March 29, 2012

Poll Analysis: Rasmussen Daily Tracking Poll

Today’s daily tracking poll numbers have been released from Rasmussen:

(vs. Obama) Obama Candidate Candidate Lead
Romney 44 46 +2
Santorum 45 43 -2
Gingrich n/a n/a n/a
Paul n/a n/a n/a

Both of our top two candidates did better against Obama today. Mitt Romney climbed three percentage points and is once again above water against the president. Mitt leads by 2.

Rick Santorum climbed two percentage points against the president and now only trails him by a miniscule 2 ppts. He slid a percentage point against Romney, however, and drops to 4 ppts behind him. It has now been three and a half weeks since Rick either led or tied Mitt Romney against the President.

by @ 9:18 am. Filed under Poll Analysis, Poll Watch

Is Reality Starting to Catch Up With Newt Gingrich?

Two recent articles suggest that Newt is finally having to face reality. The first one from the Washington Times tells of the former Speaker of the House meeting with Mitt Romney over the weekend.

Republican presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich met secretly with GOP rival Mitt Romney on Saturday, according to a source close to the campaign, but the former House speaker says he has made no deal to end his bid for the GOP nomination.

Mr. Gingrich, responding to questions from The Washington Times, did not deny the meeting, but explicitly said he hasn’t been offered a position in a potential Romney administration in exchange for dropping out.

Nor, he said, is there a deal to have Mr. Romney’s big donors help retire Mr. Gingrich’s campaign debt of more than $1 million.

“There is no agreement of any kind, and I plan to go all the way to Tampa,” Mr. Gingrich said, referring to the August GOP presidential nominating convention in Florida.

If that be the case, then just what did the two of them talk about? Well, Newt has decided for whatever reason to soldier on to the convention, but if he can see that Mitt is going to be the nominee, there’s no time like the present to start to mend some fences. What happened after the meeting suggests that might be the case.

According to a source close to the Gingrich campaign, the two GOP rivals met early on the day of the Louisiana primary at Mr. Romney’s hotel in New Orleans.

On Tuesday, the former House speaker signaled that he is toning down the anti-Romney rhetoric he has used on the campaign circuit, telling reporters while campaigning in Annapolis that, “Obviously I will support [Mitt Romney] and will be delighted to do anything I can to help defeat Barack Obama.”

I am guessing the meeting probably went somewhere along the lines of, “Mitt, don’t take it personal. It’s just business, right? You don’t really mind, do you? No hard feelings? Good.”


by @ 8:53 am. Filed under Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich

The Senate Will Not Be The Same (Part 2)

In late 2009, I wrote that the 2010 national elections would be a blow-out for the Republicans. The polling did not then indicate this, and contemporary political commentary certainly did not suggest this. Why did I stick my  political neck out then? Because it was obvious to me by that time that a significant majority of Americans had not only rejected both the tactics and the substance of the so-called Obamacare legislation, but had been noticeably turned off by the Democratic congressional leadership of Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid which had strong-armed not only Obamacare, but other legislation through the Congress.

Some months ago, I wrote that, under almost any circumstances (including the re-election of President Obama), the Republicans will regain control of the U.S. senate in 2012. This was not all that difficult a prediction inasmuch as almost twice as many Democratic seats are up for election this cycle than Republican seats. In recent days, however, I have noticed much commentary by more than a few colleagues that Republican control is in doubt. This was probably due to the bitter current GOP presidential nominating campaign, doubts about Mitt Romney, and various polls that matched Democratic incumbents or replacements of incumbents against Republican challengers. Announcements that former Democratic Senator Bob Kerrey would run again in Nebraska and that GOP Senator Olympia Snowe unexpectedly would retire further seemed to shake up the Republican “inevitability” scenario.

As it turns out, the Kerrey announcement has barely affected that race. My savvy friend and colleague Stu Rothenberg slightly (and I think perfunctorily) moved the race from “Safe Republican” to “Republican Favored.” Mr. Kerrey, more than 20 years from his last race in Nebraska, himself was in, then out, then in again. Nebraska Republicans have not yet settled on a nominee, but whoever it is will be heavily favored in November. Mr. Kerrey was a good senator, and in 1992, a serious candidate for president, but many years living in Manhattan and serving as president of one of the most ultraliberal colleges in the nation, will not help him regain favor in conservative Nebraska where many younger voters do not remember him.

In the case of Maine, the Republicans will likely lose a vote for organizing the senate, but not necessarily lose a vote on much legislation. The first reaction to Mrs. Snowe’s retirement was that a liberal Democrat would replace her. But former independent Governor Angus King has announced he will run, and he is favored to win. A political centrist, Mr.King might be a better vote for some GOP legislation than Mrs. Snow, a liberal Republican, was. Almost certainly, Mr. King would organize with the Democrats, and many local party officials now favor him. But there will be a Democratic nominee in November, and there is even the possibility that in the resulting three-way race, the Republican might squeak through.

Polls have shown that the Democrat is favored in the open Hawaii senate seat, that incumbent Democrat Sharrod Brown is ahead in Ohio, and that incumbent Senator Bill Nelson in Florida leads in his race. I am prepared to predict now that Republicans Linda Lingle in Hawaii, Josh Mandell in Ohio and Connie Mack in Florida will win their races in these states.

The seat of Incumbent Democrat Claire McCaskill in Missouri and the open Democratic seat in North Dakota (Kent Conrad retiring) even now heavily lean to their Republican opponents. These will also be GOP pick-ups. Likewise, incumbent Democratic Senator Jon Tester in Montana trails his challenger GOP Congressman Denny Rehberg, and will probably not be returning to take the oath next January.

