Friday, March 26, 2010

Democratic Positioning for the Next Election

You can count on Nate Silver for a sensible overview of available polling data in the wake of ObamaCare’s enactment:
“On balance, I think if you polled Republican strategists right now and they were being honest, they'd probably concede that Democrats are better off for having brought health care to completion after having invested so much energy in it before. The Democrats have a case they can make now -- we're making the tough decisions and getting things done -- which may not be horribly persuasive to much of the electorate but is at least marginally better than the complete directionlessness they seemed to be exhibiting a few weeks ago.

"On the other hand, I think if you polled Democratic strategists and they were being honest, they'd probably concede that -- electorally-speaking -- Democrats would have been better off if they'd found a different direction last year, focusing perhaps on financial reform and then only turning to health care if their numbers warranted it. One of the risks in undertaking health care in the first place, indeed, is that there was essentially no exit strategy: no matter how badly the electorate reacted to the policy -- and they reacted quite badly -- Democrats would probably have been even worse off if they'd abandoned it somewhere along the way.”
To my inexpert ears, this sounds like a reasonable interpretation of the polling data. Assume for a moment that it is. Does it make sense in that context for Democrats to be doing their best to make the mid-term election a referendum on ObamaCare? That’s what I’m hearing from the president when he challenges Republicans contemplating the repeal of ObamaCare to “[g]o for it.” And doesn’t what Nancy Pelosi’s saying sound like magical thinking under the circumstances?

“Pelosi said that voters' attitudes toward the healthcare legislation that passed through Congress this week, and which was signed into law Tuesday by President Barack Obama, has already begun to improve.

‘What we see already is a sea change in attitude that we got the job done,’ Pelosi said during a conference call organized by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC).”
It looks like we’ll find out whether it is this fall.

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