Saturday, January 09, 2010

No freakin' WAY! - I've been away most of the day for my son's swim meet (he shaved 10 seconds off his personal best, BTW) and I come home to this from Public Policy Polling: "Toss up in Massachusetts." Key quote: "Buoyed by a huge advantage by independents and relative disinterest from Democratic voters in the state, Republican Scott Brown leads Martha Coakley 48%-47%."

If you read the breakdown, it appears that opposition to health care reform is driving a lot of voters to the polls for Brown and against Coakley who has stated she supports the legislation. Strangely, though, she says nothing about this key issue on TV ads here in the Bay State. Her pollsters must be seeing the same numbers that Ben Nelson and Harry Reid are seeing.

And this - Boston Herald: "Scott Brown swearing-in would be stalled to pass health-care reform." I don't believe it. As I've noted below, I think a lot of Democrats would breathe a sigh of relief to have Brown elected to stop the Democrats' suicide mission of passing a very unpopular health care bill.


Anonymous said...

A large majority of Democrats want their party to deliver health care reform. A certain percentage of the "unpopularity" comes from liberals who are unhappy with the bill because of its compromises and moderation, not the bill's existence. In the event the bill passes, their current opposition will have the same longterm impact as the supposed legions of angry women voters who were going to boycott Obama because Hillary was robbed.

One poll didn't treat health care reform as a binary "thumbs up/thumbs down" question. Coincidentally, the results were noticeably different:

As Scott Keeter of Pew Research said, "When you have unified and vehement criticism of the legislation from one side, and division and heated debate among the other side, it's no wonder that much of the public is ambivalent or downright negative about it."

Skip the polls, and watch the behavior of those with skin in the game. Republican leaders from Bill Kristol to Jim DeMint have been adamant about the political need to stop the bill. They certainly don't think its passage will turn out to have been a "suicide mission" for the Democrats. The Dems will certainly trade a hit in the 2010 election for a generation (or two, or three) of running as the party of health care.

Eric said...

I think in your last part you assume health care reform is going to be a big success. I think it's more likely that instead of being remembered as the party who got health care passed, the Democrats will be seen as the party that bankrupted the country.

The first test is this year (if it passes): will Congress cut Medicare reimbursements by 21% as written in the current legislation? It's as likely to happen as the Buffalo Bills winning this years' Superbowl.

Anonymous said...

Sure, it might backfire. Unintended consequences are a natural byproduct of politics. If Hillary Clinton had perfect 20/20 foresight in 2001, she would have been elected President in 2004.

But too many Republicans are on record that the passage of health care will be a longterm albatross for their party, and a tactical boon to the Democrats. That's for any bill, of any kind, so it's independent of the merits. Are they wrong?