In Wisconsin, liberal Democrat Herbert Kohl is retiring, and although the recall vote of Governor Scott Walker complicates this state’s vote in November, if former Governor Tommy Thompson becomes the GOP nominee (he now leads in primary polls), he will be the favorite to win in November against Democratic Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin.

There are a few incumbent Republican senators who are potentially vulnerable this cycle, but I predict that Senator Scott Brown in Massachusetts and Senator Dean Heller in Nevada will be re-elected. In both cases, their Democratic opponents have turned out to be controversial or weak.

Senator Richard Lugar is facing a serious primary opponent this year. If he wins, his re-election is certain. If he does not, the Republicans are ultimately likely to retain the seat although it might be close. I think Republicans are also likely to keep the seat held by retiring GOP Senator Jon Kyl in Arizona.

This leaves the contests in Virginia (where an incumbent Democrat is retiring), Michigan (where incumbent Democrat Debbie Stabenow is running for re-election), New Mexico (Democrat also retiring), and possibly Washington (where incumbent Democrat Maria Cantwell is also running for re-election). Democrats probably would retain these seats (although Virginia and New Mexico could yet go to the Republicans).

My math adds up, then, to a net gain of at least six seats for the GOP in the U.S. senate. It could be as many as ten, especially if President Obama fails to win re-election, now a distinct possibility. A major reason why I am predicting victory for the Republicans has been not only the continuing negative voter reaction to the Democratic agenda but the GOP success in recruiting so many outstanding challengers this year. This includes Lind Lingle, Dennis Rehberg, Josh Mandel, John Berg, and Tommy Thompson (assuming he wins his primary)

With redistricting not yet finalized, and so many nominees in both parties not yet chosen, I am not yet ready to predict control of the U.S. house, although the Republicans now hold a large majority.

We now know the Republican nominee for president, but the full character of the presidential contest is not yet known. There will be much to discuss about that, and its consequences, in the days ahead.


-Please visit Mr. Casselman’s personal site

by @ 3:00 am. Filed under 2012 Misc.

Poll Watch: CNN/ORC 2012 Presidential Survey

CNN/ORC 2012 Presidential Poll

  • Barack Obama 54% {51%} [47%] (52%) {47%} [49%] (49%) {54%}
  • Mitt Romney 43% {46%} [48%] (45%) {51%} [48%] (48%) {43%}
  • Barack Obama 55% {52%} [51%]
  • Rick Santorum 42% {45%} [45%]

Survey of 925 registered voter was conducted March 24-25, 2012. The margin of error is +/- 3 percentage points.  Results from the poll conducted February 10-13, 2012 are in curly brackets.  Results from the poll conducted January 11-12, 2012 are in square brackets.  Results from the poll conducted December 16-18, 2011 are in parentheses.  Results from the poll conducted November 11-13, 2011 are in curly brackets.  Results from the poll conducted September 23-25, 2011 are in square brackets.  Results from the poll conducted August 5-7, 2011 are in parentheses.  Results from the poll conducted April 29 – May 1, 2011 are in curly brackets.

Data compilation and analysis courtesy of The Argo Journal

by @ 1:00 am. Filed under Poll Watch

Poll Watch: Rasmussen Wisconsin 2012 Senatorial Survey

Rasmussen Wisconsin 2012 Senate Poll

  • Tommy Thompson (R) 48% [50%] (49%)
  • Tammy Baldwin (D) 44% [36%] (42%)
  • Some other candidate 4% [4%] (4%)
  • Undecided 4% [10%] (6%)
  • Tammy Baldwin (D) 48% [37%] (44%)
  • Mark Neumann (R) 40% [46%] (43%)
  • Some other candidate 4% [4%] (4%)
  • Not sure 8% [13%] (9%)
  • Tammy Baldwin (D) 48% [40%] (46%)
  • Jeff Fitzgerald (R) 40% [41%] (39%)
  • Some other candidate 4% [4%] (5%)
  • Not sure 7% [15%] (11%)

Survey of 500 likely voters was conducted March 27, 2012. The margin of error is +/- 4.5 percentage points.  Results from the poll conductedFebruary 27, 2012 are in square brackets.  Results from the poll conducted October 26, 2011 are in parentheses.

Inside the numbers:

Among voters in the Badger State not affiliated with either major political party, Baldwin draws 43% of the vote to Thompson’s 41%. The Democrat leads Neumann by seven points and Fitzgerald by 14 in this group.

Thompson, governor of the state from 1987 to 2001, leads Baldwin by 17 points among male voters, but the other two Republicans hold much more modest leads in this group. Among female voters, Baldwin leads Thompson by eight and both Neumann and Fitzgerald by double digits.

Thirty-one percent (31%) of Wisconsin voters now share a very favorable opinion of Baldwin, up from 19% a month ago. Just as many (30%) view Baldwin very unfavorably.

While 21% view Thompson very favorably, 27% view him very unfavorably. Neumann, who unsuccessfully sought the GOP gubernatorial nomination in 2010, draws very vavorables from 12% and very unfavorables from 31%. Fourteen percent (14%) in Wisconsin view Fitzgerald very favorably, while 37% share a very unfavorable opinion of him.

Data compilation and analysis courtesy of The Argo Journal

by @ 12:00 am. Filed under Poll Watch

March 28, 2012

Marco Rubio Endorses Mitt Romney


A most interesting development when viewed in the light of the recent endorsement by Bush 41. Both the elder generation and the rising generation of Republican leaders endorse Mitt Romney for President.


by @ 9:21 pm. Filed under Endorsements, Mitt Romney

What if SCOTUS Strikes Down ObamaCare?

Observers of the Court believe that SCOTUS may be about to strike down not just ObamaCare’s individual mandate, but ObamaCare in whole. This is likely due to the lack of a severability provision in the bill, that would, if it existed, allow portions of the bill that were found to violate the Constitution to be “severed” from the rest of the law and struck down without impacting the remainder of the bill. But without such a provision, a single element of the bill that violates the Constitution renders the entire bill unconstitutional. That means that we could be looking at a very different electoral landscape in just a few short days, one in which ObamaCare no longer exists.

