Tag Archives: Affordable Care Act

The Healthcare Air Wars

By Jim Ellis

Oct. 2, 2018 — With the economy performing well, most recent polling finds jobs and taxes often dropping to third place as an answer to the most important issue question. Depending upon the geographic region, immigration ranks as the second most mentioned topic, but almost all now cite healthcare as number one.

(NY-24, Democrat Dana Balter’s healthcare ad)

Therefore, it is not surprising to see campaigns on both sides driving very different healthcare messages.

Democrats are consistently hitting Republicans over their vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act, as the Dems call it, or Obamacare, as is the GOP reference. The Democrat attacks claim that, because of this vote, the Republican House members wanted to rescind insurance coverage for those with pre-existing medical conditions. Lately, they’re adding an attack that Republicans attempted to invoke an “age tax”, claiming that the vote to repeal would have increased insurance costs five-fold for people over 50 years of age.

Republicans are countering that the “Medicare for all” plan that some Democrats advocate will cost $32 trillion dollars and result in a “doubling of the income tax.”

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A Perplexed America

By Jim Ellis

Jan. 23, 2017 — On the day that Donald Trump was inaugurated as the 45th President of the United States this past Friday, new surveys just out suggest the American people are polarized about how they view the present and future.

While Trump was sworn in as the fifth minority president (in terms of popular vote) since 1960, his 46.1 percent share of the popular vote is not the lowest among the last 10 to attain the office. Actually, looking at the initial election of Presidents #35 (Kennedy) to 45 (Trump), his popular vote total is actually close to the average election percentage of this relatively contemporary group. When first winning office, and not counting President Lyndon B. Johnson who assumed the position after President John F. Kennedy’s assassination, the average incoming presidential victory percentage is 48.5 percent. Of the group, the two lowest are Presidents Bill Clinton (43.0 percent) and Richard Nixon (43.4 percent).

Trump is the oldest person ever to be sworn in as the nation’s chief executive, at 70 years and 220 days. The previous two oldest were Presidents Ronald Reagan at 69 years, 349 days, and William Henry Harrison who was 68 years and 23 days of age. The youngest to be sworn in was Theodore Roosevelt at 42 years, 322 days, while John Kennedy aged 43 years, 236 days, was the youngest to be elected. Roosevelt assumed office after President William McKinley was assassinated.

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Ernst By Six in Iowa Senate Race

The Des Moines Register released its new Selzer & Company political survey and the results provide us with the largest lead for either Iowa Senate candidate in several months. The poll (Sept. 21-24; 800 Iowa adults; 546 likely voters) gives Republican state Sen. Joni Ernst a 44-38 percent advantage over Rep. Bruce Braley (D-IA-1) in what has been a toss-up Senate race since early July.

The move is significant and clearly demonstrates a momentum shift in Ernst’s direction. Selzer also tell us that the negative attacks on both candidates appear to be working. When looking at the personal favorability ratings of each contender, both are in situations where their negatives equal their positive scores. Ernst ratio is 45:44 percent favorable to unfavorable. Braley’s is virtually identical at 42:42 percent.

Selzer & Company is the Des Moines Register’s usual pollster. They have developed a strong record, missing the latest Iowa gubernatorial, Senate, and presidential campaign by an aggregate two percentage points. Like all pollsters, Selzer has missed some, too. In the 2012 Republican presidential caucus, the firm projected Mitt Romney to win the Iowa Caucuses by approximately eight points. The actual result showed former Sen. Rick Santorum Continue reading >

Why You Won’t See Sebelius Running in the Kansas Senate Race

According to the New York Times, unnamed Democrats are floating the name of outgoing Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius as a potential opponent to Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS) later this year. For many reasons, such a move will not happen.

As we know, Sebelius announced earlier in April that she will be leaving her position. President Obama already has appointed a successor, subject to Senate confirmation. She leaves office bearing the brunt of what has gone wrong with the Affordable Care Act implementation, particularly relating to the disastrous registration process on the official healthcare website.

According to the Times analysis, Roberts is viewed as potentially vulnerable. This may be true in the Republican primary, because he faces a spirited challenge from physician Milton Wolf, but it is hardly the case in rock-ribbed Republican Kansas when considering the general election.

Public Policy Polling had already tested Sebelius as a potential opponent to the senator, giving us insight into her strength on the ballot. She has a strong history as a  Continue reading >

Is Hagan the Most Vulnerable Senator in 2014?

