Showing posts with label Obama administration. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Obama administration. Show all posts

Monday, June 22, 2009

Tale of the Tape: Health Care Polling

NOTE: FHQ doesn't typically wander into the area of policy polling, but I'm in the midst of a unit on sampling and survey research in my summer course political science research class and I'm looking for examples for illustrative purposes. At the moment, the contradictory findings from NY Times/CBS and Resurgent Republic offers the perfect example.

Depending on who you're listening to, the Obama adminstration's efforts to push meaningful (perhaps, "meaningful" as that is certainly in the eye of the beholder) health care reform through Congress is either going swimmingly or is a complete non-starter. [Actually, the sense I get from my view up in the nosebleed section -- definitely not on the sidelines -- is that the obstacles appear more daunting now than they did prior to health care officially being placed on the agenda.] You will find no better example of this than in the divide between the latest New York Times/CBS News and Resurgent Republic* polls (both pdfs) released in the last few days on the matter. Now, these aren't identical polls, but there are a few questions that offer a glimpse into the true contrast here. First, let's focus on question wording on the overlapping questions before we look at the underlying demographics of each poll's sample. For example:

On higher taxes and health care funding...

Would you be willing or not willing to pay higher taxes so that all Americans have
health insurance they can't lose, no matter what?

57% Willing, 37% Not willing

Would you prefer a health care reform plan that raises taxes in order to provide health insurance to all Americans, or a plan that does not provide health insurance to all Americans but keeps taxes at current levels?

RAISE TAXES/HEALTH CARE FOR ALL.....................39%
DON'T KNOW...................................................................10%

On the federal government versus private health care... (And no, these questions do not necessarily offer an apples to apples comparison.)

Do you think the government would do a better or worse job than private insurance
companies in providing medical coverage?

50% Better, 34% Worse

Which would you prefer: (ROTATE: a system where most Americans get their health care coverage through the federal government, or a system where most Americans get their health care coverage through a private insurance company)?

FEDERAL GOVERNMENT.............................................31%
PRIVATE INSURANCE....................................................60%
DON'T KNOW.....................................................................9%

Now, the first set of questions provides us with a much better direct comparison than the second set, but the nearly diametrically opposed numbers from each poll is eye-catching, to say the least. Question wording in each case, of course, may have a lot to do with this, but let's look at the partisan breakdown just for the heck of it. It wasn't all that long ago -- over this past weekend in fact -- that Nate Silver cautioned that these NYT polls typically trend Democratic in terms of sampling (He further adds that the ten point spread isn't all that extraordinary in the grand polling scheme recently.). And it also may not surprise you that a polling outfit called Resurgent Republic would have a more Republican-leaning sample. But let's have a look under the hood, shall we?

Samples (by party ID)...
GOP: 24%
DEM: 38%
IND: 31%
DK: 8%
GOP: 32%
DEM: 38%
IND: 26%
DK: 3%
The dispute isn't over the Democrats, where both polls have an equivalent proportion, but among the percentage of Republicans and Independents included. How does this stack up against the national poll average over the last six months (via Pollster)?
That NYT/CBS sample appears to be closer to the current D-R polling gap than the Resurgent Republic sample.** But does that mean health care reform is a done deal? Well, we'll have more polls over the next few weeks and months to tell us whether it is or isn't.

...not to mention some action or inaction on Capitol Hill.

*Incidentally, here is the scoop on Resurgent Republican for those interested.
**It should be pointed out that RR had 1000 cases while NYT had a sample size of 895.

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Saturday, May 16, 2009

Who Had May 15 in the Office Pool for Jon Huntsman Joining the Obama Administration?

I didn't.

Dark horse, schmark horse. 2012 now likely seems out for the now former-Utah governor. Consider me as surprised as everyone else by the move from Beehive state governor to ambassador to China. Reactions have run the gamut from...

good for Charlie Crist to...

if you can't beat Obama, join him and from...

Huntsman in 2016 to...

Huntsman in 2016 (James, posting over at RedState, is a former student of mine, so I have to get that link in there.).

Here's the thing on Huntsman: This is a shrewd political move.
  • It augments his executive experience and enhances his foreign policy credentials (He has already served as ambassador to Singapore in the Bush 41 administration and took an LDS mission trip to Taiwan.).
  • By working with Obama, it shows Huntsman's capacity to operate in a bipartisan way.
  • He avoids the two Mormons is better than one problem, he would have faced if he and Mitt Romney were to enter the fray in 2011 or so. Michael Steele seems to think this is an issue.
  • And finally, and this can't be understated, it allows the soul-searching within the Republican Party to more fully develop. More negatively, that soul-searching could be spun as infighting, but I'll stick with the more positive angle. 2012 may yet be a good year for the GOP, but through the current lens that is difficult to see. 2016, an open seat and chance for Obama/Democratic Party fatigue looks a lot better electorally.
But one thing's likely for sure: we can probably take Huntsman out of the 2012 candidate emergence data. I like having ten candidates being considered, so who should replace Huntsman (who FHQ had a soft spot for, I might add.)? If I had to choose, I think I'd opt for John Thune. Thoughts? Comments? You know what to do.

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