How this would impact the electorate is anyone’s guess. Such a development could presumably help President Obama, though, as the president would be free of a very unpopular piece of domestic legislation that bears his signature, allowing him to craft an “ObamaCare 2.0″ for the fall campaign that would energize the Democratic base and address the continuing concerns of a recession-weary nation about access to affordable health care. The president’s likely opponent, Mitt Romney, has already released his suggested health care fix, which involves lots of efforts to make health care more portable, and which attempts to charge the states with the task of making sure that the poor and those too sick to insure on the private market have access to care. Tied to ObamaCare, the president would be unable to attack this plan without reminding Americans of his own health care law that remains underwater in terms of public opinion. But if ObamaCare is struck down, the president will be free to nitpick “RomneyCare 2.0″ while offering only vague promises in terms of his own proposed successor to ObamaCare.

The fencing match between Romney and Obama on the health care issue in a post-ObamaCare world is easy to predict. Gov. Romney will claim that his plan prevents health insurance companies from denying care to anyone who presently and continuously has a health plan. President Obama will retort that insurance companies will be able to effectively deny care to individuals even under the Romney proposal by pricing consumers out of the system. Romney will argue that his plan requires the states to deal with the hard cases. Obama will respond that a national standard is required to prevent those dastardly red states from enacting the bare minimum, yielding a Dickensian nightmare for the uninsured. Dodge, thrust, parry.

Also possible is that President Obama simply scraps any sort of convoluted plan for a second version of health care reform and simply calls for what the Left has wanted all along: Medicare for all. Such a move would surely energize the Democratic base, which is at present disappointed in Obama, and convinced that their president is a tepid centrist. Single-payer would be a sure loser in the general with the political center, but proposing some sort of voluntary Medicare buy-in for anyone who chooses to opt out of the private system might constitute one of those ideas that is so crazy that people actually buy it. And all of this would of course be accompanied by some sort of absurd method of accounting which would inevitably show that Medicare-for-all halves the national debt in five years and also allows for a sweeping middle class tax cut.

It is difficult to predict just how the politics of the matter will play out if ObamaCare is ruled unconstitutional. And by no means is it certain that such a move will politically benefit the Republican presidential nominee in the fall.

by @ 8:26 pm. Filed under 2012 Misc.

Paul Ryan Smacks Down Debbie Wasserman-Schultz

With a title like that, I’m sure I don’t have to try very hard to get people to like this post. But, what the heck, I’ll try, anyway!
Since the Democrats’ policy proposals and positions lend themselves better to simplistic, soundbite-friendly demagoguery, Republicans NEED elected officials capable of refuting these attacks articulately and succinctly, like the great Congressman from Wisconsin.

by @ 6:59 pm. Filed under Democrats, Republican Party

Poll Watch: PPP (D) Nebraska 2012 Presidential Survey

PPP (D) Nebraska 2012 Presidential Poll

  • Rick Santorum 55%
  • Barack Obama 38%
  • Mitt Romney 51% [51%] (49%)
  • Barack Obama 39% [38%] (37%)
  • Ron Paul 49% [47%]
  • Barack Obama 37% [37%]
  • Newt Gingrich 49% [48%] (48%)
  • Barack Obama 40% [41%] (40%)

2nd Congressional District

  • Ron Paul 44%
  • Barack Obama 42%
  • Mitt Romney 46%
  • Barack Obama 45%
  • Barack Obama 47%  
  • Rick Santorum 47%
  • Barack Obama 46%
  • Newt Gingrich 44%

Favorable / Unfavorable {Net}

  • Rick Santorum 44% / 43% {+1%}
  • Mitt Romney 32% [35%] (38%) / 54% [47%] (35%) {-22%}
  • Ron Paul 31% [26%] / 54% [50%] {-23%}
  • Newt Gingrich 24% [31%] (34%) / 60% [52%] (43%) {-36%}

Do you approve or disapprove of President Barack Obama’s job performance?

  • Approve 38% [35%] (38%)
  • Disapprove 59% [61%] (56%)

Survey of 1,028 Nebraska voters was conducted March 22-25, 2012. The margin of error is +/- 3.1 percentage points. Party ID breakdown: 52% [51%] (52%) Republican; 34% [32%] (34%) Democrat; 15% [17%] (14%) Independent/Other. Political ideology: 31% [27%] Moderate; 29% [23%] Somewhat conservative; 22% [24%] Very conservative; 13% [15%] Somewhat liberal; 6% [11%] Very liberal. Results from the poll conducted September 30 – October 2, 2011 are in square brackets.  Results from the poll conducted January 26-27, 2011are in parentheses.

Data compilation and analysis courtesy of The Argo Journal

by @ 6:39 pm. Filed under Poll Watch

Poll Watch: PPP (D) Nebraska 2012 Republican Primary Survey

PPP (D) Nebraska 2012 GOP Primary Poll

  • Rick Santorum 39% [4%]
  • Mitt Romney 25% [13%] (15%)
  • Newt Gingrich 16% [16%] (18%)
  • Ron Paul 10% [5%] (8%)
  • Someone else/Not sure 10% [10%] (12%)

Would you say you are strongly committed to that candidate, or might you end up supporting someone else?