Survey USA just released confirming data for Public Policy Polling’s long-term consistent findings about the North Carolina Senate race.

Every month, PPP surveys the Tar Heel State mainly because they are a Raleigh-based company. For more than a year, the survey research firm has been forecasting that first-term Sen. Kay Hagan (D) is positioned in the mid to low 40s, sometimes leading her largely unknown Republican opponents by a point or two, other times trailing them by similar margins.

Now, Survey USA tested the NC electorate and found an almost identical result, thus lending more evidence to support the analysis saying that Sen. Hagan is highly endangered for re-election.

According to S-USA (March 27-31; 1,930 registered North Carolina voters for the job approval question; 1,489 respondents for the ballot test questions; 433 likely  Continue reading >

Sink Sunk in FL-13

In a stunning final special election result from Florida last night, Republican David Jolly, who opponents painted as a Washington lobbyist representing an organization that favors Social Security privatization, upset favored Democratic candidate Alex Sink in Florida’s 13th Congressional District. The campaign’s conclusion carries national implications.

The Affordable Care Act was front and center throughout the contest, with Jolly touting his opposition to the program and Sink relying on a catch phrase of “keeping what’s right [with the healthcare program] and fixing what’s wrong”. Her argument, before a Sunshine State congressional district with the sixth largest segmentation of people (in Florida) over 65 years of age (22.8 percent), apparently fell upon largely disbelieving ears.

Jolly won the race 48.5 – 46.6 percent, with 4.8 percent going to Libertarian Party nominee Lucas Overby. The Republican victory margin was 3,456 votes from a huge total of 183,627 ballots cast.
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Gary Peters’ Boonstra Blunder in the Michigan Senate Race

Things haven’t gone quite to plan for Rep. Gary Peters (D-MI-14) in his bid to succeed retiring Sen. Carl Levin (D).

When the senator announced he wouldn’t be seeking re-election early last year, Rep. Peters immediately jumped into the race and very quickly sewed up consensus party  Continue reading >

The FL-13 Special Election: A Proving Ground

The death of veteran Florida Congressman Bill Young (R) in October has led to a March 11 special election that may tell us a great deal about the impending regular general election.

The special election campaign, now turning into a multi-million dollar affair with both parties and all major outside organizations spending heavily, is proving to be a major testing ground for election themes. Both sides will soon see how their proposed general election messages play and, with the district’s electorate split almost evenly regarding the Obamacare law, much will be learned about how the two sides will portray the issue nationally this fall.

Florida’s 13th Congressional District appears to be a political microcosm of the state (Obama-Romney statewide 2012: 50-49 percent; FL-13 Obama-Romney: 50-49 percent), while arguably the Sunshine State itself is often viewed as a viable campaign test model for the entire country. The district  Continue reading >

Strategic Changes Ahead in Montana Senatorial Bid

Reports are rampant that President Obama will soon select retiring Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT) to serve as the country’s next ambassador to China. Doing so will bring major change to the impending senatorial political battle to replace him.

Republicans have maintained the early prime position to convert the seat ever since the veteran senator announced that he would not seek election to a seventh term next year. Polling shows freshman Rep. Steve Daines (R-MT-AL) with the inside track toward capturing the open seat over both Lt. Gov. John Walsh (D) and former Lt. Gov. John Bohlinger. Since the seat will become vacant upon Baucus’ confirmation as ambassador should he be nominated, Gov. Steve Bullock (D) will have the opportunity to appoint a replacement on an interim basis, and Walsh already appears to be the pick.

While on the surface Walsh’s appointment to the seat would clearly bring certain benefits to his election campaign, it also would tie him down in Washington, like  Continue reading >

Polls Show Tightening in Michigan, Louisiana

Michigan

Late last week, local Michigan pollster Denno Research released the results of their new poll in conjunction with Lambert, Edwards & Associates, also a Michigan-based firm (Nov. 12-14; 600 registered Michigan voters). They again detect a statistical tie for the state’s impending open US Senate race, projecting Rep. Gary Peters (D-MI-14) to a mere 37-36 percent advantage.

This past July, Denno (July 23-24; 600 registered Michigan voters) contradicted most conventional political analyses. They reported then that the two major party candidates had fallen into a 39-39 percent tie. EPIC MRA, another Detroit area survey research firm, later published confirming numbers (Sept. 7-10; 600 registered Michigan voters; 38-37 percent Democratic edge). Up until that time, Peters was a presumed solid favorite over former Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land (R).

