That’s going to be the question this week, and for the rest of the year, and a new survey from Barack Obama’s own pollster says … maybe. John Anzalone did polling for Obama’s presidential campaign, back when he got much better numbers than he and his party see today, and says that only 35% of voters in swing districts support the ObamaCare proposal. With Democratic “education” efforts on the issue, that number rises to 51%, but that presumes that no one else is talking:
A survey conducted across vulnerable Dem districts shows most voters warm to the proposal once they learn more about it, according to a copy of a memo obtained from Capitol Hill and political sources. Included in the poll were 92 districts held by Frontline Dems and Blue Dogs, districts where Dem incumbents would feel the most heat for supporting the legislation.
Dems will target white middle-aged voters, white women under 65 and white married women. Those groups respond most positively when Dems explain what is in the bill, pollsters found.
The poll, conducted by prominent Dem pollster John Anzalone, who conducted some polling for Pres. Obama during the ’08 campaign, shows a plurality of voters currently oppose the health care bill; just 35% of swing voters favor the bill based on what they know about it. But when they hear more about it, 51% of all voters, and 50% of swing voters support the measure.
Dems should focus on provisions of the bill that require coverage even if someone has a pre-existing condition, and on a provision that requires members of Congress to have the same coverage as other Americans, Anzalone writes in the polling memo.
“Not only are they the most popular components of reform among voters overall, but also among key audiences, including seniors. Based on these results, any messaging in support of reform — to any audience — should prominently highlight these components,” Anzalone and pollster Matt Hogan wrote.
Yes, but they’re not the only components in the bill. Democrats have already campaigned for almost a full year on these very points. The problem for Democrats is that Republicans point out the other components of the ObamaCare debacle: individual mandates enforced through the IRS, government “comparative effectiveness” panels created to inform decisionmaking on treatments, deep Medicare cuts with the savings used to expand other entitlements, and spending, spending, spending.
Obama’s pollsters apparently “educated” these voters in a vacuum and presume that one will exist in the midterm elections. That makes the 51% figure a pretty weak showing, and certainly not predictive of what will happen over the next seven months. Another issue with this methodology: the survey was conducted for the labor unions, which calls into question what kind of “education” the respondents received. It sounds very much like push polling, which again makes the 51% figure a rather poor result.
Of course, none of this comes into play if ObamaCare doesn’t pass. This is one of the main arguments from Democratic leadership to wavering moderates, which is that the only way to get through to salvation is a half-mile through the sewer pipe, in a manner reminiscent of The Shawshank Redemption. This poll seems designed specifically to bolster that argument, but if it convinces any Representatives to start down the sewer, they deserve their eventual escape from Congress.