  • Strongly committed to the candidate 50%
  • Might end up supporting someone else 50%


by @ 5:58 pm. Filed under Poll Watch

Poll Watch: Quinnipiac Florida 2012 Presidential Survey

Quinnipiac Florida 2012 Presidential Poll

  • Barack Obama 49% (44%) [46%] {43%} (42%) [42%] {40%} (44%) [46%]
  • Mitt Romney 42% (44%) [45%] {46%} (45%) [45%] {47%} (44%) [41%]
  • Barack Obama 50% (47%) [51%] {45%}
  • Rick Santorum 37% (41%) [40%] {43%}

Favorable / Unfavorable {Net}

  • Barack Obama 51% (47%) [51%] {45%} (47%) [47%] / 44% (49%) [47%] {50%} (48%) [48%] {+7%} 
  • Mitt Romney 41% (43%) [44%] {47%} (39%) [40%] / 36% (39%) [34%] {29%} (28%) [28%] {+5%}
  • Rick Santorum 28% (33%) [28%] {31%} / 39% (28%) [30%] {25%} {-11%}


by @ 5:05 pm. Filed under Poll Watch

Poll Watch: Quinnipiac Pennsylvania 2012 Presidential Survey

Quinnipiac Pennsylvania 2012 Presidential Poll

  • Barack Obama 45% {46%} (46%) [44%] {45%} (42%) [47%]
  • Mitt Romney 42% {40%} (43%) [43%] {43%} (44%) [40%]
  • Barack Obama 48% {45%} {45%} (45%) [49%]
  • Rick Santorum 41% {44%} {42%} (43%) [38%]

Favorable / Unfavorable {Net}

  • Barack Obama 48% {47%} (46%) [47%] {45%} / 46% {47%} (47%) [49%] {49%} {+2%}
  • Mitt Romney 37% {33%} (34%) [36%] {32%} / 38% {43%} (30%) [30%] {28%} {-1%}
  • Rick Santorum 37% {39%} {33%} / 45% {44%} {37%} {-8%}


by @ 4:13 pm. Filed under Poll Watch

Poll Watch: Quinnipiac Ohio 2012 Presidential Survey

Quinnipiac Ohio 2012 Presidential Poll

  • Barack Obama 47% [46%] (44%) {42%} [45%] (45%) {44%} [45%]
  • Mitt Romney 41% [44%] (42%) {43%} [42%] (41%) {42%} [41%]
  • Barack Obama 47% [47%] (48%)
  • Rick Santorum 40% [41%] (37%)

Favorable / Unfavorable {Net}

  • Barack Obama 49% [49%] (48%) {42%} [47%] / 46% [46%] (47%) {52%} [46%] {+3%} 
  • Rick Santorum 33% [35%] (25%) / 37% [22%] (25%) {-4%}
  • Mitt Romney 36% [37%] (36%) {32%} [36%] / 43% [40%] (34%) {28%} [31%] {-7%}


by @ 3:28 pm. Filed under Poll Watch

Poll Watch: Rasmussen Ohio 2012 Presidential Survey

Rasmussen Ohio 2012 Presidential Poll

  • Barack Obama 47% (44%)
  • Rick Santorum 41% (44%)
  • Some other candidate 7% (8%)
  • Undecided 5% (5%)
  • Barack Obama 48% (45%)
  • Mitt Romney 40% (41%)
  • Some other candidate 8% (10%)
  • Undecided 3% (4%)

Favorable / Unfavorable {Net}

  • Mitt Romney 42% (45%) / 52% {-10%}
  • Rick Santorum 42% (49%) / 53% {-11%}

How would you rate the job Barack Obama has been doing as president? 

  • Strongly approve  27%
  • Somewhat approve 22%
  • Somewhat disapprove 12%
  • Strongly disapprove 37%

Survey of 500 likely voters was conducted March 26, 2012. The margin of error is +/- 4.5 percentage points.  Results from the poll conducted February 8, 2012 are in parentheses.

Inside the numbers:

Both Romney and Santorum hold a double-digit lead over Obama among male voters but trail Obama by similar margins among female voters. Voters ages 18-39 heavily favor the president, but the two GOP hopefuls are ahead among older voters in Ohio.

Among voters not affiliated with either political party, its Obama 51%, Romney 29% and Obama 53%, Santorum 31%.

Data compilation and analysis courtesy of The Argo Journal

by @ 2:33 pm. Filed under Poll Watch

Romney on Obama’s “Flexibility”

From his website:

Why Obama’s “Hot Mic” Diplomacy is Endangering America

Sometimes it’s the unguarded moments that are the most revealing of all. President Obama just had such a moment at the summit in South Korea. “This is my last election,” Obama told Russia’s president, Dmitry Medvedev, in an exchange that was inadvertently picked up by microphones. “After my election I have more flexibility.”

But flexibility to do what? The president mentioned missile defense to Medvedev as one area where the Kremlin should expect more flexibility. This is alarming.

It is not an accident that Mr. Medvedev is now busy attacking me. The Russians clearly prefer to do business with the current incumbent of the White House.

And it is not hard to understand why. The record shows that President Obama has already been pliant on missile defense and other areas of nuclear security. Without extracting meaningful concessions from Russia, he abandoned our missile defense sites in Poland. He granted Russia new limits on our nuclear arsenal. He capitulated to Russia’s demand that a United Nations resolution on the Iranian nuclear-weapons program exclude crippling sanctions.

Moscow has rewarded these gifts with nothing but obstructionism at the United Nations on a whole raft of issues. It has continued to arm the regime of Syria’s vicious dictator and blocked multilateral efforts to stop the ongoing carnage there. Across the board, it has been a thorn in our side on questions vital to America’s national security. For three years, the sum total of President Obama’s policy toward Russia has been: “We give, Russia gets.”

Russian intransigence has elicited no push-back from the White House. Indeed, as the conversation in South Korea shows, President Obama appears determined to ingratiate himself with the Kremlin. This, unfortunately, seems to be the real meaning of his “reset” policy. An outstanding example is the personal phone call that Barack Obama made to Vladimir Putin from Air Force One congratulating the Russian leader on his election as Russia’s next president.

