the stunning arrogance of the party's leadership in jamming through the legislation that plays the pivotal role in opposition to both Obamacare and the Democrats. I suppose that's a fine point, but I do wonder if the right questions were even asked in the polls on Obamacare.

StanH said...

The Fall elections have been set up rather nicely by Barry. It’s time to finish of the statist.

I agree with Jed, we need to careful about burnout.

Patti so true, if Barry uses an executive order for amnesty, this country could explode.

LawHawkRFD said...

Patti: If Obama does issue an executive order on amnesty, two things will happen. First, a large part of his Democratic base will desert him (particularly non-union labor). Second, upon his defeat in 2012, the executive order will be rescinded, or Congress will act to nullify the order. He can't get a citizenship fast track for illegals into place quickly enough to get the invaders registered to vote for him or his fellow Democrats.

LawHawkRFD said...

LibertarianAdvocate: You're right. Obmamacare was the execrable bill, but the determination to jam it down the throats of an unwilling public is the thing people will remember--particularly independents.

LawHawkRFD said...

Stan: The only thing that could harm conservatives now is complacency. The country is in a sour mood, and if conservatives (and Republicans) can get out the message that we are not just the "party of no" and that we will reverse the tide of statism, it should be a very good November.

LawHawkRFD said...

LibertarianAdvocate: I forgot to respond to the second part of your post. I think the polls asked the right questions about Obamacare. The arrogance of passage is part and parcel of the opposition. But it is a separate issue as well. I suspect if asked "do you support elected officials who knowingly oppose the popular will?" the results would be even more devastating. It's part of the message that conservatives and libertarians need to get out, loudly, in the next campaign.

patti said...

law: you have given me my ray of sunshine i needed today. you lawyers are so helpful! (bet you don't hear that often ;)

LawHawkRFD said...

Patti: We hear it occasionally. Usually preceded by something about God and damning.

HamiltonsGhost said...

Lawhawk--The voting public normally has short attention spans, but these Obama maneuvers, particularly on health care, are turning moderate and conservative memories into those of elephants.

LawHawkRFD said...

HamiltonsGhost: Yep, I think we're unlikely to see the usual ADD this time, particularly if Obama tries to push through amnesty using an executive order and Congress tries to ram cap 'n tax down the public's throat. It's as if they're daring us to throw them out. I'll take that dare.

AndrewPrice said...

Gee, Who could have guessed that this would blow up on them? Hmmm. Not sure where I heard that before? Hmmm. This thing was never going to be popular for all of the reasons we've outlined before. And the polls are reflecting that.

patti said...

law: you partial comment of "oversized piece of petrified wood" over on my site has given me my LOL of the Day! gold star for you!

LawHawkRFD said...

Andrew: Very true. And ain't it wonderful?

LawHawkRFD said...

Patti: Glad you enjoyed it. These things just sort of come to me--like Tourette's.

Individualist said...

Ah LawhawkRFD,

ObamaCare, the Stimulus, Tarp I, II and maybe III, the Doctor Fix, Cap And Trade, Ending Oil production as we know it, Net Nuetrality, Acorn, Israel, avoiding Leadership in Afghanistan, the Gulf and on and on.

So many issues to use as a club to knock the Proglydytes brains out in November. So Little time......

LawHawkRFD said...

Individualist: All of those Obamaschemes, past and future, are reasons for people to vote against him and his party. But Obamacare leads the pack as the biggest, worst, and most ignominiously passed of those schemes. It's also the one that brings the most consistent and most angry opposition. Cap 'n Tax or amnesty would probably get close, but they're in the future.

CalFederalist said...

LawHawk. I really wonder what other tricks they'll try to pull. They must know how unpopular the health care bill was, and even more how unpopular the way they got it through was. Do you think they'll try with cap and trade and/or amnesty before the next election?

LawHawkRFD said...

CalFed: They're sneakiness and complete contempt for the American people never ceases to astound me. I don't know if they'll have the guts to try cap 'n tax or amnesty this coming session, but almost nothing would surprise me anymore. And the Messiah himself seems to be entertaining an end-run around Congress by using executive orders to accomplish his socialist/statist goals.

JB1000 said...

There are two things I am wondering about concerning the upcoming elections. Will Democrats run 'against' Obama? Will the Democrats try to manufacture some crisis or scandal to try to knock the last year and a half from the mind of the voters?

One way or the other, unless there is a large turn around in the economy, the Democrats lose big in November.

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