This race is already becoming more competitive than was once believed likely,  Continue reading >

A Shocking Colorado Poll

Quinnipiac University, fresh from being the closest major pollster in the closing days of the Virginia governor’s race (they projected Terry McAuliffe to be leading 45-41 percent; the final result was 48-45 percent), released a new Colorado survey (Nov. 15-18; 1,206 registered Colorado voters) that produces surprising results.

Up until now, first-term Sen. Mark Udall (D) had been viewed as a prohibitive favorite for re-election. This Q-Poll, however, suggests that competition could be coming his way. According to the data, Udall leads former GOP nominee and Weld County District Attorney Ken Buck (R) 45-42 percent. He’s ahead of virtually unknown businessman Jamie McMillan (R) only 43-40 percent. The incumbent expands his edge to five, six, and seven points over state senators Randy Baumgardner and Owen Hill, and state Rep. Amy Stephens, respectively. Clearly, all of these match-ups indicate that Sen. Udall is not yet an electoral cinch.

But, the real eye-opening data relates to opinions of federal leaders and issues, in  Continue reading >

Senate Conservatives Tackle McConnell

It didn’t take long for at least one conservative organization to begin launching an air attack against Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R) for his role in failing to stop the funding mechanism for the Affordable Care Act, now commonly referred to as “Obamacare.” The Senate Conservatives Fund, through its Senate Conservatives Action issue organization, originally founded by then-Sen. Jim DeMint (R-South Carolina), has launched a $300,000 Kentucky television ad buy to claim that the five-term senator has “let us (Kentuckians) down” (above). The context directly relates to the healthcare issue.

The message is clearly intended to rile the Kentucky conservative base against Sen. McConnell to an even greater degree than previously noted. Already, investment executive Matt Bevin is actively pursuing a primary challenge against the Republican leader, a candidacy that the Senate Conservatives Fund has endorsed. Early polls show McConnell to be holding an overwhelming lead over Bevin, but data posted for the general election tells a different story.

The Kentucky Senate campaign is shaping up to be one of the 2014 bellwether races, and one of two key Republican must-holds (Georgia is the other) if the party is to have any chance of gaining the majority for the next Congress.

In the general election, Democrats have  Continue reading >

The Affordable Care Act and the Arkansas Senate Race

As we predicted last week when Rep. Tom Cotton (R-AR-4) announced his challenge to Sen. Mark Pryor (D-AR), this campaign could conceivably draw the most attention of any political race in the country. Yesterday, as reported in several political publications, already two more Arkansas Senate surveys were released.

Both of the new studies are from Republican pollsters, The Polling Company for the Washington Free Bacon conservative political website and OnMessage for the National Republican Senatorial Committee. Both project the race to be a dead heat. The Polling Company (Aug. 6-7; 600 registered Arkansas voters) scores the battle 45-43 percent in favor of Sen. Pryor. OnMessage (July 29-30; 600 registered Arkansas voters) gives Cotton a similar 44-42 percent edge.

These numbers are on the heels of another poll, from Harper Polling (Aug. 4-5; 587 registered Arkansas voters) that shows the same two point spread, this version 43-41 percent in favor of Republican Cotton.

But the ballot test questions do not give us the most salient clues as to how this campaign will likely unfold. It is clear from examining the questions asked, and the respondents’ answers, that the new national healthcare law’s implementation can become the over-riding driver of the campaign. Looking ahead through next year, if Obamacare implementation does become the determining focal point, Cotton likely will win. Conversely, if the new healthcare law is being implemented in a satisfactory manner and other issues evolve into greater or equal importance, Sen. Pryor probably survives.

According to The Polling Company data, 50 percent of the respondent pool would be less likely to support Sen. Pryor because of his vote in favor of Obamacare, versus the 40 percent who answered more likely. The OnMessage totals are more stark. According to their data tables, 55 percent would be more likely to support Cotton because he voted to repeal Obamacare, contrasting with 33 percent who say they are more likely to support Sen. Pryor because he voted for Obamacare.

Most analysts believe that the public view of the new healthcare law will deteriorate over the next year as more people understand how the legislation will directly affect them. Therefore, Cotton must use his campaign to  Continue reading >