The call followed a declaration from the State Department that “the United States congratulates the Russian people on the completion of the Presidential elections.” Given that the Russian elections were widely seen to have been compromised by fraud and intimidation, these words made a mockery of America’s commitment to democracy and human rights. They undercut all those in Russia who are risking so much to struggle for the universal rights that we ourselves enjoy. They are a shameful betrayal of our country’s first principles.

President Obama’s conversation with Dmitry Medvedev raises questions not only about his policy toward Russia, but his entire foreign policy.

Would post-election “flexibility” lead him to reach out once again to the Iranian regime “without preconditions”? Would it lead him to resume pressuring Israel into making unilateral concessions to the Palestinians? Would it permit him to take an even softer line, if that is imaginable, toward the authoritarian regimes of the Castro brothers and Hugo Chávez? Would he further shrink our Navy and Air Force below the already-too-low force numbers currently planned? Would he pour more money into United Nations bodies that have recognized a Palestinian state and seem to spend an inordinate amount of their time and energy denouncing Israel?

In a self-governing country like ours, the people have a right to know what kinds of decisions are being taken in their name. The American people deserve candor. They also deserve a foreign policy founded upon our enduring principles and a recognition of our exceptional place in the world.

That is not what they are getting now. Unfortunately, what they are getting is a sad replay of Jimmy Carter’s bungling at a moment when the United States needs the backbone and courage of a Ronald Reagan. In his dealings with the Kremlin, as in his dealings with the rest of the world, President Obama has demonstrated breathtaking weakness — and given the word “flexibility” a new and ominous meaning.

This op-ed also posted at Foreign Policy Magazine.


by @ 1:09 pm. Filed under Barack Obama, Foreign Affairs, Mitt Romney

Poll Analysis: Gallup Daily Tracking Poll

The numbers are out for today’s Gallup daily tracking poll. From their website:

Mitt Romney pushes today and remains at 39%.

Rick Santorum slides up 1 ppt to 28% and comes within 11 ppts of Romney.

Newt Gingrich drops a percentage point to 11%. Newt has never been this low in this poll before. He is now within 2 ppts of dropping into single digits. Perhaps even worse for him it marks the first time ever he has tied Ron Paul.

Ron Paul climbs up a percentage point to 11% and as mentioned, now ties Newt Gingrich for third place.

Will Paul take sole possession of third place, or will he fall back into fourth? Will Gingrich take over fourth, or will he rebound back into third?

Tomorrow should be interesting.

by @ 12:40 pm. Filed under Poll Analysis, Poll Watch

Is the Health Insurance Market Really “Different”?

This week’s fascinating and consequential oral arguments on the Affordable Care Act’s mandate have sparked considerable discussion and have prompted proponents of the mandate to make the following argument: no, requiring people to purchase health insurance doesn’t leave the door open to compelling other transactions because the health insurance market is, in important ways, unique.  Noah Feldman makes this case succinctly at Bloomberg:

What, Kennedy wanted to know, is the limiting principle on the government’s ability to regulate? There is a good, sharp answer to this wholly reasonable question. And although Verrilli did not quite manage to make it, he may be able to do so on Wednesday, when the court discusses whether the mandatory coverage provision can be severed from the rest of the law if, indeed, the court wants to strike the mandate down.

The answer is that health care insurance is different because if the healthy people fail to get themselves coverage, it becomes extremely difficult — under some conditions, impossible — for the insurance market to operate. That is, as the healthiest people leave the pool, the market for health insurance starts to unravel, as people who would buy it at a price where the insurance companies would be willing to provide it will be unable to do so.

Is this true?  Leaving aside the other, perhaps less consequential, ways in which health insurance differs from other markets, is this particular distinction accurate?  Will the health insurance “unravel” absent a mandate?  It’s worth noting, for starters, that only one state in the union currently has a mandate and the health insurance market has yet to unravel.  But I’ll be charitable and assume that by “unravel” he simply means “function inefficiently”.  Let’s consider this lesser claim.

On the one hand, it is undeniably true that- as in other insurance markets- those who use more of the service that policies are insuring against are subsidized by those who use less of it.  If my home goes up in flames, I will more than recoup my monthly fire-insurance premiums.  If my home never goes up in flames, I will never recoup those premiums.  The vast majority of home-owners in the latter category end up subsidizing the scant minority in the former category.  You could say, of course, that the fire insurance market would “unravel” if those whose homes are not on fire “leave the pool”.  But this would not strike anyone as particularly coherent.

Now, in one sense health insurance really is different- it’s not insurance.  At least not as currently constituted.  Insurance does not cover predictable, routine expenses (check-ups, immunizations, MRI’s).  Perhaps there are good reasons for the existence of a market that allows people to, in monthly installments, cover routine (but costly) expenses, while also hedging against large risks.  But it is not true, as the government contends, that everyone effectively participates in this market.  As Chief Justice Roberts pointed out yesterday, a “minimum coverage” provision that requires insurance companies cover things like “substance abuse treatment” is not narrowly tailored to cover health care everyone will, or might, eventually need.

The government is- and not even particularly cleverly- conflating a number of different things here.  They are conflating genuine health insurance- something like catastrophic insurance, hedging against unforeseeable risk- with what I’ll call “health care coverage”.  If healthy people leave the “health care coverage” market, premiums may go up for everyone still in the market (though, as I’ll explain later, even this isn’t inherently true) but it is not clear why we should care about this from a constitutional perspective.  There are alternatives to the “health care coverage” market which would work just fine, absent a mandate, and the government has no right to say that something clearly unconstitutional is now permissible because they’ve artificially privileged this market relative to the alternatives.

