September 28, 2009

The Presidential Tracking Poll and Health Care

Rasmussen Daily Presidential Tracking Poll has Obama's Approval Index back down to -9.  Just as I'd predicted, his address to the joint session of Congress provided a temporary approval ratings bump.  after the speech the Index had improved for the President to -3.  The poll also showed that the President's overall approval at 49% and disapproval at 51%, levelling out for now in the split range it has been in since roughly mid-July.

Don't expect the President to give up on those public appearances even though they seem to only provide temporary ratings bumps or perhaps forestall the popularity drops.  The reason he will keep doing those appearances is that they appear to be the only play in his playbook: If something goes wrong, get out there and speak.  If things are going well, get out there and speak.  Solutions a mile wide and an inch deep breed support of exactly the same caliber. Where are the teeming throngs of health care proponents?  Oh that's right - they're opponents.

November 3rd, 2009 - Virginia - Democrat Creigh Deeds loses the election for governor to a seemingly solid conservative, McDonnell.  How's that for a likely bellweather Mr. President?  Why the rush on health care?  To beat the date of the Deeds loss.  Virginia uncharacteristically went for Obama in 2008, a mistake not likely to be repeated.  If the President wants health care, it's something he's got to push through before the stack against him gets too big.  And it is getting big. Health Care Reform is just not getting any more popular.  In fact it's at all time Obama lows.

Unfortunately, trying to predict how Democrats manage this is like trying to read tea leaves.  But I have a sneaking suspicion that despite the trending anti-health-care sentiment, they might just try to force the reform through.  It would seem like political suicide, though I have heard some Democrats who truly believe that passing it will cause a massive, permanent bump in the polling fortunes of the President and of Democrats in general.  I'm not sure how they arrive at that conclusion.  I guess they are banking on the notion of 'free' overwhelming any other considerations.  But other considerations could swamp their rose-colored reality.  Things like having the organizational anti-panache of the cash for clunkers program might just overcome 'free'.  Free is no good if it comes with a side order of absolute chaos or strings attached.

Still, it might just be a forced legislation.  It might just be something the next administration has to reverse.  The next administration will be burdened with a worse set of headaches than Obama has had.  They will have to reverse some badly flawed decisions made between 2009 and 2012.  They will have to contend with the deficits in Social Security, and impending ones in Medicare and Medicaid.  They will be charged with undoing damage - old and new.  And it might not be a bad basis to campaign on.

The next President will have to do what I argued that no matter who won the 2008 election, the current President was going to have to do - cut spending radically.  Obama's loose spending has made a dire situation worse and not enough people seem to mind yet.  That's part of the reason the health care bill might be crammed down America's throat - the crisis is going to waste in Obama's eyes if this legislation fails.  I'm sure they won't let that happen, even if it means utter defeat in 2010 and 2012.

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