Here's an example. After the Massachusetts special Senate election, Democracy For America commissioned a poll to find out what issues affected the outcome. These tables, which I've transcribed from the poll show the attitudes toward health care reform of the people who voted for Barack Obama in 2008, but voted for Republican candidate Scott Brown yesterday. These are only three questions out of all of them, but for me, they're the most important:
|QUESTION: Would you favor or oppose the national government offering everyone the choice of a government administered health insurance plan -- something like the Medicare coverage that people 65 and older get -- that would compete with private health insurance plans?|
Note that overall, and among independents, the public option is favored more than 6 to 1. Even among Republicans, the margin is nearly 3 to 1. These are only the people who voted for Obama in 2008 and for Brown in 2010, but they represent the sort of folks who supported Obama, and in all likelihood had considered voting for other Democrats, as recently as 2008.
Now, let's look at how they felt about the individual mandate:
|QUESTION: Would you favor or oppose requiring all Americans to buy health insurance from private companies -- the so-called mandate -- even if they find insurance too expensive or do not want it?|
These swing voters are against the mandate by roughly 2 to 1.
Of course, how strongly voters feel about this issue is important:
|QUESTION: Is the issue of national health care reform very important, somewhat important, or not important when deciding how or if to vote?|
Roughly a third think it is very important, and others think it somewhat important. That's a fairly large block of voters who will be influenced by how Democrats do on the health care bill.
The numbers were similar among voters who stayed home.
These people represent most of the swing between the victories Democrats enjoyed in 2008 and their defeat in 2010. They also generally gave Democrats and the President low marks on their handling of the economy, which nearly half of both groups described as being very important. But a great many people did not vote for Martha Coakley because they didn't like the way health care is being handled.
I urge anyone who is really interested in how the country is thinking about this issue and the economy to check out the entire poll. I don't find them in the least bit surprising, except for the strength of feeling among Republicans for a public option, which was almost 3 to 1 in favor.
The Senate health care "reform" bill, which does not have public option, and does have an individual mandate, is still being mentioned as the one that Congress intends to pass. Why in the world would any professional politician think this was a good idea? Not only does it have the problem of being exactly what swing voters overwhelmingly do not want, it also restricts abortions by denying federal subsidies for any insurance policy that covers them.
I've explained my disdain for the argument that passing that bill was better than not passing a bill at all. That disdain covered both the fact that the bill makes the situation worse for most Americans, not better, and that I didn't think that any poor or middle class American who understood that bill would appreciate it.
So, to all you people who thought that I and anyone else with the temerity to express that opinion were just hopeless dumbasses, do you want to talk to us like we're intelligent human beings now and explain why you think the way you do? Because I'm sure not seeing it in these numbers.
Better yet, maybe you want to rethink what it is you know.
UPDATE: Over at FireDogLake, Neil has a diary listing things you can do to push the Democrats in a better direction.