Let’s consider a fictitious market.  Everyone needs food.  What if A & P established a program which allowed a family of four to pay $400 a month to buy a food coverage policy.  This policy would provide a 90% discount on all food items in the store (assuming a cap of some kind, to prevent over-consumption or stockpiling).  In addition, in the event of indigency (a family member loses a job, unexpected expenses arrive such as a sick family member, etc), you would be entitled to a 99% discount and a 50% policy reduction for up to a year.  This fictitious market has all the essential features of the health coverage market.  It covers routine, predictable, and necessary expenses and it also hedges against large risks.  What if the federal government decided this was a very nice way of acquiring food and decided to privilege this market in various ways?  Further, what if the government decided that by privileging this market they could massively scale-back their anti-poverty programs (people who have lost a job, if they enter this market, are much less likely to starve, rendering programs like food stamps somewhat superfluous)?  Would it make sense to say that people not in this market are really in this market because, after all, everyone needs food, and therefore the federal government is justified in requiring you to actually enter this market, lest it “unravel”?

No, because there are obvious alternatives.  Here’s one: people pay for their routine food costs and, if indigency strikes, the government provides food vouchers.  Oh dear, this alternative seems to ring a bell.  An obvious alternative in the health care sector: families are required to- through health coverage or out of pocket payments- cover all health expenses up to 25% of their combined income.  Beyond that, the government pays.  There may be reasonable free-market objections to such a policy.  There may be reasonable anti free-market objections to such a policy.  But it is an obviously constitutional alternative to requiring the purchase of health care coverage.

Here’s another obvious alternative, which makes health care coverage even less unique: detach health care coverage from employment, so that health coverage is portable.  How does this change the market?  It gives health coverage companies a number of obvious ways to defray risk.  For instance, they could privilege those who bought policies early.  Blue-Cross could say, “Those who purchase our policy before the age of 25 will get an increasing rate reduction, relative to those in the same risk pile”.  This doesn’t work so well when health insurance is changed when people move from job to job.  But it strikes me that this would draw lots of young, healthy people into risk pools.  So something odd is going on here.  The government has privileged a method of health care delivery, which is far from the only conceivable method of health care delivery; regulated it in various inefficient and unnecessary ways, and then come to Supreme Court and said, “we’re in a fix of our own making- surely the Constitution doesn’t apply”.  Yes friends, it does.

-Matthew E. Miller can be contacted at

by @ 12:33 pm. Filed under Misc.

Poll Analysis: Reuters — Obama in Trouble Over Gas Prices

According to a new poll put out by Reuters, Americans are very upset at Obama over his handling of the price of gasoline. The anger crosses over party lines.

Approve (%) Disapprove (%)
All 24 68
Republicans n/a 89
Democrats n/a 52
Independents n/a 73

That shows that a majority of everyone, including Democrats are unhappy with the way that the President is handling the situation.  However, the news is not all good for those who wish to see Obama removed from office. The poll also shows that the biggest plurality of voters believes it is the Oil Companies to blame for the mess we’re in. On the question of if, “oil companies that want to make too much profit”, was the biggest problem, the response was:

All 36
Republicans 28
Democrats 44
Independents 32

So it would seem that people still like to blame that old scapegoat, Big Oil, for the high prices. They are only upset at Obama because he hasn’t handled the situation better.

Well, when even Republicans stoop to class-warfare and class-envy as a political tactic, such a result isn’t really all that surprising now is it?

by @ 12:24 pm. Filed under Poll Analysis, Poll Watch

BREAKING: President George H.W. Bush to Endorse Romney Tomorrow

The announcement will be made tomorrow in Houston, Texas at approximately 6pm EST.

by @ 11:10 am. Filed under Endorsements, Mitt Romney

Poll Watch: Franklin & Marshall Pennsylvania 2012 Republican Primary Survey

Franklin & Marshall Pennsylvania 2012 GOP Primary Poll

  • Rick Santorum 30% (45%)
  • Mitt Romney 28% (16%)
  • Ron Paul 9% (7%)
  • Newt Gingrich 6% (9%)
  • Other/Don’t know 27% (23%)

Favorable / Unfavorable {Net}

  • Rick Santorum 54% / 26% {+28%} 
  • Mitt Romney 46% / 25% {+21%}
  • Ron Paul 24% / 35% {-11%}
  • Newt Gingrich 30% / 45% {-15%}

Which one of these qualities matters most in deciding how you will vote in the upcoming primary?

  • Strong moral character 26% (36%)
  • Can beat Obama 25% (18%)
  • The right experience 21% (23%)
  • True conservative 16% (13%)
  • Something else/Don’t know 12% (10%)

Survey of 505 registered Republican voters was conducted March 20-25, 2012. The margin of error is +/- 4.2 percentage points. Results from the poll conducted February 14-20, 2012 are in parentheses.

Data compilation and analysis courtesy of The Argo Journal

by @ 10:03 am. Filed under Poll Watch

Poll Analysis: Rasmussen Daily Tracking Poll

Here are the results of the latest Rasmussen daily tracking poll:

(vs. Obama) Obama Candidate Candidate Lead
Romney 45 44 -1
Santorum 47 43 -4
Gingrich n/a n/a n/a
Paul n/a n/a n/a

Mitt Romney pushed against Obama. This allowed Rick Santorum to gain a percentage point on him by rising against the President by 1 ppt. Santorum now only trails Obama by four and Romney by three.

by @ 8:51 am. Filed under Poll Analysis, Poll Watch

Romney Talks VP Selection and Other Things with Leno *Updated Video Added*

Mitt Romney was on Jay Leno last night. In one sequence Leno tried to probe his thoughts on potential VP candidates by a simple word game. From ABCNews:

BURBANK, Calif. — A friendly game of word association with Mitt Romney got big laughs on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno,” when the presidential hopeful described his chief GOP rival Sen. Rick Santorum as “press secretary.”

Romney was seemingly referencing Santorum’s heated confrontation with New York Times reporter Jeff Zeleny, during which Santorum cursed at the reporter. Leno had mentioned the incident during his opening monologue, which Romney was able to watch backstage, the host joking that he had tried to book Santorum for the show but the censors wouldn’t allow it because of his bad language.

As for the other candidates and words Romney used to describe them, Romney said South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley is “energetic,” Florida Sen. Marco Rubio is an “American leader,” U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan is “creative” and Donald Trump “huge.”

Asked about New Jersey Governor and backer Chris Christie, Romney said he is “indomitable.”

Santorum was asked about this on the rope line in Janesville. At first he shook his head several times before eventually saying, ”Someone needs to work on his jokes.”

You might be right, Rick, but then again I might say that someone else needs to work on the fine art of laughing at himself and using humor to deal with life’s little stumbles .


by @ 7:40 am. Filed under Mitt Romney, Veep Watch

Fact: Bloggers Stink at Picking Hypothetical Candidates

Matt Lewis argues that Rick Santorum’s best chance to become president is now, because likely there is no next time in 2016 if Romney is the nominee and loses in the fall. I agree with Lewis that far. But my reasoning is different.

Santorum will still have four children at home, and I doubt the Santorum family will be up for another sacrifice of a year plus out of their lives for a second White House bid. In addition, six of Santorum’s children are set to reach college age before the decade is out.

However, instead of this, Lewis posits a reason that’s fatuous:

Should the GOP nominee lose in 2012, Santorum would face a strong 2016 field, possibly including the likes of Marco RubioChris Christie, and Bobby Jindal – just to name a few. Santorum would not fare well in that environment.

Lewis’ argument that big candidate who may or may not run are the reason why there wouldn’t be a Santorum 2016 run are silly based on the primary season we’ve just been through. Consider some of the names that bloggers and conservative activists have daydreamed about running:

  • Mitch Daniels, Paul Ryan, and Chris Christie:  Didn’t run, weren’t interested.
  • Tim Pawlenty: Pawlenty looked great on paper: A two term Governor of a Blue State with a populist streak. Conservative media and bloggers talked him us a potential challenger to Romney, but he never connected with voters and was gone by the Iowa straw poll.
  • Rick Perry: The socially conservative, pro-Tenth Amendment Governor came loaded with cash, vaulted to frontrunner status in August, collapsed in September and October, and never recovered. There were three reasons why the Perry campaign failed: First, he angered conservatives with some of his immigration rhetoric, Second, he didn’t come prepared with a plan on the economy until he’d already faded, and third-um what was that third thing again? Doesn’t matter.
What does matter was that there was a buzz among conservative bloggers and media types who turned to be dead wrong on what the electorate would actually think of these candidates or non-candidates. And this isn’t the first time. In 2008, Fred Thompson became the candidate of bloggers, and many who didn’t advocate for Thompson spent months explaining how the pro-abortion Rudy Giuliani was going to be the nominee.
No one had Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich marked down as Romney’s chief rivals before this race began. Back then when the super candidates were expect, the media frowned on the idea of a Huckabee entry. However,  Media punditry changed from, “Boy, Huckabee would struggle if he got in,” to “Boy, Huckabee would have done good with this field if he’d gotten in,” in the last few months.
Many of the picks Lewis list are analogous to past picks:
  • Jindal has indicated that he wants to go into the private sector and earn money after his tenure as Governor’s over. So, he’ll probably pass.
  • Christie will face a tough re-election in 2013 because he’s in New Jersey.  Even if he emerges, he has similar problems to Rudy. While he’s pro-life, he’s taken a lot of stances that won’t play well with voters in GOP Primary states on issues like gun control and judges.
  • Finally, there’s Rubio who seems unlikely to try and run for President and re-election to his Senate Seat at that time.

What most people who write about running president fail to understand is that our modern process makes it a grueling never-ending contest full of constant nonsense that many people just don’t want to put up with even if they would make a good president.

In the event, Romney secures the nomination and loses in 2012, there are many reasons why Santorum might opt against running in 2016. However, one of them won’t be Fantasy President teams that bloggers put out.

by @ 2:23 am. Filed under 2016

Franklin & Marshall College Polls Shows Romney Narrowing Gap in Pennsylvania

Mitt Romney has surged to within the margin of error in the latest Pennsylvania Republican Primary poll from Franklin & Marshall College:

Rick Santorum appeared to be the Republican presidential candidate to beat in Pennsylvania a month ago.

With the state primary four weeks away, Santorum now finds himself nearly tied with former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney among the state’s Republicans, and support is eroding rapidly, according to a Franklin & Marshall College poll out today.

“The real Rick Santorum has emerged,” said G. Terry Madonna, director of the Franklin & Marshall College Poll.

“Santorum ran a disciplined campaign for eight months, but a month ago he began veering off message into all these cultural and social issues,” Madonna said, referring to flare-ups over women in combat and contraceptives. “That may help with his core voters, but they’re already with him. This is supposed to be about expanding your base.”

The poll of 505 registered Republican voters, conducted March 20-25 in conjunction with the Tribune-Review and other media outlets, shows Santorum clinging to a small lead over Romney, 30 percent to 28 percent, within the poll’s 4.2 percent margin of error.

That’s a big change from February, when Santorum, once a U.S. senator from Penn Hills, held a commanding 15-percentage-point lead over Romney in the poll.

Read the full story here.

by @ 2:00 am. Filed under Poll Watch

Gingrich Fires Campaign Manager, Lays Off a Third of Staff

Politico has the scoop:

Newt Gingrich is cutting back his campaign schedule, will lay off about a third of his cash-strapped campaign’s full-time staff, and has replaced his manager as part of what aides are calling a “big-choice convention” strategy, communications director Joe DeSantis told POLITICO.

Michael Krull, a former advance man and a college friend of Callista Gingrich’s who took over the campaign after a staff exodus in June, was replaced last weekend by Vince Haley, who has worked for Gingrich for nine years and currently is deputy campaign manager and policy director.

“We’re focusing exclusively on what it’ll take to win what we’re going to be calling a big-choice convention in August,” DeSantis said in a phone interview Tuesday night.

Gingrich officials declined to specify who else besides Krull would be leaving. “Not getting into it right now besides Krull,” DeSantis said.

But another campaign official said the layoffs would largely affect junior and advance staff, the latter of which was contracted out to Gordon James Public Relations. Gingrich consultant Kellyanne Conway and political director Martin Baker will both retain their roles, according to officials. The advance staff also received word on Tuesday afternoon to submit their final expense reports.

Be sure to read the full story here.

by @ 1:00 am. Filed under Newt Gingrich

Poll Watch: Rasmussen Survey on Abortion and Ultrasound Laws

Rasmussen Survey on Abortion and Ultrasound Laws

Generally speaking, on the issue of abortion, do you consider yourself pro-choice or pro-life?

  • Pro-Choice 53% [49%] (50%)
  • Pro-Life 39% [41%] (40%)

Among Women

  • Pro-Choice 55%
  • Pro-Life 36%

Among Men

  • Pro-Choice 51%
  • Pro-Life 42%

Several states have proposed laws that would require pregnant women to view an ultrasound picture of their fetus before having an abortion.  Do you favor or oppose such a proposal? 

  • Favor  41%
  • Oppose  48%

Should the government be allowed to mandate medical procedures for patients? 

  • Yes 9%
  • No 78%  

National survey of 1,000 likely voters was conducted March 25-26, 2012. The margin of error is +/- 3 percentage points. Results from the poll conducted May 23-24, 2011 are in square brackets.  Results from the poll conducted February 14-15, 2011 are in parentheses.

Inside the numbers

Predictably, 74% of pro-choice voters oppose the law requiring pregnant women to view ultrasounds prior to abortions, while 72% of pro-life voters favor it.

Interestingly, while 62% of Republican voters support the law requiring women to view ultrasounds before abortions, 80% of GOP voters say the government should not be allowed to mandate medical procedures. Sixty-seven percent (67%) of Democrats and 52% of voters not affiliated with either party oppose the law.

Similarly, 76% of pro-life voters say the government should not be allowed to mandate medical procedures, a view shared by 81% of pro-choice voters.

Men and women feel similarly about the ultrasound proposal: Pluralities of women (48%) and men (49%) oppose such a law.

Data compilation and analysis courtesy of The Argo Journal

by @ 12:07 am. Filed under Poll Watch

March 27, 2012

Poll Watch: Marquette University Law School Wisconsin Governor Walker Recall Survey

Marquette University Law School Wisconsin Governor Walker Recall Poll

  • Scott Walker 47%
  • Tom Barrett 45%
  • Scott Walker 49%
  • Kathleen Falk 45%
  • Scott Walker 49%
  • Doug LaFollette 42%
  • Scott Walker 49%
  • Kathleen Vinehout 41%

Favorable / Unfavorable {Net}

  • Tom Barrett 34% / 27% {+7%}
  • Scott Walker 50% / 45% {+5%}
  • Doug LaFollette 16% / 14% {+2%}
  • Kathleen Vinehout 10% / 13% {-3%}
  • Kathleen Falk 27% / 39% {-12%}

Overall, do you approve or disapprove of the way Scott Walker is handling his job as Governor of Wisconsin?

  • Approve 50%
  • Disapprove 47%

Among Democratic Primary Voters

  • Tom Barrett 36%
  • Kathleen Falk 29%
  • Doug LaFollette 8%
  • Kathleen Vinehout 8%
  • Don’t know 17%

If Tom Barrett does not decide to run:

  • Kathleen Falk 54%
  • Doug LaFollette 15%
  • Kathleen Vinehout 12%
  • Don’t know 18%

Survey of 707 Wisconsin voters, including a subsample of 370 Democratic primary voters, was conducted March 22-25, 2012. The margin of error is +/- 3.8 percentage points among all registered voters; +/- 5.2 percentage points among Democratic primary voters.

Data compilation and analysis courtesy of The Argo Journal

by @ 8:57 pm. Filed under Poll Watch

Poll Watch: Marquette University Law School Wisconsin 2012 Presidential Survey

Marquette University Law School Wisconsin 2012 Presidential Poll


  • Mitt Romney 39% [18%]
  • Rick Santorum 31% [34%]
  • Ron Paul 11% [17%]
  • Newt Gingrich 5% [12%]
  • Don’t know 12% [17%]


by @ 7:44 pm. Filed under Poll Watch

Poll Watch: CNN/ORC 2012 Republican Nomination Survey

CNN/ORC 2012 GOP Nomination Poll

  • Mitt Romney 36% [32%] (34%) {28%} [20%] (24%) {26%} [22%] (21%) {18%} [23%] (22%)
  • Rick Santorum 26% [34%] (15%) {4%} [4%] (3%) {2%} [3%] (2%) {1%} [3%] (2%)
  • Ron Paul 17% [16%] (15%) {14%} [9%] (8%) {9%} [7%] (13%) {6%} [14%] (12%)
  • Newt Gingrich 15% [15%] (18%) {28%} [24%] (22%) {8%} [11%] (7%) {7%} [8%] (5%)
  • None/No one (vol.) 2% [2%] (3%) {5%} [3%] (4%) {5%} [5%] (4%) {6%} [5%] (10%)
  • No opinion 2% [2%] (3%) {4%} [2%] (4%) {4%} [3%] (3%) {4%} [4%] (2%)


by @ 6:05 pm. Filed under Poll Watch

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